Waistcoat Stitch Tutorial

Today I’m sharing a tutorial for the Waistcoat Stitch, aka the Knit Stitch! Despite the name, this stitch is a crochet stitch that’s actually very simple – it’s basically just single crochet – but creates a distinctive structure that’s perfect for tightly formed fabric with a smooth surface texture. Plus, it looks a bit like knitting πŸ™‚

Waistcoat Stitch (abbreviated to “WS” or “ws”) is worked in the round to achieve the smooth knit-look texture. You can work this stitch back and forth, but because the WS relies on the Right Side to create the effect, back-and-forth WS will not look smooth and pretty like in-the-round will. The firm texture, the neat look of the surface, and the reliance on working in rounds makes this a perfect stitch for hats!

In fact, I already have one hat pattern written in the Waistcoat Stitch, available both for free on my blog and purchasable as a portable, ad-free PDF – that’s the Vintage Derby Hat, shown above & below.

And I have yet another pointy hat being developed right this very minute, ready to be published soon, which also utilizes this awesome technique – so I’m doing a tutorial here today in preparation which includes a video demo – keep scrolling for the free instructions! ❀

Waistcoat Stitch Tutorial

So how do we work this amazing little stitch? As I mentioned, the WS is basically a single crochet, so you don’t have to learn any fancy yarnwork to create it. The secret to this stitch is all in where you insert your hook to draw up the first loop for your crochet stitch.

In the first round, you’ll be working traditional single crochet stitches into your ring or your round of chains (remember, we don’t work this back and forth but in rounds instead).

Once you have established a round in single crochet, the next round will work single crochet stitches but through the vertical bars of the stitch below, not through the top two loops as normal.

Highlighted here are the top two loops (first image above) where you would normally insert your hook to draw up the first loop for your stitch. In the second image above, I have highlighted the vertical bars of the crochet stitch below, which form a bit of a “V”. You’ll be inserting your hook in between these two bars from the front and emerging through the body of the stitch to the back of the work.

Pictured Above: Inserting the hook through the middle of the highlighted vertical bars of the stitch below

At the back of the work, the vertical bars of a single crochet stitch form an upside-down “V” shape. Your hook will emerge between these vertical bars, at the point indicated by the white dot.

Pictured Above: The hook emerging at the back of the work, between the vertical bars. The stitch beside it is highlighted to show the configuration of the bars when viewed from the back, with the white dot indicating where the hook should emerge.

From there, draw up a loop. YO and draw through two loops as normal to complete one Waistcoat Stitch. Your stitch will now emerge from the center of the stitch below, coming out from the vertical V shape.

Insert your hook again through the V of the next stitch, then draw up a loop and complete the single crochet as normal. Voila! You are working waistcoat stitch!

After a few rounds of this stitch, the texture starts to become very smooth and even, with the v-shapes mimicking the loops of knitting but with a firmer, thicker fabric perfect for structured projects.

Increasing and decreasing in Waistcoat Stitch are handled the exact same way as with single crochet, but again – inserting that hook in between the vertical bars instead of the top loops. So to increase, simply work two Waistcoat stitches in the next vertical-bar “V”, so that you have an extra stitch in the same place. To decrease, work a single crochet 2 together (sc2tog) but draw up your first two loops from between the vertical-bar “V”s πŸ™‚

I’ve created this video tutorial to help you navigate the basics of this stitch – I didn’t get quite the video quality I wanted for this, but I’m working on upgrading some of my technologies for doing better videos (and dealing with some malfunctions) so stay tuned and thanks for your patience πŸ™‚

Waistcoat Stitch Video Tutorial

As I mentioned (a lot) just love this stitch because it’s particular qualities are so good for hats! Firm fabric and a neatly smooth textured surface – it’s just perfect ❀ You can also substitute this stitch for regular single crochet in many simple hat patterns – I might try it on my Mori Girl Beret pattern next!

Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for my newest hat pattern, to be released in just a few days!
-MF

Kismet Halter Top

My little Kismet Square motif has had an eventful life so far! I designed this circle-to-square motif a couple years ago, planning on using it for an ambitious new design which STILL hasn’t seen the light of day. Okay so, I’m still working on that one and it will eventually become something really great, but it is like… taking forever. Which I’ve learned simply happens sometimes, so you just have to roll with it.

In the meantime, I’ve found the main Kismet motif really useful for inspiring other patterns – including my newest FREE halter top design which premiers right here, right now!

The Kismet Halter Top is here on this blog post for anyone who wants to enjoy it, but is also available in my Ravelry Store and Etsy Shop as a downloadable, printable, ad-free PDF πŸ™‚ Read all the details of this latest design below or keep scrolling for the FREE crochet pattern instructions!

Oh, and the other project that features the Kismet motif is the Kismet Poncho, shown below, also free or purchasable as a premium pattern – OH and a FULL video tutorial version exists, too! ❀ Yay!

Kismet Halter Top

The Kismet Halter top draws aspects from many of my other favorite halter top designs – a sturdy, wide construction around the ribcage for good coverage and good support, criss-cross lacing ties that don’t pressure the neck, and an eye-catching central mandala that looks perfect layered under tanks and low-cut tees. The optional Mehndi Border across the bottom can add extra coverage and turn up the festival fanciness factor!

The instructions for this top are in good written detail for the stitches and construction, while also being flexible enough to customize size to get the perfect fit. Cup sizes are written for A cup through DD cup and size suggestions for customizing the band portion go from X-Small – to 2X-Large πŸ™‚ 75+ tutorial photos are included with detailed references and clear steps connected to the written instructions.

The top is made with #4 weight 100% cotton for a quick project that will keep you cool and comfortable all summer – taken to the beach, to festivals, out dancing, or anywhere you are following your kismet ❀

The following free pattern appears here exactly as in the PDF version, if you like it consider supporting my art by buying the PDF version or sampling my other patterns in the Ravelry Store and Etsy Shop! If you don’t need or want the PDF file, consider leaving a tip in my Tip Jar? Thank you for your support and please let me know what you think πŸ™‚

Materials:

#4 weight cotton yarn (I used I Love This Cotton! – 3.5 oz/ 100 g, 180 yds, 100% cotton)
1 skein main color for Small-Med/A-C, 2 skeins main color for Lg-XL/D-DD , ~100 yds each for 2 accent colors
3.50 mm hook (or size needed to obtain gauge)
Stitch markers, scissors, tapestry needle.

Gauge: 4 sts & 3 rows = 1” in hdc
4 sts & 5 rows = 1” in sc
4 sts & 2.5 rows = 1” in dc

Sizes:
A – DD Cup sizes. Sizing for band (circumference around the ribcage) is written flexibly for customizable sizes.
Finished Measurements For Individual Cups (approximate, taken with cup flattened):
Cup Size A:  5.5” length from top to bottom (shown below), 4” width across bottom
Size B: 6.5” length, 5” width
Size C: 7” length, 6.5” width
Size D: 7” length, 7.5” width
Size DD: 7.5” length, 8.5” width

Stitches & Abbreviations:
Chain (ch)
Double crochet (dc)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Half Double Crochet (hdc)
Single Crochet (sc)
Treble (tr)

Skip (sk)
Round (rnd)
Space (sp)
Figure (fig)
Yarn Over (YO)

Special Techniques

Magic Ring – An adjustable loop for starting circular pieces – you can see a full video demo on my YouTube Channel here or view the step-by-step written tutorial here.
Chain and Stitch Join – special way of closing an openwork round by using a stitch to substitute the last few chain stitches. Explained in pattern but for a full tutorial see my blog post here.
Half Double Crochet 2 Together (hdc2tog) – a half double crochet decrease. Steps explained in pattern.
PomPom Stitch (for optional bottom border) – a special cluster of stitches that form a little ball or pompom. Full tutorial is available in written form here
Additionally, I have a PomPom Stitch tutorial video on my YouTube channel here
Double Crochet 3 Together (dc3tog) – part of a cluster stitch that forms the pompom. Steps detailed in PomPom Stitch tutorial.

Notes:
Beginning chain stitches do not count as the first st of the row.
Beginning chain sts are given as 1 chain stitch for sc, 1 chain st for hdc, 2 ch sts for dc – these are one less than the typical amount because they work better for my gauge for this project, however, if those are too tight please feel free to add an extra chain to the beginning chain as needed.

Instructions

Center Motif:

With first accent color, make magic ring.

