Sol Halter Top Updates

The weather has been turning my mind toward hot sunny days – indeed, it was up to almost 70 in the sunshine yesterday – and this inevitably results in crocheting halter tops! I’ve started toying with a new design recently but couldn’t resist diving into some old patterns too. After all, I had a half-finished update for the Sol Halter top sitting in my computer files, giving me the side-eye after being pushed toward the bottom of the to-do list for a couple years.

So today I uploaded the finished pattern update for my Sol Halter Top pattern, the very first halter top I ever published (it was 5 years ago now… OMG). The pattern needed some extra tutorial photos in one of the trickier areas, and I clarified some of the language and just generally tried to give it a spring cleaning πŸ™‚ I’m very happy with the result!

You can purchase the newly updated Sol Halter Top pattern (straight sizes, for A, B & C cups) in my Ravelry Pattern Store or Etsy Shop now! Keep reading for more info on this design as well as some cool mods…

Of course I made one or two actual halters in the process of updating, and in the last few years my strategies have changed from using straight tie-back style straps, to the more comfortable criss-cross backing as in the Basic Bralette, the Valkyrie Top, and the Feather & Scale Halter. I didn’t feel committed to changing the strap style entirely within the PDF pattern itself, so I’m offering these modifications right here on the blog, so keep reading for more info on this design and how to modify it ❀

What I really like about the Sol Halter top design is the cup style. The halter top starts by creating a long base for the underbust, then creates two equidistant points on which is centered a series of increases, and also stitch height changes (if you are working B-C cup sizes, A cups continue in the same height of stitch).

The combination of increases and height changes creates an actual bulge in the material which is form-fitting to the bust. Many other central-motif style halter tops work rows of back-and-forth stitches that create a basically flat piece of fabric for the torso, which merely wraps around and compresses. That method is pretty and fairly simple, but I find that my method – which occurs also in my Mehndi Halter Top pattern and my Valkyrie Top pattern – is really comfortable and doesn’t result in major slippages on the bust while wearing. I consider it my signature strategy for halter top making!

Besides the bust portion itself, the mandala motif in the center of the Sol pattern also includes an expansion for C-cups which gives a little extra room between the motif and the main body of the halter. Once the motif is attached, I like the clever way that the stitching goes right on to work the edging and the straps without having to cut yarn and tie off.

Pictured above: C-Cup size Sol Halter Top with modified straps
Pictured above: original straps from the PDF pattern

While the original PDF file only includes instructions for straight ties (one pair for the neck, one pair for the bust) I have moved away from this style for myself personally since I don’t like the pressure of the ties on my neck. Instead, I follow the first portion of the instructions for the edging until reaching the lower portion of the side bottom:

Instead of single crocheting across the entire side, I create a series of loops (about ch 20 sized) intermittently. I normally do 2 loops, but I got extra and did 3 for this top. Once your ch-20 loops are placed (about 3-4 single crochets apart, with no skips in between), you can move right into rotating the piece and working the bottom edging as directed.

Mirror those loops on the other side of the halter, then complete the edging by working the rest of the single crochets up the side. Follow the directions as written for working across the top of the motif, but instead of using the “ch 75, sc back down” style tie, you’ll want to chain 175 – 250 (depending on your band size – these are chain 200 size ties and work well for a size Medium gal) and SLIP STITCH back down the chain length, not single crochet. Do this for both ties on the top. I changed over to working slip stitch cords really shortly after writing the Sol and Mehndi patterns, as I find they are rounder and more comfortable and work better for lacing back and forth.

Once your ties on top are completed, finish off the edging round as directed. You can stop here, but I had some extra yarn left over and I like a nice substantial bottom band so I rejoined my yarn at the bottom of the halter and worked 3 extra rows of single crochet back and forth to add a little more coverage!

To tie on this criss-cross back style, the straps go over the shoulders and then cross, lacing into the first loops, and then lacing back and forth through the second loop (or as many as you have) before tying. With just a bit of adjustment to make sure everything is even, this style of lacing is really secure and comfortable – and I don’t know about you, but I love feeling free to romp and roam in my magical crochet-wear without having to re-tie and tug around at the garment all the time!

I hope you enjoyed this little exploration of one of my keystone designs and are inspired to try it out for yourself – I think I’ll be making more halter tops from the Morale Fiber vaults this season, so hopefully there will be more to come. Until then, have you checked out these great FREE tutorials? πŸ™‚ ❀

-MF ❀

Scrappy Knit Shawl Pattern

I accumulate odd bits and ends of yarn skeins at a rapid pace, so it’s fortunate that I love upcycling and recycling projects that take advantage of “waste” material and turn them into something gorgeous and useful ❀ My favorite way to use very small bits of yarn over the years has been the knit them into garment designs that don’t require weaving in ends; leaving the spare lengths tied off to be incorporated into the fringe later saves you from having to weave in approximately thirty zillion scrap yarn ends πŸ™‚

I’ve provided free tutorials and patterns on how to make these very simple, beginner-level knit garments here on Morale Fiber blog, and today I’m adding to the collection with the Scrappy Knit Shawl – a long triangular knit shawl that follows my method of using very small yarn balls of various sizes, large gauge needles, and incorporating the yarn ends into a fringed edge. Before we get going, here’s the other two pattern tutorials I have available in this style!

