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

Mandala Top Add-Ons Free Pattern

In my last post I was happy to re-release the premium Mandala Top crochet pattern as a FREE offering on my blog – that design was several years old at this point and I wanted to make it more widely available as it’s one of my all-time favorites! The Mandala Top also got a few additional features over the years, namely the cute bell-shaped Drop Sleeves option and the (absolutely essential IMO) Dress Extension which adds more length and flounce to the bottom of the tunic.

Anyway, the Mandala Top Free Pattern post ran a little long, so I’m doing the Mandala Top Add-Ons free patterns in this post! Keep scrolling to get the instructions for both of these features for all 4 sizes, or go to my Ravelry Store or Etsy Shop to get the all-inclusive portable, downloadable, ad-free version by purchasing the Mandala Top PDF!

This whole design looks superb with regular ol’ #4 worsted weight acrylics, and affordable yarn means you can easily create the most colorful mandalas you can imagine! I can’t decide if I love these more in color combos using spare yarn balls, or in single tone neutrals that go with everything ❀

Mandala Top Drop Sleeves

Materials:

5.00 mm hook or size needed to obtain gauge

Yarn: #4 worsted weight – yardage given is in addition to the yarn required to complete the main body of the top.
Small, Medium, Large: 200 yds
X-Large: 285 yds
Tapestry Needle
Stitch Markers
Scissors

Gauge:

4 sts and 2 rows = 1” in dc

Notes: Instructions are given for working the sleeve directly onto the side of the top. For a tutorial on how to work the DCh stitch, refer back to the Mandala Top Pattern

Small, medium, and large instructions are the same, instructions for XL will appear as a secondary option, where differing.

Work the entire Mandala Top Pattern. For the straps, add extra DCh sts according to the sizes below:

Small & Medium: 10 extra DCh

Large: 15 extra DCh

X-Large: 20 extra Dch

 Do not weave in the ends of the straps, as you may want to adjust them later.

Pattern for Sleeves

Foundation: Attach yarn 6 sc sts away from the base of the strap at the back of the top – counting toward the armpit, not toward the neckline of the top.

Ch 1, work a sc in the same st. Insert hk into the side bar of the sc, then draw up a loop to begin the first DCh st. YO and draw through both lps on the hook – 1 DCh stitch made. Place marker in this st.

DCh 28 more sts. Insert hk through both side bar of last DCh st and through the stitch 6 sc sts away from the strap on the other side of the top. Draw up a loop, then YO and draw through both lps on the hk. Place marker in this stitch.

Working toward the armpit of the top, not toward the strap, work 1 sc in the next 16 (26) sts, sk the stitch where the front and back of the top are joined, work 1 sc in ea of the next 16 (26) sts. – 60, 80 sts.

The stitches you marked (the very first and very last of the DCh) DO NOT count as stitches for Rnd 1. Skip over them completely when working the instructions for the following round.

Rnd 1: Ch 5  β€“  counts as first tr + ch-1. (sk next st, tr in the next st, ch 1) 29, 39 times. Join with a sl st in the 4th ch of beg ch-5.

Rnd 2: Sl st into the next ch st. Ch 5 – counts as first tr + ch 1. (sk next st, tr in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 29, 39 times. Join with a sl st in the 4th ch of beg ch-5.

Rnd 3.: Rpt Rnd 2.

Rnd 4: Sl st into the next ch-1 space. Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc into the same space, ch 3. (2 dc in the next ch-1 sp, ch 3) 28, 38 times. 2 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1, join with a hdc in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3.

Rnd 5: Ch 3- counts as first dc. Dc into the same space, ch 3. (2 dc in the next ch-3 sp, ch 3) 28, 38 times. 2 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1, join with a hdc in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3.

Rnd 6: Rpt Rnd 5.

Rnd 7: Ch 4 – counts as first tr. Tr in the same space, ch 3. (2 tr in the next ch-3 space, ch 3) 28, 38 times. 2 tr in the next ch-3 space, ch 1, join with a hdc in the 4th ch of beg ch-4.

Rnd 8: Rpt Rnd 7.

Rnd 9: Rpt Rnd 7.

Cut yarn and tie off.

Repeat foundation and rounds 1-10 on the opposite side. For the second foundation, join your yarn 6 sc sts from the base of the strap on the front side so that you maintain the RS facing. Weave in all ends.

Forming the Adjustable Ring

The adjustable ring draws the straps together in an X at the back of the top to keep them from falling off the shoulder from the additional weight of the sleeves; this design requires that extra length is added to the straps. Though the general guidelines for adding extra length is given, you may want to test the lengths first to check what fits best.

