Monday, May 6, 2013

basket case, part 1

On March 22, I posted this photo on Facebook, not long after I'd posted a shot of my first crocheted mushroomMade in the flush of euphoria over my 'coming out' as a fiber artist, it's crocheted freehand with yarn made from an old t-shirt. It looks sort of like a miniature laundry basket, but who needs a miniature laundry basket? I decided to use it as a planter, and so I lined it with the toe end of an old sock and filled it with potting soil. The reddish plant is a Haworthia (aka Zebra cactus), and the little translucent green things that look like jelly beans are members of the huge Sedum family, best known as 'donkey tail.' The dime should give you a good idea of scale.

The green 'frame' around the little basket is the eight-foot Cereus that anchors the northeast corner of our front garden. Its short but very sharp thorns are borne in little clumps -- good for holding the basket in place, I thought.

In addition to being free and abundant, old t-shirts (which take many years to break down in a landfill) seem to be an ideal medium for small hanging planters. The fabric is light in weight, yet absorbent, while the space between stitches provides ventilation. I found that watering it with a spray bottle worked very well, and I envisioned roots happily penetrating the fiber.

I had previously crocheted other things (hats and bags, mostly) with old t-shirts, but this was the first one for which I actually spun the yarn, on a hand spindle. This extra process added to the amount of time it took to make the planter, but enabled the basket-like texture that I loved so much.

On April 22 (Earth Day), I posted the same photo on Facebook again, with this sad comment:
Well, it's a month since I posted this photo of a tiny planter I'd crocheted from an old t-shirt. This morning I discovered that someone had stolen it out of my front yard. Happy Earth Day, somebody. Hope you're taking care of the little plants.
When the first basket disappeared, I had already crocheted, planted, and hung another one, this time with audio cassette tape 'plied' in on the spindle. The second one looks even more like an oriole's nest. It hangs on the side of the cereus that doesn't face the sidewalk. I think I'll get out a ladder and move it to a higher perch. Six feet may be enough, but time will tell.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License