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Fox Basket/Pillow

This past weekend I attended a good friend’s baby shower, and I was so happy to gift her with some crocheted goodies!  A while back, I came across a really cute pattern for a “Foxy Stash Basket” on the “Yarnspirations" website HERE.  I thought it would be a wonderful gift as it would not only make an adorable addition to the baby’s nursery, but also have the functional ability of storing items such as little hats, socks or towels!  I had a lot of fun crocheting baskets in the past (see posts HERE and HERE), so I was very excited to make a cute animal basket!  

I went out and looked for red and beige cotton yarn: I ended up purchasing “Bernat Handicrafter Cotton" yarn in "Off White" and "Country Red”.  You need to hold two strands of yarn together when crocheting this basket.  I did not buy enough skeins of yarn during my first shopping trip- in total, I used 4 skeins of the beige yarn and 2 skeins of the red yarn!  Some black yarn is also needed for the eyes and nose, but I simply used some black acrylic worsted weight yarn that I already had in my stash.  

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I began by working on the base of the basket with the beige yarn.  I loved the look and feel of it already!  I used a 6 mm crochet hook for the basket and a 4 mm crochet hook for the ears and eyes as recommended in the pattern.

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After crocheting the base, the basket started to build upwards…

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Then after all the increase rounds, it was time to build up the height of the basket!

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Next, I added the nose with some black yarn!

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I was excited to begin working with the red yarn!  Rather than cutting the yarn every time you need to switch colours, this basket is worked with the tapestry method of crochet in which you hold both colours at the same time, carrying and crocheting around the strands that are not currently in use.  If you are unfamiliar with this technique, check out this video HERE to see it in action!  Since you are working with two colours in the round, that essentially means that you are working with two strands of one colour while carrying along two strands of the other colour (thus four strands going at once)!

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As I was following the pattern exactly and building up the red in subsequent rounds, I noticed that the red appeared to be going lopsided upwards.  Even in the photo provided in the pattern (appearing below), I thought that the face looked crooked or lopsided.  When I read the pattern through, I thought it made sense in theory if each stitch were placed exactly ontop of one another round after round.  However, as you can see, stitches are not exactly aligned ontop of each other (e.g. third stitch of Round 3 will not be perfectly below third stitch of Round 4), as they tend to build up at an angle.  Thus, I tried to make some modifications and eyeballed it as I went along, trying to make the face as symmetrical as I could!

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This is what I came up with as I crocheted more and more of the face…

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Then it was time to cut off the beige yarn and continue working only with the red yarn!

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I tried my best, but I admit that I did not do a perfect job of making the face exactly symmetrical.  As you can see in the image below, the sides are not identical (left side curves more at an angle while right side falls more steeply).  I did not have the patience to undo my work and start that part over again, but you can always give it a try yourself and see what you come up with!

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After some decrease rounds, the last round was given a nice finishing touch as it was worked with the reverse single crochet.  I absolutely love the beautiful roped and textured feel that the reverse single crochet gives to the basket!

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The basket was not as sturdy as I expected it to be (compared to the other baskets which I had crocheted using two strands of super bulky yarn and using an 8 mm crochet hook).  Thus, we thought it would be neat to give this basket another function: by adding buttons to the top, the basket could be closed up to be a pillow or cushion!

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I enjoyed crocheting the ears as they were worked from the bottom to the top which is opposite to how I usually make my ears.  The shape turned out beautifully, and I love the pointed tips!  To give a bit more shaping and dimension, we pinched the ears in the middle and sewed the back, giving them a creased look.

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The eyes were simple to crochet as they were simply black circles with some white strands of yarn added!

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After attaching the ears and eyes, here was our finished product!

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                                  ******************************************

These are the modifications I made to the original “Foxy Stash Basket" pattern by Yarnspirations (all modifications made to the FACE part, not the base):

  • 3rd rnd: With A, 1 hdc in each of next 6 hdc.  
  • 4th rnd: With A, 1 hdc in each of next 9 hdc.
  • 5th rnd: …………..Do not break MC.  With A, 1 hdc in each of next 12 hdc…………..
  • 6th rnd: With A, ch 2, 1 hdc in each of next 21 hdc……….With MC, 1 hdc in each of next 7 hdc…With A„ 1 hdc in each of next 13 hdc………
  • 7th rnd: WIth A, ch 2.  1 hdc in each of next 22 hdc…..Do not break MC.  WIth A, 1 hdc in each of next 14 hdc…….
  • 8th rnd: With A, ch 2.  1 hdc in each of next 24 hdc…..With A, 1 hdc in each of next 15 hdc………….

