PBT: Belt Base

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

Belt Base

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The belt base is where I usually start, using one of the main colors of yarn and essentially creating one long, skinny rectangle by stitching just a few rows onto a long base chain. This belt was started by using my 5.00 mm hook and the double chain technique – regular chaining is fine, I just prefer stitching into the double chain for longer projects.

Make a base chain long enough to wrap around the intended set of hips, and then some. You will most likely lose an inch or two during the process of completing the belt due to the tight slip stitching added later.

Then, add a few rows of stitching to create the belt width. I did a row of double crochet, then turned and did a row of (dc, ch 1, sk next st) repeats to add visual interest. Next, I turned and worked a single crochet in each stitch and chain space (so that I have something solid to slip stitch into at the top of the belt in the later steps).

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I got creative here and decided I wanted the middle of the back of the belt to have a little point to it, so I placed a 3-stitch decrease there in each row.

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Once you have your desired width, prepare to rotate and work into the end/side of the belt.

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I create a pointed triangle shape by working three tall connected stitches across the belt ends. These are trtr (triple treble) stitches, which are equivalent to 6 chain stitches, so I chain 6 (counts as first tr tr), then insert the hook into the middle of the side of the belt. *YO 4 times and draw up a loop from under, then draw through 2 loops on the hook 4 times, leaving the last loop on the hook.

Repeat from * working into the other end of the belt side, then YO and draw through all loops on the hook. For a great explanation on working tall stitches, see this post on Moogly Blog.

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Once you have your pointed end for the ties, you can stitch up a crocheted tie by making some kind of cord (see my guide to crochet cords) or you can leave it and attach a fabric, ribbon, or yarn tie later. Either way, once you are done with this area, slip stitch down the side of the last trtr toward the bottom of the belt. Next we’ll be working into the bottom of the chain foundation.

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For the tattered skirt portion, we’ll need something to attach the fabric strips. You can definitely just put the strips through the stitches themselves if you want, but I like to crochet on a couple layers of loops for attaching the fabric. I’ll start by chaining 7, then skipping about three stitches, then attaching with a single crochet in the next st. I repeat this across the first (almost) half of the belt.

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Around the pointed part, I want there to be more fabric. So I only skip about 1 stitch in between each loop to create this effect later.

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Then, finish up the second half of the belt with regularly spaced loops. Once you reach the other side, create another three-trtr triangle. Here I decided to add a crochet tie, so I chain a length and then slip stitch back down.

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I’m almost out of my ball of plain orange, so I’m going to consider this scrap busted, and with just enough to finish the belt base – mission accomplished!

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Orange scrap, we hardly knew ye. Just kidding, we’ve known ye for about 5 years.

My (semi)-finished belt base here measures about 38-39 inches, unstretched, not including the string tie. As you can see, it curves a little naturally due to the decreases placed at the center.  It’ll follow the curve of the hips a little nicer that way, and the extra loops at the increase point will form a fuller skirt there once I place the strips of fabric – I am aiming for a bustle effect with this one.

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But, I am also going to add a second layer of loops, just so I don’t overload the first layer and make it too bulky. With another scrap, I’ll start by attaching my yarn a ¼ of the way across – I only want this layer to be on the back half of the belt.

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Here I am chaining 7 and slip stitching in each chain loop. When I get to the center, I add an extra loop there to maintain the point by slip stitching in the same loop. Then, 8 more chain 7 loops across the other part of the belt, stopping once I have about ¼ of the way left. Second loop layer added, and another little scrap busted!

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Ta- DA! That’s it for the belt base. This is the piece that you will attach the pockets to later, and can continue to build with color and texture according to your whim.

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The belt base is a great place to start experimenting with different stitch patterns – here are some examples from other belts I’ve done.

 

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“Lavender” uses something like a granny square style stitch.

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I used a more open mesh stitch on “Nightshade” and then wove ribbon yarn through.

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Simple, straightforward double crochet works too!

