This post will be a quick one, so I can get back to my lazy Sunday afternoon sloth-fest, but I’ve managed to create a video tutorial for the first 6 rounds of the Tree of Life Mandala pattern and wanted to share it as soon as I could 🙂
This video is full-length up to Round 6, so that all the intricate workings of the branches are available to see in real time. Since some bits of it are a little complex, I knew that a video would be eventually if not immediately necessary. I hope it’s helpful!
If you’ve been keeping up with Morale Fiber lately you’ll notice that videos have quickly become a regular feature and I hope to continue that trend – so like and subscribe to my channel if you don’t want to miss anything 🙂
Who doesn’t love trees?! Besides being one of the most successful life forms on Earth, trees are the lungs of our planet. Majestic and sometimes dangerous they are also, but I think one of the main reasons we humans have such a symbolic attachment to the Tree as a concept is that we tend to project ourselves onto them.
With their roots-like-feet, their strong trunk torsos, and their reaching arms of branches, it’s easy to turn them into a metaphor against which we contrast our own sense of existence. They grow taller as they age, they occur in all environments, they group themselves together, and recent science has even discovered that they communicate with each other.
For me, it has always seemed natural to speak with trees. And yeah… to hug them. 🙂 I’ve always felt that they had a Presence which ought to always be acknowledged and I’ve been drawn to tree and forest imagery my whole life. I was stoked when I found this adorable crocheted Tree of Life motif from 365 Crochet and instantly tried it out as a feature of one of my pixie belts. It’s quite an excellent little free pattern!
The Tree of Life concept occurs in several cultural stories. My familiarity with it came originally from Yggdrasil, the World Tree of Norse mythology that holds all the worlds from its roots to its branches. Since I’m so attached to this symbolism, I wanted to attempt my own crocheted version of the Tree of Life.
The Tree of Life mandala features an intricate central tree motif, worked in the round using a variety of crochet stitches. The intertwining branches are worked in layers, with double-treble stitches criss-crossing and forming the signature woven look of the Tree of Life symbolism. Though it looks complex, the central motif is easy when taken step by step, especially since the tutorial includes 50+ detailed tutorial photos with figure references to the written pattern!
Once I had honed my Tree pattern to satisfaction, I realized the mandala version would make a perfect dreamcatcher-style wall hanging and set about to providing this FREE tutorial for the project! You can also buy the downloadable, printable, ad-free PDF file for this crochet pattern from my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Pattern Store.
I’ve got a few more concepts cooked up for this pretty little piece in the future that I’m very excited about 😉 So be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow me on Facebook!
Tree of Life Mandala Wall Hanging
Materials: 4.50 mm hook #4 worsted weight yarn in solid color – I used Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton #3 or #4 weight yarn in accent color – I used King Cole Riot DK for the rainbow Tree and Malabrigo Rios for the autumnal Tree. 1 14” bamboo or wood hoop (I used an embroidery hoop from the hobby store) Scissors & Tapestry needle
Stitches and Techniques: Magic Ring – A short tutorial can be found under this pattern on my blog. Hdc – half double crochet Ch – chain Sl st – Slip Stitch Sc – Single crochet Dc – Double crochet Tr – treble crochet (YO x 2, insert hook in next st and draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 loops x 3) Dtr – double treble crochet (YO x 3, insert hook in next st and draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 loops x 4)
Gauge: Not critical. The trunk of the tree should be about 1.25 inches in width and the tree itself should be about 4.5 inches tall from root to top branch after Round 3.
Notes: The outer yarn used to border the Tree of Life can be #3 or #4 weight. If using a thick and/or stiffer #4 weight, check to make sure your piece isn’t getting too big for the hoop. You may need to omit a round of solid Hdc – the mandala needs to stretch tightly over the hoop once finished.
Make Magic Ring – fig. 1
Rnd 1: Ch 2 (does not count as first hdc), 12 hdc into the
ring – fig.2. Join with a sl st in the first hdc of the round. Tighten
the ring to close – fig.3
Rnd 2: Sl st in the next
st, 1 sc in the next st. (1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 hdc) in the next st – fig. 4.
1 sc in the next st, sl st in ea of the next 2 sts – fig. 5. 1 sc in the
next st, hdc in the next st. (1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 hdc) in the next st. 1 hdc in the
next st, 1 sc in the next st. Sl st in the next st. – fig. 6
Rnd 3: LIMBS: Sl
st in the next 3 sts. – fig 7. Ch 2, 1 dc in the same st – fig 8.
