An Experimental Gift

In my efforts to make gifts for people rather than buy stuff, I decided to make something for a friend’s ‘special’ (aka ‘scary’) birthday recently.

She is quite fussy so I wanted to make something she’d like and use and that wouldn’t clash with anything in her lovely house.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have chosen her then for my first attempt at crocheting Moroccan Tile stitch and raid my stash for the necessary super chunky wool no matter what colour. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Anyway, here is the result of my well meaning endeavours……..

a lined basket – with handles no less – using the aforementioned stitch.

This is quite a large basket measuring around 8 inches in diameter and about 7 inches high.  It’s made with super chunky yarn and is also lined with yarn of the same weight so it’s substantial enough to stand up on its own.  I used a free pattern which, reading the comments, appears to have caused a few problems with getting the size of the lining right in relation to the exterior.

I went down half a hook size for the outside (I used a 5.5mm) and a whole size and a half for the lining – a 4.5mm (won’t do that again!)

Blocking wasn’t mentioned and the jury seems to be out on whether it works on acrylic anyway but the lining was just a teensy bit small so I had to pull it tighter than it was possibly meant to be pulled in order to join it to the exterior.  It became obvious that this had caused some narrowing at the handle level so I tried to make it as neat as possible and used a large glass circular vase to hold it open and pegs (pinging off now and then) to hold the handle section up.

That’s not the lining you see through the glass but face cloths to pad the sides out a bit around the vase.

Then I gave it all a squirt with the steam iron and left it for a while.

You can see that the basket goes narrower just before the handle section starts which it shouldn’t plus it isn’t entirely symmetrical which is all due to my overcompensating for other people saying their lining came out too big.

 I wondered about giving it to her for her birthday after all because it’s not 100% perfect and I was, therefore, not 100% happy with it.  In the end I bought some pretty hand towels to put in it, wrapped it in cellophane with a big bow and hoped she’d appreciate the fact I’d made her something even if she only uses it to let the cat jump in and out of.

I am definitely going to make another of these – they are large and very useful.  I love the effect of the stitch which took a bit of getting used to but the free pattern I used had written and video tutorials which I followed avidly.  You can find Tamara Kelly’s pattern on Ravelry and  here

…..and this is how the experts do it.

Next time I will see if I have something in plain colours I can double up to super chunky thickness – I have lots of aran and dk weight wools in my stash – as I think I prefer the original version in the plain colours.  Although I think the two different variegated yarns I used also create quite an interesting effect.  This was a really fun project – a bit of a challenge but that never hurts once in a while does it?



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  1. #1 by katechiconi on August 28, 2018 - 08:53

    I think your colourful version is more interesting, the neutrals are very… plain. It looks as if it was really hard to make, which can only be good in a gift, surely? Is the lining necessary to make it firm enough, or just for pretty, to finish off the inside?

    • #2 by tialys on August 28, 2018 - 09:48

      Yes, and I actually like the jewel effect of my colours but she is more of a plain sort of person really – not in appearance, she’s actually a tall and willowy, cool, blonde, beautiful German lady but you know what I mean. The lining gives the basket more body and it is, therefore, able to stand up by itself without any other stiffening material. I love the effect of the stitch though and might make myself a hat – see my reply to Wild Daffodil.

      • #3 by katechiconi on August 28, 2018 - 09:52

        I do know what you mean, but I maintain yours is more individual, less something you could have bought in Ikea. I do like the idea of the hat, can’t wait to see you wearing it when the weather turns cold 🙂

      • #4 by tialys on August 28, 2018 - 10:01

        True – I never thought of it like that. Plus, I got to use up some Super Chunky weight yarn I had in my stash. I will make the hat in navy with orange bobbles I think – watch this space.

  2. #5 by Wild Daffodil on August 28, 2018 - 08:56

    I love the look of that stitch, I will give that a go.

