Lotus Mandala Video Tutorial Part 2

With my first full length video tutorial under my belt, I forged ahead this week to create Part 2 of the Lotus Mandala series! It went much faster this time, because I had a better idea of how to make the video to flow and therefore (frankly) procrastinated less πŸ˜‰

If you missed the release of Part 1, check it out here.

Part 2 covers rounds 9-16, which contain some of the most technically difficult rounds and the ones that I get the most questions about – so hopefully it will prove useful.

I am planning on completing this series, creating video tutorials for the rest of the rounds of the Lotus Duster pattern including the sleeves and such, though that might not premier as quickly. I have some really exciting new releases coming soon that I need to finish first!

If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, hit the follow button on my blog and be sure to like and follow my Facebook Page as well ❀

And now, Part 2!

If you enjoyed this video, like and subscribe to my channel! Besides the Lotus Mandala series, there’s more on the way ❀

And I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone out there who has liked, commented, shared, purchased, and otherwise supported my art. I couldn’t do this without any of you, YOU ARE AWESOME and BEAUTIFUL!

❀ ❀ ❀

-MF

Costume Mega Tail

Fur yarn seems to be something I always have a lot of. In addition to using it to trim Trickster Hoods, wacky coats, and Pixie Belts, I also occasionally use it to make costume ears and tails. My first foray into tail making was using crochet, as it was certainly easier for me at the time to deal with the nuisance of all that funky hair using a technique with which I was very confident.

The resulting little fox tail (I call it the chibi tail) was clever, IMHO, made with super soft Lion Brand Romance and ending in a little clip so it could be attached to a belt. But it was a bit stiff, and I decided knitting was really the way to go for these fun and cruelty-free costume elements.

I made a couple more – the tail on the left is made with Lion Brand Fun Fur, knitted to look like a raccoon, the tail on the right is Lion Brand Romance again, in sweet fantastical pastels. Both are stuffed with lightweight polyester fiber stuffing and clippable, like the first, onto belt or pants.

The pastel tail is pretty long, and very slinky and soft. After that one, I went down the rabbit hole. Er, possibly the fox hole.

I had A LOT of Lion Brand Pelt in similar colors. What if I made a really BIG tail, so it would look proportionate to the human body?

So, as you can see, I did that. And this year’s Halloween costume was born. To be specific, I finished the humongous tail less than 24 hours before the costume party! πŸ˜€

I dubbed my costume “Forest Witch” but mostly I was referred to as the Squirrel Lady which I am also 100% satisfied with πŸ˜‰ . This is one of the most handmade of all costumes I’ve ever done, so I’m going to feature some of the elements involved before writing out my notes on making the Tail toward the end of the post – keep reading for the free pattern! You can also favorite this project on Ravelry for reference later.

It was cold and rainy enough the day of the party to wear my super woodsy version of the Boho Fringe Poncho, made with different scrap bulky and super bulky yarns, then trimmed with plain fringe and woven with a super textured handspun art yarn. I also added a leafy drawstring tie to the top of this piece, similar to the one made for the Rhiannon Cowl. I’m so glad to have added this poncho to the ensemble, because it hasn’t really seen the light of day since I made it.

Underneath I wore the dress I had refashioned from a few thrift store pieces – I cut the green top and the brown and purple paisley skirt up joined them using hairpin lace, then added doily accents – all crocheted in gray, upcycled sweater yarn. You can read more about this refashion project here. Layered under the dress is a thrifted skirt that I tie-dyed in browns.

The belt sports several accessories beside the tail – one of them is a crocheted woolen pouch, mounted on loops so that it can slide onto a belt. This pattern is a piece of Lilla Bjorn’s Dandelion Mandala Overlay. The knife is an antique piece made with a real fawn’s hoof found for me by a friend. It’s not handmade by me, it’s just totally wicked so I wanted to mention it πŸ˜‰

It was terribly overcast all day, so my indoors photoshoot is very dark (and consequently grainy.. just pretend it’s a spooky filter effect, okay?) and you probably can’t see the faux dreads underneath my hair very well, but they are there and I made those too! From Jacob wool, dyed brown and boiled in hot water to felt them making long woolen cords, then attached to and elastic headband and decorated with beads and feathers. The hat on top sports a pair of crocheted fur yarn ears, mounted on an elastic band around the crown of the hat.

