Time and Tied

My ideas have seemed a bit dammed up lately, to be honest. Not for lack of inspiration, and not even for lack of time  – okay, maybe a little bit for lack of time. Even though I have tons of time to work on crochet et cetera, it never seems to be enough for the amount of things I want to do and create. And, as many creative types know, the more you create the more inspiration you get, and so you are doomed because you cannot possibly ever keep up because the harder you work the more ideas you’ll have.

At least, that’s what it’s like for me.

But I don’t mind things feeling a little tied up, because my experience has been that in matters of creativity it’s best to let things come to you when the time is right.

For instance, my giant bag of orphan yarn has contained, for several years now, balls of recycled yarn from scads of thrift store sweaters. I used a bit here and there, but no project seemed to be eager to fit the bill for the sheer quantity of recycled yarn in this particular weight (usually the sweater yarn I get is somewhere between lace weight and sport weight).

That is, until I just accidentally decided to use some of it in the free pattern for the  Lotus Mandala Duster I made recently based off of my original Lotus mandala motif. Suddenly a whole new world of possibility opened up for these former sweaters! In between the actual pattern writing for my paid patterns and working on my stash of art yarns and hand dyed wool roving, I busted hook to do as the yarn commanded.


And so out came the “Emmy Lou” duster jacket, made primarily out of recycled sweater yarn but also featuring a good bit of yarn that I spun myself (see this post for more info on that handspun).


I haven’t gotten pictures of it on an actual person yet because I couldn’t wait 😉

In addition to the pattern being free (you can find it on this blog post), I also wrote an extensive, somewhat insanely detailed tutorial last year on how to reclaim yarn from thrift store sweaters, which can be found in three parts:

Everything You Need to Know to Start Recycling Sweater Yarn:

Recycling Sweater Yarn cover

Getting Started and Breaking In V. 1

Breaking In V.2

Unraveling & Finishing

Naturally, before I have even made much of a dent in my stash of previously reclaimed sweater yarns, I ran out and picked up these misty-hued beauties from the thrift store for a future recycled sweater lace duster. I didn’t mean to, I swear. I was looking for summer clothes at the time.


Of course, I have to wait until some of the dam of ideas I have sifting around in my head find their proper place in new patterns and tutorials before I can wail away on more recycled sweaters. I guess the moral of the story (not to be confused with the morale of the story) is that everything has to come in its own good time. So, if you are like me and experience the pangs of creative blockage from time to time, don’t stress. Someday you may find your patience amply paid for when your ideas find the right vehicle and you realize that’s what you were waiting for all along <3



46 thoughts on “Time and Tied

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      1. Sorry, couldn’t find comment box. I want to make this for my 8 yr old granddaughter how do I cut the pattern down? This is just so beautiful. There are tons of patterns for toddlers and adults but not for six to 13 or even 15 year olds. Thank you so very much.

  1. omg I love this one…now if only I had an unraveling fairy (that also recycles denim) to process the piles of sweaters and jeans I have stacked way up…we would be in.business in no time lol

    this this one’s gonna go on my list of “to do’s” love it!

  2. Thanks for your generous sharing ! Enjoying your style so much I’m happy, you’re coming up with new ideas. Only looking at your colour combinations is such a joy. Blessings !

  3. Oh please tell me there is a pattern for the Emmy Lou I’m so,so in love w/ruffles & have been looking for a pattern like this for 2yrs, please, please help. Thank you for being here ♡♡♡♡♡

      1. Did you use the pattern for the “Stevie” and just make modifications for this beauty? I LOVE the big ruffles and I’d love to know how to make them if they’re different. These vests are so gorgeous if I could stock my closet with one in every color I totally would.

      2. Thanks! And yes indeed! This one is the same pattern as the Stevie duster, but the only place I modified the pattern were the sleeves. The bigger ruffles on the outer edge of the mandala are a result of the yarn being bulkier (I think it was closer to worsted weight than sport or DK – but it was recycled so it was hard to tell). So if you decide to make it and want big ruffles, use a heavier yarn on the outside than the one used on the inside of the circle!

  4. Hi Alex,
    Just found this site. I am in love with the Emmy Lou Duster.
    I cannot find the pattern for it. I must have overlooked it, could you please post a link?