    • #6 by tialys on August 28, 2018 - 09:43

      You should! – it’s good fun actually. I was thinking of making myself a bright orange beanie hat for hunting season which has now begun in France – it will apparently save me from having my head shot off while walking the dogs 😨 However, orange not really being my colour, I thought I’d make it in navy with the orange bobble effect using this stitch so I can be a bit more chic at the same time as keeping safe.

      • #7 by Wild Daffodil on August 28, 2018 - 09:57

        Yikes! Neon orange perhaps!

      • #8 by tialys on August 28, 2018 - 10:04

        Definitely neon. The hunters all wear varying degrees of orange clothing from just a baseball cap to a full body suit. Probably due to the tradition of having a drink (or several) before setting off with a loaded gun and the prevalence of older chaps with dodgy eyesight – accidents are not a rare occurrence.

      • #9 by tialys on August 28, 2018 - 10:43

        Oops! When I say ‘just a baseball cap’ I think you know what I mean.

      • #10 by Wild Daffodil on August 29, 2018 - 08:26

        Ha!Ha! Now I have a wnderfully funny picture in my mind’s eye!

  3. #11 by thecontentedcrafter on August 28, 2018 - 11:00

    I like your basket, and I think the slightly off kilter effect is common in these things – every basket I have made has a bit of wobble in it somewhere…….. I have that pattern, but have never made it up. I’ve made some of her (Moogly) smaller baskets that have sewn on handles which I generally omit as I don’t like them. I think most people would love anything that has been especially handmade for them wouldn’t they? And even if the cat does get to jump in and out of it that is pretty cool. My cat only sits in or on the best work 🙂

    • #12 by tialys on August 28, 2018 - 11:05

      Thank you for your words of encouragement, I think we are sometimes over-critical of our own work aren’t we?

      • #13 by thecontentedcrafter on August 28, 2018 - 21:28

        Oh my yes!! I am often encouraged to look at my own work with new eyes thanks to my blogging friends 🙂

  4. #14 by KerryCan on August 28, 2018 - 13:02

    I had to laugh at the idea of the cat jumping in–that is SO what would happen here! The biggest cats go for the smallest circumference pots and bowls!

    • #15 by tialys on August 29, 2018 - 09:35

      ….and cardboard boxes, bags, open drawers, etc. What are they like? 😾

  5. #16 by nanacathy2 on August 28, 2018 - 15:05

    I am with Kate it s a jolly nice present. I think you need to make that orange hat asap, I don’t want you to get your head blown off.

    • #17 by tialys on August 29, 2018 - 09:34

      I’m definitely in agreement with you there – I’m quite attached to my head.

  6. #18 by craftycreeky on August 28, 2018 - 15:41

    I think it’s a lovely basket, I love the way the colours sort of peep out from behind the bigger stitch.

    • #19 by tialys on August 29, 2018 - 09:33

      I really like this stitch – I’m going to experiment more with it.

  7. #20 by anne54 on August 29, 2018 - 00:40

    Any friend worth her salt would love to have this as a present. Every time she looks at the cats jumping in and out of it, or she uses it as a wool basket, she will remember what a delightful friend she has.

  8. #22 by kathyreeves on August 29, 2018 - 03:24

    I think your gift was terrific; basket, towels, a nice bow, all quite usable, and still unique. 👏 Hunting and alcohol sounds VERY scary, do hurry and make that hat.

    • #23 by tialys on August 29, 2018 - 09:32

      Thank you Kathy – I’m seeing her tomorrow so I’ll be having a squint round her house to spot whether she’s using it not. The hat is next on my knitting/crochet list after a husky and before a shawl.

  9. #24 by Kim on August 29, 2018 - 11:45

    I think your friend will love that basket – I certainly do. Despite my crochet skills being a bit dodgy I have saved the pattern to my Ravelry library to try when life allows.
    Please do wear something bright for hunting season as you would be very much missed.

    • #25 by tialys on August 30, 2018 - 09:30

      Well, that’s very nice of you to say so.

  10. #26 by dezertsuz on September 17, 2018 - 02:18

    The basket is great. I think your friend would appreciate the time and effort you spent, and that you needn’t worry about it at all.

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