Morel Mushroom Pouch

Here in the Midwest the hunt is on for morel mushrooms, the prized wild fungus often referred to as the “steak” of mushrooms. It’s been a great spring for them, with my friends and coworkers reporting big scores – so morels have definitely been on my brain lately. I’ve been making these cute crochet versions, with secret pouches in the stem, for many years now and after seeing so many morels this season I decided to come up with a quick tutorial!

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These cuties are great for storing things like chapstick, pocket money, lighters, or other trinkets inside the hollow stem. They also make great gifts for the woodland mushroom lover ❤

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This project is done in freeform crochet style, meaning that I add random increases, decreases, height changes (from single crochet to half-double or double), and bobbles to make the texture gnarly and womply like a real morel. Here in the tutorial I’ll give the basic structure of the pattern and you can freestyle all the rest!

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Morel Mushroom Pouch

Materials:

3.75 mm crochet hook
20-50 yds #4 worsted weight yarn in two colors
Scissors and tapestry needle

Stem Instructions:

Begin by making a Magic Ring.

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1. 6 single crochet into the ring. Join with a slip stitch to the first sc of the round, pull the ring closed using the yarn tail at the beginning.

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2. 2 sc in each stitch around the circle. Join with a sl st.

If you want a slightly wider stem to fit larger objects, you can repeat Rnd 2.

3. Working in the front loop only (FLO), work one stitch in each stitch around. Here you can start to get funky, with random increases, decreases, height changes, etc. This will be with foot of the stem. Join with a slip stitch in the back loop of the first stitch of the round.

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4. Working in the free back loops of Rnd 2, crochet around. Place freeform stitching around, using bobbles, inc, dec, etc to create texture for your stem.

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Keep the basic stitch count more or less the same and you continue to crochet around. Crochet in the round for as many rows as you like, until your stem is as tall as you want – but remember that the cap will cover some of the stem, so don’t make it too short! I worked 11 rounds, and the finished product is a little stumpy when the cap is pulled all the way down.

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5. Finish the stem by adding the chain loop that the mushroom will hang from – chain 100 or more, then slip stitch on the opposite side of the stem opening. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Cap Instructions:

With your darker color, make a magic ring. 6 single crochet into the ring, then pull the ring a little tighter – but not all the way shut, since you will have to fit the chain through later.

1. (Sc in the next st, 2 sc in the next st) 3 times. Do not join, but keep working in the round.

2. Using mixed stitches (sc, hdc, dc, clusters, bobbles, etc) – (crochet in the next 2 sts, 2 crochet in the next st) around

3. Using mixed stitches (crochet in the next 3 sts, 2 crochet in the next st) around

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4. Work as many rounds in this manner as you like until your cap is the size you want. Cut yarn and tie off.

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With the lighter colored yarn, join to the surface of the cap by inserting the hook as shown. To make the cap textured, you will work single and half-double crochets just on the surface of the cap by inserting the hook from front to back, then back to front, keeping the yarn held on the front.

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Work stitches on the surface only, changing direction and zig-zagging back and forth. Work from bottom to top, then back down, then back up, etc. Once the entire cap is covered, cut yarn and tie off. Weave in all ends.

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Using your hook, pull the chain loop of the stem through the hole in the top of the cap. Slide the cap down  to cover any treasures you can now stow inside!

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I’ve made lots of mushroom pouches, in different varieties including amanitas and jack-o-lanterns. The jack-o-lanterns are particularly cute using glow in the dark yarn – and I have a free crochet tutorial for those too!

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-MF

 

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PBT: Cell Phone Pocket

This post is part of a series of tutorials on how to create your own unique crochet pixie pocket belt – to read more about this series visit the Intro page.

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I often like to leave my technology behind when I go wandering in the forest, but hey, sometime’s a pixie’s gotta stay connected. That’s why I named this special pocket style the Cell Phone pocket, because it’s the perfect addition to a crochet utility belt that needs room for a phone!

