PBT: Belt Base

This post is part of a series of tutorials on how to create your own unique crochet pixie pocket belt – too read more about this series visit the Intro page.

Belt Base

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The belt base is where I usually start, using one of the main colors of yarn and essentially creating one long, skinny rectangle by stitching just a few rows onto a long base chain. This belt was started by using my 5.00 mm hook and the double chain technique – regular chaining is fine, I just prefer stitching into the double chain for longer projects.

Make a base chain long enough to wrap around the intended set of hips, and then some. You will most likely lose an inch or two during the process of completing the belt due to the tight slip stitching added later.

Then, add a few rows of stitching to create the belt width. I did a row of double crochet, then turned and did a row of (dc, ch 1, sk next st) repeats to add visual interest. Next, I turned and worked a single crochet in each stitch and chain space (so that I have something solid to slip stitch into at the top of the belt in the later steps).

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I got creative here and decided I wanted the middle of the back of the belt to have a little point to it, so I placed a 3-stitch decrease there in each row.

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Once you have your desired width, prepare to rotate and work into the end/side of the belt.

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I create a pointed triangle shape by working three tall connected stitches across the belt ends. These are trtr (triple treble) stitches, which are equivalent to 6 chain stitches, so I chain 6 (counts as first tr tr), then insert the hook into the middle of the side of the belt. *YO 4 times and draw up a loop from under, then draw through 2 loops on the hook 4 times, leaving the last loop on the hook.

Repeat from * working into the other end of the belt side, then YO and draw through all loops on the hook. For a great explanation on working tall stitches, see this post on Moogly Blog.

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Once you have your pointed end for the ties, you can stitch up a crocheted tie by making some kind of cord (see my guide to crochet cords) or you can leave it and attach a fabric, ribbon, or yarn tie later. Either way, once you are done with this area, slip stitch down the side of the last trtr toward the bottom of the belt. Next we’ll be working into the bottom of the chain foundation.

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For the tattered skirt portion, we’ll need something to attach the fabric strips. You can definitely just put the strips through the stitches themselves if you want, but I like to crochet on a couple layers of loops for attaching the fabric. I’ll start by chaining 7, then skipping about three stitches, then attaching with a single crochet in the next st. I repeat this across the first (almost) half of the belt.

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Around the pointed part, I want there to be more fabric. So I only skip about 1 stitch in between each loop to create this effect later.

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Then, finish up the second half of the belt with regularly spaced loops. Once you reach the other side, create another three-trtr triangle. Here I decided to add a crochet tie, so I chain a length and then slip stitch back down.

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I’m almost out of my ball of plain orange, so I’m going to consider this scrap busted, and with just enough to finish the belt base – mission accomplished!

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Orange scrap, we hardly knew ye. Just kidding, we’ve known ye for about 5 years.

My (semi)-finished belt base here measures about 38-39 inches, unstretched, not including the string tie. As you can see, it curves a little naturally due to the decreases placed at the center.  It’ll follow the curve of the hips a little nicer that way, and the extra loops at the increase point will form a fuller skirt there once I place the strips of fabric – I am aiming for a bustle effect with this one.

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But, I am also going to add a second layer of loops, just so I don’t overload the first layer and make it too bulky. With another scrap, I’ll start by attaching my yarn a ¼ of the way across – I only want this layer to be on the back half of the belt.

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Here I am chaining 7 and slip stitching in each chain loop. When I get to the center, I add an extra loop there to maintain the point by slip stitching in the same loop. Then, 8 more chain 7 loops across the other part of the belt, stopping once I have about ¼ of the way left. Second loop layer added, and another little scrap busted!

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Ta- DA! That’s it for the belt base. This is the piece that you will attach the pockets to later, and can continue to build with color and texture according to your whim.

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The belt base is a great place to start experimenting with different stitch patterns – here are some examples from other belts I’ve done.

 

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“Lavender” uses something like a granny square style stitch.

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I used a more open mesh stitch on “Nightshade” and then wove ribbon yarn through.

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Simple, straightforward double crochet works too!

