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 πŸ˜‰

Translation: This is a long personal reflection post and a project with no patterns. πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚


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

-MF

Elf Coat FAQ

I’m back with another FAQ page!

I am in love with the fact that my Elf Coat pattern has been so popular since I released it over a year ago! I’ve seen many wonderful creations and talked to tons of great people and it’s just….. so gratifying. And humbling.

Anyway, before I get too schmaltzy, I also get a lot of questions and so I created this resource to help answer those more readily πŸ™‚

Where Can I Find the Elf Coat Pattern?

This crochet pattern can be found for free on my blog at the following links:
Elf Coat Size Small
Elf Coat Size Medium
Elf Coat Size Large
Elf Coat Corset Lacing (for all sizes)

This pattern can also be purchased as a downloadable, ad-free PDF document (all 3 sizes included) through my Ravelry Store or Etsy Shop.

How Do I Size Up?

Currently this pattern is only written for Adult sizes S,M,L. However, many people ask how to go about making a pattern for XL + or other sizes. Although I do intend to write more size options for this design eventually, for now the only sizing advice I can offer is already written into the pattern πŸ™‚ Check the notes that occur before many sections of the design to see what kind of math I used and/or how to alter the size of the coat by changing the gauge.

Though the math in the pattern doesn’t cover every obstacle you may face when trying to create different sizes for this coat, it’ll have to do until I can sit down and write more exact instructions for different sizes (which is high on my list at this point but takes a lot of time and testing)!

Do You Offer This Pattern in Children’s Sizes?

Exact same answer as for “How Do I Size Up”

Can I Make This in Regular Crochet / Knit ?

The Elf Coat is made with Tunisian Crochet, specifically Tunisian Knit stitch. Since many people do not know how to do Tunisian, I’ve had a lot of asks about working it in either a regular crochet stitch or a regular knit stitch. Since the Elf Coat relies solely on 1 type of stitch, made in rows with only increases and decreases for shaping, it is easy to translate into regular crochet/knit stitches using a 1:1 translation for stitch counts (as long as you match the gauge) – omit the Return Pass (since you are not doing Tunisian) and Reverse the instructions every other row (because you’ll be working back and forth instead of in the same direction every row like Tunisian does).

For crochet, it’s proven difficult (from what I’ve heard) to match the gauge EXACTLY to the one given for the pattern, but with some engineering I’ve seen folks turn out Elf coats in regular single crochet that look great!

I’ve also seen several great examples in regular knitting, which produces a slightly flowier, looser and thinner garment. Again, a 1:1 translation (stitch for stitch, inc for inc, dec for dec) can be followed.

I have to say, though, that it’s really worth learning Tunisian Crochet to make this piece! I personally think there’s nothing quite like it πŸ™‚ And it’s not really as unfamiliar as you might think. Which leads to the next FAQ:

Do You Have a Video Tutorial for This Pattern?

No, I don’t currently have a video for the Elf Coat Pattern – although I AM rolling out a series of video tutorials for all of the Tunisian Crochet techniques used in this pattern on my YouTube Channel right now!

Many people have asked about a full video Elf Coat pattern, and I understand that there are a lot of people out there who really don’t like reading written patterns. And though I never say never, I’m pretty sure I won’t be making a full video tutorial for this pattern. I’d really love to – but I do not plan on it. I’m a one-woman business and I just can’t make the time to create all options for everything ❀ Even though I wish I could. Thanks for understanding!

Can I use β€œX” yarn with this pattern / What hook should I use?

The answer to this question always begins with β€œcheck your gauge.” Technically you can make any pattern with any size hook and yarn if your gauge matches the gauge given in the pattern. Now, gauge can be tricky and there are other things that contribute to the general look, feel, and function of a handmade garment, but the simplest place to start when asking β€œcan I make it with this yarn and hook?” is to test your gauge.

This pattern works best with DK / #3 weight yarn, or with lighter #4 weight yarns (One ply yarns like Unforgettable work best for this weight category – picture below). I don’t recommend it in something like a #4 weight multi-ply acrylic (think RHSS) because it’s so hard to get the right gauge with those yarns, but some people have achieved it!

