Alpaca Handspun Wrap

Forgive me, fiber darlings, as the golden falling walnut leaves and the true approach of autumn sends me into paroxysms of nostalgia – you see, I’ve completed a very long personal fiber art project, and will not hesitate to use it as an excuse to wax sentimental πŸ˜‰

Translation: This is a long personal reflection post and a project with no patterns. πŸ˜‰

It was almost 4 years ago exactly that I decided to give my still new (to me) Ashford Traveler Double Drive spinning wheel a good workout by ordering several pounds (!!) of Alpaca fiber that I got on sale.

I had already been working with drop spindles at this point, but I was excited to take advantage of the larger, faster batches one could produce with the wheel. I dug into the first pound with vigor, producing a tight and even dark brown set of yarns… but like lots of large projects, the initial momentum got lost and it took me several years to finish spinning the rest of the fiber.

In the mean time I learned and experimented with lots of other things, and even added more alpaca fiber to the hoard, including a raw fleece gifted to me by a friend (not much of that one went into the final product – hand carding is a workout!!)

The fleeces followed me, like a little herd of alpacas themselves, though many phases of life in the past four years. I spun and played with them, dreamed with them. They reminded me all the time of the farms and ranches I worked at when I was younger and traveling the United States, work-trading as a farm hand at communes and eco-villages. Every fiber of them passed through my hands eventually, to twist together on the wheel or spindle – how many thoughts are in these fibers? How many dreams?

At once point I got exuberantly experimental about natural dyeing again (my first forays consisted of tea, coffee, turmeric, and a failed pokeberry batch way back in 2009-10 or so), so I started collecting the vegetable waste from my day job in the produce department and brewing up a big batch of avocado dye from the pits and skins. Raw material, collected and transmuted again. How many hands picked the fruit? How many dreams did they dream?

When I dive, I deep dive. I want to know the parts of a process like I know the breathing of my lungs, intrinsically, so that my fingers can read the dreams. To me, that is the way to respect – respect what, I don’t know. The energies it took to create everything around me? Maybe. It is gratitude, definitely.

When the fibers were carded and dyed and spun and plied and washed and dried, I took them to my fatter knitting needles: the 9.00 mm circulars from my interchangeable set. (I remember the super long knitted scarf from a decade ago, and how I tried to cram so many stitches of recycled cotton onto a cheap plastic yard sale needle and snapped it into oblivion, losing hundreds of tiny knit stitches to my cold-sweating terror…)

Good thing my tools have evolved with me.
I knit and knit and knit, practicing my speed-purling, practicing my yarn overs, dropping stitches and switching to garter occasionally. I never got the bug for delicate knit patterns, I like my knits huge and stupid and chunky and easy.

I knew it was going to be a big folded rectangle essentially, with two arm holes. Simple. A large serape-like shell could be worn over other winter layers, since not all of the yarn I used is next-to-skin soft – but holy heck is it warm! Alpaca fiber is also naturally water-resistant, enhancing this wrap’s qualities as outerwear.

I played up the textural aspects of this piece, letting my big dumb rectangle be the blank canvas for every nuanced lump in the fiber. It was handspun; it was messy, chunky, uneven, perfectly imperfect. I did not want it to look sleek, cosmopolitan, curated. It was my glorious mess. So I did what I learned to do best in the grueling hours of the windowless rooms in studio art at Indiana University – turn imperfections into advantages.

(Mostly) planned dropped stitches provided visual breaks vertically, and lines of garter stitches complemented and accented the color changes horizontally, creating a weathered and distressed texture that plays up the lumpy, bumpy, mismatched yarnscape. The large needles allowed plenty of looseness in the stitches to give the otherwise square shell garment a flattering bit of drape. The rough visual style belies the incredibly squishy loft of the bulky alpaca yarns.

I can’t believe I spun 100% of this garment – it is my first large project to be entirely handspun. Some parts are a little scratchy, I’ll admit, and it certainly needs a second wash (it’s fragrant in a strongly camelid sort of way at the moment) – but this piece will warm me now in a special way, because so much of my story is now shared with it.