If you have any questions about the tutorial so far or the techniques I’m using, please leave a comment! I love to talk shop. ❤

-MF

 

 

 

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PBT: Gathering Materials

This post is part of a series of tutorials on how to create your own unique crochet pixie pocket belt – too read more about this series visit the Intro page.

Choosing Materials

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These Pixie Belts can use a great variety of materials (great for craft supply hoarders) – here are just a few of the things I like to use:

  • Scrap yarns – It’s a great project for using up the really small bits!
  • Novelty yarns – it’s also a great project for using up those outrageous novelty yarns you bought before you knew better (or if you’re like me, knew better and didn’t care. Sequin yarns FTW!!)
  • Handspun yarn – I may be (slightly) biased as a spinner, but I just don’t think you can beat the look of handspun yarn added to these belts as an accent – it adds a ton of character and texture, and better yet, uses up small amounts of this expensive luxury material but still produces something with a lot of visual impact.
  • Beads & bells – must be big enough to string onto your yarn, or you can use crochet thread to string them on and carry them along on a double thread
  • Scrap fabrics : silks, gauze, velvets, etc – You’ll be cutting or tearing them into strips for the fringed skirt part of the belt, so you’ll want fairly long pieces
  • Buttons for fastening pouches / belt.

You could also incorporate any number of other things including felt shapes, home decor trim, leather scraps, ribbon.. go crazy!

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Other Materials & Tools

3.5 or 3.75 hook & 5.0 mm or 5.5 mm hook
Locking stitch markers
Several sizes of tapestry or yarn needle
Scissors
Tape Measure

Color Scheme & Theme

If you have a lot of materials to choose from, you’ll need to pick out what sort of colors you want to use and the materials that will go with it. As I’ve said before, I like doing a theme. You don’t have to. You don’t even really have to choose anything – you can just grab whatever you like in the moment. FrEeFoRm bAbY!

I love using thrift store silks for the skirting of these belts, for several reasons – they are cheap, they look amazing, they tear easily, and they have a light soft swing that makes them a dream to wear. I also utilize lightweight gauze and sometimes light/medium weight muslin or linen/cotton fabrics if I want the give the skirt a fuller look. Whatever material you use, you should be able to rip into strips if you want the really tattered look.

Stretchy, thick or complicated weave material can be used too, like velveteen or jersey knit, but you’ll have to cut them and not rip them.

Here’s a selection of fabrics that I’m choosing from. I’ve been wanting to use this orange for a long time, so that’s what I’ll be working with now. Time to chop!

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Separate the biggest pieces from whatever seams happen to be in the garment. Doesn’t have to be pretty, you’ll be tearing this up later anyway. Mine has a jersey underlayer I’ll be separating the silk from -I’ll save that for later or maybe use it for this belt too.

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I left a few seams on, which I can cut through when making the strips later.

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Now, time to choose a yarn color scheme! This is my favorite part, possibly. First, I know I need oranges since that’s going to be the dominant color in the scheme. I also pick a few greens to match the green in the silk, then purple to set off the other two colors – orange, green, and purple form a split-complementary color scheme.

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I also want to use some of this awesome handspun yarn that I’ve had forever – it has complex oranges as well as some blues and browns.

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So, I pick a few stray balls of blue to match the handspun accent colors, too. Voila! Colors selected. I probably won’t use every yarn that I chose, I rarely do – but it’s helpful to have a good selection prepared.

So now I have a nice pile of little scraps to use, plus at least one larger ball of one of the dominant colors to use for the main belt base, as well as some handspun yarn to feature in a pocket. I’m also going to add in a yarn I frequently use in the belts – a netted ribbon yarn that is great to use for the ties as it is sturdy and already has openings to fasten onto buttons! More on that later.

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But wait, there’s more!

Choose some buttons, bells, and beads. Again, it’s unlikely that I’ll use everything I choose, but I like to have my options on hand.

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You can choose only beads/bells with holes big enough to string on the yarn itself, or you can grab some crochet or tatting thread to string through and crochet as a second strand along with your yarn.

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Once you have everything selected, you are ready to roll! I stash my materials in a spare basket to keep them all in one handy place.