Of course, this in-the-round style rectangular pouch is just really fun and simple to make on its own, so no tech required if you prefer to stow other treasures inside 🙂

Cell Phone Pocket

3.75 mm Hook
Ch 12 (or the length you think will fit your phone, plus a little extra – you don’t want it too tight)
1. Hdc in 3rd ch from the hook and in ea st down the chain. 3 hdc in the final ch st. Rotate the piece, then hdc in each ch stitch (inserting hk into bottom loop). Work 2 hdc in the final ch st. Join with a slip stitch

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2. Ch 2 (does not count as first hdc) hdc in ea hdc, across, working 3 hdc in the central hdc of the 3-hdc turn at the end. Hdc across again, work 3 hdc in the central stitch of the previous 3-hdc turn at the end. Join with a sl st

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Check to see if this will comfortably fit your phone. If not, add another round with increases at both ends. If it’s lookin’ good, just work rounds evenly without increases.

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Don’t look at how dirty my phone is.

3. Hdc even for as many rounds as necessary.

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I did about 13, then added a roomy loop so that it can secure my phone by catching on a button which I planned to add to the front. Pretty sweet right? Weave in all your ends, then stash this baby with the rest of your pockets until you’re ready to add them on!

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I hope you enjoyed this little bonus round of the Pixie Belt Tutorial! I loved making this belt especially because THIS one’s for me 😉 I’ve never made myself one before so I thought it was high time ❤

-MF

 

PBT: Wrap-Up

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This post is part of a series of tutorials on how to create your own unique crochet pixie pocket belt – to read more about this series visit the Intro page.

Maybe it’s just because I worked on the tutorial for this so much, but this newest pixie pocket belt may be my favorite ever. To be fair though, I do say that almost every time I make a new one of these.

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That’s because every one of them turns out to be totally unique – I start out with a pile of scrap materials, and then let it be what it becomes along the way. This one became “Maple” named of course after the tree. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial series – I certainly did – and I’d love to see what is being made from this guide!

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This pattern tutorial series is now listed on Ravelry – hook up your projects so I can see what you made, or look through other projects for inspiration  😉

And now for more pictures and ramblings.

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I especially love these to dance in, since the fabric fringe catches movement so well!

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Fun side story – the flower headpiece I am wearing in this photo is one I made years ago, a long strand of curlicues (just like the ones talked about earlier in the tutorial series) with scrap yarn flowers that made as I was traveling across the U.S.

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Of course, the utility belt function of this project is super handy if you are the festival-going type, since these pixie belts are not only cute and go over anything, but also hold your necessaries!

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I’m pretty happy with how the faux-bustle back came out – its not something I’d ever really tried before. That’s another thing I love about these projects – pure experimentation is necessary, not just encouraged.

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I’m a little sad to be closing out the pixie belt tutorial actually, so I’ve had a thought – perhaps more pocket patterns in the future? What do you think?

As always, don’t hesitate to ask any questions or leave any comments! I love hearing from you ❤

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-MF

 

 

 

PBT: Attaching the Pockets

This post is part of a series of tutorials on how to create your own unique crochet pixie pocket belt – to read more about this series visit the Intro page.

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So far we’ve covered basic shapes in the form of pockets such as circles, squares & rectangles, triangles, and cones – now it’s time to take all the pockets and attach them to the belt base using slip stitch crochet. Like the rest of this project, there is no strictly “right” way to do this, but I’ve included lots of process photos to show how I manage this part.

I prefer the look of pockets mounted directly onto the belt, with the backs up against the belt itself. I also always double-mount my pockets, using two lines of slip stitching, one at the top and one in the middle, to attach the pockets to the belt base. This is not absolutely necessary if you want to skip the second mount (the middle mount is the trickiest part of this) but it does make them really sturdy.  I have seen my festival friends put these things through the wringer with use – and they hold up!

If you need more inspiration on the ways you can assemble the belt, remember to check out my Pinterest board featuring crochet utility belts!

Attaching the Pockets to the Belt

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To begin the final stage of crochet for the pocket belt, lay out your belt base and grab all of your completed pockets. Decide how to place the pockets, arranging them along the belt base in whatever manner strikes your fancy – I like the pockets to sit near the ends, but sometimes they are all over the place. Here, because I’m featuring a bustle back, I keep them corralled near the ends so as not to cover the back of the skirt.

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The first step is to get a yarn and start slip stitching across the top of the belt base. I am using a really textured yarn for this part, just to add a little extra crazy.

