Fur Hats & Summer Stats

This summer is flying by, fueled by the need to commune and see my loved ones after the isolation and uncertainty of 2020. I keep in mind I’m lucky enough to have access to the vaccine, as there are many places that struggled to get their populations vaccinated and still so many people in danger of getting Covid 19 or the variant strains. As usual, gratitude is the name of the game.

Pictured above: the Yearling Headband spotted in natural habitat

So it’s been a busy season, and in addition to the full dance card I’ve managed a number of new designs and projects. This will be one of my “wrap-up and reflect” posts sharing my latest patterns, some new spins on old designs, and anything else that comes to mind πŸ™‚

Faux Fur Hats

Having stashed plenty of the Lion Brand Go for Faux Thick & Quick yarn last winter, I decided to make some room on my yarn shelf by busting out two new Ushanka hats from my totally free Ushanka Hat & Muff pattern. I’ve been getting ideas from the interestingly styled images on my vintage fashion & mori kei Pinterest board, in which mountain girls sport colorful accessorized layers paired with fur hats and boots. It was a bit hot out for that sort of thing, but I did get creative with my styling and layers in order to show off these two new Ushankas!

The first is a traditional Ushanka, with the earflaps attaching to the sides of the hat with buttons instead of ties on top as with the original one I made. The big Jumbo yarn and the huge hook make these hats doable in just a fraction of a day!

The second faux fur hat I made, I modified the original crochet pattern just a little by adding an extra round of stitches on top (following the formula of increases to continue with the flat circle). I wanted a slightly bigger profile on this one, and a more rigid “turn” from the top of the hat to the sides. To accomplish this sharp top edge, I worked the first non-increase round in Back Post Double Crochet instead of regular double crochet, which helped the stitches turn inward more sharply.

I also left the earflaps off of this one to give it a more “military” and less of a “trapper” look.

Of course, I had to include some more layered accessories so this outfit included my Cottage Vest design which was published this year and my Ramblers’ Mitts too! Those super neat bug tights are from MyTightsShop on Etsy.

Velvet Bralettes

As you can see with the Ramblers’ Mitts above, I’ve really been enjoying the variety of “velvet” or chenille type yarns this year, and I knew I had to make the Basic Bralette design in that ultra-cushy soft texture too. It came out as luxe as I imagined in Bernat Baby Velvet, the smaller (#4 weight) yarn version of their popular #5 weight yarn.

I got some more of the same Baby Velvet to make another! I also used the regular Bernat Velvet in black to make a super special Basic Bralette – I wanted to test the capacity of the Basic Bralette (and it’s modifier, the Curvey Bralette) design to go up to bigger cup sizes and it worked out beautifully! My friend wears an H cup size bra and with some modifications (which have now been added into the written portion of the main pattern) it was no problem to make the design fit.

Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned busy-ness, I haven’t gotten to take pictures of her in it yet. Hopefully those are coming soon. I am so pleased with how it looks, especially since I get questions about making the Basic Bralette in larger sizes a lot and now I can answer them more thoroughly, having done it myself πŸ™‚

Shown with this bralette, of course, is the Snapdragon Pixie Belt, which you can read more about by following the link πŸ™‚

Cottagecore Girlfriend Dress

I’ve loved taking short breaks with bits of sewing, particularly when it means I get to clean out some leftovers and fabric-stash bust a little. I made this light, floaty and sweet patchwork dress using my favorite patchwork skirt pattern, melded with a bodice that I freehanded. A criss-cross back tie and adjustable waistband made this really comfortable, and I also added eyelet lace cotton trim in gathered ruffles on the hem and a vintage embroidered tea towel pocket!

I called it my “Cottagecore Girlfriend” dress πŸ™‚ I learned a lot making it and hopefully will be able to recreate the bodice part for later versions – meanwhile this one has been added to my costume closet and already made an appearance in my “Moth Wizard” photoshoot for the Wizard Hat crochet pattern, which was just released!

Elf Coat Updates

On of the most major projects I concluded this summer was getting the Elf Coat pattern expanded and updated. I created a major update for the regular sizes Small-Large which included some rewriting and some additional extras like belt and pockets, but the long awaited Plus Sizes option didn’t get released until recently in June! Good timing for that, as it gives people plenty of time to get started on their coats so that they can wear them this winter πŸ™‚

You can find the directory to all the sizes and options for the Elf Coat through the page linked in the paragraph above – right now this includes sizes Small-2XL/3XL, corset back lacing, belt tie, and THREE types of pockets, all for FREE here on my blog (but you can also buy the full written patterns in my Etsy shop πŸ˜‰ and there might be a sale if you read a little further! )

New Growth & Designs

Pictured here is as much as I’m willing to reveal about the new pattern I have in the works! I try not to give too much away usually, as I just like to keep things a surprise and also because I’m terrible at committing πŸ˜€ But after 4 total reworks to this piece, I’m confident to say it’s mostly finalized and so I’m moving into the fine-tuning stage of development.