Bonus! If you’re not bi-stitch-ual (someone who knits AND crochets) I do have a great pattern for a scrappy crochet shawl in this style called the Scrappy Granny Shawl (IT’S FREE TOO!), pictured below πŸ™‚

The simply named Scrappy Knit Shawl gets its shape by working a yarn over increase 1 stitch from the edge on both sides of every row. It’s got a pretty dang LONG wingspan, reaching around 95″ on the longest side! You can modify this shawl to be wider (from edge to triangle tip) by doing the YO increases only every other row until you get the size you like πŸ™‚ If you like this project, be sure to favorite it on the Ravelry project page!

If you don’t know how to make a YO increase, check out this video tutorial on YouTube!

Scrappy Knit Shawl Pattern

Materials:
Size 10 or 10.5 (6.5 mm) knitting needles (I started with straight needles then moved to cabled circular needles once my piece got longer)
A big ol’ pile of scrap yarn balls, various weights (some of them can be very small – start with those first!)
Accent yarn for the fringe
Scissors, tapestry needle

Finished Measurements:
About 95″ in length
About 20″ from edge to center point of triangle

Gauge: Not critical for this piece but mine was 5.5 sts & 12 rows = 2″ in garter stitch

Terms:
Knit (K)
Yarn Over increase (YO)
Stitch (st)

Instructions:
With 10 or 10.5 knitting needles, Cast On 3 stitches with a very small scrap yarn.
Row 1: K1, YO, K1, YO, K1
Row 2:K1, YO, K until reaching the last st, YO, K1

From here, try to change yarns at the end of the row only. Leave your yarn tails loose (except to tie on the next yarn), changing yarns if you think you won’t have enough for the next row. I use up very small balls at the start for the shortest rows, then gradually use bigger balls as the rows get longer.

We’ll be repeating Row 2 using this yarn changing method for the rest of the garment. If you started on straight needles, switch to cabled circular needles when the piece becomes too large.

Rows 3-120 (or until you have the length you like): Repeat Row 2

If you have very thin yarns you’d like to use, try doubling them up with other yarns so the weights are more even!

Once your shawl is the length and width you’d like, bind off. I like to use this “super stretchy” bind off method.

Now, go over all the yarn ends left at the ends of the rows and make sure they are tightly knotted together. If you absolutely had to change yarns in the middle of any of the rows, weave in those ends but not the ends at the edges, which will be incorporated into the fringe.

I used my trusty notebook to wrap my yarn into 12″, then cut the looped yarn to make a bundle. Double up each strand and hook the loop of the strand through the edge of the shawl, taking advantage of those YO openings left in the fabric to apply the fringe.

Once you’ve fringed and woven in any mid-row ends, you’re done! I was so pleased with the result of this scrappy shawl design, I managed to make quite a pretty accessory from a relatively small amount of scraps. It’s so warm too- good thing, it was cold out that day!

If you like this project and love scrappy projects in general, you should check out my pattern collection of Scrappy Projects – all the links to all the scrappiest patterns I’ve published (both free and paid) plus notes on each one! ❀ Happy upcycling!
-MF

P.S – BONUS GALLERY

Pssst… writing this post I was reminded of one of my first big knit projects I ever made up, which was knitted with 50% upcycled yarn (the beige yarn) that I had pulled out of an old sweater. That post is no longer available on this blog but I thought I’d pull a few from the vaults, for fun πŸ˜‰

Happy International Women’s Day!

It’s been Morale Fiber tradition over the past few years to celebrate International Women’s Day with coupon code for a free pattern from my Ravelry Pattern Store – and this year is no different! I usually announce this event via my Facebook Page, but this year I wanted to be sure everyone had the code so I’m making a short blog post as well πŸ™‚

(Pictured above: My free Sundogs Throw pattern available here on the blog – many of the girls are also wearing Morale Fiber designs like the Embla Vest and the Lotus Duster)

Last year I took the year off from the IWD freebies to do a variety of fundraisers instead, first for the Australian Wildfire wildlife rescue, then a series of US organizations such as the Trevor Project and Food Not Bombs during the first few months of the pandemic. I take my moniker of “morale” pretty seriously, because I really believe in fiber arts as an art form that not only positively benefits individuals and creates stronger communities, but that also shows the heritage and influence of the people who keep traditions like knitting and crocheting strong.

(Pictured above: Lainy and Thea modeling the adult and child sizes of the Cecilia Skirt Belt)

So I’m very happy this year to bring back the International Women’s Day Free Pattern, which you can get by entering the code “IWD2021” (must be all caps) in your Ravelry checkout cart for ANY free pattern from my collection that you want! The code can only be used once, and only runs today (March 6) through the end of the day on Monday, March 8 (International Women’s Day!)

(Pictured above: Daisey and Arika modeling the Feather and Scale Halter Top!)

That’s all for today, I hope you take the chance to get one of my unique patterns that’s been missing from your collection for free, and keep doing that amazing fiber thing that we all love to do! And if you haven’t followed me on my social media sites yet, be sure to check me out on Facebook (including our great little Facebook fiber arts group centered on all things whimsical), and Instagram!

