Sol Halter Top Updates

The weather has been turning my mind toward hot sunny days – indeed, it was up to almost 70 in the sunshine yesterday – and this inevitably results in crocheting halter tops! I’ve started toying with a new design recently but couldn’t resist diving into some old patterns too. After all, I had a half-finished update for the Sol Halter top sitting in my computer files, giving me the side-eye after being pushed toward the bottom of the to-do list for a couple years.

So today I uploaded the finished pattern update for my Sol Halter Top pattern, the very first halter top I ever published (it was 5 years ago now… OMG). The pattern needed some extra tutorial photos in one of the trickier areas, and I clarified some of the language and just generally tried to give it a spring cleaning πŸ™‚ I’m very happy with the result!

You can purchase the newly updated Sol Halter Top pattern (straight sizes, for A, B & C cups) in my Ravelry Pattern Store or Etsy Shop now! Keep reading for more info on this design as well as some cool mods…

Of course I made one or two actual halters in the process of updating, and in the last few years my strategies have changed from using straight tie-back style straps, to the more comfortable criss-cross backing as in the Basic Bralette, the Valkyrie Top, and the Feather & Scale Halter. I didn’t feel committed to changing the strap style entirely within the PDF pattern itself, so I’m offering these modifications right here on the blog, so keep reading for more info on this design and how to modify it ❀

What I really like about the Sol Halter top design is the cup style. The halter top starts by creating a long base for the underbust, then creates two equidistant points on which is centered a series of increases, and also stitch height changes (if you are working B-C cup sizes, A cups continue in the same height of stitch).

The combination of increases and height changes creates an actual bulge in the material which is form-fitting to the bust. Many other central-motif style halter tops work rows of back-and-forth stitches that create a basically flat piece of fabric for the torso, which merely wraps around and compresses. That method is pretty and fairly simple, but I find that my method – which occurs also in my Mehndi Halter Top pattern and my Valkyrie Top pattern – is really comfortable and doesn’t result in major slippages on the bust while wearing. I consider it my signature strategy for halter top making!

Besides the bust portion itself, the mandala motif in the center of the Sol pattern also includes an expansion for C-cups which gives a little extra room between the motif and the main body of the halter. Once the motif is attached, I like the clever way that the stitching goes right on to work the edging and the straps without having to cut yarn and tie off.

Pictured above: C-Cup size Sol Halter Top with modified straps
Pictured above: original straps from the PDF pattern

While the original PDF file only includes instructions for straight ties (one pair for the neck, one pair for the bust) I have moved away from this style for myself personally since I don’t like the pressure of the ties on my neck. Instead, I follow the first portion of the instructions for the edging until reaching the lower portion of the side bottom:

Instead of single crocheting across the entire side, I create a series of loops (about ch 20 sized) intermittently. I normally do 2 loops, but I got extra and did 3 for this top. Once your ch-20 loops are placed (about 3-4 single crochets apart, with no skips in between), you can move right into rotating the piece and working the bottom edging as directed.

Mirror those loops on the other side of the halter, then complete the edging by working the rest of the single crochets up the side. Follow the directions as written for working across the top of the motif, but instead of using the “ch 75, sc back down” style tie, you’ll want to chain 175 – 250 (depending on your band size – these are chain 200 size ties and work well for a size Medium gal) and SLIP STITCH back down the chain length, not single crochet. Do this for both ties on the top. I changed over to working slip stitch cords really shortly after writing the Sol and Mehndi patterns, as I find they are rounder and more comfortable and work better for lacing back and forth.

Once your ties on top are completed, finish off the edging round as directed. You can stop here, but I had some extra yarn left over and I like a nice substantial bottom band so I rejoined my yarn at the bottom of the halter and worked 3 extra rows of single crochet back and forth to add a little more coverage!

To tie on this criss-cross back style, the straps go over the shoulders and then cross, lacing into the first loops, and then lacing back and forth through the second loop (or as many as you have) before tying. With just a bit of adjustment to make sure everything is even, this style of lacing is really secure and comfortable – and I don’t know about you, but I love feeling free to romp and roam in my magical crochet-wear without having to re-tie and tug around at the garment all the time!