If you have any questions about the tutorial so far or the techniques I’m using, please leave a comment! I love to talk shop. ❤

-MF

 

 

 

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PBT: Gathering Materials

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

Choosing Materials

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These Pixie Belts can use a great variety of materials (great for craft supply hoarders) – here are just a few of the things I like to use:

  • Scrap yarns – It’s a great project for using up the really small bits!
  • Novelty yarns – it’s also a great project for using up those outrageous novelty yarns you bought before you knew better (or if you’re like me, knew better and didn’t care. Sequin yarns FTW!!)
  • Handspun yarn – I may be (slightly) biased as a spinner, but I just don’t think you can beat the look of handspun yarn added to these belts as an accent – it adds a ton of character and texture, and better yet, uses up small amounts of this expensive luxury material but still produces something with a lot of visual impact.
  • Beads & bells – must be big enough to string onto your yarn, or you can use crochet thread to string them on and carry them along on a double thread
  • Scrap fabrics : silks, gauze, velvets, etc – You’ll be cutting or tearing them into strips for the fringed skirt part of the belt, so you’ll want fairly long pieces
  • Buttons for fastening pouches / belt.

You could also incorporate any number of other things including felt shapes, home decor trim, leather scraps, ribbon.. go crazy!

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Other Materials & Tools

3.5 or 3.75 hook & 5.0 mm or 5.5 mm hook
Locking stitch markers
Several sizes of tapestry or yarn needle
Scissors
Tape Measure

Color Scheme & Theme

If you have a lot of materials to choose from, you’ll need to pick out what sort of colors you want to use and the materials that will go with it. As I’ve said before, I like doing a theme. You don’t have to. You don’t even really have to choose anything – you can just grab whatever you like in the moment. FrEeFoRm bAbY!

I love using thrift store silks for the skirting of these belts, for several reasons – they are cheap, they look amazing, they tear easily, and they have a light soft swing that makes them a dream to wear. I also utilize lightweight gauze and sometimes light/medium weight muslin or linen/cotton fabrics if I want the give the skirt a fuller look. Whatever material you use, you should be able to rip into strips if you want the really tattered look.

Stretchy, thick or complicated weave material can be used too, like velveteen or jersey knit, but you’ll have to cut them and not rip them.

Here’s a selection of fabrics that I’m choosing from. I’ve been wanting to use this orange for a long time, so that’s what I’ll be working with now. Time to chop!

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Separate the biggest pieces from whatever seams happen to be in the garment. Doesn’t have to be pretty, you’ll be tearing this up later anyway. Mine has a jersey underlayer I’ll be separating the silk from -I’ll save that for later or maybe use it for this belt too.

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I left a few seams on, which I can cut through when making the strips later.

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Now, time to choose a yarn color scheme! This is my favorite part, possibly. First, I know I need oranges since that’s going to be the dominant color in the scheme. I also pick a few greens to match the green in the silk, then purple to set off the other two colors – orange, green, and purple form a split-complementary color scheme.

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I also want to use some of this awesome handspun yarn that I’ve had forever – it has complex oranges as well as some blues and browns.

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So, I pick a few stray balls of blue to match the handspun accent colors, too. Voila! Colors selected. I probably won’t use every yarn that I chose, I rarely do – but it’s helpful to have a good selection prepared.

So now I have a nice pile of little scraps to use, plus at least one larger ball of one of the dominant colors to use for the main belt base, as well as some handspun yarn to feature in a pocket. I’m also going to add in a yarn I frequently use in the belts – a netted ribbon yarn that is great to use for the ties as it is sturdy and already has openings to fasten onto buttons! More on that later.

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But wait, there’s more!

Choose some buttons, bells, and beads. Again, it’s unlikely that I’ll use everything I choose, but I like to have my options on hand.

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You can choose only beads/bells with holes big enough to string on the yarn itself, or you can grab some crochet or tatting thread to string through and crochet as a second strand along with your yarn.

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Once you have everything selected, you are ready to roll! I stash my materials in a spare basket to keep them all in one handy place.

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Baskets are bae

Oh, and you’ll want to grab some hooks, of course. I use a 5.0 mm and a 3.5 or 3.75 mm hook for these belts, but you can use whatever you are comfortable with – but do keep a larger one and a smaller one. Here they are, looking demure. But they’re just biding their time..

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Ready for the next phase? Check out the Intro page for a list of all the posts in the series so far, and be sure to follow me here on my blog or on Facebook!

