Hook Review & Overalls Dress

One of the best things about doing more video media is the ability to show my latest and greatest crochet projects in action! Today’s post introduces the newest video on my YouTube Channel, which is a Hook Review that goes over some different hook types and hook brands that I’ve used. In that video, I feature several of my own patterns but also this lovely crochet overalls dress from The Dream Crochet Shoppe on Etsy! I finished her pattern recently and love the product so much I had to show it off by wearing it for the review – here’s a few snapshots of this cute crochet design!

I don’t get to branch out to work other people’s crochet patterns nearly as often as I’d like, since all my crochet mojo is usually funneled toward creating my own original designs. But I make an effort every so often to stop and pull out a pattern from my (ever growing) collection of purchased PDF’s. It’s a fantastic way to branch out and learn from others and also to give my own brain a break πŸ™‚ I adore Ashlee Elle’s designs and she has SO many to choose from! Check her out on Instagram, too!

In my newest video, I wanted to go over some of the crochet hook types and hook brands that I have in my collection of tools. Crochet hooks are super important (duh) to your work because changes in hooks will create subtle changes in your projects and you want to use the right tool for the job, but one that also works well for you individually! That’s why it’s a good idea to know what’s available.

Brands reviewed cover Boye and Susan Bates (the “regular” aluminum metal style hooks), Clover (soft grip and contoured), and specifically reviews Furls crochet hooks – are they really worth the money?

My current Furls collection says yes πŸ˜‰ All opinions expressed are just mine and I haven’t been compensated or influenced in any way by the brands I talk about here! Just a crocheter’s honest thoughts. After all, they are our magic wands so every crocheter will have their favorites for their personal collection πŸ™‚

Hook Review

I mention two of my own designs in the video too, here are the links to the posts with more info on those!
Mandala Top
Cobweb Wrap

I also mention the Field Guide to Crochet Gauge and Yarn Behavior, a blog post of mine that outlines some of the ways that gauge, hooks, and yarn types interact within crochet projects. There’s so much to learn about the finer points of crochet and I’m always trying to learn more – I hope my perspective is inspiring and helpful to your personal fiber art journey πŸ™‚

-MF

Mandala Top Add-Ons Free Pattern

In my last post I was happy to re-release the premium Mandala Top crochet pattern as a FREE offering on my blog – that design was several years old at this point and I wanted to make it more widely available as it’s one of my all-time favorites! The Mandala Top also got a few additional features over the years, namely the cute bell-shaped Drop Sleeves option and the (absolutely essential IMO) Dress Extension which adds more length and flounce to the bottom of the tunic.

Anyway, the Mandala Top Free Pattern post ran a little long, so I’m doing the Mandala Top Add-Ons free patterns in this post! Keep scrolling to get the instructions for both of these features for all 4 sizes, or go to my Ravelry Store or Etsy Shop to get the all-inclusive portable, downloadable, ad-free version by purchasing the Mandala Top PDF!

This whole design looks superb with regular ol’ #4 worsted weight acrylics, and affordable yarn means you can easily create the most colorful mandalas you can imagine! I can’t decide if I love these more in color combos using spare yarn balls, or in single tone neutrals that go with everything ❀

Mandala Top Drop Sleeves

Materials:

5.00 mm hook or size needed to obtain gauge

Yarn: #4 worsted weight – yardage given is in addition to the yarn required to complete the main body of the top.
Small, Medium, Large: 200 yds
X-Large: 285 yds
Tapestry Needle
Stitch Markers
Scissors

Gauge:

4 sts and 2 rows = 1” in dc

Notes: Instructions are given for working the sleeve directly onto the side of the top. For a tutorial on how to work the DCh stitch, refer back to the Mandala Top Pattern

Small, medium, and large instructions are the same, instructions for XL will appear as a secondary option, where differing.

Work the entire Mandala Top Pattern. For the straps, add extra DCh sts according to the sizes below:

Small & Medium: 10 extra DCh

Large: 15 extra DCh

X-Large: 20 extra Dch

 Do not weave in the ends of the straps, as you may want to adjust them later.

Pattern for Sleeves

Foundation: Attach yarn 6 sc sts away from the base of the strap at the back of the top – counting toward the armpit, not toward the neckline of the top.

Ch 1, work a sc in the same st. Insert hk into the side bar of the sc, then draw up a loop to begin the first DCh st. YO and draw through both lps on the hook – 1 DCh stitch made. Place marker in this st.

DCh 28 more sts. Insert hk through both side bar of last DCh st and through the stitch 6 sc sts away from the strap on the other side of the top. Draw up a loop, then YO and draw through both lps on the hk. Place marker in this stitch.

Working toward the armpit of the top, not toward the strap, work 1 sc in the next 16 (26) sts, sk the stitch where the front and back of the top are joined, work 1 sc in ea of the next 16 (26) sts. – 60, 80 sts.

The stitches you marked (the very first and very last of the DCh) DO NOT count as stitches for Rnd 1. Skip over them completely when working the instructions for the following round.

Rnd 1: Ch 5  β€“  counts as first tr + ch-1. (sk next st, tr in the next st, ch 1) 29, 39 times. Join with a sl st in the 4th ch of beg ch-5.

Rnd 2: Sl st into the next ch st. Ch 5 – counts as first tr + ch 1. (sk next st, tr in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 29, 39 times. Join with a sl st in the 4th ch of beg ch-5.

Rnd 3.: Rpt Rnd 2.

Rnd 4: Sl st into the next ch-1 space. Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc into the same space, ch 3. (2 dc in the next ch-1 sp, ch 3) 28, 38 times. 2 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1, join with a hdc in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3.

Rnd 5: Ch 3- counts as first dc. Dc into the same space, ch 3. (2 dc in the next ch-3 sp, ch 3) 28, 38 times. 2 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1, join with a hdc in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3.

Rnd 6: Rpt Rnd 5.

Rnd 7: Ch 4 – counts as first tr. Tr in the same space, ch 3. (2 tr in the next ch-3 space, ch 3) 28, 38 times. 2 tr in the next ch-3 space, ch 1, join with a hdc in the 4th ch of beg ch-4.

Rnd 8: Rpt Rnd 7.

Rnd 9: Rpt Rnd 7.

Cut yarn and tie off.

Repeat foundation and rounds 1-10 on the opposite side. For the second foundation, join your yarn 6 sc sts from the base of the strap on the front side so that you maintain the RS facing. Weave in all ends.

