Novella Shawl Pattern

The following is a ramble-y lead-up to my new FREE crochet pattern design, a super simple and warm triangular shawl with a touch of adventure – keep scrolling for the free Novella Shawl pattern or get the downloadable, printable, ad-free PDF in my Ravelry Store or Etsy Shop now!

Backstory: Or, How Designing an Easy Shawl Pattern Led Me to Purchase a Bow and Arrow

Drama was one of my many extra-curriculars when I was in high school, although I can’t claim to have ever been any good at it. I got assigned chorus and background roles, which was fine because I had a significant amount of stage fright and I was really only there because my friends were there too.

And because I loved the costumes. Hands down my favorite part of any dramatic endeavor, and a lifelong interest since I was old enough to carry the massive Renaissance Art tome down from the bookshelf.

When I grew up and minored in Art History, I discovered 18th century actress Emma Hamilton and her “Attitudes,” ; the European celebrity would dress in costume and assume various charade poses depicting classical myths as a form of party entertainment for her esteemed friends.

This must be the Mother of Cosplay!

I have an enduring love of dress-up, responsible in no small part for the designs I publish as Morale Fiber as well as the costumes I pair them with. When creating these ensembles, I am also feeling around for a character to portray.

Sort of like an “Attitudes” style character depiction ; as I craft and plan my crochet design and the coordinating outfit, I let that Attitude take shape.

So while the shawl I had started for this was very simple and humble, the Attitude grabbed it, and demanded I make it more dramatic. At first she was just a quiet woman on a forest walk, seeking the perfect tree under which to read her book of short stories, an escape from her daily life at the shop in town.

But she turned and twisted, like the plot of a short story – upon returning, the town she remembered didn’t exist anymore. Its people wiped away from the world from a terrible sickness, and danger lurking now under every seemingly friendly face she passes on the road away from the tragedy. She needed a hood on her carefully woven covering, to shelter from unfriendly eyes, and fur trim to protect from the chill ashy winds starting to blow.

And as the ends of her neat stitching started to unravel, to become frayed and wild, so did the woman, searching for life in the twisted forest. Armed now with more strength and experience, she sets out, to find whatever good people are still left.

Im know I’m not holding the bow and arrow right, but hey, give the gal a break. She used to work at a book store, pre-apocolypse 😉

Novella Shawl Crochet Pattern

The Novella Shawl is an easy crochet pattern designed to showcase the unique texture of linked double crochet. This thick, interwoven crochet stitch calls to mind the cozy look of loom weaving while the dramatic point and slight ruffle create a tailored look that flatters. Crochet just the shawl or choose to top it off with a deep hood and fur trim for a really special piece to show off on all your woodland wanderings…

Materials

5.00 mm hook (or size needed to obtain gauge), 11.50 mm hook (for jumbo yarn fur trim, if using)

Lion Brand Ferris Wheel (#4 weight, 85 g / 270 yd, 100% Acrylic) 6 skeins  – Color shown is Imaginary Garden
Lion Brand Thick & Quick Go for Faux (#7 weight, 120 g / 24 yd, 100% Polyester) 1 skein – Color shown is Husky – optional
Scissors, tapestry needles – 1 regular, on large-eyed (for the jumbo yarn, if you are using it)
Large button (optional)

Gauge: 6 sts & 4 rows = 2” in LDC

Finished Measurements:  ~ 65 inches along top edge, ~ 35 inches from collar to tip.
Hood: ~ 16 inches deep, ~ 16 inches tall – can be a bit smaller or larger depending on how you finish & seam it.

Stitches & Abbreviations

Chain (ch)
Double Crochet (dc)
Linked Double Crochet (LDC): A special type of double crochet that links each stitch with the last stitch made. A full written tutorial on this technique can be found on my blog here. A video tutorial can be found on my YouTube channel here.
Half-Double Crochet (hdc)
St/sts – stitch /stitches

Notes:
Ch-2 at the beginning of each row does not count as the first st.
Shawl can be made to desired length by adding more or fewer rows maintaining the established increasing pattern. Ruffle edge can also be made longer or shorter by adding non-increase rows. Fur trim & hood optional.

