Tree of Life Mandala

Who doesn’t love trees?! Besides being one of the most successful life forms on Earth, trees are the lungs of our planet. Majestic and sometimes dangerous they are also, but I think one of the main reasons we humans have such a symbolic attachment to the Tree as a concept is that we tend to project ourselves onto them.

Gazing at the canopy – pictured in the Lotus Duster

With their roots-like-feet, their strong trunk torsos, and their reaching arms of branches, it’s easy to turn them into a metaphor against which we contrast our own sense of existence. They grow taller as they age, they occur in all environments, they group themselves together, and recent science has even discovered that they communicate with each other.

(There’s a great little article about tree communications here, referencing a book I’d quite like to read sometime)

Ancient photo of me, up a tree, wearing the Woodsman’s Wife Ruana

For me, it has always seemed natural to speak with trees. And yeah… to hug them. πŸ™‚ I’ve always felt that they had a Presence which ought to always be acknowledged and I’ve been drawn to tree and forest imagery my whole life. I was stoked when I found this adorable crocheted Tree of Life motif from 365 Crochet and instantly tried it out as a feature of one of my pixie belts. It’s quite an excellent little free pattern!

Pictured is Hickory, one of my original crocheted utility pocket belts. I have an in-depth tutorial series on how to make your own unique Pixie Pocket belt here on the blog and also available as a purchasable, ad-free PDF.

The Tree of Life concept occurs in several cultural stories. My familiarity with it came originally from Yggdrasil, the World Tree of Norse mythology that holds all the worlds from its roots to its branches. Since I’m so attached to this symbolism, I wanted to attempt my own crocheted version of the Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life mandala features an intricate central tree motif, worked in the round using a variety of crochet stitches. The intertwining branches are worked in layers, with double-treble stitches criss-crossing and forming the signature woven look of the Tree of Life symbolism. Though it looks complex, the central motif is easy when taken step by step, especially since the tutorial includes 50+ detailed tutorial photos with figure references to the written pattern!

Once I had honed my Tree pattern to satisfaction, I realized the mandala version would make a perfect dreamcatcher-style wall hanging and set about to providing this FREE tutorial for the project! You can also buy the downloadable, printable, ad-free PDF file for this crochet pattern from my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Pattern Store.

I also hastened to create a video tutorial – you can find that for free here!

This one is made with Malabrigo Rios, which I am now hooked on.

I’ve got a few more concepts cooked up for this pretty little piece in the future that I’m very excited about πŸ˜‰ So be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow me on Facebook!

Tree of Life Mandala Wall Hanging

Materials:
4.50 mm hook
#4 worsted weight yarn in solid color – I used Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton
#3 or #4 weight yarn in accent color – I used King Cole Riot DK for the rainbow Tree and Malabrigo Rios for the autumnal Tree.
1 14” bamboo or wood hoop (I used an embroidery hoop from the hobby store)
Scissors & Tapestry needle

Stitches and Techniques:
Magic Ring – A short tutorial can be found under this pattern on my blog.
Hdc – half double crochet
Ch – chain
Sl st – Slip Stitch
Sc – Single crochet
Dc – Double crochet
Tr – treble crochet (YO x 2, insert hook in next st and draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 loops x 3)
Dtr – double treble crochet (YO x 3, insert hook in next st and draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 loops x 4)

Gauge: Not critical. The trunk of the tree should be about 1.25 inches in width and the tree itself should be about 4.5 inches tall from root to top branch after Round 3.

Notes:
The outer yarn used to border the Tree of Life can be #3 or #4 weight. If using a thick and/or stiffer #4 weight, check to make sure your piece isn’t getting too big for the hoop. You may need to omit a round of solid Hdc – the mandala needs to stretch tightly over the hoop once finished.

Instructions

Make Magic Ring – fig. 1

Fig. 1

Rnd 1: Ch 2 (does not count as first hdc), 12 hdc into the ring – fig.2. Join with a sl st in the first hdc of the round. Tighten the ring to close – fig.3

Fig. 2

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Rnd 2: Sl st in the next  st, 1 sc in the next st. (1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 hdc) in the next st – fig. 4. 1 sc in the next st, sl st in ea of the next 2 sts – fig. 5. 1 sc in the next st, hdc in the next st. (1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 hdc) in the next st. 1 hdc in the next st, 1 sc in the next st. Sl st in the next st. – fig. 6

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Fig. 6

Rnd 3:  LIMBS: Sl st in the next 3 sts. – fig 7. Ch 2, 1 dc in the same st – fig 8. Ch 2 – fig 9, 1 dc in the side of last dc. Ch 3 – fig 10. Slip stitch back down the side of the dc’s. (1st limb made) – fig 11. Sl st in the next st. *Ch 2 – fig 12, dc in the same st. (Ch 2, dc in the side of last dc) twice – fig 13. Ch 3. Slip stitch back down the sides of the dc’s, sl st in next st. – fig 14. (2nd limb made). Repeat from * for 3rd limb – fig. 15. Ch 2, 1 dc in the same st. Ch 2, 1 dc in the side of the last dc. Ch 3 – fig 16. Slip stitch back down the side of the dc’s (4th limb made) – fig 17. Sl st in the next 5 sts. – fig 18.