(Pictured above: the Valkyrie Halter Top)

Thank you everyone for making the world a more colorful, cozy, and loving place ❀
-MF

Elf Coat Updates

I’ve been working super hard since fall to expand, update, and improve my popular Elf Coat design and today I’m so pleased to announce that I have rolled out the updates for the new Elf Coat Pattern regular sizes (version: 2.0)!

All of these updates have been applied to both the FREE blog versions of the pattern and to the purchasable PDF version, and the links to all of these can be found on the FAQ page for this design πŸ™‚ Or keep reading to see what the updates entail!

These new updates include a re-shaped sleeve portion, which fixes some of the bunching issues that were occuring in the armpit area of the old style sleeve. I moved the decreases to the center of the row so that the sleeve follows the downward curve of the shoulder more naturally:

The old style of Hood also needed some work (and the Half Hood even MORE work) – so the Hood has been expanded and updated so that both styles of hood are plenty roomy and big enough, with notes on how to modify!

Honestly though, this pattern was in desperate need of something brand new : POCKETS!! Thanks to some help from fellow crocheter Tirzah, a basic pocket pattern was developed and then implemented in two different styles: Afterthought Pocket (applied to the outside) and Inset Pocket (hidden in the waistband)!

Photo courtesy of Tirzah Norton-Shantie


The pockets were absolutely necessary for carrying magical items, woodland treasures, and sedition – but I thought with the larger sizes being kind of oversized, there needed to be a belt option too, for extra cinching capacity.

Size Large, finished & laid out for blocking

Of course, all the extras are included in the PDF pattern file as part of the written pattern and are available in free pattern format on my blog via the links I mentioned at the beginning of the post. I’ll have to make a “deluxe” Elf Coat at some point for myself so that I can include all the options mentioned here on one coat – not forgetting that sweet corset back lacing option…)

Last but certainly not least, I have paid to get this pattern professionally translated into Spanish! I was lucky enough to find a great Spanish translator to work with who speedily took care of all of my new Elf Coat updates and created a beautiful PDF pattern file available for purchase in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Store.

I’ve still got some work to do with this design, including getting that neatly finished Large Size properly modeled and photographed, and the Plus Sizes are currently in the testing phase meaning that more updates will be coming soon for the expanded sizing! You know what I always say…

Until Morale Improves, the Crocheting Will Continue!

-MF ❀

Elf Coat Pockets

One thing my popular Elf Coat Tunisian Crochet Pattern really needed was some pockets! We all love to have a place to stash our woodland treasures, quest items, and sedition, so I’ve provided here a tutorial on how to create & apply both “Afterthought” pockets – easy and applied on the outside after finishing the coat – or “Inset” pockets, which are more advanced and are placed on the inside of the coat through an opening created at the waistband. All the same pattern specs such as gauge, hook size, and yarn from the original pattern (linked above) can be applied here, so let’s get right on into the instructions!

Pockets (Make 2 for Afterthought pockets- Make 4 for Inset pockets)

Pocket pattern developed from design by Tirzah Norton-Shantie – thanks Tirzah! 😊

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To add pockets to the outside of the garment, create 2 matching pieces and sew them on after the coat is finished. To create inset pockets, make 4 matching pieces from the pattern below, then follow Inset Pocket Waistband instructions.

Ch. 19

Row 1: Pick up a loop from ea of the next 18 ch sts. RP. – 19 sts

Row 2: TKS in the next 8 sts, TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next st, TKS inc in the next sp.  TKS in the next 9 sts. RP.  -21 sts

Row 3-10: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 21 sts

Row 11: TKS dec over the next 2 sts, TKS in next 7 sts, TKS inc in next sp, TKS in next st. TKS inc in next sp, TKS in next 7 sts. TKS dec over next 2 sts, TKS in last st. RP. – 21 sts

Row 12-16: TKS in ea st across. RP – 21 sts

Row 17: Repeat Row 11

Row 18-26: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 21 sts

Row 27-29: Rpt Row 11
Cut yarn and tie off.

If working outside / afterthought pockets, then work the following LDC rows onto the top of each pocket. Outside pockets can be sewn on after construction.

tirzahpocket

Photo courtesy of Tirzah Norton-Shantie

 If working inset pockets, the LDC rows will be worked later so skip them for now.

Row 30-31 (LDC ROWS): Attach yarn to the top edge of the pocket piece. Ch 3 (does not count as first st). 1 LDC in the same st and in ea st across, inserting hook through each stitch as if to TKS. – 19 sts.

Inset Pocket – Waistband

If working inset pockets, complete 4 pocket pieces (without the LDC rows) and seam each pair together with the wrong sides facing, leaving top open.

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To leave an opening at the waistband for inset pockets, there are two choices. The easier option is to complete the entire waistband as instructed and leave a 19-stitch long opening on each side of the garment when seaming together the waistband and the bottom of the Front & back panels.

The more advanced option is to work a set-in pocket in the middle of the waistband. To do so, familiarize yourself with both the Foundation Tunisian Technique here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haU59Ss8Hsw&list=PLwudTTp1E52YwgmfEmdmNSDgKJGbejoOm&index=2

And with the β€œAdding Length” technique which utilizes Foundation Tunisian, instructions here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bsg54HL156M&list=PLwudTTp1E52YwgmfEmdmNSDgKJGbejoOm&index=7

When working the waistband mark off where you will place your inset pockets on either side, then create a 19-stitch long Foundation Tunisian chain at that place (detailed in tutorial photos below). Resume regular TKS until reaching the other pocket point, then repeat for that opening. Return Pass as normal, then work the rest of the rows as normal.

