PBT: Attaching the Pockets

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

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So far we’ve covered basic shapes in the form of pockets such as circles, squares & rectangles, triangles, and cones – now it’s time to take all the pockets and attach them to the belt base using slip stitch crochet. Like the rest of this project, there is no strictly “right” way to do this, but I’ve included lots of process photos to show how I manage this part.

I prefer the look of pockets mounted directly onto the belt, with the backs up against the belt itself. I also always double-mount my pockets, using two lines of slip stitching, one at the top and one in the middle, to attach the pockets to the belt base. This is not absolutely necessary if you want to skip the second mount (the middle mount is the trickiest part of this) but it does make them really sturdy.  I have seen my festival friends put these things through the wringer with use – and they hold up!

If you need more inspiration on the ways you can assemble the belt, remember to check out my Pinterest board featuring crochet utility belts!

Attaching the Pockets to the Belt

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To begin the final stage of crochet for the pocket belt, lay out your belt base and grab all of your completed pockets. Decide how to place the pockets, arranging them along the belt base in whatever manner strikes your fancy – I like the pockets to sit near the ends, but sometimes they are all over the place. Here, because I’m featuring a bustle back, I keep them corralled near the ends so as not to cover the back of the skirt.

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The first step is to get a yarn and start slip stitching across the top of the belt base. I am using a really textured yarn for this part, just to add a little extra crazy.

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Here, I’m just slip stitching across the top of the belt until I get to a place where I’d like to put a pocket. Keep slip stitching, but now work through two layers – the top edge of the pocket (the back part only, since you don’t want to stitch the pocket closed) and the top edge of the belt base.

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This is the first attachment. Keep slip stitching until you want to place another pocket.

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Then, slip stitch across the pocket and belt simultaneously again.

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For drawstring pockets like this one, make sure you leave enough pocket unattached for it to be able to close nicely.

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Keep slip stitching and attaching pockets until you reach the opposite end of the belt.

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For the envelope-style pocket, I decide to make the slip stitch attaching underneath the top flap – so I open it up and stitch through the pocket layer and the belt layer underneath.

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At the end, I rotate and work one row of the side of the belt base, then rotate again and start to slip stitch across the middle of the belt, placing my stitches in between the double crochets that make up the middle row.

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Attaching in the middle can require some really creative maneuvering on the part of the hook-wielder. In fact, this part is more like guerilla fiber-punk yarn wrestling. So be prepared for that! 😀

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To work the second row of attaching, slip stitch until you reach a pocket. With the back of the pocket facing you, insert your hook into the stitching and back out on the other side of a single stitch, catching the post of the stitch with your hook.

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Then, insert the hook through the middle of the belt. Yarn over and draw this loop through the belt, the post of the pocket stitching, and the loop on your hook, making one slip stitch through two layers.

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Continue this process for at least part of the back of the pocket. When you’ve attached enough of the back of the pocket, keep slip stitching through just the belt layer as normal until you reach the next pocket, then work through both layers in the same manner again.

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Here you can see the back of the slip stitching of the second row on the inside of a pocket – just enough to hold them down and make sure they are extra secure.

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The pockets are now attached!

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After working the second round of attaching, I like to do one more row of slip stitching into the same stitches across the top of the belt, just for extra firmness (to reduce yarn stretching on the belt base) and to add more color and depth. Here I’ll change colors, then just work a simple line of slip stitching all the way across, right next to the first line of slip stitches (or wherever… FREEFORM!!)

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After this last finishing touch, I’m DONE with the crochet portion of the belt! Time to weave in my ends, then tackle the final step: the fabric fringe skirt. After that post, I’ll do a final reveal and wrap-up – I can’t wait to show the final product 🙂

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-MF

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PBT: Pointed Pouch

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

Shaping Circular Crochet

The following is a basic overview of the geometry of shaping circular crochet, which I’ll use in the next section to create this fun pixie pouch!

