Thursday, June 23, 2016

rope bowls

Last week I went through yet another stint of rope basket making (click here to see my previous rope creations). I'm telling you, this is super addictive, I can never make just one bowl and be done.

I'm happy to say we're regularly using pretty much all the bowls and baskets I made so far, so it seamed like a good time to add a few more to our daily rotation. And by saying our daily rotation I mean our kitties' daily rotation.

Because they both absolutely adore these baskets. See? Looks pretty comfy, doesn't it?

And it really doesn't seem to matter much to Lola if half of her body spills out :).

Of course Kiki took over the biggest bucket :).

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Last time I wrote about my rope baskets I got quite a lot of questions about the supplies and the process. I hope you'll find the following information and links useful.

Before I started working with clothesline I read quite a few tutorials generously shared by other super talented folks.

Here's the list of the ones I found the most useful:
Cotton clothesline baskets by On my Honor
Rope basket mania by Schneider Peeps
How to make a coiled rope basket by We All Sew
Sewing a rope bowl by Flossie Teacakes - my absolute favorite
A basket for everything by Soule Mama

The clothesline I use is 3/16" thick and seems to be available in 50' and 100' lengths. I buy 100' ones to limit the amount of joint points as much as possible. I tried using 1/4" thick rope but I found it to be too thick and a bit harder to work with. Plus, I didn't really care for the final look of the bowl.

I don't use any of my expensive thread for these baskets as they "eat" thread like crazy. I just buy these cheap-ish cones of polyester thread in different colors from Joann store and I have not had any trouble with sewing or durability of my baskets.

 This is my usual set up for rope baskets. I use my Janome sewing machine as my Juki doesn't have a zig zag stitch but I do borrow Juki's extension table. You can probably see it's not a perfect fit, but it does the job very nicely as its main job really is to support the basket as I stitch.

As you can imagine, I've experienced my share of frustration when working with rope.

One of the things that really bugged me was that the middle of my basket wasn't turning out as pretty as I liked it to be. I was super excited when I came across  Florence's idea of using pins to hold rope in shape as I was working on those first pesky rounds :). Such a clever idea, isn't it?

My other source of great frustration came from the rope not being long enough for the projects I was working on. I quite hated how much one could see where I joined my second, or third rope. After a bit of thinking and trying things out, I decided to simply hand stitch the rope ends together and cover it with a scrap of fabric wrapped around the rope. Worked like a charm. And now I have little accents of fabric decorating my bowls and baskets. Don't you just love when useful and practical is also pretty?

And, even though I talked about my finishing method in my previous post, I feel like I should mention it here again. I personally didn't care for raw end of the rope to be showing. In the end I decided to cover the area where the rope ended with a piece of leather and a thick thread to secure it in place.

Happy campers :).

I think we're set with our rope bowls for quite some time.



  1. oh my gosh...that last shot of the kitties...and lola "in" that basket is killing me. she reminds me of my big boy cat, sven...hehehe. love your rope bowls! really like the finishing leather accent. thanks for sharing!

  2. Such pretty bowls / baskets and lovely assistants

  3. What a fun idea! Are the other colors in the baskets due to using different color threads? I am going to have to put rope on my shopping list! Your kitties are adorable!

  4. I made those about 25 years ago, and sewed fabric at the top, with a drawstring closure. I still use one as a hot roll basket, with a heated ceramic tile inside. Another one is made of jute twine instead of rope, has a canvas top, and holds a spare roll of TP. I have made a large one to hold a 7 ft. Norfolk Island Pine, and small ones to hold miniature orchids. They're pretty flower pot holders and they make great gifts.

    If you make a circle of yarn (or most anything) on the floor, a cat will go lay in it. They are almost all attracted to circles. Try it!

  5. Thanks for sharing your tips and I'll be checking out the links you've shared as well. I'm wanting to try this out and I've looked at a few tutorials and video's. It's interesting to see the difference between plain rope and coloured thread V wrapped fabric strips. I often saw washing line rope for sale in the past but now I need some it seems to have disappeared haha. Love the kitty photo's and you can tell who is the boss!

  6. I agree with your assessment of Flossie Teacakes - a great tutorial. And I like your idea for joining the ropes. Yours are quite lovely.

  7. Hi Svetlana! You make these baskets so beautiful and well-finished! I love to see your cats enjoying them! x Teje

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  9. very nice Svetlana! I have been doing these for quite some time. I really like your fabric covered joining technique and plan to try it. I like my bowls a bit sturdier, or stiffer if you will, and go over the length of rope at least once and sometimes twice with a zigzag stitch before starting to form the bowl. This does lay more color over the rope, giving it a heathered look. It is really attractive using variegated threads. Seeing your beautiful kitties has given me the idea of making an oval dog bed for my grand dog.

  10. Thanks for all the great tips on construction. I've been wanting to try this technique. Your bowls are beautiful!

  11. Thank you so much for providing the links that were helpful to you and your added tips. I might have to give these a try even though we don't have any kitties to put in them!

  12. At the moment I'm making a quilt I designed for my dad who is turning 90. Its in blues and cream and its my first well-designed project so I hope it turns out well! I love low volume prints but struggle to choose them so these would make a great start!

  13. At the moment I'm making a quilt I designed for my dad who is turning 90. Its in blues and cream and its my first well-designed project so I hope it turns out well! I love low volume prints but struggle to choose them so these would make a great start!

  14. These are gorgeous, Svetlana! Thank you so much for your tips for making them and the links--I've read them all, bought rope, and can't wait to make one! (Or more!) Your kitties are adorable--that photo of Kiki just melts me. Isn't it funny how they always seem to go for the "nests" that are either comically too large or way too small! I'm sure that's what my bowls will be used for, too :)

  15. LOL Awesome cat storage idea!
    Seriously though, I do love seeing your bowls.

  16. LOL Awesome cat storage idea!
    Seriously though, I do love seeing your bowls.

  17. Very beautiful post and looks really attractive thanks for sharing it.


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