Forming the Adjustable Ring

The adjustable ring draws the straps together in an X at the back of the top to keep them from falling off the shoulder from the additional weight of the sleeves; this design requires that extra length is added to the straps. Though the general guidelines for adding extra length is given, you may want to test the lengths first to check what fits best.

Step 1: With new yarn that is the same color as the straps, ch 6. Bring the straps together in the back and slip the chain around both straps. Join with a sl st in the first ch to form a ring that encircles the straps.

Step 2: Sc into the same stitch. Sc into ea of the next 5 ch sts. Join with a slip stitch to the first sc of the ring. Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in ends, making sure that the ring is not attached to either strap at any point.

Mandala Top Dress Extension

Materials:

5.00 mm hook or size needed to obtain gauge

#4 Worsted Weight yarn (yardage given is in addition to amount needed to complete the main body of the top)
Smalls & Mediums: 200 yds
Larges & X-Larges: 275 yds
Tapestry Needle
Scissors

Add more length and flounce to your mandala top by completing this extension pattern for the 3 extra rounds at the bottom of the garment.

Smalls  & Mediums Instructions:

Rnd 1: With RS facing, join new yarn in the 2nd ch-8 space from the dc2tog at the side of the top. Ch 7 – counts as first dc + ch 4. Dc in the same space, ch 7. *Dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 4. YO and insert hook under the next ch-4 space. Draw up a loop, YO, and draw through 2 lps on the hook – 2 lps left on the hook. YO and insert hook under next ch-4 space, draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 lps on the hk, YO again and draw through all 3 lps on the hook – dc2tog made. Ch 4.* (Dc in the next ch sp, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 7) 31 times.  Repeat from *to *. (Dc in the next space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 7) 30 times. Dc in the next ch space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 4. Tr in the 3rd ch of beg ch-7. 132 chain spaces made.

Rnd 2: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) twice.* 2 dc in the next chain space, ch 4. YO and insert hk under the next ch-4 space. Draw up a loop, YO and draw through 2 lps on the hook – 2 lps left on the hook. YO and insert hook under the next ch-4 space, draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 lps on the hk, YO again and draw through all 3 lps on the hook – dc2tog made. Ch 4. * (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 62 times. Rpt from * to *. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 60 times. 2 dc in the next chain space, ch 4, treble in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 130 chain spaces made.

Rnd 3: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) twice. .* 2 dc in the next chain space, ch 4. YO and insert hk under the next ch-4 space. Draw up a loop, YO and draw through 2 lps on the hook – 2 lps left on the hook. YO and insert hook under the next ch-4 space, draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 lps on the hk, YO again and draw through all 3 lps on the hook – dc2tog made. Ch 4. * (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 61 times. Rpt from * to *. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 60 times. Sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 128 chain spaces made.

Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in all ends.

Size Large Instructions:

Rnd 1: With RS facing, join new yarn in the 2nd ch-8 space from the dc2tog at the side of the to .Ch 7 – counts as first dc + ch 4. Dc in the same space, ch 7. *Dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 4. YO and insert hook under the next ch-4 space. Draw up a loop, YO, and draw through 2 lps on the hook – 2 lps left on the hook. YO and insert hook under next ch-4 space, draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 lps on the hk, YO again and draw through all 3 lps on the hook – dc2tog made. Ch 4. *(Dc in the next ch sp, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 7) 45 times.  Repeat from *to *. (Dc in the next space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 7) 44 times. Dc in the next ch space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 4. Tr in the 3rd ch of beg ch-7. 188 chain spaces made.

Rnd 2: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) twice.* 2 dc in the next chain space, ch 4. YO and insert hk under the next ch-4 space. Draw up a loop, YO and draw through 2 lps on the hook – 2 lps left on the hook. YO and insert hook under the next ch-4 space, draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 lps on the hk, YO again and draw through all 3 lps on the hook – dc2tog made (see fig 3). Ch 4. * (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 90 times. Rpt from * to *. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 88 times. 2 dc in the next chain space, ch 4, treble in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 186 chain spaces made.

Rnd 3: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) twice.* 2 dc in the next chain space, ch 4. YO and insert hk under the next ch-4 space. Draw up a loop, YO and draw through 2 lps on the hook – 2 lps left on the hook. YO and insert hook under the next ch-4 space, draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 lps on the hk, YO again and draw through all 3 lps on the hook – dc2tog made. Ch 4. * (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 89 times. Rpt from * to *. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 88 times. Sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 184 chain spaces made. Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in all ends.

X-Large Instructions:

Rnd 1: With RS facing, join new yarn to any ch-8 space. Ch 7 – counts as first dc + ch . Dc in the same space, ch 7. (Dc in the next space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 7) 91 times. Dc in the next ch space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 4. Tr in the 3rd ch of beg ch-7. 194 chain spaces made.

Rnd 2: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) 192 times. 2 dc in the next ch space, ch 4, tr in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 194 chain spaces made.

Rnd 3: Repeat Round 2.

Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in all ends.

That’s it for this re-release! It’s been so much fun revisiting this pattern and setting up this design to become free and available to everyone, not the least because it’s an excuse to make new versions πŸ˜‰ If you have any questions about this design please leave me a comment or contact me directly through messages on any of my social media sites!

One more mention before I go – I started playing around with the Mandala Top design after I had finished it to see about adding sleeves and making it a sweater (those are my first drafts below)…

… which after some tweaking and changing things a bit, led directly to the Flower Child Pullover design, a paid PDF pattern in my Ravelry and Etsy stores – in case you’re interested πŸ˜‰

-MF

Mandala Top Free Pattern

I’m always looking for the best ways to expand my offerings as I grow and develop as a crochet pattern designer. On one hand, I need to make enough money from my business to pay my bills and care for myself. On the other hand, offering things for free here on my blog is mutually beneficial to me AND you! By offering more free things, people have the chance to see what my premium written patterns are like, and if they like them and want to use them all the time the hope is that they’ll buy the downloadable, ad-free versions πŸ™‚

Offering free patterns also drives up my website and channel views, which in turn make me a little more money from ad revenue- not as much as the paid PDFs, but some. But the best part of this scenario is that through free pattern offerings, more people make awesome things based off of my patterns and when they tag me in their social media posts, I get to see and so do others who then go to find my patterns! πŸ™‚

This is the true definition of a win-win scenario, and to me it applies the theories of Mutual Aid, which I think is important for the future of our society ❀ Mutual Aid is offering freely what can be freely given with no presupposition of charity or reward – Mutual Aid is based on the theory that what is good for one of us, is in turn good for all of us, because human society is inextricably connected. We are all just threads in a great universal mandala, you guys.

