Pattern Gallery: Magical Coat Collection

One of my secret disappointments in life is knowing that no matter how fast I work, I’ll never make all the projects I want to. This is mostly because I want to make practically everything! There are so many talented designers coming up with beautiful things and it’s all accessible via the deep magic of the web.

Most of my time is spent maintaining Morale Fiber, crocheting, answering e-mails, designing – and so I don’t get to take much time out to make other people’s patterns, but I keep a hearty collection of ideas and other patterns via Ravelry, Etsy, and Pinterest! So when the members of the Magic Fantastic Crochet Atelier frequently asked after an Elf Coat style sweater that wasn’t in Tunisian crochet, I was ready to do another pattern gallery for easy searching. It’s my great pleasure to unveil the Magical Coat Collection today ❀

Below you’ll find all the magical style crochet coat patterns (most of them AREN’T TUNISIAN) I’ve loved over the years, along with a bit of information on each and links to the pages where they can be purchased – Enjoy ❀

Magical Coat Collection

  1. Serged Dream Coat by Stephanie Pokorny of Crochetverse:
    This amazing sweater coat shares the same inspiration source as my Elf Coat, the wonderful recycled sweater work of Katwise! This gorgeous coat is made in easy half double crochet stitches and features an Easy Fit size and pattern changes for up to 3X size, and Stephanie’s gallery of examples is (as usual) incredibly colorful, unique and inspiring. Just try to look at this coat without dreaming up your own amazing color scheme to try – bet you can’t!

2. Titania Pixie Jacket by Efilly Designs
I absolutely adore this fittingly named Pixie Jacket, which features regular crochet stitches (not Tunisian) and creates a tailored bodice and an flattering cinched waist. The adorable short skirt really tops off this enchanting piece! Sizes come in Small – XLarge ❀

3. Glenda’s Hooded Cardigan by Glenda Bohard-Avila
This one has been around for a while, long enough for me to have actually managed to make it! This lovely one-size crochet pattern features simple, clear instructions and notes for how to modify the garment to create different sizes. Worked in regular double crochet. I loved making this in a sleeveless rainbow version and the buyer was thrilled with the result πŸ™‚ Great for beginners and those who want a magical look without all the complicated seams.

4. Boreal Coat by Sylvie Damie
This coat is the perfect option for a magical coat with lots of impact but few seams or piecing together! Worked in regular double crochet, this is a top-down one piece crochet coat aptly named for it’s lovely waves of color in the original example. I’ve admired this one for years! Available in sizes XS-XL.

5. Pixie Coat Tutorial by Earth Tricks
A long-time favorite designer of mine, Earth Tricks uses measurement-based tutorial writing to explain how to create your own magical, unique pixie coat in regular double crochet! Rather than using set stitch counts, this is a more free-style explanation of how to work this design based on gauge and measurements, so it’s fantastic for more seasoned crocheters who want something flexible and inspiring to create! I just love all her examples on the Ravelry page ❀ ❀

6. Open Spaces Coat by Sylvie Damie
Another from this prolific designer! I couldn’t resist the chain length spaces put in this coat to give it a lovely magic profile and lots of swing – all while using super bulky yarn making it very quick to crochet! Worked in regular double crochet, and available in sizes XS-XL.

7. Mountain Magic Cardigan by ColoradoShire
This fancy fantastical longline cardigan uses regular single and double crochet, plus edging the garment in beautiful crocodile stitch scales. Croc stitch is a particular favorite of mine so I immediately added this design to my list – great for intermediate crocheters looking for something simple, fun, and different. Sizes Small – XL and worked in easy to get #4 weight yarn.

8. Priestess Coat by Morale Fiber
My newest Tunisian Coat design features Tunisian simple stitch (the easiest one to learn!) and an overall construction that’s just a *bit* less fussy than my Elf Coat. This robe-style coat is worked in Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball, a lightweight #4 yarn available in dreamy colors, with optional faux fur trim and a rounded-back hood for those that don’t care for the pointed hoods. This coat is a great option if you want to learn Tunisian but find the Elf Coat pattern too daunting to start with – and it’s available in sizes XS- 2XL!

9. Flower of Life Oversize Hooded Jacket by Jen Xerri (Starlily Creations)
Squee! You know I just HAD to feature a Starlily creation in this collection, as she’s one of the fastest growing crochet influencers out there and just an incredibly sweet person to boot. This jacket pattern is another that I actually own in my pattern collection – I haven’t worked it fully yet but I’ve looked through it as a reference and it’s very well written and clear with lovely tutorial photos! The Flower of Life design is another great pattern worked with regular non-tunisian stitches (it’s easier than it looks!) and the central back motif is surrounded by rounds of interesting but not too complex stitch patterns! Sizing is flexible, garment is oversized or undersized to create a jacket or a vest ❀

10. Elf Coat by Morale Fiber (also available for free right here on this blog)
Ok, both of my contributions to this list have been Tunisian crochet (the rest aren’t though!!) when I created this list specifically for those inquiring about non-tunisian magical coat patterns BUT! I did need to include the original design of mine that inspired this post, and here’s my plea: If you are daunted by learning Tunisian Crochet, check out my YouTube Playlist containing all the videos of the techniques needed to learn to make this Elf Coat. I know it’s a lot different than regular crochet, but Tunisian is a great skill to add and in my opinion, it’s a super unique and amazing stitch style that absolutely can’t be mimicked either in regular crochet or even in knitting (which it can look so very much like that it fools actual knitters). I know you can to buy a special hook and everything, but perhaps you’d like to just try it out using my clever wine cork stopper rig? That way, you can try it without buying any special equipment! This pattern currently comes in sizes Small, Medium, and Large – but I will be working on a Plus Sizes expansion as soon as I can πŸ™‚

I hope you found this list of designs both helpful and inspiring, and please consider purchasing some of these designs to support the people who created them so they can keep making awesome stuff. Happy Magicking!

Pictured above: The Shaman Coat, which is also Tunisian and I sorta snuck this one in under the radar πŸ˜‰

-MF

Winter Poncho Pattern

True to form, I’ve circled back around to reworking an older design at almost the exact anniversary of it’s original release. Five years ago in January I released the Boho Fringe Poncho as my tenth paid pattern. Today, I’d like to introduce this same design as it’s been reformatted, tweaked for improvements, and released FOR FREE here on the blog!

You can still get the updated crochet pattern as a PDF in my Ravelry and Etsy stores, or keep scrolling for the free pattern (which includes everything in the PDF)

I really enjoy revisiting my patterns to make sure that they are the best that they can be, and this is kind of a constant task as I’m always trying to grow and improve my skills as a pattern designer. Sometimes I just have more to offer in terms of technical assistance – additional tutorial photos were a MUST with this piece – and sometimes I believe that the form & content of the design makes it a good candidate to be re-released for free (the Rhiannon Cowl is another great little project of mine that started as a paid PDF and then debuted on the blog as a free version!)

In this case, I considered just about every aspect of the pattern needed attention πŸ˜‰ Including the name! While I liked “Boho Fringe” it just didn’t really fit the nature of the poncho. This piece is a Big Booty Judy, made with thick warm woolen yarns, post stitches, and a cozy fit that hugs your shoulders for extra warmth. Realizing that its thicc qualities made it a perfect item to have in the coldest months I decided to rename it – the Winter Poncho!

This is a wonderful project for using up bulky or super bulky scraps (see the notes for more about yarn substitution), it uses large hook sizes so that the project works up quickly, and it’s waaaaaaarm πŸ™‚

Winter Poncho Crochet Pattern

Materials

7 skeins Bernat Roving (#5 weight, 100 g / 120 yds, 80% Acrylic, 20% Wool) – all solid-colored examples are made with this recommended yarn, the multi-colored examples are made with a mix of bulky and super bulky weight scrap yarns!
9.00 mm hook, 11.5 mm hook
Tapestry Needle
Scissors

Techniques Used

Chain (ch), Double Chain (dch), Double Crochet (dc), Slip Stitch (sl st), Front Post Double Crochet (fpdc), Back Post Double Crochet (bpdc) (click the links for tutorials!)

Measurements (approximate): 40” circumference at the top, 54” circumference at the bottom, 18”long (not including fringe)

Gauge:

4 sts & 3 rows = 2” in alternating fpdc/bpdc for 9.00 mm hook, 3 sts & 3 rows = 2” in alternating fpdc/bpdc for 11.5 mm hook.

Notes:

The chain-2 at the beginning of every round does not count as the first stitch of the round. When joining rounds with the slip stitch, skip the ch-2 entirely and join into the first fpdc of the round.

