Window Box Sweater Pattern

Whew! The month of April – or Third February as I am calling it this year – is almost over, and I can’t say I’m too sad about it. I’ve been busily chipping away at final papers and such, but I did find enough time to complete a new (easy) crochet pattern design!

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It’s a super cute hippie-flavored crop sweater, the perfect topper for any lingering spring chill. The Window Box Sweater  is designed with easy-level crocheters in mind, and is available with 3 sizes – all in one pattern for 5.50 USD through my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Pattern Store – with a special introductory SALE for $1 off running through Monday, April 30 with the coupon code “WINDOW1”.  Read on for more details about the pattern!

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The Window Box Sweater is an airy layering piece full of movement and attitude! The trendy cropped length and loose fit is balanced by fun flared bell sleeves and a retro square collar.

Easy, in-the-round construction means no bulky seams or complicated finishing, and tons of tutorial photos make it a cinch to follow along even for inexperienced garment makers. This sweater is a quick project featuring simple stitches and a large hook, and the cotton DK weight yarn held double creates a trendy bold texture without sacrificing drape and softness.

The Window Box Sweater has THREE sizes, all written in detailed instructions with stitch counts for every size – no guesswork or vague modifying instructions!

Sizes:
Small: 38” Bust, 14” length, 26” sleeves
Medium: 42” Bust, 14” length, 26” sleeves
Large: 46” Bust, 15” length, 27” sleeves

Materials
6.50 mm hook
4 Stitch Markers
Scissors & Tapestry Needle

Yarn
2 Strands any DK weight held together: 1100 yds (1300 yds, 1500 yds) – 4 skeins Premier Cotton Fair or Universal Yarns Bamboo Pop

Instructions are written in English, using US crochet terminology.

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Man, it was really hard to sit on this one until it was ready to release – I’m so excited its finally out! 🙂  Now on to the next one, of course!

-MF

 

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Wayfarer Ruana

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When I began drafting this post over a year ago, it was to take notes on my first attempt at some of the beautiful and colorful knit ruanas I had seen floating around online. Unfortunately for me, that first attempt (which took over a year for me to finish!) just didn’t turn out. It happens. The final product was pretty, but just too big to conceivably wear, even after several attempts at damage control. It makes an incredible blanket, however.  And since the point was to use up small scraps of leftover yarn, it was indeed effective.

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And yet somehow that bag of scrap yarn remained full for the entirety of the two years I’ve been developing this 😛

Maybe it wasn’t so unfortunate. After all, I had an incentive to try to do it again, and this time I had a few additional touches I was excited about trying. So, I started the NEXT one. Good thing too, because if there is one thing I love to have around, it’s a big colorful knitting project that requires zero brainpower.

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My favorite projects do tend to involve recycling and reusing stuff, and this thing has supreme scrapbusting capabilities. Especially on the two skinnier front panels, you can really use up fairly small lengths of leftover yarn with ease, because you don’t have to weave in those ends! At least, not as many ends as you’d think, as long as you change yarns at the end of the row. I mostly hit the mark on this, usually with just a yard or two to spare on whatever tiny yarn ball I was using. Occasionally I gambled on a small length and lost, and had to change mid-row.

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Since the yarn ends on the outside edges of the ruana are left knotted and then blended in with the added fringe, you save a ton of time doing that much-maligned finishing work. But you still have to weave in the ends for the grannies 😛

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I hope you enjoy the free tutorial I whipped up for this project – it’s more of a guide than a pattern, since the dimensions/materials/yardages are left somewhat variable and a lot of it is open for (and it fact demands) personal interpretation and creativity! Of course, if you have any questions about how I did mine, don’t hesitate to ask 🙂 And, if you like it, throw me a favorite on the Ravelry project page.

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Oh, and this thing is COZY. Basically this wrap cocoons you in soothing waves of color and texture and mind-melds you with the universe. Basically.

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Wayfarer Ruana

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Final dimensions: Roughly 65″ x 65″ when laid flat.

Materials:

Part 1 (Knit):

8 mm (US size 11) knitting needles (24″ circular and 40″ circular)
A whole buncha yarn – I used mostly #4 and #5 weight from leftovers. If you’ve got thinner yarn you want to use up, remember you can always double it up with another strand! I used 4 skeins of a silver bulky weight (I Love This Chunky from Hobby Lobby) as my “base” yarn, using a little in the main body and 3 skeins for the trims and collar.