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Rnd 3 Ct’d: ROOTS: *Ch 2, dc in the same st. – fig 19, Ch 3 – fig 20, slip st down the side of the dc – fig 21. Sl st in the next st. Rpt from * 3 more times. – figs 22-24. Sl st in the next 3 sts.

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Rnd 4: Ch 5 – fig 25, sc in the ch-3 loop  at the top of the 1st limb – fig 26. Ch 3 – fig 27, double treble (dtr) in the middle of the 2nd limb – fig 2829. Ch 3 – fig 30, dtr in the middle of the 1st limb – fig 31. Ch 3, sc in the ch-3 loop at the top of the 2nd limb – fig 32. Ch 3, dtr in the middle of the 3rd limb – fig 33. Ch 3, dtr in the middle of the 2nd limb – figs 34-35. Ch 3, sc in the ch-3 loop at the top of the 3rd limb. Ch 3 – fig 36, dtr in the middle of the 4th limb – fig 40. Ch 3, dtr in the middle of the 3rd limb. Ch 3 – fig 41, sc in the ch-3 loop at the top of the 4th limb. Ch 5 – fig 42, sl st one st away from the base of the 4th limb. Sl st in the next 3 sts – fig 43.

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Fig. 25

Fig. 26

Fig. 27

Fig. 28 – YO 3 times to begin dtr

Fig. 29 – insert hook into the middle of 2nd limb, draw up a loop. (YO and draw through 2 loops) 4 times. Dtr made.

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Fig. 43

Rnd 5: Sl st up the ch sts on the side of the 1st root. Sl st into the ch-3 loop at the top – fig 44. Ch 3, (counts as first hdc + ch-1), hdc in the same space – fig 45. (Ch 3, 1 hdc in the next ch-3 loop. Ch 1, 1 hdc in the same sp) 3 times. Ch 8 – fig 46-47. (1 dc in the next ch-3 space between branches – fig 48, ch 2, 1 dc in the same space) 9 times – fig 49. Ch 8. Sl st in the 2nd ch of beginning ch-3 to join – fig 50.

Fig. 44

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Rnd 6 (Change color): With new yarn, join in the 5th ch-2 space of previous round – positioning your hook in the middle of the branches. Ch 2 – fig 51 (does not count as first hdc). 2 hdc in the same space. (4 hdc in the next ch-2 space) 4 times – fig 52.  10 hdc in the next ch-8 space – fig 53. (1 hdc in the ch-1 space of the next root. 3 hdc in the next ch-3 space- fig 54.) 3 times. 1 hdc in the next ch-1 space. 10 hdc in the next ch-8 space – fig 55. (4 hdc in the next ch-2 space) 4 times. 3 hdc in the next space, join with a sl st to the first hdc of the rnd – fig 56. – 70 sts

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Fig. 51

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Rnd 7: Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc), 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 5 sts. 2 hdc in the next st – fig 57. (1 hdc in ea of the next 6 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 9 times. Join with a sl st – fig 58.– 80 sts

Fig. 57

Fig. 58

Rnd 8: Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc), 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 6 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 7 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 9 times. Join with a sl st. – fig 59 – 90 sts

Fig. 59

Rnd 9: Ch 1 (does not count), 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 7 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 8 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 9 times. Join with a sl st. – fig 60 -– 100 sts

Fig. 60

Rnd 10: Ch 4 (counts as first dc + ch 1). Dc in the same st. (Sk next 2 sts, 1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc in the next st) rpt around. Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beginning ch-4.

Rnd 11: Sl st to the next ch-2 space. Ch 5 (counts as first dc + ch 2). Dc in the same space. (1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc in the next space) around. Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beginning ch-4. – fig 61.

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Fig. 61

Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for attaching – fig 62. Weave in other ends.

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Fig. 62

Attaching & Finishing

Using the long tail left from Round 11, thread yarn on a tapestry needle. Center your piece inside the hoop – fig 63.

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Fig. 63

Stitch the piece onto the hoop, making your needle pass around the hoop and under the last row of the piece, between the dc’s (not the chain spaces). Work the piece all the way around, adjusting tension and tightening as needed to create an even appearance. The piece will be stretched! – fig 64 – 66

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To make sure my tension is even, I like to cut another long strand of thread and go back over the piece in the opposite direction – fig 67. This is optional.