I have recommended Bernat Roving for this project, which is a #5 weight yarn but it gauges somewhere between a bulky yarn and a super bulky yarn. Some of my Winter Ponchos have mixed #5 & #6 weight yarns, which works pretty well –  but be sure to follow gauge if you substitute yarns!

The Winter Poncho is closed at the top with a drawstring, but the rest of the shape is dictated by hook size and follows the same number of stitches through every round. If you need a wider poncho, evenly place an even number of increases at Round 10 in order to size up.

Two types of fringing is offered in this pattern, the Double Chain Fringe of the original design, and the regular fringe which I have been favoring lately – both types are included in the instructions.

Poncho (Main Body)

Starting with the 9 mm hook, dch 80. Join with a slip stitch to form a ring, making sure not to twist.

Rnd 1: Ch 2, dc in the same stitch as join. (1 dc in the next st) 79 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. – 80 sts

Rnd 2: Ch 2, fpdc in the first dc of the last round, bpdc in the next dc. (1 fpdc in the next st, 1 bpdc in the next st) 39 times. Join with a sl st in the first fpdc of the round – 80 sts

Rnds 3: Ch 2, fpdc in the first fpdc of the last round, bpdc in the next bpdc. (1 fpdc in the next st, 1 bpdc in the next st) 39 times. Join with a sl st in the first fpdc of the round.

Rnds 4 – 10: Rpt Rnd 3.

Switch to the 11.5 mm hook, then continue in pattern for rounds 11-27.

Rnds 11 – 27: Rpt Rnd 3.

Cut yarn and tie off.

Double Chain Drawstring

Double chain a length of 60” (about 120 DCh stitches) with your main yarn. Cut yarn and tie off. Weave this cord through the first row of post stitches at the top of the poncho, going underneath each FPDC and over each BPDC. Finish the ends with either a stranded fringe, tassel, pompom, or whatever you like!

To work the double chain, see my tutorial post here.

Double Chain Fringe

The double chain fringe offers a bolder fringed look than the regular stranded yarn fringe, and copies the original inspiration piece for this design. For a humbler decoration, see the instructions for traditional fringe.

Using the 9.00 mm hook, dch 25- 45 sts or about  10 – 20” of unstretched double chain cord, depending on how long you want your chain fringe. Cut yarn and tie off. Make 19 more double chain cords of about the same length.

When you have twenty cords total, weave in all the yarn ends if you want a very neat fringe. Leave the yarn tails hanging down a bit for a more organic fringe.

If you survived the tedium of end-weaving, the next step is to double up the cords so that ends are together and a loop forms in the middle. Push that loop through the top of a fpdc stitch (NOT through the post) on Rnd 27 (the larger end of the piece).

Insert the ends of the double chain cord through the loop and draw them to tighten.

Repeat with the 19 other fringe cords, placing them every 2nd fpdc stitch so that there is 1 non-fringed fpdc between every fringed one. 

Weave in all ends.

Stranded Fringe

For a traditional fringe, get a book or length of cardboard 6” wide. Using your yarn of choice, wrap your yarn around the width 80 times, then cut one side to leave a bundle of 12” strands.

Double your strand over and use the loop at the end to thread the two loose ends through each crochet stitch around the border of the poncho.

Once you’ve put the finishing touches on your Winter Poncho, make sure all your ends are woven in before scurrying out into the cold!

I think the saying goes “Make new patterns but keep the old; one is silver, the other is gold!” Or something like that anyway πŸ˜‰

-MF

Morale Fiber’s Field Guide to Crochet Gauge and Yarn Behavior

We’ve all been there.

Excitedly scoping a new pattern, picking through the stash for a suitable yarn for the project, dreaming up color schemes and envisioning your gloriously perfect new handmade thingamajig.

Except none of the yarns are the same weight as the pattern recommends. And you can’t find your 5.5 hook (check behind your ear). And your yarn fiber is wool, not bamboo. What to do?!

Gauge and Yarn Behavior for Crocheters

The number one question I get asked as a crochet pattern designer is “Can I use [X] yarn for this pattern? Do I need to change my hook?” And the answer to this question is always basically the same: Check your gauge!


Even if you have a passing familiarity with gauge, it’s about more than just how big your stitches are: multiple factors interact when it comes to how your crochet project is going to look & act with a certain yarn.

I’ve found from experience that it pays off to be familiar with those factors that influence how your crochet project is going to turn out: Gauge, Weight, Fiber, and Drape.

Crocheters who go forward unfamiliar with these influences may find themselves in another familiar, but less pleasant, place : halfway through a crochet garment that doesn’t fit and looks nothing like the sample pictures. An in-depth understanding of these Yarn Behaviors will help stop project mishaps before they ever start!

The following is a guide I’ve put together specifically for crocheters that deals with gauge and related yarn issues. I’ve tried to compile the major technical points of figuring out what yarns to use where, and draw heavily from my 20 years of mistakes…. But remember each crocheter is different and therefore every project is different. The absolute best way to master these aspects of fiber art is just to get a ton of experience at it. That being said, let’s get on with it!

What is Gauge and how do I check it?

We’ll start with gauge: what the heck is it already?

Gauge is the measurement of the size of your stitches with a specific hook and yarn. Another term used for gauge is “tension.” While gauge is not something you may have to deal with for hats or scarves very much, it becomes crucial when making garments like sweaters.

The most common question I get for my patterns is “Can I use (x) yarn for this project / Which hook size should I use?”

The answer to this questions is: Check your Gauge! Technically, you can make any pattern with any size hook and yarn if your gauge matches the gauge given in the pattern (there are other concerns but we’ll get to that later).

Follow these instructions to learn how to measure gauge for crochet projects!

Locating the Gauge Listing

First, look to the Materials & Notes section of your pattern which should be at the very beginning. The gauge or gauges for the project should be listed there. If there are multiple parts/yarns to the pattern you may encounter multiple gauge listings.

Above is an example from my Acanthus Top pattern, with the gauge listing circled in green
Here’s what an example of what the gauge might look like: “Gauge: 3 stitches and 3 rows = 1″ in hdc”

And here’s how that is interpreted:
“3 stitches” = the measurement, taken horizontally from a section of stitching, of how many stitches of the specified type fit within the given unit length (here in Inches)
“3 rows” = the measurement, taken vertically, of how many rows of stitching of the specified type fit within an inch or inches
“= 1 inch ” = the given unit length (commonly can be 1″, 2″, or 4″ although other measurements are possible)
“in hdc” = the specified stitch type for measuring the gauge

Sometimes for my circular crochet patterns, I give the project gauge as the measurement in diameter of the first few rounds – in this case the first small circle of the project counts as the swatch. The gauge portion of the pattern should specify how to measure if it does not use the traditional method.

Example of the first three rounds of the Lotus Mandala measured to check gauge – it’s correct!

Checking Crochet Gauge

Since every crocheter crochets differently – some looser, thinner, or tighter, or fatter – using the same size hook and yarn as the project calls for does not guarantee your gauge will be the same as the one listed for the project.

So now that the Gauge listing is broken down, how do we check it? To accurately check gauge and determine whether your tension is appropriate for the pattern, look again in the Pattern Materials & Notes section. The pattern will list a recommended yarn and hook size – you’ll need to start by using the recommended yarn, or at least a yarn in the same weight category, and the hook size listed in the materials section. With these materials, you are now ready to test your gauge by making a small sample piece of fabric called a swatch.

It’s very tempting to skip this part and move on to the project itself, which is not too dangerous for small projects like hats and scarves – but for things like large sweater coats, you better swatch out!

My Tunisian crochet sweater coat trifecta: The Shaman Coat, the Elf Coat, and the Priestess Coat

Testing Your Gauge: Swatching for Crocheters

1. Get the hook size and yarn recommended by the pattern gauge listing
Chain a length of 15-20 sts or long enough to accommodate whatever stitch or pattern being swatched (sometimes the pattern will give you direct instructions on how to make your gauge swatch). Some gauge guides say the swatch will be 4 inches, some recommend other lengths or stitch counts – your pattern may or may not specify. The main concern is the get a piece of fabric big enough that your hand becomes accustomed to the stitch design and starts to work regularly. This is also why the gauge reading is taken in the middle of the swatch, away from the top, bottom, or side edges – but we’ll get to that.

2. Begin to Swatch
The Gauge listing in the pattern should indicate what stitch or part of the pattern to use for a swatch sample. Here’s the sample Gauge from earlier:
Gauge: 3 stitches and 3 rows = 1″ in hdc
For this swatch, I would start with 20 ch stitches, then work 1 hdc in each chain stitch. Working in rows back and forth, I would create enough rows of stitching to make a solid square or rectangle piece. Seems like a lot of work, I know. But you can’t get a good gauge reading from a piece that’s only 5 stitches long!