    1. Hi Gwen! The Emmy Lou duster is almost exactly the same as the pattern for the Stevie duster, which can be found here for free:

      The only thing different about the Emmy Lou, besides using different yarn, is the sleeve shape is modified to be a little less ruffle-y by skipping the extra increases in Steps 5 & 6 and just working even rounds. Glad you like it 😀

    1. The ruffles are partially the result of extra increasing around the circular pattern, and unfortunately this pattern has lots of increasing at different points on the outer circle. However, since this garment is a circle and the human body is not, any circular pattern (even if you work it without increasing more than you need to) is going to ruffle some when it drapes over the form.

      The best advice I could offer to reduce ruffling would be to alter the pattern so that it stops increasing as much after the armholes, and just sticks to working a flat circle.

  5. Is the Emmy Lou Duster jacket pattern the same as the Mandela Duster jacket pattern?? If not, how do I get the Emmy Lou pattern??

  6. I would really like the pattern for the white mandala duster. I cannot find it on ravelry or Pinterest. If u could show me where it may be I would really appreciate it. Thanks for your help.

  7. Could you please send me the pattern for the Emmy Lou sweater. For some reason I didn’t find the link.

  8. Sorry I don’t see a link for the pattern for the “Emmylou Duster”. I would really love to try to make this. Where can I get a pattern that is written and not diagram, please? Thanks

    1. Hi Patricia! Somehow I missed your comment until now – sorry for the lateness of my reply!
      Here’s a quick guide for increasing up from a Large:
      Extra Rounds 13.1 & 13.2 – Add extra rounds here in pattern, such that Rnds 13.3 & 13.4 have increases in the 26th st and 27th st repectively, adding as many rounds as you want as long as you stay in pattern with the increases

      Extra Rounds 17. 1 & 20.1 – each of these rounds can be repeated as written, but only a limited amount of times before the circle stops laying flat because there are no increases in these rounds.

      Extra Rnd 31.1 – can be repeated a few times

      Sleeves Step 1 – can work 4 dc’s to each ch space in the sleeve instead of 3 (as for Large), keep number of dc’s in the chain stitches the same

      Armhole Placement – You may want to adjust depending on your back measurement – measure between your shoulderblades for a tighter fit or from armpit to armpit for looser fit. This should match the measurement between the two sleeve yokes (armholes) on the piece – there are notes in the pattern for how to handle custom fit armholes.

      It can also be helpful to add extra rounds to the part of the garment that is worked only on the top half (Rows 35 & 36) so that you are adding length to the top and sides only (to keep it from getting too long)

      Hopefully that is helpful 🙂

  9. I love the lotus mandala vest. The armholes seem to big for m=l. My question is separate how dp I make this for very large ewoman?

    1. Yes, the armholes on the vest are large, they are meant to be more of a “free size” for the garment, not a fitted size. You can definitely size up the garment by adding more chain stitches to the armholes and skipping more stitches on the armholes, and places them further apart if necessary 🙂

  10. I absolutely Love it!! 😍 😍 And although you’ve possibly named it after EmmyLou Harris(?), I’m Emmilou as well.
    Thanks so much for showing us your beautiful creation… 😁 😁

  11. I’ve already made two and have started a third. all are in different colors and I love them. I kind of have an obsession with circular cardigans. I started crocheting when I was eight and now I’m eighteen and still can’t stop. I crochet when I should be doing homework, but I still do fine in school, so it’s okay. Thank you for this pattern. I really enjoy making it, obviously. I have three and will probably end up with more.
    One question though, my cousin saw me wearing this duster and asked for one. I explained that it would be too big for her eight year old self and her response was, “I’ll grow into it!!” I could tell that she really wanted one but I have no idea how to make the pattern smaller without completely messing it up. any suggestions would be a great help.
    Thanks again for a beautiful pattern that can be worn all year round without too many hiccups.
    And Bonnie, this pattern isn’t complicated at all, but maybe I’m wrong. Just try it out. Again, I’ve been crocheting since I was eight years old, so I’ve gained a bit of experience in that time and I’ve learned that not all patterns are written the same way. Not to say that this pattern is written badly. It’s not. But I’ve made some items from very frustrating patterns in my day.

    1. Hi Crystal, thanks for your kind words! I am so glad you like the pattern and have gotten such enjoyment out of it. Unfortunately, I can’t offer a lot of advice as far as making this pattern for children, since I have never tried it before – the best solution I can offer is to make it with a smaller hook and smaller yarn, and/or try to move the armholes to an earlier round in the mandala pattern to size it down! 🙂

  12. Hi. I seem to be unable to find the pattern for this sweater. I’m also curious about what kind of yardage I’ll need to make it.

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