Welcome to Morale Fiber Blog!

From here you can navigate to all my offerings for Morale Fiber – independent fiber artist and crochet pattern designer πŸ™‚ (For more on who I am, see my About Page!) I created this post to make finding what you’re looking for easier. Let’s start with everyone’s favorite:

Free Patterns

The Free Patterns page is a running list of all the free crochet patterns, and they are all available published here for easy viewing- No extra downloads, sign-ups, or anything πŸ˜‰
I also have a page for my Crochet Tutorials!

Some of my most popular free patterns right now are the Novella Shawl (pictured top/left), the Basic Bralette (bottom/left), the Lotus Mandala Duster, and the Elf Coat (pictured below left and below right).

As a self-publishing artist I make most of my income from sales of my PDF crochet patterns through Ravelry and Etsy. If you really want to support what I do, check out my running list of crochet designs available as downloadable, printable, ad-free PDFs!

Paid Patterns

Some of my personal favorites are only available as PDF’s so it’s worth a look πŸ˜‰ Like the Flower Child Pullover (pictured top/right) or the Embla Vest (below left) and Cobweb Wrap (below right).

Questions?

If you have questions about any of the patterns I offer, I respond to messages regularly and would love to help! You can contact me here easily by leaving a comment on the page linked below, or contact me directly via any of my social media channels.

Pattern Help

Social Media Links

Finally, if you’re here to just peruse through my ramblings on all things crafty, you can go back to the Home Page (or keep scrolling) to view all my blog posts starting with the latest!

~* Thank you for visiting*~ MF
If you appreciate all my free content, consider leaving a tip in the Tip Jar ❀

Winter Sewing

I really couldn’t come up with a better title than that, despite the fact that I’m excited about how my latest sewing ventures came out! I take a break from crocheting occasionally to create garments on my sewing machine and serger – I love patchy pieces using upcycled garments and fabrics, and these two projects I have today fall into that category, as well as both being hand-dyed by yours truly. I finished both projects over the winter, and managed to tolerate sub-freezing temps to get a picture of them outdoors where the light was decent:

Rag Gown

My stash of to-destroy thrifted clothing are mostly castoffs from my wardrobe, things that didn’t fit quite right but still had nice natural fabric or an interesting quality I wanted to create with.

For this rag gown, I saved up a linen sundress and a linen skirt, a cotton machine lace tank top, and a small vest of the same kind, and dyed it all along with some spare lengths of cotton plain weave and cotton blend knit jersey. They stewed in a big tub with hastily splashed greens, and the dye took in a beautiful mottled way that I tend to favor over traditional patterned tie dyes or evenly distributed solids ❀

From there I laid them out with a rough plan of how to splice, cutting slits into the sundress for gores made out of long wedges of the skirt. The bottom edge was left rough as the mismatching lengths were sewn in, then I trimmed the fabric leaving peaks where the added length was longer.

This fixed the weird tubular issue the sundress had to make it more flatteringly shaped. The inside slip needed lengthened, so the plain weave cotton got stitched into the premade insert peeking out from below for a permanently layered look. Both hems got some or all the way covered in ruffles I made from the remaining cotton weave!

Next I wanted to adjust the bodice, which was a little puffy in some places and a bit too short of line visually. I cut bits and pieces of the machine laced tops to create a front panel featuring some of the bolder designs and edged it in the lace strips, bordering the sides and flowing around to the zip fastening in the back.

I did consider replacing the zipper with a criss-cross tie back, but at this point my experimentation courage had been used up! My rag gown was looking better than I had any expectation of, and I was happy with this piece enough to end my first foray into this kind of design. A few fabrics didn’t get used or used all the way, and I have ideas for future rag gowns so we’ll just have to save some tricks for later πŸ˜‰

Patchwork Skirt

I’m pretty fond of this sewing pattern for Wendy Kay’s No-Gathers Skirt, which I purchased from her Etsy shop years ago and I’ve had plenty of use from! I’m not sure how many I’ve made but it’s over a handful, and I’ve always wanted to try dyeing one myself. These are perfect with scraps of affordably priced quilting cotton, which I either inherit from friends’ relatives or purchase myself in the discount remnant bins of the hobby stores.