Anyway, that spiel was leading up to the fact that today I’m re-releasing my previously paid-only crochet pattern, the Mandala Top, here on this blog post for FREE! If you like it you can check out my Tip Jar page here and maybe leave a little somethin’ in the Jar to help fund future offerings. What goes around comes around ❀

If you want the downloadable, printable, ad-free PDF version of this pattern, you can still get it in my Ravelry Store or Etsy Shop! The free version also includes the Mandala Top Add-Ons, two bonus features you can add to your basic top design, and the paid version in my shops now include the Add-Ons PDF with the main Mandala Top in one single purchase. They were previously two separate purchases but now they are all included under the Mandala Top listing for the price of a single pattern πŸ˜‰ Yay! Keep scrolling for the FREE version.

For this re-release, I made a few pearly white Mandala Tops in sizes Large and Small (small is pictured on me here), and I recorded some video tutorial footage (found at the bottom of the page) to help people navigate the Joining Round, which can be a little tricky to interpret just from the written version. I think this new video is helpful and I hope you do too!

For the model photography I went totally shabby chic, pairing my pearly white Mandala tunic with a white lacey dress, a vintage crochet collar I thrifted, and a sweet straw bucket hat because I’m obsessed with Mori Girl and Grandmacore fashion πŸ˜‰

But this design also great in more colorful versions, such as the super cute hippie girl tunics modeled by my lovely friend Laney above & below.

And, for good measure, the oooooooold picture from the original release of this design, in sweet vintage-y warm browns and pinks ❀

Actually, over the years I’ve made a TON of these. They are quick to work once you’re familiar with the pattern and they have always been great sellers for me when I take them to vend at festivals πŸ™‚

Okay, so now that we’re fully inspired, on to the FREE PATTERN!

Mandala Top Pattern

Materials:

5.0 mm hook (or size needed to obtain gauge)
300-400 total yards worsted weight yarn in various colors
Tapestry Needle
Stitch Markers

Gauge: Round 1 = 5” measured straight across the diameter
or
4 sts and 2 rows = 1” in dc

Stitches Used:
Magic Ring: The best method for starting circular crochet with no central gap. Refer to this great guide from Craftsy at – http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/09/demystifying-the-magic-ring/

Double Chain (Dch): See my free tutorial for this technique here.

Half Double Crochet (hdc): Between sc and double crochet in height.  Yarn over, insert hk into the next stitch. Yarn over and draw up a lp. Yarn over and pull through all three lps on the hk. Equal to 2 chains in length when joining.

Treble Crochet (tr): Equal to 4 chains in length when joining. Yarn over twice and insert hk into the next stitch. Draw up a loop. Yarn over and draw through 2 lps on the hook three times.

Double Treble Crochet (dtr):  Yarn over 3 times, insert hook into the next stitch. Yarn over and draw up a loop. Yarn over and draw through 2 lps on the hook  4 times.  Equal to 5 chains in length.

Triple Treble Crochet (trtr): Yarn over 4 times, insert hook into the next stitch. Yarn over and draw up a loop. Yarn over and draw through 2 lps on the hook 5 times

Sizes: Small – XL

Notes

Sizing: the openwork mesh structure of the garment allows for a lot of drape and stretch so that it fits a wide variety of body types. When choosing a size, keep in mind that the bust width given is the maximum length the garment will stretch from armpit to armpit without warping the appearance of the pattern.

Color Changing:  This pattern is written for 5-6 different colors, but looks great with any amount of color changes. If you are working custom color changes, make sure to start at the same point the last pattern round leaves off unless the pattern indicates you may join the new yarn at any space.

Round Closure and Counting Spaces: Some rounds use a chain and stitch combination to close the round in order to place your hook at the apex of a loop to start the following round. (Ex from Rnd 3 in Small: 2 dc in the next ch-4 space, ch 3. Double in the 3rd ch of the beg ch-3.  16 ch-6 spaces made.) This chain and stitch combination forms a space the same size as the rest of the chain spaces in the round and IS COUNTED as a chain-space in the final count at the end of the round instructions. For instance, the chain and stitch combo example from Rnd 3 counts as one of the 16 (for small or medium) or 20 (for large and x-large) chain-6 spaces for the entire round. For more on this technique, see my comprehensive free tutorial on closing chain-space rounds with the Chain & Stitch Join.

Instructions for Small & Medium Sizes:

To begin, make Magic Ring.

Rnd 1: Ch 9, counts as Trtr plus ch-4. (Trtr into ring, ch 4) 14 times. Trtr into the ring, ch 2, hdc in the 5th chain of beginning ch-9.  16 trtr + ch-4 spaces made. Pull your magic ring closed tightly.

Rnd 2: Ch 4 – counts as first treble. (Treble in the next ch-4 space, ch 4, treble in the same space) 15 times. Treble in the next ch-4 space, ch 4, join with a slip stitch to the 4th chain of beginning ch-4. 16 treble V stitches made. Cut color and tie off.

Rnd 3: Join new color to any ch-4 space. Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in the same ch-4 space, ch-6. (2 dc in the next space, ch 6) 14 times. 2 dc in the next ch-4 space, ch 3. Dc in the 3rd ch of the beg ch-3.  16 ch-6 spaces made.

Rnd 4: Ch 3 – counts as first double. Double in the same ch-6 space, ch 7. (2 dc in the next space, ch 7) 15 times.  Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 16 ch-7 spaces made. Cut yarn and tie off.

Rnd 5: Join new color in the middle of any ch-7 space. Ch 6 – counts as dc + ch-3. Dc in the same space, ch 7. ([dc, ch 3, dc, ch7] in the next ch-7 space) 14 times. Dc in the next ch-7 space, ch 3, dc in the same space, ch 3, treble in the 3rd ch of beg ch-6.  32 chain spaces made

Rnd 6: Ch 3, dc in the same space, ch 7. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 7) 31 times.  Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 32 chain spaces. Cut yarn and tie off.

MEDIUMS ONLY: Rnd 7: Rejoin yarn in any ch-7 space. Ch 3 to count as first dc, dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) 31 times. Join with a slip stitch to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 32 chain spaces. Cut yarn and tie off.

