Saturday, October 31, 2015

Wonder Red Basket - Crochet Pattern

My son loves the children's television show, Super Why, which is about a "Super Reader" team of fairy tale characters who become superhero versions of themselves when they are solving reading problems. This year my son wanted to dress up as Wonder Red* (Little Red Riding Hood as a Super Reader) for Halloween. I was excited to get to work on the costume, which included a red handbag (or so I originally thought; it's actually a hand basket, which makes sense because Little Red Riding Hood carries a basket to Grandmother's house). I could not find  a crochet pattern for Wonder Red's basket, so I designed one myself!
*The full story is that he wanted to dress up as Batman, Wonder Red, an astronaut, a Power Ranger, and a firefighter, in that order. I am writing this post on Halloween night and can report that my son finally decided to dress up as a firefighter. However, once he saw the finished basket, he wanted to be Wonder Red again, so he also dressed as Wonder Red underneath his firefighter coat.
 Wonder Red Basket

Wonder Red Basket Crochet Pattern


  • 100% polyolefin craft cord (Bonnie, super bulky, 6mm)
    • This craft cord is great for this project because it holds its shape very well 
    • 1 skein of red (90 meters; I used most of it)
    • 1 skein of purple<--(affiliate link)
      • I found the red craft cord at my local JoAnn store, but could only find the purple color on Amazon. The price on Amazon was less than it was at JoAnn 
  • N hook (10mm)
  • Large tapestry needle <--(affiliate link)
    • This link shows what I used, but I would actually recommend a metal one with a bent point (I saw them at my local JoAnn store)
  • Regular sized tapestry needle (for attaching the button)
  • 1.5 inch (38mm) white button
    • I used LaMode 1463, style 48219 (purchased at JoAnn)
  • Permanent marker (black, thick point)
  • White worsted weight yarn for attaching the button 
    • I used Caron Simply Soft (100% acrylic)


  • ch: chain 
  • lp(s): loop(s)
  • sl st(s): slip stitch(es)
  • sc: single crochet 
  • hdc: half double crochet
  • dc: double crochet
  • sc2tog: single crochet two together (sc decrease)
  • hdc2tog: half double crochet two together (hdc decrease) 
  • dc2tog: double crochet two together (dc decrease)
  • blo: back loop only  


  • 6 dc=4 inches
  • 1 row height=1 inch

Basket Dimensions

  • Width=10 inches
  • Height (not including handle)=6 inches
  • Side diameter=6 inches (first side) or 7 inches (second side)
  • Handle height (from basket)=5 inches

Special instructions

  • I rate this pattern easy and suitable for advanced beginners
  • The basket is worked in the round, with the exception of five rows that are worked in the middle to create the opening
  • Ch3 does not count as a stitch for rounds
  • Ch3 DOES count as a stitch for rows (rows 6 - 10 of basket and all rows in the lid)
  • "Same st" means the same stitch as the ch3 (or other length chain) and first stitch of each ROUND (unless otherwise noted)
  • "Next st" means the next stitch that comes after the same stitch as ch3 and is where to place the first stitch for ROWS
  • Color change notes: when changing color, pull a loop of the new color through at the indicated part of a stitch. I fused two different color strands by melting over a candle flame

Basket Pattern Version 1 (shown in photos)

Basket is worked in one piece (not including the lid), but the two ends are not completely symmetrical and this pattern involves a few tricky spots. See Pattern Version 2 below for a simpler version that is worked in two pieces


