My Material Life

Small Projects, Big Style (Free Patterns!)

Hello my dears. It’s been a little while. I haven’t been making much other than things to eat it seems. I do have a blanket I’m working on (crochet) that I hope to share soon. It’s a lot of fun to stitch and could move very quickly if I just picked it up more frequently than I tend to do. I enjoy working on blankets, but it’s hard to beat the satisfaction that comes from being able to complete a small project relatively quickly. And if a small project comes from a free pattern, so much the better. Not just any free pattern will do of course, but one with a little style, a little pizazz. These mini baskets certainly qualify. The pattern comes from We Are Knitters. You can link to it here and find other links in the roundup at the bottom of this post. But first, let me tell you a few things about these baskets.

The pattern calls for a T-shirt tape kind of yarn like you see used in the basket holding the bunny above. I couldn’t help wondering how it would work up in raffia instead, so I made the raffia basket first. Raffia is not the easiest material to crochet with. There are about four rounds of slip stitch in the pattern and that’s tight work using raffia, but it sure makes for a pretty sweet little basket. Especially when turned inside out. I could see these at a place setting for sure. I might want to modify it next time, but a it’s a project with serious possibilities and so easy to modify by size and material. I always think crochet is more freeing than knitting that way, don’t you? Real raffia comes from a palm tree native to tropical Africa. I found a spool at Paper Source. Some yarn purveyors sell a raffia-type product made especially for crochet (viscose usually) so that’s an option too. The paper grass came from Germany via my favorite Easter craft supplier, Blumchen.

Material suppliers’ sites are a great place to look for free patterns, particularly if you already like the company’s vibe. The first project pictured below, however, comes from the Victoria and Albert Museum and another comes from a blog. I found the blog pattern after typing in a search query for “best free easy baby bootie pattern” or something like that and looking at the resulting images. The links for each of the following pictured projects are listed below the image gallery.

  1. Victoria and Albert Museum Bargello Embroidered Zip Pouch from their Make & Do section where you’ll find a selection of 1940s knitting patterns among a variety of other quite interesting things.
  2. LoveCrafts Small Sausage Dog from designer Amanda Berry. She has a very charming collection of small animals there.
  3. Harrisville Designs Harrisville Slippers from the maker of our favorite potholder loom. Did you know Harrisville offers lovely knitting yarns and patterns too? This one is so appealing to me — simple, cozy, good-looking. Seems like it would be a very satisfying project for new knitters.
  4. We Are Knitters (WAK) UrbanWAK, the coolest fanny pack I’ve ever seen. But could I just use it as a zippered case instead?
  5. We Are Knitters Crochet Cotton Basket. You should really check out all of WAK’s free patterns, but this basket — so useful and a great technique for your textile tool box. Excellent “how-to” videos here.
  6. Handy Little Me Easy Baby Booties. I love this simple bootie design. I’ve knit them already, but not in a yarn that I was happy with. I’m looking for something with a little more body before I’ll use these as a gift. But the next new baby (a niece is expecting!) will get a pair of these for sure. Send me a comment if I can help you with them in the meantime. It took me a while to figure out how to stitch them correctly and what kind of seam stitch worked best.
  7. Blue Sky Fibers Champlin Chair Cushion. Don’t you just want to take a seat on that cushion? Blue Sky sells a big, chunky, chained wool to make it, but what a great use for some spool knitting made with a toilet paper roll knitter!
  8. Purl Soho Liberty and Wool Lap Duvets. Purl Soho carries such nice things with fantastic ideas for what to make with them. I found this one a few years ago when I was looking for suggestions for what to do with a yard of Liberty fabric. This project uses one yard of Liberty and I’m not sure I like it paired with the wool, but they’ve got many other variations of the lap duvet in their free pattern section. And yes, I think a simple sewn small duvet can be considered a small project. If you’re willing to get the sewing machine out, the ironing board. Much faster than knit or crochet anyway! I still have the fabric in my stash. Now I’m wondering if I should try to incorporate it into a garment. Maybe a scarf? You’ll find that in Purl Soho’s free pattern collection as well.
  9. Purl Soho Nautical Flag Napkins. To be honest I just found these whilst looking for the Liberty lap duvet and I’m so glad I did because I think it’s deeply buried in their collection by now. What a find! I’ve always had a thing for nautical flags.

Well I hope you found something here that struck your fancy. Now what are you having for dinner tonight? I’m making this again because I liked it so much the first time. Hope to see you back here soon with another project.

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