Rnd 7/8 : Join new yarn to any chain space. Ch 3, dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 2 times. Work (2 dtr, ch 8) twice in the next chain space. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 4 times.  Work (2 dtr, ch 8) twice in the next chain space.  (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 22 times. 2 dc in the next space, ch 4, treble in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 34 ch-8 spaces made.

Chart shows Size M

Rnd 8/9:  Sc in the same space, ch 5. (Sc in the next ch-8 space, ch 5) 3 times.  Work (2 tr, ch 8, 2 tr, ch 5) in the next ch-8 space. (Sc in the next ch-8 space, ch 5) 5 times. Work (2 tr, ch 8, 2 tr, ch 5) in the next ch-8 space. (Sc in the next ch-8 space, ch 5) 3 times. Sc in the next ch-8 space, ch 8. (Dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 7) 18 times. Dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 8. Join with a sl stitch to the first sc of the round. 55 chain spaces made. Cut yarn and tie off.

If this is the first motif made, complete Rnds 1-8/9 again to form a second motif. If this is your second motif, move on to the joining round in Round 9/10.

The following instructions work the sc border across the top half of both of the mandala motifs. This is mostly covered in the Part 1 of the Mandala Top Joining Video Tutorial, included at the bottom of the page.

JOINING: Rnd 9/10 :  Join new yarn in the sixth stitch from end of the last round on the last motif (this will be the second single crochet of round 8/9.)  *(1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch stitches, 1 sc in the next sc) 2 times. 1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch stitches, 1 sc in each of the next 2 treble stitches. 1 sc in ea of the next 4 ch stitches, 3 hdc in the next ch stitch. Place marker in the 2nd hdc made. 1 sc in ea of the next 3 ch stitches and in ea of the next 2 treble stitches.  (1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch stitches, 1 sc in the next sc) 5 times. 1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch stitches, 1 sc in ea of the next 2 treble stitches. 1 sc in each of the next 3 ch stitches, 3 hdc in the next ch st. Place marker in the 2nd hdc made.  1 sc in ea of the next 4 ch sts, 1 sc in ea of the next 2 treble sts. (1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch sts, 1 sc in the next sc) 2 times. 1 sc in ea of the next 5 sts. *

Align the second motif with the first, making sure the two wrong sides are facing each other. Align the 3rd single crochet stitch from the left of the leftmost set of treble sts (or the right of the rightmost if you are a leftie) with the corresponding stitch on the second motif. Work one sc through both stitches at once. Begin to work the Rnd 9/10 pattern from * to * on the second motif, working ONLY the stitches of the second motif, and working in the direction of the nearest set of trebles. To end the round, insert hook through the next sc and through the corresponding stitch of the opposite motif (the third sc left of the leftmost set of trebles, or right of the rightmost if you are a leftie). Work a sl stitch through both stitches at once. Do not cut or tie off, move on to Round 10/11.

The following instructions work down the side of the two mandala motifs, constructing a join made of chaining and sc back and forth between the two motifs. This is described in Part 2 of the Joining Video Tutorial below, as well as in the charts pictured πŸ™‚

Rnd 10/11: Keeping both motifs aligned, the motif on top (facing you) will be referred to as #1. The motif in back (further away from you) will be #2. You will be working a fagoting stitch join between the two motifs (See fig 3 for chart) . Working away from the nearest set of trebles, ch 3 and sc in the next Ch-5 space of #2.  Ch 3, sc in the corresponding ch-5 space of #1. Ch 5, sc in the next ch-8 space of #2, ch 5, sc in the corresponding ch-8 space of #1. Ch 5, sc in the next ch-4 space of #2, ch 5, sc in the corresponding ch-4 space of #1 (fagoting joint completed) Ch 8.

Now we will work across the bottom of only one of the motifs until reaching the other side, where we will work another join.

(2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) 35 times. (Beginning of next join) Sc in the next ch-4 space, ch 5. Sc in the corresponding space on #2, ch 5.  Sc in the next ch-8 space of #1, ch 5. Sc in the corresponding ch space of #2, ch 5. Sc in the next ch-5 space of #1, ch 3, sc in the corresponding space of # 2. Ch 3, join with a slip stitch in the motif-join sc of Rnd 9/10. Cut yarn and tie off.

Rnd 10/11 makes up an extra row on the tunic, making one side slightly longer. This longer side is now the back side. Rnd 11/12 is worked in a single round around the bottom, including both front and back as two halves of the same round. I show where to start this next round in the last part of Part 2 of the video Joining Tutorial. 

Rnd 11/12: With RS facing, join new yarn in the 3rd ch-8 space from the last ch-5 in the fagoting join on the back half of the top. Ch 3 to count as first dc. Dc in the same space, ch 8. *2 dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 4. Yarn over and draw up a lp through the next ch-8 space, yo and draw through 2 lps on the hook. Yarn over and draw up a loop through the next free chain space (skipping ch-5 of fagoting join and the chain space it is attached to). Yarn over and draw through 2 lps on the hook. Yarn over and draw through the last 3 lps on the hook – dc2tog made. Ch 4. (2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) 32 times.* Rpt from * to *. Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. Cut yarn and tie off. – 69 ch spaces total.

Proceed to the Straps portion of the instructions πŸ™‚

Instructions for Size Large:

Make Magic Ring.

Rnd 1: Ch 9, counts as Trtr plus ch-4. (Trtr into ring, ch 4) 18 times. Trtr into the ring, ch 2, hdc in the 5th chain of beginning ch-9.  20 trtr + ch-4 spaces made. Pull your magic ring closed tightly.

Rnd 2: Ch 4 – counts as first treble. (Treble in the next ch-4 space, ch 4, treble in the same space) 19 times. Treble in the next ch-4 space, ch 4, join with a slip stitch to the 4th chain of beginning ch-4.  20 treble V stitches made. Cut color and tie off.

Rnd 3: Join new color to any ch-4 space. Ch 3 – counts as first double. Double in the same ch-4 space, ch 6. (2 dc in the next space, ch 6) 18 times. 2 dc in the next ch-4 space, ch 3. Double in the 3rd ch of the beg ch-3.  20 ch-6 spaces made.

See instructions for Small & Medium sizes to view the charted examples of the joins in Rnds 1-5.


Rnd 4: Ch 3 – counts as first double. Double in the same ch-6 space, ch 7. (2 dc in the next space, ch 7) 19 times.  Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 20 ch-7 spaces made. Cut yarn and tie off.