Part 2 (Crochet):
4.50 mm crochet hook
DK weight yarn – I used a variety of colors (20 skeins) from Drops Lima, a wool/alpaca blend, and had plenty left over.

Tapestry Needle
Scissors

Techniques:

Part 1 (Knit):
Cast on (CO)
K (knit)
P (purl)
Stretchy bind off (tutorial video here)
Standard bind off
Picking up stitches from the edge of the row (tutorial video here)
Not absolutely necessary but I found to be extremely helpful: this tutorial on speed knitting by RJ Knits.

Part 2 (Crochet):
Magic Ring (MR)
Double crochet (dc)
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Granny square join-as-you-go (great tutorial here)

Part 1 Instructions: The Main Body

Using spare balls of scrap yarn / orphan skeins / leftover yarns

1.CO 50 sts to the 24″ circular knitting needles
2. Turn, K every stitch across
3. Rpt Step 2, changing yarn at the end of the row whenever you think you don’t have enough for another full row (or whenever you feel like it). Tie the old yarn tail and the new yarn tail into a knot. Work until you have 130 rows. Transfer your piece to a stitch holder – this completes the first front panel, one of the two skinny halves of the front.

4. For the second front panel, repeat Steps 1-3 until you have another full 50 st x 130 row piece.

5. Switch to your 40″ circulars and knit your first rectangle onto the new circulars. Cast on 10 extra stitches, then knit your second rectangle on. You now have both of your front panels, plus 10 new stitches in between for the collar, on the 40″ circular needles.

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Close-up of the collar area

6. Turn, knit every stitch across, continuing to change & knot yarn as before. Work 130 total rows.

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5. Bind off. My favorite is the stretchy bind-off, directions for which are in this great video from Knitting with Cheryl Brunette.

Trim:

1. Using the the 40″ circular, pick up sts along the edge of the piece – I used my  bulky “base” yarn and got about 180 stitches (1 stitch per 2 rows). Here’s a great video from the indomitable Purl Soho on picking up stitches from the side of garter stitch rows.

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Picking up stitches from the side of the rows, front side

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Picking up stitches from the side of the rows – view from the back. Notice the ridge formed by the side of the rows on this side – this is where we will attach the extra fringe later.

2. K for 10 rows. Bind off using the standard method – to make the Part 2 joining easier, I would not recommend stretchy bind-off here.

3. Repeat trim on the other side, making sure that you work the second edge with the same side facing, positioning all ends to the back of your work (so that the fringe will be all on the same side).

Collar:

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1.  With 40″ circular needles, pick up stitches on the side of the rows beginning on the inside of the front panel up to the collar, then around and down the inside of the of the opposite panel (remember only 1 stitch per 2 rows)

From this row of picked up stitches we’ll work a 4×4 rib. If you are picky about not ending up with partial ribs, you could go to the trouble to make sure the amount of stitches you pick up is divisible by four, but I didn’t – and was divisible by four anyway! Lucky me.

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2. For the 4 x 4 rib, *K 4, P 4* across the entire row. Work 8 total rows in the rib by knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches in every row. Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in any ends from the main body left on this inside edge.

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PART 2 Instructions: Granny Square Trim

4.50 mm crochet hook
Assorted DK weight yarns
Gauge: 1 square = 6″

Next we’ll make TWO separate strips of 11 granny squares (about 6 inches in length each). You can definitely use scrap yarn here too, but I used a set of colors from Drops Lima yarn for a more uniform appearance.

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To begin the granny square, make a magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc into the ring, ch 3. (3 dc into the ring, ch 3) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Rnd 2: Join new yarn to any ch-3 space. Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc in the same sp, ch 3. 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same sp, ch 1) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Rnd 3: Join new yarn in any ch-3 space. Ch 3 (counts as first dc) 2 dc in the same sp, Ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. 3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. 3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round.. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Round 4: Join new yarn in any ch-3 space. Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc in the same space, ch 3. 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) twice. [3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) twice] 3 times. Join with a slip stitch to the first dc of the round. Do not cut yarn.

