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crocheting with jute: tips and tricks

If you follow my blog, you know how much I love crocheting with jute. Jute and cotton are my two most favorite fibers to work with. And if Pinterest is any indication, I am not the only one who likes the look of a basket made in a combination of these materials.

Jute is a natural fiber, derived from the jute plant. To learn about the jute plant itself, and where and how it’s grown, have a look at this Encyclopaedia Britannica entry. For additional information about jute, its environmental impact  and its various practical applications, I recommend this short article from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

Among jute’s most commonly recognized forms, when processed, are burlap cloth and sacks, and packaging twine. And it is this twine that I love to use when crocheting my baskets. Why? Continue reading crocheting with jute: tips and tricks

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pattern preview: crochet handbag

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have already noticed a crochet handbag or two on my timeline. They are colorful, quick and easy to make, an oh-so-versatile. A perfect handmade gift idea!

The pattern for this lovely crochet clutch with bias flap is available in my jakigu.com store as well as in my Etsy shop. Leave a comment if you’d like me to send you a 50% off coupon code.

The sky’s the limit to the number of uses for these handy accessories. Pencil case? Perfect size. Cosmetics bag? Absolutely! An actual handbag for a night out? Oh, you bet! Book cover, journal cover, e-reader cover? Check, check, check.

Continue reading pattern preview: crochet handbag

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things to make and do in 2018

My mind is filled with countless crochet ideas, and my fingers are busy hooking the yarn as fast as they can; yet I seem to be barely making a dent in my ever-growing project to-do list.

Once again I find myself wishing a day had 48 hours. At least.

Though I have been designing crochet patterns for a while, realizing how much work goes into turning a simple crochet idea into a high-quality crochet pattern can still pretty much paralyze me at times. Coming up with the design – even if it takes 10 versions – is the easiest part. It’s the post-production that seems to demand way more of my time than I ever calculate for it. Taking photos, editing them, writing captions; reading and proofreading; pattern testing; social media and marketing – none of which has to do with crocheting.

Of course, I could take the easy way out and throw some brief instructions in crochet shorthand onto two pages of a Microsoft Word document and call it a pattern, but that’s not me. I don’t take shortcuts. And producing a 25, 54, or an 87-page pattern takes time. A lot of time.

So, while I take, edit, and caption a thousand pictures, what are some of the crochet ideas and projects you can be looking forward to?

Continue reading things to make and do in 2018

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pattern preview: stacking crochet baskets with handles

Let me introduce you to the newest crochet pattern available here at jakigu.com and in my Etsy shop. This is the second pattern in the Coiled Crochet Series. As I wrote before, coiled crochet is my absolutely favorite technique to make crocheted baskets. If you don’t know the first thing about coiled crochet, then this pattern would be a great place to start. You’ll learn the basics – all the while making a set of pretty awesome baskets.

Crochet baskets with handles - a DIY crochet project for beginners

Continue reading pattern preview: stacking crochet baskets with handles

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pattern preview: coiled crochet bowls

Everything you could possibly need to know to make a set of these wonderfully sturdy stacking crochet baskets in one awesome information and image packed file, coming to my shop next week.

Update: the pattern is finished and can be found right here on jakigu.com, and it is also available in my Etsy shop.

Coiled Crochet Stacking Baskets or Shallow Bowls, a PDF Pattern by JaKiGu

Apropos. 54 pages. Can it even be called a pattern, or have I written a book?

Coiled Crochet Stacking Baskets PDF Pattern by JaKiGu Preview

If you haven’t heard of the coiled crochet technique before, I wrote a little about it here. In short: I am in love with this technique so rarely utilized in crochet circles that there is barely any information available on it yet so awesome I want to scream about it from the mountains! There’s no better way to crochet sturdy and durable baskets, bags, potholders, and rugs. Period.

Learn coiled crochet with this awesome 54-page pattern and guide book, and make your own sturdy and durable crochet baskets.

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work in progress: coiled crochet & wayuu

Taking crochet basket making to the next level. Staying true to my choice of natural fibers but adding a splash of color to my designs.

I know I repeat myself but I love coiled crochet. Crocheting over a coil makes baskets incredibly sturdy, and therefore durable. Nothing makes me more sad than a crocheted basket that needs to be starched to hold its shape.

The coil in this case is made of two strands of jute, and five strands of cotton. Two of the cotton strands – a white and a rose – are working strands; the other three serve a “padding,”  or placeholder, purpose. In a design with more colors (up to 6 are common), yarn of all the colors used would need to be carried under the stitches. Even though I am only using two colors now, I want to create a universal pattern that would work equally well with 1 or 6 colors with consistent results in regard to size, gauge, and overall design.

