(Not Really) Spring (Not Really) Break

The title says it all, really – my spring break from school was heralded by extremely cold temperatures and snowstorms since it’s Indiana and a mess of personal life responsibilities since, as it turns out, I will be moving at the end of the month.

So I’m scrambling to get all my ducks in a pile, which includes the horrifying prospect of organizing and packing my craft supplies and cleaning out my work area desk in which I have been deeply entrenched for three years.

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WHY AM I LIKE THIS

Part of this process included finishing, photographing, and listing the pile of crocheted pieces I’ve been slowly completing this semester, so I managed to do an Etsy Shop update with some new and new-ish handmade stuff! The end, see you later.

No, just kidding, I’m totally going to list them all and comment on them. I love lists!

Flower Child Pullovers

From left to right : A large, two mediums, and a small in the Flower Child Pullover design, which happens to be my latest pattern, which is why I have a bunch of them lying around (from pattern testing, you see). All of these are available in my shop along with the originals from the pattern model photos.

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The left is a size medium with beaded chain fringe added, the right is a Plus size with a super sweet OM embellishment! Both are in my Etsy shop, as well as both patterns (but you can get all sizes in one pattern bundle and save $2)

Foxglove Pixie Belt

Every time I make another one of these crocheted utility belts, it’s my new favorite. This one features a super soft and silky Fox tail that is also a secret pouch! Also a simple floral circular pouch and a ruffled blossom shaped drawstring bag – and fits waist sizes up to around 50″ and is adjustable with button and tie closures – you can get it here. I’ve also got two other pixie utility belts still available in shop.

Lotus Mandala Vests

Two different Lotus Mandala Vests for which you can find the free pattern here – both made with Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball, which is absolutely awesome for this piece and I can’t decide if I like it better with this or with the original 24/7 cotton – but with Shawl in a Ball all the color changing is done for you, which is a bonus!

That vest on the left has added sleeves, so it’s sort of a mixture of the Lotus Vest and the Lotus Duster, except the sleeves are a more toned down cardigan style instead of the crazy mega-bell duster sleeves, and they are made to fit on the Vest shoulder yoke, not the duster one. A pattern-slash-tutorial for how I did those on the vest will definitely be forthcoming, but with all the moving and school and crazyness I can’t say exactly when.

Joni Mandala Duster

Oh SPEAKING of the Lotus Duster, I made another, this time with some pretty slate blue handspun merino, gray cotton blend commercial yarn, and deep navy recycled sweater cotton yarn. I LOVE IT. I did this for revamping the Lotus Duster pattern, but unfortunately I still have some tweaking to do. When it’s all done it will get the same treatment as the Lotus Vest, which is an official rewrite on the blog and availability in PDF format.

Granny Vest

I’ve been loving some granny square vests on Pinterest lately (have you followed my crochet board? You should). This was my first attempt at designing one and I am TOTALLY addicted now and want to do one in every color. SO CUTE. Should I do a pattern? I think I should.

The End.

For real this time, because I need to go eat real food. I’ve been running on Doritos and fruit snacks for hours now.

-MF

Flower Child Pullover Pattern

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

You can get it for 5.50 USD through my Etsy Shop or my Ravelry Pattern Store! More details below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written in US terminology

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

Lotus Mandala Vest FAQ

Hi everyone! There’s been a recent surge in popularity of the free Lotus Mandala Vest pattern I designed last summer and I’ve been getting a lot of questions so I wanted to post this quick little FAQ. I have done my best to get back to everyone who  had questions (let me know if I missed you!) and I am SOOOO STOKED that you all like it so much!

Lotus Mandala Vest FAQ

Where can I get a printable PDF of this pattern?:

There is now a PDF version of this pattern, as well as a low-image printer-friendly version, available through Ravelry and Etsy. Check out the details on this blog post.

Is there a video tutorial for this pattern?:

Yes! Fellow blogger Cynthialoowho volunteered to create a video tutorial for this pattern and it is now available on her Youtube channel here. Big thanks to her for providing this awesome video so quickly for everyone who was asking for one 😀

What size does this pattern fit?:

I designed this vest to have a very loose fit, with wide armholes placed 15″ apart across the back (relaxed). The diameter across the portion of the vest with armholes is 45″. The lovely Arika is shown modeling the vest in the pictures above, and it comfortably fits her with a bust of 41″,  and a shoulder width measurement of 16″. Hopefully that gives a more accurate depiction of the sizing!