The witch hat, unfortunately is not handmade. I attempted to finish the black Hedge Witch Hat for this ensemble in time for the party, but was too busy knitting this big chunky baby…

Speaking of which, how about that tutorial? I’m afraid all I can offer is my notes, since this was not intended to be a full-scale pattern, but it’s pretty straightforward knitting if you can stand trying to see your way around all that fur.

Costume Mega Tail Tutorial

Materials:
US Size 9 double pointed knitting needles (1 set) US size 9 circular needles, 24″
Lion Brand Pelt (#5, 50 g / 47 yds) 4 skeins “Sable”, 4 skeins “Fisher”
Lion Brand Fun Fur, (#5 bulky, 40 g / 57 yards) 1 skein “Ginger”
Lion Brand Romance (#6 super bulky, 50 g / 27 yards) 1 skein “Truffle”, 1 skein “Champagne”
(Or, in substitute, around 550 yards total of any fur yarn)
Metal clasp
~10-15 oz Polyester Fiberfill batting
Scissors and Tapestry needle

With fur yarn and DPNs, Cast On 18 sts. Knitting in the round:
Row 1: *K, M1 increase* Rpt around – 27 sts
Row 2; *K2, M1 increase* Rpt around – 36 sts
Row 3: *K3, M1 increase* Rpt around – 45 sts
Row 4: *K4, M1 increase* Rpt around – 54 sts
Row 5: *K5, M1 increase* Rpt around – 63 sts
Row 6: *K6, M1 increase* Rpt around – 72 sts

Switch to circular needles.
Rows 7 – Infinity: Knit around. Change colors when necessary or desired.

I knit this piece to a length of about 55″. When ready to finish off:

Switch back to the Double Pointed needles

3rd to last Row: *K2, K2together decrease* Rpt around.
2nd to last Row: *K1, K2together decrease* Rpt around.
Last Row: *K2tog decrease* around. Cut yarn leaving a long piece for sewing. Thread the yarn into a tapestry needle and pass the yarn through each loop on the needles, catching the live stitches on the yarn tail. Once all stitches are threaded, pull the DPNS out and use the thread to cinch the stitches shut. Make some firm weavings across this circle to secure shut, then weave in ends and cut.

To finish the piece, Weave in all yarn ends. I used a wig brush at this stage to brush all the fur loose that had gotten trapped in between stitches to make it thicker and fluffier. Then, take the polyester fiberfill and stuff through the open end. Be careful not to overstuff – it really needs less than you think, and overdoing it will cause the piece to be too stiff and therefore less realistic looking.

Once the piece is stuffed, thread a long piece of fur yarn onto a tapestry needle and sew the open end shut, then sew onto the clasp. I used a pretty small metal lobster style clasp, available with the metal findings in most hobby stores. This allows you to attach the tail to a belt (recommended – it’s heavy) or to pants (works better with smaller ones, but if you’re brave enough…)

One last very necessary addition to this monstrosity is left! Using a crochet hook, I loosely threaded a length of bronze ribbon yarn through the knit stitches toward the end of the tail, weaving in and out all around the circumference, then tying the ends in a knot. After all, I had to have some way to keep this thing from getting super wet and mucky by dragging on the ground!

I used the tied length of ribbon as a handle to maneuver the thing all night (and dance with it – SO MUCH FUN.) Also occasionally to bop people in the face with the fluffyness. When I needed both hands free, I wrapped the ribbon into my belt in the front to secure it.

I probably don’t need to tell you that I had too much fun with it πŸ˜‰ And I hope you will too, if you decide to make one for yourself ❀ If you have any questions on how I did anything in this semi-slap-dash tutorial thingy, leave me a comment πŸ™‚

❀
-MF

P.S – as a big and unintended bonus, post-costume-party this thing turned out to be an excellent body pillow as well, lol!