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Fig. 67

Border Round:
With new yarn, attach to a ch-2 space on Rnd 11. Working by inserting the hook under both the chain-2 space and under the hoop, YO and draw up a loop. Work 1 hdc around the hoop and the chain space. The entire border round works around the hoop – this can be a little tricky at first, but be patient! It gets easier. In the same chain space, work 1 dc, 1 tr, ch 2, 1 tr, 1 dc, and 1 hdc – fig. 68. Sc between the next pair of dc’s – fig 69. *(1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 tr, ch 2, 1 tr, 1 dc, 1 hdc) in the next ch 2 space, 1 sc between the next 2 dc sts. Rpt from * around. – figs 70-71

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Join the final round with a slip stitch in the first hdc. Cut yarn and tie off, weave in all remaining ends. You could also add tassels, fringe, extra leaves (I have a good candidate, a free pattern for leaves), or charms to personalize your new Tree of Life wall hanging!

Thanks, trees. You guys are awesome.

Tree hugging in the Elf Coat

– MF

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Lotus Mandala Video Tutorial Part 2

With my first full length video tutorial under my belt, I forged ahead this week to create Part 2 of the Lotus Mandala series! It went much faster this time, because I had a better idea of how to make the video to flow and therefore (frankly) procrastinated less πŸ˜‰

If you missed the release of Part 1, check it out here.

Part 2 covers rounds 9-16, which contain some of the most technically difficult rounds and the ones that I get the most questions about – so hopefully it will prove useful.

I am planning on completing this series, creating video tutorials for the rest of the rounds of the Lotus Duster pattern including the sleeves and such, though that might not premier as quickly. I have some really exciting new releases coming soon that I need to finish first!

If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, hit the follow button on my blog and be sure to like and follow my Facebook Page as well ❀

And now, Part 2!

If you enjoyed this video, like and subscribe to my channel! Besides the Lotus Mandala series, there’s more on the way ❀

And I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone out there who has liked, commented, shared, purchased, and otherwise supported my art. I couldn’t do this without any of you, YOU ARE AWESOME and BEAUTIFUL!

❀ ❀ ❀

-MF

Costume Mega Tail

Fur yarn seems to be something I always have a lot of. In addition to using it to trim Trickster Hoods, wacky coats, and Pixie Belts, I also occasionally use it to make costume ears and tails. My first foray into tail making was using crochet, as it was certainly easier for me at the time to deal with the nuisance of all that funky hair using a technique with which I was very confident.

The resulting little fox tail (I call it the chibi tail) was clever, IMHO, made with super soft Lion Brand Romance and ending in a little clip so it could be attached to a belt. But it was a bit stiff, and I decided knitting was really the way to go for these fun and cruelty-free costume elements.

I made a couple more – the tail on the left is made with Lion Brand Fun Fur, knitted to look like a raccoon, the tail on the right is Lion Brand Romance again, in sweet fantastical pastels. Both are stuffed with lightweight polyester fiber stuffing and clippable, like the first, onto belt or pants.

The pastel tail is pretty long, and very slinky and soft. After that one, I went down the rabbit hole. Er, possibly the fox hole.

I had A LOT of Lion Brand Pelt in similar colors. What if I made a really BIG tail, so it would look proportionate to the human body?

So, as you can see, I did that. And this year’s Halloween costume was born. To be specific, I finished the humongous tail less than 24 hours before the costume party! πŸ˜€

I dubbed my costume “Forest Witch” but mostly I was referred to as the Squirrel Lady which I am also 100% satisfied with πŸ˜‰ . This is one of the most handmade of all costumes I’ve ever done, so I’m going to feature some of the elements involved before writing out my notes on making the Tail toward the end of the post – keep reading for the free pattern! You can also favorite this project on Ravelry for reference later.

It was cold and rainy enough the day of the party to wear my super woodsy version of the Boho Fringe Poncho, made with different scrap bulky and super bulky yarns, then trimmed with plain fringe and woven with a super textured handspun art yarn. I also added a leafy drawstring tie to the top of this piece, similar to the one made for the Rhiannon Cowl. I’m so glad to have added this poncho to the ensemble, because it hasn’t really seen the light of day since I made it.

Underneath I wore the dress I had refashioned from a few thrift store pieces – I cut the green top and the brown and purple paisley skirt up joined them using hairpin lace, then added doily accents – all crocheted in gray, upcycled sweater yarn. You can read more about this refashion project here. Layered under the dress is a thrifted skirt that I tie-dyed in browns.

The belt sports several accessories beside the tail – one of them is a crocheted woolen pouch, mounted on loops so that it can slide onto a belt. This pattern is a piece of Lilla Bjorn’s Dandelion Mandala Overlay. The knife is an antique piece made with a real fawn’s hoof found for me by a friend. It’s not handmade by me, it’s just totally wicked so I wanted to mention it πŸ˜‰

It was terribly overcast all day, so my indoors photoshoot is very dark (and consequently grainy.. just pretend it’s a spooky filter effect, okay?) and you probably can’t see the faux dreads underneath my hair very well, but they are there and I made those too! From Jacob wool, dyed brown and boiled in hot water to felt them making long woolen cords, then attached to and elastic headband and decorated with beads and feathers. The hat on top sports a pair of crocheted fur yarn ears, mounted on an elastic band around the crown of the hat.