How do I make the vest bigger?:

There are several good strategies for sizing up on this pattern – and although I don’t have an exact pattern for different specific measurements, I can offer a few tips gathered from my own experience and what others have suggested:
– Make sure to take the measurement between the shoulders for the person who will be wearing it! This is how far apart to place the armholes. Smaller sizes will place the armholes closer together, larger will generally place them farther apart.
– For bigger sizes, you will probably want to add extra repeats of Rnd 29, to make sure there is a wide enough edge for the garment to drape and ruffle proportionately.
-It’s also an option to add additional rows just before the armhole round.
-You can increase the size of the armholes by simply chaining more per armhole (your stitch counts will be different, but as long as you just repeat the main pattern around, you should be good), but be sure to skip more stitches on the round below if you do.

How do I make this vest smaller/child size?:

This depends on how small you want the pattern to be. For a smaller adult/teen size, placing the armholes closer together will size the vest down, and you can also size down by using a smaller yarn weight (such as a #2 weight instead of a #4 weight) and smaller hook. However, I can’t say how well this design will work for very small children as I have not tried it. The central “lotus” motif to this vest is fairly large and might not sit well on a much smaller body – When asked about making it in child size I generally refer people to the great free pattern Ring Around the Rosie Vest from The Lavender Chair, which is similar in style and written specifically for the wee ones.

Where can I buy this vest?:

I’m not currently making these for sale, but there are some great shops on Etsy that I have seen selling this design if you search around. Fiona of MadeForYOUbyFi on Etsy has several beautiful pieces made from this pattern and has generously offered a 15% off discount of orders over $50 when you use my special code “MORALE”!

~*~

That’s it for now! I will post more common questions if they come up. Thanks so much everyone for your support!

-MF

Batty Kitty Sweater (Rar!)

So you know that feeling when you live in the Midwest in January and you don’t see the sun for like three weeks? And the sky just sort of spits rain on you constantly and everything is soggy and gray everywhere you look every day? Okay, maybe you don’t know that feeling, but I definitely do.

For me it’s a feeling of being morose and unmotivated and (apparently) listening to a lot of The Smiths while huddled in bed freezing because it’s really expensive to heat my cheaply constructed apartment. Clearly the only answer is a big, cocoon-like sweater, decked out with a hood and a front pocket so as much of you can disappear into it as possible!

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The Patient Photographer got me a home photo studio and a set of funky backdrops as a gift! And of course, one of them was a big fat moon because he knows me.

This started out as a project to test the waters for a design I had in mind, but it kind of grew up to be its own thing as it went along – and it grew cat ears, too! Probably as a result of loving on so many people’s pink kitty hats recently. I also wanted to try out the trendy batwing / dolman sleeve / box sweater style, so I guess it could be a bat sweater too if spooky-cute animals are your thing (I freaking love bats).

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No pattern for this baby, but I AM working on a new pattern design even though I am WAY behind schedule on it, because this semester is already killing me.

I CAN tell you that I did use 10 skeins of Jo-Ann Fabric’s brand Buttercream in Angel Hair, and it’s THE. SOFTEST. Combined with a 9.00 mm hook, this project was fast enough to do off the cuff in between homework, and since I was winging (ha) it, I no have to use me brain much. Which is good because it not work right.

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Rar?

-MF

Tribal T-shirt Fringe Choker

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Sometimes I have to burn off my excess creative energy by doing something I can finish quickly! These wild textile jewelry pieces fit the bill, especially since I’ve been trying to clean my shamefully stuffed craft storage and shredding stockpiled t-shirts is a pretty effective method for me to do that.

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This tutorial is a guide for the refashion-centric among us, and you don’t even really need to be able to crochet to make it! Only the simplest crochet stitch, the chain stitch, is necessary. It’s explained here for those who don’t know how.

There are lots of different methods for cutting t-shirt yarn, and you don’t have to cut yours the same way as shown here, but this method is featured because you can use t-shirts with lots of seams (ex: Women’s fitted t-shirts). Of course, if you want to save yourself the trouble, you could just buy some commercially produced t-shirt yarn instead!