Instructions

To begin, Ch 3.

Row 1: 9 dc in the 3rd ch from the hook.

Row 2: Ch 2 (does not count as first dc), turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 LDC in the same stitch. 1 LDC in ea of the next 3 sts. 5 LDC in the next st. 1 LDC in the next 3 sts. 2 LDC in the last st. – 15 sts

Row 3: Ch 2 (does not count), turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 LDC in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 6 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 6 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 21 sts

Row 4: Ch 2 (does not count), turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 9 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 9 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 27 sts

Row 5: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 12 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 12 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 33 sts

Row 6: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 15 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 15 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 39 sts

Row 7: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 18 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 18 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 45 sts

Row 8: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 21 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 21 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 51 sts

Row 9: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 24 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 24 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 57 sts

Row 10: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 27 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 27 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 63 sts

Row 11: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 30 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 30 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 69 sts

Row 12: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 33 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 33 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 75 sts

Row 13: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 36 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 36 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 81 sts

Row 14: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 39 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 39 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 87 sts

Row 15: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 42 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 41 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 93 sts

Row 16: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 45 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 45 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 99 sts

Row 17: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 48 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 48 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 105 sts

Row 18: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 51 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 51 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 111 sts

Row 19: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 54 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 54 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 117 sts

Row 20: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 57 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 57 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 123 sts

Row 21: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 60 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 60 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 129 sts

Row 22: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 63 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 63 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 135 sts

Row 23: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 66 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 66 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 141 sts

Row 24: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 69 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 69 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 147 sts

Row 25: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 72 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 72 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 153 sts

Row 26: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 75 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 75 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 159 sts

Row 27: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 78 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 78 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 165 sts

Row 28: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 81 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 81 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 171 sts

Row 29: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 84 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 84 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 177 sts

Row 30: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 87 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 87 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 183 sts

Row 31: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 90 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 90 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 189 sts

Row 32: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 93 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 93 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 195 sts

Row 33: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 96 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 96 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 201 sts

Row 34: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 99 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 99 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 207 sts

Row 35: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 102 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 102 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 213 sts

Row 36: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 105 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 105 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 219 sts

Row 37: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 108 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 108 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 225 sts

Row 38: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 111 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 111 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 231 sts

Row 39: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 114 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 114 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 237 sts

Row 40: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 117 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 117 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 243 sts

Row 41: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 120 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 120 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 249 sts

Row 42: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 123 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 123 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 255 sts

Row 43: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 126 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 126 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 261 sts

Row 44: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 129 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 129 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 267 sts

Row 45: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 132 sts. 5 ldc in the next st. 1 ldc in the next 132 sts. 2 ldc in the last st. – 273 sts

RUFFLE:

Row 1: Ch 3 (does not count as first dc). 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in the next st, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc in the next 2 sts, 2 dc in the next st) 90 times, or all the way across the long (pointed) bottom edge of the shawl, working 2 dc in the last st. – 364 sts

Row 2: Ch 3 (does not count as first dc). 1 dc in the same st. 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc in the next st, 2 dc in the next st) 181 times, or all the way across the long edge of the shawl. – 546 sts

Rows 3-4 : Ch 3, turn. 1 dc in ea st across.

Cut yarn and tie off.

Hood

Ch 17 (15 sts + 2 for turn).

Row 1: 1 dc in the 3rd ch from the hook. 1 ldc in the next 13 sts, 3 ldc in the last st. Rotate to begin working down the opposite side of the foundation chain. 1 ldc in the next 14 sts. – 31 sts

Row 2: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 13 sts. 2 ldc in ea of the next 3 sts. 1 ldc in the next 14 sts. – 34 sts

Row 3: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 14 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next st, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 14 sts. – 37 sts

Row 4: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 14 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 2 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 15 sts. – 40 sts

Row 5: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 15 sts. 2 ldc in the next st.  (1 ldc in the next 3 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 15 sts. – 43 sts

