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 ❀

Winter Poncho Pattern

True to form, I’ve circled back around to reworking an older design at almost the exact anniversary of it’s original release. Five years ago in January I released the Boho Fringe Poncho as my tenth paid pattern. Today, I’d like to introduce this same design as it’s been reformatted, tweaked for improvements, and released FOR FREE here on the blog!

You can still get the updated crochet pattern as a PDF in my Ravelry and Etsy stores, or keep scrolling for the free pattern (which includes everything in the PDF)

I really enjoy revisiting my patterns to make sure that they are the best that they can be, and this is kind of a constant task as I’m always trying to grow and improve my skills as a pattern designer. Sometimes I just have more to offer in terms of technical assistance – additional tutorial photos were a MUST with this piece – and sometimes I believe that the form & content of the design makes it a good candidate to be re-released for free (the Rhiannon Cowl is another great little project of mine that started as a paid PDF and then debuted on the blog as a free version!)

In this case, I considered just about every aspect of the pattern needed attention πŸ˜‰ Including the name! While I liked “Boho Fringe” it just didn’t really fit the nature of the poncho. This piece is a Big Booty Judy, made with thick warm woolen yarns, post stitches, and a cozy fit that hugs your shoulders for extra warmth. Realizing that its thicc qualities made it a perfect item to have in the coldest months I decided to rename it – the Winter Poncho!

This is a wonderful project for using up bulky or super bulky scraps (see the notes for more about yarn substitution), it uses large hook sizes so that the project works up quickly, and it’s waaaaaaarm πŸ™‚

Winter Poncho Crochet Pattern

Materials

7 skeins Bernat Roving (#5 weight, 100 g / 120 yds, 80% Acrylic, 20% Wool) – all solid-colored examples are made with this recommended yarn, the multi-colored examples are made with a mix of bulky and super bulky weight scrap yarns!
9.00 mm hook, 11.5 mm hook
Tapestry Needle
Scissors

Techniques Used

Chain (ch), Double Chain (dch), Double Crochet (dc), Slip Stitch (sl st), Front Post Double Crochet (fpdc), Back Post Double Crochet (bpdc) (click the links for tutorials!)

Measurements (approximate): 40” circumference at the top, 54” circumference at the bottom, 18”long (not including fringe)

Gauge:

4 sts & 3 rows = 2” in alternating fpdc/bpdc for 9.00 mm hook, 3 sts & 3 rows = 2” in alternating fpdc/bpdc for 11.5 mm hook.

Notes:

The chain-2 at the beginning of every round does not count as the first stitch of the round. When joining rounds with the slip stitch, skip the ch-2 entirely and join into the first fpdc of the round.

I have recommended Bernat Roving for this project, which is a #5 weight yarn but it gauges somewhere between a bulky yarn and a super bulky yarn. Some of my Winter Ponchos have mixed #5 & #6 weight yarns, which works pretty well –  but be sure to follow gauge if you substitute yarns!

The Winter Poncho is closed at the top with a drawstring, but the rest of the shape is dictated by hook size and follows the same number of stitches through every round. If you need a wider poncho, evenly place an even number of increases at Round 10 in order to size up.

Two types of fringing is offered in this pattern, the Double Chain Fringe of the original design, and the regular fringe which I have been favoring lately – both types are included in the instructions.

Poncho (Main Body)

Starting with the 9 mm hook, dch 80. Join with a slip stitch to form a ring, making sure not to twist.

Rnd 1: Ch 2, dc in the same stitch as join. (1 dc in the next st) 79 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. – 80 sts

Rnd 2: Ch 2, fpdc in the first dc of the last round, bpdc in the next dc. (1 fpdc in the next st, 1 bpdc in the next st) 39 times. Join with a sl st in the first fpdc of the round – 80 sts

Rnds 3: Ch 2, fpdc in the first fpdc of the last round, bpdc in the next bpdc. (1 fpdc in the next st, 1 bpdc in the next st) 39 times. Join with a sl st in the first fpdc of the round.

Rnds 4 – 10: Rpt Rnd 3.

Switch to the 11.5 mm hook, then continue in pattern for rounds 11-27.

Rnds 11 – 27: Rpt Rnd 3.

Cut yarn and tie off.

Double Chain Drawstring

Double chain a length of 60” (about 120 DCh stitches) with your main yarn. Cut yarn and tie off. Weave this cord through the first row of post stitches at the top of the poncho, going underneath each FPDC and over each BPDC. Finish the ends with either a stranded fringe, tassel, pompom, or whatever you like!

To work the double chain, see my tutorial post here.

Double Chain Fringe

The double chain fringe offers a bolder fringed look than the regular stranded yarn fringe, and copies the original inspiration piece for this design. For a humbler decoration, see the instructions for traditional fringe.

