Woodsman’s Wife Ruana Update – with Pockets!

This classic pattern of mine from 2015 looked like the perfect project for my consistently-freezing self to whip up a few weekends ago, using a small stash of inherited yarn…

believe it or not, I meant to make that face

And as I am wont to do, I thought of some things this design needed – like pockets! And a little sprucing up of the PDF couldn’t hurt, and the written specs really weren’t up to scratch. Long story short, my “quick weekend project” turned into a total refurbishing of the Woodsman’s Wife Ruana, and I’m so happy I did because it’s a much-loved oldie but goodie and it deserved a makeover ❤

You can get the brand-new updated PDF pattern now in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store! Thank you for your support ❤ ❤

My “pocket shawl” version of this ruana / scarf / hood / blanket / thing hybrid was actually made with Lion Brand Homespun (#5 weight) held double, as a substitute for the Lion Brand Homespun Thick & Quick (#6 weight) called for in the pattern. Unfortunately I don’t know the colors used, because I got them from a destash, but I do know it took 11 skeins, and I switched the colors out individually by strand instead of at the same time, to get the faded effect 🙂

I love the new version, especially the cozy pockets! Keep reading to find the details on the new PDF pattern:

This big cushy crocheted version of the traditional ruana features crochet ribbing, a pixie pointed hood, and alternate sizing instructions to make anything from a slim belted wrap to an extra-wide cape-style coverup, and now has instructions for pockets as well!

The main body is worked flat in one whole piece, while the hood is worked separately in one piece and then seamed together. Made with a super bulky yarn and a 11.50 mm hook, this wrap works up quickly and feels super cozy. Wear it belted, over-the-shoulder, or add buttons or ties for a closed vest style.

The pattern for this versatile, convertible wrap includes alternate sizing instructions, construction charts, and detailed written instructions. The Woodsman’s Wife Ruana is a great Easy level pattern for crocheters ready to move on from hats and scarves and includes all the instructions you need to make this fantasy piece for autumn!

Materials:
Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun Thick & Quick, #6 Super Bulky, 160 yds / 6 oz, 170 g – 88% Acrylic 12% Polyester)– 5 skeins (7 – 9 skeins for expanded sizes)
Alternative: Regular Lion Brand Homespun held double (#5 Bulky, 185 yds / 6 oz, 170g – 98% Acrylic, 2% other) – 11 skeins
Please note that you may need more yarn if you customize the size by adding rows, given optionally in the notes.
11.5 mm (P) hook
Yarn needle, scissors
Button & yarn in coordinating color, 5.00 mm hook and/or ribbon (all optional, if adding fastenings)

Finished Measurements:
Main Body: 72” Long unfolded, 36” long when hanging from body. Width is optional.
Hood: about 13” x 13” after folding and seaming, laid flat.

As you can see I’ve made a few of these over the years and even made a closed robe style once – I took notes on how I did it, even though they’re really rough and don’t have accompanying photos, and you can find that on this old blog post here.

I’ve done a lot of remodeling with my older designs lately, and I do have more on my list – I make a point to keep my designs updated as I grow and learn from my business and as styles and demands change ❤ It’s one of the many benefits of buying from independent crochet designers, and I thank you all for making it possible!

-MF

P.S- the faux fur hat I am wearing in some of the newer photos is my free crochet pattern for the Ushanka Hat ❤ Check it out!

The Only Constant

One of my favorite sayings goes “The only constant is change.”

It reminds me that the live happily in life, you always need to acknowledge the shifting nature of it. If you go along expecting everything to be the same, always resisting when forced to take paths that you didn’t intend, life and it’s transformative progress will seem to be a battle.

One of my other favorite sayings goes “Man plans, god laughs” 😉

I’ll be reflecting in this post about what I’ve been doing with Morale Fiber over the past year – it’s more of a diary entry really, collecting my thoughts and tipping you off for what’s on the horizon for my designs!

