Scrappy Knit Duster

A few years ago I espied some beautiful images of knit ruana-style shawls and ponchos that used striking color striping in a simple stitch pattern. The knit stitches were loosely made, giving the garment a pretty drape, and the simple tie-offs from color changing formed a natural fringe with a western look. The artist using this beautiful style, I found out later, was the Kristen Hoke of Posh By Gosh on Etsy.

I was enamored, for many reasons: its beauty came from its simplicity and versatility. It featured only knit stitches, so I could easily wrap my head around it. Plus, ample opportunity to play with color and use up spare bits of yarn! I rushed to gather all of my spare skeins and yarn bits, and started a massive upcycling project inspired by her knits – that was my first try, which became a blanket because as it turns out I was not very good at estimating knit sizes at the time.

No worries, though – I tried again, this time turning my inspiration into a project with a crochet twist! The knit ruana, featuring crocheted granny square edges, became the Wayfarer Ruana tutorial, available for free here on my blog!

By then, I was pretty satisfied but I also found myself addicted. These projects were so easy to pick up and put down (because of the endless mindless knitting, it was definitely stitch therapy) and they were so perfect for using up very small bits of yarn. I wanted to design another garment in this style! This time, with even less weaving in of ends. And how about wearable anywhere?

And more SASSY FRINGE?

So I got to work knitting up this Scrap Knit Duster, and put together a little tutorial for it along the way. The two front panels are great for using up very small balls of leftover yarn, especially singe there isn’t any weaving in ends (or at least, very little)!

And that’s not even a fraction of the yarn gumballs I have stowed away.

Since the garment is just made of rectangles folded and seamed, adventurous souls could easily translate this into a crochet piece (just keep your gauge loose so that the fabric drapes well).

Hope you love making it as much as I do ❤ If you do, why not give this project a fave on Ravelry?

Materials:

US Size 11 (8.00 mm) Knitting Needles, 1 set 24” circular (long straight needles are fine in substitute for this), 1 set 40” circular (necessary)

A lot of random scrap yarn ❤ I chose one neutral toned yarn to kind of become the “background” for the colored yarns, as well as a trim color.

Tape Measure

Scissors

Tapestry Needle

6” book, cardboard, or fringe making tool

Gauge: About 6 sts & 8 rows = 2” in garter stitch
Stitches Required: Cast On, Knit, Purl, Bind Off

Finished measurements: 38” long, bust and waist measurements variable

Instructions:

Begin by taking your measurements. You want the total circumference of the garment to be about as wide as the widest part of your frame (whether that’s your bust, your hips, or your belly) so that it will just be able to wrap you up. I used 34” as my circumference. It’s a little under my actual measurements, but I wanted my duster to be fitted to me, and I know this knit fabric stretches accommodatingly.

The main part of the duster is made with three panels. The two front panels, which are made to equal almost 1/4th  the circumference each, so half my measurement when added together. The one back panel is made to equal the other half, and is added after the first two panels are finished (this part is the same basic process as the Wayfarer Ruana, just not as wide).

However, I know I’m going to be adding a trim to the front, so my two front panels will be made a little shorter. 1/4th of 34” is 8.5”, but I’ll plan on adding almost 2” in border, so 6.5” or so. I decide that my front panels are going to be 20 stitches long each, which when plugged into my gauge, will land me at about 6.5” for each front panel width.

If you want a less fitted piece, just stick with the simple math – Each Front Panel is ¼ your circumference, and don’t worry about the trim length for now.

  1. Cast On 20 (or whatever number you land on)
  2. Rows 1-150: Knit each stitch. Change color at the end of the row when necessary or desired….

BUT….

ONLY change colors on one side of the piece. Either side is fine, but stick with one side. This is the side that will face “out” later, and form the fringe hem at the sides, saving you from having to weave in a bunch of ends.

Make 150 rows of garter stitch for the first front panel, DO NOT BIND OFF.