Using the 9.00 mm hook, dch 25- 45 sts or about  10 – 20” of unstretched double chain cord, depending on how long you want your chain fringe. Cut yarn and tie off. Make 19 more double chain cords of about the same length.

When you have twenty cords total, weave in all the yarn ends if you want a very neat fringe. Leave the yarn tails hanging down a bit for a more organic fringe.

If you survived the tedium of end-weaving, the next step is to double up the cords so that ends are together and a loop forms in the middle. Push that loop through the top of a fpdc stitch (NOT through the post) on Rnd 27 (the larger end of the piece).

Insert the ends of the double chain cord through the loop and draw them to tighten.

Repeat with the 19 other fringe cords, placing them every 2nd fpdc stitch so that there is 1 non-fringed fpdc between every fringed one. 

Weave in all ends.

Stranded Fringe

For a traditional fringe, get a book or length of cardboard 6” wide. Using your yarn of choice, wrap your yarn around the width 80 times, then cut one side to leave a bundle of 12” strands.

Double your strand over and use the loop at the end to thread the two loose ends through each crochet stitch around the border of the poncho.

Once you’ve put the finishing touches on your Winter Poncho, make sure all your ends are woven in before scurrying out into the cold!

I think the saying goes “Make new patterns but keep the old; one is silver, the other is gold!” Or something like that anyway πŸ˜‰

-MF

Woodsman’s Wife Ruana Update – with Pockets!

This classic pattern of mine from 2015 looked like the perfect project for my consistently-freezing self to whip up a few weekends ago, using a small stash of inherited yarn…

believe it or not, I meant to make that face

And as I am wont to do, I thought of some things this design needed – like pockets! And a little sprucing up of the PDF couldn’t hurt, and the written specs really weren’t up to scratch. Long story short, my “quick weekend project” turned into a total refurbishing of the Woodsman’s Wife Ruana, and I’m so happy I did because it’s a much-loved oldie but goodie and it deserved a makeover ❀

You can get the brand-new updated PDF pattern now in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store! Thank you for your support ❀ ❀

My “pocket shawl” version of this ruana / scarf / hood / blanket / thing hybrid was actually made with Lion Brand Homespun (#5 weight) held double, as a substitute for the Lion Brand Homespun Thick & Quick (#6 weight) called for in the pattern. Unfortunately I don’t know the colors used, because I got them from a destash, but I do know it took 11 skeins, and I switched the colors out individually by strand instead of at the same time, to get the faded effect πŸ™‚

I love the new version, especially the cozy pockets! Keep reading to find the details on the new PDF pattern:

This big cushy crocheted version of the traditional ruana features crochet ribbing, a pixie pointed hood, and alternate sizing instructions to make anything from a slim belted wrap to an extra-wide cape-style coverup, and now has instructions for pockets as well!

The main body is worked flat in one whole piece, while the hood is worked separately in one piece and then seamed together. Made with a super bulky yarn and a 11.50 mm hook, this wrap works up quickly and feels super cozy. Wear it belted, over-the-shoulder, or add buttons or ties for a closed vest style.

The pattern for this versatile, convertible wrap includes alternate sizing instructions, construction charts, and detailed written instructions. The Woodsman’s Wife Ruana is a great Easy level pattern for crocheters ready to move on from hats and scarves and includes all the instructions you need to make this fantasy piece for autumn!

Materials:
Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun Thick & Quick, #6 Super Bulky, 160 yds / 6 oz, 170 g – 88% Acrylic 12% Polyester)– 5 skeins (7 – 9 skeins for expanded sizes)
Alternative: Regular Lion Brand Homespun held double (#5 Bulky, 185 yds / 6 oz, 170g – 98% Acrylic, 2% other) – 11 skeins
Please note that you may need more yarn if you customize the size by adding rows, given optionally in the notes.
11.5 mm (P) hook
Yarn needle, scissors
Button & yarn in coordinating color, 5.00 mm hook and/or ribbon (all optional, if adding fastenings)

Finished Measurements:
Main Body: 72” Long unfolded, 36” long when hanging from body. Width is optional.
Hood: about 13” x 13” after folding and seaming, laid flat.

As you can see I’ve made a few of these over the years and even made a closed robe style once – I took notes on how I did it, even though they’re really rough and don’t have accompanying photos, and you can find that on this old blog post here.

I’ve done a lot of remodeling with my older designs lately, and I do have more on my list – I make a point to keep my designs updated as I grow and learn from my business and as styles and demands change ❀ It’s one of the many benefits of buying from independent crochet designers, and I thank you all for making it possible!

-MF

P.S- the faux fur hat I am wearing in some of the newer photos is my free crochet pattern for the Ushanka Hat ❀ Check it out!

Vintage Derby PDF & Hat Sale!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve put together the downloadable, printable, ad-free PDF for the Vintage Derby crochet hat pattern, which is also available for free on my blog here πŸ™‚

You can get it now in my Ravelry Store or Etsy Shop! But, there’s a sale going on now too – read on for more info!