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Rnd 5:

If this is your first square for the strip, work as normal. If this is not your first square, connect ONE of the sides to the previous square on the strip by beginning with any chain-3 corner and ending with the next, using this join-as-you-go method from Attic 24. If you prefer, you could also make all squares individually and seam them later 🙂

Sl st in the next 2 dc and in the next ch st so your hook is positioned to begin the next round at the ch-3 corner. Ch 3 (counts as first dc) 2 dc in the same space, ch 3. 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 3 times. [3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 3 times] Repeat [bracketed] instructions 3 times total. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Joining Seam

Once you have your 2 strips of grannies, check to see if they are roughly the length of the sides of the ruana by laying the strip against the edge of the trim. Ballpark is fine here, you just want to make sure neither piece is overly stretched or scrunched to match. You may end up needing one more or less granny, depending on your gauge and yarn choices.

Weave in all your ends and block if desired. Lay out the main body of the ruana and settle your granny strip up against the trim, the RS of the granny facing the same side as your ridge (where the fringe will be). Thread a tapestry needle with some spare DK weight yarn and use a simple whip stitch to attach the granny squares to the trim of the ruana all the way down across. Repeat on the other side.

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Clean up any ends remaining from your joining seam.

Fringe:

Using a 6″ piece of cardboard, book, or other object to wrap yarn around, cut a bunch of lengths of yarn for your fringe. Fold each length in half, then loop through the ridges made from picking up the stitches along the edge of the main body.

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Catch the leftover ends of knotted yarn in your fringe as you go, repeating across the edges on either side of the ruana. Once you have finished, cut the fringe down to just a little longer than the garter edge trim (you don’t want it covering your pretty grannies too much).

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Hunt down any stray ends that may need weaving in, then sink into the cozy rainbow bliss.

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Kudos to model Daisey Denson for keeping that hat on her head like a champ despite the very GUSTY winds coming off the lake!

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-MF

Rambler’s Mitts

I’ve got a quick free pattern for some basic fingerless gloves today, using just one skein of bulky weight yarn! Fingerless mitts are some of my favorite projects for spare yarn skeins, and a great beginner crochet project too.

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A recent spell of pretty weather has had me thinking of the Charles Dickens quote: “It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” It’s not quite March yet, but I’m already looking forward to wandering in the woods to find the first treasures of spring!

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These quick & easy mitts are just perfect for woodland ramblings. They feature an alternating front post / back post hdc at the wrist and trim – you can find a tutorial linked below! These are also great fun to customize with extras – I added little embroidered fawn spots to mine.

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Rambler’s Mitts Free Pattern

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Materials:
5.50 mm hook
1 skein Bamboospun (#5 weight 3 oz/112 yds)
Tapestry needle & scissors

Techniques: Post Stitch Ribbing – this tutorial is for post stitches using double crochet, but the same theory can be applied for the half-double crochet post stitches which are used in this pattern.

Stitches: Ch, hdc, fphdc, bphdc, sc, sl st

To begin, Ch 24. Join with a sl st to form a ring, being careful not to twist.

Rnds 1: Ch 2 (does not count as first st), 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 23 sts. Join with a sl st to the first hdc of the rnd. – 24 hdc.

Rnd 2: Ch 2, 1 fphdc in the same st. 1 bphdc in the next st. (1 fphdc, 1 bphdc) around. Join with a sl st to first hdc of the rnd. – 24 fp/bp hdc

Rnds 3-7: Rpt rnd 2.

Rnd 8: Ch 1 (does not count as first st), sc in same st. Sc in ea of the next 23 sts. Join with a sl st to first sc of the rnd. – 24 sc

Rnds 9 -13: Rpt Rnd 8

Rnd 14: Ch 2, 1 sc in the same st. 1 sc in ea of the next 9 sts. Ch 5, sk next 5 sts. 1 sc in ea of the next 9 sts. Join with a sl st to the first sc of the rnd. – 19 sc, 5 ch sts

Rnd 15: Ch 2, 1 sc in the same st. 1 sc in ea of the next 9 sts, 1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch sts, 1 sc in ea of the next 9 sts. Join with a sl st to first sc of the rnd. – 24 sc

Rnds 16: Rpt Rnd 15

Rnd 17: Ch 2 (does not count) 1 hdc in same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 23 sts. Join with a sl st to first hdc of the rnd. – 24 hdc

Rnds 18 – 19: Rpt Rnd 2

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Rnd 1: Reattach yarn to one of the skipped stitches from Rnd 14. Ch 2 (does not count as first st). Hdc in the same st and in ea of the skipped stitches and in the bottom of the chain stitches. Join with a sl st in first hdc of the rnd – 10 hdc

Rnd 2: Ch 2 (does not count), hdc in the same st. Hdc in ea hdc around – join with a sl st. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Weave in all ends and enjoy!