I get really excited when I finish a piece that’s taken me years, to me they feel like a victory! Previously, the Stump had been my longest-held project (3 years), but now the Alpaca Wrap (4 years) is the record holder πŸ˜‰

And here’s my advice to every artist who may have had the tough moments, like me, that make dreams feel like impossibilities: Patience, patience, patience.

-MF

Kismet Poncho

Sometimes I think I’m a really slow designer compared to other crochet artists out there! When I dream up an idea, and hone it down, it may still be months before I perfect it and apply it to a project satisfactorily, and then more time still to sculpt the pattern and create the materials to teach it.

The Kismet Square was originally created for an entirely different design, one that I still have my eye on for the future – but that pattern was taking way too long!

So I settled on creating a simpler garment featuring the Kismet Square, and doing a full-length crochet pattern tutorial video for both the squares and for assembling & completing a poncho from them!

The entire Kismet Poncho pattern can be accessed for FREE exclusively on my YouTube channel videos (with written captions) or get the written pattern with tutorial photos as a downloadable, printable, ad-free PDF in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store! ❀ Keep scrolling for the free video ❀

It’s not the project I originally intended, but it’s the perfect project for the upcoming autumn weather and the perfect addition to my YouTube free pattern offerings – so the Kismet Poncho was born, and it was… well… fate πŸ˜‰

The Kismet Poncho features a 12-round crochet square with a floral circular focal point that expands outward into easy repeat rows of stitches, clusters and shells. The alternating solid and openwork stitches create a boldly textured appeal inspired by the rich layered patterning of Middle Eastern decorative traditions.

Worked in various colors of sleek #4 worsted weight yarn, this one-size-fits-all poncho uses 4 squares to create a gorgeous statement piece with or without fringe. The pattern itself is easy to adapt with different yarn and hook sizes, and the rounds of varied stitching showcases any range of color combinations you can dream!

Finished Measurements:

Length – 30” collar to tip, not including fringe, 20” collar to short edge, not including fringe
Width – 45” across from short edge to short edge

Materials:

5.5 mm hook
#4 weight Acrylic Yarn (I used a blend of yarns, all acrylics such as Caron Simply Soft and Lion Brand Heartland) – ~ 800-900 yds
Scissors
Tapestry Needle
6” book or length of cardboard for cutting fringe

Now on to the videos! Find Gauge, stitches, and pattern notes below the first video ❀

Kismet Poncho Part 1

Keep scrolling for Parts 2 & 3!

Gauge: 3 sts & 1 row = 1” in dc

Stitches & Abbreviations:
Chain (ch)
Double Crochet (dc)
Slip Stitch (sl st)
Half Double Crochet (hdc)
Treble Crochet (tr)

Special Stitches:
Magic Ring: An adjustable ring made by wrapping the yarn around the hand or fingers, and using the loop to crochet the first round of a circular crochet piece. Ring is closed by pulling the loose tail tightly after completing the round.
Shell: A set of 2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc in the same space.
Petal: A series of hdc, dc, tr, arranged in a mirrored shape within a single stitch or space.
Cluster: Several stitches worked in the same st or space, leaving the last loops on the hook. When all stitches are worked, YO and pull through all loops on the hook.
Dc3tog: A decrease where 1 dc is worked in each of the next 3 indicated stitches, leaving the last loop on the hook for each dc stitch. The complete the stitch, YO and draw through all remaining loops on the hook. 1 dc3tog made.

Abbreviations
Skip (sk)
Next (nxt)
Each (ea)
Space (sp)
Stitch (st)
Beginning (beg)

Kismet Poncho Part 2

Kismet Poncho Part 3

I hope this design inspires you to create something you or your friends & family will love! And if you have any questions whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to contact me here or via any of my social media channels πŸ™‚

Peace!

-MF

Cobweb Wrap

I’ve always loved the way that fog reveals through tiny glimmering water droplets the cobwebs that weave together the grasses of a field. These little intricate fiber blobs go unnoticed until the water reflection lights them up, revealing a tiny world of complexity.