As you can see, this next one will be based on my Tree of Life motif, which has proved to be a great little free design – I have just enjoyed it SO MUCH, seeing people’s little happy trees pop up on my Instagram feed! You can get the free pattern for the Tree of Life Mandala wall hanging by following the link above. This motif also appears in my Embla Vest, a premium pattern in sizes XS-XL ❀

10K Sale!

Last but not least, my Etsy shop is ALMOST to 10,000 sales! Holy wow, I can’t believe it! We’ve got a few more to go though, so to incentivize I’ve created my “10K or Bust” sale which is running now through the end of next month – get ANY crochet pattern from my Etsy Shop 20% off, no coupon code needed!

I’m really excited to see that number roll over – I can still remember 10K sales on Etsy being some crazy, far-away dream of mine πŸ˜‰ The sale is schedule to last until August 28, 2021 – although I may extend it depending on how close to 10K we get!

As always, thank you for all your likes, comments, purchases, reviews, and encouragement!

-MF

Magic Ring Tutorial

Given how many crochet patterns I have that start with the notoriously useful Magic Ring technique, you’d think I’d have written a full, freestanding tutorial for it by now! Mostly because so many tutorials already exist for the Magic Ring, I hadn’t bothered to do my own – but now I am remedying that thanks to some encouraging words from a friend to whom I recently taught my method πŸ™‚

Above: The center of the Ida Shawl

If you’ve never heard of it before, the Magic Ring (abbreviated to MR) is simply an adjustable string loop onto which the first round of a circular crochet project is worked. The loop is a substitute for the other method of starting circular crochet, which is to chain a certain number and then join the length chain stitches into a circle shape by slip stitching in the first chain.

The advantages of the Magic Ring are many – that’s why it’s called magic! Instead of guessing how many chain stitches will give you the adequate room to work your first round, the MR closes AFTER you make your stitches, so you can close the round as tightly as you wish. Sometimes starting chain rings are too bulky even when made to the right length, resulting in a rather nippular bump :/ No so with the Magic Ring! Although it still tends to look like a cat’s booty, but whaddyagonnado. πŸ˜‰

Above: The Tree of Life motif

Anyway, here’s a written and photo tutorial for how to work the Magic Ring, followed by a video demonstration at the bottom of the blog post ❀ Hope it’s helpful to you!

Magic Ring

Step 1: Take the end of the yarn strand and lay it over the fingers, the end placed on the pinkie side.

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.

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

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.

Yarn over again…

… And draw through the loop on the hook.

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.

You can now start to work stitches into the ring you have just secured by tightening the first chain. There will be a ring and a loose tail end, you can crochet over both but don’t lose track of the loose end because you’ll need it in a minute. Here’s a ring with some single crochet worked into it:

Once your first round is worked into the ring, take the yarn tail end and pull it tightly, sliding the stitches on the yarn ring together until the central hole is closed.

Either close your round with a slip stitch, if working non-continuous circles, or mark your first stitch of the next round if you are working continuously πŸ™‚

That’s it! Now you can easily make circular crochet projects that have a neat, clean center with no pokey flappy bits. You can even leave the central space a little open if you have enough stitches on the ring to support it. Below is an example from my Pixie Pocket Belt freeform tutorial series.

Useful, eh? Here’s a quick video demo where I start and work the Magic Ring! We went straight from phone camera to video for this one, as I’m trying to be quicker about producing my video content πŸ˜›

Magic Ring Video Demo

That’s it for today – thanks for visiting πŸ™‚ And be sure to check out my huge collection of TOTALLY FREE crochet patterns right here on the blog ❀

-MF

Above: Spiral Sweater

Acanthus Top Leafy Fringe

Recently I’ve been making a lot of halter tops (hello, 90 degree weather!) and my latest version of last summer’s debut pattern the Acanthus Top was so deep green and foresty that I had to add a little extra somethin’ somethin’..

That leafy fringe across the bottom utilizes the Quirky Leaf Motif, an element that was already included in the pattern, to add an extra border to help catch movement and swing on this cute summer top! I added the instructions for doing this leafy fringe border into the original pattern as an extra option, so everyone can enjoy πŸ™‚

The Acanthus Top is available as a PDF file for purchase in my Ravelry Store and Etsy Shop and includes instructions for all the elements seen on this example ❀ Best of all it’s available in sizes XS – 2XL!