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Materials:
1 Jersey knit cotton t-shirt, plain
9.00 mm crochet hook
Scissors

Step 1: Lay out your T-shirt and cut up the side seams  on both sides of the front and across the top. It’s okay to cut a little wonky to get extra material from the bust area below the collar, but I’ve found it’s best to keep in GENERALLY rectangle shaped.

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Step 2: Beginning with your wonky – cut side (or any side if you don’t have one) start cutting a strip about an inch in width. The goal is a thin-ish strand once you stretch the material. It can be a little more or a little less than an inch depending on the material, but be careful because if it’s too thin, it’ll break when stretched. Leave your strip attached by about an inch of uncut material.

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Step 3: Flip your t-shirt piece around and cut  about an inch to the opposite side of the uncut end. Do this 3 or 4 more times to get  a long uncut strand (for a small size) or 2-3 more times for larger t-shirts. It’s better to have more than you need than not enough, and in fact you could cut the entire piece of t-shirt material this way, but I don’t like to because cutting this way leaves tabs. Speaking of which….

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Step 4: Once you’ve got your long piece, start gently stretching your strip to curl the material to make it round and yarn-like. Use a light touch at first! Now, to deal with those tabs created by zigzagging the material. Take your scissors and round those babies off, then stretch them a little more (be careful here – rounding the corners makes the fabric thin and therefore weak to stretching). Still a little messy, but stitching will mask that.

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Step 5: Set your long strip aside – I had almost 3 yards. Now lay out your remaining rectangle of t-shirt fabric and get one inch strips straight across, shearing them completely from the main fabric so that they are individual strips. Stretch each of these strips. For a standard amount of fringe, you’ll want to have 23-26 strips, so use cut out the back piece of the t-shirt and use it for more short strips if you have to.

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If you are using commercial yarn or a continuous strip in this step, cut your strands to DOUBLE the length you want your fringe to be.

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Step 6: Grab your hook and your long strand. Leaving a tail of yarn about 10″ long, create a slipknot loop. With your hook in the loop, grab the long end of your yarn with the hook and pull it through the loop, leaving your hook in the middle of the new loop. One chain stitch made.

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Repeat until you have 25-ish chain stitches, or however long you need your chain to be to fit your neck. If you’re feeling adventurous, try using the Double Chain technique instead of the regular chain. I like to use this on the fringe chokers because it helps them lie flatter around the collarbone.

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Once you’ve completed your stitches, tie off (i.e – pull the rest of your strip out through the last loop), and leave a 10″ tail when cutting off excess yarn. If you complete your required stitches but don’t have a 10 inch tail left over, just tie it off for now. We can use a short strip to attach an adequate length of tie later.

Step 7: Finally! Fringing time! Lay out your chain. Grab some of your short t-shirt strands and double them over. You might have some that are shorter than others – aesthetically I like those to be on the outside toward the shoulders but you might not care. Anyway, double those puppies over.

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Insert your hook into the loop on the bottom of your chain or double chain, from back to front, and catch the doubled side of your strand with the hook. Pull it through so you’ve got a loop.

Now catch the loose ends of your short strand with the hook. Pull those through your loop completely. Tighten.

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Ta-Da! Now do that until you have fringed the entire choker, or at least the majority of it.

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Step 8: Attach extra ties at the end of your chain if you need to, for fastening around the neck. You could be done at this point, but I like to add a little knotwork around the top.
To add knotwork, take two adjacent pairs of fringe and separate one strand from each pair (make sure the strands are also right next to each other). Pick up both strands and tie in a simple knot. Repeat across.

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These can be used as a base for adding even wilder decorations like beads, feathers, leather strips, chains, etc… But since I’m short on time, I’ll leave those for another day!

That stylish bikini underneath the necklaces is also made from recycled materials. Check out my post, the Bindu Recycled Sweater Bikini, for more on that.

-MF

Tunisian Ripple Scarf Free Pattern

I’ve developed persistent fondness for Tunisian crochet – two of my most recent paid patterns have been in this style and I’ve recently started exploring a variety of different types of Tunisian stitching. One of those little experiments grew up to be a successful project, which I’m excited to share with you here for free!

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………..
EDIT 4/20/2017: Unfortunately the blog I reference in the following paragraph is defunct, which sucks because it was awesome. For instructions on TSS, check out this great tutorial instead. For a tutorial on Tunisian Knit Stitch, the ever-fabulous Moogly provides.
…………..