2020 – Plague Year

It’s obviously been a weird one. In addition to switching my business from part-time to full-time in 2020, just a few months into the year Corona Virus struck and my proximity to at-risk loved ones made self-employment more imperative than usual. Still luckily things are going well, and I created & maintained my schedule for the year which included 6 written patterns, 4 tutorials, 2 brand new free hat patterns, 3 remodeled patterns, and lots more crochet morale boosting!

I’ve got a couple projects/designs in the works to finish off the year’s production list, and I’m now into my normal “holidays” phase of the year, despite the lack of holiday events upcoming (stupid plague).

YouTube Channel (& SALE!!)

One of the biggest efforts I made this year was reaching my goal of monetizing my YouTube Channel, which I’ve been developing as quickly as my creaky, video-hating old bones can manage. But I did make that goal also, thanks to all the watchers & subscribers, so I’m holding a special pattern sale as a thank-you!

All PDF versions of the full-length patterns available on my YouTube Channel (and a few that are all written PDF but have video component tutorials) are ON SALE for 50% off now through November 15 on Ravelry ❤ ❤ Here’s a list of the patterns on sale, linked to Ravelry – use the code “YOUTUBE” at checkout to get the discount!

Patterns on Sale:
Lotus Duster
Gnome Toboggan
Kismet Poncho
Tree of Life
Forest Guide Hat
Feather & Scale Halter
Cobweb Wrap
Elf Coat

Monetizing my YouTube channel will help me continue to bring out free content available to everyone while also giving me the financial support to keep publishing great quality, full-scale written PDF crochet patterns. Another great way to support my art: The Tip Jar!

20th Pixie Belt: Lotus

I realized at some point that the next Pixie Pocket Belt I made would be my 20th, and so I determined to make a really special one. I have been making these unique crocheted utility belts freehand, doing them completely different each time, for a few years now.

I used hand-dyed yarn to create a partial, semi-circular Lotus Mandala – don’t ask me how I did that specifically because I won’t be posting a pattern, sorry! These guys are FrEeFoRm, but I did create a series of tutorial guides for helping people get started making Pixie Pocket Belts of their own, check it out if you like 🙂

After that, I got out my special hand-dyed upcycled fabric given to me by my friend Kate, who had it left over from a studio art project – and it happened to match so well! What I ended up with is a watery, soft, draping train of prismatic lace and tatters, topped with a shimmery white lotus flower circular pocket and soft drawstring bag and toadstool pouch accents.

I put it over another hand-dyed upcycled project of mine, an in-progress rag gown, fit for a water sprite dredged from the bottom of a flowery pond. No mud, no lotus ❤

Elf Coat Expansion

Pretty much as soon as I put down the last touches on the Elf Coat design, I knew I was going to have to pick it up again eventually! One part of the sleeve design always nagged at me, and I did intend to give it pockets eventually – and lo, the flood of requests for Plus Sizes ❤ ❤

As much as I wanted to fulfill these fixes, I needed a break from the Elf Coat, so I took a couple years off to think about things 😉 And now I’m back, tackling the first part of the Elf Coat redesign and expansion! The first task is to fix the sleeve bit and to get a pocket option figured out, then update those changes to the already-existing sizes (S-M-L).

Afterward, I design & test the plus sizes! This is exciting and if you’d like to be a part of any of the testing for the new updates, join the Morale Fiber Facebook Group – The MFCA – and keep an eye out for the testing call!

Other Projects & Updates

I’ve got a number of bigger new designs on the horizon, which I’m also going to need help testing 😉 None are solid enough yet to list here, but I’ve got a hoard of updatable old patterns and things to occupy myself until things coalesce, of course.

I’m also thinking that this website, moralefiber.blog, really needs a few changes – it’s remained virtually the exact same since I opened it five years ago. Which makes sense, because I’m much more concerned with producing crochet content than updating the way the site looks – but eventually one must try to stay efficient. Hopefully I don’t wreck the way it works in the process!

