Post Stitch Ribbing Tutorial

I LOVE post stitches. Whether in the context of ribbing, overlay crochet,  or the ever-popular crocodile stitch, I think post stitching is one of the most versatile and useful tricks in the crocheter’s arsenal.

Post stitching can create a number of looks that are completely unique to crochet, but I often rely on the simple alternation of front post double crochet (fpdc) and back post double crochet (bpdc) to make ribbing on my pieces. This fpdc/bpdc rib mimics the look of knit, but it also lends some handy characteristics to the fabric – an elasticity and a squishy density you won’t get with regular crochet!

PostStitchPinstructional1 Just like knit, fpdc/bpdc ribbing is great for the ends of sweater sleeves, boot toppers, the brims of hats, or anywhere you want a great combination of texture and stretchiness. I’m a fan of doing whole pieces with post stitch rib in bulky yarn just for the squishy joy of it.

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SQUISHY JOY. These are hats made from my Gnome Toboggan design, a post stitch beanie with a pointy poofball profile.

Here’s a tutorial for fpdc/bpdc rib – earlier versions of this tutorial have appeared in a number of my paid patterns, but I swiped the pictures for this particular tutorial from the Boho Fringe Poncho pattern, since the bulky yarn makes things a little easier to see.

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Front Post Double Crochet / Back Post Double Crochet Tutorial

As the name suggest, this stitch is worked into the “post” of the stitch below, rather than into the top loops.

To start, you’ll need an even number of stitches (divisible by 2) on whatever it is you are adding the ribbed edge to. You can do this with any size yarn or hook.

Create 1 row/rnd of traditional double crochet, made the through the top loops of the stitches below as normal. Do not count the beginning chain as your first stitch. If you are adding ribbing onto a row/rnd that is already regular double crochet, you can skip this step.

Ch 2 or 3 to start the next row/rnd. This beginning chain does not count as your first stitch.

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Normally, ch-3 is the  beginning chain equivalent of a double crochet. I like to chain 2 instead of the traditional 3 because post stitches are a little shorter than regular crochet stitches, so the ch-2 just looks neater to me (but the pictures show the traditional ch-3). 

To begin the first front post double crochet, yarn over once as for traditional dc. Instead of inserting your hook into the top loops of the stitch to be worked, you will insert your hook from the front of the work (on the right side) to the back (the wrong side) beside the next stitch to be worked.

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In the top photo, the “post” of the stitch to be worked is highlighted.

Next, re-emerge the hook from back to front on the other side of the stitch to be worked. Your hook should be positioned across the front of the work, with the post caught over the top of your hook.

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Please forgive the state of my nails 😛 I’ve never been one for manicures.

Yarn over and draw a loop up from under the post of the stitch that you had on the hook. You will now have 2 loops on the hook – your second loop will be wrapped around the post.

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Yarn over and draw through 2 loops on the hook. Yarn over once more and draw through the last 2 loops on the hook, completing one front post double crochet.

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Easy, right? Good news! The back post double is almost exactly the same thing, except, you know, on the back. To continue your ribbing, yarn over.

Insert your hook from the back of the work (the wrong side) to the front of the work (the right side) beside the next stitch to be worked.

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Re-emerge the hook on the back side of the work (the wrong side) on the other side of the stitch being worked. Your hook should be positioned across the back of your work, with the post of the next stitch caught over the top.

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Yarn over and draw up a loop from under the post of the stitch you had on the hook.

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Yarn over and draw through 2 loops on the hook, then YO and draw through 2 loops again, completing the bpdc.

Continue to alternate fpdc and bpdc. I like to do 1 fpdc / 1 bpdc, but you could easily make thicker ribs by alternating 2 fpdc / 2 bpdc or more (but don’t forget this will change the required number of base stitches!)

The front post stitches appear as a raised stitch on the front of the work, while the back post stitches appear raised on the back and only show up as receding lines on the front.

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This fabric is reversible – if you are working in rows and not rounds, when you turn for the next row, the back post double crochets will become the front post double crochets – simply fpdc into each fpdc (the stitches that are now sticking out) and bpdc into each bpdc (the receding stitches).

It takes a few rows/rnds of post stitch rib for the texture to really solidify and get the crisp look and useful stretch – so if yours isn’t looking quite right yet, keep going for a few more!

Of course, post stitches can be worked with any length of crochet stitch – sc, hdc, dc, tr, etc – the smaller your stitches the stiffer your fabric will be, and taller stitches will be looser of course. Here’s some patterns I’ve made using this technique; hope you enjoy!