The witch hat, unfortunately is not handmade. I attempted to finish the black Hedge Witch Hat for this ensemble in time for the party, but was too busy knitting this big chunky baby…

Speaking of which, how about that tutorial? I’m afraid all I can offer is my notes, since this was not intended to be a full-scale pattern, but it’s pretty straightforward knitting if you can stand trying to see your way around all that fur.

Costume Mega Tail Tutorial

Materials:
US Size 9 double pointed knitting needles (1 set) US size 9 circular needles, 24″
Lion Brand Pelt (#5, 50 g / 47 yds) 4 skeins “Sable”, 4 skeins “Fisher”
Lion Brand Fun Fur, (#5 bulky, 40 g / 57 yards) 1 skein “Ginger”
Lion Brand Romance (#6 super bulky, 50 g / 27 yards) 1 skein “Truffle”, 1 skein “Champagne”
(Or, in substitute, around 550 yards total of any fur yarn)
Metal clasp
~10-15 oz Polyester Fiberfill batting
Scissors and Tapestry needle

With fur yarn and DPNs, Cast On 18 sts. Knitting in the round:
Row 1: *K, M1 increase* Rpt around – 27 sts
Row 2; *K2, M1 increase* Rpt around – 36 sts
Row 3: *K3, M1 increase* Rpt around – 45 sts
Row 4: *K4, M1 increase* Rpt around – 54 sts
Row 5: *K5, M1 increase* Rpt around – 63 sts
Row 6: *K6, M1 increase* Rpt around – 72 sts

Switch to circular needles.
Rows 7 – Infinity: Knit around. Change colors when necessary or desired.

I knit this piece to a length of about 55″. When ready to finish off:

Switch back to the Double Pointed needles

3rd to last Row: *K2, K2together decrease* Rpt around.
2nd to last Row: *K1, K2together decrease* Rpt around.
Last Row: *K2tog decrease* around. Cut yarn leaving a long piece for sewing. Thread the yarn into a tapestry needle and pass the yarn through each loop on the needles, catching the live stitches on the yarn tail. Once all stitches are threaded, pull the DPNS out and use the thread to cinch the stitches shut. Make some firm weavings across this circle to secure shut, then weave in ends and cut.

To finish the piece, Weave in all yarn ends. I used a wig brush at this stage to brush all the fur loose that had gotten trapped in between stitches to make it thicker and fluffier. Then, take the polyester fiberfill and stuff through the open end. Be careful not to overstuff – it really needs less than you think, and overdoing it will cause the piece to be too stiff and therefore less realistic looking.

Once the piece is stuffed, thread a long piece of fur yarn onto a tapestry needle and sew the open end shut, then sew onto the clasp. I used a pretty small metal lobster style clasp, available with the metal findings in most hobby stores. This allows you to attach the tail to a belt (recommended – it’s heavy) or to pants (works better with smaller ones, but if you’re brave enough…)

One last very necessary addition to this monstrosity is left! Using a crochet hook, I loosely threaded a length of bronze ribbon yarn through the knit stitches toward the end of the tail, weaving in and out all around the circumference, then tying the ends in a knot. After all, I had to have some way to keep this thing from getting super wet and mucky by dragging on the ground!

I used the tied length of ribbon as a handle to maneuver the thing all night (and dance with it – SO MUCH FUN.) Also occasionally to bop people in the face with the fluffyness. When I needed both hands free, I wrapped the ribbon into my belt in the front to secure it.

I probably don’t need to tell you that I had too much fun with it πŸ˜‰ And I hope you will too, if you decide to make one for yourself ❀ If you have any questions on how I did anything in this semi-slap-dash tutorial thingy, leave me a comment πŸ™‚

❀
-MF

P.S – as a big and unintended bonus, post-costume-party this thing turned out to be an excellent body pillow as well, lol!

Lotus Mandala Video Tutorial Part 1

Well, I’m excited to announce that my first full-length video tutorial is underway! Not that I haven’t made videos before, but this is the first time I’ve filmed with the intent of capturing a whole pattern on video. After many moons of wanting to do it, I’ve started the tutorial for the Lotus Mandala Duster design and I have finished Part 1 to share with you today!

I avoided video tutorials for a long time simply because they were a whole new thing that I had to learn. Also, I hate the sound of my own voice πŸ˜› But because I really wanted to bring the Lotus Duster into the reach of people who can only crochet from videos, I bootstrapped up and began this new venture!

The goal of this tutorial is to cover the first 16 rounds of the Lotus Mandala. These first 16 rounds are the exact same instructions, whether you are doing the Lotus Duster or the Lotus Vest (two separate but sister patterns) and are perhaps the most challenging rounds, technically speaking, within the design. So even though the yarn used in the tutorial is for the Duster, you can follow the same instructions through Round 16 if you are working the vest πŸ™‚

Part 1, which I am sharing today, consists of Rounds 1 – 8 of the Lotus Mandala. I do intend on finishing out the Duster in video tutorials in later parts, but we’ll cross that bridge eventually, probably.