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Baskets are bae

Oh, and you’ll want to grab some hooks, of course. I use a 5.0 mm and a 3.5 or 3.75 mm hook for these belts, but you can use whatever you are comfortable with – but do keep a larger one and a smaller one. Here they are, looking demure. But they’re just biding their time..

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Ready for the next phase? Check out the Intro page for a list of all the posts in the series so far, and be sure to follow me here on my blog or on Facebook!

-MF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pixie Belt Tutorial: Intro

In response to many requests, I will be starting a series of tutorial posts for the freeform pixie pocket skirt belts (is that enough words for that?) that I’ve been making for a few years now. These crocheted belts feature utility belt style pockets in whimsical colors and shapes and a tattered fabric fringe skirt – they are great scrapbusters and excellent practice at creating different shapes and textures. And one of my favorite things to make!

The one pictured on me here was the first one I ever made, and I was immediately addicted – mixed media, playing with color, using up spare material, cute AND useful.. sounds good right?

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“Titania”

Once I had made a few more and started posting pictures of them here, I got requests for a pattern. The challenge is that I do these belts differently each time – so figuring out a pattern or a tutorial that doesn’t lock them down into sameness took some thought.

“Nightshade”

So I ruminated on it, and finally decided that a series of technique tutorials, based around the creation of an example belt, would be best. I aimed to explain these techniques well enough for even beginners to experiment with these fun shapes and textures, and for everyone to feel confident enough to let loose and have fun with it.

“Mulberry”

This tutorial series will cover material selection, basic shapes needed to create the pockets and the belt, some textural techniques, instructions on attaching the pockets, and how to make the fabric skirt fringe – and anything else I can think of! The links to the post series will appear in order below:

If you want to stay up to date on this series as it is posted, remember to follow my blog or like & follow my Facebook page!

“Kelp”

In the next section, I’m going to go through choosing the materials for the belt. I use a theme for mine, as you may have noticed: plants and trees. I love being inspired by nature, and choosing a theme like this helps guide me when I’m not sure what sort of look I want to add to the piece. More on that later.

For more inspiration, check out the Pixie Belt section on my Pinterest crochet board.

“Hemlock”

“Hickory”

Whether you choose a theme or not, remember this is a freeform project. It’s an exercise in letting go of control, of not being married to an intended outcome. Let it be zen, spontaneous, and fun! I call these belts my “chaos therapy” projects.

“Lavender”

“Shepherd’s Purse”

That’s it for the Intro – I can’t wait to get started on this project and hopefully to see what you all make!

-MF

Feather & Scale Halter Top

I could not be more thrilled to be rolling out my newest design today, brought to you in part by the willingness of my lovely friends to dress up in crazy costumes in the middle of the Indiana summer heat for me 😉

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May I present, for your edification and delight,the Feather & Scale Halter Top pattern? I dreamed up this design back in January, inspired by scale mail festival and costume clothing pieces, and have been diligently plugging away on the details all summer!

The crochet pattern PDF is available for purchase in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Pattern Store for 5.95 USD (but there’s a big sale still going on right now, so you can get it for cheaper than that if you hurry before August 1st). Read more about this one-of-a-kind pattern below!

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The Feather & Scale Halter Top uses fine variegated cotton blend yarn to create an eye-catching gradient of crocodile stitch scales on the outer top, with a built-in inner cup lining for coverage and support. The cross-back ties keep the weight off of the neck so you can comfortably dance & groove that feathery fringe into motion!

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Size pictured: X-Small in Schachenmayr Tahiti

With the dramatic triangle shaping to accent the body’s curves, this halter is both figure flattering and fun to wear – and the pattern is written for FIVE sizes, X-Small – X-Large (corresponding to AA/A – DD cup sizes ).

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Size Pictured: Medium in Schachenmayr Tahiti

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Size pictured: X-Large in Red Heart It’s a Wrap Rainbow

The pattern is well stocked with all of the details on the techniques needed to create this unique piece, including extensive instructions on creating the crocodile stitch used for the main part of the halter – as well as precise step-by-step written instructions that correspond with nearly 100 tutorial photos! Additionally, I’ve begun to dig into developing some tutorial video skills with this one – be gentle, I’m still very much learning!