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In circular crochet, your increases represent building “outward” to add to the circumference of the object, while your stitches represent building “upward” to add to the diameter/radius of the circle. If you don’t increase at the same rate as you add rows of stitches, your circle will start to tighten inward because you don’t have enough circumference to allow it to keep building outward. This is used to our advantage to make fun shapes – adding rows where you don’t increase periodically will change the way your piece is shaped, and you can make fun points and spheres and all sorts of things.

On the other hand, adding too many increases per round will make your circumference too full, and your piece will start to ruffle at the edges on the same principle as making we saw making ruffles and curlicues.

Additionally, the HEIGHT of your stitch will change the required rate of increase – so if you want to start a flat circle in double crochet instead of single crochet, you can’t start with the same number as you would with sc, because you are starting with a greater height so it requires a greater circumference – I generally use 12 dc to start a flat circle, and add 12 inc every round to keep it flat. On the same principle, if I want to start a pointed conical piece in dc, starting with 6 dc is ideal because it begins with a nice taper.

Manipulated circles is how I make many of my utility belt pockets, including the one here! So, let’s get started.

Pointed Pixie Pouch

Notes: I’m using a 3.5 mm hook and some handspun yarn I’ve had forever, and doing non-continuous circular crochet, which means I’m using a chain-3 length to begin (not counting as first dc) and using slip stitch in the first dc to end each round. I have left the beginning and end instructions off the shorthand pattern because they are the same for each round.

MR (Magic Ring – covered in PBT: Circle Pocket Part 1)

  1. 6 dc into the ring. Tighten ring. – 6 dc

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I want this pouch to be pretty pointy at the bottom, so I’ll add another row of dc without increasing.
2. Dc even – 6 dc

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Next, I want to start increasing as I move upward to make the pouch big enough to put things into, but at this point I have a pretty tight round of dc. If I increase at the same rate that I started (adding 6 stitches for the next round, or increasing in ea stitch) I will end up with an abrupt change in circumference.

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If you like the bulbous look, no problem, but I want to make my change smoother and more gradual, so I will be increasing at half the rate here – or adding 3 stitches for every increase round.
3. Inc on 2 – 9 dc

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To continue the gradual lengthening, I add another non-increasing round.
4. Dc even – 9 dc

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Then another 3 stitch increase round.
5. Inc on 3 – 12 dc

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Then even again.
6. Dc even – 12 dc

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Now, I’m going to prepare to fatten this puppy up. That means I’m going to do two rounds in a row that each increase by three, creating  a less gradual change in circumference – that will bring me up to 18 dc..
7. Inc on 4 – 15 dc
8. Inc on 5 – 18 dc

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…18 dc is divisible by 6, so I can now start increasing by 6 on each increase round to make a bulbous shape and a bigger part of the pouch. Since 18 divided by 6 is three, I will go back to increasing every 3 stitches to make a total of 6 stitches added to this round.

9. Inc on 3 – 24 dc.
10. Inc on 4 – 30 dc.
11. Inc on 5 – 36 dc.
12. Inc on 6 – 42 dc.
13. Dc even – 42 dc.
14. Dc even – 42 dc.
15. Dec (decrease, or dc2tog) on 6 – 36 dc
16. Ch 3 (counts as first hdc + ch 1), sk next st, *hdc in the next st, ch 1, sk next st* around.
17. 2 sc in ea sp around

 

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Cut yarn and tie off. I left a row full of chain-1 spaces at the top of the pouch so that I’d have some place to string the little drawstring through. To make the drawstring, just chain a length and tie off, then weave it through the spaces. I like to finish mine with little simple tassels to hide the yarn tails.

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I also attached a bead by using a tapestry needle and a spare length of yarn and simply sewing it onto the pouch for a little extra decoration.

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There you have the third and final pocket I will be completing for this particular belt!  In the next post of this series, I’ll be demonstrating how to finally attach these pockets to the belt base.