3. Pin it Out
Once the swatch is complete, it’s time to measure. Before measuring, set out a soft surface (towel, cushion, or blocking mat) and use pins to uncurl your swatch out to it’s fullest size, evening the tension of the piece. Crochet stitching uncurls and loosens some after being worked, so if you measure your swatch without tensioning it first, you may get an inaccurate gauge reading.

While 4 sts / 1 inch doesn’t seem like that much of a difference from 3.5 stitches / 1 inch, small differences can really add up on larger projects. Get your gauge as close as possible to avoid mishaps later!

4. Measure it!
Get a gauge plate tool (the one pictured here is from my Addi Click knitting set, but they are sold individually by the hooks & needles in hobby stores) or a measuring tape / ruler and measure the stitches in the middle of the swatch. For our given gauge of 3 stitches and 3 rows = 1″, we should be able to measure 3 stitches horizontally at 1 inch, then 3 stitches vertically to equal 1 inch.

I did not achieve the correct gauge horizontally, because I have 4 stitches to the inch instead of 3.
But I got it right vertically!

Correcting Your Gauge

If your gauge is smaller (tighter), and you are getting more stitches and rows per inch (4 sts and 3 rows, for example, instead of 3 stitches and 3 rows. Which was what I got for the swatch pictured above) you will need to size your hook UP to create looser tension and bigger gauge to match the measurements of the project.

If your gauge is larger (looser) and you are getting fewer stitches per inch (2 stitches and 2 rows, for example) you will need to size your hook DOWN to create tighter tension and smaller gauge.

In the above picture, I have tensioned my swatch. And though I worked this swatch in the exact same yarn as the pattern recommends, using the same size hook, AND EVEN DESPITE THE FACT THAT I AM THE ONE THAT WROTE THAT GAUGE for that pattern, I still did not get it right. LOL! That’s gauge for you!

Sometimes you’ll end up with the correct amount of stitches horizontally, but not vertically (or the other way around). Messing around with your method can sometimes correct gauge errors that are just a little off. Try altering the tension of the yarn in your non-hook hand, or pulling up more yarn per stitch, to adjust errors in stitch height or make small horizontal adjustments. Additionally, different hook materials can affect your gauge – if you can’t achieve the right tension with a bamboo hook, try a metal one!

Besides switching your hook, it is also possible to change yarns to get a different gauge, although that happens less often – more commonly, people wish to use a certain yarn for a project and will switch hook size in order to obtain the correct gauge with the yarn they intend to use. However you go about it, adjust your ingredients according to whether you need a tighter or looser gauge.

And then yes, you’ll have to make another swatch and measure again πŸ™‚

But it’s better than having to undo entire large projects because of gauge errors!

After sizing up my hook by one step (3.75 mm instead of 3.50 mm) and tensioning, I made a swatch with the right gauge horizontally of 3 stitches to an inch. My vertical measurement stayed the same.

One thing I recommend is to keep a stack of past projects’ swatches with the aim of creating a blanket/quilt/other scrap project with them. Having a future use for them makes them more appealing to actually do – and who doesn’t want another project on top of their new project? Haha!

Changing & Taming Gauge:

Let’s say, for the sake of insanity, that you actually DO want to change the gauge of an entire sweater project – you have a hook and yarn combo that makes a different gauge than the project and you’re determined to use it anyway. How do you get a garment that still fits? You have three options:
1.Try to make a different size (if multiple sizes are offered)
2. Just try it anyway and totally wing it changing the pattern willy nilly to fit your size needs, accepting that the result might be utter failure with no recourse (my favorite method).
3. A Lot of Math.

So much math is involved in #3, in fact, that I can’t lay out a general plan here in this Field Guide, but if you would like to start learning how the mathematics of gauge goes into planning the size and design of a crochet pattern, check out some of my free pattern resources. I try to periodically design stuff that’s really open-ended, with the intent to lead others to customize and experiment with whatever they have available – here’s two I’d recommend!:
Basic Armwarmers Tutorial
Basic Bralette Tutorial

Finally, there ARE times when you don’t have to worry about checking gauge at all: when you don’t care if the project comes out exactly as big as the pattern specifies – blankets and home decor projects are good examples.
That’s the conclusion of the Gauge-specific portion of this Field Guide, but if you’re curious about the other important Yarn Behaviors, read on!

An oldie but a goodie : The Partial Shades T-Shirt Yarn Plant Hanger

Yarn Weight – Meet the Standards

Yarn weight is one of those things that seems like it should be simple. Especially in the United States, we’re used to seeing one of 8 little numbers on the yarn label which generally tells us what different yarns can work for the same project. For instance, if you have a crochet pattern that calls for a #4 weight category yarn, most people will go to the store and pick any yarn they like that has a #4 on it.

This yarn label has lots of info – the weight is shown on the little skein pictogram as “5” for #5, also called Bulky, weight yarn.

Except experienced crocheters know that not every yarn in the same weight category is going to act exactly the same. Take my favorite rogue #4 weight yarn – Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball – and compare to a regular cheapie #4 weight acrylic solid:

They look totally different. And you might guess that they work up pretty differently, too:

And that’s why yarn labels also contain some other important information besides the general numbered category (which doesn’t even exist on some non-US yarns): The length of the skein in yards/meters, the weight of the skein in ounces/grams, and the fiber content.

Yarn Density

The length/weight information tells something important about the yarn that the numbered categories don’t directly specify – how DENSE or heavy the yarn is. That’s how our favorite rogue manages to be a #4 weight yarn the same as this acrylic – because the Shawl in a Ball is denser, and so the yarn is as heavy per yard/meter as the bigger sized yarn. And since yarns are categorized by weight, the Shawl in a Ball has enough weight per length unit to get a #4 label even though it is thinner than our acrylic #4.

Wraps Per Inch

While the apparent thickness of the yarn strand usually stays similar throughout a single numbered yarn category – several of these bulky #5 yarns for example – there is another metric that can help determine if your yarn is right for your project, and that’s something called Wraps Per Inch (WPI).

Three yarns of different fibers and plies, all labeled #5 weight

WPI is measured by taking a small object (a ruler is choice, a pencil works great too) and wrapping a strand of yarn as neatly and evenly as possible around the object. The wraps are then measured to see how many wraps can fit within an inch of space – which gives a better idea of the thickness of the strand than the weight categories do.

Here’s a handy WPI and yarn weight chart from Ravelry!

You can totally test WPI yourself at home, which I have done a number of times to help determine what weight my recycled sweater yarn was.

Fiber Content

Different fibers have different structures and densities, and yes, fiber content will definitely affect your project – and for more reason than just how you wash it. Fiber densities effect grams per yard, so a thinner yarn made of heavier fiber may be in same weight category as fatter yarn with lighter fiber – and the different surface qualities will change the way your project looks and acts.

Microscopic view of different fibers, image not mine. I’ve had this image in my media for so long I don’t know the original source, sorry!

There are so many more fibers and fiber blends available today than there were even 10 years ago when I started getting serious about my funtime hobby. I could most definitely do a full post on just fiber alone (actually I’ve done several in the past) but I’ll try to keep it fairly brief for now!

Fibers come in several general categories: Animal or Protein fibers (wool, alpaca, yak, etc) Plant or Cellulose fibers (cotton, rayon, hemp etc), and Inorganic/Man-made fibers (polyester, acrylic, polyamide, ect).

Although it may not be the first thing you compare when substituting your yarns, fiber content does matter – especially if you need to know how the finished piece will behave over time. A heavier-fiber yarn (such as cotton) substituted in place of a lighter fiber yarn (such as acrylic) will result in a project that might be a lot heavier overall than the designer intended, causing problems such as stretching and warping.

The Lotus Duster, size Large


Conversely, a project that is designed to depend on the heaviness of the yarn for it’s overall look (such as the Lotus Duster, pictured above) might not be quite as flattering to wear in a yarn that is extremely light and does not exert the right amount of downward pressure on the garment. (I mean in my opinion it looks great no matter what but… πŸ˜‰ )

Not to mention wool, and whether or not your project will shrink and felt in the wash!

An ancient photo of half-felted wool that I messed up when dyeing – it did turn into a nice shawl, though!

In addition to weight, fiber also contributes to the traction or slipperiness of a stitch – extremely soft and slippery fibers like silk will not create a lot of friction or resistance when rubbing together, so any stitches made with silk yarn will settle and stretch out to the maximum that they can in a finished project – where a stiffer, rougher yarn like wool (especially if it’s lighter too) will not ‘spread’ so much.

