PBT: Attaching the Pockets

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

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

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

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

Attaching the Pockets to the Belt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The pockets are now attached!

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

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

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-MF

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PBT: Pointed Pouch

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

Shaping Circular Crochet

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

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

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

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

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

Pointed Pixie Pouch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Then even again.
6. Dc even – 12 dc

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

PBT: Circle Pocket Part 2

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

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

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

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

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Non Continuous Circles & Color Changes

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

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

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

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Rnd 1

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Rnd 2.

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

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

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

Overlay Double Crochet

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

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

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

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Rnd 6

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

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Then work dc as normal

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End of Rnd 7

Spike Stitch

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

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

 

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Draw up a loop

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Complete single crochet (or whatever stitch) as normal

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Rnd 8 completed

 

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Rnd 9 completed

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

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End of Rnd 10

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

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

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

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Assembling & Finishing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Crochet through both layers at once to seam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

PBT: Circle Pocket Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

Magic Ring

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

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

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

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

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Yarn over again…

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… And draw through the loop on the hook.

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

Creating a Continuous Circle:

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

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

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

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End of Rnd 1

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Beginning of Rnd 2

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

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End of Rnd 2

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

Written out, that would look something like this:

“Make Magic Ring

Rnd 1: 6 sc into the ring.

Rnd 2: 2 sc in ea sc around – 12 sc”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Inc on 2

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

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

BONUS: Back Loop Only Stitches

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

  1. Inc on 4 (BLO) – 30

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

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

Finishing Off

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

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

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

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  1. Sc even – 60

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

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

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

Fun Ideas for Circular Pockets: Surface Shell Petals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PBT: 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

 

 

 

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

Hairpin Lace Refashion

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

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

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Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-MF