Determined to use up my stash, I had bits and pieces of other skirts left, plus a lot of fabric that had a color I didn’t favor. I decided to use all the fabric I had, and then overdye the resulting garment in hopes that it would tie the non-matching colors together.

It worked pretty well! I love the rich purple and maroon that I custom mixed from my dyes, and the gold embossing on some of the fabrics really shines against that dark background.

Of course, having busted my stash of quilting cottons down, I’m encouraged by the success of dyeing these skirts and will probably pretty quickly rebuild said patchwork stash πŸ˜‰

I love experimenting and exploring with fiber art and apparel, and the fact that I get to twirl around while doing so is no small incentive πŸ˜‰

-MF

Do or Dye

‘Round about this time every winter my wandering creative eye starts to fixate on my spinning stash, as the cold and unpleasant weather of the Midwest drives me toward indoor activities that will relieve my mounting cabin fever. Besides spinning wool into crazy art yarns, I also hand dye wool rovings myself using professional acid dyes or experimenting with natural & botanical eco dyeing.

This year, my dye cabinet really needed to be worked through – I had POUNDS of wools stuffed in there waiting to be painted, and jars of dye I hadn’t even cracked open yet. On top of that whole situation, another imminent move (I’m a roving artist, myself – har har) meant that I really needed to downsize.

So in I dove, resolved to color all of the wool that I had laying around and produce a stash of things I could spin for years to come. 10-12 hours of labor and days of setting and drying time later, I had an extremely pretty and earthy toned woolen rainbow to cuddle.

My acid dye batch included some dyeable prespun merino yarn and a fistful of silky-soft baby Suri alpaca locks – lush!

But after that massive batch of acid dyeing, I decided I wasn’t done yet. I saved back about a half pound of wool because I had last summer’s reject elderberries sitting in my freezer, preserved with the intent to commit eco-dye.

In the past I’ve created my own botanical & food based natural dyes out of tea, coffee, turmeric, pokeberry, black walnut, and avocado – as well as trying out some commercial botanical dyes – and had mixed results. Usually it’s quite hard to get the homemade natural dyes strong enough to get good color and to mordant the fiber properly to get the color to stick. Still I get tempted because I’m a mad fiber scientist at heart!

The lightly toned roving in the picture above comes from commercially derived botanical dye liquids and represent the strongest colors I’ve ever gotten out of a natural dye.

In the late summer when we harvested 15-20 pounds of wild elderberries to make syrup and jelly, I discovered that while rinsing our little treasures the overripe and underripe berries tended to float to the top of the rinse water, making them easy to scoop out leaving the plump, juicy berries sunken at the bottom. I saved back all these rejects knowing at some point I’d try to dye with them, the perfect solution to not wasting pounds of harvest.

The dye process was quick, and I used this excellent post from Woollenflower to guide me. After a mordanting soak during which I boiled down my frozen berries, I drained the wool and put the dye berries through a cheesecloth sieve to separate off the liquid. The wool roving went into quart canning jars, each portioned with citric acid and elderberry juice, and I popped them into the canner to steam for about an hour. After the heat was applied, I let them cool overnight.

While most of the dye rinsed out, I’m still very happy with the gorgeous muted purples and pinks that appeared! Elderberry is particularly sensitive to pH levels, and I aimed to created a mottled effect with some alkaline color and some acidic color on the rovings – it’s hard to tell because none of my picture taking equipment captures these subtle tones in natural light, but I’m pleased with the result πŸ™‚

I don’t expect a ton of colorfastness from this batch, so I’ll probably reserve this wool for creating a wall hanging, as I did with some of my Avocado dyed wool – an indoor decoration is the perfect solution to delicately dyed natural fibers which tend to fade in sunlight or with multiple washings.