It was after these shining, tensile treasures that I named my newest design, the Cobweb Wrap – available now as a PDF crochet pattern in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Store! Keep reading for more info on the pattern or click the links to buy directly ❀ Thank you!

I’d been thinking about cobwebs a lot recently, due to receiving a really unique donation to my costume closet – The faerie costume of Texas Renaissance Festival participant “Cobweb the Faerie” known in our realm by her human alias, Laurie Hummel. My friend Jason inherited this item from a friend of a friend while living in Texas, and then mailed it to me, bequeathing me the title and associated memorabilia.

I felt an appropriateness about it, first of all because “cobweb” = a spinning of fibers to create a pattern, which seems a lot like what I do, and so there exists an affinity between my art and spiders as a concept (my relationship with actual spiders is ambivalent at best).

It’s an honor to be entrusted with someone else’s magic – I felt a similar sense of inheritance when I bought my secondhand spinning wheel. I felt the need to do a kind of tribute with Cobweb making an appearance modeling a design. Once I determined this, the perfect concept came forward as if it were ready and waiting.

I’ve wanted to try my hand at a gorgeous pineapple lace wrap similar to this one since it first made my romantic be-doilied heart skip a beat on Pinterest some years ago. This nascent idea for a delicate circular lace wrap/skirt, being so much like a web already, seemed appropriate for the character and the costume even matched with the thread I had ready for the project ❀

What I came up with is as simple as it is versitile – the large, 60″ circular center opening is controlled by a drawstring, to make both an adjustable waistband and an adjustable opening to drape around the shoulders.

I also added different length options – a shortened version of this pattern makes a swing-y skirt or vintage style lace shawl – instructions are given on how to work for Short, Midi, and Long lengths.

The foundation of the pattern is adjustable by a given amount, so that you can make this in larger hooks and yarns and adjust the pattern as necessary – more description of how to modify is given in the pattern notes, like for this DK weight version:

Wear ALL the different ways – shawl, poncho, wrap, layered skirt, lace dress! Read on for the details on materials and description of the pattern πŸ™‚

Cobweb Wrap

As delicate and gossamer as the silken threads that line the fields, the Cobweb Wrap is an impressive lace piece designed to be shown off!

The apparent intricacy belies the ease of a classic and simple lace pattern: the crochet pineapple. The popularity of this design over centuries is due to its accessibility – with just a few basic crochet stitches and a set of intuitive repeats, massive webs of beautiful lace can be woven easily!

Though named the pineapple, this design is a gorgeous geometric pattern that could be imagined many ways – peacock feathers, leaves, and even little spider bodies (creepy cute!). The pattern is in detailed written format, with 75+ tutorial photos and full video how-to for the hem (which you can access for free by following the link).

This wearable lace piece is convertible from skirt to shawl/wrap, includes instructions for resizing for different yarns and gauges with optional lengths of Short, Midi, and Long – and features the Pointed Pineapples technique, which creates a charming tattered silhouette that gives the wrap a romantic vintage feel ❀

Get the pattern now in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Store!

Materials:
3.25 mm hook, 3.50 mm hook, 3.75 mm hook
#5 Crochet Thread – (I used Artiste brand 100% Acrylic thread, in 370 yard cones) – 6 cones for the full skirt
Scissors
Tapestry needle
Ribbon yarn or some kind of tie for drawstring

Sizes: Short, Midi, Long
Finished Measurements: ~60″ Top Opening, Up to ~32″ (Long)
All instructions are written in English, in US terminology.

More about my outfit: Cobweb the Faerie’s original costume pieces appear mixed and matched with my own additions – The light green flowery top, purple/green/gold tulle skirt, and flowered tulle headband are original to Laurie’s gear, as well as a pair of sheer golden wings not pictured on me here.

The green crochet vest is a variation on the Embla Vest, another original design from me.

The green leafy wrap necklace is a FREE pattern on my blog , the Ivy Crown.