Step 1: With new yarn that is the same color as the straps, ch 6. Bring the straps together in the back and slip the chain around both straps. Join with a sl st in the first ch to form a ring that encircles the straps.

Step 2: Sc into the same stitch. Sc into ea of the next 5 ch sts. Join with a slip stitch to the first sc of the ring. Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in ends, making sure that the ring is not attached to either strap at any point.

Mandala Top Dress Extension

Materials:

5.00 mm hook or size needed to obtain gauge

#4 Worsted Weight yarn (yardage given is in addition to amount needed to complete the main body of the top)
Smalls & Mediums: 200 yds
Larges & X-Larges: 275 yds
Tapestry Needle
Scissors

Add more length and flounce to your mandala top by completing this extension pattern for the 3 extra rounds at the bottom of the garment.

Smalls  & Mediums Instructions:

Rnd 1: With RS facing, join new yarn in the 2nd ch-8 space from the dc2tog at the side of the top. Ch 7 – counts as first dc + ch 4. Dc in the same space, ch 7. *Dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 4. YO and insert hook under the next ch-4 space. Draw up a loop, YO, and draw through 2 lps on the hook – 2 lps left on the hook. YO and insert hook under next ch-4 space, draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 lps on the hk, YO again and draw through all 3 lps on the hook – dc2tog made. Ch 4.* (Dc in the next ch sp, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 7) 31 times.  Repeat from *to *. (Dc in the next space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 7) 30 times. Dc in the next ch space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 4. Tr in the 3rd ch of beg ch-7. 132 chain spaces made.

Rnd 2: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) twice.* 2 dc in the next chain space, ch 4. YO and insert hk under the next ch-4 space. Draw up a loop, YO and draw through 2 lps on the hook – 2 lps left on the hook. YO and insert hook under the next ch-4 space, draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 lps on the hk, YO again and draw through all 3 lps on the hook – dc2tog made. Ch 4. * (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 62 times. Rpt from * to *. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 60 times. 2 dc in the next chain space, ch 4, treble in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 130 chain spaces made.

Rnd 3: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) twice. .* 2 dc in the next chain space, ch 4. YO and insert hk under the next ch-4 space. Draw up a loop, YO and draw through 2 lps on the hook – 2 lps left on the hook. YO and insert hook under the next ch-4 space, draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 lps on the hk, YO again and draw through all 3 lps on the hook – dc2tog made. Ch 4. * (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 61 times. Rpt from * to *. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 60 times. Sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 128 chain spaces made.

Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in all ends.

Size Large Instructions:

Rnd 1: With RS facing, join new yarn in the 2nd ch-8 space from the dc2tog at the side of the to .Ch 7 – counts as first dc + ch 4. Dc in the same space, ch 7. *Dc in the next ch-8 space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 4. YO and insert hook under the next ch-4 space. Draw up a loop, YO, and draw through 2 lps on the hook – 2 lps left on the hook. YO and insert hook under next ch-4 space, draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 lps on the hk, YO again and draw through all 3 lps on the hook – dc2tog made. Ch 4. *(Dc in the next ch sp, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 7) 45 times.  Repeat from *to *. (Dc in the next space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 7) 44 times. Dc in the next ch space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 4. Tr in the 3rd ch of beg ch-7. 188 chain spaces made.

Rnd 2: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) twice.* 2 dc in the next chain space, ch 4. YO and insert hk under the next ch-4 space. Draw up a loop, YO and draw through 2 lps on the hook – 2 lps left on the hook. YO and insert hook under the next ch-4 space, draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 lps on the hk, YO again and draw through all 3 lps on the hook – dc2tog made (see fig 3). Ch 4. * (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 90 times. Rpt from * to *. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 88 times. 2 dc in the next chain space, ch 4, treble in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 186 chain spaces made.

Rnd 3: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) twice.* 2 dc in the next chain space, ch 4. YO and insert hk under the next ch-4 space. Draw up a loop, YO and draw through 2 lps on the hook – 2 lps left on the hook. YO and insert hook under the next ch-4 space, draw up a loop. YO and draw through 2 lps on the hk, YO again and draw through all 3 lps on the hook – dc2tog made. Ch 4. * (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 89 times. Rpt from * to *. (2 dc in the next chain space, ch 8) 88 times. Sl st in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 184 chain spaces made. Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in all ends.