Of course, in considering what yarn to use, where you’ll wear it makes a big difference too. Cotton, bamboo, and silk are wonderful fibers for delicate next-to-skin projects, like the halter top below made with bamboo/silk blend. I had to keep the tension tight for this project so that the stitches in the slippery soft fiber wouldn’t stretch out too much, resulting in wardrobe malfunctions πŸ˜‰

From my Basic Bikini Cup guide

Yarn Ply:

Ply refers to the structure of the fibers within the strand of yarn – a ply is one strand of raw fiber spun together, and a yarn may consist of many plies or only one. Yarns with several plies tend to be strong and can be easily pulled back out (frogged) from stitching. One ply yarns (like RH Unforgettable) provide a gorgeous stitch definition but are weaker and will pill/tangle more easily when unraveled.

These yarns from top to bottom are multi-ply (I don’t know how many exactly but more than 4), 2-ply (in the middle) and 1 ply (chenille yarn on bottom)

Ply, combined with fiber type, will affect the density and elasticity of the yarn too! When finding yarns that will easily create the same gauge as your intended project, it can be helpful to match the ply types of the yarn. For this reason some UK yarns will list the ply on the label (like we saw on the Ravelry standards chart).

Since ply isn’t talked about that much in crocheting, how about a for instance?

My Elf Coat uses DK (#3) weight wool as the recommended yarn. I searched high and low for a suitable DK weight yarn substitute available in US hobby stores (King Cole Riot is a UK brand yarn). The closest I could find was Red Heart Unforgettable, a worsted (#4 weight) yarn. As mentioned in the pattern, they do produce slightly different gauges with the same size hook, but RH Unforgettable works better as a substitute than other #4 yarns might because Unforgettable is a one ply yarn just like the DK weight yarn.

If you are very interested in the structure of yarn plies and the ways that different yarns are designed and constructed, you should check out my blog posts about spinning. There’s no better way to take your hobby to the next level than to learn to make your own yarn!

Drape:

Ah, drape. Drape is the creature of the night, the hidden amalgamation of all the yarn behaviors discussed above. How could I not love something as mysterious and dramatic as drape, which is how a piece of fabric hangs or flows over a surface?

The flow of the fabric depends first on how easily the stitches can move around within it – stitches with lots of space in between them may have better movement and can wrinkle and ruffle more when handled or hung – pieces with stitches very tightly packed and no space in between will be stiff and less flow-ey.

The Lotus Duster pattern uses thin, cotton yarn and a proportionally large hook to create stitches with tons of room to flow around
The Post Stitch Pixie Hat pattern uses thick yarn, a relatively small hook, and tightly packed post stitches to create a structured bonnet with almost no floweyness

Through the years I have found that people, whether they are beginner fiber artist or not, DO instinctively perceive drape even though it can be hard to define. When I read about how a crochet piece doesn’t match the project image, or when I see crocheters struggle to recreate a specific part of a pattern that just “doesn’t look right” even though the gauge and stitches are correct – that’s drape.

But it’s not just about the closeness of the stitching – you can get the correct gauge for a project and still not achieve a good drape.

If your yarn is not the same or similar fiber content, your drape can be off – remember talking about smoother yarns like silk stretching and settling more? That’s drape, too.

And yarn weight, in which some yarns are weirdly heavier or lighter per yard than others in the same category, due to fiber content? You guessed it! That affects drape too.

And you might have some suspicions about WPI – the amount of space a certain size yarn takes up when wrapped around an object (such as a crochet hook)… Whaddya know! Drape!

The Flower Child Pullover has a medium drape, the openwork mesh combines with sturdy #4 acrylic to create a sweater with both swing and structure

The good news is, drape can be tamed by being familiar with all the yarn qualities and behaviors we’ve been talking about in this post. If that lovely sweater you’ve got your eye on making calls for yarn that’s 50% bamboo and 50% cotton, now you’ll know that choosing a 100% acrylic yarn will change the way that project looks or maybe even fits. And you can either decide to look for a yarn that’s a closer match, or decide you don’t give a flip and will make it with whatever yarn you have on hand and drape be damned (an extremely valid standpoint IMO).

Which brings me to the final portion of this programme:

Wrapping it Up

You’re armed. You’re ready. You’ve got your massive, exuberantly curated folder of crochet patterns. You’ve got your yarn and your backup yarn and your secret backup yarn (it’s hidden in the trunk of the car). You’ve got your hooks (except for that damn 5.50 CHECK THE COUCH)…

And you’ve got all this information about how to best make material choices based on gauge, weight, fiber, WPI, ply… yikes! That’s a lot to consider now, and maybe it can be a bit overwhelming. After all, a lot of hobby crocheters make it their whole hobby careers not worrying about most of this.

And that’s perfectly fine. I wanted to create this Field Guide for other fiber artists who might have wondered the same things as me, and for those who just can’t get enough of weirdly specific fiber science (also me). The important part is to have the knowledge, so that you can make your own decisions. As a very famous and favorite quote of mine runs, “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.”

If you’re a beginner crocheter who came here to learn about gauge and got sucked in, congratulations on making it this far! I can’t believe you’re still reading this! Anyway, dear beginners who need a starting point: just start with the gauge aspect of Yarn Behaviors, following the procedures for checking gauge by swatching. The rest of these considerations will be picked up and intuited over time πŸ™‚

After all, the majority of what I’m presenting here is information I’ve slowly gleaned through experience. Experience and a whole buttload of mistakes – because while none of us like to make mistakes, we simply can’t grow and learn without them. So whether or not you apply all the information in this post, I truly hope it’s helpful on YOUR fiber art journey, whatever you make of it.

And as always I am here if you have questions and I love to talk shop – if I don’t have answers, I can at least offer advice ❀

Thanks for visiting! See you on the next yarn safari…
-MF

Yearling Headband

I’ve always had a natural love of animals and being raised in the country meant I had a lot of exposure to all sorts of them – in particular I loved the white-tailed deer that would sometimes appear on the edges of the yard, majestic and graceful but powerful as well. Anyone raised around their natural habitat knows that deer, even peaceful-seeming and retiring does, are not to be trifled with.

So, certainly not for the first time on this blog, today’s crochet project is deer themed! I already have a number of horn and antler patterns available and thought it would be fun to put together a free video tutorial for the Yearling Headband that shows how to crochet this super elastic, comfortable, useful and above all ADORBS self-care accessory using some of my favorite crochet tricks!

Keep scrolling for the FREE crochet pattern & video!

Or save this pattern for later by favoriting on the Ravelry project page!

The antlers in this headband are a two-tine version of the “Forest Guide” rack, made with smaller yarn and hook than the original – you can use the recommended materials in this post, the video, or choose your own, just make sure your gauge is tight so there isn’t a lot of space between stitches (aka amigurumi style).

The headband with the pink petals features what I call my “Twig Horns” which are a cute, more cartoon-y set of nubby antlers featured in my Mori Beret. They are quicker and not as cumbersome if you want a more low-key headband – directions for those appear in written form under the original antler video below!

Introduction to Yearling Headband

Live-action introduction to this project : sorry for my obvious awkwardness, I’m not used to doing face videos yet πŸ˜‰

Materials

Yarn: Various, good project for scrap yarns 50-100 yards each-
I used a thick #6 weight yarn for the headband
#2 yarn for the beige antlers
#3 yarn for the brown antlers
#5 yarn for the leaves

5.50 mm hook (headband)
3.25 hook for beige antlers
3.50 mm hook for brown antlers
5.00 mm hook for leaves

20″ circular elastic – I bought mine in a pack from the hair accessories section of the pharmacy, you could also use regular craft elastic sewn in a circle or knotted.
2 12″ craft pipe cleaners (for large horns)
Small amount of polyester fiberfill or cotton batting (to stuff antlers)
Tapestry needle, yarn needle, scissors

Headband Base

To create the base for the headband, I used my 5.50 mm hook and chunky yarn to crochet around the elastic band, working in a full circle one direction then turning and working in between the stitches in the opposite direction:

Yearling Antlers

As I mentioned earlier, the antlers on the brown headband are a version of the Forest Guide antlers that only use the first 2 tines, and work in #2 yarn and a 3.25 hook. The first two videos cover these antlers, with the same written instructions appearing below the videos. For the smaller antlers, keep scrolling for the written pattern!

The first video demonstrates the first tine, which is the biggest and longest. To make any other length of tine, follow the instructions of the First Tine for only the rounds indicated in the video, or below in the written version of this antler pattern! The second video covers how to construct the antlers.