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Materials:
3.75 mm hk
Schachenmayr Tahiti, 2 (2, 2, 3, 3) skeins – (#1 weight, 1.75 oz / 50 g per 306 yds, 99% cotton / 1% polyester)
OR
Red Heart It’s a Wrap Rainbow, 1 (1, 1, 2, 2) skeins – (#1 weight, 5.29 oz /150 g per 623 yds, 55% acrylic 45% cotton)
Scissors
Tapestry needle
6” Length of cardboard, book, or fringe maker

Sizes & Finished Measurements:
X-Small (XS): Underbust length – 15”, Cup height – 6”, Cup Size – AA/A
Small (SM): Underbust length – 17”, Cup height – 7”, Cup Size – A/B
Medium (MD): Underbust length – 19”, Cup height – 8”, Cup Size – C
Large (LG): Underbust length – 21”, Cup height – 9”, Cup Size – D
X-Large (XL): Underbust length – 23”, Cup height – 11”, Cup Size – DD

Extra Credits!: The horns worn by my green dragon top model are from Dark Pony Art, the wire wrap necklace worn by my Rainbow XL top model is from Twisted Forrest Jewelry – please check them out and support small business art!

Models: Daisey Denson, Arika Harris, Katy Sanders ❤

You have reached the portion of the pattern post where there’s just a buttload of photos! Enjoy 🙂

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I think this one is my favorite, but it’s actually impossible to choose.

I hope you like this new design! I have done some fantasy-inspired pieces in the past, but I really cranked the staging up to 11 with this one – expect more of that in the future ❤

-MF

Crocodile Stitch Video Demos

Well, I’ve finally cajoled myself into learning to video edit so that I can bring you more video tutorials! One of my goals with my newest design, the Feather & Scale Halter Top, was to create a few short video tutorials that shows the particular way I work the crocodile stitches for that pattern.

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I’m still in the learning stages, though – so these videos aren’t as polished as I’d like them to be. But I wanted to at least get some of these techniques in action, as they are easier understood by watching than by written pattern reading alone – even with all the tutorial photos provided in the PDF!

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While shooting these (roughly) I had a lot of ideas for how I’d like to do videos in the future, which was a great way to practice for the Lotus Mandala Duster tutorial video I am planning.  If you have feedback or something that you’d like to see in my future videos, please let me know in the comments! 🙂

Hope these crocodile stitch demos for the first few rows of my Feather & Scale Halter Top crochet pattern are a good start, at least:

Croc Stitch Demo – Row 1

Croc Stitch Demo  Row 2

Croc Stitch Demo – Rows 3 & 4

Be sure to check out my Facebook page for more updates on new tutorial videos and patterns!

-MF

Huntress Sweater Dress

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Taking a moment today to picture-bomb you with one of my more recently completed projects, the Huntress sweater dress – made from my Flower Child Pullover pattern of course, which you can find on Ravelry and on Etsy, and don’t forget about the big sale I have going on my crochet patterns until July 31, 2018!

I’m enjoying the large window I have in the front room of my new place that lets in lots of light for photography so I don’t have to mess too much with studio lighting right now – which means I have more time to focus on dressing up those bad boy crochet pieces.

And looking silly.

Or serious.

…. or drunk.

This piece is also available for sale in my Etsy shop, and fits sizes Medium to Large, with a bust of up to 40″. This one is extra long with a collar-to-hem length of about 33″. I just love making these things!

You can also find this image gallery on Tumblr now, as I recently began posting some of my style stuff (including but not limited to my crochet designs) on my new account. Howlingxmouse, yo! Follow me!

-MF

 

Ch-ch-ch-changes

You may have noticed it’s been a touch quiet on the blog lately, at least for the summer time when I am normally busy crocheting my heart out during the break from school. Well, I’m still crocheting my heart out, but due to some recent changes I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to create and photograph and post.

I seem to have acquired an actual day job, like a responsible adult type person, at the local co-op grocery (which I am loving). Also, I moved again! And we all know how much fun that is, what with the throwing of the possessions into garbage bags (is there a better way to do that?).

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What I really do.