Row 6: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 15 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 4 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 16 sts. – 46 sts

Row 7: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 16 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 5 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 16 sts. – 49 sts

Row 8: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 16 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 6 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 17 sts. – 52 sts

Row 9: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 17 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 7 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 17 sts. – 55 sts

Row 10: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 17 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 8 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 18 sts. – 58 sts

Row 11: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 18 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 9 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 18 sts. – 61 sts

Row 12: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 18 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 10 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 19 sts. – 64 sts

Row 13: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 19 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 11 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 19 sts. – 67 sts

Row 14: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 19 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 12 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 20 sts. – 70 sts

Row 15: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 20 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 13 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 20 sts. – 73 sts

Row 16: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 20 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 14 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 21 sts. – 76 sts

Row 17: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 21 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 15 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 21 sts. – 79 sts

Row 18: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 21 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 16 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 22 sts. – 82 sts

Row 19: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 22 sts. 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 17 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 22 sts. – 85 sts

Row 20: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 22 sts, 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 18 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 23 sts. – 88 sts

Row 21: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 23 sts, 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 19 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 23 sts. – 91 sts

Row 22: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in the next 23 sts, 2 ldc in the next st. (1 ldc in the next 20 sts, 2 ldc in the next st) 2 times. 1 ldc in the next 24 sts. – 94 sts

Row 23: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the first st. 1 ldc in each stitch across.

Rows 24-25: Rpt Row 23

If adding fur trim, follow Rnds 26 – 27. If not, add 2 more rows of 1 dc in ea st.

Row 26: Ch 2, turn. 1 hdc in the same st, ch 1, sk next st. (1 hdc in the next st, ch 1, sk next st) across. 1 hdc in the last st of the row.

Attach Faux Fur with 11.5 mm hook.

Row 27: Ch 2, 1 dc in the next space. 1 dc in each ch-1 space across.

Once the hood and shawl are complete, you may seam hood to the top of the shawl. This can be done before or after adding the fur.

To seam the hood, use locking stitch markers to align the center of the hood (the foundation chain line) with the center of the shawl (Central stitch of Row 1). Place the markers so that the hood is evenly held against the fabric.

Using a length of your main yarn and a tapestry needle, sew the edge of the hood to the edge of the shawl.

Once the hood is seamed and the fur trim is added, use a large-eyed yarn needle to thread the faux fur yarn. Weave in the ends, securing the top of Row 27 to the edges of the shawl so that it transitions smoothly.

Weave in any remaining ends, and add a button to fasten at the collar if you prefer! The holes in row  26 make excellent natural buttonholes or tie-holes – or you could add a chain-loop closure instead. Once this is finished, you’re all done and ready for adventure!

Whatever the character, one thing remains true throughout all photoshoots – I’m either pretending to be freezing in scorching weather, or pretending to be scorching in freezing weather 😉

And then there’s the cliff-perching.

-MF

Alpaca Handspun Wrap

Forgive me, fiber darlings, as the golden falling walnut leaves and the true approach of autumn sends me into paroxysms of nostalgia – you see, I’ve completed a very long personal fiber art project, and will not hesitate to use it as an excuse to wax sentimental 😉

Translation: This is a long personal reflection post and a project with no patterns. 😉

It was almost 4 years ago exactly that I decided to give my still new (to me) Ashford Traveler Double Drive spinning wheel a good workout by ordering several pounds (!!) of Alpaca fiber that I got on sale.

I had already been working with drop spindles at this point, but I was excited to take advantage of the larger, faster batches one could produce with the wheel. I dug into the first pound with vigor, producing a tight and even dark brown set of yarns… but like lots of large projects, the initial momentum got lost and it took me several years to finish spinning the rest of the fiber.

In the mean time I learned and experimented with lots of other things, and even added more alpaca fiber to the hoard, including a raw fleece gifted to me by a friend (not much of that one went into the final product – hand carding is a workout!!)

