Lotus Mandala Video Tutorial Part 2

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 😉

If you missed the release of Part 1, check it out here.

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!

❤ ❤ ❤

-MF

Lotus Mandala Video Tutorial Part 1

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.

UPDATE: Part 2 with Rounds 9-16 is now available!

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:

Lotus Mandala Duster
Lotus Mandala Vest
Lotus Duster Hood
Lotus Mandala Vest Cardigan Sleeves
Lotus Mandala Vest FAQ
Lotus Duster FAQ

Chain and Stitch Join Tutorial

Everything You Need to Know to Start Recycling Sweater Yarn

I hope you enjoyed this video and if you have feedback or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments! ❤

Happy Stitching,

MF

Switchback Join Tutorial

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:

(F)Rnd : 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)
(B) Rnd: 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 a Forward (F) round and Backward (B) round, 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!

Update 11/21/19: There is now a video demo for this tutorial! Check it out on Youtube

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.

Pull up a loop
Draw through to create a slip stitch join.

Rnd 2: (B – 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:

Ch 1 to begin the round
2 hdc in the same stitch and in ea stitch around
Rnd 2 completed before the join
Leaving the loop on your hook loose, insert hook into the first hdc of the round
Make a slip stitch…
Then remove your hook and insert into the back loop of the next hdc stitch…
Then catch the loose loop with your hook and draw it through the back loop of the stitch. From this stitch you will begin the next round, with the slip stitch loop (highlighted in teal) open to act as the last stitch of the round.

(F) Rnd 3: 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:

Ch 1 to begin the next round (A – Forward)
Insert hook into BOTH loops of the same stitch. The front loop may be tight, since you have already pulled on the back loop some.
Hdc in the same stitch
Work around, placing your last increase in the slip stitch of the previous join (highlighted in teal)
Join with a regular slip stitch join.

(B) Rnd 4: 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:

Ch 1 to start
Work around as normal
Work a loose slip stitch…
Insert loopless hook into the back loop of next stitch….
Catch the dropped loop and pull through.

(F) Rnd 5: 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? 🙂

Hdc in same stitch
Place final increase in slip stitch of previous join

Continue to alternate rounds as B/Backward and F/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 few patterns available that utilize the Switchback Join!

Tree of Life Mandala – available for FREE here

The Hedge Witch Hat also uses this join! FREE crochet pattern available here.

-MF

P.S – for more crochet joining trickery, check out my Chain and Stitch Join Tutorial!

Daydreamer Poncho Revamp

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.

Mistake.

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! ❤

Get the PDF for the Daydreamer Poncho in my Ravelry Store or Etsy Shop, or read the original info on this design on my blog.

This design uses a lot of Chain and Stitch joins, which are a great crochet trick to have in your skill box – you can find a FREE tutorial for that technique right here on my blog as well!

As always ,thank you for visiting my blog and supporting my art! ❤ Much love,

MF