Written instructions: Main Tine (Make 2:

Worked continuously in the round, place marker in the first stitch of every round to keep track.

With 3.75 hook and #4 accent color beige, make magic ring.
Rnd 1: 3 sc into the ring. Pull the ring closed tightly. – 3 sts
Rnd 2: 1 sc in the next st, 2 sc in the next st, 1 sc in the next st. – 4 sts
Rnd 3: 1 sc in ea st. – 4 sts
Rnd 4: Rpt rnd 3
Rnd 5: 1 sc in the next 2 sts, 2 sc in the next st. 1 sc in the next st. – 5 sts
Rnd 6: 1 sc in ea st. – 5 sts
Rnd 7: Rpt rnd 6
Rnd 8: 1 sc in ea of the next 2 sts, 2 sc in the next st. 1 sc in ea of the next 2 sts. – 6 sts
Rnd 9: 1 sc in ea st. – 6 sts
Rnds 10-11: Rpt Rnd 9.
Rnd 12: *2 sc in the next st. 1 sc in ea of the next 2 sts. Rpt from * once more. – 8 sts.
Rnd 13: 1 sc in ea st. – 8 sts
Rnds 14-15: Rpt Rnd 13
Rnd 16: 1 sc in ea of the next 4 sts, 2 sc in the next st. 1 sc in ea of the next 3 sts. – 9 sts
Rnd 17: 1 sc in ea st. – 9 sts
Rnds 18 – 19: Rpt Rnd 17
Rnd 20: 1 sc in ea of the next 4 sts, 2 sc in the next st. 1 sc in ea of the next 4 sts. – 10 sts
Rnd 21: 1 sc in ea  st. – 10 sts
Rnds 22 – 30: Rpt Rnd 21
Rnd 31: 1 sc in ea of the next 4 sts, 2 sc in the next st. 1 sc in ea of the next 4 sts, 2 sc in the next st. – 12 sts
Rnd 32: 1 sc in ea st. – 12 sts.
Slip stitch in the next few stitches to finish. Cut yarn and tie off leaving a long tail for sewing.

2nd Tine (Make 2):

Work Rounds 1 – 14 of the Main Tine. Sl st in the next few sts to finish after Rnd 14, cut yarn and tie off leaving a long tail for sewing.

3rd Tine (Make 2):
Work Rounds 1 – 12 of the Main Tine. Sl st in the next few sts to finish after Rnd 12, cut yarn and tie off leaving a long tail for sewing.

4th Tine (Make 2):

Work Rounds 1 – 10 of the Main Tine. Sl st in the next few sts to finish after Rnd 10, cut yarn and tie off leaving a long tail for sewing.

Antler Construction:

Follow the video for a tutorial on stuffing and constructing the antlers – this video shows the full antler with all tines, but you can do as many as you wish and position them as you like.

With polyester fiberfill and stick, stuff a tiny bit of filling in the tip of the Main Tine. Take one 12” 6mm pipe cleaner and fold in half, twisting loose ends together to form a flat loop. Insert twisted end into the Main tine, leaving a small bit of loop sticking out of the opening. Gently fill the bottom part of the Main Tine around the wire armature with poly fill. Roll and massage the piece to even out the filling – do not overstuff! It should still be flexible and posable on the armature.

Gently stuff the 2nd tine with a small amount of fiberfill. With tapestry needle, thread long yarn tail of the 2nd Tine. Position about halfway up the Main Tine and sew around the base of the 2nd tine.

You can also follow the written pattern for the Twig Horns below, if you want low-key fawn vibes!

Twig Antlers:

Using 3.50 hook and #3 or #4 weight accent yarn:

Make 2 of each tine. Worked continuously in the round. Use a stitch marker to keep track of rounds.

Main Tine:

Rnd 1: Make Magic Ring. 6 sc into the ring. Pull the ring closed tightly.
Rnd 2: 1 sc in ea sc around. – 6 sts
Rnd 3: *1 sc in the next sc, 2 sc in the next sc. Rpt from * around. – 9 sts
Rnds 4-13: 1 sc in ea st around. – 9 sts
Rnd 14: *1 sc in ea of the next 2 sc, 2 sc in the next sc. Rpt from  * around. – 12 sts

Sl st in the next 2-3 sts, cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

2nd Tine

Rnd 1: Make Magic Ring. 6 sc into the ring. Pull the ring closed tightly.
Rnd 2: 1 sc in ea sc around. – 6 sts
Rnd 3: *1 sc in the next sc, 2 sc in the next sc. Rpt from * around. – 9 sts
Rnds 4-8: 1 sc in ea st around. – 9 sts

Sl st in the next 2-3 sts. Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Assembly:

Thread the long tail of the 2nd tine onto a tapestry needle and sew around the base onto the main tine. Weave in the ends. Rpt for other antler.

Leaf Motif

I originally designed this little leaf/petal pattern years ago, looking for a quick and easy leaf that could be worked into long chains. It’s now in several of my designs and a favorite go-to when adding decoration and texture to a piece. Follow this video demo for how to work this leaf in clusters of three or four. Written instructions below the video!

Leaf Motif:

For a more detailed photo breakdown, see the original blog post here.
With 5.00 mm hook and #5 bulky or #4 worsted yarn:

* Ch 5 – last 2 ch counts as the beg ch-2 in the leaf motif. In the 3rd ch from the hook, work 4 dc, ch-2 length picot in the last dc made, 3 hdc in the same stitch. Rotate, working in the same st on the other side of the beg chain, 2 hdc. Join motif in the round with a sl st in the 2nd ch of beg ch-2. Sl st in the 2nd ch st from the motif.* Rpt * to * 4 times total. Sl st in the bottom of the first motif to join the 4 leaves in a circle. Cut yarn and tie off  –  4 leaves

Final Assembly

Try your headband on and mark all the spots where you want your antlers, leaves, or other decorations to go…

With tapestry needle, use the long yarn tails to stitch the elements onto the headband. Thread yarn through the wire loops underneath the yearling antlers if you’ve got them, and pull the loops through the stitching so they are fully embedded in the yarn headband. Stitch tightly around the yarn base of the antler. Repeat for other antler.

Using yarn or tapestry needle, sew the leaf rings into the headband (I like them on the sides under the antlers) and pin down the tips of the leaves if you want them to lie flat.

Weave in all remaining ends – voila! A fawn is born!

Quarantine has made me feral and I am unlikely to return.

I could go on and on with other ideas for this kind of design, from woodland creature ear variations to radical colorful freeform pieces, and I hope some of those neat variations get made and I get to see them! As always I love seeing what you make from my designs – please tag @moralefiber on Instagram for your projects or share them in our wonderful Facebook community, the Magic Fantastic Crochet Atelier!

-MF

Woodsman’s Wife Ruana Update – with Pockets!

This classic pattern of mine from 2015 looked like the perfect project for my consistently-freezing self to whip up a few weekends ago, using a small stash of inherited yarn…

believe it or not, I meant to make that face

And as I am wont to do, I thought of some things this design needed – like pockets! And a little sprucing up of the PDF couldn’t hurt, and the written specs really weren’t up to scratch. Long story short, my “quick weekend project” turned into a total refurbishing of the Woodsman’s Wife Ruana, and I’m so happy I did because it’s a much-loved oldie but goodie and it deserved a makeover ❀

You can get the brand-new updated PDF pattern now in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store! Thank you for your support ❀ ❀

My “pocket shawl” version of this ruana / scarf / hood / blanket / thing hybrid was actually made with Lion Brand Homespun (#5 weight) held double, as a substitute for the Lion Brand Homespun Thick & Quick (#6 weight) called for in the pattern. Unfortunately I don’t know the colors used, because I got them from a destash, but I do know it took 11 skeins, and I switched the colors out individually by strand instead of at the same time, to get the faded effect πŸ™‚

I love the new version, especially the cozy pockets! Keep reading to find the details on the new PDF pattern:

This big cushy crocheted version of the traditional ruana features crochet ribbing, a pixie pointed hood, and alternate sizing instructions to make anything from a slim belted wrap to an extra-wide cape-style coverup, and now has instructions for pockets as well!

The main body is worked flat in one whole piece, while the hood is worked separately in one piece and then seamed together. Made with a super bulky yarn and a 11.50 mm hook, this wrap works up quickly and feels super cozy. Wear it belted, over-the-shoulder, or add buttons or ties for a closed vest style.

The pattern for this versatile, convertible wrap includes alternate sizing instructions, construction charts, and detailed written instructions. The Woodsman’s Wife Ruana is a great Easy level pattern for crocheters ready to move on from hats and scarves and includes all the instructions you need to make this fantasy piece for autumn!

