Mandatory Summer Wrap-Up

This summer has been super busy but hugely rewarding, filled with family, friends, and outdoor adventurings. Like at Clifty Falls!

And playing with yarn… tons of that.

It’s been a little quiet on the blog the past few weeks as I’ve focused my attention on wrapping up in-progress projects, some old and some new, in preparation for starting my fall semester at IU. Allow me to make this up to you with pretty pictures! Here are some of the things I’ve been working on and dreaming up over the summer break.

Be prepared for vaguely categorized rambling.

Lotus Mandala Duster:

I was just insanely gratified to see the response this design got! I love being a part of the online crafting community, and seeing others create versions of my designs is one of my very favorite things about designing. Check out the project gallery on Ravelry to see some of the pretties being made from this pattern!

Though the pattern isn’t as proofed as I’d like, I am going to continue improving it as long as I keep making the dusters themselves. Next one I promise I will figure out an estimate of how much yarn it actually takes:/

The free pattern can be found here.

All three of these are also for sale in my Etsy Shop!

I’ve been fretting over the closure of this garment design, because I really didn’t think that buttons had the right aesthetic and I don’t personally enjoy using shawl pins (they’re pretty, I just end up losing things that aren’t attached to me). But with the Janis duster I cooked up a pretty good solution: four braided string ties on each side, mounted from the inside on a length of reinforcing slip stitching somewhere around Rnd 32.

If it managed to keep this large size duster on my shoulders, it will surely work for a size that actually fits my body! And, speaking of large sizes, I am still toying with figuring out a good strategy for increasing the size of the duster. I think a good guideline is to move the armholes further inward the larger you make it, but if you’re interested please see the full discussion in the comments section of the original post.

Handspun Art Yarns:

Since I got a jumbo bobbin kit for my Ashford Traveler, spinning art yarns has proven to be incredibly addictive, and I find myself dreaming up yarn weirdness and scrolling through pictures of art yarn on Pinterest endlessly. Here’s a few weird ones I’ve done recently:

Check out this great weaving from the Etsy shop Loom and Thistle, featuring one of my art yarns:

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As far as stitching goes, I normally see art yarns being utilized by knitters. I’m not sure exactly why I don’t see crocheters use them as much, but I think part of the issue is that art yarns are usually lumpy and easier to utilize in a knit stitch than a crochet stitch. Since crochet is my main squeeze, I’m working on a pattern for crocheters that utilizes art yarn! Who knows, I may even come up with a few😉

Pattern Updates & New Patterns

I admit that I had entered the summer with a laundry list of patterns to complete, and only about half of them got done. One or two of them were scrapped – perhaps to appear at a later date, perhaps to appear never, who knows? I try not to force anything and only work on what is really inspiring me.

You know what inspires me? Amazing women of all types feeling confident and beautiful.

Which is why putting out the Sol Halter top in a larger size was really important to me, and why I spent so much time trying to make it the best it could be. Hopefully I accomplished that! My friend Danielle, show modeling above, seemed to enjoy it anyway:)

 

I also spent some time updating older patterns, including the Woodsman’s Wife Ruana and the Filigree Lace Cap.

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Lainy Clayton modeling in the new Filigree Lace Cap pattern

After getting some better equipment and taking a wild ride on the learning curve, I decided some of my older patterns needed makeovers. Perfectionism is a cruel mistress. I squeezed as many makeovers in as I could, but there are still a few more to go… in between cooking up new stuff, like the Freewheelin’ Poncho…

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… which I hadn’t even planned for but just sort of came out anyway.

Pixie Pocket Skirts

Amidst all the pre-planning and pattern writing, it’s really nice to pause and make something off the top of your head. These Pixie Pocket costume belts are my take on a funky festival-centric crochet item that I’d been planning to try for, I dunno, years.  The awesome thing about these is that they are so whimsical and fantastical that they really lend to using freeform techniques and making it up as you go along.