UPDATE: Part 2 with Rounds 9-16 is now available!

So without further ado, here is the Lotus Mandala Video Tutorial Part 1! ❀ Directly below this paragraph you can find links to the patterns mentioned above as well as their related add-ons, frequently asked questions, and tutorial links from the video:

Lotus Mandala Duster
Lotus Mandala Vest
Lotus Duster Hood
Lotus Mandala Vest Cardigan Sleeves
Lotus Mandala Vest FAQ
Lotus Duster FAQ

Chain and Stitch Join Tutorial

Everything You Need to Know to Start Recycling Sweater Yarn

I hope you enjoyed this video and if you have feedback or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments! ❀

Happy Stitching,

MF

Rhiannon Cowl Crochet Pattern

RHC3

Eons ago (it seems) I designed a hooded cowl that was both simply constructed and could be worn several different ways. It started as just a scrap-buster, and I made a couple with random yarns and colors. The result was a fun project that was easy enough for beginner crocheters but was more interesting than just a plain old scarf. I dubbed it the Rhiannon Cowl after one of my favorite mythological deities.

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And yeah, after the song too. Although I’m enough of a fantasy nerd that I knew about the goddess before I knew about the pop song.  But I digress.

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That was 2015. It didn’t take long before my pattern writing style changed, and I started rebooting some of my older files – the Rhiannon Cowl has been on the makeover list for a LONG time, partly because I have intended to make it available for free.

Today I’m excited to finally be both making over the pattern file AND releasing this crochet pattern here for free on my blog! Keep reading for the FULL pattern PLUS tutorial photos, or get the spiffy new downloadable, ad-free file now available in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Store πŸ™‚ 

RHC12

I’ve made a couple changes to the pattern itself – I eliminated the #5 bulky weight instructions in favor of adding a new size: Large. This size is easier to wear doubled up (the Small can be a little tight that way) and will be wearable as a vest for a wider range of bodies.

I also got rid of the specific yarn requirements. I’ve always thought this pattern looks best as a scrap-buster and so I’ve left the yarn requirements general to reflect that – I used *mostly* worsted weight but some bulky weight sneaked in too and I think it looks great that way πŸ™‚

RHC10

I hope you like this fun, quick, fantasy inspired project as much as I do (now that its been gussied up) ❀

RHCCover1.1

Materials:
5.00 mm hook
500-800 yds worsted weight yarn – spare yarns work great for this piece!
Scissors
Tapestry Needle

Gauge: 6 sts and 3 rows = 2”

Finished Measurements:
Small- Approx. 72” circumference at the front
                ~ 40” circumference at the back
                ~ 15” wide
Large- Approx. 90” circumference at the front
                ~ 50” circumference at the back
                ~15” wide

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Stitches and Abbreviations:

st / sts: stitch/stitches

DCh: double chain – see my tutorial here:
                http://bit.ly/33nFcYe

If preferred, a regular chain stitch may be substituted for the double chain

ch: chain.

sl st: slip stitch

sc: single crochet

dc: double crochet

tr: treble crochet

sk: skip

rpt: repeat

rnd: round

ea: each

(parentheses): instructions inside parentheses are to be repeated the number of times indicated just outside the parentheses. When parentheses are followed by β€œaround” it means repeat the instructions until you finish the entire round.

beg: beginning. Refers to the first stitch or set of stitches made for the current row or round, i.e – β€œbeg ch-4” refers to the 4 chain stitches made at the beginning of the round you are working.

counts as / does not count as… : The first chain stitches at the beginning of the round are to gain height to start your round. Because this chain sequence is the same height as the stitches, it occasionally counts as the first stitch of the round and will be the stitch to which you join the end of your round.  If this chain does not count as the first stitch, you will skip it completely and join the end of your round to the next stitch after the chain stitches.

Size Changes: This pattern is written for two sizes: Small and Large. The instructions are written so that whenever there are two different instructions (a size change) those changes appear concurrently separated by a comma. Smalls follow the first number given, Larges follow the second number. So in β€œ(1 dc into each of the next 9 sts, 2 dc into the next st) 15, 19 times.” Β Smalls will repeat within parentheses 15 times, Larges will repeat 19 times.

Instructions:

Foundation:  DCh 160, 200. Join with a slip stitch to the first DCh stitch to form a loop. Be careful not to twist.

Rnd 1: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc in the same st as join. 1 dc  in ea of the next 159, 199 sts. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round.  – 160, 200 sts

Rnd 2: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch 1, (sk 1 st, dc in the next st, ch 1) 79, 99 times. Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4.

Rnd 3: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc into the same st as join. 1 dc into each of the next 159, 199 Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round.