-MF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pixie Belt Tutorial: Intro

In response to many requests, I will be starting a series of tutorial posts for the freeform pixie pocket skirt belts (is that enough words for that?) that I’ve been making for a few years now. These crocheted belts feature utility belt style pockets in whimsical colors and shapes and a tattered fabric fringe skirt – they are great scrapbusters and excellent practice at creating different shapes and textures. And one of my favorite things to make!

The one pictured on me here was the first one I ever made, and I was immediately addicted – mixed media, playing with color, using up spare material, cute AND useful.. sounds good right?

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“Titania”

Once I had made a few more and started posting pictures of them here, I got requests for a pattern. The challenge is that I do these belts differently each time – so figuring out a pattern or a tutorial that doesn’t lock them down into sameness took some thought.

“Nightshade”

So I ruminated on it, and finally decided that a series of technique tutorials, based around the creation of an example belt, would be best. I aimed to explain these techniques well enough for even beginners to experiment with these fun shapes and textures, and for everyone to feel confident enough to let loose and have fun with it.

“Mulberry”

This tutorial series will cover material selection, basic shapes needed to create the pockets and the belt, some textural techniques, instructions on attaching the pockets, and how to make the fabric skirt fringe – and anything else I can think of! The links to the post series will appear in order below:

If you want to stay up to date on this series as it is posted, remember to follow my blog or like & follow my Facebook page!

“Kelp”

In the next section, I’m going to go through choosing the materials for the belt. I use a theme for mine, as you may have noticed: plants and trees. I love being inspired by nature, and choosing a theme like this helps guide me when I’m not sure what sort of look I want to add to the piece. More on that later.

For more inspiration, check out the Pixie Belt section on my Pinterest crochet board.

“Hemlock”

“Hickory”

Whether you choose a theme or not, remember this is a freeform project. It’s an exercise in letting go of control, of not being married to an intended outcome. Let it be zen, spontaneous, and fun! I call these belts my “chaos therapy” projects.

“Lavender”

“Shepherd’s Purse”

That’s it for the Intro – I can’t wait to get started on this project and hopefully to see what you all make!

-MF

Feather & Scale Halter Top

I could not be more thrilled to be rolling out my newest design today, brought to you in part by the willingness of my lovely friends to dress up in crazy costumes in the middle of the Indiana summer heat for me 😉

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May I present, for your edification and delight,the Feather & Scale Halter Top pattern? I dreamed up this design back in January, inspired by scale mail festival and costume clothing pieces, and have been diligently plugging away on the details all summer!

The crochet pattern PDF is available for purchase in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Pattern Store for 5.95 USD (but there’s a big sale still going on right now, so you can get it for cheaper than that if you hurry before August 1st). Read more about this one-of-a-kind pattern below!

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The Feather & Scale Halter Top uses fine variegated cotton blend yarn to create an eye-catching gradient of crocodile stitch scales on the outer top, with a built-in inner cup lining for coverage and support. The cross-back ties keep the weight off of the neck so you can comfortably dance & groove that feathery fringe into motion!

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Size pictured: X-Small in Schachenmayr Tahiti

With the dramatic triangle shaping to accent the body’s curves, this halter is both figure flattering and fun to wear – and the pattern is written for FIVE sizes, X-Small – X-Large (corresponding to AA/A – DD cup sizes ).

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Size Pictured: Medium in Schachenmayr Tahiti

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Size pictured: X-Large in Red Heart It’s a Wrap Rainbow

The pattern is well stocked with all of the details on the techniques needed to create this unique piece, including extensive instructions on creating the crocodile stitch used for the main part of the halter – as well as precise step-by-step written instructions that correspond with nearly 100 tutorial photos! Additionally, I’ve begun to dig into developing some tutorial video skills with this one – be gentle, I’m still very much learning!

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Materials:
3.75 mm hk
Schachenmayr Tahiti, 2 (2, 2, 3, 3) skeins – (#1 weight, 1.75 oz / 50 g per 306 yds, 99% cotton / 1% polyester)
OR
Red Heart It’s a Wrap Rainbow, 1 (1, 1, 2, 2) skeins – (#1 weight, 5.29 oz /150 g per 623 yds, 55% acrylic 45% cotton)
Scissors
Tapestry needle
6” Length of cardboard, book, or fringe maker

Sizes & Finished Measurements:
X-Small (XS): Underbust length – 15”, Cup height – 6”, Cup Size – AA/A
Small (SM): Underbust length – 17”, Cup height – 7”, Cup Size – A/B
Medium (MD): Underbust length – 19”, Cup height – 8”, Cup Size – C
Large (LG): Underbust length – 21”, Cup height – 9”, Cup Size – D
X-Large (XL): Underbust length – 23”, Cup height – 11”, Cup Size – DD

Extra Credits!: The horns worn by my green dragon top model are from Dark Pony Art, the wire wrap necklace worn by my Rainbow XL top model is from Twisted Forrest Jewelry – please check them out and support small business art!