 

More info on these can be found in my Etsy Shop where they are for sale, including a bit about the materials I’ve been using – I especially love the look of the ones that include the tattered fabric skirt fringe. Also with those I get to rip stuff,which is hugely satisfying.

Even though these are freeform-ish, I’ve been toying the the idea of doing a sort of tutorial-style guide with mix-and-match options. At some point. Maybe. What do you think?

I messed about with the fun effects for this photo of me modeling the “Titania” belt. Am I slightly embarrassed to post this? Absolutely. Am I going to show you anyway? Yep.

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Mandala Top Sweater

After the Lotus Duster, adding sleeves to stuff has sort of been my jam. One of the last things I’ve been finishing up recently has been these experimental Mandala Pullovers, using the Mandala Top pattern as a base. It’s looking pretty likely that this will end up as a paid pattern eventually, but I think I’ll change it up a little bit more first. A different mandala in the center, maybe? We’ll see!

Being the sneaky sneak that I am, I haven’t really touched on the big fall design that is definitely, without a doubt on its way to being completed for release. Earth, Air, Fire, and Water are great, but I prefer the element of Surprise.

For the record, I would like to say that the crochet/knit/fiber creative community is fabulous, and thank you everyone who has supported my stuff and commented and shared my work (or just lurked!). I freaking love you guys.

-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.  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

Big Dumb Cowl

I’ve noticed some industrious crafters in the Facebook crochet groups I follow have begun their holiday gift crocheting already – props to you guys because I usually don’t think about that until about November, and consequently never finish things in time!

Fortunately I picked up some super bulky yarn on clearance recently, which is great for whipping up a project at lightning speed, especially when you are working with a big booty hook and a simple design. Working with these parameters, I designed the Big Dumb Cowl as a free crochet pattern made with gifters in mind – and here it is!

It’s not actually dumb, I promise. It’s also not really that big. Maybe I should rename it.

Big Dumb Cowl

A simple chunky cowl worked short or tall and topped at both ends with picot stitches. Features sc, hdc, and dc worked in the round to eliminate icky row join seams. Instructions for the tall version appear in italics where differing.

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Short version, finished

Materials:

Bernat Wool-Up Bulky (#6 Super Bulky, 170 g, 121 yds) – 1,2 skeins

OR

120-240 yds any Super Bulky yarn

11.5 hook

Stitch markers

Tapestry Needle

2-Ch-Picot Foundation Chain: (Ch 4, sl st in the back of the 3rd ch from the hook) 20 times. – 40 ch sts with 20 picots. Join with a sl st to make a ring, making sure not to twist your chain. You will work the next round into the back of the chain stitches.

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Rnd 1: Sc in the same st as sl st join. 1 sc in ea of the next 4 sts. 1 hdc in ea of the next 40 sts. Insert stitch marker in the last hdc made – this marked stitch is now considered the end of your round. Make sure to move it every time you finish a round so you don’t lose your place! The first 5 sc sts are there so that you can start working in continuous rounds without an abrupt height change.

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After the completion of Rnd 1 (shown here without picots for clarity)

Rnd 2: 1 dc in ea of the next 40 sts.

Short Cowl: Rnds 3-7: Rpt Rnd 2.

Tall Cowl: Rnds 3-12: Rpt Rnd 2.

Rnd 8/13: 1 hdc in ea of the next 35 sts. 1 sc in ea of the next 5 (10) sts. Place marker in last sc made.

Rnd 9/14: (1 sc in the next st, 1 sc with 2-ch picot in the next st) 20 times. Join with a sl st to the first sc of the rnd.

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Above is an illustration of my ch-2 picot method, which finishes the picot by inserting hook into the FLO and the side loop of the sc st, and then working a sl stitch. I think it looks neater than the traditional picot technique.

Cut yarn and tie off, weave in ends.

Here’s what the tall version looks like (scrunched down of course).

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Ahhhh! Somebody stop me!