Working Tunisian Foundation in the middle of the waistband for an inset pocket:

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TKS until reaching the portion you wish to leave open for inset pocket.

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Insert hook into the back of the next st – under the loop highlighted in green.

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Draw up a loop from this stitch to begin your Foundation Tunisian chain. Complete 19 Tunisian Foundation stitches.

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Once foundation length is complete, skip the appropriate number of stitches on the row below and resume TKS as normal.

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Once the entire waistband is complete, locate your two openings. With the two seamed-together pockets, sew the pocket openings into the opening created in the waistband or at the bodice/waistband seam.

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Insert pocket envelope into opening

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Align the edges and whip stitch together with tapestry needle and yarn.

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Attach new yarn and work the Linked Double crochet (Rows 30-31) over the bottom seam of the pocket, working through both the garment layer and the bottom layer of the pocket. Seam this row up the side of the pocket when complete, overlapping the top to hide the opening.

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View of the inset pocket from the inside of the coat.

Now, go fill your pockets! πŸ™‚
-MF

Elf Coat Belt Tie

Along with the new updates I’m implementing for my popular Elf Coat Pattern is this quick little addition for a belted-waist tie, perfect for those that don’t want to mess with buttons (or need some extra cinching!). All the same pattern specs such as Tunisian Hook size, yarn, and gauge from the original pattern (linked above) can be applied to this belt tie, so let’s get right on into the pattern πŸ™‚

Belt Tie (Optional, Make 2)

This pattern makes a ~21” tie about 2” wide, but you can make longer and/or wider ties depending on your needs by adding extra rows and/or foundation stitches. Ties are sewn into the side seams after construction.

One completed belt tie.

Ch 10.

Row 1: Pick up a lp from each of the next 9 ch sts. RP – 10 sts

Rows 2 – 90: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 10 sts

Row 91: TKS decrease over the next 2 sts. TKS in the next 4 sts. TKS decrease over the next 2 sts. TKS in the last st. RP. – 8 sts

Row 92: TKS dec over the next 2 sts. TKs in the next 2 sts. TKS dec over the next 2 sts. TKS in the last st. RP. – 6 sts

Row 93: TKS dec over the next 2 sts twice. TKS in the last st. RP. – 4 sts

Row 94: TKS dec over the next 2 sts. TKS in the last st. RP. – 3 sts.

Cut yarn and tie off.

Using a tapestry needle and yarn, sew the tie into the side seam at each side, RS facing.

Hope you enjoy!
-MF

Rambler’s Mitts & Armwarmers Pattern

Despite the absolute buttload of snow that just got dumped upon my Midwestern home, I’ve already turned my mind to thinking about the magic of spring in the forest, getting excited for hikes on the not-yet-overgrown woodland trails to search for harbingers-of-spring, bones, feathers and other treasures waiting for the wild-minded.

This means it’s fingerless gloves time! I love fingerless mitts because I need to touch absolutely everything when I’m adventuring, from swaths of soft moss to frosty crags in the tree bark. That’s why I’ve designed several free patterns on this blog in years past for just such a thing – easy fast crochet projects that are practical to me and also useful for using up spare skeins of pretty yarn! I thought this year I’d spruce up these posts a bit, adding new bright photography, more tutorial photos, and checking to make sure my instructions are of sound quality.

In the process I also wanted to offer a PDF file option for both the Rambler’s Mitts and Basic Armwarmers designs, so I combined the two into one awesome PDF crochet pattern document – read on for more details about what’s in this new downloadable, printable, ad-free offering, or go directly to my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store to purchase! You can also still access the free versions by following the links on the design names at the beginning of this paragraph πŸ™‚

Rambler’s Mitts & Armwarmers

The Rambler’s Mitts and Armwarmers pattern combines some of my classic fingerless gloves designs all in one convenient PDF file!

The Basic Armwarmers are almost-elbow length straight fingerless gloves which include instructions for two styles, one made with #4 worsted weight yarn and one made with #5 bulky weight yarn, each with it’s own specific written instructions, and stitch counts. The Armwarmers design also includes a photo guide and written tutorial for customizing your own gauge and sizing if you wish to alter the fit of your pair. My favorite features of this design are the continuous round construction that eliminates the visible joining seam and the unique thumb opening, which creates a more contoured fit at the base of the thumb.

The second design included in this bundle is the Rambler’s Mitts, a wrist-length pair of fingerless cuffs featuring post stitches and single crochet worked in #5 bulky weight yarn with a cozy thumb covering. These quick and easy mitts are perfect for woodland ramblings, and my pairs have been an instant go-to in my closet for years!

Clear tutorial photos and detailed written instructions are included as well as links to the FREE tutorial post stitching – making this design bundle a perfect way to start crocheting your own stash of these popular and colorful winter accessories!

