Can you starch a project to make it stiffer?

rmlanzaApril 3, 2009

I'll link to the pattern (it's a FREE one!) I'm working on. It's an adorable and very simple basket, single crocheted in a spiral. On the Chickpea blog she mentions having made at least one of them in kitchen cotton, which is what I'm using (that sugar n' cream stuff). Well I'm about halfway up the sides of my basket and the thing is very floppy. By the time I'm done I'm not sure it will stand up straight and I've crocheted it pretty tightly. I was wondering if I could wash it with starch or something to make it a little stiffer. I really love the basket in the picture on the pattern. I'm also thinking of making another one in wool and then felting it (I'd make it bigger before felting, of course). So has anyone starched a finished project to make it stiff? I don't think I've EVER used starch for anything. But I have some left over from making some of that gloppy slime stuff from a science book with my kids...unless starch goes bad, LOL! It's been a while.


Robin the floppy basket maker

Here is a link that might be useful: CUTE basket pattern

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I haven't looked at teh patern yet but they sell stuff to starch items in the craft departments. or do a google to get a recipe

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 11:05PM
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I bet the turned-down cuff at the top will help it hold its shape. I would love to try "felting" but am scared skinny to even attempt it. I can't imagine using all the time and effort to make the item and then have it NOT turn out looking okay. If you do felt one, please post some photos for us.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 11:48PM
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Robin -

My Mom used to make crocheted snowflakes for the Christmas tree. She used a recipe with laundry starch to stiffen them - bad idea, as over time they do yellow alot and, as if that weren't bad enough, tiny bugs can feed on the vegetable starch.

I have used Aleene's Fabric Stiffener & Draping Liquid (about $5 for 16 oz. in a pink bottle) when making fabric Halloween ghosts. It made things VERY stiff. I think that type of product would give you good results with your basket project. Hope it's easy to find in your area.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 5:47PM
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Thanks everyone! I've been researching it and I'll probably go with something like the Aleene's stuff linda74 mentioned. It is staying up better than I thought it would and I guess once it's full of stuff (that won't take long) it will be just fine. Plus I'm using the natural colored cotton so I'd like to be able to throw it in the wash from time to time.

justlinda, I just started felting stuff this past winter. Mainly small stuff like knit eyeglass cases and crocheted flowers. I crocheted small hearts, felted them and then sewed pins onto the backs to give to my kid's teachers for Valentine's day. They turned out really cute! I've been wanting to make a felted hat but I'm thinking the basket could end up being my next project. Maybe I'll even make a short one and felt it, sort of bowl like, as a catch all in my foyer. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 10:08PM
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my grandmother used to use a sugar and water soak before she ironed all those large ruffled doilies to stiffen the shape when I was young - don't know the accurate mixture but grandma never measured anything - worth a try

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 12:44PM
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Oooh, Susan, didn't she get bugs? Living in FL I don't think I'd ever use any kind of food product for a stiffener.

There is (or used to be) a product called Stiffy. (I think it was basically the same formula as Elmer's glue & water.) I used it to stiffen a crocheted lace fan about 12 years ago. The fan hangs in my bathroom where there is lots of humidity, and the thing is as stiff today as it was when it finally dried!


    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 9:21AM
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In New York she never had a bug problem. I would guess that after it dried and was then ironed some chemical reaction kept bugs at bay. My mom used to do the same but they are both gone now so there is no one left to ask about this. I would probably try the heavy duty spray starch as an alternative also. However, I looked at the basket and as justlinda said, after the cuff is folded down it would probably be OK.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 10:50AM
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