Rnd 1: Ch 3 (does not count as first dc – fig 1), 12 dc into the ring – fig 2. Pull loose yarn end to tighten the ring, slip stitch in the first dc to join – fig 3. – 12 dc

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

Rnd 2: Ch 5 (counts as first dc + ch 2). (1 dc in the next st, ch 2) 11 times. Join with a sl st in the 3rd ch of beginning ch-5 – fig 4. – 12 dc, 12 ch-2 spaces

Fig. 4

Rnd 3: In the next ch space work 1 hdc, 1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc, 1 hdc – fig 5. Sl st in the next dc – fig 6. (In the next ch sp work 1 hdc, 1 dc, ch 2, 1 dc, 1 hdc. Sl st in the next dc) 11 times. Cut yarn and tie off if changing colors. – fig 7. – 12 shells

Fig. 5

Fig. 6

Fig. 7 – your motif may ruffle some at the end of this round. To help it lie flat, pull out the ends of the shells and press the motif. Don’t worry if it’s still a little curly, it will straighten out in the following rounds.

Rnd 4: Join 2nd accent color at the top of any ch space of the previous round (if not changing colors, simply slip stitch to the next ch sp). 1 sc in the same sp – fig 8. Ch 3, sc in the same space, ch 3. (1 sc in the next ch-1 space, ch 3, 1 sc in the same space, ch 3) 10 times – fig 9. 1 sc in the next ch-1 space, ch 3, 1 sc in the same space. Ch 1, work 1 hdc in the first sc of the round. This closes the last chain space by using a half-double crochet stitch instead of chain stitches so that your hook is positioned in the middle of a ch-3 sized space to begin the next round – figs 10-11. – 24 ch-3 spaces, 24 sc.

Fig. 8

Fig. 9

Fig. 10

Fig. 11 – the final chain space is closed by working a hdc which leaves your hook positioned in a ch-3 sized space to begin the next round.

Rnd 5: Ch 3 (does not count as first dc) – fig 12. 2 dc in the side of the last hdc worked at the close of Rnd 4, working underneath the side of the stitch as if it were a chain space – fig 13. Ch 1, sc in the next ch-3 space, ch 1 – fig 14. (2 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 2. 2 dc in the same space, ch 1. 1 sc in the next ch-3 space, ch 1) 11 times – fig 15. 2 dc in the last ch-3 space, working next to the initial 2 dc. Ch 2, join with a sl st in the first dc of the round – fig 16. – 12 shells

Cut yarn and tie off – center motif should measure about 5.5” in diameter – fig 17. If motif is still curly, stretch out the points of the shells again and press flat. Some curl or ruffle will likely remain, this will also get stretched out later in the pattern. In some cases, 100% cotton yarn will be very thick and you may have extreme ruffling problems – in this case, you can skip the ch-1 in between the dc shells and the single crochets in Rnd 5 to reduce bulk.

Proceed to Cups instructions.

Fig. 12

Fig. 13

Fig. 14

Fig. 15

Fig. 16

 Fig. 17 – Motif should measure about 5.5” in diameter.

Once finished, make 2 bikini cups according to your cup size:

Cups: Size A

Finished measurements: 5.5” from top to bottom (show above), 4.5” width across flat side.

Ch 16 (counts as first 15 chain stitches  + 1 to turn, final ch st does not count as first st)

Foundation Row: Turn, work 1 sc in each of the next 15 ch sts. – 15 sc

Row 1: Ch 1 (does not count as first sc, see Notes), turn. 1 sc in the same st. 1 sc in ea of the next 14 sts. In the side of the sc on the end, work (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc). Rotate to work down the other side of the foundation row, inserting hook into the bottom loop of the chain stitches. 1 sc in ea of the next 15 sts. – 32 sc, 16 on ea side of the ch-1 space (ch-1 space not included in the end-of-row stitch counts)

Row 2: Ch 1, turn. 1 sc in the same st. 1 sc in ea of the next 15 sts. (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) in the next ch-1 space. 1 sc in ea of the next 16 sc. – 34 sc, 17 on ea side of ch-1 space.

Row 3: Ch 1, turn. 1 sc in the same st. 1 sc in ea of the next 16 sts. (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 sc in ea of the next 17 sc. – 36 sc, 18 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 4: Ch 1, turn. 1 sc in the same st. 1 sc in ea of the next 17 sts. (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 sc in ea of the next 18 sc. – 38 sc, 19 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 5: Ch 1, turn. 1 sc in the same st. 1 sc in ea of the next 18 sts. (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 sc in ea of the next 19 sc. – 40 sc, 20 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 6:  Ch 1, turn. 1 sc in the same st. 1 sc in ea of the next 19 sts. (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 sc in ea of the next 20 sc. – 42 sc, 21 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 7: Ch 1, turn. 1 sc in the same st. 1 sc in ea of the next 20 sts. (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 sc in ea of the next 21 sc. – 44 sc, 22 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 8: Ch 1, turn. 1 sc in the same st. 1 sc in ea of the next 21 sts. (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 sc in ea of the next 22 sc. – 46 sc, 23 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Cut yarn and tie off. Repeat for 2nd cup, leaving main color yarn attached after 2nd cup is complete. Proceed to β€œConstruction”

Cups: Size B

Finished measurements: 6.5” from top to bottom (shown above), 5” width across flat side (shown below)

Ch 16 (counts as first 15 ch stitches + 1 to turn, final ch does not count as first st).

Foundation Row: Turn, 1 sc in ea of the next 15 ch sts. – 15 sc

Row 1: Ch 1, turn. 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 14 sts. (2 hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc) in the side of the ch 1 on the end. Rotate to work down the other side of the row, inserting hook into the bottom loop of the foundation chain stitches. 1 hdc in ea of the next 15 sts. – 34 hdc, 17 hdc on ea side of the ch-1 space (Ch-1 space not included in the end-of-row stitch counts)

Row 2: Ch 1, turn. 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 16 sts. (2 hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 hdc in ea of the next 17 sts. – 38 hdc, 19 hdc on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 3: Ch 1, turn. 1 hdc in the same st, 1 hdc in ea of the next 18 sts. (2 hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 hdc in ea of the next 19 sts. – 42 hdc, 21 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 4: Ch 1, turn. 1 hdc in the same st.  1 hdc in ea of the next 20 sts. (2 hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 hdc in ea of the next 21 sts. – 46 hdc, 23 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 5: Ch 1, turn. 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 22 sts. (2 hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 hdc in ea of the next 23 sts. – 50 hdc, 25 on ea side of the next ch-1 sp.

Row 6: Ch 1, turn. 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea of the next 24 sts. (2 hdc, ch 1, 2 hdc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 hdc in ea of the next 25 sts. – 54 hdc, 27 on ea side of the next ch-1 sp.

Cut yarn and tie off. Repeat for 2nd cup, leaving main color yarn attached after 2nd cup is complete. Proceed to β€œConstruction”

Cups: Size C

Finished measurements: 7” from top to bottom (above), 6.5” width across flat side (below)

Ch 16 (counts as first 15 chain stitches  + 1 to turn, final 2 ch sts do not count as first st)

Foundation Row: Turn, work 1 hdc in each of the next 15 ch sts. – 15 hdc

Row 1: Ch 2 (does not count as first dc, see Notes), turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 14 sts. In the side of the hdc on the end, work (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc). Rotate to work down the other side of the foundation row, inserting hook into the bottom loop of the chain stitches. 1 dc in ea of the next 15 sts. – 34 dc, 17 on ea side of the ch-1 space (ch-1 space not included in the end-of-row stitch counts)

Row 2: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 16 sts. (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 dc in ea of the next 17 sts. – 38 dc, 19 on ea side of the ch-1 space.

Row 3: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 18 sts. (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 dc in ea of the next 19 sts. – 42 dc, 21 on ea side of the ch-1 sp

Row 4: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 20 sts. (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 dc in ea of the next 21 sts. – 46 dc, 23 on ea side of the ch-1 sp

Row 5: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 22 sts. (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 dc in ea of the next 23 sts. – 50 dc, 25 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 6: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 24 sts. (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 dc in ea of the next 25 sts. – 54 dc, 27 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Cut yarn and tie off. Repeat for 2nd cup, leaving main color yarn attached after 2nd cup is complete. Proceed to β€œConstruction”

Cups: Sizes D-DD

D-DD cups follow the same instructions given below, with DD sizes adding extra rows at the end.