-MF

(Right to left) Gnome Toboggan – paid, Boho Fringe Poncho – paid, Mini Mandala Tam – paid, Post Stitch Pixie Bonnet – FREE, Leafy Tam – FREE, Woodsman’s Wife Ruana – paid, Steampunk Ruffled Wristers – FREE

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Glow-in-the-Dark Mushroom Free Pattern

Welcome to day two of the Halloween Special! Day one featured a handspun pumpkin (handspunpkin?) which was more of a description than an actual tutorial, but today you’ll never guess what I’ve got here.

It’s glow-in-the-dark. It’s a mushroom. It’s a FREE PATTERN!

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This spooky fungus is cute and quick and has a little secret pouch inside the hollow stem, covered by the moveable cap that is strung on the chain loop band.

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The glow-in-the-dark yarn I use here is awesome, from a company called Gert’s Glow House. They don’t always have it in stock though, so you might have to range afar to find it. Since gauge isn’t critical on this project, you can also easily substitute other glow or neon yarns if you can’t get that exact type.

FUN FACT: There is a species of mushroom called the Jack-o’-Lantern Mushroom (Omphalotus olearius) that really does glow in the dark! That’s what I named these little pockets after 🙂

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Jack-o’-Lantern Mushroom Pouch

Materials:
3.75 mm hook
Gert’s Glow House Glow-in-the-Dark Yarn (50 g, 4-ply fingering weight) – 1 skein
Tapestry needle & scissors
Stitch Marker

Gauge is not critical

Notes:
Pattern uses 2 strands of yarn held together, so you will need to either split your skein in half, work from both ends, or use 2 skeins

Rounds are worked continuously without joining, so mark the first stitch of each round with a marker to keep track.

Helpful Tutorials: 
Magic Ring, Back Loop Only

Stem:

To begin, take 2 strands and make a Magic Ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc into the ring. Pull the ring closed tightly. – 6 sts
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each of the next 6 sc. – 12 sts
Rnd 3: Working in the back loop only, 1 sc in ea of the next 12 sts. – 12 sts
Rnds 4 -13: Work in both loops, 1 sc in ea of the next 12 sts. – 12 sts

You can add extra rounds here if you want a longer stem!

Rnd 14: Sl st in the next 2 sts. Ch 100 and join with a sl st on the opposite side of the round. Sl st in the next 2 sts to secure. Cut yarn and tie off.

Cap:

To begin, make Magic Ring
Rnd 1: 10 sc into the ring. Pull the ring closed, but not tightly – there should be a circle left open big enough to get your hook through later. -10 sts
Rnd 2: *1 sc in the next st, 2 sc in the next st.  Repeat from * around. – 15 sts
Rnds 3-4: 1 sc in ea of the next 15 sts. – 15 sts
Rnd 5: *1 sc in ea of the next 2 sts, 2 sc in the next st. Rpt from * around. – 20 sts
Rnds 6-7: 1 sc in ea of the next 20 sts. – 20 sts
Rnd 8: Sl st in ea st around. Cut yarn and fasten off.

Insert hook from the top of the cap to the underside and catch the 100-st long chain you made for the stem. Pull the chain through so that the cap fits over the top of the stem.

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Tighten the hole at the top of the cap to the tension you like (remember you still want the cap to be able to move up and down the chain).

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Weave in all ends.

To get a really good glow going, leave your new Jack-o’-lantern mushroom on the windowsill to charge in the sunlight (or moonlight).

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The glowing in this picture is enhanced by my camera exposure setting, but still, they’re pretty dang glowy.

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These are so handy for carrying pocket money, chapstick, pretty rocks, etc… or just for looking cuter than heck.

-MF

Halloween Special: Crochet Pumpkin

Um, Halloween is amazing. It’s like Christmas for the spooky kids. It’s like Thanksgiving for the sweet tooth crowd. And most importantly ITS AN EXCUSE FOR ADULTS TO PLAY DRESS UP.

Also, have you disemboweled a gourd recently? Satisfying.

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Chaston’s bat carving from last year

Armed with some bright orange handspun yarn I had stashed, I decided to finally make a crochet pumpkin with it! I found several good guides –

The Fairy Tale Pumpkin pattern from Crochet Dynamite I used to get started, though I mostly freeform stitched using sc and hdc to enhance the bumpy surface of the handspun. I wanted it to look warty, like an heirloom variety, so I decided to turn the wrong side outward to make it even bumpier!

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I started with a Magic Circle and a base of 6 sc worked continuously in the round, then just freeform added the increases. I didn’t count exactly but I payed attention to make sure there were more increases than necessary, to give the sides of the pumpkin room to fold and form those characteristic pumpkin ridges later.

Once the base was big enough, I worked in non-increasing rounds to form the sides of the pumpkin, then freeform decreases to close up the top. It was kind of a guessing game, as I didn’t have very much of that yarn! Fortunately I came to the end with a little to spare.

