One popular project with simple single crochet is the Basket. It usually goes something like this: Start at the center with a small chain ring. Single crochet 1 round into the ring, then continue in a coil in single crochet, increasing as needed (it generally averages out to about 6 stitches per round) until the base is as big as you want. Then stop increasing, but continue stitching until the basket is as tall as you want (or you run out of yarn). Finish the top edge simply with a round of slip stitch to make it nip in a bit. For a fancier top edge, consider a pattern stitch: Ripple, or chevron, adds a fancy edge and nips in, too. For stability or extra sturdiness, make it tall enough for the top to fold down. For a basket that holds its shape, use a sturdy yarn (more like cotton or a tough acrylic), nothing soft like alpaca or any acrylic intended to be soft. All very well and good.
Some years back, I made a bunch of sturdy baskets, holding 4 strands of worsted weight acrylic and stitching with a size I (5.5mm) hook. It felt good and sturdy, and made baskets that did not stretch out of shape. I was going through a divorce at the time, my life was in turmoil, and I had a lot of emotional energy to channel through my hands. It felt perfectly normal.
Now that my life is much calmer, I simply cannot work that tightly. It hurts my hands. But I still make sturdy baskets – with bag stitch. Here are samples of the old and the new:
The single crochet versions have rows that go straight across - two blue baskets in back. The bag stitch versions have rows that look more diagonal. The big one in front is made out of Zpaghetti, from Lion Brand. The 2nd from the left is upside-down, making it a teacozy.
In rows, the stitch looks like this: Set-up row: Ch2, turn. *skip 1sc, sc in the next ch space. ** Repeat from * to corner, working (sc1, ch1, sc1 in the corner space. Then repeat from * to ** to the end of the row, ending with sc1 in the last stitch.
Pattern row: Ch2, turn. *Skip 1sc, sc into the sc of the row before last, enclosing the ch1 of the last row. ** Repeat from * to the next corner, working (sc1, ch1, sc1) in the middle of the corner turn.
Here is a sample instruction for a triangle, made in the round (from a previous post): Bag stitch Triangle. Ch3, sl sto to join in a ring. Rnd 1: (ch1, sc1 in ring) 6 times. Place marker in last st to mark end of round. Rnd 2: continuing in a coil, (ch1, sc1 in next ch1 space) 6 times. Do not move marker just yet. Rnd 3: *Ch1, (sc, ch1, sc - 1 increase made) in sc below next ch. Ch1, sc in sc below next ch. Repeat from * around - 3 increase points made. Move marker from rnd 1 to last st made into that sc. Rnd 4: ch1, (sc, ch, sc) into middle ch of increase in previous row, then (ch1, sc into sc below next ch) across the side to next increase point. Repeat rnd 4 for pattern for desired size of cloth (4-6 inches across is a good size, but that is just a suggestion, moving the marker every 2nd round, when you stitch into the marked stitch. Finish off with 2 slip stitches, cut yarn, remove marker, and tuck in loose ends.
I will have samples at my booth next month.