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If fingerless mitts are REALLY your thing, you might like my Basic Armwarmers Tutorial – also a free pattern 🙂

-MF

Linked Double Crochet Tutorial

Years ago, I was crocheting a mysterious pineapple stitch market bag (I can’t seem to locate the pattern now) when I ran up against a stitch I hadn’t yet heard of: the linked treble crochet. After a few wonky stitches representing my first learning attempts, I had a band of prettily textured, smooth treble crochet stitches without holes in between them. This seemed like a tiny miracle to me, since as we know the taller stitches in this lovely craft of ours are pretty hole-y. Which is sometimes great. But sometimes not.

That pretty linked stitch stuck in my mind long after I finished off the project, so I came back for more – and found that you could link any tall stitch, which I consider one of the handiest little bits of hook wizardry to know!

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Today I want to share the Linked Double Crochet tutorial, which I think is a good introduction to linked stitches and ALSO happens to be a featured stitch in my upcoming new pattern 😉  As you’ll see, linked double crochets are a neat, nice looking and easy way to eliminate gaps between stitches, which is great tool for garments that can’t be see-through or to reinforce areas of crochet for durability.

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Here is a shameless plug for the Plus Size Sol halter top pattern, in which I used linked double crochet (ldc), seen above! I also find ldc does a very nice job at creating borders for Tunisian crochet fabric like in my Shaman Coat pattern– the texture and density of the two stitch styles work well together.

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Neat, huh? So let’s do this!

Linked Double Crochet (ldc)

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Linked double crochet (ldc) uses the middle (horizontal) bar of the previous dc stitch to draw up a loop, instead of using a yarn over wrap as for a normal dc. This loop is then crocheted into the stitch as the yarn over would be, and the resulting stitches are linked by their horizontal bars.

Step 1: 

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Beginning with the first dc of your linked double crochet section, locate the “bar” of the stitch which runs diagonally across the middle, shown here highlighted in blue. Insert your hook, from top to bottom through this one strand.

If you are beginning a new row and not starting in the middle of a row of regular stitches, you can insert through the front half of the second chain of the turning chain, or make a regular dc to start.

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Step 2:

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Yarn over and draw up a loop through this strand. The loop just made stands in for the YO wrap that would normally begin a double crochet stitch.

Step 3:

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Insert hook into the next stitch and draw up a loop – three loops on the hook.

Step 4: 

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Yarn over and draw through 2 loops.

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Yarn over and draw through two loops again to complete the stitch. The new stitch now has a middle bar (bright blue) that is linked to the middle bar of the previous stitch (faded blue).

To continue, keep inserting your hook into the middle bar of the previous ldc and drawing up a loop to replace the yarn over. The result is a line of sturdy but flexible stitching with a pleasing lined texture.

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Aww, it’s like they’re holding hands.

 

And about those linked treble crochets I mentioned at the beginning of the post – since they’ve got TWO middle bars, you can just draw up two loops – which stand in for the TWO yarn overs you would do for a regular treble. Pretty slick, eh? I think so.

-MF

 

Forest Girl Beret Free Crochet Pattern

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve been geeking out about Mori Kei (“forest style”), one of many fascinating Japanese street styles. I mean… combining forest themed accessories, layered skirts, and crochet/knitwear? Plus crazy socks?? Sign me up.

 

And of course, my proclivity for putting horns on things fits right in. So when I saw this adorable antlered beret on Pinterest, I was inspired to create my own version. Paired with a Mori-inspired outfit of course.

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The hat pattern itself is a slight modification of the Sweetheart Beret, a free pattern I made two years ago. The antlers are new, done more simply than the bigger antlers I make for my Deer Hat pattern.  Hope you like this new little project, and be sure to share on Ravelry if you do!

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Forest Girl Beret

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Materials:
5.00 mm hook, 3.50 mm hook
1 skein Buttercream Mohair Metallic (#5 Bulky, 3.5 oz, 188 yds)
30-40 yds brown DK weight yarn for antlers (Worsted weight is fine, too)
Tapestry needle
Size 5 knitting DPNs (optional)
Gauge: 7 sts & 5 rows = 2” in hdc

Notes:

The Ch 2 at the beginning of each round DOES NOT COUNT as the first st of the round.