Finished measurements, D Cup: 7” from top to bottom (above), 7.5” width across flat side

Finished Measurements, DD cup: 7.5” from top to bottom, 8.5” width across flat side

Ch 19 (counts as first 18 chain stitches  + 1 to turn, final ch sts do not count as first st)

Foundation Row: Turn, work 1 sc in each of the next 18 ch sts. – 18 sc

Row 1: Ch 2 (does not count as first dc, see Notes), turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 17 sts. In the side of the ch st on the end, work (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc). Rotate to work down the other side of the foundation row, inserting hook into the bottom loop of the chain stitches. 1 dc in ea of the next 18 sts. – 38 dc, 19 on ea side of the ch-1 space (ch-1 space not included in the end-of-row stitch counts)

Row 2: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 18 sts. (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in the next ch-1 space. 1 dc in ea of the next 19 sts. – 40 dc, 20 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 3: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 19 sts. (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 dc in ea of the next 20 sts. – 42 dc, 21 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 4: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 20 sts. (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 dc in ea of the next 21 sts. – 44 dc, 22 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 5: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 21 sts. (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 dc in ea of the next 22 sts. – 46 dc, 23 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 6: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 22 sts. (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 dc in ea of the next 23 sts. – 48 dc, 24 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 7: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 23 sts. (1 dc, ch 1 1 dc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 dc in ea of the next 24 sts. – 50 dc, 25 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 8: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 24 sts. (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 dc in ea of the next 25 sts. – 52 dc, 26 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Cut yarn and tie off for D cup sizes. Repeat for 2nd cup, leaving main color yarn attached after 2nd cup is complete.

For DD sizes, continue for following rows:

Row 9: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 25 sts. (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 dc in ea of the next 26 sts. – 54 dc, 27 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Row 10: Ch 2, turn. 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 26 sts. (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc) in the next ch-1 sp. 1 dc in ea of the next 27 sts. – 56 dc, 28 on ea side of the ch-1 sp.

Cut yarn and tie off. Repeat for 2nd cup, leaving main color yarn attached after 2nd cup is complete. Proceed to β€œConstruction”

Construction:

Completed pieces so far.

Connecting the Motif & Cups:

With the two cups complete, position the 2nd cup (with the yarn still attached), so that the attached yarn is between the motif and the cup on the side of your crocheting hand – as shown in fig. 18, below-

 Fig. 18 -This configuration allows you to work back and forth between the cups and the motif to connect them.

Chain 3. Sc in any ch-2 space of the shells of the motif – fig 19. Ch 2. Skip 5 stitches on the last row of the cup, sc in the next st – fig 20.

Fig. 19

Fig. 20

*Ch 2. 1 sc in the next ch-2 space on the motif. Ch 2, skip 5 sts on the edge of the cup, 1 sc in the next st on the cup – fig 21. Repeat from * once more.

There should now be 3 shell spaces attached along the cup side, with 5 stitches between each sc attachment on the cup, and gap of remaining stitches left at the end of the cup side before the central ch-1 space of the cup peak.

How many sts you have left on the cup before the ch-1 space depends on size – 4 for A, 8 for B, 8 for C, 7 for D, 9 for DD.

Fig. 21

The connection now continues onto the second cup:

Ch 2, 1 sc in the next ch-2 space on the motif – fig 22. Count an equal amount of stitches away from the ch-1 central space on the opposite cup as you had left on the first cup (4 for A, 8 for B, 8 for C, 7 for D, 9 for DD) , mark the next stitch. Ch 2 and work 1 sc into the marked stitch. Ch 2, 1 sc in the next shell.

Fig. 22

*Ch 2, skip 5 stitches on the cup, 1 sc in the next st. Ch 2, 1 sc in the next shell of the motif.

Repeat from * once more.

Ch 2, skip 5 stitches on the cup, sc in the next st (the final stitch on the row of the cup side) – fig 23.

Fig. 23

Now the entire piece will be rotated to add chains across the rest of the central motif – fig 24.

(Ch 6 – fig 24, 1 sc in the next shell) 5 times. Ch 6, 1 sc in the side of the outermost stitch of the side of the cup – figs 25-26.

Fig. 24

Fig. 25

Fig. 26

Edges

To continue, a sc edging will be worked into the side of the cup.

In single crochet down the side of the rows on this edge of the cup, work 1 sc per row side for Cup Size A (total 17), 2 sc per row side for cup sizes B-C (total 26 for B, 26 for C), and 2-3 sc per row side for sizes D-DD (total 34 sc for D at 2 per side, 42 for DD at 2 per side) – fig 27.

Depending on gauge, you may want to work 3 sc per row side for cups worked in dc – you can experiment and decide which looks best as the rest of the instructions will be flexible for this area of the design.

Fig. 27

At the edge of the cup, ch 1 and rotate the piece to work along what is now the β€œbottom” portion of the halter top – fig 28. 1 sc in each stitch until reaching the ch-1 space at the peak of the cup. 1 sc in the ch-1 space. 1 sc in the next st – fig 29.

Fig. 28

Fig. 29

Ch 1 for A-C sizes. Ch 2 for D-DD sizes. Skip to next cup, 1 sc in the st right before the ch-1 space. 1 sc in the next ch-1 space. Continue along the bottom edge of the next cup by working 1 sc in each st until the edge – fig 30.

Fig. 30

Ch 1, rotate to begin working along the edge of the cup – fig 31. 1-3 sc in the side of each row according to your size the same way as you worked with the other cup edge, until reaching the top corner – fig 32. Slip stitch in the top corner stitch to join, cut yarn and tie off.

Fig. 31

Fig. 32

Fig. 33

Reattach main yarn at the bottom corner of the halter top so that you are ready to work across the length of the bottom again.

Bottom:

Row 1: Ch 1 (does not count as first sc), 1 sc in each st until 3 stitches from the chain that runs across the middle of the two cups – fig 34.

Fig. 34

Ch 4 – 5 (4 for smaller sizes, 5 for larger), skip the next 3 stitches, the chains, and the 3 sts on the opposite side – fig 35. 1 sc in the next st and in ea remaining stitch across the bottom length.

Fig. 35

Row 2: Ch 1, turn. 1 sc in the same st and in each stitch across the bottom of the first half, working 4-5 sc in the chain space, then working 1 sc in each st across the bottom of the second half – fig 36.

Fig. 36

Row 3: Ch 1, turn. 1 sc in ea st across.

Row 4: Ch 1, turn. 1 sc in ea st across – fig 37.

Fig. 37

Now there should be 3 rows total of single crochet after the 2nd chain space between the cups (not counting the row containing the chain space). To finish the bottom edge, you can add as much hdc as you like by working the following:

Row 5: Ch 1 (does not count as first hdc), 1 hdc in the same st. 1 hdc in ea stitch across – fig 38.  

Work an amount of rows repeating Row 5 so that the top is the length you like. I suggest the following amounts just to get started, then add more or less if you like:
XS: 3 rows, Small: 4 rows, Med-Large: 5 rows, XL-2XL: 6 rows. Do not tie off. Proceed to Side Panel instructions.

Fig. 38

Side Panels

Rotate the piece so that you are preparing to work up the side of the halter toward the motif – fig 39.

Row 1: Ch 1, 1 hdc in the side of ea row just worked along the bottom of the halter for all rows worked. For example, a total of bottom rows equaling 7 (4 sc rows, 3 hdc rows) would be 7 sc.

Fig. 39

Row 1 Ct’d: Working in the sc stitches up the side of the cup, 1 hdc in ea st until this portion covers 5 total rows of the cup – fig. 40. This will be approximately 5 more stitches for A cups, 10 more stitches for B and C cups, and 10-15 more stitches for D and DD cups (depending on how many sc’s per row end you worked).

This will extend the side panel to cover about 1/3rd of the cup length. Smaller sizes may go up to almost Β½ the cup length if more coverage is needed.

The total width of these side panels can also be modified here to suit taste or desired fit – just add or remove stitches to alter the width of the side panel.

Fig. 40

Row 2: Ch 1, turn. 1 hdc in the same st, 1 hdc in ea st across.

Repeat for as many rows as you like to get enough length to reach around your ribcage.

Use the following as a guide & customize number of rows to suit your personal fit:
X-Small: 10 rows, Small: 12 rows, Med: 15, Lg: 18, XL: 21, 2XL: 23

These amounts are just a starting point, as you can do as many or as few rows as you need here.

 Cut yarn and tie off.

Attach yarn to the opposite corner and work the same amount of stitches up the side to start the second side panel. Repeat the same amount of rows as you did before to complete second side panel. Proceed to Trim & Straps Instructions.

Trim & Straps

Reattach yarn at the top corner of the panel on the side of your hook hand, Right Side of the piece facing (as shown below). Depending on how many rows on your side panel, you may finish in this spot, in which case you wouldn’t have to cut & rejoin the yarn.