X-Large Instructions:

Rnd 1: With RS facing, join new yarn to any ch-8 space. Ch 7 – counts as first dc + ch . Dc in the same space, ch 7. (Dc in the next space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 7) 91 times. Dc in the next ch space, ch 4, dc in the same space, ch 4. Tr in the 3rd ch of beg ch-7. 194 chain spaces made.

Rnd 2: Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in the same space, ch 8. (2 dc in the next ch space, ch 8) 192 times. 2 dc in the next ch space, ch 4, tr in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. 194 chain spaces made.

Rnd 3: Repeat Round 2.

Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in all ends.

That’s it for this re-release! It’s been so much fun revisiting this pattern and setting up this design to become free and available to everyone, not the least because it’s an excuse to make new versions πŸ˜‰ If you have any questions about this design please leave me a comment or contact me directly through messages on any of my social media sites!

One more mention before I go – I started playing around with the Mandala Top design after I had finished it to see about adding sleeves and making it a sweater (those are my first drafts below)…

… which after some tweaking and changing things a bit, led directly to the Flower Child Pullover design, a paid PDF pattern in my Ravelry and Etsy stores – in case you’re interested πŸ˜‰

-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˜‰

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

Lotus Video Tutorial Part 5

This post won’t contain much more than the video tutorial for Part 5 of the Lotus Duster and the pictures I have of the sleeveless version finished! Still pretty good though, eh? You can find the all of the videos included in this series so far both on my blog and on my Youtube Channel.

Thank you to everyone who has liked and subscribed so far, I can tell building this channel is going to be an important part of my business so it means a lot when I get so much support ❀

Keep scrolling for the video ❀ ❀ ❀

Part Six won’t be far behind! ❀

-MF

Lotus Duster Video Tutorial Part 4

Without much preamble, I’m excited to announce the addition of Part 4 of the Lotus Mandala Duster pattern crochet tutorial to my Youtube Channel!

Thanks to everyone who has liked and subscribed so far, it really does help build my channel and therefore help me keep going with my creating πŸ™‚

You can find the video tutorial below or go to my channel to see all 4 parts released so far, as well as other awesome tutorial videos and demo. Part 4 covers Rounds 25-32, the chain-loop mesh portion of the outer sweater.

Style shown above is the Lotus Duster, without sleeves – with the Lotus Hood addition <a href="https://moralefiber.blog/2019/04/27/lotus-hood/&quot; target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener" aria-label="<3

Parts 5 and 6 coming soon!

-MF

Lotus Duster Tutorial Part 3

Tippy-top on my to-do list is finishing the Lotus Duster video tutorial, in no small part because I’m getting very excited about seeing the finished product! You can find Parts 1 & 2 on my Youtube Channel here.

Each time I make a new one, I fall in love with it all over again ❀ I mean, not to toot my own horn or anything πŸ˜‰ So putting together Part 3 of this video was very rewarding, because in Rnds 17 – 24 we are adding armholes and really starting to shape the central mandala into the pretty ruffley sweater form.

This material is looking like a soft doily dream – it’s the 100% cotton yarn, in fine stranded texture, ripped out from a number of old thrifted sweaters. Recycling sweater yarn is a lot of hard work, but it’s hard to beat in terms of quality, quantity, and overall cost for these Duster pieces, and nothing gives the piece a more retro vintage-y feel than upcycled yarn.

Okay, blathering completed – enjoy Part 3 and remember to like & subscribe, link me, and share me on Facebook if you want to support more slick FREE content πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

❀ ❀

-MF

Embla Vest Pattern

It can be awfully hard to pinpoint where an idea began it’s journey toward fruition. I’ve wanted to design my own tree of life motif for years, and finally picked up a hook to start experimenting with it just a few months ago. I vaguely thought about adding the motif to the middle of the vest design I was working on, and so I tinkered until this was possible and set down a general framework for the pattern. Today I finally finish this saga, with the premier of the Embla Vest crochet pattern – available as a downloadable, printable, ad-free PDF in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Store ❀

During the making of this pattern, life happened, and then death happened. In the course of this, the Embla Vest became very personal to me (more so than other designs, although it’s hard to judge) and getting through the process of creating this pattern became a journey of emergence. I’m so glad I’m here now! Ha πŸ™‚

The vest design itself was inspired by several stylistic sources including steampunk waistcoats and some of my personal crochet heroes’ designs, and I made SO MANY of them before I settled on what looked accurate to the vision in my mind’s eye. The resulting design is the new award winner for Most Drafts Crocheted, a title formerly held by the Ida Shawl (worth it in both cases!)