Instructions:

To begin, make a 6 row I-Cord using either the knit technique or the crochet I-cord technique (Planet June has an excellent tutorial on the crochet version)

On the sixth row, transfer all three loops (if knitting) onto your 5.00 mm crochet hook.

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Grab the loop closest to your hook end and draw it through the other two loops on the hook, leaving you with one loop on the hook.

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Rnd 1 : Ch 3. Join with a slip stitch to the first chain to form a ring. This gives you a ring attached to the base of the I-cord. With the I-cord at the back, Ch 2 and work 8 hdc into the ring, then join with a slip stitch to the first hdc, (remember this is NOT the beginning ch-2). You will have a circle of 8 hdc stitches with the I-cord off center from the beginning ring on the wrong side of your stitching, which is where it will stay until we center it later.

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I-cord with ch-3 ring made

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8 hdc into the ring

Rnd 2: Ch 2. 2 hdc into the same st. (2 hdc in the next st) 7 times. Join with a sl st. – 16 sts

Rnd 3: Ch 2, hdc into the same st. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in the next st, 2 hdc into the next st) 7 times. Join with a sl st – 24 sts.

Rnd 4: Ch 2, 1 hdc in the same st and 1 hdc in the next st. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc into ea of the next 2 sts, 2 hdc into the next st) 7 times. Join with a sl st – 32 sts

Rnd 5: Ch 2, hdc in the same st and in ea of the next 2 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc into ea of the next 3 sts, 2 hdc into the next st.) 7 times. Join with a sl st – 40 sts.

Rnd 6: Ch 2, hdc in the same st and in ea of the next 3 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 4 sts, 2 hdc into the next st.) 7 times. Join with a sl st – 48 sts.

Rnd 7: Ch 2, hdc in the same st and in ea of the next 4 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 5 sts, 2 hdc into the next st.) 7 times. Join with a sl st – 56 sts.

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At this point, my circular pattern is starting to form telltale points at the increases. To keep the work nice and rounded, the next round offsets the increases – although the total number of increases remains the same.

Rnd 8: Ch 2, hdc in the same st and in ea of the next 2 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 6 sts, 2 hdc into the next st.) 7 times. Hdc in ea of the next 3 sts. Join with a sl st – 64 sts.

 

Rnd 9: Ch 2, hdc in the same st and in ea of the next 3 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 7 sts, 2 hdc in the next st.) 7 times.  Hdc in ea of the next 3 sts. Join with a sl st – 72 sts.

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A few stitches before the end of Rnd 9

Rnd 10: Ch 2, hdc in the same st and in ea of the next 4 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 8 sts, 2 hdc in the next st.) 7 times. Hdc in ea of the next 3 sts. Join with a sl st – 80 sts.

In the next round, we will offset the increases again.

Rnd 11: Ch 2, hdc in the same st and in ea of the next 8 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 9 sts, 2 hdc in the next st.) 7 times. Join with a sl st – 88 sts.

Rnd 12: Ch 2, hdc in the same st and in ea of the next 9 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 10 sts, 2 hdc in the next st.) 7 times. Join with a sl st – 96 sts.

Rnds 13-16: Ch 2, hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 95 sts. Join with a sl st – 96 sts.

Rnd 17: Ch 2, hdc in the same st and in ea of the next 9 sts. Hdc2tog over the next 2 sts. (1 hdc in ea of the next 10 sts, hdc2tog over the next 2 sts.) – 88 sts.

Rnd 18-20: Ch 2, 1 hdc in the same st. Hdc in ea of the next 87 sts. – 88 sts

Rnd 21: Ch 2, 1 hdc in the same st and in ea of the next 3 sts. Hdc2tog over the next 2 sts. (1 hdc in ea of the next 3 sts, hdc2tog over the next 2 sts. 1 hdc in ea of the next 4 sts, hdc2tog over the next 2 sts) 7 times. 1 hdc in ea of the next 3 sts, hdc2tog over the next 2 sts. Join with a sl st. – 72 sts.

Rnd 22: Ch 2, 1 hdc in the same st and in ea of the next 6 sts. Hdc2tog over the next 2 sts. (1 hdc in ea of the next 7 sts, hdc2tog over the next 2 sts) around – 64 sts

The next round begins with a turn so that we are working with the WS facing. The rest of the hat will be worked from this side.

