Lotus Mandala Vest FAQ

Hi everyone! There’s been a recent surge in popularity of the freeย Lotus Mandala Vest pattern I designed last summer and I’ve been getting a lot of questions so I wanted to post this quick little FAQ. I have done my best to get back to everyone who ย had questions (let me know if I missed you!) and I am SOOOO STOKED that you all like it so much!

Lotus Mandala Vest FAQ

Where can I get a printable PDF of this pattern?:

There is now a PDF version of this pattern, as well as a low-image printer-friendly version, available through Ravelry and Etsy. Check out the details on this blog post.

Is there a video tutorial for this pattern?:

Yes! Fellow blogger Cynthialoowho volunteered to create a video tutorial for this pattern and it is now available on her Youtube channel here.ย Big thanks to her for providing this video for everyone who was asking for one ๐Ÿ˜€
*** EDIT: I have been told that the video directions differ from my written directions at certain points – which is fine and many people have used the video successfully – however PLEASE be aware that if you work from the video pattern, you need to direct your questions to Cynthia as I may not be able to answer them for this reason***

What size does this pattern fit?:

I designed this vest to have a very loose fit, with wide armholes placed 15″ apart across the back (relaxed). The diameter across the portion of the vest with armholes is 45″. The lovely Arika is shown modeling the vest in the pictures above, and it comfortably fits her with a bust of 41″, ย and a shoulder width measurement of 16″. Hopefully that gives a more accurate depiction of the sizing!

How do I make the vest bigger?:

There are several good strategies for sizing up on this pattern – and although I don’t have an exact pattern for different specific measurements, I can offer a few tips gathered from my own experience and what others have suggested:
– Make sure to take the measurement between the shoulders for the person who will be wearing it! This is how far apart to place the armholes. Smaller sizes will place the armholes closer together, larger will generally place them farther apart.
– For bigger sizes, you will probably want to add extra repeats of Rnd 29, to make sure there is a wide enough edge for the garment to drape and ruffle proportionately.
-It’s also an option to add additional rows just before the armhole round.
-You can increase the size of the armholes by simply chaining more per armhole (your stitch counts will be different, but as long as you just repeat the main pattern around, you should be good), but be sure to skip more stitches on the round below if you do.

How do I make this vest smaller/child size?:

This depends on how small you want the pattern to be. For a smaller adult/teen size, placing the armholes closer together will size the vest down, and you can also size down by using a smaller yarn weight (such as a #2 weight instead of a #4 weight) and smaller hook. However, I can’t say how well this design will work for very small children as I have not tried it. The central “lotus” motif to this vest is fairly large and might not sit well on a much smaller body – When asked about making it in child size I generally refer people to the great free pattern Ring Around the Rosie Vest from The Lavender Chair, which is similar in style and written specifically for the wee ones.

Where can I buy this vest?:

I’m not currently making these for sale, but there are some great shops on Etsy that I have seen selling this design if you search around. Fiona of MadeForYOUbyFiย on Etsy has several beautiful pieces made from this pattern and has generously offered a 15% off discount of orders over $50 when you use my special code “MORALE”!

~*~

That’s it for now! I will post more common questions if they come up. Thanks so much everyone for your support!

-MF

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Batty Kitty Sweater (Rar!)

So you know that feeling when you live in the Midwest in January and you don’t see the sun for like three weeks? And the sky just sort of spits rain on you constantly and everything is soggy and gray everywhere you look every day? Okay, maybe you don’t know that feeling, but I definitely do.

For me it’s a feeling of being morose and unmotivated and (apparently) listening to a lot of The Smiths while huddled in bed freezing because it’s really expensive to heat my cheaply constructed apartment. Clearly the only answer is a big, cocoon-like sweater, decked out with a hood and a front pocket so as much of you can disappear into it as possible!

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The Patient Photographer got me a home photo studio and a set of funky backdrops as a gift! And of course, one of them was a big fat moon because he knows me.

This started out as a project to test the waters for a design I had in mind, but it kind of grew up to be its own thing as it went along – and it grew cat ears, too! Probably as a result of loving on so many people’s pink kitty hats recently. I also wanted to try out the trendy batwing / dolman sleeve / box sweater style, so I guess it could be a bat sweater too if spooky-cute animals are your thing (I freaking love bats).

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No pattern for this baby, but I AM working on a new pattern design even though I am WAY behind schedule on it, because this semester is already killing me.

I CAN tell you that I did use 10 skeins of Jo-Ann Fabric’s brand Buttercream in Angel Hair, and it’s THE. SOFTEST. Combined with a 9.00 mm hook, this project was fast enough to do off the cuff in between homework, and since I was winging (ha) it, I no have to use me brain much. Which is good because it not work right.