The drawstring pouch style pockets are super useful and can also be a great place to feature a special yarn or texture. Here are some other examples of pouches I’ve made in this style:

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“Mulberry” features a few little bells sewn on to the point and the drawstring ties

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A simple rounded pouch starts out with a flat circle for the bottom 

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The drawstring pouch for this belt uses yarn scraps and a leather cord for the tie

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Extra-fancy pouches went into making “Kelp” – A conical pouch forms the base onto which I added surface textures to create a shell shape. The rounded pouch features a common freeform technique called bullion stitch!

 

PBT: Circle Pocket Part 2

Circle Pockets: Non-Continuous Circles, Color Changes, and Overlay

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

Most of the crochet utility belts I make have circle pockets – I love their potential as a canvas for other shapes like mandalas, simple embroidery, or shell flower petals. Plus, I’m just really into circles.

The continuous orange circle I made in the previous post to demonstrate my shorthand and the principle of increases and whatnot was fun and all, but now it’s really time to use a little more color! The plajn orange circle will end up being the back of a circular pouch on this belt, so we need a matching size circle to make up the front. For this, I’ll start a new piece, worked non-continuously. Since continuous rounds don’t start and end in the same place, I don’t use them for multi-colored circles (because the stripes wouldn’t match up). I mean, you totally can if you want to though! FrEeForM baby!

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Non Continuous Circles & Color Changes

Non-continuous circles are worked with the exact same increase strategy, except you join with a slip stitch at the end of every round and start the next, new round by chaining (to count as the first stitch or not – your choice). I use the same shorthand as in the previous post for this, and just leave off the info on beginning and ending the round, which is the same every time: Ch to start (counts or doesn’t count as first st, up to you) blah blah blah, join with a slip stitch in the first st of the round.

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The front circle of the pocket is where I really like to use up the small scraps of color. Looking at my scrap options, I want to tend toward the smallest balls first because they may not be big enough to make it around the entire circle once it gets larger.

MR (Magic Ring)
1. 6 sc into ring
2. Inc every st. Color Change (CC)

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Rnd 1

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Rnd 2.

That’s as much as I can do with the first ball. To add the new yarn for Rnd 3, I start in a different st than the ending of my previous rnd, so that all of my joins are not in the same place and my seam ends up being less obvious.

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This also means my increases will be offset, so less of that hexagonal shaping to make a more even-looking circle.  I like to use a standing sc to join my new yarn, a technique explained in this great tutorial from Look At What I Made.

  1. Inc on 2. CC
  2. 4. Inc on 3. CC
  3. 5. Inc on 4, BLO. CC
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After Rnd 5

Overlay Double Crochet

Rnd 5 is worked in the Back Loop Only so that I can do some fancy stuff with it on the next round. I’ll be using those empty front loops to work an some overlay stitches, or stitches that go over the previous round to form layers.

Rnd 6 starts normally, with the new yarn joined wherever. I will be increasing at the normal rate, but the extra stitch of every inc will be a double crochet, worked into the FLO of Rnd 4 instead of the same Rnd 5 loop as the previous stitch.

6. Dc Overlay Inc on 5.
7. Inc on 6. CC

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Rnd 6

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To make an overlay dc, Yo and insert hook into the front loop of the stitch below, from bottom to top as shown

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Then work dc as normal

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End of Rnd 7

Spike Stitch

On the next round I’ll do another type of overlay called a spike stitch. I count it as an overlay because it layers over the previous round, but it doesn’t require free loops. Basically, you just insert the hook in the same space as one of the stitches of the previous round, and draw up a loop over an entire round (or two!) of crochet, then finish it like a normal sc. You can do this at any time, so it makes a great freeform stitch. I like to do mine at the increase, and as you can see here I placed them between each two overlay sts from Rnd 6.

  1. Spike st inc on 7. CC
  2.  Inc on 8. CC

 

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Draw up a loop

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Complete single crochet (or whatever stitch) as normal

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Rnd 8 completed

 

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Rnd 9 completed

10. Inc on 9.
11. Sc even, skipping a few stitches at the end and chaining a few instead. Sl st to join, then sl st a few more to secure. Cut yarn and tie off.