  • Stick your first panel on a holding needle and repeat this process for the second panel.
  • Once both of your panels are complete,  arrange your panels so that the tie-off fringe sides are facing away from each other. Using yarn and your long needles (circular or otherwise), begin to knit across the top of the first panel, starting on the fringe side. Once you knit across the first panel, CO 10 stitches for the collar of the garment. Then, continue knitting across the second panel, ending on the second fringed side.

These 50 stitches (20 for the first panel + 10 for the collar + 20 for the second panel) come out to about 16.5”. 16.5 + (6.5 + 6.5) = 29.5”. Add the (2” + 2”) on either side for the front color trim, and I will have my 34” circumference achieved.

But first…

  • Knit 150 rows for the back panel. Change colors at the end of the row whenever necessary or desired. Colors can be tied off on either side of the back panel.

Once you’ve finished the front and back panels, Cast off your piece. I like to use Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO), a video tutorial for which can be found here.

Sleeves

Fold your piece in half. Using your tape measure, measure from the top of your shoulder to the lowest part of your armpit. Double this number is how wide you need your sleeve to be – I got about 9”.

We will form the sleeve by picking up one flat row, centered on the same row as the collar is made. Picking up knit stitches from the side of garter stitch is tricky because we are only picking up ONE stitch per each TWO rows. So to get a 9” measurement, I need 28 stitches. (28 sts / 6 stitches per 2 inches = 4.6, or  9.3” inches.)

So beginning from the bottom of each panel, I count up from the hem 122 rows and place a stitch marker. This leaves 28 rows left on the front panel. Repeat count up 122 rows on the back panel (same side) and place a stitch marker.  Pick up 28 knit stitches in the side of these 56 rows that land in between your marked stitches, using your needles.

  • Knit 70 rows, changing color at the end of the row when necessary or desired.
  • Using your preferred border color, switch to working a 4 x 4 rib. Knit 4, Purl 4 and in in subsequent round, knit the knits and purl the purls. Work 5 rounds.

You can change your rib width based on what number your sleeve stitch count is divisible by – for instance, 28 is divisible by 4 so my ribs will be even. If you have 35, you can work a 5 x 5 rib instead, etc.

  • BO, preferably with a stretchy bind-off method as mentioned above.
  • Repeat same sleeve process on the opposite side.

Fold the entire garment along the middle line that runs through the center of the sleeves and the collar. It helps to lay it flat on the floor, so you can brush the fringe out flat. In this next part, we will use a tapestry needle and a length of yarn to seam the duster.

  1. Grab a long-ish length of yarn and thread through the tapestry needle. A simple whip stitch through both layers of edges is all that is needed to seam the garment up the side. Keep seaming from the bottom all the way to the sleeve end, starting a new seam if you run out of yarn.  Repeat for the opposite side.

To keep your tension even, pull the seam thread tight by stretching the garment out as you sew. Be careful to keep the tie-off fringe out of your seam.

Front Border

Once you have seamed up the side of the duster and through to the end of the sleeves on both sides, clip your thread and tie the ends off to blend them into the fringe (some you may want to weave in, such as the ends at the hem of the sleeves). Now it’s time to create the ribbed border around the front opening and collar.

  1. Using your 40” circular needles and your border colored yarn, Pick up 1 knit stitch from every 2 garter stitch rows along the inside border of the garment. If your panels are 150 rows long, you’ll work 75 stitches up one side, 10 into the collar, and 75 down the other side. 
  2. K 4, P 4 to create a 4×4 rib. Work 9 rows of rib by knitting the knits and purling the purls. BO using the JSSBO.

Almost there! Are you excited yet?

Extra Fringe

Now we’ve got a really rockin’ fringey thing going on, but the tie-offs look a little scraggly in my opinion, so I use my 6” book to create some fringe lengths by wrapping the yarn around then cutting through the bundle. You’ll have to lay out your piece flat again, and comb all the tie-off fringe out flat to prepare for the next step.

  1. Using a crochet hook, loop one strand of fringe in the side of every fringe-less row up the side of the body and sleeves. Repeat for the other side.
  2. Finally, weave in any stray ends that aren’t part of the fringe. Odds are you will have a few across the shoulders where the sleeve attaches – I wove those down into the seam for the most part.

