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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


June 28, 2003 - Issue 90


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Tapestry Crochet Basket


Note: Dr. Carol Ventura has generously allowed us to share her tapesty crochet project with you. For more information please take a minute (or two) and visit her site at:

Dr. Carol Ventura

This project will introduce you to some basic tapestry crochet techniques. This basket begins with a flat spiral base. When the diameter of the base is no longer increased, the edges of the spiral move upwards to form the walls. The stripe motif is six stitches wide, so the total number of stitches in the base is a multiple of six. It is possible to make a variety of sizes with the same design motif simply by increasing or decreasing the size of the base by six stitches. Feel free to substitute another motif, just be sure that the total number of stitches in the base is a multiple of the number of stitches in your motif. Any type of thread or yarn can be used for tapestry crochet. This basket was crocheted with J. & P. Coats Speed-Cro-Sheen mercerized cotton thread, but feel free to substitute another thread or yarn.

  • Materials: white and color size 3 cotton Speed-Cro-Sheen; a safety pin or a piece of thread of a contrasting color for counting the rounds.
  • Hook: Steel crochet hook size 1 or size that will give an acceptable gauge.
  • Gauge: 7 1/2 stitches equals 1 inch, 6 1/2 rows equals 1 inch (although I crochet with a tight gauge, a looser gauge is all right, as long as it is consistent).


  • Round 1: Starting with white, make a slip knot, then chain 4 stitches. Join the ends together to form a ring by working a slip stitch into the first chain stitch. Single crochet 6 stitches loosely into the ring while you carry the tail-end. The basket should have a total of 6 stitches when you finish this round. This basket is worked as a spiral, not in concentric rings, so it is difficult to tell where each round ends. To keep track of where each round ends, slip a safety pin into the top of the last stitch of the round or lay a two inch piece of thread of a contrasting color across the path of the last stitch. You will remove the safety pin from the last stitch as you come to it again and slip it into the new last stitch or cross the path of the last stitch with the end of the counting thread at the end of each round.
  • Round 2: Cut the tail-end piece and start to carry the color thread. Increase in every stitch to 12 stitches.
  • Round 3: Increase in every stitch to 24 stitches.
  • Round 4: Increase in every second stitch to 36 stitches.
  • Round 5: Single crochet one round without any increases.
  • Round 6: Increase in every third stitch. The basket should have 48 stitches when you finish this round.

These illustrations are for right-handed crocheters.
Left-handed crocheters should look at these illustrations in a mirror.

  • Round 7: Rounds 7 through 10 correspond to the illustrated stripe motif (read from right to left and bottom to top). Remember, that to do a tapestry crochet stitch, colors are switched while 2 loops are still on the hook; yarn over with the other thread and pull it through the loops to prepare for the tapestry crochet stitch. Start the stripe motif as follows: tapestry crochet 4 white, then 2 color stitches. Repeat this sequence around. Every once in a while, untwist the threads by suspending the basket in the air with one of the threads while pulling on the other thread. Let the piece spin around in the air so that the threads untangle. The number of stitches will now remain constant from round to round.
  • Round 8: Tapestry crochet 4 white, then 2 color stitches. (To create the stripe pattern, you will tapestry crochet white stitches on white and color stitches on color.) Repeat around.
  • Round 9: Tapestry crochet 4 white, then 2 color stitches. Repeat around.
  • Round 10: Tapestry crochet 4 white, then 2 color stitches. Repeat around.
  • Repeat rounds 8 through 10 as many times as you wish.
  • Finishing: To finish the basket, single crochet 2 rows of color, continuously carrying the white thread until the last stitch, then cut the white thread flush. Slip stitch with the color thread, cut it (leaving a 6 inch tail) then yarn over and pull the tail all the way through the loop on the hook. Work in the end for one inch along the top of the basket, then trim it off. To block the basket, set a steam-iron to the appropriate setting (some fibers will melt at high heat), insert an empty can or big dowel into the basket, then carefully steam-iron the piece. Now it’s time for you to show off your basket and teach a friend how to make one!

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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