Lotus Mandala Duster FAQ

The Lotus Mandala Duster free crochet pattern (and the offshoot the Lotus Mandala Vest) have remained some of my most popular patterns for years now – and as such, I’ve encountered a lot of questions about this design! I compiled a few of the most common ones here, but I’m happy to answer others that you may have about this or any of my designs, so feel welcome to comment or message me through my Facebook business page πŸ™‚ These questions refer specifically to the Lotus Duster, the Lotus Mandala Vest (a more open and free size garment) has its own FAQ written already here.

How do I make a size larger than a Large?

I don’t have plans to write this pattern for any more sizes as of yet :/ So the best way that you could size up this pattern is to work the extra rows given for the size Large, but work them even MORE. So here’s a quick guide for how that might be done. For a larger bust but not necessarily a larger waist, tactics 1,2,3, and 6 would be the most helpful because you’re aiming for a bigger diameter in the circle, not necessarily larger sleeves or shoulders. πŸ™‚

Tips for increasing up from a Large:
1. 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

2. 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.

3.Extra Rnd 31.1 – can be repeated a few times

4. 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

5. 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.

6. 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). This one is pretty crucial. If you are wider but shorter than the model (5’8″ or so for the large) You won’t be able to work as many extra rounds because eventually the piece will be dragging the floor.Β 

How do I make this child’s size?

The general layout of the design isn’t really written for children when made with the given yarn and hook size – the central mandala is kind of big, so to size down successfully I recommend working in a smaller yarn weight and hook size. I’ve seen several examples of smaller dusters using #1-#2 weight yarn and smaller hooks, which turned out great. Unfortunately that’s as specific as I can be about that!

What yarns did you use for “this specific” Lotus Duster?

Every duster I have made except the all white one pictured for the Large size below has been made mainly from yarn reclaimed from old sweaters, mixed with some handspun yarns and some scraps of commercial yarns.

LargeDuster1

The white duster pictured here is made from Premier Cotton Fair as listed in the main pattern.

Unfortunately since I use recycled and handspun for every other duster, there aren’t any commercial yarns I can recommend to use to get the same color scheme. Universal Yarns Bamboo Pop is a good yarn in the same weight that has many color varieties, which I usually point people toward when asked this question πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

For me, I really liked to use recycled yarn because it gives the piece a look that can’t be achieved with just commercial yarns, so if you are interested in learning how to reclaim yarn from sweaters you can check out my tutorial on the blog, Everything You Need to Know to Start Recycling Sweater Yarn.Β 

Stevie5

Sweater yarns have the advantage of being fairly light and thin while sturdy enough to withstand the tension of the garment. Also, they are cheap and accessible if you have the patience to harvest them. Last but not least, the upcycled cotton threads I get from these secondhand sweaters give the piece a really authentically vintage/retro feel, even though it’s a newly made garment.

Duster5

Can I use “X” yarn with this pattern / What hook should I use?

The answer to this question always begins with “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. Now, gauge can be tricky and there are other things that contribute to the general look, feel, and function of a handmade garment, but the simplest place to start when asking “can I make it with this yarn and hook?” is to test your gauge.

This pattern works best with #2-#3 weight yarn. I have seen it made with #4 weight, which honestly I don’t prefer but that’s a matter of opinion.

Is there a pattern to make a Hood for the Duster?

Yes! I got many requests after I released the Lotus Duster pattern to create a hood design for it as well, and I finally sat down and designed something this spring – the Lotus Hooded Duster is available for free on my blog, as well as included in a separate PDF in the paid digital version of the Lotus Duster pattern.

Florence18

Is there a video tutorial?

Yes! A video tutorial for this pattern is officially underway at the time of this writing, with the tutorial for Rounds 1-8 of the Lotus Mandala going live on my blog and Youtube channel today!

Is this pattern available in other languages?