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Here, I’m just slip stitching across the top of the belt until I get to a place where I’d like to put a pocket. Keep slip stitching, but now work through two layers – the top edge of the pocket (the back part only, since you don’t want to stitch the pocket closed) and the top edge of the belt base.

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This is the first attachment. Keep slip stitching until you want to place another pocket.

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Then, slip stitch across the pocket and belt simultaneously again.

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For drawstring pockets like this one, make sure you leave enough pocket unattached for it to be able to close nicely.

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Keep slip stitching and attaching pockets until you reach the opposite end of the belt.

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For the envelope-style pocket, I decide to make the slip stitch attaching underneath the top flap – so I open it up and stitch through the pocket layer and the belt layer underneath.

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At the end, I rotate and work one row of the side of the belt base, then rotate again and start to slip stitch across the middle of the belt, placing my stitches in between the double crochets that make up the middle row.

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Attaching in the middle can require some really creative maneuvering on the part of the hook-wielder. In fact, this part is more like guerilla fiber-punk yarn wrestling. So be prepared for that! 😀

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To work the second row of attaching, slip stitch until you reach a pocket. With the back of the pocket facing you, insert your hook into the stitching and back out on the other side of a single stitch, catching the post of the stitch with your hook.

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Then, insert the hook through the middle of the belt. Yarn over and draw this loop through the belt, the post of the pocket stitching, and the loop on your hook, making one slip stitch through two layers.

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Continue this process for at least part of the back of the pocket. When you’ve attached enough of the back of the pocket, keep slip stitching through just the belt layer as normal until you reach the next pocket, then work through both layers in the same manner again.

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Here you can see the back of the slip stitching of the second row on the inside of a pocket – just enough to hold them down and make sure they are extra secure.

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The pockets are now attached!

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After working the second round of attaching, I like to do one more row of slip stitching into the same stitches across the top of the belt, just for extra firmness (to reduce yarn stretching on the belt base) and to add more color and depth. Here I’ll change colors, then just work a simple line of slip stitching all the way across, right next to the first line of slip stitches (or wherever… FREEFORM!!)

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After this last finishing touch, I’m DONE with the crochet portion of the belt! Time to weave in my ends, then tackle the final step: the fabric fringe skirt. After that post, I’ll do a final reveal and wrap-up – I can’t wait to show the final product 🙂

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-MF

PBT: Circle Pocket Part 2

Circle Pockets: Non-Continuous Circles, Color Changes, and Overlay

This post is part of a series of tutorials on how to create your own unique crochet pixie pocket belt – to read more about this series visit the Intro page.

Most of the crochet utility belts I make have circle pockets – I love their potential as a canvas for other shapes like mandalas, simple embroidery, or shell flower petals. Plus, I’m just really into circles.

The continuous orange circle I made in the previous post to demonstrate my shorthand and the principle of increases and whatnot was fun and all, but now it’s really time to use a little more color! The plajn orange circle will end up being the back of a circular pouch on this belt, so we need a matching size circle to make up the front. For this, I’ll start a new piece, worked non-continuously. Since continuous rounds don’t start and end in the same place, I don’t use them for multi-colored circles (because the stripes wouldn’t match up). I mean, you totally can if you want to though! FrEeForM baby!

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Non Continuous Circles & Color Changes

Non-continuous circles are worked with the exact same increase strategy, except you join with a slip stitch at the end of every round and start the next, new round by chaining (to count as the first stitch or not – your choice). I use the same shorthand as in the previous post for this, and just leave off the info on beginning and ending the round, which is the same every time: Ch to start (counts or doesn’t count as first st, up to you) blah blah blah, join with a slip stitch in the first st of the round.

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The front circle of the pocket is where I really like to use up the small scraps of color. Looking at my scrap options, I want to tend toward the smallest balls first because they may not be big enough to make it around the entire circle once it gets larger.

MR (Magic Ring)
1. 6 sc into ring
2. Inc every st. Color Change (CC)

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Rnd 1

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Rnd 2.

That’s as much as I can do with the first ball. To add the new yarn for Rnd 3, I start in a different st than the ending of my previous rnd, so that all of my joins are not in the same place and my seam ends up being less obvious.

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This also means my increases will be offset, so less of that hexagonal shaping to make a more even-looking circle.  I like to use a standing sc to join my new yarn, a technique explained in this great tutorial from Look At What I Made.