                                   ******************************************

I presented this Fox Basket packed with some goodies to my friend during her baby shower, and it was a hit!  I think it look so cute, don’t you?

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It would be such a beautiful and whimsical addition to the nursery of any baby boy or girl!  Here it is pictured with some of the steel bins from Myla’s nursery (purchased from Ikea and Home Sense).  Most of Myla’s stuffies in her nursery were actually my previous stuffies that I brought from home….that goes to show how much stuffies can be loved and cherished and passed down the generations, amigurumi included :)

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Here is the Fox Basket serving its dual purpose as a cushion or pillow!  Doesn’t it look so huggable?  And how adorable would this fox pillow look on any sofa or bed?

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Thus, if you don’t feel like using the basket as storage anymore or if a cute pillow is needed for a big boy or girl bed, it can be converted easily into a cushion or pillow simply by closing up the top with the buttons!

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We used fiberfill to show what it looked like stuffed as a cushion, but we would not recommend using it as the actual stuffing unless you sewed the top shut (hazardous for children as they might remove it, play with it or eat it)!  You could try finding a small pillow or cushion that would fit inside to keep the button closure and to easily switch from using this as a basket or a pillow!

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And here’s a third use for the basket….as a Fox Mask!  Haha all joking aside, I thought it was funny how this basket was pretty much head size!

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If you liked this basket, check out these baskets pictured below that I crocheted HERE.  I still use them to this day in Myla’s nursery and my workspace as they hold so much and look so beautiful.

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If you’re interested in crocheting a matching amigurumi fox, here’s a round-up of some cute FREE fox patterns that I found on-line:

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{1. “Cute Amigurumi Fox" by Anna S. of "Spool of Sunshine”,  2. “Amigurumi Fox" by Timea Venter of "Timic’s Home”, 3. “Fox Amigurumi" by Nimoe Galad of "Nimoe’s Blog”, 4. “Mother Fox and Baby Fox" by Allison Hoffman}

As I mentioned above, I think this Fox Basket would be so cute in a nursery, particularly if it had a “Woodland Forest Theme”.  I enjoy looking through the beautiful handiwork of different artists on Etsy, and I found the following items that would go perfectly in such a themed nursery!

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{"Charlie the Fox Baby Toddler Onesie by Le Trango, “Teacup Fox Original Watercolor Painting" by Alisa Belzil of Sweet Afternoons, "Organic Kawaii Fox Baby Swaddle Blanket" by Simply Boco Baby, "Mini Plush Woodland Animal Set" by A Little Bit of Joy }

Hope you enjoyed reading about the making of this fun project and how we made some modifications to the original pattern and made it convertible from a basket to a pillow!  Keep in mind that the Yarnspirations website gives it a 3 out of 4 “Intermediate” difficulty level as it does involve switching yarn colours using tapestry crochet.  To access the free pattern, click HERE and download it!  I love this idea of making baskets into animals- you could add bunny ears, cat ears, bear ears…the sky’s the limit!  Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to stay updated with my work by following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Sneak peek of upcoming step-by-step blog post: Fox Basket (modification of free pattern by “Yarnspirations”)

Sneak peek of upcoming step-by-step blog post: Fox Basket (modification of free pattern by “Yarnspirations”)

DIY Yarn Storage

As I’m sure my fellow crochet and yarn enthusiasts can relate, it is difficult finding ways to store yarn.  When new projects, ideas, or patterns come along, there always seems to be a need to buy more yarn and different colours, and our stashes continue to grow and grow!  I myself used to store my yarn in a nice box, but it soon became brimming with yarn and I found myself just storing them in bags around my workspace.  This made it difficult finding particular yarns and colours as I would have to rummage through my box and bags, and I would often forget what I already had in my stash!