Rnd 5: Join new color in the middle of any ch-7 space. Ch 6 – counts as first dc + ch-3. Dc in the same space, ch 7. ([dc, ch 3, dc, ch7] in the next ch-7 space) 18 times. Dc in the next ch-7 space, ch 3, dc in the same space, ch 3, treble in the 3rd ch of beg ch-6.  40 chain spaces made.

Rnd 6:  Ch 3, dc in the same space, ch 7. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 7) 39 times. Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beginning ch-3. Cut yarn and tie off. 40 ch spaces made.

Rnd 7: Join new color in the middle of any ch-7 space. Ch 3, dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next ch-7 space, ch 8) 38 times. 2 dc in the next space, ch 4, treble in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 40 ch-8 spaces made.

Rnd 8: Ch 3, dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 8) 2 more times. Work (2 trtr, ch 8) twice in the next ch-8 space. (2 dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 8) 4 times.  Work (2 trtr, ch 8) twice in the next ch-8 space.  (2 dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 8) 31 times. Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. Cut yarn and tie off. 42 ch-8 spaces made.

Rnd 9: Join new color in the final ch-8 space of Rnd 8. Sc in the same space as join, ch 5. (Sc in the next ch-8 space, ch 5) 3 times. (2 treble, ch 8, 2 treble, ch 5) in the next ch-8 space – 1 treble shell made. (Sc in the next ch-8 space, ch 5) 5 times. (2 tr, ch 8, 2 tr, ch 5) in the next ch-8 space – 2nd treble shell made . (Sc in the next ch-8 space, ch 5) 3 times. Sc in the next ch-8 space, ch 8. (Dc in the next ch-8 sp, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 7)  26 times. Dc in the next ch-8 sp, ch-4, dc in the same space, ch 8. Join with a sl st to the first sc of the round – 71 chain spaces made. Rpts Rnds 1-9 for second motif.

If this is the completion of Rnd 9 on your first motif, cut yarn and tie off. If this the completion of Rnd 9 on your second motif, do not tie off.

The following instructions work the sc border across the top half of both of the mandala motifs. This is mostly covered in the Part 1 of the Mandala Top Joining Video Tutorial, included at the bottom of the page

Rnd 10 (Joining) :  Sl stitch in the next 5 ch sts, sl st in the next sc st. *(1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch stitches, 1 sc in the next sc) 2 times. 1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch stitches, 1 sc in each of the next 2 treble stitches. 1 sc in ea of the next 4 ch stitches, 3 hdc in the next ch stitch. Place a marker in the 2nd hdc. 1 sc in ea of the next 3 ch stitches and in ea of the next 2 treble stitches.  (1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch stitches, 1 sc in the next sc) 5 times. 1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch stitches, 1 sc in ea of the next 2 treble stitches. 1 sc in each of the next 3 ch stitches, 3 hdc in the next ch st, place marker in the 2nd hdc made. 1 sc in ea of the next 4 ch sts, 1 sc in ea of the next 2 treble sts. (1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch sts, 1 sc in the next sc) 2 times. 1 sc in ea of the next 5 sts. *

Align the second motif with the first, making sure the two WS are facing each other. Align the 3rd single crochet stitch from the left of the leftmost treble shell (or the right of the rightmost if you are a leftie) with the corresponding stitch on the second motif. Work one sc through both stitches at once. Begin to work the Rnd 10 pattern from * to * on the second motif, working ONLY the stitches of the second motif, and working in the direction of the nearest treble shell. To end the round, insert hook through the next sc and through the corresponding stitch of the opposite motif (the third sc left of the leftmost treble shell, or right of the rightmost if you are a leftie). Work a sl stitch through both stitches at once.  Do not tie off.

The following instructions work down the side of the two mandala motifs, constructing a join made of chaining and sc back and forth between the two motifs. This is described in Part 2 of the Joining Video Tutorial below, as well as in the charts pictured πŸ™‚

Rnd 11: Keeping both motifs aligned, the motif on top (facing you) will be referred to as #1. The motif in back (further away from you) will be #2. You will be working a fagoting stitch join between the two motifs. (See fig 5 for chart)Working away from the nearest treble shell, ch 3 and sc in the next Ch-5 space of #2. Ch 3, sc in the corresponding ch-5 space of #1. Ch 5, sc in the next ch-8 space of #2. Ch 5, sc in the corresponding space of #1. Ch 5, sc in the next ch-4 space of #2, Ch 5, sc in the corresponding space of #1. Ch 5, sc in the next ch-7 space of #2, ch 5, sc in the corresponding ch-7 space on #1 – fagoting join completed. Chain 8. Continuing only on #1, (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8)  49 times. (Beginning of next join) Sc in the next ch-7  space on #1, ch 5.  Sc in the corresponding space on #2, ch 5. Sc in the next ch space of #1, ch 5, sc in the corresponding space of #2, ch 5. Sc in the next ch space of #1, ch 5. Sc in the corresponding chain space of #2. Ch 5, sc in the next chain space of #1. Ch 3, sc in the corresponding space of #2, ch 3. Join with a sl stitch to the joining stitch of Rnd 10. Cut yarn and tie off.

Rnd 11 makes up an extra row on the tunic, making one side slightly longer. This longer side is now the back side. Rnd 12 is worked in a single round around the bottom, including both front and back as two halves of the same round.

Rnd 12:  With RS facing, join new yarn in the 3rd ch-8 space from the last ch-5 in the fagoting join on the back half of the top. Ch 3 to count as first dc. Dc in the same space, ch 8. *2 dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 4. Yarn over and draw up a lp through the next ch-8 space, yo and draw through 2 lps on the hook. Yarn over and draw up a loop through the next free chain space (skipping ch-5 of fagoting join and the ch space it is attached to). Yarn over and draw through 2 lps on the hook. Yarn over and draw through the last 3 lps on the hook. Ch 4. (2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) 46 times.* Rpt from * to *. Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. Cut yarn and tie off. – 97 ch spaces total.

Proceed to Straps Instructions

Instructions for Size X-Large

Follow instructions for size Large for Rounds 1-5.

Rnd 6: Ch 4 – counts as first treble, tr in the same space, ch 7. (2 tr in the next chain space, ch 7) 38 times. 2 treble in the next chain space, ch 3. Tr in the 4th ch of beg ch-4. 40 chain spaces made.

Rnd 7: Ch 4 – counts as first treble, tr in the same space, ch 8. (2 tr in the next chain space, ch 8) 39 times. Join with a sl st to the 4th ch of beg ch-4. cut yarn and tie off. 40 chain spaces made.