The woolen costume dreads are dyed and felted & decorated by me.

The beautiful sage green bellydance skirt is from Magical Fashions.

Photography by Abel Benge ❀

I hope that I’ve done justice to Cobweb’s persona (faeriesona?), as well as adding my own interpretation and that Laurie, though I didn’t know her, would approve!

-MF

Daydreamer Poncho Pattern

Merry Day of the Dead! Today’s offering is a brand new PDF crochet pattern that I had (ahem) originally scheduled to release in August. Ha ha! Life.

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No worries here though because the Daydreamer Poncho is SUPER versatile as a layering piece and looks just as stunning worn over long sleeves and outerwear as it does over tank tops and dresses!Β  You can get this fresh design in my Etsy Shop or Ravelry Pattern Store for 5.95 USD πŸ™‚

More details on the pattern below!

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Daydreamer Poncho

Embrace your inner hippie with this dreamy lace poncho; easy and quick to work up using worsted weight yarn and a 5.50 mm hook. The mesh construction makes this a perfect lightweight layering piece that flatters the wearer with a fitted shoulder, A-line shape, and a fluttery fringe at the hem.

Featuring textural stitches in alternating colors and gradually widening chain loop pattern inspired by crocheted dreamcatchers, you can proudly wear this handmade piece in any season. The ribbed post stitch collar is finished with a drawstring cord topped by yarn-fringe “feathers”. The instructions for the Daydreamer Poncho come complete with detailed written pattern including tons of quality color tutorial photos, numbered and referenced in the text so that all the techniques are illustrated and easy to follow!

Materials

5.50 mm (I) hook

Yarn: Lion Brand Jeans (#4 weight, 3.5 oz / 100g, 246 yd, 100% acrylic)
Color A: Vintage – 1 skein
Color B: Jumpsuit – 1 skein
Color C: Top Stitch – 1 skein
Color D:Β  Khaki – 1 skein
Color E: Stonewash- 1 skein
Color F: Stovepipe – 1 skein

Scissors
Tapestry Needle
6” length of cardboard, book, or tassel maker for fringe

Final Dimensions:
Collar: 18” without drawstring
Length: 22” unstretched, not including fringe

All instructions written in US terms

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You will love love love this pattern as much as I do, it’s so fun to make and has a ton of potential for scrapbusting if you don’t feel like splurging on new yarn – made with worsted weight and designed for color changes, there is endless possibilities! Of course, I’d love to try it in monochrome too…

As usual, too much inspiration, not enough time πŸ˜›Β  Enjoy the rest of the silly photoshoot I did for this pattern, and I hope it inspires you too!

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I just couldn’t be more grateful for all the wonderful comments and support you guys leave me here and on social media – you’re the reason I get to keep doing this! So much love ❀

If you’d like to see more Morale Fiber, check out my social media channels:

Facebook
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Thank you!!
-MF

Wayfarer Ruana

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When I began drafting this post over a year ago, it was to take notes on my first attempt at some of the beautiful and colorful knit ruanas I had seen floating around online. Unfortunately for me, that first attempt (which took over a year for me to finish!) just didn’t turn out. It happens. The final product was pretty, but just too big to conceivably wear, even after several attempts at damage control. It makes an incredible blanket, however.Β  And since the point was to use up small scraps of leftover yarn, it was indeed effective.

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And yet somehow that bag of scrap yarn remained full for the entirety of the two years I’ve been developing this πŸ˜›

Maybe it wasn’t so unfortunate. After all, I had an incentive to try to do it again, and this time I had a few additional touches I was excited about trying. So, I started the NEXT one. Good thing too, because if there is one thing I love to have around, it’s a big colorful knitting project that requires zero brainpower.

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My favorite projects do tend to involve recycling and reusing stuff, and this thing has supreme scrapbusting capabilities. Especially on the two skinnier front panels, you can really use up fairly small lengths of leftover yarn with ease, because you don’t have to weave in those ends! At least, not as many ends as you’d think, as long as you change yarns at the end of the row. I mostly hit the mark on this, usually with just a yard or two to spare on whatever tiny yarn ball I was using. Occasionally I gambled on a small length and lost, and had to change mid-row.

