Projects Planned and Unexpected, Part 1



That’s tee shirt yarn in the above picture.  I took tons of old tee shirts, ours and some donated by friends and family, cut them into strips, connected the strips, and rolled them into balls and balls of color.  Finishing all that prepping was a huge project in itself, but now the fun part has begun – I can make things with all this “free” yarn.

Where to start?

A few weeks ago I brought a couple of big wagonloads (kids’ wagon, not the horse-drawn kind) of seasoned wood into the house.  We run our fireplace as our primary heat source on days when we will have someone (adult) at the house the entire day to maintain the fire.  I was off of work that day, so I brought in more than enough wood to keep the house cozy, and I brought it in through the front door instead of through the kitchen because it was a shorter (and less messy) trip to the fireplace that way.  In order to avoid tracking dirt and moisture into the house, I put a towel down on the floor, and that reminded me that we probably really should have a welcome mat of come kind at the front of the house so people coming in could wipe their muddy boots.

So that became my first tee shirt yarn project, after the Rolling of The Balls.

I chose fire colors – reds, oranges, yellows, a bit of blue, pale gray (ashes), and dark brown (wood).  I decided to try an oval-shaped rug, rather than the round, or roundish, ones I’ve made so far.

I began with red…



I like working on large projects.  They go quickly, and so there’s that instant gratification thing working for me.  Plus, big projects are…BIG!

Unfortunately, I was impatient at the turns, and I chose (stupidly) to ignore the beginnings of ruffles that were starting to form.  And so eventually the ruffles grew so big they could not be ignored, and so I had to pull out a ton of stitches and almost start over completely.


Or maybe it was three times.  I don’t remember.  I may have blocked it out.

Anyway, I finished most of it, laid it out on the floor and finally accepted reality.  I’d rushed and not paid attention at the rounded ends, and while ruffles are acceptable on baby girls and pillows, they don’t work so well on rugs.

So, resignedly meeting reality’s eyes, I pulled it all apart.  The whole thing.  The WHOLE thing. 

I had four large balls of fire-color tee shirt yarn.


And I started over.  Slowly and attentively this time.



At first I had this kind of multi-sectioned idea but in the interest of time and sanity, I opted for a simple – but correctly executed – oval.


I’m happy with the result.  A bit larger might have been nice, but I’d run out of fire colors.

Why the fire colors?   Warmth and welcome to people entering the house…and because I got the idea on a day when I was going to have a fire going…and because the fireplace is close by. 

You can see it curling up a bit at the edge here and there, but over time that will stay flattened.  You can NOT see ruffles.  🙂


I like crocheting rugs.  I also like baskets. 


A few weeks ago I made this little basket – no pattern, just playing around.  It’s about six inches or so in diameter at the bottom, all single crochet until near the top, where I alternated double crochet and chain stitches to create the pattern around the top.  I finished off with one more round of single crochet.  It sits near the sink in our upstairs bathroom and is filled with hair things – rubber bands, scrunchies, barrettes. 

More recently – earlier this week, actually – I decided to try crocheting with multiple strands of yarn at once.  I chose two shades of teal and some medium gray, a large hook, and I started single crocheting a circle.  Then when the diameter was wide enough (maybe 8”?) I started forming the sides.  I did a few rows of single crochet, then experimented with a sort of wavy pattern of two single crochet, two half double crochet, two double crochet, two half double, two single, over and over for several rows.  You don’t really see the waviness as much as I’d hoped, but it does add some interest and dimension, I think.  And instead of weaving the ends in when I finished, I braided them instead. 

Here’s the result:


Julia loved the colors, so I’d promised her the basket.

Basket.  I did say basket, right?


But, you know, mothers and daughters often see things differently.


And then, after that very quick project, I decided to go small. 

Right before Christmas (or maybe it was the morning of), my sister told me she still didn’t know what to give me besides canned stuff she and my brother-in-law had made with their garden bounty.  So I asked her for yarn scraps!  I think I will always ask for yarn scraps.

Some of the yarn was hers, and some had been part of our grandmother’s stash.  Our grandmother was a multi-talented woman who played piano, drew in charcoals and pencil, painted in oils, watercolor and acrylics, and could crochet and knit and sew and quilt.  So much talent packed into a small and quiet woman! 

Anyway, one skein of yarn was this strange looking stuff that resembled string wrapped in colored thread.  It’s called “Aunt Lydia’s Beadies Crochet Thread” and apparently Aunt Lydia isn’t making it any more because I couldn’t find something good to link to.

Anyway, I thought it would be perfect to make something small.

Like…a Very Small Basket!

photo 1

Here’s my awkwardly-positioned left hand holding the Very Small Basket-in-progress.  The hand is there for size comparison only.  Or to make me wince.  Take your pick.

Anyway, I crochet a tiny little circle for the bottom and then started up the sides, all single crochet, until it was the size I wanted.  I should tell you I crocheted into the back loop of the stitches, not the whole loop.  It gives a different look that I have now decided I like a lot for Very Small Basket-Making.

When I decided the basket was tall enough, there was the matter of finishing it off.  I could weave the end in, but it’s actually kind of hard working on Very Small things – my hands, carpel tunnelly and ornery as they are, don’t like working on projects where I have to hold thin things, like the skinny crochet hook in the picture above.  I could have made a little tassle or tail of some kind, like I did with Julia’s basket-hat, but I decided, instead, to make a handle.

photo 2

And then, after making the handle, of course I still had the tail end of yarn to deal with, so I wove it in and out of all the single crochet stitches in the top row of the basket, and it ended up looking like this:

photo 3

Wait, here’s a closer look:

photo 3_1

Reminds me of the fluted edge of a pie crust.

Anyway, that’s that.  Oh – and in case you were wondering, the basket is about 2” in diameter at the top. 


So those are some of my most recent crochet projects.  I am so glad I finally learned to crochet, and annoyed with myself slightly (although there’s really no point) for not learning years ago.

I have other project ideas bouncing around in my head, and I’d been looking forward to starting at least one on my back-to-back days off this week.  One one day Bill and the kids would be at work/school, and they were planning to go skiing on the next, so I’d have just about two ENTIRE DAYS to get all creative.

Or so I thought.

   …to be continued…

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