If you need yarn ideas, you can search the yarn recommended in the pattern through the yarnsub.com database and it will give you yarn with similar weight and characteristics as options for substitutes. It’s one of my favorite yarn resources.

Is This Pattern Available in Other Languages?

Currently some sizes are available for FREE in Dutch via the awesome Een Mooi Gebaar , along with a couple other popular patterns of mine!

Dutch is currently the only other language, bu I would like to offer more language options for this pattern in the future so be sure to check back.

Do You Know That Someone is Stealing Your Photos and Pretending to Sell Your Design?

I do. It’s not awesome, but I am aware of it. Around this time last year, a foreign scam/knockoff website started advertising heavily to my fanbase pretending to sell my Elf Coat (using an image they stole from me). A LOT of people messaged me about it, thank you so much!! I can’t believe so many people recognized my work and cared enough to rush to my defense!

That being said, there’s not much I can do, so I just ignore it. Many people have suggested that I watermark my images, but for various reasons I prefer not to.

Do You Offer the Real Elf Coat for Sale?

I don’t, unfortunately! But I highly encourage you to shop around on Etsy or among friends to find someone to make it for you if you don’t crochet. I’m so busy designing patterns anymore that I’ve stopped taking any kind of actual crochet commission work. It’s possible that I may end up making one or two for pattern testing or for fun in the future, and if that happens I will probably offer them directly for sale via my Facebook page – so if you would like the chance to buy one, make sure you follow me for updates!

Thank you so much to everyone who has shown interest in this design and in my other pieces – this elf gal is charged up and ready to create some more new designs for you guys, and it’s all thanks to the amazing people who support my art ❀ We are in this together ❀

-MF

This isn’t the Elf Coat, I just love this picture. (Click so see the Feather & Scale Halter Top design)

Mori Beret

It all started in fall of 2015 when I searched around the internet for a good, simple crochet beret pattern, one with a classic shape good for regular ol’ worsted yarns.

Finding nothing that appealed to my particular idea of what I wanted, I sat down and crocheted it myself and debuted the pattern for free as the Sweetheart Beret, in an ancient long-buried blog post with an atrocious lack of photography skills :/ In 2018, I revamped that pattern and offered a cute deer antler version, again for free, on a slightly better photographed blog post as the Forest Girl Beret.

The Forest Girl Beret continues to be offered for free via the link above, but perhaps I can interest you in a re- re- RE- vamped pattern, now with even more cute extras?

Get the Mori Beret in my Ravelry Store or Etsy Shop now or read on for more details!

Because I just can’t leave well enough alone, when I decided to create a paid PDF option for the Forest Girl Beret I also rewrote the pattern just slightly, fixed a few wonky spots, and created full written instructions for new features like ears, spots, and leaves!

I’m calling it the Mori Beret, true to it’s original inspiration from the Japanese style subculture ❀ And I made FIVE versions of this cute hat because I couldn’t resist a multi-creature photoshoot πŸ˜‰

The Mori Beret starts with a basic, easy pattern the utilizes worsted weight yarn and half-double crochet to create a beret or tam style hat with a timeless silhouette. The main hat pattern includes tips for custom sizing and bright tutorial photos to show the details of the pattern.

Stick with the classic, sleek beret style and make one for every outfit or create a cute and whimsical wardrobe staple by adding one (or several!) of the 5 Extra Feature options: Mini Antlers, Ears (Small or Large), Leaves, or Mushroom Speckles!

The perfect classic and classy beret hat for any style ❀

Materials:

5.00 mm hook (main hat) 3.50 mm hook (optional, for extra features) – or sizes needed to obtain gauge

#4 weight yarn (Main Hat) – 175-200 yards

#4 accent yarn, 25-50 yds (optional, for Extra Features)

Tapestry needle Scissors

Finished Measurements (for standard hat, approximate): 22” brim, 11” diameter across the top when laid flat, 9” depth

Oh, and those fingerless gloves I’m wearing are the Rambler’s Mitts, a free pattern from my blog, worked in Bernat Velvet ❀

-MF

Foundation Tunisian Stitch

Let’s jump right in today because it’s going to be a quick one! If you’re a human who crochets, odds are good that you don’t LOVE working into the bothersome stitches of a foundation chain. I know I don’t.

