Friday, February 21, 2014

Free Pattern: Plarn Coaster Basket

  Have you seen my tutorial and pattern for "fmelted" plarn coasters? Did you make them? If you did, maybe you and I have the same problem. A bunch of coasters are sliding around my house when they're not being used. Every time I stack them up, they get knocked over again, so I designed a basket they can be kept in.
  Even if you didn't make a bunch of coasters like I did, this basket is still awesome, and you can make one too. It makes a great conversation piece. Many people don't know about plarn, and are very surprised when you tell them something like this is made from recycled bags. The comment I hear first is usually: "Seriously?" Followed by: "Can you make me one?"

Click here for the matching lid.

See How to make Plarn



  There are directions to alter the pattern if you don't want to "fmelt" it. Finished size is 5" x 5" x 2" (12.7 x 12.7 x 5 cm).

Skill level:
Easy

Materials:
Crochet hook size H/8 - 5.00MM
Plarn - cut into 3" wide strips, about 15 bags
Smaller hook to weave in ends

Gauge:
First round = 2" (5 cm) circumference

Notes:
  Don't let Rounds 10 and 11 confuse you if this technique is new to you. The stitches are worked over the previous rows' stitches, into the stitches of Round 8. If you've ever worked the spike stitch before, it's the same process, only you make the stitch tight around other rows instead of pulling up extra material. You want the material to roll over when you make the stitch.

  This pattern was designed for "fmelting", a process to change plarn into solid plastic. Typically, a crocheted cube will not have any decreases. To transition from working a square bottom to straight sides, the pattern will simply stop increasing. This pattern requires a decrease before working the sides, because during "fmelting", the sides and bottom border will "grow". At the end of the pattern, you can see an example of the finished basket before "fmelting". Although it's hard too see in the photo, the sides taper slightly before joining the bottom.
If you do not want to "fmelt" your basket, and you want straight sides, begin *Round 6 after beg ch-3: (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. Replace "(1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc)" with "(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc)".

For Round 7: After ( ) 5 times, replace "Sk 1, 1 dc in ch-1. Sk 1" with "Sk 2, 2 dc in ch-1. Sk 2".

For Round 8 after beg ch-3: "1 dc in same sp, ch 1, sk 2, 2 dc". Replace "1 dc, ch 1, sk 1, 1 dc" with "2 dc, ch 1, sk 2, 2 dc".

For Rounds 9-11: Replace "51 sts" with "59 sts".

Repeat in Round 12 (29) times..

Stitches:
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Single crochet (sc)
Double crochet (dc)


Directions:
With hook size H/8-5.00MM or size needed to obtain gauge:

Round 1:
Ch 4, 11 dc in farthest ch from hook. Join with a sl st to beg ch-4. (12 dc)

Round 2:
Turn. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same st. 2 dc in next st. (1 dc, ch 1) in following st. *(2 dc in next st) twice. (1 dc, ch 1) in following st.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (24)

Round 3:
Turn. Sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. (sk 1, 2 dc) twice. *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp. (Sk 1, 2 dc) twice.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (36)

Round 4:
Sl st into next st and following ch, turn, sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. Sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts. Sk 2, 3 dc in sp between posts, sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts. *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp. Sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts.  Sk 2, 3 dc in sp between posts. Sk 2, 2 dc in sp between posts.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (48)

Round 5:
Sl st in next st and following ch, turn, sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), (1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in same sp. Working only into sp between posts: Sk 2, 2 dc, sk 2, 3 dc, sk 3, 3 dc, sk 2, 2 dc. *(2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in ch-1 sp. Working into sp between posts: Sk 2, 2 dc, sk 2, 3 dc, sk 3, 3 dc, sk 2, 2 dc.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (60)

*Round 6:
Sl st into next st and following ch, turn, sl st into ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), ch 1, 1 dc in same sp. Working into sp between posts: (Sk 2, 2 dc) twice. (Sk 3, 2 dc) twice. Sk 2, 2 dc. *(1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in ch-1 sp. Working into sp between posts: (Sk 2, 2 dc) twice, (sk 3, 2 dc) twice. Sk 2, 2 dc.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (52)

 Round 7:
Turn, sl st into sp between posts. Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same sp. Working into sp between posts: (Sk 2, 2 dc) 5 times. Sk 1, 1 dc in ch-1. Sk 1, *(2 dc, sk 2) 5 times, 2 dc. Sk 1, 1 dc in ch-1 sp, sk 1.* Repeat from * to * 2 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (52)

Round 8:
Turn, sl st into sp between posts, Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc). Ch 1, sk 1, 1 dc. (Sk 2, 2 dc) 5 times. *(Sk 2, 1 dc, ch 1, sk 1, 1 dc. (Sk 2, 2 dc) 5 times.* Repeat from * to * 5 more times. Join with a sl st to beg ch-3. (52)

Round 9:
Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), 1 sc in each of next 51 sts. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (52)

Round 10:
Sl st directly below into Round 8. Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), 1 sc in each of next 51 sts of Round 8. Join with a sl st to beg ch-1. (52)

Round 11:
Turn. Sl st directly below into Round 8. Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), 1 sc in each of next 51 sts of Round 8. (52)

Round 12:
*Sl st in back loop only of next st, ch 1.* Repeat from * to * 26 more times. Join with a sl st to beg sl st. Bind off, weave in ends.




Before "Fmelting" the basket:
  I've been trying to think of the easiest way to do this, and gone through a few ideas. "Fmelting" is a relatively easy process when you're working with a flat project, but how can I finish a three dimensional piece?
  I know I need to cover the surface with wax paper, so I thought I could just crumple some up and stuff the whole piece. It works, but its a big waste of wax paper.
  So I thought I could use newspaper instead, but I'm using a hot iron on it. To be honest, I was afraid I might set it on fire and didn't try it. Maybe that's something I can try (outside) another time.
  I finally settled on cardboard. It's more heat resistant than newspaper, easily covered with the wax paper, and I've always got some scraps around here somewhere. With some measuring, cutting, and staples, I made a custom-fit form for my basket.



After you make your own form, cover it with wax paper.



Place the form in the basket, making sure the piece is as even and square as possible.



Directions for "fmelting the basket:

  In case you missed the original tutorial on how to "fmelt" plarn, I'll give you the warnings again:
  • You will be using a hot iron, use the necessary precautions. 
  • You will be melting plastic. Don't inhale any fumes! Do this in a room with plenty of ventilation, or even take it outside.
  • Make a test swatch. Practice "fmelting" on this first. If you're iron temperature is set too high, you will burn right through the material.
  • Look through the wax paper to check your progress, don't get burned like I did and try to peel it off while it's hot. Also, the plastic will be stuck to the paper until it cools, and your project could be ruined.
Begin "fmelting" the bottom first. Place wax paper over the entire area to be ironed.



With the iron on the synthetic (lowest) setting, slowly and gently move the iron in small circles over the surface. Iron temperatures may vary slightly. Using mine, it took about 3 minutes per side to melt it to this stage:



Keep covered with wax paper any surface where you are applying heat. Using the same technique as with the bottom, "fmelt" each side, waiting for it to cool and harden before moving on to the next side.



I didn't melt the inside surface of my basket, but if you want to, a mini iron would be super helpful. Use it if you have one. If, like me, you don't have one, the process is a bit more complicated.

What you will have to do is follow the original directions, but don't melt the corners or bottom edges. This allows the basket to stay flexible, so you can turn it inside out. After turning, repeat the process. Good luck without that mini iron.

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