Models: Daisey Denson, Arika Harris, Katy Sanders ❤

You have reached the portion of the pattern post where there’s just a buttload of photos! Enjoy 🙂

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I think this one is my favorite, but it’s actually impossible to choose.

I hope you like this new design! I have done some fantasy-inspired pieces in the past, but I really cranked the staging up to 11 with this one – expect more of that in the future ❤

-MF

Crocodile Stitch Video Demos

Well, I’ve finally cajoled myself into learning to video edit so that I can bring you more video tutorials! One of my goals with my newest design, the Feather & Scale Halter Top, was to create a few short video tutorials that shows the particular way I work the crocodile stitches for that pattern.

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I’m still in the learning stages, though – so these videos aren’t as polished as I’d like them to be. But I wanted to at least get some of these techniques in action, as they are easier understood by watching than by written pattern reading alone – even with all the tutorial photos provided in the PDF!

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While shooting these (roughly) I had a lot of ideas for how I’d like to do videos in the future, which was a great way to practice for the Lotus Mandala Duster tutorial video I am planning.  If you have feedback or something that you’d like to see in my future videos, please let me know in the comments! 🙂

Hope these crocodile stitch demos for the first few rows of my Feather & Scale Halter Top crochet pattern are a good start, at least:

Croc Stitch Demo – Row 1

Croc Stitch Demo  Row 2

Croc Stitch Demo – Rows 3 & 4

Be sure to check out my Facebook page for more updates on new tutorial videos and patterns!

-MF

Basic Bralette Tutorial

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When dreaming up this little design, I had some specific requirements in mind: that it be a simple “base” pattern from which many variations could be made, as well as being easily customized for many sizes, and last but not least – comfortable! After a few experiments, the pattern for the Basic Bralette was born.

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I went with in-the-round triangle style cups for both the way they look and the ease of adjusting their size, plus a band through which the cross-back ties thread so that there is no pressure being put on the neck as with traditional bikini-style strap ties.

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Cross back ties are totally my jam now – check out the recently released Plus Size Mehndi Halter for more proof! In addition, I added a bit of strappy flair along the inner cups, because TRENDY. Say hello to your next cute and comfy summer crochet project!

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Now, there’s a teeny bit of math involved, fair warning. However, if you are confused about gauge and measurements, I’m here to help – or just wing it, and use the old “hold it up against yourself periodically while you work” method. 🙂

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By the way, that awesome macrame necklace I am wearing is from Selinofos Art on Etsy – you should check them out!

This design is also listed on Ravelry, so if you like it, throw a girl a favorite on the project page!

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Basic Bralette Tutorial Pattern

3.50 mm hook
#4 weight cotton yarn (although you can make it with any weight yarn / hook size combo as long as you know your gauge!) 1-3 skeins depending on size made
Stitch markers
Scissors & Tapestry Needle
Measuring Tape

Measurements
Band Size (measured around the rib cage just under the bust): For example, my measurement would be 32”
Measurement A : (Band size “ / 4) – 2” = Length of each side of completed triangle cup ( My example would be [32 / 4] – 2 = 6”). Therefore, my Measurement A = 6″
Measurement B:  (Measurement A) / 2 = My Measurement B would be 3”

Note that the sample in the pictures doesn’t use the same measurements as my example math above.

Gauge:

You can have differing gauges for this project, as long as you know what your gauge is in order to achieve the right measurements.

My gauge with the given hook and yarn is:
9 sts & 4 rows = 2” in dc

To find your gauge, crochet a square of double crochet stitches about 15-20 sts long and about 6 rows tall.

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Use a measuring tape to find out how many dc sts per inch/es in your gauge swatch.