Yes, there was struggle and heartache. Through it all, I kept creating – because there isn’t any other way. I hope you love this design as much as I do, and I hope you make it for someone you love and they love it, too ❀ Read on for the full details!

The Embla Vest is a playful and versatile garment inspired by the Norse creation myth, in which the gods breath life into a dead tree to create the first woman, named Embla. I drew from many different design elements to create this unique and customizable piece of wearable crochet art.

This circular vest is worked in the round, featuring a stunning Tree of Life motif in the center and blends beautifully outwards in #4 worsted weight variegated yarn to make the perfect lightweight layering piece.

In addition to the FIVE sizes (XS-XL) this vest features lots of customizing options, including instructions for a solid back (alternative or in addition to the Tree of Life), sleeves, and hood! Create a structured, waistcoat look by working the buttons instructions, or make a fairy tail cardigan featuring a lace-up front. All sizes and styles fit with a wrapping collar, a dainty pointed back, and front panels that draw away in a figure taper.

The PDF file includes written instructions for every size in step-by-step order with stitch counts and 75+ bright, clear tutorial photos. The Embla Vest PDF also comes with the Tree of Life mandala, a separate BONUS PDF file for the full Tree of Life dreamcatcher design (also available here on the blog).

Materials:
4.5 mm hook
Lion Brand Shawl in a Cake or Shawl in a Ball (#4 weight, 150 g, 481 yds)
Main Vest: 1, 1, 1, 2, 2 skeins
Hood: Β½ Β skein
Sleeves: 1 skein
Tree Motif – 50 yds Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton (#4 weight, 100 g / 186 yds)
Scissors
Tapestry Needle
Stitch Markers

Sizes and Finished Measurements: X-Small (XS), Small (SM), Medium (MD), Large (LG), X-Large (XL)
Finished measurements are approximate
Bust: Β 30”, 34”, 38”, 42”, 46”
Length (back collar to bottom point): 19”, 21”, 23”, 25”, 27”
Arm Opening (circumference): 9”, 10”, 11”, 12”, 13”

All instructions are written in English in U.S terminology.

I have real bits of bark on my sleeve. That’s authenticity.

In the outdoor photoshoot I am proud to be sporting 100% handmade/small business apparel – here’s where it’s all from!
Floral Berry Crown: @daizel_doozle
Hi-Lo Scrunchie Dress: Elven Forest
Tie-Dye Yoga Pants: Dimples Dyes
Macrame necklace & bracelet: Selinofos Art

The sleeved vest costume also includes a piece by Dimples Dyes (halter top) and Selinofos Art (Pendant necklace). And more by me (crocheted leather feather head wrap)

And of course, in several of these photos I’m also wearing one of my one-of-a-kind pixie belts, which you can get all the how-to instructions for FREE here on my blog.

Now, go out there, make some stuff, and hug a tree.

❀ ❀ ❀

-MF

Lotus Hooded Duster

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It’s finally time! I’ve received many requests over the last few years to design a hood for my Lotus Duster free crochet pattern, and it’s been on my to-do list for long enough – today we debut the hood addition to this design! πŸ˜€

Florence12

The hood is partially made, then inserted into the main pattern rather than added after the entire thing is finished, so if you are working the Lotus Duster you will be adding the hood after Round 22, then continuing with the main pattern from there and working over the hood brim in addition to the rest of the garment. Also, I made the version pictured here sleeveless (because I wanted to wear it this summer) and I made a few adjustments to the sizing as well, which are explained in the instructions πŸ™‚

Florence3

If you like these patterns and want the portable, printable, ad-free version, good news! The Hood Tutorial is now included as a bonus PDF along with the PDF version of the Lotus Mandala Duster pattern, available in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Pattern Store! And don’t forget my offer for bundled patterns with my new pattern discount codes:
15% off of 2: MF15OFF
20% off of 3-4: MF20OFF
25% off of 5-6: MF25OFF
30% off of 7+: MF30OFF

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The pattern given for the Hood is more of a tutorial and doesn’t include specific stitch counts like the main Lotus Duster pattern does. I also used a random mishmash of yarns, some slightly bigger than I would normally use for this design, which makes a difference in sizing and gauge, etc – so I left the hood instructions open with modifications for individual gauge and preference. I considered using the standard yarn that I use for the main pattern, but I just really wanted to make this crazy thing using all these crazy yarns!