Materials (ARMWARMERS)
200-300 yds #4 or #5 weight yarn (1 pair of the Rainbow warmers shown are made with Yarn Bee Glowing, #4 weight – 198 yards, 1 skein. The Copper/Olive/Turquoise pair is made with Lion Brand Landscapes, #4 weight, 147 yds – 2 skeins) Yarn amounts are variable depending on weight and size made.
5.00 mm hook
Scissors, tapestry needle
2 Stitch Markers

Materials (MITTS)
Materials:
5.00 mm hook
Bernat Velvet (#5 Bulky, 10.5 oz / 300 g, 315 yds, 100% polyester) – 1 skein
Tapestry needle & scissors

Stitches / Abbreviations
Chain (ch)
Single Crochet (sc)
Half Double Crochet (hdc)
Double Crochet (dc)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Skip (sk)
Each (ea)
Round (rnd)
Front post half double crochet (fphdc)
Back post half double crochet (bphdc)

Language: English
All instructions are in US crochet terminology.

Thanks so much for checking out this new publishing – as an independent fiber artist and crochet designer, sales of purchasable PDF patterns make up the bulk of my income – you can find tons more premium crochet patterns all in one spot by visiting my Paid Patterns page here.

I also make a small amount from website visits, so if you’re not in the market for paid patterns please do check out my Free Pattern offerings! A lot of my paid patterns are also available for free – This is because I really value accessibility and love to share my craft, so offering for free on my website helps both you & me! If you don’t want or need to get paid patterns, I also have a Tip Jar available where you can securely donate any amount to go toward the maintenance of my website & business πŸ™‚ ❀

-MF

Oak Sprite Hat

Acorns are easily one of the cutest things produced by trees. Their little round nutshells topped with a perfectly fitted cap, textured in minute detail, forcibly remind me of a wee head wearing a jaunty beret style hat – and I’m certainly not the first to try to recreate such a garment inspired by this adorable thing!

So when I set out to crochet an acorn-inspired hat, I wanted lots of texture and whimsy in the final design, something that would evoke the acorn while still capturing a spirit of otherness; something the little folk of the drawings of Cicely Mary Barker might want to adorn themselves with πŸ™‚

Of course, I immediately set my mind on the crocodile stitch for this purpose. Though this stitch is an advanced one, I love it for the sense of magic it imparts to any crochet piece and that’s why I’ve created several patterns featuring this stitch already. The crocodile stitch is a special type of post stitching, so if you’ve never encountered post stitches, I’ve written a free Post Stitch tutorial right here on my blog! I do go over the crocodile stitch as well in this post πŸ˜‰

So today I’m very excited to introduce the Oak Sprite Hat, an adult-sized acorn hat / beret design which features crocodile stitch worked in rounds from center to brim, edged with simple half double crochets and topped with the cutest little acorn cap stem. I also include a few notes on how to make this hat smaller for truly wee heads!

The pattern is available both for FREE as a video crochet tutorial series and as a paid PDF file in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Store! Keep scrolling for the free crochet tutorial and videos or support my art directly by buying the PDF at the links above!

I worked several of these hats to finalize the crochet pattern, and while in the process I debated about whether or not to make the crocodile stitches point downward, as the scales do on an actual acorn cap, but in the end I remembered that primary rule from taking art classes in college – suggest, rather than tell. The hat’s acorn-ness isn’t really compromised by this detail, and besides – I really just liked them better pointing upward. This way the green version reminded me of a thistle blossom, which I accented by adding a bright pink poofball!

For those wondering, I don’t currently have plans to do a version of this myself with the croc stitches pointing downward, although it can be done – if you’re interested in trying it, it would work from the brim toward the center, and use decreases rather than increases. I may be so bold as to suggest investing in my Sylphie Hat Pattern, which works the croc stitches in that direction, to get familiar with that method πŸ™‚

Anywho, Here are all the details of the pattern you need to make this must-have woodland accessory, and below you’ll find the three-part video tutorial series for working the Oak Sprite Hat. If you like this video I do have more on my YouTube channel, check it out if you like and thanks for visiting – clicks, shares, tags, tip jar donations, and pattern purchases are my livelihood and I am eternally grateful for my kind and generous audience (YOU) that makes it all possible! ❀ ❀

Oak Sprite Hat

Materials

5.00 mm hook – or size needed to obtain gauge

#4 weight yarn – listed below are the specific yarns used to make each hat. Recommended yarn is Caron Simply Soft.
Scissors, tapestry needle

Thistle (green): LB Ferris Wheel (#4, 270 yd / 85 g, 100% Acrylic) – 1 Skein, Caron Simply Soft (#4) ~ 50 yards
Hedgehog (gray/brown): LB Amazing (discontinued) – 1 skein, LB Ferris Wheel ~ 100 yards
Acorn (brown): Caron Simply Soft Chocolate – 1 skein, I Love This Yarn – ~ 50 yds

Finished Measurements:
23″ circumference for brim
33″ circumference for widest part of crown
7-8″ tall from tip to brim (not including stem)

Notes:
Hat can be made a smaller overall size by skipping the final round of increases (Round 5) leaving the total number of croc stitches at 12. 12 croc stitches is ~16” circumference, or baby/child size. In this case you’ll want to work the brim at 48 stitches, without the decreases, unless decreases are necessary for the size being made.