Rnd 23: Ch 1, turn. Sc in the same st and in ea of the next 71 sts. Join with a sl st – 72 sts.

Rnds 24 – 25: Ch 1, sc in the same st and in ea of the next 71 sts. Join with a sl st – 72 sts.

Rnd 26: Sl st loosely in the next st and in ea of the remaining 71 sts. Try on the hat to test for size. If the slip stitching makes your brim too tight, skip this round. Cut yarn and tie off.

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This hat uses the wrong side of the piece as the outside surface, so make sure that the wrong side is facing out before weaving in all your ends!

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Thread your yarn needle with the yarn end from the i-cord.

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Slip the needle end down through the i-cord and through the opposite side of the beginning ring to center the cord over the middle of the beginning ring. Straighten out your yarn tension so that the i-cord can stretch out fully and look natural. Weave in the rest of the yarn end, and all other yarn ends.

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Antlers:

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Using 3.50 hook and DK weight yarn

Make 2 of each tine. Worked continuously in the round. Use a stitch marker to keep track of rounds. Gauge is amigurumi-style, aka as tight as possible 😉

Main Tine:

Rnd 1: Make Magic Ring. 6 sc into the ring. Pull the ring closed tightly.

Rnd 2: 1 sc in ea sc around. – 6 sts

Rnd 3: *1 sc in the next sc, 2 sc in the next sc. Rpt from * around. – 9 sts

Rnds 4-13: 1 sc in ea st around. – 9 sts

Rnd 14: *1 sc in ea of the next 2 sc, 2 sc in the next sc. Rpt from  * around. – 12 sts

Sl st in the next 2-3 sts, cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

2nd Tine

Rnd 1: Make Magic Ring. 6 sc into the ring. Pull the ring closed tightly.

Rnd 2: 1 sc in ea sc around. – 6 sts

Rnd 3: *1 sc in the next sc, 2 sc in the next sc. Rpt from * around. – 9 sts

Rnds 4-8: 1 sc in ea st around. – 9 sts

Sl st in the next 2-3 sts. Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Assembly:

Thread the long tail of the 2nd tine onto a tapestry needle and sew around the base onto the main tine. Weave in the end. Rpt for other antler.

Thread the long tail of the main tine onto a tapestry needle and position your antlers on the beret. I tried to place mine roughly equally spaced around the 6th-7th round of the beret. I liked this for a subtle look, where the antlers can mostly be seen from the back. But, it would be fun to position them further forward too!

If your stitching isn’t tight enough to keep the antlers stiff on their own, you can stuff a tiny bit of fiberfill in the base of the main tine to help stabilize things.

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Sew around the base of the antler, attaching it to the beret. Weave in any remaining ends.

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Quick AND cute, I’ll definitely be making a few more of these for springtime! I also unearthed the toadstool beret I had from the making of the original  tam pattern and got some new photos. I used a tapestry needle threaded with fluffy white bulky weight yarn to add the characteristic speckles by embroidering french knots.

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I particularly enjoy the background view of my freaky forest friends staring me down 😀

-MF

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Hairpin Lace Refashion

When it comes to hobbies, I push myself to try new things. I’m not sure if this is due to my hyperactive Pinterest-ing disorder, an excess of caffeine, or possibly some sort of mania. Fast forward to the point: something I’ve been experimenting with recently is hairpin lace.

Ellie13Hairpin lace is a technique that wraps and crochets long loops around a tool and then uses those loops to make decorative stitches and weaves. Traditionally one used a literal hair pin, I’m assuming, but nowadays they make specialty craft tools that look like you could low-key use it to torture somebody.

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Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

I took a pretty freeform approach to learning this technique – the first strip of hairpin lace I made was for attaching two pieces of upcycled clothing together, using reclaimed sweater yarn for the strip. A list of things I learned from this:

  1. Do not try to learn this technique with a yarn that splits like crazy.
  2. That trick with threading the spare yarn through a finished strip to keep the loops together? It’s way more trouble than it is worth unless you are storing the strips together for later.
  3. Even with the aforementioned splitting yarn, hairpin lace is WAY LESS complex and intimidating than I thought. After the first few shaky loops, I got comfortable with it very quickly.

I learned from this excellent video from Stitch Diva Studios (who also sell great hairpin lace crochet patterns) and this video from Knitting Daily to supplement my technique.  Now for the refashion part!