Rnd 8: Join new yarn in any ch-8 space. Ch 3, dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 8) 2 times. Work (2 trtr, ch 8) twice in the next ch-8 space. (2 dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 8) 4 times.  Work (2 trtr, ch 8) twice in the next ch-8 space.  (2 dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 8) 30 times. Work 2 dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 4, tr in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 42 chain spaces made.

Rnd 9: Sc in the same space, ch 5. (Sc in the next ch space, ch 5) 2 times. Sc in the next space, ch 8. (2 treble crochet, ch 8) twice in the next ch-8 space – 1st treble shell made. (Sc in the next ch space, ch 5) 4 times. Sc in the next ch-8 space, ch 8. (2 treble crochet, ch 8) twice in the next ch-8 space- 2nd treble shell made. (Sc in the next ch space, ch 5) 3 times. Sc in the next space, ch 8. (Dc in the next ch sp, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 7) 26 times. Dc in the next ch space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 8. Join with a sl st in the first sc of the round. 71 chain spaces made. Cut yarn and tie off.

Rpt Rnds 1-9 for second motif.

The following instructions work the sc border across the top half of both of the mandala motifs. This is mostly covered in the Part 1 of the Mandala Top Joining Video Tutorial, included at the bottom of the page.

Rnd 10 (Joining):   Join new color in the same sc as the ending join of Rnd 9, sc in the same space. *(1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch stitches, 1 sc in the next sc) 3 times. 1 sc in ea of the next 8 ch stitches, 1 sc in each of the next 2 treble stitches. 1 sc in ea of the next 4 ch stitches, 3 hdc in the next ch stitch – place marker in the 2nd hdc made. 1 sc in ea of the next 3 ch stitches and in ea of the next 2 treble stitches. 1 sc in ea of the next 8 ch stitches.  (1 sc in the next sc, 1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch sts) 5 times. Sc in the next sc and in ea of the next 8 ch sts.  1 sc in ea of the next 2 treble stitches. 1 sc in each of the next 3 ch stitches, 3 hdc in the next ch st – place marker in 2nd hdc made, 1 sc in ea of the next 4 ch sts, 1 sc in ea of the next 2 treble sts.  1 sc in ea of the next 8 ch sts. (1 sc in the next sc. 1 sc in ea of the next 5 ch sts) 3 times. *

Align the second motif with the first, making sure the two WS are facing each other. Align the 4th single crochet stitch from the left of the leftmost treble shell (or the right of the rightmost if you are a leftie) with the corresponding stitch on the second motif. This should be the next stitch to be worked after finishing the Rnd 10 instructions above. Work one sc through both stitches at once. Begin to work the Rnd 10 pattern from * to * on the second motif, working ONLY the stitches of the second motif, and working in the direction of the nearest treble shell. To end the round, insert hook through the next sc and through the corresponding stitch of the opposite motif (the 4th sc left of the leftmost treble shell, or right of the rightmost if you are a leftie). Work a sl stitch through both stitches at once. Do not tie off.

The following instructions work down the side of the two mandala motifs, constructing a join made of chaining and sc back and forth between the two motifs. This is described in Part 2 of the Joining Video Tutorial below, as well as in the charts pictured πŸ™‚

Rnd 11: Keeping both motifs aligned, the motif on top (facing you) will be referred to as #1. The motif in back (further away from you) will be #2. You will be working a fagoting stitch join between the two motifs. (See fig 6 for chart) Working away from the nearest treble shell, ch 5 and sc in the next Ch-8 space of #2. (Ch 5, sc in the next chain space of #1. Ch 5, sc in the next chain space of #2.) 3 times. Ch 5, sc in the next chain space of #1. Ch 8. (Fagoting join made). Working only in #1, (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 47 times. (Beginning of next join) Sc in the next chain space, ch 5. Sc in the corresponding space on #2, ch 5.  (Sc in the next chain space of #1, ch 5. Sc in the corresponding ch space of #2, ch 5) 3 times. Join with a slip stitch in the motif-join sc of Rnd 10. Cut yarn and tie off.

Rnd 11 makes up an extra row on the tunic, making one side slightly longer. This longer side is now the back side. Rnd 12 is worked in a single round around the bottom, including both front and back as two halves of the same round.

Rnd 12:Β  With RS facing, join new yarn in the 3rd ch-8 space from the last ch-5 in the fagoting join on the back half of the top. Ch 3 to count as first dc. Dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 8) twice. *2 dc in the next ch-5 space – the last chain space of the fagoting join, ch 8. 2 dc in the next unworked chain space, ch 8.* (2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) 46 times.* Rpt from * to *. (2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) 44 times. Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. Cut yarn and tie off. – 93 ch spaces total.

Proceed to the Straps Instructions πŸ™‚

Straps Instructions

For more detailed instructions on working the Double Chain technique, see my free tutorial here.

If you plan on making the Drop Sleeves pattern add-on, work the following extra DCh stitches on each strap. In case you need to adjust the length, do not weave in the ends.

Small & Medium: 10 extra DCh

Large: 13 extra DCh

X-Large: 15 extra Dch

Attach new yarn to the hdc marked with a stitch marker on any of the points on your motifs, ch 1. Sc in the same space as join (#1). Work 1 double chain into the side of the single crochet stitch (#2). DCh 24 (#3). Insert hook into the side of last DCh stitch and also through the corresponding marked hdc on the opposite motif and draw up a loop (#4). Yarn over and draw through both loops on the hook (#5). Secure with a sl st in the next hdc of the motif. Cut yarn and tie off, repeat on the other side for the second strap. Weave in all ends.

Mandala Top Joining Tutorial Video: Part 1

This video starts at the joining round, which is Round 10 for Medium – XL and Rnd 9 for Small.

Mandala Top Joining Tutorial Video: Part 2

Once you’ve finished with your Mandala Top, weave in all ends. This piece looks best if you take the bottom hem and gently stretch the mesh downward, especially at the side joins, to get all the stitches to settle in that direction – creating a nice drapey shape. Pulling out the bottom loops and letting them settle makes a huge difference in the appearance of the finished crochet mesh!

This post got a little long with the main part of the Mandala Top, so I’m going to post the Mandala Top Add-Ons FREE pattern in another post, coming right up! If you have any questions, be sure to leave them in the comments for me or contact me via direct message on any of my social media sites!