Meanwhile…

Until Morale Improves, the Crocheting Will Continue ❤

-MF

Simple Market Bag

The latest of my older collection to get a remodel, the Simple Market Bag is ready for the big reveal! New photos and sizes and a great new PDF option: I’ll try to keep the rambling short 😉

When this design first debuted on my blog as the Simple Stylish Market Bag, it was one of my first free offerings as I was getting started here. I loved making them from the recycled yarn I pulled out of thrifted cotton sweaters, a technique I describe in this tutorial which was also a keystone post in the Early Days.

I loved revisiting this design and thinking about all the threads of my passion weaving in and out of my life – things come and go as they will. Sometimes I feel like all I can do is be here for it.

You can get the portable, printable, ad-free PDF of this crochet pattern with all the great updates included in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store now! ❤ Thank you ❤ Keep scrolling for the free pattern 🙂

Materials

3.75 crochet hook (or size needed for gauge)
200-500 yards cotton yarn, #2 or #3 weights work best (A good commercial yarn would be Hobbii Azalea, pictured Above Middle: #2 weight, 52% cotton 48% acrylic, 200 g / 874 yds, Color: 10)  I made most of these with recycled cotton yarn, see notes for details.
Scissors and tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Gauge: 3 inches in diameter after Rnd 3 – however, gauge is not critical, see notes section.

Rnd 3 pictured, with measuring tape held across diameter of the first three rounds.

Stitches:

Chain (ch)
Double Crochet (dc)
Slip Stitch (sl st)
Single Crochet (sc)
Half-Double Crochet (hdc) – in this pattern, hdc are used to complete the final chain space of each round of the mesh portion of this design. They are substituted for the final 2 chain stitches – please refer to this free tutorial for the Chain & Stitch Join if you are unfamiliar with this technique.

Double Chain (DCh): A technique that makes loose and flexible foundation chain stitches that are easy to work into. You may substitute normal chaining if you prefer. Full tutorial for the Double Chain free here.

Notes:

This bag is a great project for leftover yarns the follows the reduce, reuse, recycle philosophy! I originally designed this market bag for using recycled yarn from thrifted sweaters: if you are interested in learning to do that, see my full-length tutorial on Morale Fiber Blog.

For a video tutorial on making the twisted fringe into the surface of your bag, see my YouTube Channel video:

This pattern works great with any hook and yarn, so gauge is not critical if you would like to experiment with different yarns and hook sizes to make different sized bags. I have offered a slightly larger option to this pattern to give extra size options! Instructions for large occur in bold, where different from the small.

The chain lengths at the beginning of rounds DO NOT count as the first stitch of the round.

Instructions

Rnd 1: Ch 4. Dc 12 into the 4th ch from the hook, join with a sl st in the first dc. – 12 sts made

Rnd 2: Ch 3. 2 dc in the same stitch. 2 dc in ea of the next 11 sts. Join with a sl stitch to first dc. – 24 sts made

Rnd 3: Ch  3. 1 dc in the same stitch, 2 dc in the next stitch. (1 dc in the next st, 2 dc in the next st) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl st to first dc. – 36 sts made.

Rnd 4: Ch 3. 1 dc in the same stitch, 1 dc in the next stitch, 2 dc in the next stitch. (1 dc in each of the next 2 stitches, 2 dc in the next stitch) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl stitch. – 48 sts made

Rnd 5: Ch 3, 1 dc in the same stitch. 1 dc in each of the next 2 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc in each of the next 3 sts, 2 dc in the next stitch) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl stitch. – 60 sts made

Rnd 6: Ch 3, 1 dc in the same stitch. 1 dc in each of the next 3 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc in each of the next 4 sts, 2 dc in the next stitch) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl stitch. – 72 sts made.

Rnd 7: Ch 3, 1 dc in the same stitch. 1 dc in each of the next 4 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc in each of the next 5 sts, 2 dc in the next stitch) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl stitch. – 84 sts made.