The fleeces followed me, like a little herd of alpacas themselves, though many phases of life in the past four years. I spun and played with them, dreamed with them. They reminded me all the time of the farms and ranches I worked at when I was younger and traveling the United States, work-trading as a farm hand at communes and eco-villages. Every fiber of them passed through my hands eventually, to twist together on the wheel or spindle – how many thoughts are in these fibers? How many dreams?

At once point I got exuberantly experimental about natural dyeing again (my first forays consisted of tea, coffee, turmeric, and a failed pokeberry batch way back in 2009-10 or so), so I started collecting the vegetable waste from my day job in the produce department and brewing up a big batch of avocado dye from the pits and skins. Raw material, collected and transmuted again. How many hands picked the fruit? How many dreams did they dream?

When I dive, I deep dive. I want to know the parts of a process like I know the breathing of my lungs, intrinsically, so that my fingers can read the dreams. To me, that is the way to respect – respect what, I don’t know. The energies it took to create everything around me? Maybe. It is gratitude, definitely.

When the fibers were carded and dyed and spun and plied and washed and dried, I took them to my fatter knitting needles: the 9.00 mm circulars from my interchangeable set. (I remember the super long knitted scarf from a decade ago, and how I tried to cram so many stitches of recycled cotton onto a cheap plastic yard sale needle and snapped it into oblivion, losing hundreds of tiny knit stitches to my cold-sweating terror…)

Good thing my tools have evolved with me.
I knit and knit and knit, practicing my speed-purling, practicing my yarn overs, dropping stitches and switching to garter occasionally. I never got the bug for delicate knit patterns, I like my knits huge and stupid and chunky and easy.

I knew it was going to be a big folded rectangle essentially, with two arm holes. Simple. A large serape-like shell could be worn over other winter layers, since not all of the yarn I used is next-to-skin soft – but holy heck is it warm! Alpaca fiber is also naturally water-resistant, enhancing this wrap’s qualities as outerwear.

I played up the textural aspects of this piece, letting my big dumb rectangle be the blank canvas for every nuanced lump in the fiber. It was handspun; it was messy, chunky, uneven, perfectly imperfect. I did not want it to look sleek, cosmopolitan, curated. It was my glorious mess. So I did what I learned to do best in the grueling hours of the windowless rooms in studio art at Indiana University – turn imperfections into advantages.

(Mostly) planned dropped stitches provided visual breaks vertically, and lines of garter stitches complemented and accented the color changes horizontally, creating a weathered and distressed texture that plays up the lumpy, bumpy, mismatched yarnscape. The large needles allowed plenty of looseness in the stitches to give the otherwise square shell garment a flattering bit of drape. The rough visual style belies the incredibly squishy loft of the bulky alpaca yarns.

I can’t believe I spun 100% of this garment – it is my first large project to be entirely handspun. Some parts are a little scratchy, I’ll admit, and it certainly needs a second wash (it’s fragrant in a strongly camelid sort of way at the moment) – but this piece will warm me now in a special way, because so much of my story is now shared with it.

I get really excited when I finish a piece that’s taken me years, to me they feel like a victory! Previously, the Stump had been my longest-held project (3 years), but now the Alpaca Wrap (4 years) is the record holder 😉

And here’s my advice to every artist who may have had the tough moments, like me, that make dreams feel like impossibilities: Patience, patience, patience.

-MF

Witch Hat Pattern

Fandoms come and go for me. If you’ve been reading this blog for long enough, you’ll remember projects, photos and posts inspired by popular media and geek cultures – GOT and Harry Potter and Krampus to name a few! I’ve made Video Game Guys and Coralines and Pikachus for friends that may or may not ever make it on to the blog, and I’ve become fixated on and then subsequently grown out of a number of fandoms myself.

One though, I’ll never grow out of, and that’s Discworld.

If you know, you know. If you don’t, it’s hard to explain! With 40+ Discworld novels spanning a lifetime writing career, British fantasy author Terry Pratchett first appeared on my bookshelf when I was an adolescent. His combination of comedic fantasy and humanitarian social commentary hooked me immediately and I’ve been reading and re-reading his books ever since.