A slight departure from my usual coiled crochet technique is evident in the way stitches themselves are executed. Instead of working regular single crochets, I am working the stitches in back loops only to closely mimic the appearance of the crocheted bags made by the Wayuu people in Colombia. Just type “mochila wayuu” in Google image search and be prepared to be blown away by the breathtaking, colorful designs.

Colorful Style and Durability - basket crocheted in Wayuu style over a coil

I deliberately chose the (seemingly) simplest design to play with: working all increases with accent color, and all other stitches in base color. Where the increases are placed changes the design drastically. The purple sunburst design is created by working all purple increases into the second stitch of the previous round’s increase. The rose spiral is the result of working all rose increases into the stitch preceding the previous round’s increase.

Crochet Potholder - Bag Bottom - Basket Base - Crochet over Coil

 

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work in progress: mystery crochet project

This crochet project has been on my mind for almost 4 years.

Don’t worry! It does not take that long to finish it. You know how life is. You make a plan, and life makes you change it. Dozen times over.

In fact, this is quite a simple crochet project, requiring only the knowledge of magic circle, slip stitches, and single crochets, and a lot of patience to complete countless hexagons and pentagons.

Yet, in the world of crochet, the finished product will be utterly unique and novel – and when you see what it is, you’ll be just as excited about it as I am.

This picture is your Clue #1. Can you guess what I am working on?

Stay tuned for Clue #2.

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work in progress: coiled crochet vessel

This adorably shapely crochet bowl meets all the requirements I focus on when designing a crochet container: it is made with durable natural materials, it feels sturdy and substantial; and it can be used for a variety of purposes.

Its current role as a planter cover is to hide an unsightly container in which my new pothos clipping is growing new roots. But previously, it served me wonderfully as a counter-top fruit basket. My husband has the smaller one on his desk as a catchall. And just ask my 4-year-old son and he’ll tell you how many rocks from his little rock collection can fit in, or how well it sits on his head as a helmet!

Round Crochet Bowl in Jute

Would you like to learn to make a container like this yourself? A pattern with an amazingly detailed step-by-step photo tutorial is coming soon. Comment below and three lucky commenters will be randomly chosen on November 30, 2017 to receive a free copy of the pattern & tutorial PDF.

Jute and Cotton Crochet Bowl

In the meantime, I invite you to have a look at the other crochet baskets I have designed, either in my online store, or in my Etsy shop.

Coiled Crochet Basket - Jute Bowl

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coiled crochet baskets

Baskets, baskets, and more baskets! Baskets make me happy.

They are fun and relatively quick and easy to make, and oh-so-useful! My son loves to keep his little cars and blocks and treasures in them. My husband appreciates that the fruits on our counter are readily accessible, yet contained. And I? Most often, I use a recently made basket to hold my yarn as I work on the next one!

I tend to be critical of my creations and never make grandiose statements about them, so this is huge: These are the most amazing baskets I’ve made to date!

Coiled crochet. Such a simple concept – and so widely underused, if you ask me. Crocheting over a coil helps create a thicker textile without the need to use too much yarn. It also makes work grow faster as the stitches are considerably taller than they would be without the coil. And perhaps the most significant quality of a coiled basket, in my opinion, is the sturdiness that comes with it. I appreciate the delicate nature and decorative characteristic of stiffened doilies shaped into bowls, but how practical are they, really? Coiled crochet baskets, bowls, and containers, on the other hand, beg to be used – and can handle a great deal of abuse, too!

Possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to choosing a coil. Ropes and clotheslines of various thicknesses, several strands of yarn (scrap or deliberately chosen), fabric strips, recycled plastic bags (aka plarn), a crocheted chain, or even wire; to name just a few options.

For the large blue basket, I used 2 strands of jute. In the small red and yellow baskets, I crocheted over cotton clothesline.

I love crocheting over jute so much! Using two strands of jute allowed me to control the tension a little more evenly – and I adore the way the color of natural jute peeks from in between the stitches. And because jute is not really used to crochet in this case (unlike the baskets in my Jute and Cotton Series), it’s not too tough on fingers.

But I was equally pleased with working with the cotton clothesline. Its standardized size and neural color (that could be possibly custom dyed to suit any project needs) as well as the fact that it’s widely accessible make it a really practical coil choice.What do you think? Do you like the coiled crochet concept? Have you ever made anything in this technique? Would you be interested in a pattern?