Sunday, February 9, 2020

LABasketry's Rope Bag

I saw @elisalex's version of the rope bag from "Baskets," by Tabara N'Diaye (aka @labasketry), and it went to the top of my to-make list for 2020. I love this bag. I really really love this bag. It has a wide mouth, so it works great for grocery shopping, carrying books, and running errands, but it's far prettier than the reusable tote bag I had been using (and likely will continue to use, waste not want not etc).

N'Diaye's book is beautiful and so accessible. She makes me really want to get into basket weaving, with all the colorfully accented baskets she makes. This "pattern" was really easy to understand, and I'm so happy with the end result. The only thing I think the pattern lacked was instructions on how to cleanly join ends of the rope, and how to finish off the ends once you finish a side so that they fit together nicely and don't stick out. I think I'm going to find some sort of glue to smooth my ends down, since I don't like the look of their little nubs, but I also might not care enough to go through that extra effort because I'm impatient to use this beauty!

I had an impossible time finding 8mm (3/8 inch) cotton rope— that didn't cost an arm and a leg from a boat supply store— and unfortunately the US recommendations N'Diaye includes at the end of the book no longer carried anything in the 8mm size when I looked. I ended up finding cotton clothesline at the hardware store that was about 1/4 inch, so I ran with that. I didn't think it through that a narrower circumference rope would mean more yardage to go around and around with. To make a bag about the size N'Diaye's pattern suggests took me about 60 yards of rope, compared to the 27.5 yards of 3/8 inch rope the pattern calls for—this project took me quite a long time because I didn't get enough material the first time, and then couldn't find clothesline the exact same color the next couple times I went to the hardware store. I feel bad for the poor fella there who really did not see the difference between the two (very similar, but not the same!) colors of clothesline when I was "swatching."

Thankfully, I got to a pausing point before getting to the handles or the sides, so I was able to make adjustments there to keep everything the same proportions. I did 4 rows for the handles, rather than 3 of the wider rope, and 6 rows (3 doubled up) for the sides rather than 4. I also was lazy and didn't feel like hand-stitching the sides together, so I pinned it and very slowly straight-stitched as close to the edges as I could. If I were to make this again, I would also add a little side panel, just a few rows doubled up in the same way you do the sides here, and attach that  to both discs (see my very unscientific sketch).

I overcompensated with rope once I finally found the right color and bought LOADS, so I also had enough to make a little storage basket for some of my beauty products. I love that it tidies up my space but is still CUTE.

I still have some rope left (the wrong color) and I think I'll make some tiny little baskets for some of my smaller houseplants. I can't get enough of these little dudes!!