One of my favorite resources for Tunisian is My Tunisian Crochet, which has a nice collection of different stitches for this type of crochet as well as a video channel (yay!). This scarf uses Tunisian Simple Stitch to create the first row and then moves on to Tunisian Knit Stitch for the rest of the pattern.

And speaking of videos, this free pattern comes with a little video demo I put together for this scarf. I’m still at the beginning of the learning curve for making instructional videos, but my goal is to expand some of my past and future patterns by adding video tutorials to accompany the written and/or charted instructions. This video is sort of a little test run! So without further waffling, here’s the pattern.

Tunisian Ripple Scarf

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Materials:
6.5 mm Tunisian crochet hook
Any worsted weight yarn (I used Yarn Bee Soft & Sleek in Light Gray)
Tapestry needle & scissors for weaving in ends

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Ch. 39.

Row 1: In Tunisian Simple Stitch. Pick up a loop from each of the next 38 chain stitches.Work all sts back off the hook.

Row 2: In Tunisian Knit Stitch. Sk first stitch. Pick up a lp from the next 3 stitches. *Pick up a lp from the next space between stitches. Pick up a lp from the next st. Pick up a loop from the next space between stitches. Pick up a lp from the next 5 sts. Insert hook through the next 3 stitches at once and draw up one loop. Pick up a loop from the next 5 sts.* Rpt from * once more. Pick up a lp from the next space between sts, pick up a lp from the next st, pick up a lp from the next space between sts. Pick up a lp from ea of the next 3 sts. Sk next st. Pick up a lp from the final st. Work all sts back off the hook (the same way you would for Tunisian Simple Stitch!) – 39 sts

Rows 3+ : Repeat Row 2.

Repeat Row 2 until your scarf is the length you want it! I made a 75″ scarf, which used about 2 and a half skeins of my yarn (about 645 yards).

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What I ended up loving about this design is that…
a.) It has a very pretty texture on both the right side AND the wrong side
b.) It’s SO thick and cushy, and since I made this one about 2 yards long, there’s plenty of scarf there to wrap around your neck to keep the icy winds out.
c.) It’s gender neutral – my partner claimed this one for his own before it was even halfway done!

If you want more pattern goodness, you should check out my Ravelry page!

-MF

Stuff I Made

This blog has been dead air lately, which is in my humble opinion INCREDIBLY LAME. The spirit is willing but the time allotment is pretty weak, what with school and final projects and such. I have still been stitching away however, mostly on custom pieces and gifts, so at least I have some pictures to throw down!

So in lieu of an actual blog post, here’s some stuff I made. I’ve got new patterns and freebies brewing away of course, but they have to wait their turn.

I made this Unicorn hat on a whim, but it was quickly claimed as a Christmas gift and led to a request for a similarly styled giraffe hat for a different young lady. Which I didn’t get a picture of because I totally forgot. Because my brain has been running on fumes. Anyway, both animal hats were made using my Deer Hat pattern as a base!

I did, to my own astonishment, actually make it through spinning the giant pile of alpaca fiber I wrote about in my Pounds of ‘Paca blog post. I’d like to photograph the entirety of the cushy, luxurious pile of yarn I produced, but since I BOUGHT EVEN MORE alpaca fiber to add to this madness, I’ll wait. Alpaca mountain, here I come.

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It’s Coraline! This was a special commission for my friends’ little girl, who loves all things creepy. I used Carmen Rent’s Coraline Doll pattern as a template (it was great!) and freestyled the rest. Couldn’t be happier with the way she came out!

The big piece I just completed was this lovely bright lotus duster, made custom for an Etsy order. I used my best sweater-hunting skills to create the color scheme she requested and I just love how bright yet soft the colors came out! Handspun Merino/Silk blend creates the central mandala, then brushed alpaca / silk (the fuschia) and pure silk yarn (the lime green). The main body is several recycled cotton sweater yarns, one that I plied myself on the wheel in order the get the correct weight.

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The pattern for the Lotus Duster can be found on my blog for free, although I admit the instructions remain a little rough and I’ve been wanting to fix them for like forever. It’s one my To Do list. Which is about a mile long right now, ha! Still, keep an eye out because I’m (pretty) sure I’ll actually do that one.

-MF