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I’ve been ogling pretty fiber artsy styles like mori kei and shabby/chic, clothes that maximize texture and variety and emphasize the handmade look. The ragamuffin style is especially attractive to me because it lends itself well to experimentation in short bursts, which is about as much as I have time for during the semester.

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The two fabric pieces that went into this forest girl dress were a soft green top that I liked but didn’t wear (too short), and an earthy colored skirt that I picked up thrifting. Both are 100% rayon, and oh man, I really love rayon. It’s so so soft. Hard to believe it is manufactured from wood pulp.

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Long story short, I chopped the bottom off of the top and the top off of the skirt, then serged the cut edge on both pieces. Using #10 mercerized cotton crochet thread, I embroidered a blanket stitch over the serged hem.

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I then counted the blanket stitches. My hairpin lace strip would need as many loops as the largest amount of stitches (which is on the skirt’s hem). Having done this part late at night months ago, I now have no idea what that number was. Lets say it’s 150. It was actually way more than that, but just pretend. And for the sake of clean math, lets say the smaller number  (the amount of blanket stitches on the top hem) was 125.

So I need a hairpin lace strip with at least 150 loops. ONE LOOP of the strip will get crocheted to one blanket stitch on the hem of the skirt. Since the top hem has a smaller number, 25 sts less than the larger number, I would need to double up on some of the stitches on the top hem. 125 / 25 = 5. This means when I was attaching the hairpin lace strip to the hem on the top (in fictional pretty-math world) I attached TWO loops every 5th stitch.

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Using that strategy and a small hook, I worked a single crochet around the garment, inserting the hook through the top of the blanket stitch and through the hairpin loops simultaneously to attach the fabric pieces. Don’t forget to weave in the ends through both of the middle seams of the hairpin lace strip where the two ends of the strip meet!

Time for the patchy part. With the same upcycled sweater yarn, I made two big doilies using one of the many graphs on my Pinterest crochet board, as well as another hairpin strip for the collar. I sewed these in place with a sewing machine and threaded the loops in the doily with velvet cord to create an adjustable criss-cross tie in the back.

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Velvet leggings, thrifted cowgirl boots, ridiculously large hat? Yes please.

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I loved melding pretty fabrics with crochet, and using all reclaimed/upcycled materials was a big bonus. I have a feeling I’ll be doing more of this in the future!

-MF

Basic Armwarmers Tutorial

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Armwarmers are an awesome crochet project. Quick, fun, and not finicky – these babies have been a go-to for me whenever I have a spare skein of soft yarn that needs a purpose. This pattern/tutorial/guide is customizeable, with enough structure to use as a straightforward pattern for beginners, or for more experienced crocheters to use as a base for inspiration.

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This tutorial features a guide for figuring gauge & sizing, base pattern for two different gauge sizes, and some ideas for creative extras. My favorite features of the gloves themselves are the continuous round construction that eliminates the join seam and the unique thumb opening, which creates a more contoured fit at the base of the thumb.

So without further introduction…

Basic Armwarmers Tutorial

Materials:
300-400 yds #4 or #5 weight yarn
5.00 mm hook
Scissors, tapestry needle
2 Stitch Markers

Gauge:
For bulky yarns, 3 sts & 2 rows = 1″ in hdc
For worsted yarns, 7 sts & 5 rows = 2″ in hdc

Figuring Gauge:

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For this project you’ll need to make a gauge swatch. This is just a square of fabric worked, for this project, in rows of half double crochet. Generally more stitches per square will give you a better reading of your gauge, but I have cheated a bit here and made relatively small swatches. The worsted weight swatches (purple, top left and rainbow, bottom) both measure 7 sts & 5 rows = 2″.

You can find out your gauge by creating a swatch 10-20 stitches in length, with enough rows to make a fat rectangle or a square. Then, take a measuring device and measure across a row of stitches in the middle of the swatch.

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As you can see, for this gauge measuring to ONE inch means I’d have a fraction of a stitch included in my gauge (since one inch covers about 3 and a half stitches). Since that makes for messy math, measure for 2″ instead, which gives 7 sts = 2″.

Next, measure how many rows will equal your 2″ in height.

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So for this yarn, my gauge is 7 sts and 5 rows = 2″.  My bulky weight yarn gauge (the yellow) is more even, with 3 sts and 2 rows equalling an inch. You can use your gauge to create a custom sized pair of armwarmers, or you can change hooks or yarn weights to match one of the two gauges listed here and use the pre-written patterns for each gauge.