Rnd 4: Rpt Rnd 2.

Rnd 5: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc , dc into the same st as join. 1 Dc into each of the next 8 stitches, 2 dc into the next st. (1 dc into each of the next 9 sts, 2 dc into the next st) 15, 19 times. Join with a slip st in the first dc of the round. – 176, 220 sts

Rnd 6: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch 1, (sk 1 st, dc in the next st, ch 1) 87, 109 times. Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4.

Rnd 7: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc into the same st as join. 1 dc into each of the next 175, 219 sts. Join with a slip stitch in the first dc of the round. –  176, 220 sts

Rnd 8: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch 1, (sk 1 st, dc in the next st, ch 1) 87, 109 times.  Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4.

Rnd 9: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc in the same st as join. 1 dc into ea of the next 9 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc into ea of the next 10 sts, 2 dc in the next st) 15, 19 times. Join with a slip stitch in the first dc of the round. – 192, 240 sts

Rnd 10: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch 1, (sk 1 st, dc in the next st, ch 1) 95, 119 times.  Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4.

Rnd 11: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc in the same st. 1 dc in each of the next 191, 239 sts. Join with a slip stitch in the first dc of the round. – 192, 240 sts

Rnd  12: Rpt Rnd 10.

Rnd 13: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 10 sts, 2 dc in the next st. (1 dc into ea of the next 11 sts, 2 dc in the next st) 15, 19 times. – 208, 260 sts

Rnd 14: Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch 1, (sk 1 st, dc in the next st, ch 1) 103, 129 times.  Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-4.

Rnd 15: Ch 3 – does not count as first dc, dc in the same st. Work 1 dc in ea of the next 207, 259 sts. Join with a slip stitch in the first dc of the round.

Rnd 16: Rpt Rnd 14. Cut yarn and tie off.

Seaming the Hood

Fold in the piece in half, aligning the fold along the joining seam. Join new yarn at this corner – you will be crocheting into two layers of the scarf at once. MAKE SURE you are crocheting into the foundation round, NOT round 16. 

Rnd 17: (Work 1 sl st into the next st, working into both layers) 25 times. Ch 3.

Now working in only ONE layer and inserting hook into the bottom of each foundation chain stitch, (sk next st, dc in the next st, ch 1) 52, 72 times. Sk next st, 1 dc in the next st, ch 1. Join with the first ch-1 of the round.

The circle of stitches worked through one layer only will form the base of the next round – you will no longer be working into the 26 stitch seam that forms the back of the hood.

Rnd 18: Ch 3, dc in the same st and in ea st around.  sts

Cut yarn and tie off.

Leaf Motif Tie

1st Leaf: Ch 5. Join with a sl st to form a ring. Ch 3 – counts as first dc, 6 dc, 2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr, 7 dc into the ring. Join with a sl stitch to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3.

To begin the double chain, insert hook into one loop of the stitch below the slip stitch join and work one sc. Insert hook into the side bar of the single crochet. Draw up a loop (2 lps on hook). Yarn over and draw through two loops on the hook (one DCh stitch completed).  Double chain 160, 200.

2nd Leaf. – At the end of the double chain, Ch 5. Join with a sl stitch to the 5th ch from the hook to form a ring. Ch 3 – counts as first dc. 6 dc, 2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr, 7 dc into the ring. Join with a sl st to the first dc, then secure the top of the leaf onto the DCh cord with another slip stitch. Cut yarn and tie off.

Weave in all yarn ends!

Starting at the base of the hood, weave half of the tie in and out of the spaces between the dc stitches of Rnd 17. Weave the other half through the spaces of the opposite side. Ta-da! Your brand new cowl awaits your woodland adventures!

Wear it as a hood with the drawstring tied to form a warm capelet scarf – hood down, it becomes a shawl! Place the hood on from the back and place arms through the back opening to wear as a scarf vest, or double up the scarf loop around the neck for extra toastiness.

My style might change, but I still make all the same faces when I photograph myself πŸ˜› Cheers!

-MF

Scrappy Knit Duster

A few years ago I espied some beautiful images of knit ruana-style shawls and ponchos that used striking color striping in a simple stitch pattern. The knit stitches were loosely made, giving the garment a pretty drape, and the simple tie-offs from color changing formed a natural fringe with a western look. The artist using this beautiful style, I found out later, was the Kristen Hoke of Posh By Gosh on Etsy.

I was enamored, for many reasons: its beauty came from its simplicity and versatility. It featured only knit stitches, so I could easily wrap my head around it. Plus, ample opportunity to play with color and use up spare bits of yarn! I rushed to gather all of my spare skeins and yarn bits, and started a massive upcycling project inspired by her knits – that was my first try, which became a blanket because as it turns out I was not very good at estimating knit sizes at the time.

No worries, though – I tried again, this time turning my inspiration into a project with a crochet twist! The knit ruana, featuring crocheted granny square edges, became the Wayfarer Ruana tutorial, available for free here on my blog!