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Measure vertically to find out how many rows per inch/es in your gauge swatch. My swatch has 9 sts in every 2 inches (measured by 2 inches because we don’t want to have 4.5 sts per inch because it’s not a whole number) and 4 rows for every 2 inches, so my gauge is 9 sts and 4 rows = 2″ in dc.

Instructions:

Triangle Cups (Make 2)

Make Magic Ring to begin.

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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

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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

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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

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Rnd 4: Ch 2, 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 6 dc. In the next space, work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc. (1 dc in ea of the next 11 dc. In the next sp work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) rpt within parentheses twice. 1 dc in ea of the next 4 dc. Join with a sl st to the first dc. – 45 dc

Continue working in pattern until the sides of your triangle each match your Measurement A. Remember that this piece will stretch, so you may want your sides to be just a little under this measurement to account for that. 

It’s also a good idea to grab the 3 corners of your triangle and stretch them out evenly as you are working, so you get a better idea of how your length is progressing!

I made this sample piece around 8”, and so wrote out the following rounds I used to get that measurement in my gauge – but you can work as many or as few rounds in pattern as you need.

Rnd 5: Ch 2, 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 8 dc. In the next space, work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc. (1 dc in ea of the next 15 dc. In the next sp work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) rpt within parentheses twice. 1 dc in ea of the next 6 dc. Join with a sl st to the first dc. – 57 dc

Rnd 6: Ch 2, 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 10 dc. In the next space, work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc. (1 dc in ea of the next 19 dc. In the next sp work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) rpt within parentheses twice. 1 dc in ea of the next 8 dc. Join with a sl st to the first dc. – 69 dc

After finishing the first triangle, cut yarn and tie off. Complete a second triangle, but  leave yarn attached when finished.

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Arrange the two triangles (which we will now refer to as cups) with RS facing, your hook positioned on top, so that the two flat sides with the joins are facing “up”. Take a locking stitch marker and run it through each chain st on the corner where the two cups meet.

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These two ch sts will be worked together as one stitch, now referred to as the middle point. Now, count the number of dc stitches between where your hook is positioned to the middle point, counting neither the joined stitch nor the middle point stitch – I have 12 in the sample.

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Take a second marker, count out the same number of stitches on the opposite cup away from the middle point, then mark the next st (so you have a section between the middle point and the marked stitch equal to the section on the other side).

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From the point where your hook is positioned, you will work 1/3 the amount of stitches (between your hook and the middle point) in sc, 1/3 in hdc, 1/3 dc for the first section – in the example this is 4 sc, 4 hdc, 4 dc. If 1/3rd of your number is not a whole number, round down and add the extra stitches into the dc total. So, if you have 14 stitches in this section, you’d do 4 sc, 4 hdc, 6 dc (4 dc + 2 extra = 6).

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Next, 1 dc into the middle stitch, working your stitch through both ch stitches at once. In the next section, work the same quantities of stitches, except mirrored – in the example this is 4 dc, 4 hdc, 4 sc. Sl st in the next stitch (with the marker). Cut yarn and tie off. Remove all markers.

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Band:

For the band, we will add the length of stitches equal to Measurement B on either side. The Measurement B for this sample is 4”, so since my gauge is 9 sts = 2”, I will need to add 18 stitches to either side of the cups.

Row 1: Ch length of stitches needed to equal Measurement B (18 here). Dc in the 2nd ch in the corner of the cup, RS facing. Dc in ea st across to the next ch st on opposite corner, ch number same number of stitches as beginning.

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Row 2: Ch 2, turn and work 1 dc in the 4th ch from the hook (first 3 ch sts count as first dc). 1 dc in ea st across.

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Row 3: Ch 3, turn (counts as first dc). 1 dc in ea st across.

Rpt Row 3 until the band is the width that you’d like, and totals an even number of rows.  (I did 6 total rows of dc). Do not tie off.

The next part works around the entire top to create eyelets in the back and add the straps. 

Round 4:  Rotate the piece so that you are ready to work into the row ends of the band. Ch 4 (counts as first dc + ch1). (Dc, ch 1) in the side of each dc at the row ends, across the side of the band. In the last row, work 1 dc into the very edge of the stitch, skip the chain 1.