A dreamcatcher I made using peachy-pink natural avocado-dyed alpaca fiber, handspun by me. I also crocheted the happy li’l cado in the middle πŸ™‚

I can’t stop looking at this gorgeous woolen rainbow, which I’ve had strung along my photo backdrop curtain string for weeks at this point just because it’s too dang pretty all displayed together like that πŸ˜‰ But today I’ll pack it all away, now that my last stash of undyed wool is colored. I successfully cleaned out my to-dye-for wool stash, but now where do I put all the dyed wool??? Ha!

Almost all of my dyes, mordants, and dyeable wools come from Dharma Trading Co., a USA based tie-dye and fiber art supply company, and I highly recommend them for their products, free resources, and customer service!

-MF

Rambler’s Mitts & Armwarmers Pattern

Despite the absolute buttload of snow that just got dumped upon my Midwestern home, I’ve already turned my mind to thinking about the magic of spring in the forest, getting excited for hikes on the not-yet-overgrown woodland trails to search for harbingers-of-spring, bones, feathers and other treasures waiting for the wild-minded.

This means it’s fingerless gloves time! I love fingerless mitts because I need to touch absolutely everything when I’m adventuring, from swaths of soft moss to frosty crags in the tree bark. That’s why I’ve designed several free patterns on this blog in years past for just such a thing – easy fast crochet projects that are practical to me and also useful for using up spare skeins of pretty yarn! I thought this year I’d spruce up these posts a bit, adding new bright photography, more tutorial photos, and checking to make sure my instructions are of sound quality.

In the process I also wanted to offer a PDF file option for both the Rambler’s Mitts and Basic Armwarmers designs, so I combined the two into one awesome PDF crochet pattern document – read on for more details about what’s in this new downloadable, printable, ad-free offering, or go directly to my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store to purchase! You can also still access the free versions by following the links on the design names at the beginning of this paragraph πŸ™‚

Rambler’s Mitts & Armwarmers

The Rambler’s Mitts and Armwarmers pattern combines some of my classic fingerless gloves designs all in one convenient PDF file!

The Basic Armwarmers are almost-elbow length straight fingerless gloves which include instructions for two styles, one made with #4 worsted weight yarn and one made with #5 bulky weight yarn, each with it’s own specific written instructions, and stitch counts. The Armwarmers design also includes a photo guide and written tutorial for customizing your own gauge and sizing if you wish to alter the fit of your pair. My favorite features of this design are the continuous round construction that eliminates the visible joining seam and the unique thumb opening, which creates a more contoured fit at the base of the thumb.

The second design included in this bundle is the Rambler’s Mitts, a wrist-length pair of fingerless cuffs featuring post stitches and single crochet worked in #5 bulky weight yarn with a cozy thumb covering. These quick and easy mitts are perfect for woodland ramblings, and my pairs have been an instant go-to in my closet for years!

Clear tutorial photos and detailed written instructions are included as well as links to the FREE tutorial post stitching – making this design bundle a perfect way to start crocheting your own stash of these popular and colorful winter accessories!

Materials (ARMWARMERS)
200-300 yds #4 or #5 weight yarn (1 pair of the Rainbow warmers shown are made with Yarn Bee Glowing, #4 weight – 198 yards, 1 skein. The Copper/Olive/Turquoise pair is made with Lion Brand Landscapes, #4 weight, 147 yds – 2 skeins) Yarn amounts are variable depending on weight and size made.
5.00 mm hook
Scissors, tapestry needle
2 Stitch Markers

Materials (MITTS)
Materials:
5.00 mm hook
Bernat Velvet (#5 Bulky, 10.5 oz / 300 g, 315 yds, 100% polyester) – 1 skein
Tapestry needle & scissors

Stitches / Abbreviations
Chain (ch)
Single Crochet (sc)
Half Double Crochet (hdc)
Double Crochet (dc)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Skip (sk)
Each (ea)
Round (rnd)
Front post half double crochet (fphdc)
Back post half double crochet (bphdc)

Language: English
All instructions are in US crochet terminology.