By then, I was pretty satisfied but I also found myself addicted. These projects were so easy to pick up and put down (because of the endless mindless knitting, it was definitely stitch therapy) and they were so perfect for using up very small bits of yarn. I wanted to design another garment in this style! This time, with even less weaving in of ends. And how about wearable anywhere?

And more SASSY FRINGE?

So I got to work knitting up this Scrap Knit Duster, and put together a little tutorial for it along the way. The two front panels are great for using up very small balls of leftover yarn, especially singe there isn’t any weaving in ends (or at least, very little)!

And that’s not even a fraction of the yarn gumballs I have stowed away.

Since the garment is just made of rectangles folded and seamed, adventurous souls could easily translate this into a crochet piece (just keep your gauge loose so that the fabric drapes well).

Hope you love making it as much as I do ❀ If you do, why not give this project a fave on Ravelry?

Materials:

US Size 11 (8.00 mm) Knitting Needles, 1 set 24” circular (long straight needles are fine in substitute for this), 1 set 40” circular (necessary)

A lot of random scrap yarn ❀ I chose one neutral toned yarn to kind of become the β€œbackground” for the colored yarns, as well as a trim color.

Tape Measure

Scissors

Tapestry Needle

6” book, cardboard, or fringe making tool

Gauge: About 6 sts & 8 rows = 2” in garter stitch
Stitches Required: Cast On, Knit, Purl, Bind Off

Finished measurements: 38” long, bust and waist measurements variable

Instructions:

Begin by taking your measurements. You want the total circumference of the garment to be about as wide as the widest part of your frame (whether that’s your bust, your hips, or your belly) so that it will just be able to wrap you up. I used 34” as my circumference. It’s a little under my actual measurements, but I wanted my duster to be fitted to me, and I know this knit fabric stretches accommodatingly.

The main part of the duster is made with three panels. The two front panels, which are made to equal almost 1/4th  the circumference each, so half my measurement when added together. The one back panel is made to equal the other half, and is added after the first two panels are finished (this part is the same basic process as the Wayfarer Ruana, just not as wide).

However, I know I’m going to be adding a trim to the front, so my two front panels will be made a little shorter. 1/4th of 34” is 8.5”, but I’ll plan on adding almost 2” in border, so 6.5” or so. I decide that my front panels are going to be 20 stitches long each, which when plugged into my gauge, will land me at about 6.5” for each front panel width.

If you want a less fitted piece, just stick with the simple math – Each Front Panel is ΒΌ your circumference, and don’t worry about the trim length for now.

  1. Cast On 20 (or whatever number you land on)
  2. Rows 1-150: Knit each stitch. Change color at the end of the row when necessary or desired….

BUT….

ONLY change colors on one side of the piece. Either side is fine, but stick with one side. This is the side that will face β€œout” later, and form the fringe hem at the sides, saving you from having to weave in a bunch of ends.

Make 150 rows of garter stitch for the first front panel, DO NOT BIND OFF.

  • Stick your first panel on a holding needle and repeat this process for the second panel.
  • Once both of your panels are complete,  arrange your panels so that the tie-off fringe sides are facing away from each other. Using yarn and your long needles (circular or otherwise), begin to knit across the top of the first panel, starting on the fringe side. Once you knit across the first panel, CO 10 stitches for the collar of the garment. Then, continue knitting across the second panel, ending on the second fringed side.

These 50 stitches (20 for the first panel + 10 for the collar + 20 for the second panel) come out to about 16.5”. 16.5 + (6.5 + 6.5) = 29.5”. Add the (2” + 2”) on either side for the front color trim, and I will have my 34” circumference achieved.

But first…

  • Knit 150 rows for the back panel. Change colors at the end of the row whenever necessary or desired. Colors can be tied off on either side of the back panel.

Once you’ve finished the front and back panels, Cast off your piece. I like to use Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO), a video tutorial for which can be found here.

Sleeves

Fold your piece in half. Using your tape measure, measure from the top of your shoulder to the lowest part of your armpit. Double this number is how wide you need your sleeve to be – I got about 9”.

We will form the sleeve by picking up one flat row, centered on the same row as the collar is made. Picking up knit stitches from the side of garter stitch is tricky because we are only picking up ONE stitch per each TWO rows. So to get a 9” measurement, I need 28 stitches. (28 sts / 6 stitches per 2 inches = 4.6, or  9.3” inches.)

So beginning from the bottom of each panel, I count up from the hem 122 rows and place a stitch marker. This leaves 28 rows left on the front panel. Repeat count up 122 rows on the back panel (same side) and place a stitch marker.  Pick up 28 knit stitches in the side of these 56 rows that land in between your marked stitches, using your needles.

  • Knit 70 rows, changing color at the end of the row when necessary or desired.
  • Using your preferred border color, switch to working a 4 x 4 rib. Knit 4, Purl 4 and in in subsequent round, knit the knits and purl the purls. Work 5 rounds.