Hat can also be made a bit shorter by skipping one or two of the final rounds of non-increasing. 5 rounds are written in the pattern but 4 or even 3 can be done instead. There is a note in the written pattern where this is optional! 😊

Stitches & Abbreviations

Chain (ch)
Double Crochet (dc)
Slip Stitch (sl st)
Half Double Crochet (hdc)
Half Double Crochet 2 Together (hdc2tog, a decrease)
Single Crochet (sc)
Magic Ring (MR): A method of starting a circle with a tight center by working the first round of stitches into a yarn loop, then pulling the yarn tail tight to adjust the loop.
Back Post Half Double (bphdc): Working the stitch into the post of the stitch below, inserting the hook from the back, around the post in the front, and re-emerging to catch the yarn in the back.

Special Stitches:
Picot: Picot is made by chaining 3 stitches, then slip stitching in the top of the last dc made to form a small loop. I use the two front loops of the last dc to work the slip stitch into. Picots are made in place of the normal ch-1 that occurs in the middle of a croc stitch scale to create the Picot Croc Stitch.

Picot Croc Stitch (PCS): A crocodile stitch with a picot in the middle in place of the normal ch-1.

Crocodile Stitch (croc stitch/st): This is a type of crochet stitch that creates a 3-D effect of a petal or scale. The croc stitch is a special style of post stitching.

It works by creating an underlying framework of alternating β€œsingle” (1) dc and β€œpaired” (2) dc sets, separated by a ch-1.

Pictured above is the framework for a row of croc stitches. Once this row is created, the croc stitches are worked across the same row, overlapping.

Crocodile stitches are a type of post stitch, meaning that the hook is inserted around the main body of the stitch instead of the top two loops as normal. The stitch is then worked around the β€œpost”, meaning that the space underneath the stitch is used and the body of the stitch holds the actual stitches. This is an advanced stitch and does take some getting used to as well as adjusting direction and hold of the fabric to achieve.

Croc stitches have 5 dc worked (from the top of the dc down to the bottom) into the post of the first dc of the paired set of dc, then a chain (or in this case picot) is made, before switching directions and working 5 more dc into the next dc of the paired set, working from the bottom of the stitch to the top. Each scale is secured by working a slip stitch into the next singly standing dc before moving on to the next scale.

Pictured above is the direction of post stitches worked to form the crocodile scale (for right-handers, this will be reversed for lefties)

Once a row/round of crocodile stitches is complete, the next row/round will build another framework for the next layer of croc stitches by working the alternating single (1) dc and paired (2) dc into the previous stitches:

Above picture illustrates how the framework for the next row of croc stitches is placed. Each paired dc is worked into the single dc which lies below, which is referred to as the space or stitch between scales. Each singly standing dc is worked into the middle space of the scale below, between the paired doubles underneath.

This pattern works Picot Croc Stitches (PCS) in the round, starting from the center of the hat. To achieve this, we will be working PCS increases, which means that the framework of the rounds will sometimes place 2 sets of paired dc in the same st between scales, each set separated by a ch-1 on either side and a singly standing dc in the middle. This sets us up to work 2 croc stitches in that space.


Pictured above is the croc stitch increase framework: (2 dc, ch 1, 1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in the same st.

Oak Sprite Hat Video Tutorial Part 1

Video Tutorial Part 2

Video Tutorial Part 3

I hope you found this pattern to be helpful and interesting, and are inspired to create lots of clever pixie adornments for your friends and family! If you’ve caught the crocodile stitch bug like I have, here are some other patterns I offer that feature this stitch:

Or, how about woodland and creature themed accessories in general?

If right now you’re asking, “Is she trying to draw me deeper into a fantastical crochet forest from whence I shall never return?” the answer is yes πŸ™‚

-MF

Pattern Gallery: Magical Coat Collection

One of my secret disappointments in life is knowing that no matter how fast I work, I’ll never make all the projects I want to. This is mostly because I want to make practically everything! There are so many talented designers coming up with beautiful things and it’s all accessible via the deep magic of the web.

Most of my time is spent maintaining Morale Fiber, crocheting, answering e-mails, designing – and so I don’t get to take much time out to make other people’s patterns, but I keep a hearty collection of ideas and other patterns via Ravelry, Etsy, and Pinterest! So when the members of the Magic Fantastic Crochet Atelier frequently asked after an Elf Coat style sweater that wasn’t in Tunisian crochet, I was ready to do another pattern gallery for easy searching. It’s my great pleasure to unveil the Magical Coat Collection today ❀

Below you’ll find all the magical style crochet coat patterns (most of them AREN’T TUNISIAN) I’ve loved over the years, along with a bit of information on each and links to the pages where they can be purchased – Enjoy ❀

Magical Coat Collection

  1. Serged Dream Coat by Stephanie Pokorny of Crochetverse:
    This amazing sweater coat shares the same inspiration source as my Elf Coat, the wonderful recycled sweater work of Katwise! This gorgeous coat is made in easy half double crochet stitches and features an Easy Fit size and pattern changes for up to 3X size, and Stephanie’s gallery of examples is (as usual) incredibly colorful, unique and inspiring. Just try to look at this coat without dreaming up your own amazing color scheme to try – bet you can’t!