Rnd 8 (larges only): Ch 3, 1 dc in the same stitch. 1 dc in each of the next 5 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc in each of the next 6 sts, 2 dc in the next st) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl stitch. – 96 sts made.

Rnd 9 (larges only): Ch 3, 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in each of the next 6 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc in each of the next 7 sts, 2 dc in the next st) rpt 11 times. Join with a sl stitch. – 108 sts made.

That finishes the solid bottom of the bag. Next the pattern works a round of chain loops to start the mesh portion.

Rnd 8 (10): Sc in the same st as sl stitch join.  (Ch 4, skip 2 sts. Sc in the next st) rpt around. Ch 2, hdc in the first sc of the round. This positions your hook in the middle of a ch-4 sized space (see Stitches section under hdc for explanation of this type of join). – 28 (36) ch spaces

Close-up of the hdc stitch worked to close the final loop of the round.

Rnd 9 (11): Sc in the same space, working under the hdc made in the previous round as if it were a part of a chain loop.. (Ch 4, sc in the next ch-4 space) rpt around. Ch 2, hdc in the first sc of the round.

Close up of the first sc of the round, worked directly underneath the hdc just made as if it were a chain space.

Finish the round with the same method, using hdc to substitute the final 2 ch stitches.

Rnds 10-23 (12-25): Rpt Rnd 9 (11)

Add as many extra rounds of (ch 4, sc) mesh here as you would like to get the desired bag dimensions – the next part completes the bag with a single crochet brim and handles.

Rnd 24 (26): Ch 1, 2 Sc in the same ch-4 sized space. 3 sc in ea of the next 27 (35) ch-4 spaces. 1 sc in the next ch-4 space, join with a sl st to the first sc of the round.

Rnds 25-26 (27-28): Ch 1. Sc in the same st as sl st join. 1 sc in each sc around, join with a slip stitch in the 1st sc of the round – 84 (108) sts

You can add extra rounds here for a wider brim if needed.

Rnd 27 (29): Ch 2 to begin a double chain. Double chain 50 (or ch 50 normally if you prefer). Skip  22 (28) sts of previous round, sc in the next stitch (this creates a gap between the last round and the double chain of this round, which will become your handle). 1 sc in each of the next 19 (26) sts. Ch 2 to begin a double chain, make 50 double chain stitches (or ch 50 normally if you prefer). Skip 22 (28) stitches of previous round, sc in the next stitch. 1 sc in each of the next 18 (25) sts. Sl st into the base of the handle chain (your first double chain).

You should have 2 evenly placed 50-stitch long chain arcs.

Rnds 28 – 30 (30-32): Ch 1, 1 sc in each st around. Join with a sl st to the first sc of the round.

You may want to add extra rows here for wider handles or add rows to the inner gap of the handles – I like to have fun and experiment with different ways to adorn this part of the bag, with tassels or beads, embroidery, etc!

Cut yarn and weave in the ends using a tapestry needle.

Left: Bag finished with embroidery, Right: Bag finished with twisted fringe (click for link to video tutorial!)

Hope you found this little pattern useful – I love these for gifts especially because I just can’t seem to have enough reusable bags on hand!

I couldn’t resist going full grandmacore in a totally uneccessary dress-up sesh for this pattern makeover – this is the bit at the end where I stick all the extra pictures 🙂

-MF

Gnome Toboggan Video

Just going to keep it short and sweet today, because I’m releasing a brand new full-length video pattern and I’m excited to get to the point!

I wanted to do a video for my free Gnome Toboggan crochet pattern to help provide guidance through some of the trickier parts (like increasing in alternating fpdc/bpdc) and because it’s one of my favorite winter projects 🙂

Find Part 1 and Part 2 below, and be sure to check out the other videos available on my YouTube Channel!

Part 1

Part 2

Hope you enjoy!

-MF