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Ropey Rainbows

Oct 10, 2015

Update: Sadly there have been instances of people copying the pictures from this blog post and publishing them on large pattern sharing pages on Facebook with no credit given to the designer, me. Please know I am thrilled for people to share a link to this pattern on their social media with a picture of the finished product - by all means spread the love. But taking the images and failing to give credit is not cool. Please help me and other crochet pattern designers to continue to publish free patterns every now and again by providing links for other people to discover the goodness. Much love, Alia x   

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As you may be aware The little bee family are yurt dwellers. Our living space is really small, open plan, and there is zero built in storage! And with three little boys you can imagine the stuff that I have to try and hide on a daily basis so that:

a) we don't kill ourselves tripping over amazing (and endless) lego creations, and;

b) we can achieve some kind of level of tidiness, albeit only for 5 minutes per day LOL!

With all this in mind I found myself daydreaming about solving some of my storage problems with an arsenal of brightly coloured, sturdy baskets. Enter factor #2. I'm also inherently lazy and like nothing more than a good, FAST project. Fortunately there's a solution to that too. ROPE! And that was about the extent of my plan.

RRB 2.jpg I found some rope at the hardware store and went about choosing some nice, bright colours from my stash. 

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If you follow me on Instagram & Facebook you may already have seen my progress shots of the first ropey rainbow basket. People seemed to love it as much as I did and the requests for pattern tips came flying in thick and fast! So I thought I'd put together a bit of a HOW TO for you all. Not quite a full pattern at this stage, as I'm short on time, but a recipe of sorts to help you figure out the necessary tools, methods of construction, and some troubleshooting tips.

So lets get started!




The Little Bee's Ropey Rainbow Basket  

A How To guide (US terms)
Skill level:


  • Yarn in an array of colours (approx 1000-1200m).

For my first rainbow basket I used Stylecraft Special DK in citron, fondant, pomegranate, petrol, aspen, and a random green I found in my stash.

For the second basket pictured in this tutorial I used Rico Essentials Cotton DK in Aquamarine, Pistachio, Grass Green, Cobalt Blue, Purple, Candy Pink, Pumpkin & Banana. A grey Drops cotton was used in the base.

  • Rope. I used approx 21 metres of 9mm nylon rope to make a basket approximately 35cm in diameter x 30cm high. The same quantity of 8mm rope was used in the first basket. I think you could use rope in any size, though thicker rope will make a more sturdy basket.
  • Hook. I used a 5mm/H hook.
  • Stitch markers.
  • Scissors.
  • Yarn needle.
  • Lighter or matchesThese come in useful for any joins that you may need to make with the rope as well as for sealing the cut end.

sl st - slip stitch

ch - chain

sc - single crochet

hdc - half double crochet

Time needed:

5-10 hours (depending on the size of your basket)


The basket is worked in the round with 2 strands of yarn held and worked together as one.

A reasonably tight tension is needed to keep the basket from becoming too floppy.

Colours are changed one at a time to give the gradual gradient effect. I tried to keep the colour changes in one section of the basket but you can change them wherever you like. 

The basket is worked mostly in hdc with the final top round in sc.

Tassels are used to adorn the finished basket and give it a boho touch. You can find an awesome tutorial for these here.


Create a magic ring and ch 1.

Take your rope and hold it behind your work with a small piece (about 5mm) extending beyond your starting stitch point. Make a hdc stitch around the rope and into the magic ring.

Continue to make hdc stitches into the ring until you have a total of 18 hdc. If you are using different sized rope you may need to make more (or less) stitches here.

When you are ready to begin the next round you will need to close the magic ring snuggly to make a circle, and work 2 more hdc around the rope. This will cover the gap created before heading into the spiraling rounds.

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For the next round make 3 hdc in the first st, then 2 hdc in each stitch of the round. 

The third row will see you making an increase in every second stitch. For the rest of the rounds in the base you will only need to increase in each of the increase stitches from the previous row. 

Collage 2  logo b.jpgContinue to increase your circle until you are happy with the circumference size for your basket. If you find your circle is curling or warping this may mean that you need to make more stitches (for curling), or less stitches (for warping) in the round. Another tip for dealing with warping is to gently pull the rope, and massage back down the round to even out the stitches. If your circle is curling the rope may be too tight, so gently push a little more length back into the circle and massage back down the round to even out the stitches.

base a.jpg

To make the turn and work the sides of your basket you will need to cease the increases and begin working in the back loops of the hdc stitches (for this round only).

collage 3 logo b.jpgAfter your first side round check that your basket is not too loose. If it is splaying outwards then give the rope a gentle tug and smooth the stitches until you are happy with the angle of your side (a rough right angle is good).

base side logo.jpgNow is the easy part. Make one hdc stitch in each st, around and around and around until you reach your desired height. Keep an eye on the tension of the rope and adjust 4-5 times per round, either gently tightening, or feeding the rope back into your stitches to keep an even shape. 

sides go up.jpg 

To make your handles fold your basket in half and mark the points on either side. Mark an equal number of stitches on each side of the basket (I used a total of 20 stitches on either side for this basket and only 10 for the first basket as the yarn was thicker) and attach markers in place.

handles split collage.jpgContinue to work your hdc stitches until you get to the stitch before the first marker and make 2 hdc in this st (for strengthening). At the first stitch marker stop working into the stitches from the previous row and begin working around the rope only for a total of 30 hdc stitches (15 hdc st for the first basket). 

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Connect to the previous row again after the next marker, make 2 hdc in the stitch after the marker and make one hdc per st for the next couple of inches before adjusting the rope to make the opening of the handle the size you would like. Continue making hdc stitches until you reach the next markers where you will repeat this process for the second handle. When you have finished both handles, fold the basket in half to align the handle openings and adjust the second handle opening to match the first. 

handles collage.jpg

Work up to about 10 st away from the first handle and switch to working in sc for the final round. Work 1 sc in each stitch around until you get back to the first sc st. Cut and seal your rope at this point and work 2 sc stitches in the stitch covering the end and 1 sc st in each of the next 4-5 stitches, sl st into the last st (approximately 5 stitches away from the beginning of the handle). Fasten off & weave in ends.

last collage logo.jpgYou may like to decorate your basket with tassels or pompoms, or just leave it plain, it's up to you! 

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I hope you get as much enjoyment & function from your Ropey Rainbow Basket as I have.

Happy Hooking!

Alia xx

Category: Tutorials

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