I do still have many awesome things planned both as far as paid crochet patterns and free tutorials and projects, but the work pace on those has slowed down a bit. More info on what’s coming up after the first big announcement:

Paid Pattern Price Change

Beginning in August, all of my paid digital PDF crochet patterns will change from 5.50 USD to 5.95 USD. This is something I have been waffling about for a few months now, but a recent announcement by Etsy that they are raising their percentage fees from shop sales (from 3% to 5%) made the decision for me.

However, I do intend to help mitigate this price change by hosting a HUGE SALE! From now until my price change goes into effect August 1, I will be offering ALL of my paid patterns for 37% off (a little over $2 off) through my Ravelry Pattern Store and 30% off ($1.65 off) through my Etsy Shop. No coupon code necessary – snap them all up while they are at this awesome price!

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There are also two older patterns I will be offering soon for free on the blog (so you don’t have to bother buying them if you don’t want the PDF version). The Rhiannon Hooded Cowl and the Mini Mandala Slouchy Tam will be making an appearance, with upgraded photos, gratis – keep an eye out for these freebies here in the future 🙂 And subscribe to the blog and follow me on Facebook for all the latest updates!

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I’d love to take this chance to thank the wonderful customers that have bought my patterns, especially those that have taken time from their day to leave reviews:

“Almost finished with this sweater and I am so happy with the outcome!! The pattern is so easy to follow. This is maybe my second or third purchase from moralefiber and her patterns are just so clear and neat. Not to mention how cute and practical the designs are. Thank you!! <3”
-Kristin H. (Spiral Sweater)

“It is easy to understand and comes with a great amount of pictures as well as written instructions. I am using the yarn suggested in the pattern (white cotton/acrylic blend) and it works up real fast. I love it! 💖 Can’t wait to finish it! Thanks for making this pattern!”
-Diana (Lotus Duster)

“What a lovely shop owner! Very patient with my questions. Super cute pattern!! <3”
-Robin (Krampus Hat)

“Pattern is clearly written, hence easy to follow. Love this design, so versatile. Highly recommended; Thanks very much ;-)”
-Alexandra H. (Flower Child Pullover)

Also, thank you so much to all the wonderful people that have commented and messaged me directly about my work. There have seriously been days when your amazing and kind words have truly brightened my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you! ❤

New PROJECTS and TUTORIALS:

Needless to say, with the addition of a day job, some of the things I had planned for this summer got re-arranged in priority. Here’s what’s definitely on the line right now!

New Halter Top Pattern:

I am so excited about this new design, which I have been fiddling with since January. I have made several of these beauties so far and am nearing the final stages of photographing and writing, and can’t wait to show you the final product! This design uses a fine gradient yarn and croc stitches to create a gorgeous scale top that is flattering on every figure, and includes FIVE sizes XS-XL, equivalent to cup sizes A-DD!

I just can’t resist a sneak peak featuring some of my lovely friends test-fitting some of the completed pieces:

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Daisey, wearing size XS

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Katy modeling size XL

P.S – the lovely pendant in the previous photo is the wire wrapping art of my friend Isaac from Twisted Forrest Jewelry – check out his page and give him a like!

Pixie  Belt Tutorial:

In response to many requests, I have begun working on creating a tutorial for my freeform ragtag crochet pixie belts! I hope to include a basic tutorial for the different shapes you can utilize, plus pictures on how I normally form the base belt, as well as inspiration on choosing colors and themes… It should be interesting – of course, these will be most fun if you cut loose and customize to your heart’s content, and my goal is to create a good guideline to springboard from!

Now, warning on this: it might take some time! So I’ve decided to come out with the tutorials in bits and pieces, beginning with the basics and working up from there.

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Lotus Duster Video Tutorial:

Yes, this is definitely in the works. I have wanted to do this for a long time, so I intend to jump in and do it! The Video tutorial will be free on my blog, probably presented in episodes, and I’ll try to include as many of my tips and tricks as I can! Forgive me in advance for what I know will be amateurish video editing skills, but I’m gonna try 😉

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I’ve got even more in the works, but I’m running out of time today 🙂 Back later, with more crochet goodness.<3

-MF