Thanks so much for checking out this new publishing – as an independent fiber artist and crochet designer, sales of purchasable PDF patterns make up the bulk of my income – you can find tons more premium crochet patterns all in one spot by visiting my Paid Patterns page here.

I also make a small amount from website visits, so if you’re not in the market for paid patterns please do check out my Free Pattern offerings! A lot of my paid patterns are also available for free – This is because I really value accessibility and love to share my craft, so offering for free on my website helps both you & me! If you don’t want or need to get paid patterns, I also have a Tip Jar available where you can securely donate any amount to go toward the maintenance of my website & business πŸ™‚ ❀

-MF

Oak Sprite Hat

Acorns are easily one of the cutest things produced by trees. Their little round nutshells topped with a perfectly fitted cap, textured in minute detail, forcibly remind me of a wee head wearing a jaunty beret style hat – and I’m certainly not the first to try to recreate such a garment inspired by this adorable thing!

So when I set out to crochet an acorn-inspired hat, I wanted lots of texture and whimsy in the final design, something that would evoke the acorn while still capturing a spirit of otherness; something the little folk of the drawings of Cicely Mary Barker might want to adorn themselves with πŸ™‚

Of course, I immediately set my mind on the crocodile stitch for this purpose. Though this stitch is an advanced one, I love it for the sense of magic it imparts to any crochet piece and that’s why I’ve created several patterns featuring this stitch already. The crocodile stitch is a special type of post stitching, so if you’ve never encountered post stitches, I’ve written a free Post Stitch tutorial right here on my blog! I do go over the crocodile stitch as well in this post πŸ˜‰

So today I’m very excited to introduce the Oak Sprite Hat, an adult-sized acorn hat / beret design which features crocodile stitch worked in rounds from center to brim, edged with simple half double crochets and topped with the cutest little acorn cap stem. I also include a few notes on how to make this hat smaller for truly wee heads!

The pattern is available both for FREE as a video crochet tutorial series and as a paid PDF file in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Store! Keep scrolling for the free crochet tutorial and videos or support my art directly by buying the PDF at the links above!

I worked several of these hats to finalize the crochet pattern, and while in the process I debated about whether or not to make the crocodile stitches point downward, as the scales do on an actual acorn cap, but in the end I remembered that primary rule from taking art classes in college – suggest, rather than tell. The hat’s acorn-ness isn’t really compromised by this detail, and besides – I really just liked them better pointing upward. This way the green version reminded me of a thistle blossom, which I accented by adding a bright pink poofball!

For those wondering, I don’t currently have plans to do a version of this myself with the croc stitches pointing downward, although it can be done – if you’re interested in trying it, it would work from the brim toward the center, and use decreases rather than increases. I may be so bold as to suggest investing in my Sylphie Hat Pattern, which works the croc stitches in that direction, to get familiar with that method πŸ™‚

Anywho, Here are all the details of the pattern you need to make this must-have woodland accessory, and below you’ll find the three-part video tutorial series for working the Oak Sprite Hat. If you like this video I do have more on my YouTube channel, check it out if you like and thanks for visiting – clicks, shares, tags, tip jar donations, and pattern purchases are my livelihood and I am eternally grateful for my kind and generous audience (YOU) that makes it all possible! ❀ ❀

Oak Sprite Hat

Materials

5.00 mm hook – or size needed to obtain gauge

#4 weight yarn – listed below are the specific yarns used to make each hat. Recommended yarn is Caron Simply Soft.
Scissors, tapestry needle

Thistle (green): LB Ferris Wheel (#4, 270 yd / 85 g, 100% Acrylic) – 1 Skein, Caron Simply Soft (#4) ~ 50 yards
Hedgehog (gray/brown): LB Amazing (discontinued) – 1 skein, LB Ferris Wheel ~ 100 yards
Acorn (brown): Caron Simply Soft Chocolate – 1 skein, I Love This Yarn – ~ 50 yds

Finished Measurements:
23″ circumference for brim
33″ circumference for widest part of crown
7-8″ tall from tip to brim (not including stem)

Notes:
Hat can be made a smaller overall size by skipping the final round of increases (Round 5) leaving the total number of croc stitches at 12. 12 croc stitches is ~16” circumference, or baby/child size. In this case you’ll want to work the brim at 48 stitches, without the decreases, unless decreases are necessary for the size being made.