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The majority of the yarns used in this example are either upcycled by me from old sweaters (see my detailed tutorial on how to recycle sweater yarn) or rescued from the thrift store. If you liked this project, give a girl a fave over on the Ravelry project page for this design!

Oh, and those leafy wrap bracelets I am wearing are from another FREE crochet pattern of mine, the Ivy Crown garland.

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Lotus Hooded Duster

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Materials: 5.50 mm hook
Extra yarn – I would estimate the hood addition requires 300-500 yards of yarn more than the standard pattern. Please refer to the main pattern for more info on materials needed, gauge, etc.

Notes: As mentioned, I made a few tweaks to the sizing of this sleeveless duster to get the look I wanted. I started working the main pattern in size Small, then added length and width by working some of the extra rows suggested in the Large size – but not all of them, so the size came out more like a Medium.

Instructions

Work the Lotus Duster 2.0 pattern through to Round 21.

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On Rnd 22 I made an adjustment to the amount of double crochet that I worked across the chain loop that creates the armhole opening.

22. Ch 3 – counts as first dc. 1 dc in the next dc (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, 1 dc in ea of the next 2 dc) 9 times. 3 dc in the next ch-1 sp, 1 dc in the next dc. 1 dc in ea of the next 30, 33 ch sts. 1 dc in the next dc (1 dc in the next ch sp, 1 dc in ea of the next 2 dc) 9, 13 times**. 1 dc in the next ch sp, 1 dc in the next dc. 1 dc in ea of the next 30, 33 ch sts. 1 dc in the next dc (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, 1 dc in ea of the next 2 dc) 63, 65 times. 3 dc in the next ch-1 sp, join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 460, 488 sts”

Instead of working 1 dc in each of the chain stitches made for the armhole loops (making 30 total dc over each armhole) I worked 20 total dc into the armhole loop itself, not the stitches. This means that the stitches can stretch across the loop made by the chains and are not anchored to the stitches themselves – to do this, just insert the hook underneath the chain loop to work your stitches across (do not insert your hook into the actual stitches, just the space underneath the chain).

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I forgot to get an actual picture at this stage, so this one is from a little later in the pattern. Still, check out how the stitches are arranged across the armhole loop space – this accomplishes a slight tightening at the bust and shoulder area and makes room for the extra draping material that will be added by the presence of the hood. If these step seems confusing or you are having trouble with sizing, it’s 100% okay to skip this step – it’s not a crucial adjustment. I just made this change because it helps keep all that pretty lacey material tucked around the shoulders for a better fit.

So with that in mind, finish Round 22 as written with or without the armhole adjustments. Once Rnd 22 is complete, set the main body of the duster aside to begin the hood.

Hood Instructions

Using the 5.50 mm hook and your yarn of choice, Chain 35.

The length you chain depends on your gauge – if you hold the chain starting at the nape of the neck, it should be long enough to reach the back of your head. If 35 is too short, chain more.

Row 1: Dc in the 4th ch from hook, ch 1, sk next st. (Dc, ch 1, sk next st) 14 times, or however many times you need to reach the second to last stitch of the chain. Dc, ch 1 in next st. In the last st of the chain, work (Dc, ch 1) 3 times. Rotate the piece so that you are working into the bottom of the chain stitches, creating a chain with stitches on both sides. Dc, ch 1 in the next st, sk next st. (Dc, ch 1, sk next st) 14 times. Dc in next st. Dc in the final st.

Row 2:  Ch 4 (counts as first dc + ch 1), turn. (Dc in next ch -1 space, ch 1) 16 times. (Dc, ch 1) twice in ea of the next 2 ch-1 spaces. (Dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 16 times. Dc in the final dc of the previous row.

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The central chain at the back of the hood
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The instructions in bold create two increase spaces at the tip of one end of the piece. Through the next part, you will work the same kind of increase in each of these two increase spaces on every row – so it’s helpful to mark them!

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Row 3: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), turn. (Dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 17 times. (Dc, ch 1) twice in the next space. Dc, ch 1 in the next space. (Dc, ch 1) twice in the next space. (Dc in the next space, ch 1) 16 times. 1 dc in the final ch-1 space, 1 dc in the final dc of the previous row.

Row 4: Ch 4 (counts as first dc + ch 1). (Dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 18 times. (Dc, ch 1) twice in the next space. Dc, ch 1 in each of the next 2 spaces. (Dc, ch 1) twice in the next space. (Dc in the next space, ch 1) 18 times.  Dc in the final dc of the previous row.

