I always liked the glass jars with crochet over them thing, but everyone would end up in the ER if I made those and left them around the house. The ones above are made from an old plastic mayo jar and an old plastic cordial bottle, and that way the kids can swing them around their heads and bash them on the floor and no one's going to require stitches. The mayo jar one is my favourite, and it's been used so much. Right now it's full of crayons (you can see Del using it in the background of this pic from the dragon mask post)
You can even make them really small if you have something like a dremel to drill little holes into a travel sized shampoo bottle, and a teensy crochet hook and thread. Very useful for collecting random small objects as my children are wont to do.
This one use as a trick or treat pot. It was made from an old protein shake plastic jar that a friend gave us.
Anyway, I've been wanting to show you how I make these for ages, because they are really useful for a number of reasons.
- the kids can see what is in them (if you use clear plastic jars or bottles to make them), and can root around for stuff without having to tip it all out.
- They hang up places, or can be carried around easily.
- They are pretty easy to make (very basic crochet stitches) and are really cheap as they are made from old plastic bottles and jars.
- They are virtually indestructible. We've not had to throw a single one out due to breakage yet, despite them being dropped all over the place and flung around.
- I think they look pretty, given that they are made from trash, especially if the kids decorate them with stickers or sharpie pens.
- Because the crochet narrows the opening to the basket, generally if you drop it, whatever is in it doesn't come spilling out all over the floor.
Given all that, and the fact that Easter is around the corner and a few of you that can crochet might want to make kid's Easter baskets with this technique, here's how I make 'em...
You'll need a plastic container, so go rummage around in your recycling. It doesn't have to be transparent, but the plastic does have to be reasonably flexible if you are going to punch through it with a regular hole puncher. If you have something like a Dremel that you can use to drill holes then you don't have to limited by that. You do need to make sure that your crochet hook can fit through the holes you drill though! I've happily used a hand punch on all the baskets that are shown here (except the tiny necklace one) The easiest to punch through was the yoghurt pot.
If you've got a container with labels on then weight it down in some water to soak them and make them easier to peel off.
It's handy to note that if you have a container that has printing on it that you want to get rid of first, then giving it a scrub with a Mr Clean Magic Eraser or similar product will take off the printing (on a transparent plastic it will make it translucent though) here's the yoghurt pot with some of the printing scrubbed off.
Sometimes a container will have a thicker rim that you need to cut off to be able to punch around the top. You can see below that I cut off the rim of the yoghurt pot with a pair of kitchen scissors before punching the holes.
Here you can see that I also cut off the top part of the protein shake container before punching the holes into it.
The littlest one was made from a travel sized shampoo bottle that I cut the top off and used a small drill bit to put the holes in it.
To do the crochet part you can use whatever yarn you like. Chances are if it's going to be dragged around by children you won't want to use white cashmere, but anything will do really. I've used various coloured cheap acrylic scraps for mine. The tiny one was cotton fine crochet thread though. The basic method to start these off is to treat the row of holes as though it is a row of stitches and just crochet into them all the way around the container. I start off with a single crochet into each hole by pulling through the yarn like this to make a second loop on your hook.
and then making a single crochet stitch with it by hooking the yarn over the top of the rim and through the two loops on the hook, like this.
If you keep going round the whole container like that, then you'll end up with a nice base to then crochet further rounds of stitches into.
Here you can see the base round crocheted onto the protein shake bottle in pink yarn. I joined the round with a slip stitch and chained one before starting the next round.
From here on out you can just wing it really to get the shape you want from your basket top. Each basket I've made has been different and I kind of like the "make it up as you go" way that these come together. With this one it looks like i made two single crochet stitches into each of the base round stitches, but generally if you do just one stitch into each of the base round stitches then the top will start to pull in like the style of the larger ones I've posted pictures of in this thread.
To make the handles for most of these baskets, I started a round and then made a length of chain stitches the size of the handle I wanted and then joined it again to the round with a single crochet stitch, carrying on around with single crochet stitches and then doing the same thing on the other side for the second handle. Then I just continued to do single crochets into each stitch of the much larger round that now included the handles. A couple of rounds of stitches is enough to make the handles really quite sturdy, but you can see that with Del's little purple easter basket I didn't even bother with that and just left the handles as a single row of chain stitch.
The teensy necklace one just has one big loop of chain stitch for it's handle too
Once you're done with the crochet (which doesn't take that long unless you make really big handles or something) the kids can decorate their baskets with stickers or sharpie pens.
I need to find more little plastic bottles, because they all want one of the little necklace versions now!