Rejoined yarn at the top corner of the side panel on my hook hand side (the right side). Right Side facing.

Step 1: Ch 1, 1 sc in each st of the sides of the side panel rows. As before, you can add more or less to loosen or tighten the stitching depending on tension and preference – fig 41

Step 2: Now working in the side of the cup, 1 Sc in ea stitch up the side of the cup – fig 42 – until reaching the ch-6 space that connects the motif to the top.

Fig. 41

Fig. 42

Step 3: (6 sc in the next ch-6 space, 1 sc in the next sc) 2 times – fig 43.

Fig. 43

Step 4 (First strap) Here we add the straps that cross in the back and then weave back and forth through the eyelets. We’ll need plenty of length to weave back and forth – I use 200 for a smalls-mediums.  200-250 is usually enough, but it also depends on how long your side panels are. If you’re not sure, err on the side of extra length as you can always wrap the ties more to get the out of the way. If they are too short, you either have to frog and try again or attach yarn at the end and lengthen by chaining and slip stitching back down the extra length. πŸ˜‰

Ch 200-250 – fig 44.

Slip stitch in each ch stitch all the way back down the chain. Sc in the same stitch as last sc fig 45.

Fig. 44

Fig. 45

Step 5: (6 sc in the next ch-6 space, 1 sc in the next sc) 2 times.

Step 6 (Second strap) Ch 200-250 – fig 46. Slip stitch back down, 1 sc in the same stitch as last sc.

Fig. 46

Step 7: (6 sc in the next ch-6 space, 1 sc in the next sc) 2 times – fig 47.

Fig. 47

Step 8: 1 sc in ea st down the side of the next cup.

Step 9: 1 sc in ea st on the side of the panel rows – matching the number you got for the other side – fig 48.

Fig. 48

Step 10: Ch 3, rotate to work down the edge of the panel. Sk next st, 1 hdc in the next st. 1 hdc in each of the next 4-5 sts*.

(Ch 1, sk next st, 1 hdc in ea of the next 4-5 sts) rpt across the end of the side panel – fig 49. This creates the eyelets necessary to weave the straps back and forth.

*Depending on the exact number of stitches in your side panel, your eyelet number might be different. Just create as many repeats so that the skipped stitches are even across the panel. You can vary the number of stitches between eyelets to help balance the spacing.

Fig. 49

Step 11: At the end of the row, rotate to work across the bottom of the halter top. Ch 3, 1 sc in each row end stitch across the bottom of the side panel, in each stitch across the bottom of the halter, and in each row end across the other side panel. – fig 50.

Fig. 50

Step 12: Ch 3, 1 hdc in the same st. Working across the top row of the side panel, create the (4-5 hdc, ch 1, sk next st) repeats from the other side to create a matching eyelet row. At the final stitch, ch 3 and slip stitch in the first stitch of the strap edging round – fig 51.

Cute yarn and tie off.

Fig. 51

Mehndi Border (Optional)

The Mehndi Border creates a cute textural decoration of petals and pompoms across the bottom of the halter. This is a great option if you are wearing your halter alone as a crop top and want a little more coverage – it does make it a bit bulky for layering though.

This feature originally appeared in another halter design of mine, the Mehndi Halter Top!

Finished Mehndi Border (shown above)

Row 1: With RS facing, join coordinating color yarn into the bottom edge – fig 52 – and ch 3. The first ch 3 counts as the first dc. (Ch 1, sk the next st, dc in the next st) across to the other edge of the bottom – figs 53-54.

Fig. 52

Fig. 53

Fig. 54

Row 2: Ch 6, turn – fig 55, sk next 4 sts, sl st in the next st – fig 56. (Ch 6, sk next 4 sts, sl st in the next st) across – figs 57-58.

Fig. 55

Fig. 56

Fig. 57

Fig. 58

Row 3: Turn without chaining. 2 hdc in the last ch-6 loop of the previous row – figs 59-60. Work 2 dc, 3 tr, 2 dc in the same loop. 1 hdc in the same space – fig 61. YO, draw up a loop in the same ch-6 space. YO, draw up a loop in the next ch-6 space – fig 62. YO and draw through all 5 lps on the hook – 1 hdc2tog over 2 ch-6 spaces – fig 63. (1 hdc, 2 dc, 3 tr, 2 dc, 1 hdc, 1 hdc2tog over the next 2 spaces) in ea ch-6 space across, forming the β€œpetals” of the border design. 1 hdc, 2 dc, 3 tr, 2 dc, 2 hdc in the last ch-6 space – fig 64. Sl  st in the side of the last dc of the first row.

Fig. 59

Fig. 60

Fig. 61

Fig. 62

Fig. 63

Fig. 64

Cut yarn and tie off if changing to 2nd accent color. If not, then turn without chaining to begin Row 4.

The petals will likely be slanted or curly from working – take the middle tr stitch and stretch them until evenly placed on the spaces and straightened – fig 65.

Fig. 65

Row 4: Turn, join new color at the middle tr st of the first petal. If using same color, sl st to that stitch. Ch 7 ( counts as ch-5 + first 2 ch of pompom st) – fig 66. *Dc3tog  in the 2nd ch from the hook. Ch 2, Dc3tog in the top of the previous cluster. Slip stitch in the base of the FIRST cluster, bringing the two dc clusters together to form two halves of a ball* – from * to * is your pompom stitch (see tutorial, Pg. 22). Ch 5, sl st in the 2nd treble of the next petal – fig 67.  (Ch 7, pom pom stitch, ch 5, sl st in the 2nd tr of the next petal) repeat across – fig 68.

Fig. 66

Fig. 67

Fig. 68

Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in all ends.

To Wear

Weave in all remaining ends. The two long ties at the top of the motif cross and/or tie at the neck, then cross over again to lace down the eyelets of the side panels.

I hope you have as much fun making & wearing this top as I did designing it! I love the flattering way the border flares out from the natural waist, which makes it so versatile as a crop top for higher waisted skirts and pants – while you can also leave off the border entirely for a perfect layering bralette πŸ™‚

-MF

Pom Pom Stitch Tutorial

The Pom Pom Stitch is one of the first crochet textural details I learned, and I was so excited to discover it – easy, cute, and almost perfectly round, the pom pom bobble is made of two double crochet clusters stacked together and can be inserted into projects for beautiful accents and trims.

Crochet really is a magic art in my opinion – a never-ending world of things to learn and try and endless combinations of techniques makes this hobby perfect for the obsessively curious and tactile artist in me.

I first put the Pom Pom stitch into a project long ago in an ancient free post about making a bikini out of cotton recycled sweater yarn. That was when I came up with the border design which would eventually trim the Mehndi Halter Top and Plus Size Mehndi patterns, and now again in my latest halter top as well!

Anyway, it’s time I published the Pom Pom Stitch Tutorial here on the blog for everyone to try, and I’ve got a brand new demo video to go along with it – you can watch at the bottom of the post after the written and photo tutorial which starts now!

Pom Pom Stitch

The pompom stitch uses two clusters of double crochet stitches stacked on top of each other to form a round ball which makes a fun border decoration. For this example I’m placing them on chain spaces, but you can place them anywhere as long as you work the chain 2 to start as indicated in Step 1. Here’s how to work it:

Step 1: Work the amount of stitches desired until reaching the point to place the pompom. Ch 2 to count as the beginning of the pompom stitch. *Yarn over and insert hook in the 2nd ch from the hook. Draw up a loop, YO, pull through 2 lps on the hook. Repeat twice more into the same stitch, leaving the last lp of each dc on the hook for each stitch.  You should have 4 lps on the hook.

YO once more and pull through all 4 lps on the hook. One dc3tog made.

Step 2: Ch 2, to gain height for the second cluster.

Step 3: Working into the TOP of the last cluster, make another dc3tog.

Step 4: Insert hook into the same stitch that you worked your FIRST cluster and make a slip stitch, bringing the two clusters together to form two halves of a ball – fig 74.

Step 5: Finish the repeat by chaining enough to get to the next pom pom (or as indicated in pattern). Here it’s shown worked into the Mehndi Border!

Tip: Keeping your clusters tight and wet blocking the border when you are finished helps the pompoms look nice and round!