So when I needed a technique that would allow me to add length to the end of a forward pass row in Tunisian crochet, I fiddled until I got what I wanted: A Tunisian version of foundation crochet, which works the bottom stitches and the first row of stitches simultaneously.

No long twisty strands. No chaining and rejoining. AND it helps keep the bottom from curling!

Here is my video of this technique, the first of what I hope is many Tunisian tutorial videos – use the Foundation Tunisian Stitch as the base for your Tunisian crochet pieces by working FTS instead of the base chain and first row, or use it to add length on Tunisian pieces easily ❀

For more Tunisian tutorials, peep the links below the video!

Tunisian Simple Stitch Tutorial

Tunisian Knit Stitch Tutorial

Tunisian Simple Stitch – Increases and decreases

Thanks for visiting! ❀

-MF

Kismet Poncho

Sometimes I think I’m a really slow designer compared to other crochet artists out there! When I dream up an idea, and hone it down, it may still be months before I perfect it and apply it to a project satisfactorily, and then more time still to sculpt the pattern and create the materials to teach it.

The Kismet Square was originally created for an entirely different design, one that I still have my eye on for the future – but that pattern was taking way too long!

So I settled on creating a simpler garment featuring the Kismet Square, and doing a full-length crochet pattern tutorial video for both the squares and for assembling & completing a poncho from them!

The entire Kismet Poncho pattern can be accessed for FREE exclusively on my YouTube channel videos (with written captions) or get the written pattern with tutorial photos as a downloadable, printable, ad-free PDF in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store! ❀ Keep scrolling for the free video ❀

It’s not the project I originally intended, but it’s the perfect project for the upcoming autumn weather and the perfect addition to my YouTube free pattern offerings – so the Kismet Poncho was born, and it was… well… fate πŸ˜‰

The Kismet Poncho features a 12-round crochet square with a floral circular focal point that expands outward into easy repeat rows of stitches, clusters and shells. The alternating solid and openwork stitches create a boldly textured appeal inspired by the rich layered patterning of Middle Eastern decorative traditions.

Worked in various colors of sleek #4 worsted weight yarn, this one-size-fits-all poncho uses 4 squares to create a gorgeous statement piece with or without fringe. The pattern itself is easy to adapt with different yarn and hook sizes, and the rounds of varied stitching showcases any range of color combinations you can dream!

Finished Measurements:

Length – 30” collar to tip, not including fringe, 20” collar to short edge, not including fringe
Width – 45” across from short edge to short edge

Materials:

5.5 mm hook
#4 weight Acrylic Yarn (I used a blend of yarns, all acrylics such as Caron Simply Soft and Lion Brand Heartland) – ~ 800-900 yds
Scissors
Tapestry Needle
6” book or length of cardboard for cutting fringe

Now on to the videos! Find Gauge, stitches, and pattern notes below the first video ❀

Kismet Poncho Part 1

Keep scrolling for Parts 2 & 3!

Gauge: 3 sts & 1 row = 1” in dc

Stitches & Abbreviations:
Chain (ch)
Double Crochet (dc)
Slip Stitch (sl st)
Half Double Crochet (hdc)
Treble Crochet (tr)

Special Stitches:
Magic Ring: An adjustable ring made by wrapping the yarn around the hand or fingers, and using the loop to crochet the first round of a circular crochet piece. Ring is closed by pulling the loose tail tightly after completing the round.
Shell: A set of 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc in the same space.
Petal: A series of hdc, dc, tr, arranged in a mirrored shape within a single stitch or space.
Cluster: Several stitches worked in the same st or space, leaving the last loops on the hook. When all stitches are worked, YO and pull through all loops on the hook.
Dc3tog: A decrease where 1 dc is worked in each of the next 3 indicated stitches, leaving the last loop on the hook for each dc stitch. The complete the stitch, YO and draw through all remaining loops on the hook. 1 dc3tog made.