Ch 2 – fig 9, 1 dc in the side of last dc. Ch 3 – fig 10. Slip
stitch back down the side of the dc’s. (1st limb made) – fig 11.
Sl st in the next st. *Ch 2 – fig 12, dc in the same st. (Ch 2, dc in
the side of last dc) twice – fig 13. Ch 3. Slip stitch back down the
sides of the dc’s, sl st in next st. – fig 14. (2nd limb
made). Repeat from * for 3rd limb – fig. 15. Ch 2, 1 dc in
the same st. Ch 2, 1 dc in the side of the last dc. Ch 3 – fig 16. Slip
stitch back down the side of the dc’s (4th limb made) – fig 17.
Sl st in the next 5 sts. – fig 18.
Rnd 3 Ct’d: ROOTS: *Ch 2, dc in the same st. – fig 19, Ch 3 – fig 20, slip st down the side of the dc – fig 21. Sl st in the next st. Rpt from * 3 more times. – figs 22-24. Sl st in the next 3 sts.
Rnd 4: Ch 5 – fig 25, sc in the ch-3 loop at the top of the 1st limb – fig 26. Ch 3 – fig 27, double treble (dtr) in the middle of the 2nd limb – fig 28–29. Ch 3 – fig 30, dtr in the middle of the 1st limb – fig 31. Ch 3, sc in the ch-3 loop at the top of the 2nd limb – fig 32. Ch 3, dtr in the middle of the 3rd limb – fig 33. Ch 3, dtr in the middle of the 2nd limb – figs 34-35. Ch 3, sc in the ch-3 loop at the top of the 3rd limb. Ch 3 – fig 36, dtr in the middle of the 4th limb – fig 40. Ch 3, dtr in the middle of the 3rd limb. Ch 3 – fig 41, sc in the ch-3 loop at the top of the 4th limb. Ch 5 – fig 42, sl st one st away from the base of the 4th limb. Sl st in the next 3 sts – fig 43.
Fig. 28 – YO 3 times
to begin dtr
Fig. 29 – insert hook
into the middle of 2nd limb, draw up a loop. (YO and draw through 2
loops) 4 times. Dtr made.
Rnd 5: Sl st up the ch sts on the side of the 1st
root. Sl st into the ch-3 loop at the top – fig 44. Ch 3, (counts as
first hdc + ch-1), hdc in the same space – fig 45. (Ch 3, 1 hdc in the
next ch-3 loop. Ch 1, 1 hdc in the same sp) 3 times. Ch 8 – fig 46-47.
(1 dc in the next ch-3 space between branches – fig 48, ch 2, 1 dc in
the same space) 9 times – fig 49. Ch 8. Sl st in the 2nd ch
of beginning ch-3 to join – fig 50.
Rnd 6 (Change color): With new yarn, join in the 5th
ch-2 space of previous round – positioning your hook in the middle of the
branches. Ch 2 – fig 51 (does not count as first hdc). 2 hdc in the same
space. (4 hdc in the next ch-2 space) 4 times – fig 52. 10 hdc in the next ch-8 space – fig 53.
(1 hdc in the ch-1 space of the next root. 3 hdc in the next ch-3 space- fig
54.) 3 times. 1 hdc in the next ch-1 space. 10 hdc in the next ch-8 space –
fig 55. (4 hdc in the next ch-2 space) 4 times. 3 hdc in the next space,
join with a sl st to the first hdc of the rnd – fig 56. – 70 sts
Rnd 7: Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc), 1 hdc in the same
st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 5 sts. 2 hdc in the next st – fig 57. (1 hdc
in ea of the next 6 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 9 times. Join with a sl st – fig
58.– 80 sts
Rnd 8: Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc), 1 hdc in the same
st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 6 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the
next 7 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) 9 times. Join with a sl st. – fig 59 –
Rnd 9: Ch 1 (does not count), 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in
ea of the next 7 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 8 sts, 2
hdc in the next st) 9 times. Join with a sl st. – fig 60 -– 100 sts
Rnd 10: Ch 4 (counts as first dc + ch 1). Dc in the same st.
(Sk next 2 sts, 1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc in the next st) rpt around. Join with a sl st
in the 3rd ch of beginning ch-4.
Rnd 11: Sl st to the next ch-2 space. Ch 5 (counts as first dc + ch 2). Dc in the same space. (1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc in the next space) around. Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beginning ch-4. – fig 61.
Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for attaching – fig
62. Weave in other ends.
Attaching & Finishing
Using the long tail left from Round 11, thread yarn on a
tapestry needle. Center your piece inside the hoop – fig 63.