Pom Pom Stitch Video Demo

The demo for the video goes over the Pom Pom stitch as it occurs on the Mehndi Border, but remember you can place them anywhere you like by starting with just the 2 chain stitches and then working the pompom on those πŸ™‚

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new, and as always if you have any questions or feedback please leave them in the comments! ❀ Thanks for visiting πŸ™‚

-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

Elf Coat: Pointed Pockets

First things first! To see all available sizes of the FREE Elf Coat pattern, as well as all the available add-ons to this design, please visit the Elf Coat FAQ page for links ❀

During the process of updating the original Elf Coat Pattern, I decided it was finally time to make an Elf Coat of my very own! I’ve had this color of King Cole DK Riot “Funky” saved back specifically for this purpose for years – the colors feature warm purples, lavender, sage greens, olive and hints of fuschia – all my favorite colors πŸ™‚

I worked up a size Small in this colorway, partly to test out the new shoulder and hood shaping that was part of the big update – and also to keep my head in the game while my awesome pattern testers worked on the Elf Coat Plus Sizes pattern expansion which was just released. This whole design has had a lively life so far, and I can’t wait to see where you all take it in the future πŸ˜‰

While working, I also made some modifications on the skirt wedges that resulted in a larger skirt seamed to a smaller bodice – for more info on how to pull that off, I made a YouTube tutorial how-to! πŸ™‚

While making my personal version of the Elf Coat, I couldn’t help but try out my vision for a pointed pocket, inspired by the type of pixie pocket shape featured on Katwise’s (www.katwise.com) coats, which are responsible for helping inspire this design. I didn’t want to mess around with doing the inset pockets, so I decided that I could do the pointed shape and apply it directly to the outside of the coat after it was finished for an “afterthought” pocket. Keep scrolling for the FREE pattern for these cute pointed pockets for the Elf Coat πŸ™‚

I also added a sweet little faux fur trim to the hood – 6 rows of fuzzy yarn in LDC with a 3.50 mm hook and I will NEVER do something so crazy again, haha! πŸ˜› It was slow going, but I did eventually accomplish that faux fur and I’ll say now that it was worth it.

I also really love how the buttons came out – I had an assortment of detailed metal vintage buttons and I love the way they add interest and character ❀

I give each of these coats a name and a personality and I dubbed my own personal Elf Coat “Twig Nest” – for reasons πŸ˜€ I’m a hodge-podge, helter-skelter chaos artist and if I were a bird, my nest would be a dopey looking pile of twigs on the ground – but there’d be love in there πŸ™‚

Pointed Pockets Pattern

Following all yarn, hook, and gauge instructions from the original pattern.

With 6.50 Tunisian hook and main yarn:

Row 1: Ch 3. TSS in the 2nd chain from the hook and in the next ch st. RP – 3 sts

Rows 2-3: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 3 sts

Row 4: TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next st. TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the final st. RP. – 5 sts

Rows 5-6: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 5 sts

Row 7: TKS inc in the next space. TKS in ea of the next 3 sts. TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the last st. RP. – 7 sts

Rows 8-9: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 7 sts

Row 10: TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next 5 sts. TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the final st. RP. – 9 sts.

Rows 11-12: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 9 sts.

Row 13: TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next 7 sts. TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the final st. RP. – 11 sts

Rows 14-15: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 11 sts

Row 16: TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next 9 sts. TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the final st. RP. – 13 sts

Row 17: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 13 sts

Row 18: TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next 11 sts. TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the final st. RP. – 15 sts

Row 19: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 15 sts

Row 20: TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next 13 sts. TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the final st. RP. – 17 sts

Row 21: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 17 sts

Row 22: TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next 7 sts. TKS inc in the next space, TKS in the next st, TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next 7 sts. TKS inc in the last space, TKS in the last st. RP. – 21 sts

Row 23: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 21 sts

Row 24: TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next 9 sts. TKS inc in the next space, TKS in the next st, TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next 9 sts. TKS inc in the last space, TKS in the last st. RP. – 25 sts

Row 25: TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next 11 sts. TKS inc in the next space, TKS in the next st, TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next 11 sts. TKS inc in the last space, TKS in the last st. RP. – 29 sts

Row 26: TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next 13 sts. TKS inc in the next space, TKS in the next st, TKS inc in the next space. TKS in the next 13 sts. TKS inc in the last space, TKS in the last st. RP. – 33 sts

Row 27: TKS dec over the next 2 sts. TKS in the next 11 sts. TKS dec over the next 2 sts, TKS in the next st, TKS dec over the next 2 sts. TKS in the next 11 sts, TKS dec over the next 2 sts, TKS in the last st. RP – 29 sts.

Row 28: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 29 sts

Row 29: TKS dec over the next 2 sts. TKS in the next 9 sts. TKS dec over the next 2 sts, TKS in the next st, TKS dec over the next 2 sts. TKS in the next 9 sts, TKS dec over the next 2 sts. TKS in the last st. RP. – 25 sts

Rows 30-34: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 25 sts

Switch to 3.50 mm regular crochet hook.

LDC Row 1: Ch 3, 1 dc in the same st, inserting hook into the tunisian stitches as if to TKS (but working regular crochet instead). 1 LDC (Linked Double Crochet, see Stitches & Techniques section in the main pattern) in ea of the next 24 sts.

LDC Rows 2-3 : Ch 3, turn. 1 LDC in each stitch across.

Cut yarn and tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing the pocket onto the coat.

Using the long yarn tail and tapestry needle, sew the pocket onto the outside of the finished coat using a whip stitch or your preferred seaming stitch.

I’ll be taking another long break from Elf Coats now, especially considering that I gloriously injured my shoulder while cranking out this particular coat! But no worries, there’s plenty more coming from your friendly neighborhood Mad Fiber Scientist…
-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˜‰

Elf Coat Belt Tie

Update! : To see all available sizes of the FREE Elf Coat pattern as well as all the available add-ons to the design, please visit the Elf Coat FAQ page for links!

Along with the new updates I’m implementing for my popular Elf Coat Pattern is this quick little addition for a belted-waist tie, perfect for those that don’t want to mess with buttons (or need some extra cinching!). All the same pattern specs such as Tunisian Hook size, yarn, and gauge from the original pattern (linked above) can be applied to this belt tie, so let’s get right on into the pattern πŸ™‚

Belt Tie (Optional, Make 2)

This pattern makes a ~21” tie about 2” wide, but you can make longer and/or wider ties depending on your needs by adding extra rows and/or foundation stitches. Ties are sewn into the side seams after construction.

One completed belt tie.

Ch 10.

Row 1: Pick up a lp from each of the next 9 ch sts. RP – 10 sts

Rows 2 – 90: TKS in ea st across. RP. – 10 sts

Row 91: TKS decrease over the next 2 sts. TKS in the next 4 sts. TKS decrease over the next 2 sts. TKS in the last st. RP. – 8 sts

Row 92: TKS dec over the next 2 sts. TKs in the next 2 sts. TKS dec over the next 2 sts. TKS in the last st. RP. – 6 sts

Row 93: TKS dec over the next 2 sts twice. TKS in the last st. RP. – 4 sts

Row 94: TKS dec over the next 2 sts. TKS in the last st. RP. – 3 sts.

Cut yarn and tie off.

Using a tapestry needle and yarn, sew the tie into the side seam at each side, RS facing.

Hope you enjoy!
-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

Oak Sprite Hat

Acorns are easily one of the cutest things produced by trees. Their little round nutshells topped with a perfectly fitted cap, textured in minute detail, forcibly remind me of a wee head wearing a jaunty beret style hat – and I’m certainly not the first to try to recreate such a garment inspired by this adorable thing!

So when I set out to crochet an acorn-inspired hat, I wanted lots of texture and whimsy in the final design, something that would evoke the acorn while still capturing a spirit of otherness; something the little folk of the drawings of Cicely Mary Barker might want to adorn themselves with πŸ™‚

Of course, I immediately set my mind on the crocodile stitch for this purpose. Though this stitch is an advanced one, I love it for the sense of magic it imparts to any crochet piece and that’s why I’ve created several patterns featuring this stitch already. The crocodile stitch is a special type of post stitching, so if you’ve never encountered post stitches, I’ve written a free Post Stitch tutorial right here on my blog! I do go over the crocodile stitch as well in this post πŸ˜‰

So today I’m very excited to introduce the Oak Sprite Hat, an adult-sized acorn hat / beret design which features crocodile stitch worked in rounds from center to brim, edged with simple half double crochets and topped with the cutest little acorn cap stem. I also include a few notes on how to make this hat smaller for truly wee heads!

The pattern is available both for FREE as a video crochet tutorial series and as a paid PDF file in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Store! Keep scrolling for the free crochet tutorial and videos or support my art directly by buying the PDF at the links above!