The graphic novels are great too, I have most of them! Pictured here in the free pattern for the Teddy Bear Onesie

So when I had a couple crochet hat pattern ideas for the blog, I thought it would be fun to match them to two of my favorite characters from the Disc: Part 1 is Tiffany Aching, Witch of the Chalk!

Read on for more info, or save this project by favoriting the Ravelry Project page!

Tiffany is a young heroine from Pratchett’s YA Discworld series who runs the dairy on her shepherding family’s farm, which she is driven to defend (with a frying pan) when the Queen of the Otherworld crosses over and steals her little brother. Tiffany’s ambitions to become a witch are helped by her tiny, drunk, warlike pictsie friends the Nac Mac Feegle, and her adventures are chronicled through the 5 book series which Pratchett completed just before he died in 2015.

This pattern was started just from a love of making witch hats – I happen to have another similar hat pattern for free, the Hedge Witch Hat, available on my blog on in PDF format! This time, though, I wanted something taller and pointier, something really traditionally witchy, with a structured brim and a severe point.

Since this is in a traditional style, I’m keeping it simple and calling it the Witch Hat 🙂

Witch Hat

This traditionally shaped witch hat uses tight single crochet and gradual increases to create a tapering point perfect for any aspiring magic wielder. The pattern includes instructions for wiring the brim of the hat as well!

Materials:

3.25 mm hook (or size needed to obtain gauge)
#4 Worsted Weight Yarn – Caron Simply Soft is pictured here (300 yards)
~46″ of flexible craft wire + wire cutters (optional, for brim)
Scissors, tapestry needle, stitch markers

Gauge: 5 sts + 5 rows = 1″

Notes: Ch – 1 at the beginning of the round to start. Beginning Ch-1 does not count as first sc.

Instructions:

Make Magic Ring.

Row 1: 6 sc into the ring. Sl st in the 1st sc of the round to join. – 6 sts

Round 2: 1 sc in the next 5 sts, 2 sc in the next st. Sl st in the first sc of the round to join. – 7 sts

Round 3: 1 sc in the next 6 sts, 2 sc in the next st. Sl st in the first sc of the round to join. – 8 sts

Round 4: 1 sc in the next 7 sts, 2 sc in the next st. Sl st in the first sc of the rnd to join. – 9 sts

Round 5: 1 sc in the next 8 sts, 2 sc in the next st. Sl st in the first sc of the rnd to join. – 10 sts

Round 6: 1 sc in the next 9 sts, 2 sc in the next st. Sl st in the first sc of the rnd to join. – 11 sts

Round 7: 1 sc in the next 10 sts, 2 sc in the next st. Sl st in the first sc of the rnd to join. – 12 sts

Round 8: 1 sc in the next 11 sts, 2 sc in the next st. Sl st in the first sc of the rnd to join. – 13 sts.

Rnd 9: 1 sc in the next 12 sts, 2 sc in the next st. Sl st in the first sc of the rnd to join. – 14 sts

Rnd 10: 1 sc in the next 13 sts, 2 sc in the next st. Sl st in the first sc of the rnd to join. – 15 sts

Rnd 11: 1 sc in the next 14 sts, 2 sc in the next st. Sl st in the first sc of the rnd to join. – 16 sts

Rnd 12: 1 sc in the next 15 sts, 2 sc in the next st. Sl st in the first sc of the rnd to join. – 17 sts

Rnd 13: 1 sc in the next 16 sts, 2 sc in the next st. Sl st in the first sc of the rnd to join. – 18 sts

Rnd 14: (1 sc in the next 8 sts, 2 sc in the next st) rpt the parentheses 2 times. Join with a sl st. – 20 sts

Rnd 15: (1 sc in the next 9 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join with a sl st. – 22 sts

Rnd 16: (1 sc in the next 10 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join with a sl st. – 24 sts

Rnd 17: (1 sc in the next 11 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join with a sl st. – 26

Rnd 18: (1 sc in the next 12 sts. 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join with a sl st. – 28 sts

Rnd 19: (1 sc in the next 13 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join with a sl st. – 30 sts