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End of Rnd 10

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Stop a few stitches before the end and chain a few stitches instead

Skipping the last few stitches and chaining makes a buttonhole for the button fastening for your circle pouch. I forgot to choose buttons when I was looking for materials, so I poke around in my collection and grab this wooden one. It just feels like the right one, even though the pale orange one matches better. I guess I just like the cut of its jib.

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Check to make sure the button just fits through your opening, making smaller or bigger if necessary.

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Assembling & Finishing

Now that you have two flat circles, weave in all of the ends of the front circle (the multi-color or what-have-you) and the central end of the back circle (the plain one).

Leave the outer yarn-end of the back circle unwoven so that you can attach your button to the inside face of that circle using the yarn end and a tapestry needle.

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Line your pockets up, then match the buttonhole on the front circle to the button on the back. Grab two locking stitch markers and pin those puppies together, leaving an opening about a quarter of the circumference at the top for the pocket opening.

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I use locking stitch markers to mark where I want to seam to begin and end

Next we’ll be crocheting around the bottom part of both circles at once to attach them – so grab a matching or coordinating yarn (or a mismatching one – this is freeform after all) to do the seam. If you’re feeling sassy, string a few of those beads on there using the tapestry needle – I’ll show you what to do with them later.

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Join your yarn at the point where you put your stitch marker so that you’ll be working around the bottom ¾ or so of the pocket. Insert your hook through the top of the sc of both layers and work a sc. Continue to sc through both layers at once around the circumference – slip stitch works fine here too or hdc or even dc works fine here too, if you like – fReEfOrM ba- ok, you get the idea.

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Crochet through both layers at once to seam

Once I reach near the bottom, it’s time to work the beads in. I like dangly things. Here’s two ways to do it:

For prestrung beads, chain a length and chain in the bead at the end. Slip stitch back down the chain and continue working the hem through both layers until you want to add another bead, then repeat.

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For beads with larger holes that are not prestrung, chain a longer length, then slip stitch back down. Once the chain is finished, string the cord through the bead and then tie a small knot at the end. Continue to work the hem through both layers until you want to add another bead, then repeat.

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Once you’ve beaded to your heart’s content, keep single crocheting around the last portion of the pocket circles until you reach the other stitch marker. Cut yarn and tie off, then weave in your ends.

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Ta-Da! You have your very own circle pocket for attaching to your pixie pocket belt! For how to attach, keep reading through this tutorial series 🙂

To wrap up, how about some more ideas for circle pockets? Here are some ways I’ve done them in past projects:

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This circle pocket features a crochet overlay motif of the tree of life, from this awesome free pattern!

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Another overlay motif crocheted then sewn on appears on this plain circle pocket – a great chance to practice designing your own doily/mandala patterns.

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The circle pocket in “Nightshade” features beaded single crochet, working prestrung seed beads into the back side of each stitch.

 

PBT: Circle Pocket Part 1

Circle Pockets : Magic Rings, Continuous Circles, and Ami Shorthand

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

Most of the crochet utility belts I make have circle pockets – I love their potential as a canvas for other shapes like mandalas, simple embroidery, or shell flower petals. Plus, I’m just really into circles.

The first circle for this simple circular pocket is the back part, worked continuously in the round, which is what this post is all about!

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Unless I NEED a circle with a big hole in the center, I always start my circles with a technique called the Magic Ring, an adjustable base for crochet circles that leaves no central gap. This is a really easy trick that is really magic! There are a lot of tutorials already in existence for the Magic Ring (I usually refer people to Planet June’s excellent tutorial) but here’s how I do this technique:

Magic Ring

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Take the end of the yarn strand and lay it over the fingers, the end placed on the pinkie side.

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Bring the strand under the fingers and back up over the index finger, using your bottom fingers to secure the loose end and your thumb to hold the yarn strand in place.