Materials:
Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun Thick & Quick, #6 Super Bulky, 160 yds / 6 oz, 170 g – 88% Acrylic 12% Polyester)– 5 skeins (7 – 9 skeins for expanded sizes)
Alternative: Regular Lion Brand Homespun held double (#5 Bulky, 185 yds / 6 oz, 170g – 98% Acrylic, 2% other) – 11 skeins
Please note that you may need more yarn if you customize the size by adding rows, given optionally in the notes.
11.5 mm (P) hook
Yarn needle, scissors
Button & yarn in coordinating color, 5.00 mm hook and/or ribbon (all optional, if adding fastenings)

Finished Measurements:
Main Body: 72” Long unfolded, 36” long when hanging from body. Width is optional.
Hood: about 13” x 13” after folding and seaming, laid flat.

As you can see I’ve made a few of these over the years and even made a closed robe style once – I took notes on how I did it, even though they’re really rough and don’t have accompanying photos, and you can find that on this old blog post here.

I’ve done a lot of remodeling with my older designs lately, and I do have more on my list – I make a point to keep my designs updated as I grow and learn from my business and as styles and demands change ❀ It’s one of the many benefits of buying from independent crochet designers, and I thank you all for making it possible!

-MF

P.S- the faux fur hat I am wearing in some of the newer photos is my free crochet pattern for the Ushanka Hat ❀ Check it out!

The Only Constant

One of my favorite sayings goes “The only constant is change.”

It reminds me that the live happily in life, you always need to acknowledge the shifting nature of it. If you go along expecting everything to be the same, always resisting when forced to take paths that you didn’t intend, life and it’s transformative progress will seem to be a battle.

One of my other favorite sayings goes “Man plans, god laughs” πŸ˜‰

I’ll be reflecting in this post about what I’ve been doing with Morale Fiber over the past year – it’s more of a diary entry really, collecting my thoughts and tipping you off for what’s on the horizon for my designs!

2020 – Plague Year

It’s obviously been a weird one. In addition to switching my business from part-time to full-time in 2020, just a few months into the year Corona Virus struck and my proximity to at-risk loved ones made self-employment more imperative than usual. Still luckily things are going well, and I created & maintained my schedule for the year which included 6 written patterns, 4 tutorials, 2 brand new free hat patterns, 3 remodeled patterns, and lots more crochet morale boosting!

I’ve got a couple projects/designs in the works to finish off the year’s production list, and I’m now into my normal “holidays” phase of the year, despite the lack of holiday events upcoming (stupid plague).

YouTube Channel (& SALE!!)

One of the biggest efforts I made this year was reaching my goal of monetizing my YouTube Channel, which I’ve been developing as quickly as my creaky, video-hating old bones can manage. But I did make that goal also, thanks to all the watchers & subscribers, so I’m holding a special pattern sale as a thank-you!

All PDF versions of the full-length patterns available on my YouTube Channel (and a few that are all written PDF but have video component tutorials) are ON SALE for 50% off now through November 15 on Ravelry ❀ ❀ Here’s a list of the patterns on sale, linked to Ravelry – use the code “YOUTUBE” at checkout to get the discount!

Patterns on Sale:
Lotus Duster
Gnome Toboggan
Kismet Poncho
Tree of Life
Forest Guide Hat
Feather & Scale Halter
Cobweb Wrap
Elf Coat

Monetizing my YouTube channel will help me continue to bring out free content available to everyone while also giving me the financial support to keep publishing great quality, full-scale written PDF crochet patterns. Another great way to support my art: The Tip Jar!

20th Pixie Belt: Lotus

I realized at some point that the next Pixie Pocket Belt I made would be my 20th, and so I determined to make a really special one. I have been making these unique crocheted utility belts freehand, doing them completely different each time, for a few years now.

I used hand-dyed yarn to create a partial, semi-circular Lotus Mandala – don’t ask me how I did that specifically because I won’t be posting a pattern, sorry! These guys are FrEeFoRm, but I did create a series of tutorial guides for helping people get started making Pixie Pocket Belts of their own, check it out if you like πŸ™‚

After that, I got out my special hand-dyed upcycled fabric given to me by my friend Kate, who had it left over from a studio art project – and it happened to match so well! What I ended up with is a watery, soft, draping train of prismatic lace and tatters, topped with a shimmery white lotus flower circular pocket and soft drawstring bag and toadstool pouch accents.

I put it over another hand-dyed upcycled project of mine, an in-progress rag gown, fit for a water sprite dredged from the bottom of a flowery pond. No mud, no lotus ❀

Elf Coat Expansion

Pretty much as soon as I put down the last touches on the Elf Coat design, I knew I was going to have to pick it up again eventually! One part of the sleeve design always nagged at me, and I did intend to give it pockets eventually – and lo, the flood of requests for Plus Sizes ❀ ❀

As much as I wanted to fulfill these fixes, I needed a break from the Elf Coat, so I took a couple years off to think about things πŸ˜‰ And now I’m back, tackling the first part of the Elf Coat redesign and expansion! The first task is to fix the sleeve bit and to get a pocket option figured out, then update those changes to the already-existing sizes (S-M-L).

Afterward, I design & test the plus sizes! This is exciting and if you’d like to be a part of any of the testing for the new updates, join the Morale Fiber Facebook Group – The MFCA – and keep an eye out for the testing call!

Other Projects & Updates

I’ve got a number of bigger new designs on the horizon, which I’m also going to need help testing πŸ˜‰ None are solid enough yet to list here, but I’ve got a hoard of updatable old patterns and things to occupy myself until things coalesce, of course.

I’m also thinking that this website, moralefiber.blog, really needs a few changes – it’s remained virtually the exact same since I opened it five years ago. Which makes sense, because I’m much more concerned with producing crochet content than updating the way the site looks – but eventually one must try to stay efficient. Hopefully I don’t wreck the way it works in the process!

Meanwhile…

Until Morale Improves, the Crocheting Will Continue ❀

-MF

Simple Market Bag

The latest of my older collection to get a remodel, the Simple Market Bag is ready for the big reveal! New photos and sizes and a great new PDF option: I’ll try to keep the rambling short πŸ˜‰

When this design first debuted on my blog as the Simple Stylish Market Bag, it was one of my first free offerings as I was getting started here. I loved making them from the recycled yarn I pulled out of thrifted cotton sweaters, a technique I describe in this tutorial which was also a keystone post in the Early Days.

I loved revisiting this design and thinking about all the threads of my passion weaving in and out of my life – things come and go as they will. Sometimes I feel like all I can do is be here for it.

You can get the portable, printable, ad-free PDF of this crochet pattern with all the great updates included in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store now! ❀ Thank you ❀ Keep scrolling for the free pattern πŸ™‚

Materials

3.75 crochet hook (or size needed for gauge)
200-500 yards cotton yarn, #2 or #3 weights work best (A good commercial yarn would be Hobbii Azalea, pictured Above Middle: #2 weight, 52% cotton 48% acrylic, 200 g / 874 yds, Color: 10)  I made most of these with recycled cotton yarn, see notes for details.
Scissors and tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Gauge: 3 inches in diameter after Rnd 3 – however, gauge is not critical, see notes section.

Rnd 3 pictured, with measuring tape held across diameter of the first three rounds.

Stitches:

Chain (ch)
Double Crochet (dc)
Slip Stitch (sl st)
Single Crochet (sc)
Half-Double Crochet (hdc) – in this pattern, hdc are used to complete the final chain space of each round of the mesh portion of this design. They are substituted for the final 2 chain stitches – please refer to this free tutorial for the Chain & Stitch Join if you are unfamiliar with this technique.

Double Chain (DCh): A technique that makes loose and flexible foundation chain stitches that are easy to work into. You may substitute normal chaining if you prefer. Full tutorial for the Double Chain free here.

Notes:

This bag is a great project for leftover yarns the follows the reduce, reuse, recycle philosophy! I originally designed this market bag for using recycled yarn from thrifted sweaters: if you are interested in learning to do that, see my full-length tutorial on Morale Fiber Blog.

For a video tutorial on making the twisted fringe into the surface of your bag, see my YouTube Channel video:

This pattern works great with any hook and yarn, so gauge is not critical if you would like to experiment with different yarns and hook sizes to make different sized bags. I have offered a slightly larger option to this pattern to give extra size options! Instructions for large occur in bold, where different from the small.