Currently this pattern is available in English (My version, in US terminology) and Dutch – see Dutch translation here via Een Mooi Gebaar, who has translated a few of my other patterns as well!
Een Mooi Gebaar Morale Fiber Portal

Β 

I’ll be adding more questions if they tend to commonly crop up, or if I didn’t answer a question that you have here, please do contact me as I love to talk shop! πŸ™‚

Happy Stitching ❀

-MF

Lotus Mandala Video Tutorial Part 1

Well, I’m excited to announce that my first full-length video tutorial is underway! Not that I haven’t made videos before, but this is the first time I’ve filmed with the intent of capturing a whole pattern on video. After many moons of wanting to do it, I’ve started the tutorial for the Lotus Mandala Duster design and I have finished Part 1 to share with you today!

I avoided video tutorials for a long time simply because they were a whole new thing that I had to learn. Also, I hate the sound of my own voice πŸ˜› But because I really wanted to bring the Lotus Duster into the reach of people who can only crochet from videos, I bootstrapped up and began this new venture!

The goal of this tutorial is to cover the first 16 rounds of the Lotus Mandala. These first 16 rounds are the exact same instructions, whether you are doing the Lotus Duster or the Lotus Vest (two separate but sister patterns) and are perhaps the most challenging rounds, technically speaking, within the design. So even though the yarn used in the tutorial is for the Duster, you can follow the same instructions through Round 16 if you are working the vest πŸ™‚

Part 1, which I am sharing today, consists of Rounds 1 – 8 of the Lotus Mandala. I do intend on finishing out the Duster in video tutorials in later parts, but we’ll cross that bridge eventually, probably.

UPDATE: Part 2 with Rounds 9-16 is now available!

So without further ado, here is the Lotus Mandala Video Tutorial Part 1! ❀ Directly below this paragraph you can find links to the patterns mentioned above as well as their related add-ons, frequently asked questions, and tutorial links from the video:

Lotus Mandala Duster
Lotus Mandala Vest
Lotus Duster Hood
Lotus Mandala Vest Cardigan Sleeves
Lotus Mandala Vest FAQ
Lotus Duster FAQ

Chain and Stitch Join Tutorial

Everything You Need to Know to Start Recycling Sweater Yarn

I hope you enjoyed this video and if you have feedback or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments! ❀

Happy Stitching,

MF

Rhiannon Cowl Crochet Pattern

RHC3

Eons ago (it seems) I designed a hooded cowl that was both simply constructed and could be worn several different ways. It started as just a scrap-buster, and I made a couple with random yarns and colors. The result was a fun project that was easy enough for beginner crocheters but was more interesting than just a plain old scarf. I dubbed it the Rhiannon Cowl after one of my favorite mythological deities.

HarvestSpirit3

And yeah, after the song too. Although I’m enough of a fantasy nerd that I knew about the goddess before I knew about the pop song.  But I digress.

RHC1

That was 2015. It didn’t take long before my pattern writing style changed, and I started rebooting some of my older files – the Rhiannon Cowl has been on the makeover list for a LONG time, partly because I have intended to make it available for free.

Today I’m excited to finally be both making over the pattern file AND releasing this crochet pattern here for free on my blog! Keep reading for the FULL pattern PLUS tutorial photos, or get the spiffy new downloadable, ad-free file now available in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Store πŸ™‚ 

RHC12

I’ve made a couple changes to the pattern itself – I eliminated the #5 bulky weight instructions in favor of adding a new size: Large. This size is easier to wear doubled up (the Small can be a little tight that way) and will be wearable as a vest for a wider range of bodies.

I also got rid of the specific yarn requirements. I’ve always thought this pattern looks best as a scrap-buster and so I’ve left the yarn requirements general to reflect that – I used *mostly* worsted weight but some bulky weight sneaked in too and I think it looks great that way πŸ™‚

RHC10

I hope you like this fun, quick, fantasy inspired project as much as I do (now that its been gussied up) ❀

RHCCover1.1

Materials:
5.00 mm hook
500-800 yds worsted weight yarn – spare yarns work great for this piece!
Scissors
Tapestry Needle

Gauge: 6 sts and 3 rows = 2”

Finished Measurements:
Small- Approx. 72” circumference at the front
                ~ 40” circumference at the back
                ~ 15” wide
Large- Approx. 90” circumference at the front
                ~ 50” circumference at the back
                ~15” wide

