Are you familiar with the "What is it?" segment on Ask This Old House? The TOH guys examine a seemingly inscrutable piece of hardware and take turns guessing its purpose before finally revealing the truth -- sort of like the Wait-Wait-Don't-Tell-Me of home improvement. (Forgive this inside baseball, dear readers, if you don't watch as much This Old House or listen to as much NPR as we do...which may be all of you, because we watch A LOT of This Old House.) For an example, check out 13:26 of this video.
We experienced a similar scenario here over the holidays. My mom received a lovely crocheted Christmas gift from my aunt. But what was this mystery item?
A tiny crochet house?
A container of some sort?
Indeed! It is a basket. You are meant to fold down the sides, to form a sturdy little container.
It turns out that there are a number of lovely crochet basket patterns on ravelry. This one by Janin Wensink is my favorite.