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Slip your hook under the bottom-most strand and wrap the top strand around the hook as for a yarn over.

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Draw up your loop through the strand under which your hook was inserted. Now you have one loop drawn up through the beginning of the ring.

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Yarn over again…

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… And draw through the loop on the hook.

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Tighten the stitch you just made. Now you have a yarn ring and a loose tail of yarn coming off of this initial stitch. For taller stitches like dc and tr, this first stitch counts as the first chain in the starting chain. For single crochet, I usually don’t count this as the first stitch as it is very tight to try to work into.

Creating a Continuous Circle:

So, once you’ve started your ring, you can start stitching the first round into it. Here’s the basic theory of crocheting flat circles: you need to increase by the same number every round to keep it flat. I start single crochet circles with 6 or 8 sts (usually 6). Which means that every round, I am going to add 6 (or 8 if I start with 8) more stitches to the total count.

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6 sc into the ring. Once you have your first round, pull the loose end of the magic circle strand to tighten the ring and close the first round.

Here I am, starting with 6, working continuously and marking my first st of every round with a stitch marker.

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End of Rnd 1

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Beginning of Rnd 2

To begin the next round, work the first stitch into the first stitch of the previous round. Place a stitch marker in the first stitch to keep track of the beginning and end of the round.

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End of Rnd 2

The first round has 6 sc, the second round has 12 sc (2 sc in each sc of the previous rnd, so I’m adding 6 to the total stitch count)

Written out, that would look something like this:

“Make Magic Ring

Rnd 1: 6 sc into the ring.

Rnd 2: 2 sc in ea sc around – 12 sc”

The next round is going to add 6 sts to the total again. That means you’ll add an extra stitch (inc) to every OTHER stitch. It looks like this written out:

Rnd 3: (1 sc in the next st, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. – 18 sc

The words in the parentheses represent a repeat, and the number outside of the parentheses represents how many times total you will repeat the instructions within.

Rnd 4: (1 sc in ea of the next 2 sc, 2 sc in the next st) 6 times. – 24 sc

That’s not that hard to type out – but I usually write things first, in a notebook. So I have a shorthand for this kind of circular crochet pattern that I use when doing long strings of shaping, such as in amigurumi style crochet, or designing circular things like my Spiral Sweater.

This shorthand is based on how many stitches you count out between increases. You start counting for every regular single crochet, then work the increase (inc), then start over counting again and repeat around. So Rounds 1-4 end up written like this – with the total st count at the end:

  1. 6 sc
    2. Inc every st – 12
    3. Inc on 2 – 18
    4. Inc on 3 – 24

“Inc on 2” means that you start counting regular sts (one…) then when you reach “two” you place an extra st. This would be placing an inc every other st.

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Inc on 2

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“Inc on 3” means you start counting regular stitches (one, two…) then when you reach “three” you place an extra st. Then starting counting over again on the next st. This would be placing an inc every 3 stitches.

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I call this notation my ami shorthand, after amigurumi of course.

BONUS: Back Loop Only Stitches

With this circle, I decided to throw in some Back Loop Only (BLO) stitches to show how it’s done on Rnd 5. So it would look like this:

  1. Inc on 4 (BLO) – 30

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Back loop only is exactly what it sounds like – insert your hook and make your stitch in only one of the two loops at the top of the stitch – the one in the back. This leaves the front loop free so you can work into it later, adding fun things like petals.

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Working BLO also leaves a pretty surface pattern from the free front loops.

Finishing Off

I took this circle up to a 60-st round total. So it would look like this written in shorthand:

Rnds 1-5 as written above
6. Inc on 5 – 36
7. Inc on 6 – 42
8. Inc on 7 – 48
9. Inc on 8 – 54
10. Inc on 9 – 60

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My circle now has a distinct hexagonal shape from placing the increases all aligned. I like to smooth the edges by ending my circles with a least one round of no increases. This also gives the pocket a little more depth. I shorthand this with the terminology “sc even” to indicate that you work one sc for each sc in the round, adding no stitches to the total for the round..

