I am so delighted to share my newest pattern with you today- the Helena Handbasket!
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Hell in a handbasket”? Its a pretty old saying, I’m not really sure the origins and I’m frankly too lazy to look it up, but every time I have heard someone use it, they seem to be describing a series of events where things just get suckier and suckier.
Funny thing about this design- everything about it sent sideways from the very beginning when I was waiting for my yarn babies to arrive. Shipping took almost 3 weeks, then on my yarn’s arrival day I kept refreshing my tracking every 15 minutes. The mailman arrived- I got a text message from the mail (because I subscribed to text updates just for my yarn babies), and the text said, “Undeliverable. Returning to sender.”
Nooooooooooooo! Apparently my unit number had not made it to the address label, so back to the factory my yarn traveled. I immediately ordered a replacement, making sure that my full address was included. Then back to waiting for my mail to arrive.
Delivery day came again. I waited. Got the text. This time it said, “Animal interference. Will try again the next business day”.
The next day came, and a got a new text. “Unable to access delivery area. Will try again the next business day.”
For over a week, my yarn babies never came. I spoke to our mailman, who confirmed that he did not have my package on his truck. He recommended that I call the post office. I called. It rang for 20 solid minutes then just hung up. For 5 days, I continued to call the post office. Finally, a lady answered. She located my package and I asked to her please just hold it there and I would go grab it.
When I finally got my package in my hand, I saw what the issue was. Some brightbulb circled my address with a fat black marker… and part of the circle blacked out my address. But whatever, my yarn from Lion Brand was safely in my hands. Time to design a cute summer bag!
UGH! I spent over 2 weeks crocheting and frogging, hating everything my fingers created. I was trying out different techniques like holding 2 colors together for a few rows, then changing which 2 colors. Fun fact- frogging 9 color changes where each change has 2 out of 3 colors in it makes for a ridiculous mass of tangled yarn barf. I honestly wonder if I spent more time untangling and balling my yarn up than I spent trying multiple designs and hating them all.
Finally, some solid inspiration struck. I decided to just hold all 3 colors together at once, no more of this color change crap, and use a big ole 9mm hook to make a super sturdy bag. not too far into working the sides of the bag, I realized that I hated the multicolor look for this design. But I decided that I had wasted enough time and I would just finish writing up the pattern.
As my yarn balls grew smaller, I realized that did not have enough yarn to make my bag as tall as I had wanted to. Cue the frog, let’s make it less wide. Up the sides again, and the bag was now a bit taller, but still not as tall as I had intended. I decided to make little handles and see what I thought.
My bag looks like a friggin’ basket. A handbag basket. Hand…basket. Wait, what was that phrase? Hell in a handbasket. Pretty much exactly what my entire experience was with this design.
So when you read the name of the pattern, it is not pronounced “hell-LAY-nuh”, but “hell-in-a” so I will never forget the journey.
Once I finished my design sample, I took pictures for my testing call and immediately frogged the whole thing. Remember earlier when I said that frogging multiple colors was a bit of a nightmare? Yeah… I spent almost 3 hours untangling and reballing all 3 skeins as I frogged. But it was totally worth it in the end- I used the Triple Stranding Technique to use my yarn as solid colors but still have the yarn triple thick. I really like how the use of solid colors makes the actual design pop and be the hero of the handbasket.
If you would prefer the ad-free version of the Helena Handbasket pattern, you can grab it by clicking below:
And now, (thanks for reading my drawn out prologue), here are the pattern instructions:
9mm crochet hook
560 yards worsted weight cotton yarn in up to 3 colors. I used Lion Brand Pima Cotton in Cabaret, Blueprint and Vintage (186 yds of each)
mr- magic ring
sc- single crochet
hdc- half double crochet
slst- slip stitch
blo- back loop only
Rnds 1-3= 2” diameter
- This pattern is written in US terminology.
- This project is worked in the round. Rnds 1-11 are worked in a continuous round.
- You will want to keep tight tension for this project.
- You will be triple stranding your yarn. This can be done by holding 3 colors together or using the Triple Stranding Technique for a single color.
- I recommend changing colors at the beginning of a Rnd 15 repeat
Triple Stranding Technique for a single color: see a video tutorial HERE
Begin by triple stranding your yarn.
Rnd 1. Make a mr, ch1, sc6 in mr, pull mr tight, slst (6)
Rnd 2. 2sc in each st (6)
Rnd 3. *sc, 2sc*, repeat from *to* 5 more times (18)
Rnd 4. *sc 2, 2sc*, repeat from *to* 5 more times (24)
Rnd 5. *sc 3, 2sc*, repeat from *to* 5 more times (30)
Rnd 6. *sc 4, 2sc*, repeat from *to* 5 more times (36)
Rnd 7. *sc 5, 2sc*, repeat from *to* 5 more times (42)
Rnd 8. *sc 6, 2sc*, repeat from *to* 5 more times (48)
Rnd 9. *sc 7, 2sc*, repeat from *to* 5 more times (54)
Rnd 10. *sc 8, 2sc*, repeat from *to* 5 more times (60)
Rnd 11. *sc 9, 2sc*, repeat from *to* 5 more times, slst to 1st st (66)
Rnd 12. ch1, sc 66, slst to 1st st (66)
Rnds 13-14. Repeat Rnd 12
Rnd 15. ch1, sk first st, hdc, hdc in skipped st, *sk next st, hdc, hdc in skipped st*, repeat from *to* 31 more times, slst (66)
Rnds 16-18. Repeat Rnd 12
Rnd 19. Repeat Rnd 15
Rnds 20-22. Repeat Rnd 12
Rnd 23. Repeat Rnd 15
Rnds 24-26. Repeat Rnd 12
Rnd 27. ch1, sk first st, hdc, hdc in skipped st, *sk next st, hdc, hdc in skipped st*, repeat from *to* 5 more times, ch11, sk 11 sts, repeat from *to* 11 times, ch11, sk 11 sts, repeat from *to* 5 times, slst to 1st st. (66)
Rnd 28. ch1, sc 12, sc 11 across ch11, sc 22, sc 11 across ch11, sc 10, slst (66)
Rnd 29. slst blo 12, sc blo 11, slst blo 22, sc blo 11, slst blo 10. Invisible join, finish off and weave in ends.
I can’t wait to see your color choices and your Helena Hansbasket. Won’t you consider joining the Straight Hookin’ Crochet Community and sharing your current project? (It doesn’t need to be a Helena Handbasket or even a Straight Hooked pattern. I just love seeing all things crocheted!)
That’s it for me this week! Stay tuned though because I have more great patten releases planned for the rest of the year, including my new Throwback Throw blanket- a design 4 months in the making- which is due for its debut in August!