The “Bummer” Basket – Knitted & Felted Fail

by MaggieBelize
(MaggieBelize’s shop and blog)

It started as such a simple plan: I wanted to knit a gift for my mom for Christmas. I love knitting for my mom, because no matter how lame my FOs turn out to be, she “ooohs” and “ahhs”” and makes me feel as if I’m the best knitter in the world.

So, last November I returned from Cat Bordhi’s knitting retreat all fired up about the Moebius cast-on & knitting techniques I’d just learned.

And in Cat’s Second Treasury of Magical Knitting book, I found the perfect Christmas gift project for my mom: the Moebius Bum Basket.

The Christmas countdown clock was ticking, but this project looked like a quick knit. And one which would be felted. Felting, I naively thought, would cover the multitude of sins I might commit as a new Moebius knitter.

This is Cat’s picture of her Moebius Bum Basket, which I intended to re-create:

Cat Bordhi's Moebius Bum Basket, as it should be

Cat Bordhi's Moebius Bum Basket, as it should be

It’s funny! It’s cute! It would make a great gift!

And before we go any farther, I want to make one thing completely clear: there is absolutely nothing wrong with Cat’s knitting pattern or instructions. This story is totally about operator error.

The Moebius bum basket is intended to be a sort of saddlebag, as you can see, two round baskets suspended from a shared handle in the middle. You begin by knitting the handle and the rim for both baskets, with waste yarn knitted into the middle of the rim.

When you finish the rim, you pull out the waste yarn to open up live stitches, like unzipping a zipper, and pick up and knit each half-basket downwards from the rim.

Cat warns, “You will find that the rim sts on your needle are grouped in oddly twisted sets …”

Yep, it certainly looked twisted at this point. And that’s where I got lost. I’m still not sure exactly how I did it – did I pick up those stitches upside down? Or backwards? Did I have a 50/50 chance of success, or only a 1 in 4?

Whatever … it wasn’t long before I suspected I’d made a terrible mistake. The stitches for the second basket compartment were buried deep within the interior of the first basket.

And for a while, in deepest denial, I actually knit faster.

When finally I had to admit my project had gone horribly wrong, it was three days before I had to leave for Austin. The thing still had to be felted and dried. It was way too late to frog and re-start. In desperation, I decided I’d simply knit the second basket separately and suture it to the outside of the first basket. Everything would straighten out in the felting, right?

On the back jacket of Cat’s book, it says that Cat “likes nothing better than to have a knitting experiment go awry, because it means very interesting, possibly never-before-seen things are soon to be revealed.”

So, for your enjoyment, here’s my finished, possibly interesting, but certainly never-before-seen “bummer” basket: 

My "bummer" basket

My "bummer" basket


Ta-daa! And please note that it looks equally stupid from any angle:



You know what may be the saddest part? I went ahead and gave it to my mom. That’s right, I wrapped it up and put it under the tree.

I wish you could have seen the look on her face, as she struggled to (a) figure out what on earth it was, and (b) come up with a compliment for it!

The bummer basket now resides at the back of the top shelf of her closet, along with the lopsided clay vase I made in kindergarten, and the souvenir pin I brought her from Washington D.C. in sixth grade, that has “Mother” spelled out in rhinestones above a dangling White House charm.

Good place for it.

15 Responses to The “Bummer” Basket – Knitted & Felted Fail

  1. sharyn says:

    Love this story! God bless all the parents and all the recipients of our warped creations who accept these gifts as a sign of love. Without them, many of us would give up crafting for fear of ridicule and rejection.

  2. bpod says:

    OMG, this is an awesome account of your fail.

    While your bummer basket had less than spectacular results as a gift, your cautionary tale certainly succeeded in making me laugh. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Awwwwww… so sad. It’s actually really cool, just kind of inexplicable!

  4. TexasWren says:

    Actually, I like it. The colors are wonderful. I’d put it on my shelf and put things in it–maybe tall bookmarks on the handle-less side, and maybe small stickers or smaller odds and ends in the other side.

  5. MEENA says:

    this is the most fab blog ever…the best. love this.

  6. marybt says:

    Okay, I’m starting to get a complex. All your all’s failures are better than my successes! lol.

    You need to pin the White House brooch to the basket. :p

  7. GinkgoKnits says:

    This is a great entry — it almost looks fabulous and yet it is just a little too odd to be displayed.

  8. lynne says:

    The phrase ‘bummer basket’ made me choke with laughter…

  9. Violet says:

    Your post are very hilarious not because of “failed” attempts but because you can joke about them :)

  10. Lia says:

    I feel much better about my failed attempt now! Its excellent that you can laugh at your attempt! i loved the bummer basket…ah the many mutant children of our creativity! i can really relate cause i just recently ventured into the world of felting.

    Lia’s last blog post..Blind Woman Collage Box

  11. I have never laughed so hard as when I saw your basket. I love your little basket. LOL It just killed me because I have had stuff like that happen to me and you look at it and think WTH? You can only rip out so many times before you realize that you just were not meant to make some things.

  12. pmomster says:

    I am crying I am laughing so hard. It’s past midnight and I should be sleeping — but you made my screwing around on the Internet so worth it. I think it is the phrase “bummer basket” is the cherry on top. Thanks so much for failing — sure, maybe your Mom would have come out ahead it you succeeded. But, you have brought joy to so many.

  13. Alicia says:

    OMG, this made me laugh so hard, I cried.

  14. Pingback: Episode 8: Riverside Knitter « Cloudy with a chance of fiber

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