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Next, I tucked in the yarn tails and stuffed that fella! Be careful not to overstuff – I had to go back and pull some out later so that I could make better ridges. You’ll want it to have some give, more than for normal amigurumi.

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Too much :/

I tried the technique from the Fairy Tale pumpkin pattern to do the ridges, but unfortunately my yarn was just too thick and stubborn to thread the yarn through the actual stitches. Instead I used a hybrid version of this pumpkin shaping technique from Itsy Bitsy Spider Crochet, but I threaded my yarn through the center of the pumpkin (in through the center top and out through the center of the base) as per the Fairy Tale instructions. Worked awesome in my opinion!

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After I finished up the main part, I made a little stem using the front post / back post technique suggested for the Fairy Tale pumpkin, but widened the base and stuffed it just a little. The yarn I used is a naturally dark brown alpaca fiber! Super soft.

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But why stop there? I had some green handspun too, so I grabbed it and chained a length for the vines, and worked 2 sc in each ch st back across to make it a little curly. As you can see I stopped periodically to make some quirky leaves (I have a tutorial for those here!) Then, I sewed the vine onto the top to complete my glorious gourd.

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I’m especially attached to it- I rarely get to make things that are entirely hand spun. The orange yarn in particular is one of the first that I had dyed and spun myself a few years ago – I always knew it needed to be a pumpkin, and now it finally is! Satisfying.

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with sneaky hedgehog fren!

Stay tuned because this Halloween Special is actually a two-parter! I’ve got more spooky knicknacks on the way 😉

-MF

Where did September go?

Hmmm… I seem to be missing almost a whole month! Yikes. But that means we’re that much closer to October, which is my favorite (but don’t tell September). Luckily I have been holding out on some projects from earlier in the semester when I wasn’t as busy, so that I’d at least have something to post 😛

First though, how about a li’l sale? I’ve got $1 off my Boho Fringe Poncho pattern through Ravelry until the end of the month with the coupon code “CHUNKY”! This pattern uses 800-900 yards of Super Bulky yarn and you get a nice fat statement piece at the end – looks awesome paired with ripped jeans, flannel shirts, your favorite fall boots, or layered over heavier winter coats.

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Next up is a project that I worked on all summer that is based off of my Shaman Coat Tunisian crochet pattern. Though it mostly turned out the way that I envisioned, I had to do some inventive wrangling to get it there – such as adding the slip stitch “boning” up the back and then threading in corset style ties.

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I wanted to take the basic Shaman coat and create a fuller A-line silhouette by leaving spaces between the rows so that I could go back in and create diamond shaped panels using Tunisian decreases to add OOMPH. Unfortunately the paneling portion fell just a bit too far below the waist on my first try, which is why I added that slip stitch faux boning (fauxning?)

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I also lengthened the sleeves so that they were full length instead of 3/4, and added Lion Brand Pelt faux fur yarn all around the trim.

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Finally, I put in horn-shaped toggle fasteners on so the garment could be buttoned down the length of the front. I ALMOST added pockets but I decided that could wait until my next try.

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I’m pretty sure I want to explore this design more, and I have several potential tweaks in mind, but it might be a while because this glorious thing took 18 skeins of Lion Brand Amazing and 6 skeins of LB Pelt and goodness knows how many hours of stitching 😛 So I will let my ideas percolate away on the back burner for now – but I am pretty happy with this attempt at any rate!

-MF

 

 

Sylphie Dragon Hat Pattern Update

Sooooo I’ve been a huge fantasy nerd pretty much my whole life –  its no surprise that I joined in on the hysteria and got involved watching Game of Thrones a few years ago. Having recently made it through the 7th season without having a major coronary, I decided to celebrate by making some more dragons hats from my Sylphie Crocodile Stitch Hat pattern.

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While making the hats, I realized that the pattern file could use a little update, and the ears for the adult size could use one more row… and why not take a new round a pictures, with a little more zazz!

The updated PDF file is now available on Etsy and Ravelry for the ol’ usual 5.50 USD 🙂 If you’ve already bought it, you should be able to access the new file through your purchase/download history.

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DEETS:

5.00 mm Hook, 3.75 mm Hook (optional, for horns)
#5 weight yarn (For Adult Sizes)
#4 weight yarn (For Child & Baby Sizes)
Scissors & tapestry needle
Small bit of polyester fiberfill (optional, for horns)
Written in US crochet terminology

The whimsical crocodile stitch – with its 3-D look akin to scales, petals, leaves, or even berries – easily captures people’s hearts and imaginations. The Sylphie Crocodile Stitch Hat is as versatile as it is charming, so stitch one up and get transported into the realm of the flower-bedecked wee folk or impish and troublesome swamp dragons!

Even if you’ve never worked crocodile stitch, this pattern is easy to follow with detailed instructions including photo tutorials, charts, and step-by-step written directions. 3 sizes and directions for earflaps, braids, and dragon horns are all included!