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I made all of those yesterday! Speaking of working up quickly, I have more bulky & super bulky patterns for the lover of all things cozy:
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Boho Fringe Poncho 

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Gnome Toboggan

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Woodsman’s Wife Ruana

What with all these great-looking fall patterns, perhaps you’d like to follow me on Facebook to stay up-to-date on new designs and deals? There might even be a sale going on right now, you know…

-MF

 

Plus Size Sol Halter Top Pattern

Woohoo! After a long ride on the struggle bus, I have finalized the design for the Plus Size version of the Sol Halter Top and made the PDF available for purchase. I’m pretty pleased with the end result, and even more stoked on these beautiful photos I got of one of my best friends modeling it. She’s a badass:)

You can get it in my Etsy Shop or my Ravelry Pattern Store for 5.50 USD.

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This hot little halter top goes anywhere from beach to festivals to yoga class! The top is designed for coverage and comfort while still feeling free to be your awesome, sexy self.

The Sol Halter top is designed for a comfortable, supportive fit that still looks fashionable with any outfit. Looks awesome layered with flowing see-through blouses, denim shorts, or long tiered skirts for a cool bohemian style.

This is the Plus Size version of the original pattern, designed to fit cup sizes D to DD, with an adjustable band length of 48-50 inches total length but adjusts down as low as 34-35″ (also easy to make longer!).

Pattern includes detailed, step-by-step directions with stitch counts and tutorial photos.

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Model: Danielle West

-MF

Pearl Ruffled Circular Vest

Just a quick collection of photos and notes from a project I recently finished, while I wait for everything to open this lovely Saturday morning (how come nothing is open before 9:00? I’m awake NOW, dammit)

“Pearl” Ruffled Circular Vest

I impulse bought 6 skeins of Patons Silk Bamboo, a smooth-as-butter DK weight yarn that has amazing drape, not knowing what I was going to do with it. Well, sometimes I get stuck on a design and simply need to do it over and over again in different ways, which is what is happening currently with my Lotus Circular Vest and Lotus Mandala Duster.

This small version of the Lotus Vest used up barely 5 skeins of the Silk Bamboo, plus some nameless but pretty ribbon yarn I still have a ton of. Here are my notes on how I modified the original pattern:

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Follow Rnds 1-14 as directed in the original pattern.

Armhole Round: 15. Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch-1. Sk next dc. (Dc in next dc, ch 1, sk next dc) 9 times. Dc in the next dc, ch 30. Sk next 24 dc sts. (Dc in the next dc, ch 1, sk next st) 19 times. Dc in the next dc, ch 30. Sk next 24 dc sts. (Dc in the next dc, ch 1, sk next st) 42 times. Join with a sl stitch to the 3rd ch of beg ch-4.

16. Ch 3 – counts as first dc. Dc in ea dc and ch st around. – 204 sts.

17. Ch 4 – counts as first dc + ch 1. Sk next st. (Dc in the next st, ch 1, sk next st) around. Join with a sl st to the 3rd ch of beg ch-3. – 102 ch-1 spaces.

18. (Sc in the next dc, ch 3, sk next st) 101 times. Sc in the next ch space, ch 1, hdc in the first sc of the round.

19. Sc in the same ch space, ch 3. (Sc in the next ch sp, ch 3) 100 times. Sc in the next ch space, ch 1, hdc in the first sc of the round.

20. Rpt rnd 19

21. Ch 3 – counts as first dc in V-stitch pattern. (1 dc in the next ch space, ch 3, 1 dc in the same space) 101 times. 1 dc in the next ch space, ch 1, hdc in the 3rd ch of beg ch-3.

22. Sc in the same space, ch 4. (Sc in next ch-1 space, ch 4) 100 times. Sc in the next ch-1 sp, ch 1, dc in the first sc of the round.

23. Sc in the same space, ch 4. (Sc in the next ch-4 sp, ch 4) 100 times. Sc in the next ch sp, ch 1, dc in the first sc of the round.

24. Sc in the same sp, ch 5. (Sc in the next ch sp, ch 5) 100 times. Sc in the next space, ch 2, dc in the first sc of the round.