I worked several of these hats to finalize the crochet pattern, and while in the process I debated about whether or not to make the crocodile stitches point downward, as the scales do on an actual acorn cap, but in the end I remembered that primary rule from taking art classes in college – suggest, rather than tell. The hat’s acorn-ness isn’t really compromised by this detail, and besides – I really just liked them better pointing upward. This way the green version reminded me of a thistle blossom, which I accented by adding a bright pink poofball!

For those wondering, I don’t currently have plans to do a version of this myself with the croc stitches pointing downward, although it can be done – if you’re interested in trying it, it would work from the brim toward the center, and use decreases rather than increases. I may be so bold as to suggest investing in my Sylphie Hat Pattern, which works the croc stitches in that direction, to get familiar with that method πŸ™‚

Anywho, Here are all the details of the pattern you need to make this must-have woodland accessory, and below you’ll find the three-part video tutorial series for working the Oak Sprite Hat. If you like this video I do have more on my YouTube channel, check it out if you like and thanks for visiting – clicks, shares, tags, tip jar donations, and pattern purchases are my livelihood and I am eternally grateful for my kind and generous audience (YOU) that makes it all possible! ❀ ❀

Oak Sprite Hat

Materials

5.00 mm hook – or size needed to obtain gauge

#4 weight yarn – listed below are the specific yarns used to make each hat. Recommended yarn is Caron Simply Soft.
Scissors, tapestry needle

Thistle (green): LB Ferris Wheel (#4, 270 yd / 85 g, 100% Acrylic) – 1 Skein, Caron Simply Soft (#4) ~ 50 yards
Hedgehog (gray/brown): LB Amazing (discontinued) – 1 skein, LB Ferris Wheel ~ 100 yards
Acorn (brown): Caron Simply Soft Chocolate – 1 skein, I Love This Yarn – ~ 50 yds

Finished Measurements:
23″ circumference for brim
33″ circumference for widest part of crown
7-8″ tall from tip to brim (not including stem)

Notes:
Hat can be made a smaller overall size by skipping the final round of increases (Round 5) leaving the total number of croc stitches at 12. 12 croc stitches is ~16” circumference, or baby/child size. In this case you’ll want to work the brim at 48 stitches, without the decreases, unless decreases are necessary for the size being made.


Hat can also be made a bit shorter by skipping one or two of the final rounds of non-increasing. 5 rounds are written in the pattern but 4 or even 3 can be done instead. There is a note in the written pattern where this is optional! 😊

Stitches & Abbreviations

Chain (ch)
Double Crochet (dc)
Slip Stitch (sl st)
Half Double Crochet (hdc)
Half Double Crochet 2 Together (hdc2tog, a decrease)
Single Crochet (sc)
Magic Ring (MR): A method of starting a circle with a tight center by working the first round of stitches into a yarn loop, then pulling the yarn tail tight to adjust the loop.
Back Post Half Double (bphdc): Working the stitch into the post of the stitch below, inserting the hook from the back, around the post in the front, and re-emerging to catch the yarn in the back.

Special Stitches:
Picot: Picot is made by chaining 3 stitches, then slip stitching in the top of the last dc made to form a small loop. I use the two front loops of the last dc to work the slip stitch into. Picots are made in place of the normal ch-1 that occurs in the middle of a croc stitch scale to create the Picot Croc Stitch.

Picot Croc Stitch (PCS): A crocodile stitch with a picot in the middle in place of the normal ch-1.

Crocodile Stitch (croc stitch/st): This is a type of crochet stitch that creates a 3-D effect of a petal or scale. The croc stitch is a special style of post stitching.

It works by creating an underlying framework of alternating β€œsingle” (1) dc and β€œpaired” (2) dc sets, separated by a ch-1.

Pictured above is the framework for a row of croc stitches. Once this row is created, the croc stitches are worked across the same row, overlapping.

Crocodile stitches are a type of post stitch, meaning that the hook is inserted around the main body of the stitch instead of the top two loops as normal. The stitch is then worked around the β€œpost”, meaning that the space underneath the stitch is used and the body of the stitch holds the actual stitches. This is an advanced stitch and does take some getting used to as well as adjusting direction and hold of the fabric to achieve.

Croc stitches have 5 dc worked (from the top of the dc down to the bottom) into the post of the first dc of the paired set of dc, then a chain (or in this case picot) is made, before switching directions and working 5 more dc into the next dc of the paired set, working from the bottom of the stitch to the top. Each scale is secured by working a slip stitch into the next singly standing dc before moving on to the next scale.

Pictured above is the direction of post stitches worked to form the crocodile scale (for right-handers, this will be reversed for lefties)

Once a row/round of crocodile stitches is complete, the next row/round will build another framework for the next layer of croc stitches by working the alternating single (1) dc and paired (2) dc into the previous stitches:

Above picture illustrates how the framework for the next row of croc stitches is placed. Each paired dc is worked into the single dc which lies below, which is referred to as the space or stitch between scales. Each singly standing dc is worked into the middle space of the scale below, between the paired doubles underneath.

This pattern works Picot Croc Stitches (PCS) in the round, starting from the center of the hat. To achieve this, we will be working PCS increases, which means that the framework of the rounds will sometimes place 2 sets of paired dc in the same st between scales, each set separated by a ch-1 on either side and a singly standing dc in the middle. This sets us up to work 2 croc stitches in that space.


Pictured above is the croc stitch increase framework: (2 dc, ch 1, 1 dc, ch 1, 2 dc) in the same st.

Oak Sprite Hat Video Tutorial Part 1

Video Tutorial Part 2

Video Tutorial Part 3

I hope you found this pattern to be helpful and interesting, and are inspired to create lots of clever pixie adornments for your friends and family! If you’ve caught the crocodile stitch bug like I have, here are some other patterns I offer that feature this stitch:

Or, how about woodland and creature themed accessories in general?

If right now you’re asking, “Is she trying to draw me deeper into a fantastical crochet forest from whence I shall never return?” the answer is yes πŸ™‚

-MF

Morale Fiber’s Field Guide to Crochet Gauge and Yarn Behavior

We’ve all been there.

Excitedly scoping a new pattern, picking through the stash for a suitable yarn for the project, dreaming up color schemes and envisioning your gloriously perfect new handmade thingamajig.

Except none of the yarns are the same weight as the pattern recommends. And you can’t find your 5.5 hook (check behind your ear). And your yarn fiber is wool, not bamboo. What to do?!

Gauge and Yarn Behavior for Crocheters

The number one question I get asked as a crochet pattern designer is “Can I use [X] yarn for this pattern? Do I need to change my hook?” And the answer to this question is always basically the same: Check your gauge!


Even if you have a passing familiarity with gauge, it’s about more than just how big your stitches are: multiple factors interact when it comes to how your crochet project is going to look & act with a certain yarn.

I’ve found from experience that it pays off to be familiar with those factors that influence how your crochet project is going to turn out: Gauge, Weight, Fiber, and Drape.

Crocheters who go forward unfamiliar with these influences may find themselves in another familiar, but less pleasant, place : halfway through a crochet garment that doesn’t fit and looks nothing like the sample pictures. An in-depth understanding of these Yarn Behaviors will help stop project mishaps before they ever start!

The following is a guide I’ve put together specifically for crocheters that deals with gauge and related yarn issues. I’ve tried to compile the major technical points of figuring out what yarns to use where, and draw heavily from my 20 years of mistakes…. But remember each crocheter is different and therefore every project is different. The absolute best way to master these aspects of fiber art is just to get a ton of experience at it. That being said, let’s get on with it!

What is Gauge and how do I check it?

We’ll start with gauge: what the heck is it already?

Gauge is the measurement of the size of your stitches with a specific hook and yarn. Another term used for gauge is “tension.” While gauge is not something you may have to deal with for hats or scarves very much, it becomes crucial when making garments like sweaters.

The most common question I get for my patterns is “Can I use (x) yarn for this project / Which hook size should I use?”

The answer to this questions is: Check your Gauge! Technically, you can make any pattern with any size hook and yarn if your gauge matches the gauge given in the pattern (there are other concerns but we’ll get to that later).

Follow these instructions to learn how to measure gauge for crochet projects!

Locating the Gauge Listing

First, look to the Materials & Notes section of your pattern which should be at the very beginning. The gauge or gauges for the project should be listed there. If there are multiple parts/yarns to the pattern you may encounter multiple gauge listings.