The chain lengths at the beginning of rounds DO NOT count as the first stitch of the round.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Ch 4. Dc 12 into the 4th ch from the hook, join with a sl st in the first dc. – 12 sts made

Rnd 2: Ch 3. 2 dc in the same stitch. 2 dc in ea of the next 11 sts. Join with a sl stitch to first dc. – 24 sts made

Rnd 3: Ch  3. 1 dc in the same stitch, 2 dc in the next stitch. (1 dc in the next st, 2 dc in the next st) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl st to first dc. – 36 sts made.

Rnd 4: Ch 3. 1 dc in the same stitch, 1 dc in the next stitch, 2 dc in the next stitch. (1 dc in each of the next 2 stitches, 2 dc in the next stitch) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl stitch. – 48 sts made

Rnd 5: Ch 3, 1 dc in the same stitch. 1 dc in each of the next 2 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc in each of the next 3 sts, 2 dc in the next stitch) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl stitch. – 60 sts made

Rnd 6: Ch 3, 1 dc in the same stitch. 1 dc in each of the next 3 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc in each of the next 4 sts, 2 dc in the next stitch) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl stitch. – 72 sts made.

Rnd 7: Ch 3, 1 dc in the same stitch. 1 dc in each of the next 4 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc in each of the next 5 sts, 2 dc in the next stitch) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl stitch. – 84 sts made.

Rnd 8 (larges only): Ch 3, 1 dc in the same stitch. 1 dc in each of the next 5 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc in each of the next 6 sts, 2 dc in the next st) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl stitch. – 96 sts made.

Rnd 9 (larges only): Ch 3, 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in each of the next 6 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc in each of the next 7 sts, 2 dc in the next st) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl stitch. – 108 sts made.

That finishes the solid bottom of the bag. Next the pattern works a round of chain loops to start the mesh portion.

Rnd 8 (10): Sc in the same st as sl stitch join.Β  (Ch 4, skip 2 sts. Sc in the next st) rpt around. Ch 2, hdc in the first sc of the round. This positions your hook in the middle of a ch-4 sized space (see Stitches section under hdc for explanation of this type of join). – 28 (36) ch spaces

Close-up of the hdc stitch worked to close the final loop of the round.

Rnd 9 (11): Sc in the same space, working under the hdc made in the previous round as if it were a part of a chain loop.. (Ch 4, sc in the next ch-4 space) rpt around. Ch 2, hdc in the first sc of the round.

Close up of the first sc of the round, worked directly underneath the hdc just made as if it were a chain space.

Finish the round with the same method, using hdc to substitute the final 2 ch stitches.

Rnds 10-23 (12-25): Rpt Rnd 9 (11)

Add as many extra rounds of (ch 4, sc) mesh here as you would like to get the desired bag dimensions – the next part completes the bag with a single crochet brim and handles.

Rnd 24 (26): Ch 1, 2 Sc in the same ch-4 sized space. 3 sc in ea of the next 27 (35) ch-4 spaces. 1 sc in the next ch-4 space, join with a sl st to the first sc of the round.

Rnds 25-26 (27-28): Ch 1. Sc in the same st as sl st join. 1 sc in each sc around, join with a slip stitch in the 1stΒ sc of the round – 84 (108) sts

You can add extra rounds here for a wider brim if needed.

Rnd 27 (29): Ch 2 to begin a double chain. Double chain 50 (or ch 50 normally if you prefer). Skip Β 22 (28) sts of previous round, sc in the next stitch (this creates a gap between the last round and the double chain of this round, which will become your handle). 1 sc in each of the next 19 (26) sts. Ch 2 to begin a double chain, make 50 double chain stitches (or ch 50 normally if you prefer). Skip 22 (28) stitches of previous round, sc in the next stitch. 1 sc in each of the next 18 (25) sts. Sl st into the base of the handle chain (your first double chain).

You should have 2 evenly placed 50-stitch long chain arcs.

Rnds 28 – 30 (30-32): Ch 1, 1 sc in each st around. Join with a sl st to the first sc of the round.

You may want to add extra rows here for wider handles or add rows to the inner gap of the handles – I like to have fun and experiment with different ways to adorn this part of the bag, with tassels or beads, embroidery, etc!

Cut yarn and weave in the ends using a tapestry needle.

Left: Bag finished with embroidery, Right: Bag finished with twisted fringe (click for link to video tutorial!)

Hope you found this little pattern useful – I love these for gifts especially because I just can’t seem to have enough reusable bags on hand!

I couldn’t resist going full grandmacore in a totally uneccessary dress-up sesh for this pattern makeover – this is the bit at the end where I stick all the extra pictures πŸ™‚

-MF

Gnome Toboggan Video

Just going to keep it short and sweet today, because I’m releasing a brand new full-length video pattern and I’m excited to get to the point!

I wanted to do a video for my free Gnome Toboggan crochet pattern to help provide guidance through some of the trickier parts (like increasing in alternating fpdc/bpdc) and because it’s one of my favorite winter projects πŸ™‚

Find Part 1 and Part 2 below, and be sure to check out the other videos available on my YouTube Channel!

Part 1

Part 2

Hope you enjoy!

-MF

Gnome Toboggan Free Pattern

For years now, the Gnome Toboggan has been my favorite everyday handmade winter hat. I’ve made tons of these squishy babies and I pop them on to keep my ears warm (or my bedhead hidden) for every activity from jogging to errand running to working outdoors.

I originally designed this hat in 2016 but it’s never been a best-seller for me despite it’s versatility and adorable quirkiness. So because I love this hat so much and I want others to love it too, I’m making it a TOTALLY FREE pattern available all right here on this blog page πŸ™‚

The paid PDF version of this pattern has also been redesigned, and now includes all the expanded tutorial photographs, written instructions and how-to’s shown/linked here on this page.

You can get the portable, printable, ad-free version of this crochet pattern in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Store! Or keep scrolling for more details as well as the free pattern instructions πŸ™‚

Oh, and one more thing before we get on to the free hat pattern – Every time I photograph in this green crochet vest I get a bunch of questions as to whether there is a pattern available for it! (I love you guys!!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ ) The answer for now is “Sort of” – It was originally a very early draft of the Embla Vest, but it’s so structurally different that I’m working on creating another pattern for this one specifically. Stay tuned on that!

Materials

1 Skein Lion Brand Scarfie (#5 312yd 150g)
5.50 mm hook (or size needed to obtain gauge)
Scissors & tapestry needle

Gauge: 7 sts and 5 rows = 2” in alternating fpdc/bpdc

5 rows = 2″
7 sts = 2″

Sizes: Adult Small (stretches to fit 20-22” head) Adult Large (stretches to fit 22-24” head) – Pointed or Rounded options included

Notes:

The Ch-2 at the beginning of each round does not count as the first stitch. Sl st joins should be made to the first dc of each round, not the beginning chain. Instructions for small are given in regular type. Instructions for Large are given in bold, where differing.

This hat is easy to modify in several ways. For a more rounded top, follow the alternate instructions in the pattern which skip Round 2. Add or subtract length by adding more or less repeats of the final rows of the pattern. Fun bulky yarns like Bernat Velvet make a great hat too, but watch your tension as those yarns don’t have the same amount of elasticity. Here’s several I’ve made, side by side for comparison (Lion Brand Scarfie on the left with a pointed top, LB Scarfie middle with a rounded top, Bernat Velvet on the right)

Shown above is the pointed top Gnome Toboggan. Shown below is the rounded top Gnome Toboggan.

Stitches:

Magic Ring: An adjustable loop made by creating a special slipknot and then crocheting into it before tightening. Can be replaced by an initial chain stitch +ch-3 to start

Double Crochet (dc)
Front Post Double Crochet / Back Post Double Crochet (fpdc / bpdc):

For a photo tutorial on post stitches, see my full length tutorial blog post here!

Abbreviations:
ch – chain
dc – double crochet
sl st – slip stitch
st/sts – stitch / stitches
rnd – round
rpt – repeat
fpdc – front post double crochet
bpdc – back post double crochet
inc – increase (1 fpdc & 1 bpdc in same stitch)

Instructions

Make Magic Ring.

Rnd 1: Ch 2, 12 dc in to the ring. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round – 12 sts

(If you prefer a more traditional rounded beanie top, skip Rnd 2 entirely.)

Rnd 2: Ch 2,fpdc into the same st as join. (1 bpdc into the next st, 1 fpdc into the next st) 5 times. 1 bpdc into the last st. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round – 12 sts.

Photo tutorial example skips this round.

Rnd 3: Ch 2, fpdc into the same st as join.  (Work 1 bpdc AND 1 fpdc into next st, 1 bpdc into the next st, 1 fpdc AND one bpdc into the next st,* 1 fpdc in the next st) 3 times, ending third repeat at *. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round – 18 sts.