Rnd 20: (1 sc in the next 14 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join with a sl st. – 32 sts

Rnd 21: (1 sc in the next 15 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join with a sl st. – 34 sts

Rnd 22: (1 sc in the next 16 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join with a sl st. – 36 sts

Rnd 23: (1 sc in the next 17 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join witha sl st. – 38 sts

Rnd 24: (1 sc in the next 18 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join with a sl st. – 40 sts

Rnd 25: (1 sc in the next 19 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join with a sl st. – 42 sts

Rnd 26: (1 sc in the next 20 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join with a sl st. – 44 sts

Rnd 27: (1 sc in the next 21 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join witha sl st. – 46 sts

Rnd 28: (1 sc in the next 22 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 2 times. Join with a sl st. – 48 sts

Rnd 29: (1 sc in the next 15 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 51

Rnd 30: (1 sc in the next 16 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 54

Rnd 31: (1 sc in the next 17 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 57

Rnd 32: (1 sc in the next 18 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 60

Rnd 33: (1 sc in the next 19 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 63 sts

Rnd 34: (1 sc in the next 20 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 66 sts

Rnd 35: (1 sc in the next 21 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 69 sts

Rnd 36: (1 sc in the next 22 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 72 sts

Rnd 37: (1 sc in the next 23 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 75 sts

Rnd 38: (1 sc in the next 24 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 78 sts

Rnd 39: (1 sc in the next 25 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 81 sts

Rnd 40: (1 sc in the next 26 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 84 sts

Rnd 41: (1 sc in the next 27 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 87

Rnd 42: (1 sc in the next 28 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 90 sts

Rnd 43: (1 sc in the next 29 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 93 sts

Rnd 44: (1 sc in the next 30 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 96 sts

Rnd 45: (1 sc in the next 31 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 99 sts

Rnd 46: (1 sc in the next 32 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 102 sts

Rnd 47: (1 sc in the next 33 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 105 sts

Rnd 48: (1 sc in the next 34 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Join with a sl st. – 108 sts

Rnd 49 – 55: 1 sc in ea st around. – 108 sts

Rnd 56: (1 sc in the next 17 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 114 sts

Rnd 57: (1 sc in the next 18 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 120 sts

Rnd 58: (1 sc in the next 19 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 126 sts

Rnd 59: (1 sc in the next 20 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 132 sts

Rnd 60: (1 sc in the next 21 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 138 sts

Rnd 61: (1 sc in the next 22 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 144 sts

Rnd 62: (1 sc in the next 23 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 150 sts

Rnd 63: (1 sc in the next 24 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 156 sts

Rnd 64: (1 sc in the next 25 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 162 sts

Rnd 65: (1 sc in the next 26 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 168 sts

Rnd 66: (1 sc in the next 27 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 174 sts

Rnd 67: (1 sc in the next 28 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 180 sts

Rnd 68: (1 sc in the next 29 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 186 sts

Rnd 69: (1 sc in the next 30 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 192 sts

Rnd 70: (1 sc in the next 31 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 198 sts

Rnd 71: (1 sc in the next 32 sts, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. Join with a sl st. – 204 sts

For a structured brim: Make a ring about the side of the brim of your hat from the craft wire. Fold the excess over at both ends, hooking the wire together, matching the diameter of the brim (get close but doesn’t have to be exact). In the next round, hold the wire on top of the piece, inserting your hook under the stitch and the wire to draw up loops, then yarn over on top of the wire and complete the stitch to trap the wire inside your stitches. Work this method around the entire brim for the following round:

Rnd 72: 1 sc in ea stitch around. – 204 sts

You may have to unhook and adjust your wire for more or less length toward the end of the round. Once finished, re-fold and hook the wire together, flatten the folded ends to close them off around each other, and clip off any excess. Then crochet as best you can over the wire join.

Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in ends – I wove my yarn end from the brim around the wire join lump, to give it some extra security! 🙂


As weapons go, I really identify with the choice of cast-iron pan, my favorite cooking implement 😉

-MF