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  1. Sc even – 60

And, since we’re working continuously, that leaves us with a height difference at the end of our rounds. I finish off continuous circles with a couple of slip stitches to make a smooth edge.

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Sl st 2-3 sts, cut yarn and tie off.

In the next post I’ll make another (fancier) circle and then stitch the two together to form a pocket. But first, let’s go back to the Back Loop Only round.

Fun Ideas for Circular Pockets: Surface Shell Petals

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Since the front loops are still unworked, it’s easy to slip your hook underneath them and work something on the surface of your crochet. One of my favorite things to use these free front loops for is flower petals, such as the one in pictured here:

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To make this type of circular pocket, crochet a flat circle entirely in the Back Loop Only so that your surface on the right side is full of free front loops. Into these front loops, you can work shells like the ones demonstrated in the previous PBT post PBT: Ruffles, Shells, and Scales:

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Start by working an initial single crochet into the first free front loop, then proceed to work whatever shells you think might look pretty as petals!

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The first two shells are *1 sc, 1 hdc, 2 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc in the next loop, then sl st in the next lp to secure. Repeating from *.

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The second two shells are *sk next loop, 2 hdc, 2 dc, 2 hdc in the next lp, sk next lp, sl st in the next lp to secure. Repeating from *.

Working an entire (continuous) circle in BLO, then using shells to fill the front loops with petals, is how I made this little silk rose pocket for my Wild Rose belt…

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And also how I made this chunky, lush rose pocket for my Garden Rose belt. As you can see, experimenting with different variables such as petal size and yarn gauge creates an amazing variety of looks even when the technique is similar!

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BUT WAIT. There’s more! Check out the next post in which we’ll crochet a multi-colored, non-continuous circle with more fun freeform techniques in PBT: Circle Pockets Part 2.

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PBT: Triangles

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

Today’s task is: Triangles! I don’t personally use this shape much in my belts, but I have seen others do beautiful pixie belts with triangles featured. Speaking of inspiration, have I mentioned I’ve been creating a special Pinterest subsection on my crochet board just for pixie pocket belts? I have, and you should follow me. Anyway, here’s triangles!

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Triangle shapes can be worked either in-the-round, where you crochet your rows in a circular direction and join them before starting a new row (using increases to create points), or in regular rows, where you chain and turn to work the opposite direction after every row (this method uses decreases to shape the piece if working from the base of the shape).

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The square pocket on “Hickory” uses back-and-forth rows with decreases placed at each end of every row to shape the triangle portion.

I personally prefer the in-the-round triangle for decorative applications, because it keeps the right side facing the entire time, which to me looks prettier. I have an in-depth photo-tutorial on in-the-round triangles in my Basic Bralette free crochet pattern, so I’ll not go over the entire thing here – please refer to that tutorial for more info! And of course, I’m using bits and scraps, so I’ll change colors every row or so.

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Pattern for in-the-round Triangle:

MR (Make Ring)

Rnd 1: Ch 2 (does not count as first st), (3 dc into the ring, ch 2) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc. – 9 dc

Rnd 2: Ch 2, 1 dc into the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 2 dc. In the next space, work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc. (1 dc in ea of the next 3 dc. In the next sp work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) repeat within parentheses twice. Join with a sl st to the first dc. – 21 dc

Rnd 3: Ch 2, 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 4 dc. In the next space, work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc. (1 dc in ea of the next 7 dc. In the next sp work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) rpt within parentheses twice. 1 dc in ea of the next 2 dc. Join with a sl st to the first dc. – 33 dc

(shorthand version from here on – just continue the established pattern until your triangle is the desired size!)

Rnd 4: 11 dc, [2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc] in next space – rpt around

Rnd 5: 15 dc, [2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc] in next space – rpt around

Etc.

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I want to make my triangle just big enough for one side to match the top of my rectangle pocket – see where I’m going with this?