  1. Inc on 2. CC
  2. 4. Inc on 3. CC
  3. 5. Inc on 4, BLO. CC
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After Rnd 5

Overlay Double Crochet

Rnd 5 is worked in the Back Loop Only so that I can do some fancy stuff with it on the next round. I’ll be using those empty front loops to work an some overlay stitches, or stitches that go over the previous round to form layers.

Rnd 6 starts normally, with the new yarn joined wherever. I will be increasing at the normal rate, but the extra stitch of every inc will be a double crochet, worked into the FLO of Rnd 4 instead of the same Rnd 5 loop as the previous stitch.

6. Dc Overlay Inc on 5.
7. Inc on 6. CC

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Rnd 6

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To make an overlay dc, Yo and insert hook into the front loop of the stitch below, from bottom to top as shown

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Then work dc as normal

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End of Rnd 7

Spike Stitch

On the next round I’ll do another type of overlay called a spike stitch. I count it as an overlay because it layers over the previous round, but it doesn’t require free loops. Basically, you just insert the hook in the same space as one of the stitches of the previous round, and draw up a loop over an entire round (or two!) of crochet, then finish it like a normal sc. You can do this at any time, so it makes a great freeform stitch. I like to do mine at the increase, and as you can see here I placed them between each two overlay sts from Rnd 6.

  1. Spike st inc on 7. CC
  2.  Inc on 8. CC

 

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Draw up a loop

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Complete single crochet (or whatever stitch) as normal

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Rnd 8 completed

 

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Rnd 9 completed

10. Inc on 9.
11. Sc even, skipping a few stitches at the end and chaining a few instead. Sl st to join, then sl st a few more to secure. Cut yarn and tie off.

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End of Rnd 10

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Stop a few stitches before the end and chain a few stitches instead

Skipping the last few stitches and chaining makes a buttonhole for the button fastening for your circle pouch. I forgot to choose buttons when I was looking for materials, so I poke around in my collection and grab this wooden one. It just feels like the right one, even though the pale orange one matches better. I guess I just like the cut of its jib.

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Check to make sure the button just fits through your opening, making smaller or bigger if necessary.

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Assembling & Finishing

Now that you have two flat circles, weave in all of the ends of the front circle (the multi-color or what-have-you) and the central end of the back circle (the plain one).

Leave the outer yarn-end of the back circle unwoven so that you can attach your button to the inside face of that circle using the yarn end and a tapestry needle.

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Line your pockets up, then match the buttonhole on the front circle to the button on the back. Grab two locking stitch markers and pin those puppies together, leaving an opening about a quarter of the circumference at the top for the pocket opening.

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I use locking stitch markers to mark where I want to seam to begin and end

Next we’ll be crocheting around the bottom part of both circles at once to attach them – so grab a matching or coordinating yarn (or a mismatching one – this is freeform after all) to do the seam. If you’re feeling sassy, string a few of those beads on there using the tapestry needle – I’ll show you what to do with them later.

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Join your yarn at the point where you put your stitch marker so that you’ll be working around the bottom ¾ or so of the pocket. Insert your hook through the top of the sc of both layers and work a sc. Continue to sc through both layers at once around the circumference – slip stitch works fine here too or hdc or even dc works fine here too, if you like – fReEfOrM ba- ok, you get the idea.

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Crochet through both layers at once to seam

Once I reach near the bottom, it’s time to work the beads in. I like dangly things. Here’s two ways to do it:

For prestrung beads, chain a length and chain in the bead at the end. Slip stitch back down the chain and continue working the hem through both layers until you want to add another bead, then repeat.

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For beads with larger holes that are not prestrung, chain a longer length, then slip stitch back down. Once the chain is finished, string the cord through the bead and then tie a small knot at the end. Continue to work the hem through both layers until you want to add another bead, then repeat.

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Once you’ve beaded to your heart’s content, keep single crocheting around the last portion of the pocket circles until you reach the other stitch marker. Cut yarn and tie off, then weave in your ends.

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Ta-Da! You have your very own circle pocket for attaching to your pixie pocket belt! For how to attach, keep reading through this tutorial series 🙂

To wrap up, how about some more ideas for circle pockets? Here are some ways I’ve done them in past projects:

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This circle pocket features a crochet overlay motif of the tree of life, from this awesome free pattern!