  • Round 1: Make a large magic circle, ch3, dc 10, sl st to first dc (10 sts)
  • Round 2: ch2, 2 hdc in same st as ch2, 2 hdc in each st around, change to purple, sl st to first hdc (pull a loop of purple through the sl st) (20 sts)
  • Round 3: ch1, sc in same st as ch1, (2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next st) x9, 2 sc in last st, join with sl st to blo of 1st sc (30 sts total)
  • Round 4: ch1, sc in blo of same st and each st around, sl st in both lps of 1st sc (30 sts)
  • Round 5: change to red, ch3, dc in same st (both lps) and in each st around, sl st to first dc (30 sts)
 Note: ch 3 counts as a st for rows 6 - 10
  • Row 6: ch3, dc in next st and next 23 sts (25 sts total)
  • Row 7: ch3, turn, dc in next st and each st around, including top of ch3 at end of row (25 sts)
  • Row 8: repeat row 7 (25 sts)
  • Row 9: repeat row 7 (25 sts)
  • Row 10: repeat row 7, then ch 5 loosely, sl st to top of ch3 at the
    Row 10 showing chain 5
    beginning of row 10 (30 sts total = 25 dc + 5 chain sts)
  • Round 11: ch3 (do NOT turn), dc in same st as ch3 and in each st around, including each of the five chain sts (I recommend placing the sts in the back loop of each chain because it matches the other side best - use a 5mm hook to fit through tight sts, if needed), change to purple just before you pull through the second time on the last dc (second yarn over and pull purple through two lps on hook), sl st in 1st dc (30 sts)
  • Round 12: ch1, sc in same st as ch1 and around, sl st to first sc (30 sts)
  • Round 13: ch1, working in blo: sc in same st as ch1 and around, on last sc, change to red just before pulling the lp through to complete the st, sl st to first sc (30 sts)
  • Round 14: ch1, sc in same st, sc2tog, (sc in next st, sc2tog)x9, sl st to first sc (20 sts)
  • Round 15: ch2, hdc2tog (first hdc of this hdc2tog is in same st as ch2), hdc2tog x 9, sl st to first hdc2tog (10 sts)
  • Finishing: cut cord leaving approximately 10 inches, fasten off, weave in and out of outside lps of hdc sts in round 15, pull tightly, secure with a knot, pull end through to the inside of the basket and weave in loose end

Lid (note: stitch count includes ch3 for this piece)
Wonder Red basket lid

  • Row 1: ch 10, dc in 4th ch from hk and across (8 sts) 
  • Row 2: ch 3, turn, dc in next st and across, also placing a dc in the top of ch3 (8 sts)
  • Rows 3 to 5: repeat row 2
  • Do not bind off at the end of row 5, continue with this strand to attach the lid to the basket 
  • Weave in loose end at beginning of lid before attaching it to the basket

Attaching the lid

  • Orient the basket so that the first stitch of each round is at the top
  • Align the lid with the top edge of the basket opening so that the starting and ending stitches are aligned with the top edge of the basket opening
  • Attach with sl st to a single lp of the dc to the right of the opening (round 11), place a second sl st through a single lp in the lid and a second lp in the same dc of round 11 (2 sl sts)
  • Working towards the left, sl st in a single lp from the lid and a single lp in the corresponding dc of row 10, work slip stitches this way across until you reach the other corner, make an additional sl st to top lp of dc in round 5 (red) (10 sts; total amount of red sl sts across the top of the lid=12)
  • You may require a different amount of sl sts to attach the lid. Slight variation is OK, just do what looks good and try to connect parts that align naturally

Handle (purple)

    Wonder Red basket in action
  • After the lid is attached, change to purple, add a sl st to the top lp of the purple sc (round 4) at the side of the basket (pull a purple lp through this sl st), add one more sl st to a top lp of the outermost purple sc (round 3)
  • Ch 22, sl st to connect to basket at the lp in the purple sc (round 12) that matches the one you started with, add a second sl st in the top lp of the outermost purple sc (round 13) to secure the strap to the right side
  • Turn and sl st working back along the chain (22 sts)
  • Connect to main basket with an additional sl st into a purple sc lp near where the handle started (choose a spot that looks good), fasten off, weave in end
  • Take a piece of red cord approximately 48 inches long, tightly tie a simple overhand knot to a lp of purple slightly off center in the middle of the handle (tie it to the spot you want the handle to begin), wrap tightly around about 14 times, secure by using tapestry needle to weave over a loop of purple in an obscure spot, weave in end back under all of the red loops in the handle, cut end