DSC_0079

Stitches and Abbreviations:

st / sts: stitch/stitches

DCh: double chain – see my tutorial here:
                http://bit.ly/33nFcYe

If preferred, a regular chain stitch may be substituted for the double chain

ch: chain.

sl st: slip stitch

sc: single crochet

dc: double crochet

tr: treble crochet

sk: skip

rpt: repeat

rnd: round

ea: each

(parentheses): instructions inside parentheses are to be repeated the number of times indicated just outside the parentheses. When parentheses are followed by β€œaround” it means repeat the instructions until you finish the entire round.

beg: beginning. Refers to the first stitch or set of stitches made for the current row or round, i.e – β€œbeg ch-4” refers to the 4 chain stitches made at the beginning of the round you are working.

counts as / does not count as… : The first chain stitches at the beginning of the round are to gain height to start your round. Because this chain sequence is the same height as the stitches, it occasionally counts as the first stitch of the round and will be the stitch to which you join the end of your round.  If this chain does not count as the first stitch, you will skip it completely and join the end of your round to the next stitch after the chain stitches.

Size Changes: This pattern is written for two sizes: Small and Large. The instructions are written so that whenever there are two different instructions (a size change) those changes appear concurrently separated by a comma. Smalls follow the first number given, Larges follow the second number. So in β€œ(1 dc into each of the next 9 sts, 2 dc into the next st) 15, 19 times.” Β Smalls will repeat within parentheses 15 times, Larges will repeat 19 times.

Instructions:

Foundation:  DCh 160, 200. Join with a slip stitch to the first DCh stitch to form a loop. Be careful not to twist.

Rnd 1: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc in the same st as join. 1 dc  in ea of the next 159, 199 sts. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round.  – 160, 200 sts

Rnd 2: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch 1, (sk 1 st, dc in the next st, ch 1) 79, 99 times. Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4.

Rnd 3: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc into the same st as join. 1 dc into each of the next 159, 199 Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round.

Rnd 4: Rpt Rnd 2.

Rnd 5: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc , dc into the same st as join. 1 Dc into each of the next 8 stitches, 2 dc into the next st. (1 dc into each of the next 9 sts, 2 dc into the next st) 15, 19 times. Join with a slip st in the first dc of the round. – 176, 220 sts

Rnd 6: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch 1, (sk 1 st, dc in the next st, ch 1) 87, 109 times. Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4.

Rnd 7: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc into the same st as join. 1 dc into each of the next 175, 219 sts. Join with a slip stitch in the first dc of the round. –  176, 220 sts

Rnd 8: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch 1, (sk 1 st, dc in the next st, ch 1) 87, 109 times.  Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4.

Rnd 9: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc in the same st as join. 1 dc into ea of the next 9 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc into ea of the next 10 sts, 2 dc in the next st) 15, 19 times. Join with a slip stitch in the first dc of the round. – 192, 240 sts

Rnd 10: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch 1, (sk 1 st, dc in the next st, ch 1) 95, 119 times.  Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4.

Rnd 11: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc in the same st. 1 dc in each of the next 191, 239 sts. Join with a slip stitch in the first dc of the round. – 192, 240 sts

Rnd  12: Rpt Rnd 10.

Rnd 13: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 10 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc into ea of the next 11 sts, 2 dc in the next st) 15, 19 times. – 208, 260 sts

Rnd 14: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch 1, (sk 1 st, dc in the next st, ch 1) 103, 129 times.  Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4.

Rnd 15: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc in the same st. Work 1 dc in ea of the next 207, 259 sts. Join with a slip stitch in the first dc of the round.

Rnd 16: Rpt Rnd 14. Cut yarn and tie off.

Seaming the Hood

Fold in the piece in half, aligning the fold along the joining seam. Join new yarn at this corner – you will be crocheting into two layers of the scarf at once. MAKE SURE you are crocheting into the foundation round, NOT round 16. 

Rnd 17: (Work 1 sl st into the next st, working into both layers) 25 times. Ch 3.