2. Titania Pixie Jacket by Efilly Designs
I absolutely adore this fittingly named Pixie Jacket, which features regular crochet stitches (not Tunisian) and creates a tailored bodice and an flattering cinched waist. The adorable short skirt really tops off this enchanting piece! Sizes come in Small – XLarge ❀

3. Glenda’s Hooded Cardigan by Glenda Bohard-Avila
This one has been around for a while, long enough for me to have actually managed to make it! This lovely one-size crochet pattern features simple, clear instructions and notes for how to modify the garment to create different sizes. Worked in regular double crochet. I loved making this in a sleeveless rainbow version and the buyer was thrilled with the result πŸ™‚ Great for beginners and those who want a magical look without all the complicated seams.

4. Boreal Coat by Sylvie Damie
This coat is the perfect option for a magical coat with lots of impact but few seams or piecing together! Worked in regular double crochet, this is a top-down one piece crochet coat aptly named for it’s lovely waves of color in the original example. I’ve admired this one for years! Available in sizes XS-XL.

5. Pixie Coat Tutorial by Earth Tricks
A long-time favorite designer of mine, Earth Tricks uses measurement-based tutorial writing to explain how to create your own magical, unique pixie coat in regular double crochet! Rather than using set stitch counts, this is a more free-style explanation of how to work this design based on gauge and measurements, so it’s fantastic for more seasoned crocheters who want something flexible and inspiring to create! I just love all her examples on the Ravelry page ❀ ❀

6. Open Spaces Coat by Sylvie Damie
Another from this prolific designer! I couldn’t resist the chain length spaces put in this coat to give it a lovely magic profile and lots of swing – all while using super bulky yarn making it very quick to crochet! Worked in regular double crochet, and available in sizes XS-XL.

7. Mountain Magic Cardigan by ColoradoShire
This fancy fantastical longline cardigan uses regular single and double crochet, plus edging the garment in beautiful crocodile stitch scales. Croc stitch is a particular favorite of mine so I immediately added this design to my list – great for intermediate crocheters looking for something simple, fun, and different. Sizes Small – XL and worked in easy to get #4 weight yarn.

8. Priestess Coat by Morale Fiber
My newest Tunisian Coat design features Tunisian simple stitch (the easiest one to learn!) and an overall construction that’s just a *bit* less fussy than my Elf Coat. This robe-style coat is worked in Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball, a lightweight #4 yarn available in dreamy colors, with optional faux fur trim and a rounded-back hood for those that don’t care for the pointed hoods. This coat is a great option if you want to learn Tunisian but find the Elf Coat pattern too daunting to start with – and it’s available in sizes XS- 2XL!

9. Flower of Life Oversize Hooded Jacket by Jen Xerri (Starlily Creations)
Squee! You know I just HAD to feature a Starlily creation in this collection, as she’s one of the fastest growing crochet influencers out there and just an incredibly sweet person to boot. This jacket pattern is another that I actually own in my pattern collection – I haven’t worked it fully yet but I’ve looked through it as a reference and it’s very well written and clear with lovely tutorial photos! The Flower of Life design is another great pattern worked with regular non-tunisian stitches (it’s easier than it looks!) and the central back motif is surrounded by rounds of interesting but not too complex stitch patterns! Sizing is flexible, garment is oversized or undersized to create a jacket or a vest ❀

10. Elf Coat by Morale Fiber (also available for free right here on this blog)
Ok, both of my contributions to this list have been Tunisian crochet (the rest aren’t though!!) when I created this list specifically for those inquiring about non-tunisian magical coat patterns BUT! I did need to include the original design of mine that inspired this post, and here’s my plea: If you are daunted by learning Tunisian Crochet, check out my YouTube Playlist containing all the videos of the techniques needed to learn to make this Elf Coat. I know it’s a lot different than regular crochet, but Tunisian is a great skill to add and in my opinion, it’s a super unique and amazing stitch style that absolutely can’t be mimicked either in regular crochet or even in knitting (which it can look so very much like that it fools actual knitters). I know you can to buy a special hook and everything, but perhaps you’d like to just try it out using my clever wine cork stopper rig? That way, you can try it without buying any special equipment! This pattern currently comes in sizes Small, Medium, and Large – but I will be working on a Plus Sizes expansion as soon as I can πŸ™‚

I hope you found this list of designs both helpful and inspiring, and please consider purchasing some of these designs to support the people who created them so they can keep making awesome stuff. Happy Magicking!

Pictured above: The Shaman Coat, which is also Tunisian and I sorta snuck this one in under the radar πŸ˜‰

-MF

Winter Poncho Pattern

True to form, I’ve circled back around to reworking an older design at almost the exact anniversary of it’s original release. Five years ago in January I released the Boho Fringe Poncho as my tenth paid pattern. Today, I’d like to introduce this same design as it’s been reformatted, tweaked for improvements, and released FOR FREE here on the blog!

You can still get the updated crochet pattern as a PDF in my Ravelry and Etsy stores, or keep scrolling for the free pattern (which includes everything in the PDF)

I really enjoy revisiting my patterns to make sure that they are the best that they can be, and this is kind of a constant task as I’m always trying to grow and improve my skills as a pattern designer. Sometimes I just have more to offer in terms of technical assistance – additional tutorial photos were a MUST with this piece – and sometimes I believe that the form & content of the design makes it a good candidate to be re-released for free (the Rhiannon Cowl is another great little project of mine that started as a paid PDF and then debuted on the blog as a free version!)