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Had fun using my backdrops for this – the leaves kind of look like flames. Dracarys!

– MF

Summer Wrap Up!

Woah – tomorrow is already the start of the new fall semester, so I’m squeaking this year’s end-of-summer post in tonight so I can talk about a few projects I hadn’t mentioned/photographed/finished previous to now.

First, probably one of my favorite things I’ve ever made:

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That’s an ultra-floral retro fringed keyhole collar poncho of awesomeness right there in case you were wondering I started by making a longer version of the Freewheelin’ Poncho, a paid pattern I designed last fall. My goal started as just using up odds and ends yarn, but I’ve been wanting to make a floral poncho and the scarlet reds seemed so pretty next to the navy blue I couldn’t resist! The retro roses are stitched directly onto the mesh using post stitch and slip stitching techniques.

Plus, that keyhole collar doubles as a shoulder cut-out if you wear the poncho lengthwise.

Also: This amazing patchwork skirt pattern from Wendy Kay on Etsy. I bought an assortment of cotton lawn, a lightweight fabric perfect for summer skirts, in paisley prints and floral (are you noticing a pattern here)..

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That one was fun to make (and spin around in).  In fact, it was so fun to make that I immediately started another patchwork project, using a modified version of the patchwork template from Wendy’s pattern.

A little background here – One fiber art fashion hero of mine is the lady behind Majik Horse & the 7 Magicians Clothing Company. Although it looks as though she doesn’t make those crazy awesome coats anymore, I always fall in love with any picture I see of her amazing work. I’ve been dying to create a coat in that style, and I’ve had a sweet little jacket tucked away waiting, and happened to have some fabrics that would match… and some GIANT vintage fur cuffs and collar that I rescued from an otherwise ugly coat.

So this was born.

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I’ve been calling it the Frankencoat but I think it needs a better name 😉 These photos are sorta blurry, but they’ll have to do for now. I added my favorite GIANT belt and a 25-yd skirt underneath. Kind of calls for a tophat and goggles, I think.

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And some without the skirt underneath – it’s still pretty full!
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I like to squeeze in “unscripted” projects periodically – things that I hadn’t planned for or decided exactly what I wanted them to be. This Starry sweater was originally just stashbusting, but then I was inspired by the floral poncho to try another crochet applique piece.

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My favorite free-form, unplanned exercise of course is the pixie pocket belts with the tattered skirts – this one I finished up recently using handdyed handspun wool/silk blend yarn, knit into a sash then crocheted at the edges.

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You’ll have to forgive the photo quality for this post – I was mid organizational spree so I only had time for this little blurb! 🙂 As always, more to come.

-MF

Fiber Review: Polworth Tussah!

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about spinning here, but not because there’s been a lack of spinning – most of it has been powering through giant piles of alpaca because, after I finished the first batch I had ordered from Alpaca Direct, I ordered more 😛

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I plan on coloring the copious amounts of natural white handspun with some liquid natural dye extracts at some point – but it’s been a busy busy summer. More on that later.

At any rate, the fiber I’m talking about today is the Polworth Tussah 60/40 blend that I dyed last year – the other half of the braid I worked with PLUS a big booty 6.75 oz braid of the same colourway are both available (separately) in my Etsy shop.

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The braid I split to spin half – “Celtic Teatime” Polwarth Tussah 60/40

Polwarth is a breed with wool that has a long staple length and a fine fiber around 23 microns. Combined with Tussah, or wild silk, which is also fine, soft, and lengthy in the staple department, what struck me about spinning this fiber was how EASY it was.

As I’ve mentioned before, the long staple length of 100% Tussah silk is balanced by how slippery the fiber is, making it easy to spin but also very easy to lose control of, resulting in lots of rejoining. The combination with Polwarth, which like all wools has more “traction”, totally solves this problem.

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The 2.25 oz skein set on a backdrop of way too much alpaca yarn

I opted to spin this fiber as a 1-ply thick & thin slubby style. Silk always makes dyes look just amazing, retaining vibrant color and sheen, so I wanted to keep the focus on the colors by not plying them against another strand and possibly muddying their appearance.

This was where the fibers’ shared virtues came in handy – I don’t think I had to rejoin that single ply once the entire length! Very handy, and since I was aiming for primitive looking, I spun it at top speeds. Done in under an hour – awesome.

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The silk gives this yarn strength and definition and the wool makes it pillowy soft with a slight fuzzy halo. I plan on using this yarn for another crazy pixie belt – prepare for cuteness!

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Here’s some of the elements of said pixie belt so far – both the mushroom pouch and the shamrock pouch also have handspun in them – you just can’t beat it for giving your projects a totally unique look.

-MF