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Since the yarn ends on the outside edges of the ruana are left knotted and then blended in with the added fringe, you save a ton of time doing that much-maligned finishing work. But you still have to weave in the ends for the grannies πŸ˜›

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I hope you enjoy the free tutorial I whipped up for this project – it’s more of a guide than a pattern, since the dimensions/materials/yardages are left somewhat variable and a lot of it is open for (and it fact demands) personal interpretation and creativity! Of course, if you have any questions about how I did mine, don’t hesitate to ask πŸ™‚ And, if you like it, throw me a favorite on the Ravelry project page.

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Oh, and this thing is COZY. Basically this wrap cocoons you in soothing waves of color and texture and mind-melds you with the universe. Basically.

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Wayfarer Ruana

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Final dimensions: Roughly 65″ x 65″ when laid flat.

Materials:

Part 1 (Knit):

8 mm (US size 11) knitting needles (24″ circular and 40″ circular)
A whole buncha yarn – I used mostly #4 and #5 weight from leftovers. If you’ve got thinner yarn you want to use up, remember you can always double it up with another strand! I used 4 skeins of a silver bulky weight (I Love This Chunky from Hobby Lobby) as my “base” yarn, using a little in the main body and 3 skeins for the trims and collar.

Part 2 (Crochet):
4.50 mm crochet hook
DK weight yarn – I used a variety of colors (20 skeins) from Drops Lima, a wool/alpaca blend, and had plenty left over.

Tapestry Needle
Scissors

Techniques:

Part 1 (Knit):
Cast on (CO)
K (knit)
P (purl)
Stretchy bind off (tutorial video here)
Standard bind off
Picking up stitches from the edge of the row (tutorial video here)
Not absolutely necessary but I found to beΒ extremely helpful: this tutorial on speed knitting by RJ Knits.

Part 2 (Crochet):
Magic Ring (MR)
Double crochet (dc)
Chain (ch)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Granny square join-as-you-go (great tutorial here)

Part 1 Instructions: The Main Body

Using spare balls of scrap yarn / orphan skeins / leftover yarns

1.CO 50 sts to the 24″ circular knitting needles
2. Turn, K every stitch across
3. Rpt Step 2, changing yarn at the end of the row whenever you think you don’t have enough for another full row (or whenever you feel like it). Tie the old yarn tail and the new yarn tail into a knot. Work until you have 130 rows. Transfer your piece to a stitch holder – this completes the first front panel, one of the two skinny halves of the front.

4. For the second front panel, repeat Steps 1-3 until you have another full 50 st x 130 row piece.

5. Switch to your 40″ circulars and knit your first rectangle onto the new circulars. Cast on 10 extra stitches, then knit your second rectangle on. You now have both of your front panels, plus 10 new stitches in between for the collar, on the 40″ circular needles.

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Close-up of the collar area

6. Turn, knit every stitch across, continuing to change & knot yarn as before. Work 130 total rows.

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5. Bind off. My favorite is the stretchy bind-off, directions for which are in this great video from Knitting with Cheryl Brunette.

Trim:

1. Using the the 40″ circular, pick up sts along the edge of the piece – I used myΒ  bulky “base” yarn and got about 180 stitches (1 stitch per 2 rows). Here’s a great videoΒ from the indomitable Purl Soho on picking up stitches from the side of garter stitch rows.

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Picking up stitches from the side of the rows, front side

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Picking up stitches from the side of the rows – view from the back. Notice the ridge formed by the side of the rows on this side – this is where we will attach the extra fringe later.

2. K for 10 rows. Bind off using the standard method – to make the Part 2 joining easier, I would not recommend stretchy bind-off here.

3. Repeat trim on the other side, making sure that you work the second edge with the same side facing, positioning all ends to the back of your work (so that the fringe will be all on the same side).

