How about crocheting some oval nesting trays to use yourself or give as a nice little gift? These trays, are great for catching keys and loose change, and all the little things that just need a place to rest! And while it's not apparent in the photo, these oval nesting trays hold their shape as they're as stiff as woven baskets on account of some fabric stiffener!
And of course, when they're not in use, they stack neatly, and one could certainly make a set of three!
- cotton yarn, I used Lion Brand cotton
- 5.5 mm crochet hook
- a pattern for how to crochet an oval, simple to find, look for a pattern for an oval rug
- fabric stiffener of your choice— I used a product from The Netherlands called Paverpol, which is waterproof, so I could also use these as soap trays!
Crochet an oval, changing colors as you wish, and when your oval is the size you'd like for the base of your basket, crochet the sides by simply crocheting in the back loop of the next row without increasing. I generally crochet in the back loop for two consecutive rows, though most patterns I've seen only specify crocheting in the back loop for the base row of the sides.
I wanted these nesting trays to be trays as opposed to baskets, so the sides are only three rows high, though you can certainly make them much higher.
After you have crocheted the first tray, make a second either larger or smaller than the first. I stiffened my trays by painting them with a fabric stiffener called Paverpol, which is amazing stuff, though of course removing the excess is a little messy, as once the yarn is saturated you want as little to remain on the surface as possible. As the trays were drying over the next few days I periodically ran my finger around the sides to get a crisp shape.
There are many fabric stiffener products on the market, in both spray and gel form, and one can also try making a sugar solution stiffener or using PVA glue, though I can't vouch for any method other than the one I used. Any experience with this dear readers?