I hope you enjoyed this little exploration of one of my keystone designs and are inspired to try it out for yourself – I think I’ll be making more halter tops from the Morale Fiber vaults this season, so hopefully there will be more to come. Until then, have you checked out these great FREE tutorials? πŸ™‚ ❀

-MF ❀

Lotus Video Tutorial Part 6

It’s finally time to debut the finishing video for the Lotus Mandala Duster pattern – Part 6, the Sleeves! I’m very happy with the response from this video series and am looking forward to exploring more video tutorial goodness so be sure to subscribe to my Youtube Channel so you can catch all the latest content πŸ™‚

Since the sleeves are written in steps instead of specifically numbered rounds, you can repeat certain steps to get the length and flare that you like in the sleeve. The video goes into this more, as well as demonstrating how to taper by placing decreases, mirror the directions on the other side, etc – I tried to hit some of the major questions I’ve been asked about this part of the pattern before! Hopefully it’s helpful.

The sleeves were my stroke of drama for this design when I first made it, and what really captured my attention. The sister design, the Lotus Vest, didn’t quite charm me the way the Duster did, and I think it’s because I just love those crazy sleeves so much.

I did eventually design a slimmer, more everyday sleeve for the Lotus Vest, which could easily be crossed with the Lotus Duster using the same techniques shown in the video, if you wanted a less burdensome arm covering πŸ˜‰

Pictured above: Lotus Vest with Cardigan Sleeve added

I’d say that it feels great to wrap up this design, but I know for a fact that I’ll still be fiddling with this pattern in the future, adding more size options and so forth. I’m nothing if not persistent, LOL!

-MF

Winter Projects

Just a quick photoshoot of a few projects I’ve finished recently – or, sort of finished. The vest is of course the Lotus Duster, not yet with sleeves, which I am making for my Lotus Duster Video Tutorial series on Youtube! This is the Duster after Part 5 is completed.

The actual video tutorial for Part 5 is still in progress, but I needed the photos so I thought I’d share a little.

Also I just finished up another fabulous cotton patchwork dancing skirt, one of my favorite sewing projects. I use this pattern from Wendy Kay on Etsy πŸ™‚ Highly recommend.

The cotton crochet halter top is of my own freehand design, made in one night while I was dreaming of warmer weather πŸ˜‰ I don’t have a pattern for it, but I do have a pattern for something similar – the Sol Halter Top which can be found in the link right there.

Thanks for joining me for this little sneaky peak! Stay tuned for Part 5 of the Lotus Duster Video Tutorial ❀ And be sure to subscribe for notifications ❀

-MF

Flower Child Pullover Pattern

Can I tell you about how stoked I am to finally have this design out?! I just barely squeaked it in, a month after I had planned on releasing it, while pre-warm-weather crafting is still going on: It’s the Flower Child Pullover! Cousin to my Mandala Top pattern, I think this may be my favorite pattern I’ve designed so far.

You can get it for 5.99 USD through my Etsy Shop or my Ravelry Pattern Store! More details below.

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With a colorful openwork design and a flattering A-line shape, the Flower Child Pullover lets the good vibes flow! A great layering piece for any season and a guaranteed eye-catcher at the beach, festivals, markets, concerts, yoga, or anywhere you feel like letting your hippie flag fly.

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This funkadelic mandala sweater dress is similar in construction to the sleeveless tunic-style Mandala Top, made with the same easy-care worsted weight acrylic yarn that lets you zen out to your favorite color combinations without breaking the bank.

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I personally love the mesh crochet construction that lets the garment drape alluringly over all different types of beautiful curves! Pattern is written in 3 sizes (Small, Medium, and Large) with options for customizing size, 9-17 color changes written into the instructions, and over 75 bright, clear tutorial photos. I really went nuts with the tutorial photos for this one! To compensate, I also have included a separate text-only PDF pattern version that won’t break your printer.

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Get colorful or bust some scraps with the detailed individually listed yardage requirements for each color included in the pattern.

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Sizes:
Small: 24” Length, 16” upper arm circumference, 32” bust, 15” wide collar
Medium: 26” Length, 18” upper arm circumference, 38” bust, 15” wide collar
Large – 30” Length, 20” upper arm circumference, 42” bust, 16” wide collar

Materials:
Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn! (#4 Medium Weight, 199 g / 355 yds per skein). 700-820 yds total, exact yardages for each color included.
5.00 mm hook
Stitch Markers
Scissors & Tapestry Needle

Written in US terminology

I’m really glad I had an excuse to buy that giant flower, because I’ve been eyeballing it at the craft store for months.
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-MF

Mandala Tops are coming…

I’ve been all over the place lately, both in my crochet escapades and also in my schoolwork – but not, unfortunately, geographically. This time last year I was enjoying the bright sun of New Mexico and looking forward to the Orlando trip in March, but this year it’s all homework and cabin fever. But a girl can dream!