Collar:

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1.Β  With 40″ circular needles, pick up stitches on the side of the rows beginning on the inside of the front panel up to the collar, then around and down the inside of the of the opposite panel (remember only 1 stitch per 2 rows)

From this row of picked up stitches we’ll work a 4×4 rib. If you are picky about not ending up with partial ribs, you could go to the trouble to make sure the amount of stitches you pick up is divisible by four, but I didn’t – and was divisible by four anyway! Lucky me.

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2. For the 4 x 4 rib, *K 4, P 4* across the entire row. Work 8 total rows in the rib by knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches in every row. Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in any ends from the main body left on this inside edge.

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PART 2 Instructions: Granny Square Trim

4.50 mm crochet hook
Assorted DK weight yarns
Gauge: 1 square = 6″

Next we’ll make TWO separate strips of 11 granny squares (about 6 inches in length each). You can definitely use scrap yarn here too, but I used a set of colors from Drops Lima yarn for a more uniform appearance.

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To begin the granny square, make a magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc into the ring, ch 3. (3 dc into the ring, ch 3) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Rnd 2: Join new yarn to any ch-3 space. Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc in the same sp, ch 3. 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same sp, ch 1) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Rnd 3: Join new yarn in any ch-3 space. Ch 3 (counts as first dc) 2 dc in the same sp, Ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. 3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. 3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round.. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Round 4: Join new yarn in any ch-3 space. Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc in the same space, ch 3. 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) twice. [3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) twice] 3 times. Join with a slip stitch to the first dc of the round. Do not cut yarn.

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Rnd 5:

If this is your first square for the strip, work as normal. If this is not your first square, connect ONE of the sides to the previous square on the strip by beginning with any chain-3 corner and ending with the next, using this join-as-you-go methodΒ from Attic 24. If you prefer, you could also make all squares individually and seam them later πŸ™‚

Sl st in the next 2 dc and in the next ch st so your hook is positioned to begin the next round at the ch-3 corner. Ch 3 (counts as first dc)Β 2 dc in the same space, ch 3. 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 3 times. [3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 3 times] Repeat [bracketed] instructions 3 times total. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. Cut yarn and tie off.

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Joining Seam

Once you have your 2 strips of grannies, check to see if they are roughly the length of the sides of the ruana by laying the strip against the edge of the trim. Ballpark is fine here, you just want to make sure neither piece is overly stretched or scrunched to match. You may end up needing one more or less granny, depending on your gauge and yarn choices.

Weave in all your ends and block if desired. Lay out the main body of the ruana and settle your granny strip up against the trim, the RS of the granny facing the same side as your ridge (where the fringe will be). Thread a tapestry needle with some spare DK weight yarn and use a simple whip stitch to attach the granny squares to the trim of the ruana all the way down across. Repeat on the other side.

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Clean up any ends remaining from your joining seam.

Fringe:

Using a 6″ piece of cardboard, book, or other object to wrap yarn around, cut a bunch of lengths of yarn for your fringe. Fold each length in half, then loop through the ridges made from picking up the stitches along the edge of the main body.

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Catch the leftover ends of knotted yarn in your fringe as you go, repeating across the edges on either side of the ruana. Once you have finished, cut the fringe down to just a little longer than the garter edge trim (you don’t want it covering your pretty grannies too much).

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Hunt down any stray ends that may need weaving in, then sink into the cozy rainbow bliss.

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Kudos to model Daisey Denson for keeping that hat on her head like a champ despite the very GUSTY winds coming off the lake!

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-MF

Where did September go?

Hmmm… I seem to be missing almost a whole month! Yikes. But that means we’re that much closer to October, which is my favorite (but don’t tell September). Luckily I have been holding out on some projects from earlier in the semester when I wasn’t as busy, so that I’d at least have something to post πŸ˜›

First though, how about a li’l sale? I’ve got $1 off my Boho Fringe Poncho pattern through Ravelry until the end of the month with the coupon code “CHUNKY”! This pattern uses 800-900 yards of Super Bulky yarn and you get a nice fat statement piece at the end – looks awesome paired with ripped jeans, flannel shirts, your favorite fall boots, or layered over heavier winter coats.