Sizing:

To figure your own custom size, take a tape measure and get the circumference of your hand measured across the base of your thumb with your hand relaxed (not spread or closed tightly). For me, this is about 8-9″. This is how wide the armwarmer will be. This measurement will also be enough to get the warmer snug on my mid-forearm, which also measures about 8-9″.

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Since I like my armwarmers snug, we’ll shoot for an 8″ circumference (don’t forget they will stretch some also). In the bulky yarn gauge, 3 stitches = 1″ in width, so 8 (inches) x 3 (sts) = 24 sts. Our armwarmer pattern for bulky yarn will use a base of 24 sts.

In worsted weight gauge, I had 7 sts = 2″, so since 2″ goes into 8″ 4 times, I use the formula 7 (sts) x 4 (sets of 2 inches) = 28 sts. Our armwarmer pattern for worsted weight will use a base of 28 sts.

The photos for the tutorial appear for the worsted weight pattern, with the bulky weight pattern instructions appearing separately below 🙂 But you can use the photo reference for both!

Basic Armwarmers: Worsted Weight

Notes: Worked continuously in the round. Place marker in the first stitch of every round.

Rnd 1: Ch 28. Join in a ring by working a sc into the first st of the chain.

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Rnd 2: Hdc in the next st. Place marker in this first stitch. Hdc in ea of the next 27 sts.

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Rnds 3 – 21: Hdc in ea hdc around.

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Rnd 22: Hdc in the first st. Place a 2nd marker in the stitch half way around the row from the first stitch of the round (the 14th st). This is where you will create the hole for the thumb over the next 2 rounds. Hdc in ea of the next 12 sts. 3 dc in the marked stitch. Move the 2nd marker to the 2nd dc in this st. Hdc in ea of the next 14 sts.

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Rnd 23: Hdc in ea of the next 13 sts. Dc in the next st. Sk next 3 sts, dc in the next st. Hdc in ea st around.

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Ta-Da! Thumbhole. NOW, you can add a few more rounds of hdc, but since I will be adding post stitch ribbing to the end, I am not going to do that. Whenever you have reached the length you like (saving room for embellishment if you want to), end your final round and then use:

1 sc in ea of the next 2 sts, 1 sl st in ea of the next 2 sts.  Cut yarn and tie off.

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This accomplishes a height change so your edge will be even. To add trim like contrasting sc, scallops, or post stitch rib, rejoin your yarn and work in regular, non-continuous rounds.

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Post Stitch Rnd 1: Join yarn in any stitch, ch 2 (does not count as first st). Hdc in ea st around. Join with a sl st in the first hdc of the round.
Post Stitch Rnd 2: Ch 2 (does not count), Fphdc in the same st. Bphdc in the next st. *Fphdc in the next st, bphdc in the next st. Rpt from * around. Join with a sl st in the first st of the round.

Rpt Rnd 2 again, or until you have the length you want. Cut yarn and tie off.

For more info on how to work post stitches, see my tutorial here! For the purple armwarmers below, I added a round of scallops and some contrasting embroidery. Okay, my embroidery needs a little work 😛

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Basic Armwarmers: Bulky Weight

Notes: Worked continuously in the round. Place marker in the first stitch of every round.

Rnd 1: Ch 24. Join in a ring by working a sc into the first st of the chain.

Rnd 2: Hdc in the next st. Place marker in the first st. Hdc in ea of the next 23 sts.

Rnds 3-16: Hdc in ea hdc around.

Rnd 17: Place a 2nd st marker in the 12th stitch of the round. Hdc in ea stitch until you reach the marker, then 3 dc in the marked stitch. Transfer 2nd marker to the 2nd dc of this stitch. Hdc in the next 12 sts.

Rnd 18: Hdc in ea of the next 10 sts. Dc in the next st. Sk next 3 sts. Dc in the next st. Hdc in ea of the next 12 sts.

Rnds 19 – 21 (or until you have the length you want): Hdc in ea st around.

To end, finish your last round then 1 sc in ea of the next 2 sts, 1 sl st in ea of the next 2 sts. Cut yarn and tie off.

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I added some spiffy autumn trees to the mustard yellow gloves!

I hope this little tutorial has inspired you to use up some orphan skeins (or go out and buy new ones… hey, I ain’t gonna judge).

-MF

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