Stitch the piece onto the hoop, making your needle pass
around the hoop and under the last row of the piece, between the dc’s (not the
chain spaces). Work the piece all the way around, adjusting tension and
tightening as needed to create an even appearance. The piece will be stretched!
– fig 64 – 66
To make sure my tension is even, I like to cut another long
strand of thread and go back over the piece in the opposite direction – fig 67.
This is optional.
With new yarn, attach to a ch-2 space on Rnd 11. Working by inserting the hook
under both the chain-2 space and under the hoop, YO and draw up a loop. Work 1
hdc around the hoop and the chain space. The entire border round works around the
hoop – this can be a little tricky at first, but be patient! It gets easier. In
the same chain space, work 1 dc, 1 tr, ch 2, 1 tr, 1 dc, and 1 hdc – fig. 68.
Sc between the next pair of dc’s – fig 69. *(1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 tr, ch 2, 1 tr,
1 dc, 1 hdc) in the next ch 2 space, 1 sc between the next 2 dc sts. Rpt from *
around. – figs 70-71
Join the final round with a slip stitch in the first hdc. Cut yarn and tie off, weave in all remaining ends. You could also add tassels, fringe, extra leaves (I have a good candidate, a free pattern for leaves), or charms to personalize your new Tree of Life wall hanging!
With my first full length video tutorial under my belt, I forged ahead this week to create Part 2 of the Lotus Mandala series! It went much faster this time, because I had a better idea of how to make the video to flow and therefore (frankly) procrastinated less 😉
Part 2 covers rounds 9-16, which contain some of the most technically difficult rounds and the ones that I get the most questions about – so hopefully it will prove useful.
I am planning on completing this series, creating video tutorials for the rest of the rounds of the Lotus Duster pattern including the sleeves and such, though that might not premier as quickly. I have some really exciting new releases coming soon that I need to finish first!
If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, hit the follow button on my blog and be sure to like and follow my Facebook Page as well ❤
And now, Part 2!
If you enjoyed this video, like and subscribe to my channel! Besides the Lotus Mandala series, there’s more on the way ❤
And I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone out there who has liked, commented, shared, purchased, and otherwise supported my art. I couldn’t do this without any of you, YOU ARE AWESOME and BEAUTIFUL!
Well, I’m excited to announce that my first full-length video tutorial is underway! Not that I haven’t made videos before, but this is the first time I’ve filmed with the intent of capturing a whole pattern on video. After many moons of wanting to do it, I’ve started the tutorial for the Lotus Mandala Duster design and I have finished Part 1 to share with you today!
I avoided video tutorials for a long time simply because they were a whole new thing that I had to learn. Also, I hate the sound of my own voice 😛 But because I really wanted to bring the Lotus Duster into the reach of people who can only crochet from videos, I bootstrapped up and began this new venture!
The goal of this tutorial is to cover the first 16 rounds of the Lotus Mandala. These first 16 rounds are the exact same instructions, whether you are doing the Lotus Duster or the Lotus Vest (two separate but sister patterns) and are perhaps the most challenging rounds, technically speaking, within the design. So even though the yarn used in the tutorial is for the Duster, you can follow the same instructions through Round 16 if you are working the vest 🙂
Part 1, which I am sharing today, consists of Rounds 1 – 8 of the Lotus Mandala. I do intend on finishing out the Duster in video tutorials in later parts, but we’ll cross that bridge eventually, probably.
So without further ado, here is the Lotus Mandala Video Tutorial Part 1! ❤ Directly below this paragraph you can find links to the patterns mentioned above as well as their related add-ons, frequently asked questions, and tutorial links from the video:
In not one but TWO of my recent projects I’ve come up against that ubiquitous trait of circular crochet: The Lean.
Crochet stitches, for the most part, tend to lean in the direction of the dominant hand – so if you’re a right-handed crocheter, your stitches will lean right, and if you are a lefty, they will lean left. When working back and forth in rows, this balances itself out… but when working circularly (and therefore not turning) the lean gets compounded and you end up with a spiral pinwheel of joins and increases.
Which can be quite pretty, but not if you are trying to keep the seam in one place, or use your first stitch as a marker for the center of a circle.
I was trying to do both! Turns out, there are a few interesting fixes for this problem. The best technique I found was from the very talented Wilma Westenberg, which uses a method of skipping the first stitch every second round – check out her awesome tutorial here.