Abbreviations
Skip (sk)
Next (nxt)
Each (ea)
Space (sp)
Stitch (st)
Beginning (beg)

Kismet Poncho Part 2

Kismet Poncho Part 3

I hope this design inspires you to create something you or your friends & family will love! And if you have any questions whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to contact me here or via any of my social media channels πŸ™‚

Peace!

-MF

Freeform #1

For years now I’ve had my eye on creating a piece in the classic Freeform style, a method of crochet that rejects the use of pattern or pre-planned formations and uses highly textural and varied crochet stitches to create odd, asymmetric pieces called “scrumbles.”

Though any crocheting without a pattern could technically be called freeform or freestyle, I differentiate the classic Freeform technique as having a few key characteristics: lack of pattern or overall plan, emphasis on chaotic form and texture over cohesive visual harmony, and reliance on several iconic motifs common in modern freeform (such as spirals, bullions, puffs, and other textural stitches).

Freeform scrumbles are finished bits of crochet that are then arranged and connected to form the final piece – anything from a freestanding “painting” of forms to a highly ornate coat to furniture covers (I dream of freeforming over an entire couch one day…).

Sometimes sewn together, sometimes connected via an openwork web of chains as in traditional Irish lace – the scumbles are like a puzzle you get to create AND solve!

After looking to such Freeform crochet geniuses as Prudence Mapstone and Hannah Martin of Of Mars, perusing some playlists for Freeform shapes on Youtube, and endlessly scrolling the Freeform Crochet World Group on Facebook, I finally collected a bunch of yarn and started scumbling.

And scrumbling.

And scrumbling.

After 8 months of slow progress, and lots of learning curves, I finally put the finishing touches on Freeform #1!

I knew it would be a shawl from the start, but the rest of the journey of this project was a complete and utter mystery until it was finally finished.

I must have arranged and rearranged the pieces so many times, in so many combinations! There are even a few eyeballs stuck in there, left over from practicing bullion eyes for the Forest Guide Hat.

The colors were chosen to be an earthy rainbow, with lots of gem tones (my favorite). Plenty of odd bits of hand-dyed and hand-spun yarn were included that I also created – which adds to the unique and personal “process” art touch.

At some point along the way, I started becoming (more) obsessed with moths, and I couldn’t stop picturing this piece as moth wings, or at least some winged bug-eyed thing – so the prism goggles came out to play πŸ˜‰

I’m overall thrilled with how this piece turned out – better than my expectations, to be sure! My first full-size freeform will be staying in my closet as I don’t think I could bear to part with it.

It’s great to create something that is impossible to write a pattern from! These days it’s hard to crochet anything that I don’t start to consider writing a pattern for (cue the incessant note-taking), but with freeform, that’s obviously not an option…

Although I may do some tutorial videos for the techniques I used at some point!

If you want to try out freeform but don’t want to commit to a huge project, my Pixie Pocket Belt Tutorial series uses freeform techniques to create cute, quick costume projects.

This shawl really pushed my boundaries and challenged me, and I value it all the more because of that.

-MF

Video Game Guy Backpack Tutorial

Let’s say for the sake of imagination that there’s a story featuring an adventurous youth and his acerbic canine best friend, who live in a slightly macabre and trippy video game world and have adventures. We’ll call it “Adventuring Friends.”


I think that in that world, they’d probably have a sentient portable video game console. We’ll call him Video Game Guy and he’s definitely not based on anything that is trademarked πŸ˜‰
Wouldn’t it be cute to crochet a backpack featuring this colorful companion? I think so too. Let’s do it! (P.S – I got this idea originally from Instagram crochet artist @mioforestcrochet and made my own version- please check her out and give her some likes!)


I hope you enjoy this free crochet tutorial for the Video Game Guy Backpack! I’ve included all of my notes, and as much bonus info as I could capture – if you have any questions on how I did any of the steps, please don’t hesitate to ask ❀

Update!: This design now has a Ravelry project Page, if you want to favorite it & save for later ❀

Video Game Guy Tutorial

This tutorial covers the instructions for making all the pieces of the Video Game Guy Backpack, but you can easily use this pattern to create a stuffed friend or pillow out of him, too!