Once you have all the extra fringe attached, arrange your duster so that the sleeve and the side of the body are laying long the same line, parallel. Comb all the fringe, including the tie off, so that it is laying mostly flat. Using a sharp scissors, give your baby a haircut – I went down to about 4″ for the fringe.

If you have any stray yarn ends that need woven in (such as scraps that ran out in the middle of a row, or border yarns from adding the trim), take care of those. Once you have, you are done!

Voila! Now you have a scrappy bohemian rock’n’roll knit duster that is warm and wearable, looks great with anything, and that you MADE YOURSELF 😀 !!!

Thanks for visiting my blog and making art with me – I think this may be one of my favorite things I’ve ever made! I say that a lot though 😛

It was certainly fun to photograph. I hiked up a VERY steep hill, camera gear in tow, in order to prance around in heels on the edge of a cliff. Who says knitting isn’t extreme??

-MF

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Vintage Derby PDF & Hat Sale!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve put together the downloadable, printable, ad-free PDF for the Vintage Derby crochet hat pattern, which is also available for free on my blog here 🙂

You can get it now in my Ravelry Store or Etsy Shop! But, there’s a sale going on now too – read on for more info!

I loved making this little hat and I’m getting inspired to make more styles of hats now the the brisker weather is visiting, if not setting in (it’ll be in the 90’s next week 😛 ).

I mean, you know I’m a total hat fiend!

Anyway, I’m having a little sale through my Ravelry pattern store to celebrate – 50% off ANY hat pattern in my store, no maximum order and no coupon code needed! This sale is running through September 30 – so go grab some sweet hat patterns now! Here’s a peek at what I’ve got:

Filigree Lace Cap – based on my Lotus Mandala design!
Trickster Hood – a Tunisian crochet classic
A cute ribbed beanie design with a sweet little point at the top!
The Krampus – turn yourself into a yuletide demon!
Doe! A deer!
The Rhiannon Hooded Cowl – a hat AND a scarf!

Perhaps I shall go forge more hats now? I think yes.

-MF

Seasons Change and So Do I

Avocado Dream Catcher, made from handspun wool and alpaca fiber hand-dyed with avocado skins. I created the natural dye with vegetable waste from my job at the co-op grocery!

It used to be my practice to write a summer wrap-up post for Morale Fiber Blog, and though I haven’t always done so, I fall back into my old habit today! I won’t be going over summer projects so much as talking a bit about my life situation, my business, and where I hope to go in the future. It’s a bit more of an intimate look into how I, as a person, manage Morale Fiber.

That’s me, un-wigged and un-filtered and un-photoshopped. But with great lighting, of course. 😉

I have loved fiber arts since the minute I was handed my first sewing kit as a child – when my mom taught me my first crochet stitches when I was 10 years old, that interest was cemented into a lifelong habit. In time I expanded into knitting, spinning, dyeing, and any other fiber craft I could get my hands on as well as my first love, crochet.

Fast forward A LOT – last December I finally graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Arts and Humanities. In addition to working full-time at the co-op grocery, since January I have been concentrating almost solely on completing and releasing all three adult sizes of the Elf Coat crochet pattern for free on my blog and as a purchasable PDF pattern. I poured so much energy and love into this design, and over TWO YEARS worth of experimenting and tweaking the pattern. Now the Elf Coat is currently competing for top popularity on my blog with my Lotus Mandala Duster. 🙂

I’ve said it so many times : the BEST part about designing is connecting with other fiber artists and seeing what all the amazing, clever, resourceful people create with my patterns. I love seeing everyone’s projects and sharing them for inspiration, and this spurred me to accomplish another goal this summer – to start a Facebook group for my business based around boho, magical, and fantasy crochet designs, the Magic Fantastic Crochet Atelier.