  • Use black permanent marker to draw a spiral on the white button
  • Use white worsted weight yarn to attach button to the basket in the second dc st from the opening in the middle row (row 8; see photos)
  • Fasten the button through the large hole naturally formed at the bottom of the middle row in the lid

Basket Pattern Version 2 

Easier and more symmetrical
Why two versions? It was pretty convenient to make this basket in one piece (with the exception of the lid) using Pattern Version 1, but there is a distinct difference between rounds worked OUTward from a central point versus rounds worked INward to a point, as shown in the pictures below. For one thing, the second side was much larger in diameter than the first side when I tried to use the same stitches (i.e., dc and hdc) on both sides. After multiple tries, I came up with the pattern outlined above to obtain matching sides (for the most part), but they still didn't match exactly. 

After some trial and error, I decided to use shorter stitches in the last two rounds (sc and hdc instead of hdc and dc, respectively). Even with this modification, the second side was still one inch longer in diameter than the first side. How did this happen? Honestly, this still does not make sense to me, but I think it all boils down to the difference in the direction of the work. Everything was tighter in the first side, partly due to starting with a magic circle. I did not end with a true magic circle. Additionally, the stitches used in the first side were increases, while those in the second side were decreases. Apparently, decreases take up more space. This is my working hypothesis;  I have yet to test it scientifically.
side worked from a central point outward
First side worked from a center point outward
side of basket worked inward to a central point
Second side worked inward to a center point using shorter stitches
So after completing this project, which is the result of making and re-making the basket at least three times (my hand fatigue can attest to this), I have decided that a better way to make the basket with true identical sides would be to make two pieces and join them together with a seam. 

Brief instructions for Pattern Version 2

  • Follow Pattern Version 1 above for Rounds/Rows 1 - 7
    • Make two identical pieces
  • Join the pieces using sc or whip stitch by taking only one loop from each side of the dc stitches in row 7 of each piece. Make the seam on the INSIDE of the basket
  • Attach lid as described in Pattern Version 1 (it will basically look the same, but extend slightly farther to either side because the Version 2 basket is one row shorter than Version 1)
  • The handle can be worked identically to Version 1, or you can make it slightly shorter to match the shorter basket



Joining two colors

This craft cord material is special in that it can be melted to join two pieces. I took advantage of this because it resulted in a very clean look and was nice to avoid crocheting over loose ends with super bulky "yarn." To join the ends, I held them about one inch over a lit candle* until each end melted, then held the two ends together and melted them a little bit more. I recommend doing this with proper ventilation and making sure you give the ends enough time to cool. I also used needle nose pliers to tamp down the rough edges while they were still malleable if the edges were too rough.

*Only try this with adult supervision

Weaving in loose ends

I originally thought I could get away without buying large tapestry needles to weave in loose ends. I was wrong. You definitely need a large needle to complete this project. The plastic ones listed under Materials is what I used, but I don't recommend these. Rather, I would suggest buying metal needles that have a bent point to help reach under stitches. I almost broke my plastic needle trying to work through the thick cord from the inside of the basket.


The many uses of this Wonder Red basket

There are so many potential uses for this basket. If my son didn't love it so much, then I would use it as a WIP (work in progress) storage bag for my crochet projects. 

My preschooler absolutely loves his basket. He can easily fasten and unfasten the button by himself (the first time he's been able to do this, for the record). The basket is currently full of Duplo Legos and he is carrying them around the house. It is a great size for toys and would work great for a traveling activity bag. It could also fit small books or letter puzzle pieces, if you want to stick with the reading theme. Finally, if you do use this as a Halloween costume accessory (perhaps next year), it works great for collecting Halloween candy!

Wonder Red basket opening

 What will your Wonder Red be carrying to Grandma's 
house in this "wonderrific" red basket?

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