Two years ago I blogged about my workspace HERE and showed this picture of it below:

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It is not quite as clean and immaculate as it once was (understatement of the year!) since Myla and I play in here and it is now filled with children’s books, puzzles and toys.  I really enjoy being in my workspace as it is filled with natural light during the day and it came with some built-in shelving units that are great for storage!

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Here is a close-up of the shelving.  As you can see, the shelves are quite deep.  I decided to rearrange the contents of these shelves and move my binders upwards in order to clear out the middle shelf for my yarn!  The bottom shelf continues to store my craft books, fiberfill, embroidery floss and other craft supplies.

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A deep and empty shelf all ready to be filled with yarn!

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For a while I just placed all my skeins of yarn on the shelf like so!  However, there was still a lot of yarn getting lost in the back and underneath so I knew this wasn’t a great solution.  It just looked like one big mess of yarn!

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Four years ago we paid a visit to the “Lion Brand Yarn Studio" on our trip to New York City.  I had just rediscovered my love of crochet and began making my first amigurumi during the months prior.  I ended up starting my blog "All About Ami" during the following month in January :) Visiting this beautiful studio was high up on my to-do list, and as soon as Ryan and I walked in, we were in awe of all the Lion Brand yarn displayed so beautifully!  It was a yarn lover’s dream!  I hoped that one day I would be able to have something like this in our house…

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After I cleared my shelf, Ryan and I began brainstorming ways to display my yarn.  We looked up storage units such as wine racks and shoe and tie dividers but we knew that to get the perfect fit for our particular shelf, we would have to build our own dividers.  Ryan measured the height, length and depth of my shelf and did some calculations…

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Ryan knew exactly what material he wanted to use!  Three and a half years ago, we planned our dream wedding and handmade as much as we possibly could….we had so much fun and had no idea that it was just the beginning of our crafting journey together!  Ryan actually made all the pillars you see in the photo above including the aisle pillars (on which the candles, vases and curly willows are sitting atop) and the various pillars on the stage.  He made them all using a special material called corrugated plastic!  Thus, Ryan was very familiar with this material and already had a lot of experience working with it…

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Ryan actually drew out the dimensions of my shelf onto a large box that we had from Myla’s playhouse.  That way, he could map out the cross-sections and visually see how big each compartment would be.  He could then measure each diagonal line and see exactly how long we had to cut each piece of corrugated plastic!

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From this, we could see that we needed six long pieces (the light pink lines) and four short pieces (blue lines).  Remember that we are looking at our dividers straight on with this view.  Our measurements for each piece in this view equates to how long each piece should be.  The width of each piece should remain a constant as it equates to the depth of the dividers (as determined by your personal preference).

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In addition, each piece needed to have notches made in them so that they could be later connected together.  A notch was needed wherever the lines intersected as represented by the green dots in the picture above.  As you can see, the short pieces (blue lines) each needed one notch while the long pieces (light pink lines) each needed three notches.  

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With our measurements in hand, Ryan drew out our lines and began dividing up our sheet of corrugated plastic into six long pieces and four short pieces.  One sheet was enough to make all our dividers and it costed about $22 from Home Depot (see HERE).  

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He used an exacto knife and ruler to cut each piece in order to make them as straight as possible!  

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As mentioned above, each piece needed to have notches so that they could be later connected together.  Ryan told me the measurements and I marked off where each notch needed to be.  We made our notches 5 mm wide and cut them halfway up each piece.  

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SIx long pieces and four short pieces all nicely cut up with notches!  

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The next part was fun as we assembled all our corrugated plastic pieces together!  It looked great and only took us about an 1.5 hours to do (during one of Myla’s Saturday afternoon naps)!

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The moment of truth was next: Ryan carefully and slowly pushed our corrugated plastic dividers into our shelf.  It was a perfect fit as it was not too small and not too big!

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The compartments looked beautiful and I could not wait to begin filling them with all my yarn!

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Ta-da!  Here is our finished product!  My yarn is organized by colour with each compartment able to hold quite a few skeins!  Now I am able to see what yarn I have very clearly which makes working on projects that much easier.  