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I’ve started obsessively making my Mandala Tops again, imagining outdoor gatherings and warm nights and drumming with friends. This one’s a sweet neutral take on the design, for a western-inspired festival style. I’ve started to add 2-3 more rows to the bottom, because I’m enjoying the extra “oomph” it adds to make a more girly, A-line shape.

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I know, that belt is awesome.

The pattern (which includes 4 different sizes) can be purchased in my Etsy ShopΒ or through Ravelry. You get all 4 sizes in one pattern for only 5.50 USD (but my Facebook followers know of a special deal going on currently, hint hint). But enough about me… check out this killer Mandala Top made by Raveler hyleoroii (shared with permission of course).

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Love that mirrored photo! I’m also really mega proud that one of my personal real-life heroes wore one of my Mandala Top creations to her Art Gallery showing last fall:

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A bit blurry, but you can see Lisa’s mosaic window in the background. She does stunning mosaic work, beautiful tie-dye and patchwork, and even made her own coloring book from her lovely nature-spirituality inspired drawings. What a woman!

-MF

Hippie Heaven Drop Sleeves

In a spat of full moon madness I worked all evening to bring out the pattern for the Hippie Heaven Drop Sleeves a week early! This is a pattern add-on for my Mandala Top, with instructions for making these heavenly winged sleeves with a devil-may-care dropped shoulder.Β See what I did there?Β Pretty good eh?

UPDATE 6/14/16 – This pattern has been revamped! To get the latest info on the Mandala Top Drop sleeves and the related patterns, see this post.

 

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Oh, and that matching headband I’m sporting is the Genius Headband, a sweet little free pattern from The Lovely Crow.

Happy Thanksgiving to you United States types! I’ll be celebrating by spending way too much time in the car. If only I had some sort of portable hobby that I can do for hours on end without wanting to stop…

Stay safe.

-MF

Mandala Top Pattern Release Sale!

Today is the day!

I’ve been working frantically on creating these Mandala Tops, and the pattern that accompanies them, since my friends started requesting them in May. I have worked this pattern over and over again, in all three sizes, as well as creating charts, editing photos, and revising the design until I was completely satisfied with it.

So I’m very excited to finally release this pattern for sale in my Etsy Shop!

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UPDATE 6/14/16 – This pattern has been revamped! And to avoid confusion, I’ve curtailed the old description that was on this post. To get the latest info on the Mandala Top and the pattern add-ons, see this blog post.

If you like this pattern, please visit my Facebook page and share it with your friends!

You can, of course, also find me on Pinterest and Ravelry.

 

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-MF

Yarn Yantra Color Meditation

YARN!

It was by special request from my friends that I came to design a yarn mandala coverup pattern. My first attempt was moderately successful,Β but with each attempt I further refined my pattern and method, and found that I had become addicted to making these things! Playing with color is one of the best parts of working with fiber in my opinion – and working with the parameters of color suggested by my friends, I had even more fun because I was pushed to do palettes that were outside those to which I normally gravitate.

Speaking of color, have you ever tried Colour Lovers? I’m addicted. Every artist should know about this website! I have stayed hypnotized playing with color there for hours.

The next “Yarn Yantra” as I called them was a custom piece for the friend who originally requested them:

Crochet Mandala Tunic 2

 

I am blessed to have so many talented friends, as my next one was done for a lovely woman named Lisa, an inspiring artist who excels in tie-dye, mosaics, painting, and sewing. This color combination was influenced by her tie-dye work:

Lisa Tie Dye

Crochet Mandala Tunic 5

Crochet Mandala Tunic 4

And the next for Heather, a bad-ass homesteading woman. She suggested this palette, and the colors reminded me of a Yellowstone sulfur pool.

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Crochet Mandala Tunic 6

Crochet Mandala Tunic 7

Lastly one I did strictly for the fun of combining the colors, from this palette I worked with on Colour Lovers:

Crochet Mandala Tunic 9

Crochet Mandala Tunic 8

Too. Much. Fun!

EDIT: I eventually worked out all the kinks in the design and released the pattern for this – the Mandala Top, available in 4 sizes πŸ™‚ Β Check the link for the latest info on that!

-MF