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Rar?

-MF

Tribal T-shirt Fringe Choker

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Sometimes I have to burn off my excess creative energy by doing something I can finish quickly! These wild textile jewelry pieces fit the bill, especially since I’ve been trying to clean my shamefully stuffed craft storage and shredding stockpiled t-shirts is a pretty effective method for me to do that.

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This tutorial is a guide for the refashion-centric among us, and you don’t even really need to be able to crochet to make it! Only the simplest crochet stitch, the chain stitch, is necessary. It’s explained here for those who don’t know how.

There are lots of different methods for cutting t-shirt yarn, and you don’t have to cut yours the same way as shown here, but this method is featured because you can use t-shirts with lots of seams (ex: Women’s fitted t-shirts). Of course, if you want to save yourself the trouble, you could just buy some commercially produced t-shirt yarn instead!

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Materials:
1 Jersey knit cotton t-shirt, plain
9.00 mm crochet hook
Scissors

Step 1: Lay out your T-shirt and cut up the side seams ย on both sides of the front and across the top. It’s okay to cut a little wonky to get extra material from the bust area below the collar, but I’ve found it’s best to keep in GENERALLY rectangle shaped.

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Step 2: Beginning with your wonky – cut side (or any side if you don’t have one) start cutting a strip about an inch in width. The goal is a thin-ish strand once you stretch the material. It can be a little more or a little less than an inch depending on the material, but be careful because if it’s too thin, it’ll break when stretched. Leave your strip attached by about an inch of uncut material.

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Step 3: Flip your t-shirt piece around and cut ย about an inch to the opposite side of the uncut end. Do this 3 or 4 more times to get ย a long uncut strand (for a small size) or 2-3 more times for larger t-shirts. It’s better to have more than you need than not enough, and in fact you could cut the entire piece of t-shirt material this way, but I don’t like to because cutting this way leaves tabs. Speaking of which….

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Step 4: Once you’ve got your long piece, start gently stretching your strip to curl the material to make it round and yarn-like. Use a light touch at first! Now, to deal with those tabs created by zigzagging the material. Take your scissors and round those babies off, then stretch them a little more (be careful here – rounding the corners makes the fabric thin and therefore weak to stretching). Still a little messy, but stitching will mask that.

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Step 5: Set your long strip aside – I had almost 3 yards. Now lay out your remaining rectangle of t-shirt fabric and get one inch strips straight across, shearing them completely from the main fabric so that they are individual strips. Stretch each of these strips. For a standard amount of fringe, you’ll want to have 23-26 strips, so use cut out the back piece of the t-shirt and use it for more short strips if you have to.

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If you are using commercial yarn or a continuous strip in this step, cut your strands to DOUBLE the length you want your fringe to be.

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Step 6: Grab your hook and your long strand. Leaving a tail of yarn about 10″ long, create a slipknot loop. With your hook in the loop, grab the long end of your yarn with the hook and pull it through the loop, leaving your hook in the middle of the new loop. One chain stitch made.

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Repeat until you have 25-ish chain stitches, or however long you need your chain to be to fit your neck. If you’re feeling adventurous, try using the Double Chain techniqueย instead of the regular chain. I like to use this on the fringe chokers because it helps them lie flatter around the collarbone.

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Once you’ve completed your stitches, tie off (i.e – pull the rest of your strip out through the last loop), and leave a 10″ tail when cutting off excess yarn. If you complete your required stitches but don’t have a 10 inch tail left over, just tie it off for now. We can use a short strip to attach an adequate length of tie later.

Step 7: Finally! Fringing time! Lay out your chain. Grab some of your short t-shirt strands and double them over. You might have some that are shorter than others – aesthetically I like those to be on the outside toward the shoulders but you might not care. Anyway, double those puppies over.

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Insert your hook into the loop on the bottom of your chain or double chain, from back to front, and catch the doubled side of your strand with the hook. Pull it through so you’ve got a loop.

Now catch the loose ends of your short strand with the hook. Pull those through your loop completely. Tighten.

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Ta-Da! Now do that until you have fringed the entire choker, or at least the majority of it.

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Step 8: Attach extra ties at the end of your chain if you need to, for fastening around the neck. You could be done at this point, but I like to add a little knotwork around the top.
To add knotwork, take two adjacent pairs of fringe and separate one strand from each pair (make sure the strands are also right next to each other). Pick up both strands and tie in a simple knot. Repeat across.

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These can beย used as a base for adding even wilder decorations like beads, feathers, leather strips, chains, etc… But since I’m short on time, I’ll leave those for another day!

That stylish bikini underneath the necklaces is also made from recycled materials. Check out my post, the Bindu Recycled Sweater Bikini, for more on that.

-MF