Above is an example from my Acanthus Top pattern, with the gauge listing circled in green
Here’s what an example of what the gauge might look like: “Gauge: 3 stitches and 3 rows = 1″ in hdc”

And here’s how that is interpreted:
“3 stitches” = the measurement, taken horizontally from a section of stitching, of how many stitches of the specified type fit within the given unit length (here in Inches)
“3 rows” = the measurement, taken vertically, of how many rows of stitching of the specified type fit within an inch or inches
“= 1 inch ” = the given unit length (commonly can be 1″, 2″, or 4″ although other measurements are possible)
“in hdc” = the specified stitch type for measuring the gauge

Sometimes for my circular crochet patterns, I give the project gauge as the measurement in diameter of the first few rounds – in this case the first small circle of the project counts as the swatch. The gauge portion of the pattern should specify how to measure if it does not use the traditional method.

Example of the first three rounds of the Lotus Mandala measured to check gauge – it’s correct!

Checking Crochet Gauge

Since every crocheter crochets differently – some looser, thinner, or tighter, or fatter – using the same size hook and yarn as the project calls for does not guarantee your gauge will be the same as the one listed for the project.

So now that the Gauge listing is broken down, how do we check it? To accurately check gauge and determine whether your tension is appropriate for the pattern, look again in the Pattern Materials & Notes section. The pattern will list a recommended yarn and hook size – you’ll need to start by using the recommended yarn, or at least a yarn in the same weight category, and the hook size listed in the materials section. With these materials, you are now ready to test your gauge by making a small sample piece of fabric called a swatch.

It’s very tempting to skip this part and move on to the project itself, which is not too dangerous for small projects like hats and scarves – but for things like large sweater coats, you better swatch out!

My Tunisian crochet sweater coat trifecta: The Shaman Coat, the Elf Coat, and the Priestess Coat

Testing Your Gauge: Swatching for Crocheters

1. Get the hook size and yarn recommended by the pattern gauge listing
Chain a length of 15-20 sts or long enough to accommodate whatever stitch or pattern being swatched (sometimes the pattern will give you direct instructions on how to make your gauge swatch). Some gauge guides say the swatch will be 4 inches, some recommend other lengths or stitch counts – your pattern may or may not specify. The main concern is the get a piece of fabric big enough that your hand becomes accustomed to the stitch design and starts to work regularly. This is also why the gauge reading is taken in the middle of the swatch, away from the top, bottom, or side edges – but we’ll get to that.

2. Begin to Swatch
The Gauge listing in the pattern should indicate what stitch or part of the pattern to use for a swatch sample. Here’s the sample Gauge from earlier:
Gauge: 3 stitches and 3 rows = 1″ in hdc
For this swatch, I would start with 20 ch stitches, then work 1 hdc in each chain stitch. Working in rows back and forth, I would create enough rows of stitching to make a solid square or rectangle piece. Seems like a lot of work, I know. But you can’t get a good gauge reading from a piece that’s only 5 stitches long!

3. Pin it Out
Once the swatch is complete, it’s time to measure. Before measuring, set out a soft surface (towel, cushion, or blocking mat) and use pins to uncurl your swatch out to it’s fullest size, evening the tension of the piece. Crochet stitching uncurls and loosens some after being worked, so if you measure your swatch without tensioning it first, you may get an inaccurate gauge reading.

While 4 sts / 1 inch doesn’t seem like that much of a difference from 3.5 stitches / 1 inch, small differences can really add up on larger projects. Get your gauge as close as possible to avoid mishaps later!

4. Measure it!
Get a gauge plate tool (the one pictured here is from my Addi Click knitting set, but they are sold individually by the hooks & needles in hobby stores) or a measuring tape / ruler and measure the stitches in the middle of the swatch. For our given gauge of 3 stitches and 3 rows = 1″, we should be able to measure 3 stitches horizontally at 1 inch, then 3 stitches vertically to equal 1 inch.

I did not achieve the correct gauge horizontally, because I have 4 stitches to the inch instead of 3.
But I got it right vertically!

Correcting Your Gauge

If your gauge is smaller (tighter), and you are getting more stitches and rows per inch (4 sts and 3 rows, for example, instead of 3 stitches and 3 rows. Which was what I got for the swatch pictured above) you will need to size your hook UP to create looser tension and bigger gauge to match the measurements of the project.

If your gauge is larger (looser) and you are getting fewer stitches per inch (2 stitches and 2 rows, for example) you will need to size your hook DOWN to create tighter tension and smaller gauge.

In the above picture, I have tensioned my swatch. And though I worked this swatch in the exact same yarn as the pattern recommends, using the same size hook, AND EVEN DESPITE THE FACT THAT I AM THE ONE THAT WROTE THAT GAUGE for that pattern, I still did not get it right. LOL! That’s gauge for you!

Sometimes you’ll end up with the correct amount of stitches horizontally, but not vertically (or the other way around). Messing around with your method can sometimes correct gauge errors that are just a little off. Try altering the tension of the yarn in your non-hook hand, or pulling up more yarn per stitch, to adjust errors in stitch height or make small horizontal adjustments. Additionally, different hook materials can affect your gauge – if you can’t achieve the right tension with a bamboo hook, try a metal one!

Besides switching your hook, it is also possible to change yarns to get a different gauge, although that happens less often – more commonly, people wish to use a certain yarn for a project and will switch hook size in order to obtain the correct gauge with the yarn they intend to use. However you go about it, adjust your ingredients according to whether you need a tighter or looser gauge.

And then yes, you’ll have to make another swatch and measure again πŸ™‚

But it’s better than having to undo entire large projects because of gauge errors!

After sizing up my hook by one step (3.75 mm instead of 3.50 mm) and tensioning, I made a swatch with the right gauge horizontally of 3 stitches to an inch. My vertical measurement stayed the same.

One thing I recommend is to keep a stack of past projects’ swatches with the aim of creating a blanket/quilt/other scrap project with them. Having a future use for them makes them more appealing to actually do – and who doesn’t want another project on top of their new project? Haha!

Changing & Taming Gauge:

Let’s say, for the sake of insanity, that you actually DO want to change the gauge of an entire sweater project – you have a hook and yarn combo that makes a different gauge than the project and you’re determined to use it anyway. How do you get a garment that still fits? You have three options:
1.Try to make a different size (if multiple sizes are offered)
2. Just try it anyway and totally wing it changing the pattern willy nilly to fit your size needs, accepting that the result might be utter failure with no recourse (my favorite method).
3. A Lot of Math.

So much math is involved in #3, in fact, that I can’t lay out a general plan here in this Field Guide, but if you would like to start learning how the mathematics of gauge goes into planning the size and design of a crochet pattern, check out some of my free pattern resources. I try to periodically design stuff that’s really open-ended, with the intent to lead others to customize and experiment with whatever they have available – here’s two I’d recommend!:
Basic Armwarmers Tutorial
Basic Bralette Tutorial

Finally, there ARE times when you don’t have to worry about checking gauge at all: when you don’t care if the project comes out exactly as big as the pattern specifies – blankets and home decor projects are good examples.
That’s the conclusion of the Gauge-specific portion of this Field Guide, but if you’re curious about the other important Yarn Behaviors, read on!

An oldie but a goodie : The Partial Shades T-Shirt Yarn Plant Hanger

Yarn Weight – Meet the Standards

Yarn weight is one of those things that seems like it should be simple. Especially in the United States, we’re used to seeing one of 8 little numbers on the yarn label which generally tells us what different yarns can work for the same project. For instance, if you have a crochet pattern that calls for a #4 weight category yarn, most people will go to the store and pick any yarn they like that has a #4 on it.

This yarn label has lots of info – the weight is shown on the little skein pictogram as “5” for #5, also called Bulky, weight yarn.

Except experienced crocheters know that not every yarn in the same weight category is going to act exactly the same. Take my favorite rogue #4 weight yarn – Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball – and compare to a regular cheapie #4 weight acrylic solid:

They look totally different. And you might guess that they work up pretty differently, too:

And that’s why yarn labels also contain some other important information besides the general numbered category (which doesn’t even exist on some non-US yarns): The length of the skein in yards/meters, the weight of the skein in ounces/grams, and the fiber content.

Yarn Density

The length/weight information tells something important about the yarn that the numbered categories don’t directly specify – how DENSE or heavy the yarn is. That’s how our favorite rogue manages to be a #4 weight yarn the same as this acrylic – because the Shawl in a Ball is denser, and so the yarn is as heavy per yard/meter as the bigger sized yarn. And since yarns are categorized by weight, the Shawl in a Ball has enough weight per length unit to get a #4 label even though it is thinner than our acrylic #4.