First fpdc/bpdc in the same stitch – increase made.
Inserting hook for next fpdc
Several increases in, Rnd 3 looks a little messy – that’s normal!
Rnd 3 completed

Rnd 4: Ch 2, fpdc into the same st as join. 1 bpdc in the next st. In the next st, work a fpdc AND a bpdc in the same st – inc made. (1 fpdc in the next st, 1 bpdc in the next st, 1fpdc AND 1 bpdc in the next st) 5 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round – 24 sts.

First increase of Rnd 4 made
Rnd 4 finished

Rnd 5: Ch 2, fpdc into the same st as join. 1 bpdc into the same st. (1 fpdc AND bpdc into the next st) 23 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round – 48 sts.

Rnd 5 works increases in every stitch
Rnd 5 completed

Rnd 6: Ch 2, fpdc into the same st as join. 1 bpdc into the next st. (1 fpdc into the next st, 1 bpdc into the next st) 23 times.  Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round – 48 sts.

Rnd 6 works 1 fpdc in every fpdc and 1 bpdc in every bpdc.

Rnd 7-8: Rpt Rnd 6.

After completing Rnd 8.

Rnd 9: Ch 2, fpdc into the same st as join. 1 bpdc in the next st, 1 fpdc into the next st. In the next st, work a bpdc AND a fpdc in the same st. (1 bpdc in the next st, 1 fpdc into the next st, 1 bpdc into the next st. In the next st work 1 fpdc AND 1 bpdc in the same st.* 1 fpdc in the next st, 1 bpdc into the next st, 1 fpdc into the next st. In the next st, work 1 bpdc AND 1 fpdc in the same st) 6 times, ending last repeat at *. Join with a sl st to the first fpdc of the round. – 60 sts

Beginning Rnd 9. Rnd 9 works an increase into every 4th stitch. These increases reverse the established fp/bp dc pattern, so you will sometimes work the post stitch opposite of the one below (fp into bp, for example). This is normal.
Rnd 9 working, some stitches reversed shown
Rnd 9 completed

Rnd 10: Ch 2, fpdc into the same st as join. 1 bpdc into the next st. (1 fpdc into the next st, 1 bpdc into the next st) 29 times. Join with a sl st to the first fpdc of the round.

Rnd 11-12: Rpt Rnd 10.

Gnome Toboggan completed through Rnd 12.

If your hat is not big enough at this point to stretch over your head, proceed with Rnd 13 written in bold below to create a Large size.

Rnd 13: Ch 2, fpdc into the same st as join, 1 bpdc into the next st. 1 fpdc into the next st, 1 bpdc into the next st. In the next st, work 1 fpdc AND 1 bpdc. ( [1 fpdc in the next st, 1 bpdc in the next st] 2 times, work 1 fpdc AND 1 bpdc in the next st) 11 times. – 72 sts

If your hat is still not big enough due to gauge differences, add another row of increases, increasing every 6th stitch, before proceeding.

Rnd 13 places increases every 5th stitch.

Rnds 13-22 (14-23): Ch 2, fpdc into the same st as join. 1 bpdc into the next st. (1 fpdc into the next st, 1 bpdc into the next st) rpt around. Join with a sl st to the first fpdc of the round.

Completed to Rnd 23 – I then added 3 extra rows of non-increasing fp/bp double crochet. You can add as many extra rows here as you like to get the length you want.

Cut yarn and weave in ends.

Now, back to plotting to steal underpants.

-MF

Priestess Coat

Today I am excited to debut my third Tunisian crochet coat design – the Priestess Coat! To be honest, I did not think that I would ever publish a written pattern for this design, the first draft of which appeared in my blog 3 years ago.

It was originally an attempt at a fuller, more feminine coat, based off of my already-existing Shaman Coat written pattern. Deciding that I needed to start from the ground up to get what I really wanted, the redesign eventually led to the Elf Coat, which is totally different in appearance and construction.

First draft of the Priestess Coat pictured, in Lion Brand “Amazing” and Lion Brand “Pelt” yarns

I had posted some pictures of this original draft (above), and linked to them when I talked about the process of dreaming up the Elf Coat, and do you know what? Lots of people actually followed that link, and read the original post, and still wanted a pattern for the first attempt! So many people asked over the years that I decided to go ahead and just finally write a full pattern for that coat as well!

What can I say? I’m a people-pleaser at heart πŸ˜€

With the help of a stellar team of pattern testers, the Priestess Coat design has been written for SIX sizes and includes all the usual bells and whistles – read on for more details or get the pattern directly from my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Pattern Store. Scroll all the way to the bottom to hear about the BIG SALE!

Priestess Coat Tunisian Crochet Pattern

Create a prismatic rainbow robe or a shimmering mantle dark as a raven’s feather with the imaginative Priestess Coat, a full-length Tunisian Crochet pattern written for six sizes (XS-2XL). Expanding on the ideas of my simpler Shaman Coat design, this all-new pattern combines the ease of construction with flattering flair using corset lacing and graceful pointed panels.

You’ll want to find any reason to wear this glorious garment – the monkishly wide, lightly flared sleeves are great for tucking in nippy hands while the hood keeps the neck and head toasty. Easy corset lacing in the back creates structure and adds interest, leading down to the stars of the show – the diamond panels, stitched individually into openings left in the pattern of the main coat!

Though it looks complex, the Priestess Coat is crocheted with just Tunisian Simple Stitch and a few other basic techniques. The pattern includes written instructions for sizes XS-2XL, detailed tutorial photographs, schematics, and how-to’s for all the special stitches needed to create this magical mantle.

The PDF files also include a Tunisian Primer for those that have never worked Tunisian crochet before, and links to my video resources made specifically for my Tunisian coat patterns!

Materials Needed:

Main Hook: 6.50 mm Tunisian hook (or size needed to obtain gauge) – straight Tunisian single ended hook or single-ended Tunisian cabled hook is fine
Border & Laces : 5.50 mm regular crochet hook
Fur Trim: 11.5 mm regular crochet hook
or sizes needed to obtain gauge

Main Yarn: Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball (#4 weight, 150 g / 481 yds, Cotton/Acrylic): 4 (4, 5, 5, 6, 6) skeins, 1900 – 2900 yds total
Accent Yarn: Lion Brand Go for Faux Thick & Quick (#7 weight, 120 g / 24 yd, Polyester): 2-3 skeins (48-72 yds total)
Yarn needle, Tapestry needle, Scissors
Length of Ribbon / Yarn / Fabric (for back lacing)
Buttons or lacing for the front (optional)

Written in English using US crochet terminology.

All my life I’ve loved mythology, history, and fantasy – so of course it comes out in my art, as I express whatever spirit I’m trying to capture in fabric. Whether it’s priestesses and valkyries or shamans and tricksters – I hope it’s a story that empowers people. People tell stories and stories change people; I want to tell the right ones so I can help change the world, even if it’s only a tiny part of it.

So the release of this pattern I’m offering a rare BOGO deal through my Ravelry Pattern Store only – buy the Priestess Coat pattern, get the Shaman Coat pattern for free with the code “STORIES” for the first full WEEK of the new pattern debut (through the end of 10/22). Just put them both in your cart and enter the code during checkout! Since I consider the Shaman Coat the simpler, beginner sister to the Priestess Coat, I wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to access both patterns in case they wanted to practice with the easier one first!


You can also get the 2-pattern Priestess Coat / Shaman Coat bundle in my Etsy Shop and save $2, or save $3 with the 3-pattern bundle which includes the Elf Coat PDF as well. These bundles are everyday deals and aren’t going anywhere! Also, don’t forget about my multi-pattern discount codes – listed in the header of my Etsy Shop and in every paid pattern description in my Ravelry Store:

Pattern Store Discount Codes:
15% off of 2: MF15OFF
20% off of 3-4: MF20OFF
25% off of 5-6: MF25OFF
30% off of 7: MF30OFF

I say this a lot but I could never do my art without those that buy from me and support me, so THANK YOU!! From the bottom of my heart – and stay tuned because my gratitude is alchemically turned into more patterns for you! πŸ˜‰ ❀

-MF

Some costume credits go to two of my favorite shops! The comfy stretch knit dark blue dress I’m wearing is the Fit & Flair dress from Elven Forest Creations on Etsy.

The gorgeous Luna Moth hair clip is from The Forest Fae, find their Etsy shop here.

I highly recommend both shops!

P.S – My brother once asked (in actual curiosity) what I did for my business besides twirl around in fields. πŸ˜€ The answer is A LOT of different stuff – geometry and math and accounting and graphic design and writing and editing and troubleshooting – the twirling is only about 5% of it. But MAN it is the best 5%!