-MF

P.S – After I finished the original Mandala Top design years ago, I began to play around with the possibility of adding sleeves and making it more of a layering sweater dress – and thus the Flower Child Pullover was born! You can find that design as a paid PDF in my Ravelry Store and Etsy Shop – in case you are interested πŸ˜‰

Halter Top Pattern BOGO Sale

If you’re looking to kick-start your hot girl summer, you should try halter girl summer! Handmade crochet halter tops are the cutest hot-weather accessory and definitely a part of my summer wardrobe every year – so I’m offering Buy-One Get-One for all halter tops in my Ravelry Pattern store! Just put any of my halter top patterns in your cart when buying ANY other pattern (doesn’t have to be a halter top) and use the code “SUMMER21” πŸ¦‹πŸŒ»πŸŒ€πŸ’

This deal starts today and runs through Monday, May 31st ❀ Best of all, all the tops pictured below are made with #4 weight 100% cotton so they are both quick to make AND cool to wear 😁

From left to right across the top row: The Acanthus Top, the Sol Halter, the Valkyrie Halter.
Left to right across the bottom: The Plus Size Sol Halter, the Mehndi Halter, and the Blossom Vest

If you want something more complex, try out the Feather & Scale halter top, a beautiful magical piece worked in Fine weight yarn:

The PDF version of the Basic Bralette & the Curvy Bralette is also included in the sale – although I do have a free version of those on my blog!

That’s it for today – just the quick sale announcement! I’m working on a new halter top design at the moment so I was inspired to offer some of my previous creations ❀ I hope you love!

-MF

Cottage Vest

I’m so pleased to have finally arrived at yet another pattern debut! This design has a bit of a backwards history, since it originally started as a draft for a more complicated pattern (much like my Priestess Coat) – but turned out to have such a different silhouette and structure from the final version, I eventually had to go back and re-engineer it for release as a separate design.

Little did I know this piece would really catch people’s eye when I wore it in some photos for other crochet patterns, and demand was high enough that I set myself to the task of writing it sometime last year – back in August I think? Well, I needed to pin down juuuuuuust the right fit, and write out six total sizes, then get them tested by an awesome group of pattern testers – so here we finally are!

The Cottage Vest is available for purchase as a downloadable, printable PDF in my Ravelry Store and Etsy Shop. Read on for more details about this original crochet pattern or follow the links to get the pattern directly πŸ™‚ As always, thank you all so much for your continued support of my art!

Cottage Vest Crochet Pattern

This figure flattering circular vest packs all the charm of the simple life into an easily-constructed and quick crochet project you won’t be able to stop layering over sweet sundresses, plain tees, strappy summer halters or even your favorite overalls πŸ˜‰ Featuring button-front panels that cradle the bust and a whimsical pointed back, this design is great for any #4 weight yarn and includes lots of instructions for getting the perfect fit!

I drew inspiration everywhere from Turkish vests to dirndls to hobbits to get just the right silhouette on this versatile layering piece which includes instructions for six total sizes XS – 2XL, detailed stitch instructions, and notes on how to modify the front portion and front panel placement for customizing fit – and of course lots of tutorial photos! The Cottage Vest is right at home whether you’re dressing up for Ren fairs, for dancing or just for puttering around the Shire.

Materials Needed:
5.50 mm hook (or size needed to obtain gauge)Lion Brand Pound of Love (#4 weight yarn, 454 g / 1020 yd, 100% Acrylic) – 1 skein
OR
XS-SM: 250 yds
MD-LG: 350-375 yds
XL-2XL: 400-450 yds
(yardage approximated)

4-5 buttons, 1.5 – 2” diameter
Stitch markers
Tapestry needle
Scissors

Finished Measurements (Bust, Length from Collar to Center back point).
XS: 26”, 18”
SM: 28”, 19”
MD: 32”, 21”
LG: 36”,  22”
XL: 40”, 23”
2XL: 44”, 24”

***Note on Sizing: Measurements given are approximate for finished garment laying flat –  this does not take into account the stretch of the piece. The Cottage Vest is designed for an β€œundersized” fit that supports the bust and therefore the measurements for each size’s overall width is made smaller than standard to serve that purpose. However, the pattern easily accommodates how to add more rows to expand the width if necessary; this is written into the instructions for the rounds after the armholes and for the  Front Panels.

Language: English
Pattern is written in US crochet terminology.

I think I must have made about 20 of these things getting the pattern ratios right! The really nice thing about them is that they look great with cheapie acrylic worsted weight yarn, so you don’t have to rush out and get a special yarn or worry much about matching a substitute yarn – what you need is likely already in your stash πŸ™‚

But for now, I’m off to dig in the dirt a little and enjoy this lovely spring weather πŸ˜‰

-MF

Leveling Up My Video Game

Over the ten years that I’ve been developing Morale Fiber as a brand and as a business, the internet has changed a lot. Even a digital native like myself can find the ever-quickening pace of online options astounding! Social platforms have exploded in variety, and the media formats available on these apps have come a looooong way, baby.

That’s all wonderful news for people who love to share and socialize on their phones, but for someone who wants to get their art out there for a wide audience to see, it can be a lot to keep up with. Especially since so many of these new platforms now offer or feature video formats, and let me just tell you, I have had a LIFELONG aversion to being videotaped.

Just like when it’s weird to first hear your own voice on a recording, it can be hard for some people to see themselves on video! But with the help of my YouTube channel, I’ve been facing my fears of recording myself – first with my all-hands crochet tutorial videos, then conquering showing my face on camera talking without a script. My latest addition to the video repertoire is something I’ve never tried before – an unboxing video and yarn review πŸ™‚

And you know what? I was shocked (SHOCKED I TELL YOU) to find that I really did enjoy it! Despite my self-consciously sassy tagline, I really hoped people would enjoy the video and like to see my input and my creative voice in a more natural setting. In fact it really didn’t take long for me to try to do it again – this time with an impromptu tutorial on the skirt & waistband sizing on my Elf Coat pattern.

I’ve been experimenting with methods of video recording and with topics of videos, including switching to recording with my phone rather than with my DSLR camera which at this point, is too old to even compete with the video capacity of my phone camera. Recording with my phone also helps make the transfer to social video apps smoother, and I’m working on adding more video content to my Facebook/Instagram pages and even recently started practicing my TikToks! Hooray, this Elder Millenial can stop stressing about not being hip.

Okay, that’s not true. I’ll always be a HuGe DoRk.

At any rate, I hope you’ll check out these new offerings and follow/subscribe to Morale Fiber while I build my skills and as always, continue to crochet until morale improves πŸ™‚

To see all my social media platforms linked in one place, check out my LinkTree!

