The Rope Basket Craze

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So, not too long ago, I made my very first rope bowl.  One minute, the words “rope bowl” were some vague 70s-era shady memory and POOF! the next minute, it seemed like all the cool kids were making them.

This one is made from a hank of clothesline purchased on Amazon, plus the thread of every bobbin I have in the house, all used one after another as each ran out.  I already like the look of the rope bowl, but layering on getting rid of old bobbin thread?  Yes, please.

And now, like so many others, I find that I am mildly obsessed with this very simple, easy, mindless sewing project.  It takes about 26% of your concentration to make one, just enough focus to keep everything going in a straight line that you’re able to shut out the whispers of a long day and get the meditative, rejuvenative effects of really Zen sewing.  The one I made measures about 15″ across and 12″ tall, and took one whole hank of clothesline plus two episodes of Friends on Netflix.

Learning to make them takes about 30 seconds, which may help to fuel the obsession going around the internet.  I like Florence’s tutorial on her blog very much, since it covers all the basics and gave me great insight into how to begin the shaping of the bowl.

And from there, it’s just a matter of where your imagination can take you!  Check out this cat bowl from BrooklynCrafty:

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How great is that, right??  And this one, from Sew, Mama, Sew‘s Kristen, where she’s wrapped segments of the rope in Liberty of London fabrics as she sewed:

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Generally, I give in to my prideful nature when I resist the trending pattern-of-the-moment, in the very “I’m too cool to jump on that bandwagon” sense, but in this case…resistance was futile.  I even added rope baskets to the curriculum of my Intro to Sewing class that I teach here in Atlanta, because I see it as a great way to practice maintaining a straight stitching line, working with a zigzag stitch, learning to become comfortable with adjusting your speed as you sew, and it gives an immediate means to begin to unpack how the overall look of a piece will dramatically change based on thread selection and the little details.

How about you?  What was the last trending project that lured you in until you couldn’t say no??  Fess up so the rest of us can try it on for size!


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  • Diane
    January 26, 2016 at 9:49 am

    I just love that there’s still clothesline out there, waiting to be a craft. I used to have old clothesline (amazingly soft and pliable) as my jump ropes when I was in grade school. Just the right weight to really get going.

    • Deborah
      January 26, 2016 at 11:35 am

      Ha! I should tell the children–they always want to jump rope. And this stuff is much easier to sew with than I would have predicted!

  • Amy
    January 26, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Also fell into the lure of the rope bowl craze – I made a whole slew of them before and after Christmas, gifting them to anyone who even looked like they were mildly interested in owning one. I even made several small ones to house all of the accessories to my daughter’s doll – one for shoes, one for hair stuff, etc. And now I’m over it and back to sewing skirts!

  • treen
    January 28, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I saw the rope baskets on SouleMama a few months ago, and followed that over to Maya*Made (she dyes them – it looks so cool), and then googled a tutorial. I LOVE ROPE BASKETS!! I also did the crazy thread colors on white rope – your’s looks much cooler than mine, for some weird reason, even though mine has the exact same colored zig-zags. I also did a couple with plain white thread so you couldn’t see the stitching, and my daughter colored them with fabric markers. I need to get more rope – you can get it at Home Depot.

  • Jean C.
    March 1, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Oops… now I have one more thing I need to try out. Thanks for sharing.
    Really cute! I need to stay off the internet… that and Pinterest… too many ideas!

    • Deborah
      March 1, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      These baskets are SUPER easy–unlike so many projects I’ve pinned on Pinterest that turned out to be much more difficult than the pictures made them look. Thank heaven for quick AND chic, right?? 🙂