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Next up is a project that I worked on all summer that is based off of my Shaman CoatΒ Tunisian crochet pattern. Though it mostly turned out the way that I envisioned, I had to do some inventive wrangling to get it there – such as adding the slip stitch “boning” up the back and then threading in corset style ties.

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I wanted to take the basic Shaman coat and create a fuller A-line silhouette by leaving spaces between the rows so that I could go back in and create diamond shaped panels using Tunisian decreases to add OOMPH. Unfortunately the paneling portion fell just a bit too far below the waist on my first try, which is why I added that slip stitch faux boning (fauxning?)

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I also lengthened the sleeves so that they were full length instead of 3/4, and added Lion Brand Pelt faux fur yarn all around the trim.

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Finally, I put in horn-shaped toggle fasteners on so the garment could be buttoned down the length of the front. I ALMOST added pockets but I decided that could wait until my next try.

 

I’m pretty sure I want to explore this design more, and I have several potential tweaks in mind, but it might be a while because this glorious thing took 18 skeins of Lion Brand Amazing and 6 skeins of LB Pelt and goodness knows how many hours of stitching πŸ˜› So I will let my ideas percolate away on the back burner for now – but I am pretty happy with this attempt at any rate!

-MF

 

 

Ida Shawl Circular Poncho

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I’ve been dying to design an asymmetrical circular poncho for a long time – in fact, it was over a year ago that I started on the first prototype for this new pattern. After much testing, tweaking, and perfecting, the Ida Shawl is finally ready for debut! You can get it in my Ravelry Pattern Store or Etsy Shop now for 5.50 USD ❀

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The central mandala is based on a five-pointed star pattern inspired by the formation of seeds you can see when you cut an apple in half. To me it is representative of the beauty of natural geometry (FUN FACT the “geo” part of “geometry” means “earth” which is inherently natural making the phrase I just used sort of redundant. Moving on.)

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That dress has pockets!

An asymmetrical poncho worked in soft DK weight yarn keeps you cozy AND stylish! The short front hem of the wrap compliments all figures while the back falls in gentle ripples away from an eye-catching central lace mandala pattern.

A stretchy ribbed collar formed using crochet post stitches keeps the Ida Shawl on your shoulders without pins or ties for a practical yet feminine look. This lovely spring or autumn pieces keeps you warm while enhancing any outfit!

Pattern includes detailed written instructions and a ton of step-by-step tutorial photos as well as a print-friendly version!

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Materials:
5.50 mm Hook or size needed to obtain gauge
Cleckheaton Australian Superfine Merino (65 g, 130 meters) OR Rico Essentials Merino DK (50 g, 120 meters) 7 skeins in the following scheme:
Color A – 1 skein
Color B – 1 skein
Color C – 1 skein
Color D – 2 skeins
Color E – 2 skeins
Scissors & Tapestry Needle for weaving in ends

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Yarn Substitutions:
For ease of care, wool allergies, or affordability you may consider an acrylic substitute for this project – I recommend Caron Simply Soft Light as shown above (#3, 85 g / 330 yards, 100% Acrylic – 3 skeins) which produces a slightly different but equally lovely look. Color shown Β is Taupe.

 

That superfine merino is really warm and soft as butter, but the acrylic version is so light and lacy! I really can’t decide which one I like better.

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It was VERY sunny that day

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Whichever is your favorite, I think we can all agree that dresses with pockets are the bomb.

-MF

Freewheelin’ Poncho Pattern

I hadn’t planned on releasing this as part of my fall patterns – in fact I had no idea I was going to design this at all until inspiration struck unexpectedly one lazy afternoon. Instead of doggedly persisting in whatever I was working on at the time, I dropped everything and followed my instinct, and I’m glad I did.

The Freewheelin’ Poncho is available for 5.50 USD in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Pattern Store, as usual. Β BUT WAIT, there’s more! Now through August 22 I have a Buy 2 Patterns, Get the 3rd Free sale through Ravelry, no coupon code needed! Just put everything you want in your cart and the discount will be taken at checkout.