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Side profile of the hood addition, folded in half – at 9 rows

Keep working in this same manner, placing increases at the two increase points on every row, until your hood has 11 total rows (or until the hood is tall enough to reach the top of your head).

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The next few rows skip the increases to add depth to the hood without adding more height. You can repeat the next two rows as many times as you like to get the depth of hood that you want/need, but remember that since there are still 15 rounds left in the main pattern that will add height and depth to the hood, so you really don’t need this part to be a fully functioning hood yet.

Row 12: Ch 4 (counts as first dc + ch 1). (Dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) in each space across. Dc in the final dc of the previous row.

Row 13: Ch 3 (counts as first dc). (Dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) across. 1 dc in the final ch space, 1 dc in the final dc of the previous row.

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Once your hood addition is completed, cut your yarn and tie off. Now we are going to  attach the hood to the work-in-progress main body of the duster.

My hood addition when finished by itself is about 20″ across the bottom, and 12″ at the highest point. 

Attaching the Hood

On the main duster, use a stitch marker to mark the central dc between the armholes. I do this by counting how many v-stitches are in the row below, then finding the central v-stitch or space between v-stitches – the double crochet above will be the central point. Align the hood’s flat edge with this point, matching the end of the foundation chain to the middle point marked on the duster.

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Attach yarn, insert hook through both the vest and the hood at the central point. Work a sc in ea dc through the hood, working 2 attaching stitches for the side of every DC at the end of a row. This was 25 stitches for me to get to the end of the hood.

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Half the hood is now attached – now we start on the other side and attach the opposite half.

Count out the amount of sts needed for the other side. Cut yarn and reattach at this point, then work toward the central point using the same strategy to attach.

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Of course, you can always just whip stitch the hood onto the main duster if using a crocheted method of attaching seems like too much bother. I prefer a stitched seam here because the hood is going to be resisting against the weight of the rest of the duster (which is not light) and I want the seam to be strong and not stretch too much.

Once your hood is attached in whichever fashion you prefer, cut your yarn and tie off. It’s time to pick back up where we left off on the main body of the duster at Round 23. Only now, we will be working all the rest of the rounds across the brim of the hood as well as around the main body.

“23. Ch 3 – counts as first dc. (Sk next three sts, 1 dc in the next st. Ch 3, 1 dc in the same st) 114, 121 times. Sk next three sts, dc in the next st, ch 1. Hdc in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3 to join.”

Round 23 creates V-stitches all around the garment – to work the first round that includes the hood, work a V-stitch over the arm opening stitches as  instructed…

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Then work a V-stitch in every other ch-1 space around the brim of the hood addition.

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Continue the round across the entire brim of the hood, and then around the main body as well, using the instructions given. Remember that because of the hood addition, your stitch counts will not be the same as given in the main pattern.

Once Round 23 is complete, all remaining rounds can be worked as written in the main Lotus Duster pattern, just working around the entire body including the hood! One more consideration is the half-rounds at Rnd 35 and 36 – because you have added a hood, you’ll have to recalculate what amount of stitches constitutes the top half of the garment and then work the half-rounds across that amount of stitches, not the amount given in the main pattern.

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To calculate this number, count the total number of stitches in Rnd 34, then divide that number by half. Beginning with the Rnd 34 join at the side of the duster, count out your V-stitches that equal half of the total. Mark the final stitch of this set, then work Row 35 and 36 only on that portion following the instructions given. For my duster vest, half of the total equalled 224 V-stitches.

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Once the garment in completed, I cut the yarn and wove in the ends. I added the slip stitching necessary to anchor the ties as shown in the main pattern, then added two braided ties on each side.

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Since I left this version sleeveless, I finished the armholes with a row of dc around the inside.

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I really love this particular version of the Lotus Duster – the lack of sleeves makes it a good garment for warmer weather, but the hood and the length make it mysterious and costume-y enough to be a stunning festival piece! In my tradition of naming these after female singer songwriters, I’m calling this baby “Florence.” ❀

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The polymer clay horns and woodland tree spirit pendant I am wearing in this shoot came from my amazing friend Wendy Davies from Dark Pony Art – please check out her art and give her a like on her Facebook Page!

If you like my designs, you can head over to my Facebook Page too and hit that follow button!

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As always, I’m filled with gratitude for everyone who likes, comments, shares, and creates my designs! I can’t help but remember a time when where I am at now seemed beyond my wildest imaginings ❀ And it’s all possible because of you magical beings out there who support me, thank you so much ❀ I am honored to create with you!

-MF

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