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So, after I’m done, I’ll  slip stitch through the top row of the triangle and the top row of the rectangle simultaneously to join them – doesn’t matter if you don’t have exactly the matching amount of stitches, ‘cause its fReEfOrM baby! So fudging it is okay. Encouraged even.

Once that’s complete, I weave in all the ends. Now I have a rectangle pocket with a cute pointed flap to cover the top. Let’s get even fancier – or as the kids these days say, extra – by using that ruffle technology I talked about earlier in the series.

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With some handspun orange wool, I attach with a sl st a few stitches down the side of the pocket. Using a gradation of stitch heights and working about 2-3 stitches per every stitch worked into, I make a funky ruffle down the side of the pocket, ending in a couple chain stitches before fastening off. Let’s go nuts and slip a bead on there, too. And some extra yarn bits for tassel.

Then, begin on the other side (working in the opposite direction if you want the right side to be facing) and do the other side to match. Now we’re talking.

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Another word on inspiration here : this is why it’s fun for me to choose a theme for these pieces, which are always nature-based for me.  What made me decide to add that crazy ruffle? Well, for one thing, I had just a bit of that thick wool orange yarn, and bulky handspun makes great funky accent choice. But more than that, I was thinking about the Maple tree, and the way the brightly colored leaves curl as they slowly dry. The pockets so far had bright fall-like colors, but the lines were so straightforward – circle, square, rectangle – that I needed a bit of crazy curl in the pockets to kind of represent that thought of the curly maple leaf. I wasn’t going for an exact replica of the curly leaf, just a touch of the spirit of the leaf. Does that sound crazy? Good. Because this is some artistic pixie magic we’re doing. Save the logic for the office.

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In the next few posts we’ll be tackling circular pockets – stay tuned!

-MF

PBT: Square Pockets

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

When it comes to pouches, a square or rectangle pocket is about as easy as you can get. Squares and rectangles are just rows, back and forth, and if you can crochet you’re probably already familiar with them. Then of course there’s granny squares, which are a whole other business, but they can also be really fun in these belts. If you want a tutorial on making granny squares, check the “Part 2 Instructions” crochet portion of this free pattern on my blog.

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Here I’m just going to crochet a rectangle, then fold it in half and seam it up the sides to make a square envelope pouch. I might add fancier stuff later, but for now concentrate on the rectangle.

To start a row for a rectangle or square, chain the length you want, then chain a few extra depending on what size stitch you are making – chain 0 extra for sc (the last ch counts as your first st), chain 1 extra for hdc (the last 2 ch count as your first st), chain 2 extra for dc (the last 3 ch count as your first st) etc.

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Then, work your rows back and forth, chaining as many as necessary for the turns (1 for sc, 2 for hdc, 3 for dc, etc) – until you have a square or rectangle. Easy! I made mine a little more textured and interesting by using rows of linked half-double crochet instead of regular hdc. You can find more info on linked stitches on my free Linked Double Crochet tutorial.

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Linking stitches creates a subtle & pretty texture as well as a sturdier fabric than regular crochet.

Fold over the piece, then use crochet stitching to work through both layers at once to seam them together. Alternatively, you could thread a yarn needle with some yarn and whip stitch them together sewing-style, but I prefer the stitch method. Here I’m going to use single crochet to seam the pieces together, because I’ve decided I’m going to come back and add a funky edging later, and I’ll need something to work into easily.

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The general rule for crocheting into the edges of rows is that you’ll want as many stitches per row edge as there are chains in the turning chain for your stitch height – so for single crochet, the turning chain is 1, and you’d make 1 stitch per row edge. For hdc, the turning chain is 2, so you’d want two stitches per row edge. Keep in mind this is a GENERAL rule and it’s going to depend on your gauge and other factors – for instance, I sometimes only make 2 stitches per row side on double crochet rows, if it works better for the specific situation.

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Anyway, seam that puppy up whatever way you feel like. Weave in your ends, and you’re done! Easy pouch. Now to make it more interesting, see the next post.