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Rotate the piece,  beginning to work across the top of the band. Ch 1, hdc in the side of the dc of the eyelet row. 1 hdc in ea stitch across, stopping one st before the Row 1 dc at the bottom of the cups. Skip this stitch, the dc, and the chain space at the corner of the cup, 1 hdc in the next dc on the side of the cup (For larger cups or for tighter coverage, you may want to skip a few extra stitches to keep the cup edges tight – I skipped about 5 total stitches on mine). 1 hdc in ea dc toward the top of the cup. 1 hdc, 1 dc in the next chain space.

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Skipping one st before the corner, the chain stitch on the corner, and one stitch after.

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Skipping 2 sts before the corner, the chain stitch corner, and two sts after.

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Strap: Ch 200 – 300 (depending on bust size – each strap will go over the shoulder, cross the back, and then criss-cross back and forth. You may want to cross more or less, like a certain level of tightness, etc – so there is no solid rule about how many to chain here. My default is to chain more than I need, then undo part of the chain later once I’ve tried the top on and know how long I need the chain to actually be). Cut yarn and tie off.

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Rejoin yarn 6 chain stitches away from the top of the cup. Slip stitch in ea of the next 4 sts toward the top of the cup, stopping before the last ch st. Ch 1. 1 dc, 1 hdc in the chain space. 1 hdc in the next dc.

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Chain a number of stitches until you have just enough length to get the end of the chain to the middle of the two cups – typically equal to the amount of stitches you are about to skip (depending on gauge). Skip working the rest of the cup and sc in the stitch in the middle.

Note that the chain length pictured in the image directly below is too loose! I made it longer so that it would be more visible in the photograph. It should sit tightly along the edge of the cup once secured at the middle point, as pictured in the second image below.

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Repeat length of chain, skip side of next cup, 1 hdc in the dc right before the chain space. You will want your chains here to be fairly tight, to avoid floppy straps. Now is a good time to practice the “holding it up to yourself as you work” method, since each bust is different.

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1 hdc in the next ch space, 1 dc in the same space. Work a second chain strap equal in length to the first. Cut yarn, tie off, and rejoin 6 sts away from the last dc. Slip stitch in the next 4 sts, ch 1, 1 dc in the same ch space, 1 hdc in the same space.

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1 hdc in ea dc down the side of the cup. Sk next chain corner, dc, and first st at the top of the band (or as many as you skipped on the opposite side). 1 hdc in ea st across to the corner.

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Rotate piece, ch 4 (counts as first dc + ch-1). (Dc, ch 1) in ea dc at the ends of the rows of the band. In the last st, 1 dc at the very edge, sk chain.

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Rotate piece to begin working across the bottom of the band again. Ch 1, 1 hdc in the side of the last dc worked for eyelet row. 1 hdc in ea st across the bottom of the band, stopping at the ch-3 that counts as the first dc for the eyelet row. 1 sc in the next st, sl st in the next 2 sts. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Weave in all ends, except for the ends of the chain straps.

Now, put on the top and cross the chain straps at the back as shown. You can criss-cross string the straps through all the eyelets, or just some of them – though the more criss-crossing you do, the harder it is to adjust the straps to the right tightness of fit by yourself. So, I normally only cross them a couple times (see the images of the red bralette below)  🙂  Whichever way you decide, you can then see how much strap length you actually need.

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Pick out the tie-off you made, and rip out the extra chain stitches until your straps are the length that you need. Tie off again and cut off the extra yarn.

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I used my extra yarn to make little tassels, which is both cute and helps hide the yarn tail at the end of the chain so that I don’t have to weave it in 🙂 Voila! Your Basic Bralette is born.

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I plan on doing some variations on this design in the future! Armed with a ton of colorful cotton yarn, this quick and easy project should be fun to mess around with some more – and I’ll try to share what I come up with of course ❤

-MF

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Wayfarer Ruana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wayfarer Ruana

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

Materials:

Part 1 (Knit):

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

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

Tapestry Needle
Scissors

Techniques:

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

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

Part 1 Instructions: The Main Body

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

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

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

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

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Close-up of the collar area

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

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

Trim:

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

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

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

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

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

Collar:

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

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

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

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PART 2 Instructions: Granny Square Trim

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

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

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To begin the granny square, make a magic ring.

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

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

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

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

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Rnd 5:

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

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

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Joining Seam

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

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

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Clean up any ends remaining from your joining seam.

Fringe:

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

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

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

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

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-MF