The Freewheelin’ Poncho is probably one of my favorites so far because it is relatively quick AND it’s easy AND it looks damn good. But that’s just my humble opinion, maybe you’d like to see for yourself?

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A versatile wrap that works up quickly using a 9.00 mm hook, the Freewheelin’ Poncho features an alluring keyhole collar and a thick fringe at the edges while the lightweight mesh fabric flows and drapes to show off the person underneath.

Inspired by both retro and modern styles, this is a fashionable but easy level pattern for free spirits of all walks.

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Yarn Weight required: #4 Worsted Weight
Hook size: 9.00 mm
Skill Level: Easy
Pattern written in US crochet terminology

Even though this pattern is written for worsted weight, it looks great in bulky weight as well!

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Confession: I can strum a G chord… and that’s about it.

-MF

Bernie Beanies, etc…

Right, so, this is the type of post where I picture-dump some of the projects I have been working on lately but haven’t had time to talk about individually. I’ve been creakily trying to finish up some of the colder-weather projects that had remained in limbo before I switch gears and everything turns all bright and cotton and mandala-y!

So here’s the third Bohemian Fringe Poncho, worked with an alternative yarn to Bernat Roving, to great success…

This one, like the other two ponchos I made while designing the pattern, are for sale in my Etsy shop!

Next up is a rare thing on this blog… a finished knitting project. I love knitting, but I am woefully neglectful of my knitting projects since I am always so busy with crochet / spinning / dyeing. But since this one was a commission, I was obliged to finish it in a timely manner.

I was stoked on this project when it was requested, because I support Bernie for President, because I am pretty obviously a liberal hippie feminist pinko commie.

Whew, okay. I also made this blanket over Winter Break.

My notes can be found on the Ravelry project page for this! I used 8 different colorways of variegated yarn, 15 skeins total. It was mega fun.

The weather here was great today, continuing the tradition of a mid-January Indiana warm-up to really mess with our sunshine-starved heads before it dumps more snow out of the sky. I took advantage of the mild temps to do a photoshoot for my upcoming pattern.

But you’ll just have to wait and see!

-MF

First Anniversary Blog Sale

Hey, it’s been a year for Morale Fiber Blog! I will definitely get to the part where I talk about how much I’ve learned and how grateful I am, but first – the sale info!

To celebrate this blog existing for a whole year, I am offering 15% off ANYTHING in my Etsy shop, patterns included! This sale is exclusively for you blog readers as a thank you for all the kind comments and support I’ve received – just use the code MFBLOG1 to get 15% off until January 30th!

For those of you interested in spinning, this is a great opportunity to snag one of my hand-dyed rovings, including my two new braids, Bramble and Nebula:

I’ve also got my brand new pattern, the Boho Fringe Poncho, available for UNDER 5 BUCKS using the coupon code…

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… or save $12 on the finished product!

I couldn’t be more grateful for all the great feedback and support I’ve received through this blog, including but not limited to those who have followed me from the very beginning, everyone who has clicked and commented on the patterns and tutorials I’ve entered into the link parties, and all the crafty individuals who have purchased patterns & supplies from me – providing me with the monetary resources to continue funding my little business.

Back in 2011, when I set up my first vendor stand at a local festival, I knew making and sharing my art was going to be my passion – because I saw the things I had made people happy – in small ways, maybe, but those count too. Through the next 4 years I continued crafting and crocheting, occasionally selling my pieces within my friend group and festival family who went out of their way to share their kindness and enthusiasm with me.

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A picture of me in 2011…. back when all of my stuff fit in one tiny vintage suitcase.

Selling my designs as patterns had been my goal for years, and I will never forget the excitement I felt when I sold my first pattern. I guess the point of all this schmaltzy rambling is that everyone involved – friends, family, readers, customers – has made me keep believing in myself.

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Morale Fiber, 2011

Truly it is my morale that has been lifted. But fear not! The crocheting will continue.

-MF