This top is designed to be great for dancing – most of my personal halter tops end up being danced around in drum circles actually (although not as much lately – waiting patiently for July so I can do that again!) Since it’s such an easy top to move around in, it surely needed a fringe or hanging decoration to accent the joyful movement πŸ™‚

As always I made this halter top in shades of I Love This Cotton! (still looking for a perfect substitute for this yarn so I don’t have to shop at Hobby Lobby). #4 weight yarn makes this project quick and comfortable and I LOOOOOOOVE the wide shoulder straps on it, probably one of the most comfortable halter tops I’ve ever designed!

The leafy crochet necklace I’m wearing is an older FREE design of mine, the Ivy Crown, which you can find on my blog by following the link πŸ™‚ Both these comfy cotton goodies center around my Quirky Leaf Motif, a versatile little shape that you can crochet onto long chains.

I’m dreaming up more crochet halter tops as we speak, they are so fun and fast a #4 cotton yarn, it’s very addicting πŸ™‚

Even more so when you get to morph into your elf self for the occasion ❀ Have fun and stay safe out there – and remember to hydrate!

-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˜‰

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

Happy International Women’s Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Pictured above: the Valkyrie Halter Top)

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

Rambler’s Mitts & Armwarmers Pattern

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

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

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

Rambler’s Mitts & Armwarmers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Language: English
All instructions are in US crochet terminology.

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

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

-MF

The Only Constant

One of my favorite sayings goes “The only constant is change.”

It reminds me that the live happily in life, you always need to acknowledge the shifting nature of it. If you go along expecting everything to be the same, always resisting when forced to take paths that you didn’t intend, life and it’s transformative progress will seem to be a battle.

One of my other favorite sayings goes “Man plans, god laughs” πŸ˜‰

I’ll be reflecting in this post about what I’ve been doing with Morale Fiber over the past year – it’s more of a diary entry really, collecting my thoughts and tipping you off for what’s on the horizon for my designs!

2020 – Plague Year

It’s obviously been a weird one. In addition to switching my business from part-time to full-time in 2020, just a few months into the year Corona Virus struck and my proximity to at-risk loved ones made self-employment more imperative than usual. Still luckily things are going well, and I created & maintained my schedule for the year which included 6 written patterns, 4 tutorials, 2 brand new free hat patterns, 3 remodeled patterns, and lots more crochet morale boosting!

I’ve got a couple projects/designs in the works to finish off the year’s production list, and I’m now into my normal “holidays” phase of the year, despite the lack of holiday events upcoming (stupid plague).

YouTube Channel (& SALE!!)

One of the biggest efforts I made this year was reaching my goal of monetizing my YouTube Channel, which I’ve been developing as quickly as my creaky, video-hating old bones can manage. But I did make that goal also, thanks to all the watchers & subscribers, so I’m holding a special pattern sale as a thank-you!

All PDF versions of the full-length patterns available on my YouTube Channel (and a few that are all written PDF but have video component tutorials) are ON SALE for 50% off now through November 15 on Ravelry ❀ ❀ Here’s a list of the patterns on sale, linked to Ravelry – use the code “YOUTUBE” at checkout to get the discount!

Patterns on Sale:
Lotus Duster
Gnome Toboggan
Kismet Poncho
Tree of Life
Forest Guide Hat
Feather & Scale Halter
Cobweb Wrap
Elf Coat

Monetizing my YouTube channel will help me continue to bring out free content available to everyone while also giving me the financial support to keep publishing great quality, full-scale written PDF crochet patterns. Another great way to support my art: The Tip Jar!

20th Pixie Belt: Lotus

I realized at some point that the next Pixie Pocket Belt I made would be my 20th, and so I determined to make a really special one. I have been making these unique crocheted utility belts freehand, doing them completely different each time, for a few years now.

I used hand-dyed yarn to create a partial, semi-circular Lotus Mandala – don’t ask me how I did that specifically because I won’t be posting a pattern, sorry! These guys are FrEeFoRm, but I did create a series of tutorial guides for helping people get started making Pixie Pocket Belts of their own, check it out if you like πŸ™‚

After that, I got out my special hand-dyed upcycled fabric given to me by my friend Kate, who had it left over from a studio art project – and it happened to match so well! What I ended up with is a watery, soft, draping train of prismatic lace and tatters, topped with a shimmery white lotus flower circular pocket and soft drawstring bag and toadstool pouch accents.