The response has been, yes, fantastic 🙂 I hope if you have your own designs to share that you will join us too! I love having this group as a way to connect more personally with those who follow my page and love the same craft that I do ❤

I’ve been amazed at the level of support my art has received, because really I’m just a silly fantasy nerd who decided years ago that I needed to put my stuff on the internet for some reason. When I look at where I am now, I know the Regina of eight years ago would not believe it. It’s a gratifying feeling 😀

Fast forward again – to just a few days ago, when a number of people contacted me to let me know a sham clothing company, using multiple web fronts, was using my Elf Coat images to sell what they claimed were my designs.

Unfortunately, as soon as I contacted one of the e-mail addresses provided for a website doing this, about 20 other false web fronts doing the exact same thing popped up, all under different names and all advertising to my followers on Facebook. Frustrating? Absolutely.

Getting ripped off sucks, and I’ve seen it happen to a number of my favorite indie artisans and designers. In fact, I’ve seen it happen to so many of my favorite designers, that being included in the same category as them is a tiny little bit gratifying actually, ha ha!

I am grateful that so many people rushed to my defense. I couldn’t ask to know better people through this business ❤ Yes, I had my image stolen, but ultimately the people who want to support me are those that want to make something for themselves, not buy cheap crap that may or may not be just a credit card number fishing scam.

That’s the real plus side to building my business on making patterns. Not only do I get to help create art all around the world, but I get to know and be supported by people who value the effort and time and satisfaction that goes into creating something with your own two hands. That’s love. That’s the love you wrap your family members and friends in when you make something for them. That’s the love you wrap yourself in when you enter the calming meditation of stitching. No one can mass manufacture that. No one can create that except for all of us, together ❤ ❤

Friends and beautiful models Arika Harris and Daisey Denson wearing my Feather & Scale Halter Top design

I’m tearing up, over here 😉

So, that about concludes the ramble-y, emotional portion of this post. Now I’d like to talk for a minute about how I manage Morale Fiber. My revenue comes from two main sources: paid pattern sales and selling ad space on my blog.

As I mention on my Master List of Paid Patterns, selling pattern PDF files are my main source of business income. If you want to support me, buying my patterns through my Etsy Shop or Ravelry store is a great way to do so and get something awesome you can make in return!

Selling ad space on my blog also provide revenue, but it’s less than 5% of my overall take. And, let’s face it – it’s kind of ugly. I avoided doing it for a while because it was so ugly, but over several years of blogging I had too many images for my free blog plan to host and so I had to move to a paid plan. Ad space revenue helps me pay for the yearly subscription to keep my blog going so you can get all the latest updates and all those sweet freebies! Every time you view my blog page, I make a slight fraction of a penny.

The Hooded Lotus Duster, for which the full written patterns are available on Morale Fiber Blog.

A pretty good portion of my free time outside of my day job is spent managing Morale Fiber by making social media posts and responding to questions and e-mails for both my paid and my free patterns. I love to talk shop which is great because I end up doing it A LOT ❤

I also spend plenty of time designing. I fill my computer files and notebooks with jotted down ideas, test yarns and gauge, make drafts, make more drafts, make MORE DRAFTS, and hopefully finally come up with something I can write down as a pattern (but only after making this one more draft). 😉

The Ida Shawl takes the win for most maddening amount of drafts.

It’s a labor of love, and I hope you love what I come up with. After the illegal theft of my images, I had the opportunity to see with new eyes that many people did love making my designs, and it helped me enormously. Today I wanted to humbly offer this third way to support my art – a donation button.

You don’t have to donate, and I am certainly grateful for the support no matter what amount of patronage you have or will give Morale Fiber. But if you do love my designs and want to show your support, as well as contribute to the creation of more patterns and designs by me, you now have this option!

Donation

Patronage Donation for Morale Fiber Designs

$1.00

I’m very excited about what I have in the works right now, including the long-promised Lotus Duster video tutorial, a new circular vest design with a ton of customizing options, a new scrap knit garment tutorial.. and that’s just the beginning.

As always, thank you so very much for visiting and thank you for creating art with me ❤

-MF