Now working in only ONE layer and inserting hook into the bottom of each foundation chain stitch, (sk next st, dc in the next st, ch 1) 52, 72 times. Sk next st, 1 dc in the next st, ch 1. Join with the first ch-1 of the round.

The circle of stitches worked through one layer only will form the base of the next round – you will no longer be working into the 26 stitch seam that forms the back of the hood.

Rnd 18: Ch 3, dc in the same st and in ea st around.  sts

Cut yarn and tie off.

Leaf Motif Tie

1st Leaf: Ch 5. Join with a sl st to form a ring. Ch 3 – counts as first dc, 6 dc, 2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr, 7 dc into the ring. Join with a sl stitch to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3.

To begin the double chain, insert hook into one loop of the stitch below the slip stitch join and work one sc. Insert hook into the side bar of the single crochet. Draw up a loop (2 lps on hook). Yarn over and draw through two loops on the hook (one DCh stitch completed).  Double chain 160, 200.

2nd Leaf. – At the end of the double chain, Ch 5. Join with a sl stitch to the 5th ch from the hook to form a ring. Ch 3 – counts as first dc. 6 dc, 2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr, 7 dc into the ring. Join with a sl st to the first dc, then secure the top of the leaf onto the DCh cord with another slip stitch. Cut yarn and tie off.

Weave in all yarn ends!

Starting at the base of the hood, weave half of the tie in and out of the spaces between the dc stitches of Rnd 17. Weave the other half through the spaces of the opposite side. Ta-da! Your brand new cowl awaits your woodland adventures!

Wear it as a hood with the drawstring tied to form a warm capelet scarf – hood down, it becomes a shawl! Place the hood on from the back and place arms through the back opening to wear as a scarf vest, or double up the scarf loop around the neck for extra toastiness.

My style might change, but I still make all the same faces when I photograph myself πŸ˜› Cheers!

-MF

Hedge Witch Hat Pattern

Sounds trendy to talk about how much you love Halloween these days, but like, I really love Halloween guys. No trend shame here. That’s why despite the myriad and awesome crochet witch hat patterns out there, I had to design my own. I wanted a certain look and after a few tries, I really like what I came up with!

This free crochet pattern works with worsted weight yarn in half double stitches, and utilizes the Switchback Join technique to keep the seam straight, which you can find in this free tutorial on my blog!

Please excuse the fact that I had way too much fun creating a vintage witch photoshoot πŸ˜‰

Hedge Witch Hat

Alternating forward leaning and backward leaning rounds, as per the Switchback Join technique.

Materials:
3.75 mm hk
#4 weight yarn – 1 skein

Gauge: 4 sts & 3 rows – 1” in hdc

Finished measurements: ~ 25″ on the inside, 36″ brim on the outside, 10″ height

Instructions:

Rnd 1 (back): hdc 8 into magic ring. Join with a sl st

Rnd 2 (forward): 1 hdc in ea st. Join with a slip st to first hdc of the rnd. – 8 sts

Rnd 3 (back):  Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in the same st. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in the next st, 2 hdc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st.  β€“ 12 sts

Rnd 4 (forward): Ch1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in the same st, 1 hdc in the next st. 2 hdc in the next st.  (1 hdc in ea of the next 2 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st.  β€“ 16 sts

Rnd 5 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in the same st, 1 hdc in ea of the next 2 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 3 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 3 times.  Join with a sl st.  β€“ 20 sts

Rnd 6 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in the same st and in ea of the next 3 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 4 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st.  β€“ 24 sts

Rnd 7 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 24 sts

Rnd 8 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 24 sts

Rnd 9 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 2 hdc in the same st. (2 hdc in the next st) 5 times. 1 hdc in ea of the next 12 sts. (2 hdc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st.  β€“ 36 sts

The first 6 increases
Hdc in the next 12 sts
Increase in the last 6 sts

Rnd 10 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 36 sts

Rnd 11 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 36 sts

Rnd 12 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 2 hdc in the same st. (2 hdc in the next st) 8 times. 1 hdc in ea of the next 18 sts. (2 hdc in the next st) 9 times. Join with a sl st.  β€“ 54 sts