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I also have quite a few little yarn balls left-over from projects and for now I store them in my crocheted basket (see blog post HERE).  If you’re interested in my beautiful “I Make Pretty Things All Day" print, check out my friend Leonora’s Etsy store called "Yellow Heart Art" HERE- she is an uber talented graphic designer with tons of beautiful items in her shop!  Isn’t this just the perfect print for us crafters?

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I absolutely LOVE my new yarn storage solution and it makes me so happy whenever I look at it!  It’s such a beautiful and efficient way to store yarn, and I adore going to my shelf to choose the perfect yarn for my next project.  It just so happens that my friend Sarah and fellow crochet blogger of “Repeat Crafter Me" also blogged about her yarn storage this week, and the results are similar since we were both inspired by the "Lion Brand Yarn Studio"!  It’s not the first time that we’ve been on the same wavelength for projects, and it’s neat to see how similarly we think!  You can check out her blog post HERE and see how she also stored her buttons and other craft tools :)  In case you missed the post about my workspace, you can also check it out HERE to see where I store my other crafting supplies!

We enjoyed hearing about how you currently store your yarn on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!  We hope this gives you some inspiration on a cheap way to store your yarn and that you enjoyed seeing the step-by-step process!  It’s great because you do not need to be incredibly handy with tools or a professional carpenter to make these shelf dividers as corrugated plastic is easy to work with!  Happy crocheting and yarn storing!

Sneak peek of upcoming blog post: DIY Yarn Storage & Shelving (dividers handmade for around $20!)
How-to and step-by-step blog post coming soon!

Sneak peek of upcoming blog post: DIY Yarn Storage & Shelving (dividers handmade for around $20!)

How-to and step-by-step blog post coming soon!

Chunky Crocheted Basket

While browsing the many lovely images on tumblr, I came across a picture of a beautiful chunky crocheted basket.  I was delighted to see that a free pattern was available through a wonderful blog called “Crochet in Color”.  Liz has three free patterns for baskets, and I decided to try this one here.

I immediately went out and bought the super bulky yarn Liz recommends to create a stiff and sturdy texture for the basket.  With this pattern, you hold two strands of yarn together, so if you use a smaller weight yarn, you will need to hold three or more strands together.  I used Lion Brand’s “Wool-Ease Thick & Quick” in the colour “Wheat”.  I made the smaller basket, so I only needed two skeins (Liz recommends 3 in her pattern), and I even had left-over yarn.  The pattern also calls for an 8 mm crochet hook- I was tempted to use my 9 mm crochet hook, but Liz recommends not using a larger hook as the stitches need to be tight so that the basket will be stiff and stand up properly.  And so, I went out and bought an 8 mm crochet hook as well!

I started off by crocheting the base of the basket by crocheting round after round.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bigger Magic Circle before!

To create the first row of the body of the basket, you work in the back of each half double crochet.

This creates a lovely seam separating the base of the basket from the body of the basket!

Adding more rounds…

And more rounds..

And now the fun part: making the handles!

Add another row after making the handles, and the chunky basket is complete!

This basket is incredibly practical as you can use it anywhere around the house to store anything! 

Right now I’m using it to store yarn that I’m using for current projects.  However, I could see myself using this basket in the baby room to store little socks, mittens and hats!

Here’s a pic to show the relative size of this basket!  Liz also includes modifications to her original pattern so you can make a larger basket if you prefer.

This is an absolutely wonderful pattern with great instructions and clear step-by-step photos, and I’m so happy that I stumbled upon it!  With 15 rounds, this project goes fairly quickly although it can be a challenge trying to crochet tightly with two strands of bulky yarn.  I tried to take breaks in between so my hands and wrist wouldn’t cramp up too much.  I love the look of this basket, and I am itching to make another one!  Liz’s most recent basket pattern, the Ombre Basket, found here is stunning, and I would definitely like to make one, possibly for our nursery to store books or toys!  Some readers commented how these would also make great gift baskets!  Imagine receiving a lovely crocheted basket that could be used again and again filled with goodies!

Check out Liz’s blog “Crochet in Color" for other free patterns as well :)  I hope you liked seeing the making of my basket and hopefully you’ve been inspired to make one for yourself too!

Sneak peek of upcoming blog post: Chunky Crocheted Basket by Crochet in Color

Sneak peek of upcoming blog post: Chunky Crocheted Basket by Crochet in Color

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