Materials:
I Love This Cotton! (#4 weight, 100% cotton, about 150 yds per skein) 2 skeins in light blue and 1 skein in teal
Assorted scrap yarn colors: Lighter blue for the screen (I held in a strand of Glow-in-the-Dark yarn as well, to make the screen glow. I got that yarn from here, years ago). I also used scrap red, yellow, green, and dark blue for the buttons, and black for the accents.
Scrap fabric (optional)
Safety eyes (optional)
Button
Scissors, Tapestry needle, and locking stitch markers (for assembly)

Hook: 3.5 mm hook
Gauge: Not critical. Should be tight, as you don’t want a very hole-y fabric.

Special Stitches: Linked Double Crochet (LDC) – get the free tutorial from my blog here.
Magic Ring (MR): A great tutorial from Planet June here
Notes: I use Ch 2 to turn on the rows of linked double crochet instead of the traditional 3-chain turn, I find it works better with my gauge on this project – you can substitute 3 if it works better for you! πŸ™‚

Instructions

Front & Back (Make 2, 1 front 1 back, in light blue)

Ch 37.

Row 1: 1 Dc in the 3rd ch from the hook. 1 LDC in ea of the next 34 sts. – 35 sts
Row 2: Ch 2 (does not count as first dc), turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 34 sts.
Rows 3-27: Rpt Row 2.

If you are making the Front rectangle,
Cut yarn and tie off.
If you are making the Back rectangle and you want a fold-over flap with a loop, continue on in pattern for 7 more rows, placing a chain loop of stitches in the middle of the last row (skip the chain loop if you are making a pillow or stuffie). I wanted the loop more on the inside (showing the button less) so I made the loop on the second to last row, and then crocheted over that row with the loop held on the inside, out of the way.

Side (1 continuous piece, in teal)
Ch 12.
Row 1: 1 dc in the 3rd ch from the hook. 1 LDC in ea of the next 9 ch sts. – 10 sts
Row 2: Ch 2 (does not count as first dc), turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 9 sts.
Rows 3-77: Rpt Row 2.
Cut yarn and tie off.
Compare the side strip to your front and back panels. It should have enough rows to match all the way around the 3 sides of the front & back rectangles, with plenty of room to turn the fabric at the corners. You can adjust the number of side rows here if needed.

Screen Face (Make 1, lighest blue, white, or preferred color – I held 1 strand of glow yarn in with the regular cotton light blue):
Ch 24.
Row 1: 1 dc in the 3rd ch from the hook. 1 LDC in ea of the next 21 sts. – 22 sts.
Row 2: Ch 2 (does not count as first dc), turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 LDC in ea of the next 21 sts. – 22 sts
Rows 3-12: Rpt row 2.
SC border: Ch 1, rotate. Work 2 sc in the side of every LDC row-end, making 3 sts in each corner to turn. 1 sc in each st across the bottom (the foundation chain), making 3 sts at the corner to turn. 2 sc in the side of every LDC row-end. Stop at final corner.
Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Here’s a picture of his face glowing! Sorry for the terrible image quality here. But it does glow!