I like this method, but I wanted something more tailored to working in flat circles. So I did some experimenting and came out with the following method, which I call the Switchback Join. Like Wilma’s method, it alternates rounds in the following way:
Rnd A: Create a normal hdc join by working a slip stitch in the first st, ch 1 (or 2 if you prefer – I did 1 for this type of join to reduce bulk) and hdc in the same stitch to begin next round. – This round will lean BACK (or toward the dominant hand) Rnd B: Join with a slip stitch, then skip one more stitch and add an extra at the end of the round to make up for it.
By alternating Rnd A (forward) and Rnd B (back), you create a switchback seam that balances itself and stays mostly centered.
The difference in my method is the way in which the first stitch of the round is skipped, and which stitch replaces that skipped one at the end. If you are interested, read on for the full photo tutorial for this method!
P.S- I also came across this very interesting method of “self-correcting” your crochet stitches in this brilliant tutorial series from Ira Rott. Mind blown! It doesn’t fully correct the slant of hdc seams, but it’s a seriously handy trick!
Switchback Join Tutorial
This tutorial works a flat circle in half double crochet, working non-continuously (meaning that we join at the end of every round). I will assume knowledge of how to make a flat circle – so I won’t be explaining the increases, etc. 🙂 If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Rnd 1: You can and probably should count this as the first round, meaning it will be an A or backward leaning round, although I have to admit that I didn’t – oops. That will set me off-center slightly but it won’t matter much. Make Ring, 8 hdc into the ring. Join with a slip stitch to the first hdc of the round.
Rnd 2: (A – backward leaning round) Ch 1 to begin the rnd (does not count as first hdc). 2 hdc in each st around. Join with a loose slip stitch. Remove your hook from the loop and insert into the Back Loop Only of the next crochet stitch. Draw the free loop through this back loop to complete the join.
Here’s the step-by-step:
Rnd 3 (B – Forward Rnd): Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc) to begin the next FORWARD leaning round. Now you have started the round off one stitch forward than you would have with a regular join. This offsets the backward balance of the stitches of the round below. The stitch we have skipped is replaced by the loops of the loose slip stitch join later. 1 hdc in the same stitch. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in the next st, 2 hdc in the next st) around. Work the last increase in the slip stitch of the previous round’s join. Join with a regular slip stitch join.
Once again, let’s take that step by step:
Rnd 4 (A – Backward Rnd): Ch 1 to begin the round (does not count as first st). 1 hdc in the same stitch, 1 hdc in the next st, 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in ea of the next 2 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) around. Join with a loose slip stitch, drop your loop and insert hook into the back loop of the next st. Pull dropped loop through to begin next round.
Here’s Rnd 4 step by step through to the forward join for the next round:
Rnd 5 (B – Forward Rnd): Ch 1 to begin (does not count as first hdc). Hdc in the same stitch and in ea of the next 2 sts. 2 hdc in the next st. (1 hdc in the next 3 sts, 2 hdc in the next st) around. Place final increase in the slip stitch of previous join. Slip stitch normally to join.
Getting the swing of it yet? 🙂
Continue to alternate rounds as A/Backward and B/Foward to keep your seam balanced throughout the circle!
This method has the effect of also offsetting your increases a little, which will disrupt their slant and keep them from spiraling too!
If you’re working increases for every round, you can easily tell whether you are on a forward round or a backward round by where the increases are placed – if they are centered on the last round’s increase, you are working a Backward round. If they are placed just to the left or right of the previous round’s increase, you’re working a forward round.
I hope this little joining trick helps and inspires you – and if you have no idea what to use it on, fear not- I have a couple patterns in the works that will be utilizing the Switchback Join ❤ Thanks for visiting and stay tuned!
Last summer I started working on the Daydreamer Poncho design, which I imagined as a fun lightweight accessory which would be good for using up spare bits of yarn and playing with color. The final product, or at least semi-final, came out great and I enjoyed the actual crocheting of the design as well, but I didn’t use scraps because I wanted to create a more streamlined product.
Okay, well, not mistake. I like the original, but I still felt it the design wanted to be more colorful and less structured. So I did another version recently, using a bunch of little scrap yarn balls and allowing myself to really play with color.
As I was making this piece, it occurred to me that it would also make a pretty cute bohemian skirt! Since it has a drawstring at the collar (or in this case, the waist) it was so easy to convert 😀 I left off the fringe for this one, and once I finished I just couldn’t wait to get it pictured.
So, I have updated the pattern with this new style! The pattern update isn’t much more than new pictures (I altered two other little rounds, to make it looser at the shoulders/hips) but I do think it’s a little more creatively inspiring. I hope that either way you love making it! ❤