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Another overlay motif crocheted then sewn on appears on this plain circle pocket – a great chance to practice designing your own doily/mandala patterns.

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The circle pocket in “Nightshade” features beaded single crochet, working prestrung seed beads into the back side of each stitch.

 

PBT: Triangles

This post is part of a series of tutorials on how to create your own unique crochet pixie pocket belt – to read more about this series visit the Intro page.

Today’s task is: Triangles! I don’t personally use this shape much in my belts, but I have seen others do beautiful pixie belts with triangles featured. Speaking of inspiration, have I mentioned I’ve been creating a special Pinterest subsection on my crochet board just for pixie pocket belts? I have, and you should follow me. Anyway, here’s triangles!

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Triangle shapes can be worked either in-the-round, where you crochet your rows in a circular direction and join them before starting a new row (using increases to create points), or in regular rows, where you chain and turn to work the opposite direction after every row (this method uses decreases to shape the piece if working from the base of the shape).

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The square pocket on “Hickory” uses back-and-forth rows with decreases placed at each end of every row to shape the triangle portion.

I personally prefer the in-the-round triangle for decorative applications, because it keeps the right side facing the entire time, which to me looks prettier. I have an in-depth photo-tutorial on in-the-round triangles in my Basic Bralette free crochet pattern, so I’ll not go over the entire thing here – please refer to that tutorial for more info! And of course, I’m using bits and scraps, so I’ll change colors every row or so.

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Pattern for in-the-round Triangle:

MR (Make Ring)

Rnd 1: Ch 2 (does not count as first st), (3 dc into the ring, ch 2) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc. – 9 dc

Rnd 2: Ch 2, 1 dc into the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 2 dc. In the next space, work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc. (1 dc in ea of the next 3 dc. In the next sp work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) repeat within parentheses twice. Join with a sl st to the first dc. – 21 dc

Rnd 3: Ch 2, 1 dc in the same st. 1 dc in ea of the next 4 dc. In the next space, work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc. (1 dc in ea of the next 7 dc. In the next sp work 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) rpt within parentheses twice. 1 dc in ea of the next 2 dc. Join with a sl st to the first dc. – 33 dc

(shorthand version from here on – just continue the established pattern until your triangle is the desired size!)

Rnd 4: 11 dc, [2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc] in next space – rpt around

Rnd 5: 15 dc, [2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc] in next space – rpt around

Etc.

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I want to make my triangle just big enough for one side to match the top of my rectangle pocket – see where I’m going with this?

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So, after I’m done, I’ll  slip stitch through the top row of the triangle and the top row of the rectangle simultaneously to join them – doesn’t matter if you don’t have exactly the matching amount of stitches, ‘cause its fReEfOrM baby! So fudging it is okay. Encouraged even.

Once that’s complete, I weave in all the ends. Now I have a rectangle pocket with a cute pointed flap to cover the top. Let’s get even fancier – or as the kids these days say, extra – by using that ruffle technology I talked about earlier in the series.

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With some handspun orange wool, I attach with a sl st a few stitches down the side of the pocket. Using a gradation of stitch heights and working about 2-3 stitches per every stitch worked into, I make a funky ruffle down the side of the pocket, ending in a couple chain stitches before fastening off. Let’s go nuts and slip a bead on there, too. And some extra yarn bits for tassel.

Then, begin on the other side (working in the opposite direction if you want the right side to be facing) and do the other side to match. Now we’re talking.

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Another word on inspiration here : this is why it’s fun for me to choose a theme for these pieces, which are always nature-based for me.  What made me decide to add that crazy ruffle? Well, for one thing, I had just a bit of that thick wool orange yarn, and bulky handspun makes great funky accent choice. But more than that, I was thinking about the Maple tree, and the way the brightly colored leaves curl as they slowly dry. The pockets so far had bright fall-like colors, but the lines were so straightforward – circle, square, rectangle – that I needed a bit of crazy curl in the pockets to kind of represent that thought of the curly maple leaf. I wasn’t going for an exact replica of the curly leaf, just a touch of the spirit of the leaf. Does that sound crazy? Good. Because this is some artistic pixie magic we’re doing. Save the logic for the office.

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In the next few posts we’ll be tackling circular pockets – stay tuned!

-MF