Arms (Make 2, light blue)
MR.
Rnd 1: 6 sc into the ring. Tighten.
Rnd 2: 1 sc in ea of the next 6 sc – 6 sts.
Rnds 3-18: Rpt Row 2
Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Legs (Make 2, teal)
MR.
Rnd 1: 6 sc into the ring. Tighten.
Rnd 2: (1 sc in the next sc, 2 sc in the next sc) rpt around – 9 sts
Rnd 3: 1 sc in ea of the next 9 sc. – 9 sts
Rnds 4-12: Rpt rnd 3.
Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Arrow Pad (Make 1, yellow)
MR
Rnd 1: Ch 2( does not count as first dc). Dc 12 into the ring. Tighten. Join with a sl st in the first dc of the round.
Rnd 2: *Ch 3. Dc in the same stitch. 2 dc in the next st. 1 dc in the next st. Working down the side of the last dc stitch made, slip stitch 2 toward the round below. Work 1 sl st in the same stitch of the round below. Sl st in the next free dc. Rpt from * 3 more times to form all 4 arrow directions.
Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Red & Green Button (Make 1 each)
My green yarn was small, so my green button was naturally smaller as I would imagine a Video Game Guy to have a smaller green button than red button πŸ˜‰ But you can substitute hdc’s for dc’s to make the green button smaller if your yarn is the same weight as the rest!
MR
Rnd 1: Ch 2, 12 dc into the ring, tighten. Sl st in the first dc to join.
Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Blue Button (Make 1)
My blue yarn is small, so my blue button is small – you can substitute hdc’s for the dc’s and sc’s for the hdc’s to make the button smaller, if you are using the same weight yarn πŸ™‚
MR.
Rnd 1: Ch 2 (does not count as first dc). (3 dc into the ring, 3 hdc into the ring) 3 times. Join with a sl st in the first dc of the round.
Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Straps:
I forgot to note how many stitches long my straps were, but I ended up making them too long anyway so that’s that πŸ˜› So here’s a short description (skip the straps if you’re making a pillow or stuffie) :
Chain a length equal to the length you want your straps, or slightly under (a lot of weight will stretch them some).
Row 1: 1 dc in the 3rd ch from the hook. 1 LDC in every other stitch across.
Row 2: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 LDC in every other stitch across.
Repeat for as many rows as you want to get the width of your strap. Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Black Details:
Chain small lengths, single crochet back down the chains. Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Lining (Fabric, optional)
I wanted to make my Video Game Guy pretty sturdy (sturdy enough to house an actual portable game console) so I decided to line the inside of the backpack with fabric to reinforce it. I used scrap fabric and just traced my main pieces (the front side and the side rectangle) onto the fabric to get my shapes.

I used my serger for quick construction (it’s ugly, but it’ll mostly be hidden).

And added a channel at the top of the lining for a drawstring, because hey. I’m fancy. I used my regular sewing machine for that part.

Assembly

Using a bunch of locking stitch markers, line your side piece so it runs all the way around both sides of the Front & Back rectangle, with plenty of space at the corners.

Using light blue yarn, join at one end of the Side. To create a seam, work through 2 layers of crochet fabric at once. Single crochet down the side, working 2 single crochet per row-end, under the sides of the LDC stitches at the edge.

If you prefer, you could just use a tapestry needle and yarn to sew it together, but I think the single crochet seam creates a sturdy shape and a crisp edge and is worth the extra patience required!

When turning a corner, work 5 sc into the corner stitch to keep the corner sharp. Continue to work 2 sc into the sides of each LDC row end on the Side, but remember to keep 1 sc per CHAIN stitch on the Front rectangle, as you will now be working across the bottom of the foundation chain on the Front rectangle since you’re working the short side.

Continue on to turn another 5-sc corner and finish the seam up the other long side, leaving one short side (the one with the flap) un-seamed and open.

Repeat this process to seam on the back side.

At this point, weave in any ends on all of your extra pieces that AREN’T going to be used to sew the piece on. Don’t forget like me and accidentally weave in the long yarn tails used for your sewing threads πŸ˜€

For the screen face, place your safety eyes or other form of face-making onto the screen before sewing it on to the front of the backpack. I left the top of the screen open and un-seamed, for use as another small pocket:

I then added the arms and legs, unstuffed, by carefully seaming the top opening onto the flat side piece surfaces.

Next came aaaaaaalll the surface details: Arrow Pad, Colored Buttons, and black details are all seamed onto the surface of the front piece using the yarn tails and tapestry needle.

The final hurdle to jump before I finished the piece was the straps. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I made the straps too long. Possibly because I underestimated how much they would stretch, or possibly because I was just wrong πŸ˜€

Regardless, I used locking stitch markers to test-place the straps, inserting more strap on the inside of the backpack if I needed to shorten it more. Since mine is getting a lining anyway, it won’t matter if there’s a little extra strap poking around in there.