The curve of the hat will be offset from concentrating the increases on one side

Rnd 13 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 54 sts

Rnd 14 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in the same st, 1 hdc in ea of the next 7 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 8 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 5 times. Join with a sl st. – 60 sts

Rnd 15 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 60 sts

Rnd 16 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 8 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 9 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 5 times. Join with a sl st. – 66 sts

Rnd 17 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 66 sts

Rnd 18 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 9 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 10 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 5 times. Join with a sl st. – 72 sts

Rnd 19 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 72 sts

Rnd 20 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 10 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 11 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 5 times. Join with a sl st. – 78 sts

Rnd 21 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 78 sts

Rnd 22 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 11 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 12 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 5 times. Join with a sl st. – 84 sts

Rnd 23 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 84 sts

Rnd 24 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 12 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 13 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 5 times. Join with a sl st. – 90 sts

Rnd 25 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 90 sts

Rnd 26 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 90 sts

Rnd 27 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 90 sts

Rnd 28 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st.  – 90 sts

Rnd 29 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in the next 3 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 4 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 5 times. 1 hdc in ea of the next 30 sts. (1 hdc in ea of the next 4 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st.  β€“ 102 sts

The curve of the hat is offset again by concentrating the increases on 2/3rds of the hat

Rnd 30 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1  hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 15 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 16 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 5 times. Join with a sl st. – 108 sts

Rnd 31 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1  hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 16 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 17 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 5 times. Join with a sl st. – 114 sts

The following round offsets the increases to keep the brim from forming points.

Rnd 32 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1  hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 8 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 18 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 5 times. 1 hdc in ea of the next 9 sts. Join with a sl st. – 120 sts

Rnd 33 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1  hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 13 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 14 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 7 times. Join with a sl st. – 128 sts

Rnd 34 (forward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1  hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 14 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 15 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 7 times. Join with a sl st. – 136 sts

Rnd 35 (backward): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc). 1 hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st. – 136 sts

Rnd 36: Sl st around.

Weave in all ends to finish. I used some spare chenille yarn and a larger hook to double chain a thin hat band. These hats would be really cute with extras like felted leaves or buttons – I may have to make some more!

For more Halloween themed crochet patterns and tutorials, check out these:

Crochet Pumpkin tutorial
Jack-O-Lantern Mushroom crochet pattern
Candy Corn Baby Hat

And of course, I have tons more free patterns available – if you would like to check them out, visit my Free Pattern page!

❀ MF

Switchback Join Tutorial

In not one but TWO of my recent projects I’ve come up against that ubiquitous trait of circular crochet: The Lean.

Crochet stitches, for the most part, tend to lean in the direction of the dominant hand – so if you’re a right-handed crocheter, your stitches will lean right, and if you are a lefty, they will lean left. When working back and forth in rows, this balances itself out… but when working circularly (and therefore not turning) the lean gets compounded and you end up with a spiral pinwheel of joins and increases.

Which can be quite pretty, but not if you are trying to keep the seam in one place, or use your first stitch as a marker for the center of a circle.

I was trying to do both! Turns out, there are a few interesting fixes for this problem. The best technique I found was from the very talented Wilma Westenberg, which uses a method of skipping the first stitch every second round – check out her awesome tutorial here.

I like this method, but I wanted something more tailored to working in flat circles. So I did some experimenting and came out with the following method, which I call the Switchback Join. Like Wilma’s method, it alternates rounds in the following way:

(F)Rnd : Create a normal hdc join by working a slip stitch in the first st, ch 1 (or 2 if you prefer – I did 1 for this type of join to reduce bulk) and hdc in the same stitch to begin next round. – This round will lean BACK (or toward the dominant hand)
(B) Rnd: Join with a slip stitch, then skip one more stitch and add an extra at the end of the round to make up for it.

By alternating a Forward (F) round and Backward (B) round, you create a switchback seam that balances itself and stays mostly centered.

The difference in my method is the way in which the first stitch of the round is skipped, and which stitch replaces that skipped one at the end. If you are interested, read on for the full photo tutorial for this method!