Speaking of Video Games, have you seen my written tutorial for the Video Game Guy? He’s 100% free and 100% friend shaped πŸ™‚

-MF

Snapdragon Pixie Belt

Spring and summer always makes me eager to craft up cute festival items, despite the fact that I haven’t gone to any events for over a year now. In the course of cleaning out my room while moving last month I happened upon a stash of teal upcycled sari ribbon and had to bust out one of my favorite projects with it: the Pixie Pocket skirt belt.

I make these useful crocheted belts out of scrap yarn, ripped scrap fabric, beads, bells, lace – you name it, I’ll cram it on a pixie belt. They are one of my top selling items (my friends tend to grab them up before they can even get to the a festival vending booth) and just supremely fun to make & wear.

You can get the absolutely FREE pattern tutorial series for this project on my blog, or help support me more directly by buying the PDF version (includes everything found in all of the tutorial posts) in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store!

Here are just a few others I’ve made πŸ˜‰

Each of these 100% unique creations gets its own personality, and I name them after plants every time, to embody the nature spirit pixies I imagine wearing them! This one is called “Snapdragon” after the flowers that I remember obsessing over in my childhood – I would run over to the flower gardens that lined the church grotto, eager to pinch the blossoms to make them “snap” like my mom showed me.

Snapdragon features a circular pocket made with a bright applique, the center formed by the “bullion eye” motif I use in my free Forest Guide Hat pattern, with a cute eyeball charm I imagined to look like a dragon’s eye.

The rectangular pouch is made from super bulky yarn that I hand spun on my wheel, hand dyed by me and spun onto a mohair core. A super ruffle-y drawstring pouch imitates the expansion of flower petals, and a little extra sassinesss is added by the crochet net that swings on the hip over the fringe skirt.

All this is mounted on a teal belt with subtly variegated dragon scales (of course!) from crocodile stitch, a favorite textural technique of mine. The belt itself is a bit oversized on me so I wrapped it around, using the ties on the end to weave it in and out of the belt itself to secure it.

I had to pair it with that lush velvet bralette that I made recently, as it happened to match! The bralette is Bernat Baby Velvet made from my (also FREE) Basic Bralette design, with the Curvy Bralette modifications added in. I made this super soft top while drafting up some modifications to the design – those updates are now reflected in the original pattern and in the PDF version that I sell as well πŸ™‚

Thanks for visiting to check out my latest work and be sure to subscribe and follow me on my social media channels so you don’t miss anything! I’ve got some great designs in the works and I try to always be updating and improving things too πŸ™‚

For the love of fiber<3 ❀

-MF

Fox Claw Elf Coat

The Elf Coat Tunisian crochet pattern is definitely my most popular design recently, and it’s undergone a series of updates and expansions since it was first released for free here on my blog in 2019. The first regular sizes – Small, Medium, and Large – were all released separately as individual blog posts, getting posted as soon as I had finished drafting and testing the written pattern.

These first 3 sizes (along with all the most recent updates) are also available gathered together as one ad-free, downloadable, printable PDF crochet pattern which can be purchased from my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store!

Back then I ended up posting the size Large pattern before I ever finished the actual coat itself! Demand was so high, that as soon as I completed the front panels, back panel, and drafted the first half of the sleeve, I released the Large size pattern without any of the fancy finished photography that I like to accompany πŸ˜‰ Today we are remedying that with the help of Christina Persephone Tedrow, who agreed to model my recently finished piece in what turned out to be a very kickass and fun photoshoot. Keep reading for more info about the latest progress on this design and examples of this tricksy coat in action!

I have been naming each of these Elf Coats according to my vision for their personalities, indulging my love for character creation which helps me dream up interesting ways to show off my product. This coat, dubbed “Fox Claw,” was always intended to manifest the spirit of the fox, with it’s subtle orange and cream hues mixed with brownish lavender. Also, I just really love foxes – an interest shared by my friend Persephone here, which is why I was intent on having her as my model for this piece!

A bit about my model, who is also an independent businesswoman like myself: Persephone is one of the best body piercers in the business; she co-owns and -operates Fox & Crow Body Modifications in Evansville, Indiana, and updates on her business and openings frequently from her Facebook Page, the shop website, and from @PersephonePiercing on Instagram. If you are interested in high quality body art, also check out the shop’s Instagram page @foxandcrow.evansville !

Also worth mentioning is the amazing handmade 25-yard dance skirt modeled underneath the coat, made by Painted Lady Emporium.

It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t initially finish the size large Elf Coat which I had started back when first writing the pattern, because it didn’t take long to discover that the original Elf Coat needed a few tweaks. I used this piece to help me work out what needed changed in the design of the sleeves, and to draft a larger hood as many people had problems with the hood coming out small. These updates are listed and explained in my recent post on the blog here.

I also just had to invent a few new tricks involving a belt tie and pockets – the Fox Claw elf coat features both! The pockets here are inset, which means they are mostly hidden from the outside (they are set a little bit too far back as well… whoops! Next time I’ll measure!) This garment is also a little longer on the front & back panels than the normal Elf Coat, from adding extra rows at the beginning of the panels, giving about 2-2.5″ more in length to the coat – perfect for the taller model I had in mind.

And yet, after all the stitches and panels and tweaks and extras (and coats and questions and emails and testing and measuring and math), the Elf Coat design is still being developed! I had a lot of requests for this design in Plus Sizes, which I was very excited about offering but couldn’t get accomplished without a lot more work. So when I was ready, I set about drafting the written pattern for XL and 2XL – I discovered that given the way the design increases by using the base number of panels, the 2XL size is actually a bit oversized and would extend to cover 3XL as well! Currently, the Plus Sizes version of this design is being tested by a team of awesome people willing to help me make some elfy magic and I really hope with their assistance I can get it released by late summer or early autumn.

If you have more questions about this design, I recommend checking out the Elf Coat FAQ page that I’ve written up – and if you want to see more awesome Elf Coats and other projects inspired by Morale Fiber designs, I’ll refer you to our really sweet and supportive Facebook Group, the Magic Fantastic Crochet Atelier!

And if you REALLY love fox themed goodies, I also have a couple more designs for you to peruse…

-MF ❀

Sol Halter Top Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-MF ❀

Scrappy Knit Shawl Pattern

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

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

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

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

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

Scrappy Knit Shawl Pattern

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P.S – BONUS GALLERY

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