I loved making this little hat and I’m getting inspired to make more styles of hats now the the brisker weather is visiting, if not setting in (it’ll be in the 90’s next week πŸ˜› ).

I mean, you know I’m a total hat fiend!

Anyway, I’m having a little sale through my Ravelry pattern store to celebrate – 50% off ANY hat pattern in my store, no maximum order and no coupon code needed! This sale is running through September 30 – so go grab some sweet hat patterns now! Here’s a peek at what I’ve got:

Filigree Lace Cap – based on my Lotus Mandala design!
Trickster Hood – a Tunisian crochet classic
A cute ribbed beanie design with a sweet little point at the top!
The Krampus – turn yourself into a yuletide demon!
Doe! A deer!
The Rhiannon Hooded Cowl – a hat AND a scarf!

Perhaps I shall go forge more hats now? I think yes.

-MF

Pixie Belt PDF

Just popping in for a quick reminder that my Pixie Pocket Belt tutorial is now available in downloadable, portable, printable, ad-free form! Head over to my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Pattern Store to get it ❀ ❀ ❀ Thanks for visiting and supporting – the free version is still available on my blog in this series of posts, but PDF’s are more convenient and accessible – plus I get yarn money which allows me to make more patterns and tutorials!

PixieCollage1

I also have the most recently finished pixie belt, “Dogwood” to share. I made this one for me, since I didn’t have my own yet. My favorite colors, plus some extra slip stitch fanciness, resin cabochon details, and even a leather and crochet pocket.

Dogwood1Dogwood4Dogwood6Dogwood5

I loved crocheting on the leather and plan to do more – and maybe even make some tutorials for it! πŸ˜‰

Dogwood7

I especially enjoy the deer antler button fastenings and the adjustable ribbon tie combo – so there are multiple ways to wear this. I’d have to say these are in the running for my #1 favorite crochet project to make, I hope you love them as much as I do!

-MF

Sylphie Dragon Hat Pattern Update

Sooooo I’ve been a huge fantasy nerd pretty much my whole life – Β its no surprise that I joined in on the hysteria and got involved watching Game of Thrones a few years ago. Having recently made it through the 7th season without having a major coronary, I decided to celebrate by making some more dragons hats from myΒ Sylphie Crocodile Stitch Hat pattern.

Dragon6

While making the hats, I realized that the pattern file could use a little update, and the ears for the adult size could use one more row… and why not take a new round a pictures, with a little more zazz!

The updated PDF file is now available on Etsy and Ravelry for the ol’ usual 5.50 USD πŸ™‚ If you’ve already bought it, you should be able to access the new file through your purchase/download history.

DragonCollage2

DragonCollage1

DEETS:

5.00 mm Hook, 3.75 mm Hook (optional, for horns)
#5 weight yarn (For Adult Sizes)
#4 weight yarn (For Child & Baby Sizes)
Scissors & tapestry needle
Small bit of polyester fiberfill (optional, for horns)
Written in US crochet terminology

The whimsical crocodile stitch – with its 3-D look akin to scales, petals, leaves, or even berries – easily captures people’s hearts and imaginations. The Sylphie Crocodile Stitch Hat is as versatile as it is charming, so stitch one up and get transported into the realm of the flower-bedecked wee folk or impish and troublesome swamp dragons!

Even if you’ve never worked crocodile stitch, this pattern is easy to follow with detailed instructions including photo tutorials, charts, and step-by-step written directions. 3 sizes and directions for earflaps, braids, and dragon horns are all included!

Dragon11

Had fun using my backdrops for this – the leaves kind of look like flames.Β Dracarys!

– MF

Weekend Updates

Just a few quick FYI-type announcements today!

I have just released a couple pattern updates which you can read about below! These are things I’ve adjusted based on feedback from customers that I am excited to have finally gotten done. If you have already purchased these patterns you should be able to download the new version by accessing your purchase history and finding the download link.

Also, I will be taking a couple days off starting Friday the 23rd because I’ll be busy with family activities πŸ™‚ Hope you have a good one! I’ll be back to responding to questions and comments on Monday the 26th of June.

Pattern Updates:
DaniSol12.jpg

The pattern for the Plus Size Sol Halter TopΒ has gotten an extended photo tutorial section for working the motif join, edging, and straps! 20 new photos have been added to make navigating the finishing parts of this halter top easier πŸ™‚

arikamodel_0049_1

And for the Lotus Mandala Vest, I have added STITCH COUNTS for every round! Hooray, finally! This should help clear up some of the more common questions that people have had when working this pattern. Also, did you know that I recently released a tutorial for adding cardigan sleeves to this vest?

LotusSleeve12

That’s all for now! ❀

-MF