I put it over another hand-dyed upcycled project of mine, an in-progress rag gown, fit for a water sprite dredged from the bottom of a flowery pond. No mud, no lotus ❀

Elf Coat Expansion

Pretty much as soon as I put down the last touches on the Elf Coat design, I knew I was going to have to pick it up again eventually! One part of the sleeve design always nagged at me, and I did intend to give it pockets eventually – and lo, the flood of requests for Plus Sizes ❀ ❀

As much as I wanted to fulfill these fixes, I needed a break from the Elf Coat, so I took a couple years off to think about things πŸ˜‰ And now I’m back, tackling the first part of the Elf Coat redesign and expansion! The first task is to fix the sleeve bit and to get a pocket option figured out, then update those changes to the already-existing sizes (S-M-L).

Afterward, I design & test the plus sizes! This is exciting and if you’d like to be a part of any of the testing for the new updates, join the Morale Fiber Facebook Group – The MFCA – and keep an eye out for the testing call!

Other Projects & Updates

I’ve got a number of bigger new designs on the horizon, which I’m also going to need help testing πŸ˜‰ None are solid enough yet to list here, but I’ve got a hoard of updatable old patterns and things to occupy myself until things coalesce, of course.

I’m also thinking that this website, moralefiber.blog, really needs a few changes – it’s remained virtually the exact same since I opened it five years ago. Which makes sense, because I’m much more concerned with producing crochet content than updating the way the site looks – but eventually one must try to stay efficient. Hopefully I don’t wreck the way it works in the process!

Meanwhile…

Until Morale Improves, the Crocheting Will Continue ❀

-MF

Henbit and Housekeeping

The month of May is usually a busy one for me, and this one has not been an exception so far, even despite local shutdown regulations! Read on for a bit about the projects I’m doing now and what I’ve got coming up ❀

Henbit Pixie Belt

With the weather warming I’m working outside and hiking around even more, enjoying nature in isolation and keeping an eye on the new plants springing up everywhere.

One particularly pretty little spring plant is Henbit, a bright fuschia-flowered plant that grows in scrubby areas and fields, which is an edible weed for humans as well as tasty for wildlife like hummingbirds. This plant was the inspiration for my latest Pixie Pocket Belt piece, for which it is named.

The mitts I’m wearing above are from my free Rambler’s Mitts pattern.

The Pixie Pocket Belts are projects I’ve been drawn to for years, and though I never make two the same, I did create a comprehensive tutorial guide for making your own unique creation – that’s available for free on my blog or in PDF format for a small fee.

These cute & useful costume pieces are a chance for me to flex my freestyle muscles. I love the multimedia aspect too, using beads and upcycled fabrics and metal details to create something really magical.

Freeform Shawl

The Pixie Belts I’ve made over the years have been technically “freeform” (meaning crocheted without a pattern or overall plan), though they are a bit different from the classic freeform style made popular by such incredible crochet artists as Prudence Mapstone and Hannah Martin of Of Mars.

Pixie Belt “Kelp” pictured above featured a bullion stitch pouch & a freeform seashell pouch

I’ve wanted to tackle a more recognizably freeform crochet piece and recently began practicing the various motifs that are common in this style, such as spirals, bullions, and crab stitch.

Some of the videos I’ve been watching have been both useful for the freeform project and useful to help me hone my video tutorial skills πŸ™‚ I’ve saved some of my favorites to my Channel playlists and I’ll keep adding more – find those collected here on Youtube and like & subscribe to my channel to get more updates!

I’ve completed most of the pieces I want to include in this freeform shawl, so I’m currently in the process of arranging and joining them. It feels great to challenge myself, and I’m learning and making lots of mistakes which is good ❀

Out of Office May 20-24

At the end of every May for the last 9 years, I’ve attended the big spring festival Elf Fest with my local community of nature-celebrators. This May, of course, it has been canceled. It’s the responsible thing to do and I’m happy that my friends are all safe – still, it’s a wrench for me and the rest of the crew.

Despite not having the festival to attend, I am going to go ahead and take that time off anyway, to unplug a little more and slow down πŸ™‚ So I’ll be Out of Office from May 20 through May 24, returning May 25 to answer any questions and comments you might have left during that time!

This stunning handmade moth clip from The Forest Fae is my constant companion these days…

I have a loooooooooong list of upcoming crochet designs – so many that I think I’ll need help soon! I’m looking into starting a little group – if you are interested in pattern testing for Morale Fiber be sure to follow me on Facebook, join my main crochet group the Magic Fantastic Crochet Atelier, or subscribe to my blog through e-mail! ❀ I’ll make the announcement across these channels when it comes time.

As always, I’m really grateful for everyone out there who purchases, supports, tags, shares, comments, likes, and recommends my work – I do it for you! I love you! Thank you! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

-MF