25. Rpt Rnd 24

26. Sc in the same sp, ch 6. (Sc in the next ch sp, ch 6) 100 times. Sc in the next space, ch 3, dc in the first sc of the round.

27. Sc in the same sp, ch 6 (Sc in the next ch sp, ch 6) 100 times. Sc in the next space, ch 3, dc in the first sc of the round.

On the next round, catch the tab of the ribbon yarn on the last YO of every other st, starting with the first dc.

28. Sc in the same sp, 6 dc in next sc – one fan made. (1 sc in next ch-6 sp, 6 dc in next sc) 101 times, join with a sl st in first sc of the round.

Alright, it’s 9 am now. Time to head out to the uhh… not the yarn store. *shifty eyes*

-MF

Quirky Crochet Leaf

I’m hunkered down through yet another day of downpour and thunder, which I don’t mind at all because it’s generally preferable to a drought and rain helps everything stay nice and green. Such as leaves.

And speaking of leaves (as if I didn’t purposefully steer the first paragraph to this subject), I’ve been tinkering with versions of crochet leaf motifs around the internet in search of something simple and fuss-free that would also let me crochet said motifs into long chains.

What I eventually came up with was this slightly off-kilter little leaf which combines double crochet and half doubles with a picot working into a single chain. I like it because a) it’s quick and dirty and b) it has potential as more than just a leaf – but more on that later.

Here’s how to work it, with any yarn and hook combo you prefer:

1.Ch 5 or more – the last 2 ch sts count as the beg chain. 4 dc into the 3rd ch from the hook.

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2. Ch 2, picot. 3 hdc into the same ch st as the first 4 dc.

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3. Rotate your leaf. You will now work the remaining stitches into the same ch stitch, but on the other side of the beginning stitches.

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4. 2 hdc into the space indicated.

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5. Sl st into the 2nd ch of beg ch-2.

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6. Sl st into the 2nd ch st from the motif on your original chain, anchoring the back of your leaf.

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6. Repeat! You can make these little guys as close together or far apart as you like, as long as you have a minimum of 5 ch sts on which to work them.

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I like how they lean a little, a bit like a paisley. The first time I worked these it was on a leafy halter top:

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But soon I realized they also had potential to be little raindrops, which is entirely appropriate for a rainy day like today:

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-MF

Art Yarn Overload

Thanks to a pro tip from a fellow Instagram spinner, I bought a jumbo bobbin and flyer kit for my Ashford Traveler wheel a few months ago and I have been loving it! Rather than get a whole new wheel for spinning bulky yarns, the jumbo bobbin kit allows me to spin all kinds of yarns on my regular wheel without taking up extra space.

That doesn’t mean I have quit drooling over the Country Spinner or the Majacraft Aura, but it does mean I have been experimenting a lot with art yarns. My most recent foray was with some BFL that I dyed and corespun in a gradient.

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First, I had to split and fluff the roving (factory processing in addition to the dyeing process compacts the fibers – easily fixed by whipping the roving around a bit)..

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Then I separated my colors so that I could spin them into a loooooong, bright gradient.

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Corespinning, or spinning fiber onto a core of pre-spun commercial yarn or thread, is one of my favorite techniques, because the resulting yarn has the smoothness and color-centric-ness (word? I don’t think so) of one-ply yarns, but you can still achieve soft, cushy yarns without worrying about your fibers pulling apart easily. This one is called “Fire in the Mountain” and is available in my Etsy shop, along with a bunch of other art yarns I’ve been hoarding!

Fire In the Mountain was spun from roving dyed in my most recent dye batch a couple of weeks ago, in which these three Merino Bamboo blends also got some color:

The rovings are also for sale in the shop! Basically this post is just a glorified shop update. But I’m okay with that if you are. To compensate, here’s more pictures of yarn I spun (this time from my personal use stash):

The jumbo bobbin also helps with spinning regular sized yarns, as I can fill two bobbins to the brim with singles and then ply them together uninterrupted (like I did with that 4 oz of lovely emerald green pictured above). I think these two yarns are about to find a home in another Lotus Duster

Happy spinning!

-MF