Wraps Per Inch

While the apparent thickness of the yarn strand usually stays similar throughout a single numbered yarn category – several of these bulky #5 yarns for example – there is another metric that can help determine if your yarn is right for your project, and that’s something called Wraps Per Inch (WPI).

Three yarns of different fibers and plies, all labeled #5 weight

WPI is measured by taking a small object (a ruler is choice, a pencil works great too) and wrapping a strand of yarn as neatly and evenly as possible around the object. The wraps are then measured to see how many wraps can fit within an inch of space – which gives a better idea of the thickness of the strand than the weight categories do.

Here’s a handy WPI and yarn weight chart from Ravelry!

You can totally test WPI yourself at home, which I have done a number of times to help determine what weight my recycled sweater yarn was.

Fiber Content

Different fibers have different structures and densities, and yes, fiber content will definitely affect your project – and for more reason than just how you wash it. Fiber densities effect grams per yard, so a thinner yarn made of heavier fiber may be in same weight category as fatter yarn with lighter fiber – and the different surface qualities will change the way your project looks and acts.

Microscopic view of different fibers, image not mine. I’ve had this image in my media for so long I don’t know the original source, sorry!

There are so many more fibers and fiber blends available today than there were even 10 years ago when I started getting serious about my funtime hobby. I could most definitely do a full post on just fiber alone (actually I’ve done several in the past) but I’ll try to keep it fairly brief for now!

Fibers come in several general categories: Animal or Protein fibers (wool, alpaca, yak, etc) Plant or Cellulose fibers (cotton, rayon, hemp etc), and Inorganic/Man-made fibers (polyester, acrylic, polyamide, ect).

Although it may not be the first thing you compare when substituting your yarns, fiber content does matter – especially if you need to know how the finished piece will behave over time. A heavier-fiber yarn (such as cotton) substituted in place of a lighter fiber yarn (such as acrylic) will result in a project that might be a lot heavier overall than the designer intended, causing problems such as stretching and warping.

The Lotus Duster, size Large


Conversely, a project that is designed to depend on the heaviness of the yarn for it’s overall look (such as the Lotus Duster, pictured above) might not be quite as flattering to wear in a yarn that is extremely light and does not exert the right amount of downward pressure on the garment. (I mean in my opinion it looks great no matter what but… πŸ˜‰ )

Not to mention wool, and whether or not your project will shrink and felt in the wash!

An ancient photo of half-felted wool that I messed up when dyeing – it did turn into a nice shawl, though!

In addition to weight, fiber also contributes to the traction or slipperiness of a stitch – extremely soft and slippery fibers like silk will not create a lot of friction or resistance when rubbing together, so any stitches made with silk yarn will settle and stretch out to the maximum that they can in a finished project – where a stiffer, rougher yarn like wool (especially if it’s lighter too) will not ‘spread’ so much.

Of course, in considering what yarn to use, where you’ll wear it makes a big difference too. Cotton, bamboo, and silk are wonderful fibers for delicate next-to-skin projects, like the halter top below made with bamboo/silk blend. I had to keep the tension tight for this project so that the stitches in the slippery soft fiber wouldn’t stretch out too much, resulting in wardrobe malfunctions πŸ˜‰

From my Basic Bikini Cup guide

Yarn Ply:

Ply refers to the structure of the fibers within the strand of yarn – a ply is one strand of raw fiber spun together, and a yarn may consist of many plies or only one. Yarns with several plies tend to be strong and can be easily pulled back out (frogged) from stitching. One ply yarns (like RH Unforgettable) provide a gorgeous stitch definition but are weaker and will pill/tangle more easily when unraveled.

These yarns from top to bottom are multi-ply (I don’t know how many exactly but more than 4), 2-ply (in the middle) and 1 ply (chenille yarn on bottom)

Ply, combined with fiber type, will affect the density and elasticity of the yarn too! When finding yarns that will easily create the same gauge as your intended project, it can be helpful to match the ply types of the yarn. For this reason some UK yarns will list the ply on the label (like we saw on the Ravelry standards chart).

Since ply isn’t talked about that much in crocheting, how about a for instance?

My Elf Coat uses DK (#3) weight wool as the recommended yarn. I searched high and low for a suitable DK weight yarn substitute available in US hobby stores (King Cole Riot is a UK brand yarn). The closest I could find was Red Heart Unforgettable, a worsted (#4 weight) yarn. As mentioned in the pattern, they do produce slightly different gauges with the same size hook, but RH Unforgettable works better as a substitute than other #4 yarns might because Unforgettable is a one ply yarn just like the DK weight yarn.

If you are very interested in the structure of yarn plies and the ways that different yarns are designed and constructed, you should check out my blog posts about spinning. There’s no better way to take your hobby to the next level than to learn to make your own yarn!

Drape:

Ah, drape. Drape is the creature of the night, the hidden amalgamation of all the yarn behaviors discussed above. How could I not love something as mysterious and dramatic as drape, which is how a piece of fabric hangs or flows over a surface?

The flow of the fabric depends first on how easily the stitches can move around within it – stitches with lots of space in between them may have better movement and can wrinkle and ruffle more when handled or hung – pieces with stitches very tightly packed and no space in between will be stiff and less flow-ey.

The Lotus Duster pattern uses thin, cotton yarn and a proportionally large hook to create stitches with tons of room to flow around
The Post Stitch Pixie Hat pattern uses thick yarn, a relatively small hook, and tightly packed post stitches to create a structured bonnet with almost no floweyness

Through the years I have found that people, whether they are beginner fiber artist or not, DO instinctively perceive drape even though it can be hard to define. When I read about how a crochet piece doesn’t match the project image, or when I see crocheters struggle to recreate a specific part of a pattern that just “doesn’t look right” even though the gauge and stitches are correct – that’s drape.

But it’s not just about the closeness of the stitching – you can get the correct gauge for a project and still not achieve a good drape.

If your yarn is not the same or similar fiber content, your drape can be off – remember talking about smoother yarns like silk stretching and settling more? That’s drape, too.

And yarn weight, in which some yarns are weirdly heavier or lighter per yard than others in the same category, due to fiber content? You guessed it! That affects drape too.

And you might have some suspicions about WPI – the amount of space a certain size yarn takes up when wrapped around an object (such as a crochet hook)… Whaddya know! Drape!

The Flower Child Pullover has a medium drape, the openwork mesh combines with sturdy #4 acrylic to create a sweater with both swing and structure

The good news is, drape can be tamed by being familiar with all the yarn qualities and behaviors we’ve been talking about in this post. If that lovely sweater you’ve got your eye on making calls for yarn that’s 50% bamboo and 50% cotton, now you’ll know that choosing a 100% acrylic yarn will change the way that project looks or maybe even fits. And you can either decide to look for a yarn that’s a closer match, or decide you don’t give a flip and will make it with whatever yarn you have on hand and drape be damned (an extremely valid standpoint IMO).

Which brings me to the final portion of this programme:

Wrapping it Up

You’re armed. You’re ready. You’ve got your massive, exuberantly curated folder of crochet patterns. You’ve got your yarn and your backup yarn and your secret backup yarn (it’s hidden in the trunk of the car). You’ve got your hooks (except for that damn 5.50 CHECK THE COUCH)…

And you’ve got all this information about how to best make material choices based on gauge, weight, fiber, WPI, ply… yikes! That’s a lot to consider now, and maybe it can be a bit overwhelming. After all, a lot of hobby crocheters make it their whole hobby careers not worrying about most of this.

And that’s perfectly fine. I wanted to create this Field Guide for other fiber artists who might have wondered the same things as me, and for those who just can’t get enough of weirdly specific fiber science (also me). The important part is to have the knowledge, so that you can make your own decisions. As a very famous and favorite quote of mine runs, “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.”

If you’re a beginner crocheter who came here to learn about gauge and got sucked in, congratulations on making it this far! I can’t believe you’re still reading this! Anyway, dear beginners who need a starting point: just start with the gauge aspect of Yarn Behaviors, following the procedures for checking gauge by swatching. The rest of these considerations will be picked up and intuited over time πŸ™‚

After all, the majority of what I’m presenting here is information I’ve slowly gleaned through experience. Experience and a whole buttload of mistakes – because while none of us like to make mistakes, we simply can’t grow and learn without them. So whether or not you apply all the information in this post, I truly hope it’s helpful on YOUR fiber art journey, whatever you make of it.

And as always I am here if you have questions and I love to talk shop – if I don’t have answers, I can at least offer advice ❀

Thanks for visiting! See you on the next yarn safari…
-MF