P.S- I also came across this very interesting method of “self-correcting” your crochet stitches in this brilliant tutorial series from Ira Rott. Mind blown! It doesn’t fully correct the slant of hdc seams, but it’s a seriously handy trick!

Update 11/21/19: There is now a video demo for this tutorial! Check it out on Youtube ❀

Switchback Join Tutorial

This tutorial works a flat circle in half double crochet, working non-continuously (meaning that we join at the end of every round). I will assume knowledge of how to make a flat circle – so I won’t be explaining the increases, etc. πŸ™‚ If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Rnd 1: You can and probably should count this as the first round, meaning it will be an A or backward leaning round, although I have to admit that I didn’t – oops. That will set me off-center slightly but it won’t matter much. Make Ring, 8 hdc into the ring. Join with a slip stitch to the first hdc of the round.

Pull up a loop
Draw through to create a slip stitch join.

Rnd 2: (B – backward leaning round) Ch 1 to begin the rnd (does not count as first hdc). 2 hdc in each st around. Join with a loose slip stitch. Remove your hook from the loop and insert into the Back Loop Only of the next crochet stitch. Draw the free loop through this back loop to complete the join.

Here’s the step-by-step:

Ch 1 to begin the round
2 hdc in the same stitch and in ea stitch around
Rnd 2 completed before the join
Leaving the loop on your hook loose, insert hook into the first hdc of the round
Make a slip stitch…
Then remove your hook and insert into the back loop of the next hdc stitch…
Then catch the loose loop with your hook and draw it through the back loop of the stitch. From this stitch you will begin the next round, with the slip stitch loop (highlighted in teal) open to act as the last stitch of the round.

(F) Rnd 3: Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc) to begin the next FORWARD leaning round. Now you have started the round off one stitch forward than you would have with a regular join. This offsets the backward balance of the stitches of the round below. The stitch we have skipped is replaced by the loops of the loose slip stitch join later. 1 hdc in the same stitch. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in the next st, 2 hdc in the next st) around. Work the last increase in the slip stitch of the previous round’s join. Join with a regular slip stitch join.

Once again, let’s take that step by step:

Ch 1 to begin the next round (A – Forward)
Insert hook into BOTH loops of the same stitch. The front loop may be tight, since you have already pulled on the back loop some.
Hdc in the same stitch
Work around, placing your last increase in the slip stitch of the previous join (highlighted in teal)
Join with a regular slip stitch join.

(B) Rnd 4: Ch 1 to begin the round (does not count as first st). 1 hdc in the same stitch, 1 hdc in the next st, 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 2 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) around. Join with a loose slip stitch, drop your loop and insert hook into the back loop of the next st. Pull dropped loop through to begin next round.

Here’s Rnd 4 step by step through to the forward join for the next round:

Ch 1 to start
Work around as normal
Work a loose slip stitch…
Insert loopless hook into the back loop of next stitch….
Catch the dropped loop and pull through.

(F) Rnd 5: Ch 1 to begin (does not count as first hdc). Hdc in the same stitch and in ea of the next 2 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in the next 3 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) around. Place final increase in the slip stitch of previous join. Slip stitch normally to join.

Getting the swing of it yet? πŸ™‚

Hdc in same stitch
Place final increase in slip stitch of previous join

Continue to alternate rounds as B/Backward and F/Foward to keep your seam balanced throughout the circle!

This method has the effect of also offsetting your increases a little, which will disrupt their slant and keep them from spiraling too!

If you’re working increases for every round, you can easily tell whether you are on a forward round or a backward round by where the increases are placed – if they are centered on the last round’s increase, you are working a Backward round. If they are placed just to the left or right of the previous round’s increase, you’re working a forward round.

I hope this little joining trick helps and inspires you – and if you have no idea what to use it on, fear not- I have a few patterns available that utilize the Switchback Join!

Tree of Life Mandala – available for FREE here

The Hedge Witch Hat also uses this join! FREE crochet pattern available here.

-MF

P.S – for more crochet joining trickery, check out my Chain and Stitch Join Tutorial!