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-MF

 

PBT: Ruffles, Shells, and Scales

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

Some textural techniques I like to use when making the pixie pocket belts are ruffles, curlicues, shells, and crocodile stitch scales – in this post I’m going to cover the basics of how to create them in order to add dimension to the piece.

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Ruffles and Curlicues:

The basic technique for making ruffles and curlicues is to create a row of stitching that is dramatically longer than the row it is stitched into – this is done by making 2-4 (or more) stitches into each stitch below. To create a practice ruffle, chain a small length and then 3 dc into each chain stitch.

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The extra length created by the many stitches will force the fabric to buckle, creating a ruffle when the row is held flat, such as if you were to crochet many stitches onto a flat piece.

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If you are working multiple stitches onto a long, skinny piece such as a chain, though, you can do more – when you twist the piece, the extra stitches will cause the base chain to curl in a spiral, creating a corkscrew or curlicue effect.

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I love putting these curlicues at the end of chain cords to create a fun detail, and you can create various looks by changing up the height of the stitch you’re using or making multiple rows. To see an excellent comparison between what these different stitches would look like, use this very helpful post from 1 Dog Woof.

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My ruffle chain allowed to spiral, but laid flat.

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The finished ruffled laid flat, without twist.

Changing stitch heights and number of stitches is a good way to add variety to your corkscrew/curlicue/ruffle shape.

Shells

And speaking of changing stitch heights, shells are another versatile decoration I love to use in the Pixie Belts. Shells (also called scallops or fans) are a stitch pattern that uses a succession of stitch heights to create a rounded wave effect on a row of crochet. There are TONS of different ways to make these that all create a slightly different look. The basic strategy, though, is to start with a short stitch, like a single crochet, then move through the stitch heights to get taller…

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Shown is a ch-1 turn (counts as first sc) then hdc, dc, tr, with one st worked in each stitch across.

…then doing the same thing in reverse to go back down in height.

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Now the sequence is ch-1 (sc), hdc, dc, tr, dc, hdc, sc.

This can be done over a number of stitches to create an elongated wave, as shown above…

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…or you can pile all the stitch heights into one stitch to create a more defined rounded shell shape. This one above starts with a sl st to anchor the shell, then skips a stitch and works hdc, 2 dc, hdc in the next st. Skip the next st, then anchor on the other side with a sc.

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Crocodile Stitches

Now one of my favorite techniques, the scale: Also called the crocodile stitch, this stitch pattern uses a base layer of crochet in the pattern of (2 dc, ch 1, 1 dc, ch 1) skipping one or two stitches in between the alternating single/dual dc. Here’s a chart for what that looks like:

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An example of the base layer of the croc stitch pattern, borrowed from an earlier tutorial.

Then, you create a second layer, working 5 dc into the post (side) of the dc stitch in a pairing, chaining 1, then working 5 more dc into the post on the opposite dc in the pairing. Anchor the scale by slip stitching into the unpaired dc.

CrocStitch2.pngThere are different strategies for working croc stitch, both in rows and in the round, and there are lots of videos out there demonstrating the techniques. This post on my blog has a couple short videos showing my technique specific for my Feather & Scale Halter pattern, but if like me you really like the croc stitch and want to make more designs with it, check out my crochet patterns that utilize this stitch!

Here are some examples of the techniques just discussed on the pixie belts I have made in the past:

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“Kelp” has densely stitched hand-dyed handspun wool yarn in randomly alternating stitch heights along the edges of the belt base to create a ripply water-plant effect.

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“Hemlock” has crocodile stitch across the bottom half of the belt with ripped silk fringe looped through the ch-1 space at the tip of the scale.

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Shells run across the bottom of “Shepherd’s Purse” just before the netted portion, made from bulky white recycled sweater yarn.

For now, I’m taking these two little practice pieces I made for this tutorial and am stitching them onto the pixie belt base I worked on last post. To be continued, with pockets!

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-MF