Saturday, March 29, 2014

Taking That Hour for Whatever...

Yesterday was the perfect day to follow up on my promise to myself to set aside an hour this week for some guilt-free pleasure. With one quilt finished and needing to take a breath before launching into the next, what better time to try something out of curiosity and totally for fun? My friend, Sherrie, showed off her added-to coiled basket last week, and her encouragement for me to choose that project from the ones I mentioned was the sign I needed to just do it. I got out my two books, fabric I'd set aside with the thought it would work well in baskets, and a package of clothesline. I repeated my latest mantra several times, "It doesn't matter, nothing to lose," took a deep breath and got to work.

The two fabrics in the foreground of the first picture are ones I've had to admit I'll probably never work into a quilt, so this is a good project to use them on. But not on this day. The rest of the fabrics are from my friend's stash, ones she collected for that African quilt. I probably wouldn't use these in a quilt either, but after her quilt was done, I kept these to make into baskets. I was particularly interested in how that big animal print panel would work up. Not enough of it left for an entire basket, so I chose one of the other prints to accent it, a giraffe print. The instructions said to cut strips 1/2 - 3/4 inch wide; I hate that - pick a width, don't make me choose! I opted for a width in the middle, 5/8 inch. And what about thread? The coils are joined with a visible zigzag stitch, so there is the option to use a blending thread color or contrasting one. Well, lets go for something dark, I thought. And since the machine still had the dark brown thread I used finishing up the Tetris quilt, I didn't bother considering anything else. Let's get this project rolling!

The trickiest part of construction is right at the start, getting the spiral started and stitching those first tight rounds. But once past that, it's pretty easy to keep adding rounds while continuing to wrap the clothesline with those narrow strips. Even changing colors is no big deal. I must admit, though, that the first time I do something following someone else's instructions, it always feels like an act of faith. There are several ways to start tipping that base coil to make the sides, and none of it seemed obvious to me that it would garner the desired results. But to my delight, the straight sides I was going for began to form, and I loved the way both fabrics were working up.

As I neared the completion of the rounds, I think I was holding my breath a bit (while alternately repeating the mantra), wondering if I'd really followed the instructions correctly and would have a nicely formed basket. It's that faith thing, me wishing I could have watched someone doing this before I dived in. Not to worry - here's my lovely basket! I didn't do as good of a job on tapering the end of the coil at the finish but other than that, I think this is pretty good for my first try.

Now I must admit, this took longer than an hour, and I knew it would. But I also knew I had all day to play with this if I needed it. I found the process just as calming and meditative as the book suggested, and I can see how making these could become addictive. I have some strips and clothesline left over and may make up a small plate from them. My head is spinning with color and shape possibilities.

Here you can get a feel for how big my basket is - about 4 inches high and 7 inches across. The book is open to the basket I was using for my pattern - the one on the left. I'm tempted to add some kind of handle to mine similar to the ones in the book, or choose from the other suggestions in a section just on handles. Or I may just make more baskets. I really want to try an oval one but thought for my first time out, I should stick to the basic round form. And then there are the handbag and tote options. And baskets with lids. Siren calls all, which is why I  bought the books!


June said...

Great fun. I love baskets. I just got rid of some wire/fabric stitched pieces in the interests of lightening the load. But some day.... And now I see another way to make baskets.

Great colors and broken patterns.

Connie Rose said...

Beautiful basket!!

Wil said...

I see more baskets in your future :-)

The Inside Stori said...

Gosh, these sure seem to be the rage....I guess what's old is new again comes to mind. I recall making these way back in the early '80's. It continues to be a great way to use up that unwanted fabric!

Chris said...

Love the basket. I have made several baskets from reeds, but never one from cloth. And I have not done it for a long time. I might have to try making a coiled cloth basket.

I may have to post a blog with the baskets that I have made as well as my metal punched lantern. That's from the time in which I was doing lots of different crafts.

Meg Marchiando said...

Nice! I made a few little ones last year, it went much smoother than I had anticipated. I like your 'take an hour to do whatever' plan. I may steal this mini retreat for my week as well!

Lucia Sasaki said...

Hi Sheila thanks for sharing.
Your baskets reminded me of PrairiePeasant's ones.
They are beautiful and it is good that you make them because you can repurpose old fabrics.
Thanks again and a great week!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks, everyone! Yes, Mary, this is nothing new. I used to have several magazine articles showing how to do this - I'm guessing they were from the early 1980's but like so much stuff I get interested in, I didn't get around to trying it. I believe back in those days it was jute being used as the base cord. I thought I might still have the articles but they must have been pitched in the last move since I had the more recent books.

Yes, June - I was lightening the load as you are doing now. Don't get addicted to anything new until you're moved!