Hat can also be made a bit shorter by skipping one or two of the final rounds of non-increasing. 5 rounds are written in the pattern but 4 or even 3 can be done instead. There is a note in the written pattern where this is optional! 😊

Stitches & Abbreviations

Chain (ch)
Double Crochet (dc)
Slip Stitch (sl st)
Half Double Crochet (hdc)
Half Double Crochet 2 Together (hdc2tog, a decrease)
Single Crochet (sc)
Magic Ring (MR): A method of starting a circle with a tight center by working the first round of stitches into a yarn loop, then pulling the yarn tail tight to adjust the loop.
Back Post Half Double (bphdc): Working the stitch into the post of the stitch below, inserting the hook from the back, around the post in the front, and re-emerging to catch the yarn in the back.

Special Stitches:
Picot: Picot is made by chaining 3 stitches, then slip stitching in the top of the last dc made to form a small loop. I use the two front loops of the last dc to work the slip stitch into. Picots are made in place of the normal ch-1 that occurs in the middle of a croc stitch scale to create the Picot Croc Stitch.

Picot Croc Stitch (PCS): A crocodile stitch with a picot in the middle in place of the normal ch-1.

Crocodile Stitch (croc stitch/st): This is a type of crochet stitch that creates a 3-D effect of a petal or scale. The croc stitch is a special style of post stitching.

It works by creating an underlying framework of alternating β€œsingle” (1) dc and β€œpaired” (2) dc sets, separated by a ch-1.

Pictured above is the framework for a row of croc stitches. Once this row is created, the croc stitches are worked across the same row, overlapping.

Crocodile stitches are a type of post stitch, meaning that the hook is inserted around the main body of the stitch instead of the top two loops as normal. The stitch is then worked around the β€œpost”, meaning that the space underneath the stitch is used and the body of the stitch holds the actual stitches. This is an advanced stitch and does take some getting used to as well as adjusting direction and hold of the fabric to achieve.

Croc stitches have 5 dc worked (from the top of the dc down to the bottom) into the post of the first dc of the paired set of dc, then a chain (or in this case picot) is made, before switching directions and working 5 more dc into the next dc of the paired set, working from the bottom of the stitch to the top. Each scale is secured by working a slip stitch into the next singly standing dc before moving on to the next scale.

Pictured above is the direction of post stitches worked to form the crocodile scale (for right-handers, this will be reversed for lefties)

Once a row/round of crocodile stitches is complete, the next row/round will build another framework for the next layer of croc stitches by working the alternating single (1) dc and paired (2) dc into the previous stitches:

Above picture illustrates how the framework for the next row of croc stitches is placed. Each paired dc is worked into the single dc which lies below, which is referred to as the space or stitch between scales. Each singly standing dc is worked into the middle space of the scale below, between the paired doubles underneath.

This pattern works Picot Croc Stitches (PCS) in the round, starting from the center of the hat. To achieve this, we will be working PCS increases, which means that the framework of the rounds will sometimes place 2 sets of paired dc in the same st between scales, each set separated by a ch-1 on either side and a singly standing dc in the middle. This sets us up to work 2 croc stitches in that space.


Pictured above is the croc stitch increase framework: (2 dc, ch 1, 1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in the same st.

Oak Sprite Hat Video Tutorial Part 1

Video Tutorial Part 2

Video Tutorial Part 3

I hope you found this pattern to be helpful and interesting, and are inspired to create lots of clever pixie adornments for your friends and family! If you’ve caught the crocodile stitch bug like I have, here are some other patterns I offer that feature this stitch:

Or, how about woodland and creature themed accessories in general?

If right now you’re asking, “Is she trying to draw me deeper into a fantastical crochet forest from whence I shall never return?” the answer is yes πŸ™‚

-MF