You can change your rib width based on what number your sleeve stitch count is divisible by – for instance, 28 is divisible by 4 so my ribs will be even. If you have 35, you can work a 5 x 5 rib instead, etc.

  • BO, preferably with a stretchy bind-off method as mentioned above.
  • Repeat same sleeve process on the opposite side.

Fold the entire garment along the middle line that runs through the center of the sleeves and the collar. It helps to lay it flat on the floor, so you can brush the fringe out flat. In this next part, we will use a tapestry needle and a length of yarn to seam the duster.

  1. Grab a long-ish length of yarn and thread through the tapestry needle. A simple whip stitch through both layers of edges is all that is needed to seam the garment up the side. Keep seaming from the bottom all the way to the sleeve end, starting a new seam if you run out of yarn.  Repeat for the opposite side.

To keep your tension even, pull the seam thread tight by stretching the garment out as you sew. Be careful to keep the tie-off fringe out of your seam.

Front Border

Once you have seamed up the side of the duster and through to the end of the sleeves on both sides, clip your thread and tie the ends off to blend them into the fringe (some you may want to weave in, such as the ends at the hem of the sleeves). Now it’s time to create the ribbed border around the front opening and collar.

  1. Using your 40” circular needles and your border colored yarn, Pick up 1 knit stitch from every 2 garter stitch rows along the inside border of the garment. If your panels are 150 rows long, you’ll work 75 stitches up one side, 10 into the collar, and 75 down the other side. 
  2. K 4, P 4 to create a 4×4 rib. Work 9 rows of rib by knitting the knits and purling the purls. BO using the JSSBO.

Almost there! Are you excited yet?

Extra Fringe

Now we’ve got a really rockin’ fringey thing going on, but the tie-offs look a little scraggly in my opinion, so I use my 6” book to create some fringe lengths by wrapping the yarn around then cutting through the bundle. You’ll have to lay out your piece flat again, and comb all the tie-off fringe out flat to prepare for the next step.

  1. Using a crochet hook, loop one strand of fringe in the side of every fringe-less row up the side of the body and sleeves. Repeat for the other side.
  2. Finally, weave in any stray ends that aren’t part of the fringe. Odds are you will have a few across the shoulders where the sleeve attaches – I wove those down into the seam for the most part.

Once you have all the extra fringe attached, arrange your duster so that the sleeve and the side of the body are laying long the same line, parallel. Comb all the fringe, including the tie off, so that it is laying mostly flat. Using a sharp scissors, give your baby a haircut – I went down to about 4″ for the fringe.

If you have any stray yarn ends that need woven in (such as scraps that ran out in the middle of a row, or border yarns from adding the trim), take care of those. Once you have, you are done!

Voila! Now you have a scrappy bohemian rock’n’roll knit duster that is warm and wearable, looks great with anything, and that you MADE YOURSELF πŸ˜€ !!!

Thanks for visiting my blog and making art with me – I think this may be one of my favorite things I’ve ever made! I say that a lot though πŸ˜›

It was certainly fun to photograph. I hiked up a VERY steep hill, camera gear in tow, in order to prance around in heels on the edge of a cliff. Who says knitting isn’t extreme??

-MF

Elderberry Pixie Belt & Sale

Hi friends! In addition to working diligently on the Elf Coat patterns, I’ve been having fun doing some experimentation in one of my favorite project categories, the upcycled crochet pixie belt.

If you don’t already know, you can get a ton of info on how to create original, freeform pixie pocket belts from my blog series, the Pixie Belt Tutorial. The full tutorial is also available in downloadable, printable, ad-free PDF format through my Ravelry store – and I’m using this post as a springboard for a pattern sale too!

Now through Aug. 12, through Ravelry only, you can get the Pixie Belt Tutorial pattern FREE with the purchase of any other pattern! πŸ™‚ Just put both patterns in your cart and the discount is taken at checkout.

I had fun adding new hardware elements to this latest pixie belt piece – a metal mandala centerpiece I’ve had for years that came off of an old thrifted dress forms a focal point on the back, plus two D-rings on either side of the belt which hold a draped scarf really nicely for extra oomph around the hips. The best part is that the silver scarf is totally removable, so you can change out scarves!

There are also two pixie pockets: one circular pouch and one drawstring, as well as a detachable mushroom pouch ❀ The skirting I’m especially proud of – one whole thrifted shirt made from dusky rose gauzy material, artfully ripped of course.

I’m very happy with how this belt came out, especially since I got pretty experimental with it! This encourages me in my other ideas – I’d love to bring in more diverse fiber elements like fabric and leather πŸ™‚

Also it was fun to dress up this one – what do you think of my new background? I dig it!

If you’d like the see more unique, one of a kind pixie belt projects, be sure to check out the Pixie Belt Tutorial blog series!

-MF ❀