Once they were arranged to my liking, I used the tapestry needle and the remaining yarn tails to sew them into place on the top and bottom. After messing around a little more with the flap and straps, I was ready insert my lining.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s really scary to place something you’ve lovingly stitched for hours with your hook and soft yarn, right into the gaping maw of the stabby-stabby machine. But the more I sew on crochet, the more I get used to it and the more I learn, so away I went! Stabby Stabby!

I sewed reinforcement stitching on the straps, and sewed all along the top rim of the backpack with a straight stitch, keeping an eye on my tension settings. I also added a round button on the inside front of the bag, so the top flap would button down but the button wouldn’t show on the face of the Game Guy.

Lastly, I added the drawstring. Exceedingly happy with my project, I hastened to type up this tutorial so that others might make their own Video Game Guy! This special piece is going to my friend for her birthday ❀

I hope you enjoy making this project, and maybe try out different versions – a simplified project might be to make a stuffed friend or pillow out of VGG! Or even a smaller patch version? ❀

If you liked this free tutorial and want to show off your project, Morale Fiber has a pretty kick-butt Facebook Group now with ALL KINDS of awesome fantasy, boho, hippie, nerdy, and alternative crochet projects shared by fiber fans ❀ Check it out and see if you’d like to join us here!

-MF

Acanthus Top

Life has seemed at once hectic and uneventful recently, my “normal” summer months stretching on under the strain of the daily news and the smell of spray sanitizer, but my evenings peaceful and filled with fragrant breeze and birdsong.

This summer, is not like last summer. But my gratitude has not changed. For the friends I have, for the capabilities I am given, and for each day, whether it’s spent alone or not – after all I’ve learned a lot in the past year about how we are all connected.

During this isolationary idyll, I’ve designed a VERY comfy and cute top that you’ll want in every color: the Acanthus Top, now available in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Pattern Store!

A lush and leafy bralette top perfect for the laziest of summer days! This crochet crop top features wide, lacy straps that interweave to form a racer-back shape, maximizing comfort without sacrificing prettiness. Shell detail edging trims the entire piece and frames your bodice in pretty flowing lines. The Acanthus Top is designed for a looser, more natural fit – like a cross between a bralette and a halter top!

Combining a structured silhouette with a peek-a-boo center, this crop top pattern covers SIX sizes (X-Small – 2XL) with detailed written instructions and step-by-step photo tutorials. I really aimed to make this one of the most versatile and wearable Morale Fiber halter top designs yet πŸ™‚

In Mediterranean culture and art, the Acanthus plant symbolized long life and immortality and was a regular feature of classical architecture ❀ I hope you love this new design and that it has a long life in your closet!

The Acanthus Top was the first design of mine to be produced using a full complement of pattern testers and they did an AWESOME job helping me hone this design and expand the size offerings. I plan more tests in the future – if you are interested in participating, I make the call-outs in my Facebook Group, the Magic Fantastic Crochet Atelier. Join us and keep a look out for the next test!

Meanwhile I’ll be taking my Acanthus Top out to lounge in a hammock as soon as possible! πŸ™‚

-MF

Sunflower Lotus Vest

It’s been a while since I made the Lotus Vest, the Free-Size circular shawl version of my Lotus Mandala design, seen also in the Lotus Duster (all free patterns available on my blog – just follow the links!)

So there I was, trying to use up some of my Quarantine stash while on Staycation, and I plumbed the depths of the cotton bin to find a lot of the Lion Brand 24/7 cotton yarn – the same kind I used to make the original piece.

Stashbusting achieved! I moved the armholes a little closer together, and skipped a few of the chain mesh rows – but here’s my latest version of the Lotus Circular Vest, crocheted with sunflowers in mind πŸ™‚

If you don’t prefer written patterns, I do have a video tutorial for the Lotus Duster, a similar pattern, which can be make sleeveless as well. Get that by going to the my YouTube Channel Playlist here.

There’s also a great Dutch version of this pattern, translated by Iris of Een Mooi Gebaar – you can get that for FREE on her website, or get the downloadable, portable, printable Dutch translation PDF pattern file in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry store!

Stay cool out there! ❀

-MF

P.S – the crocheted top I’m wearing in these pictures is the Valkyrie Top!