In this case, I considered just about every aspect of the pattern needed attention πŸ˜‰ Including the name! While I liked “Boho Fringe” it just didn’t really fit the nature of the poncho. This piece is a Big Booty Judy, made with thick warm woolen yarns, post stitches, and a cozy fit that hugs your shoulders for extra warmth. Realizing that its thicc qualities made it a perfect item to have in the coldest months I decided to rename it – the Winter Poncho!

This is a wonderful project for using up bulky or super bulky scraps (see the notes for more about yarn substitution), it uses large hook sizes so that the project works up quickly, and it’s waaaaaaarm πŸ™‚

Winter Poncho Crochet Pattern

Materials

7 skeins Bernat Roving (#5 weight, 100 g / 120 yds, 80% Acrylic, 20% Wool) – all solid-colored examples are made with this recommended yarn, the multi-colored examples are made with a mix of bulky and super bulky weight scrap yarns!
9.00 mm hook, 11.5 mm hook
Tapestry Needle
Scissors

Techniques Used

Chain (ch), Double Chain (dch), Double Crochet (dc), Slip Stitch (sl st), Front Post Double Crochet (fpdc), Back Post Double Crochet (bpdc) (click the links for tutorials!)

Measurements (approximate): 40” circumference at the top, 54” circumference at the bottom, 18”long (not including fringe)

Gauge:

4 sts & 3 rows = 2” in alternating fpdc/bpdc for 9.00 mm hook, 3 sts & 3 rows = 2” in alternating fpdc/bpdc for 11.5 mm hook.

Notes:

The chain-2 at the beginning of every round does not count as the first stitch of the round. When joining rounds with the slip stitch, skip the ch-2 entirely and join into the first fpdc of the round.

I have recommended Bernat Roving for this project, which is a #5 weight yarn but it gauges somewhere between a bulky yarn and a super bulky yarn. Some of my Winter Ponchos have mixed #5 & #6 weight yarns, which works pretty well –  but be sure to follow gauge if you substitute yarns!

The Winter Poncho is closed at the top with a drawstring, but the rest of the shape is dictated by hook size and follows the same number of stitches through every round. If you need a wider poncho, evenly place an even number of increases at Round 10 in order to size up.

Two types of fringing is offered in this pattern, the Double Chain Fringe of the original design, and the regular fringe which I have been favoring lately – both types are included in the instructions.

Poncho (Main Body)

Starting with the 9 mm hook, dch 80. Join with a slip stitch to form a ring, making sure not to twist.

Rnd 1: Ch 2, dc in the same stitch as join. (1 dc in the next st) 79 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. – 80 sts

Rnd 2: Ch 2, fpdc in the first dc of the last round, bpdc in the next dc. (1 fpdc in the next st, 1 bpdc in the next st) 39 times. Join with a sl st in the first fpdc of the round – 80 sts

Rnds 3: Ch 2, fpdc in the first fpdc of the last round, bpdc in the next bpdc. (1 fpdc in the next st, 1 bpdc in the next st) 39 times. Join with a sl st in the first fpdc of the round.

Rnds 4 – 10: Rpt Rnd 3.

Switch to the 11.5 mm hook, then continue in pattern for rounds 11-27.

Rnds 11 – 27: Rpt Rnd 3.

Cut yarn and tie off.

Double Chain Drawstring

Double chain a length of 60” (about 120 DCh stitches) with your main yarn. Cut yarn and tie off. Weave this cord through the first row of post stitches at the top of the poncho, going underneath each FPDC and over each BPDC. Finish the ends with either a stranded fringe, tassel, pompom, or whatever you like!

To work the double chain, see my tutorial post here.

Double Chain Fringe

The double chain fringe offers a bolder fringed look than the regular stranded yarn fringe, and copies the original inspiration piece for this design. For a humbler decoration, see the instructions for traditional fringe.

Using the 9.00 mm hook, dch 25- 45 sts or about  10 – 20” of unstretched double chain cord, depending on how long you want your chain fringe. Cut yarn and tie off. Make 19 more double chain cords of about the same length.

When you have twenty cords total, weave in all the yarn ends if you want a very neat fringe. Leave the yarn tails hanging down a bit for a more organic fringe.

If you survived the tedium of end-weaving, the next step is to double up the cords so that ends are together and a loop forms in the middle. Push that loop through the top of a fpdc stitch (NOT through the post) on Rnd 27 (the larger end of the piece).

Insert the ends of the double chain cord through the loop and draw them to tighten.

Repeat with the 19 other fringe cords, placing them every 2nd fpdc stitch so that there is 1 non-fringed fpdc between every fringed one. 

Weave in all ends.

Stranded Fringe

For a traditional fringe, get a book or length of cardboard 6” wide. Using your yarn of choice, wrap your yarn around the width 80 times, then cut one side to leave a bundle of 12” strands.

Double your strand over and use the loop at the end to thread the two loose ends through each crochet stitch around the border of the poncho.

Once you’ve put the finishing touches on your Winter Poncho, make sure all your ends are woven in before scurrying out into the cold!

I think the saying goes “Make new patterns but keep the old; one is silver, the other is gold!” Or something like that anyway πŸ˜‰

-MF