Author Archives: Underground Crafter

About Underground Crafter

My name is Marie Segares and I’ve been crafty for a long time. My maternal grandmother taught me most of the needlearts at a young age, but the only one I’ve done continuously since childhood is crochet. As an adult, I picked up (again) sewing, quilting, embroidery, and knitting. My parents were also big creative influences, especially my dad, who is a fine artist. He had a kind of creativity “boot camp” program in place after school, on weekends, and in the summer time. (He was the Drill Sergeant, and I was the new recruit, in case you were wondering.) I live and work in New York City and am currently on the endangered species list as a Native New Yorker. By day, I work in higher education administration/college access. By night (and weekend) I make cool creative stuff and teach people to do the same.

#FlashbackFriday Crochet Link Blast: Week 7: Farm Animals

Farm Animals Crochet Pattern Roundup - 20 (mostly free) crochet patterns, curated by Underground Crafter

On Fridays, I share a link blast on Twitter and Facebook to get you excited about crocheting all weekend! Keeping with the #FlashbackFriday meme, I’m sharing patterns were first released at least 12 months ago.

Today, I’m sharing a roundup of 20 patterns for crochet farm animals. These are great projects for spring and year round! All photos are used with permission and are copyright the respective designers.

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Farm Animals Crochet Pattern Roundup - 20 (mostly free) crochet patterns, curated by Underground Crafter

Chickens

Creativity is Contagious - 1 month free

Cows

Pigs

Sheep

  • Beeetty Sheep by @lanukas: This free pattern is available in both English and Spanish.
  • Chubby Sheep (picture #9) by @UCrafter: This free pattern includes a photo tutorial for the half double crochet popcorn and instructions for converting to a hanging ornament.
Chubby Sheep, free crochet pattern by Marie Segares.

Chubby Sheep, free crochet pattern by Marie Segares.

I hope you enjoyed this crochet pattern roundup! If you like amigurumi, follow my Amigurumi Crochet Board on Pinterest!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Amigurumi – Crochet on Pinterest.

Book Review & Giveaway: Doris Chan’s Crochet Lace Innovations

Hairpin Lace, the Crochet Speciality of the Month for May, 2015 on Underground Crafter

Welcome to my themed blog series, Crochet Specialty of the Month! Each month in 2015, I’ll feature a specialized crochet technique, stitch pattern, or project type through several posts.

As part of this month’s focus on hairpin lace, I’m sharing a review of Doris Chan‘s Crochet Lace Innovations: 20 Dazzling Designs in Broomstick, Hairpin, Tunisian, and Exploded Lace, along with a giveaway sponsored by Potter Craft/The Crown Publishing Group!

This post contains affiliate links.

Book Review

Crochet Lace Innovations by Doris Chan -  book review and giveaway on Underground Crafter

Doris Chan is well known for her flirty crochet garments and her focus on lace. Crochet Lace Innovations, first published in 2010, is a pattern book that explores three specialized crochet techniques (broomstick lace, hairpin lace, and Tunisian crochet) along with what Doris calls “exploded lace” (crocheting lace patterns similar to what you would see in thread in yarns with a larger hook for a better drape).

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The book opens with an introduction where Doris shares her passion for crochet. This is followed by a How to Use This Book page.

The next 3 sections, Broomstick Lace, Hairpin Lace, and Tunisian Lace, include an overview of the crochet lace technique along with a written and illustrated tutorial and a list of tips for success. The next 3 sections focus on variations of exploded lace: Exploded Motifs, Exploded Doily Lace, and Exploded Lace Trim. The book closes with a section called Garment 101, where Doris shares detailed annotated patterns for Jacket 101 and Skirt 101. Finally, there is a resources section which includes a guide to crochet stitch symbols and abbreviations, and links to yarns, tools, and crochet websites.

  • Skill level: This book is geared towards an intermediate to advanced crocheter. There are 8 easy patterns, 6 intermediate patterns, and 7 experienced patterns.
  • Techniques: There are 3 broomstick lace patterns, 3 hairpin lace patterns, 4 Tunisian crochet patterns, and 11 exploded lace patterns.
  • Project types: There are 8 top patterns (including jackets, vests, sleeved tops, and a poncho), 4 skirt patterns, 4 wraps/stoles/scarves, 2 belts, 1 dress, and 1 collar.

What I like about this book:

  • Doris has a conversational style but isn’t too chatty.
  • The designs are striking and the photos make you want to pick up your hook and start crocheting!
  • There are schematics including for the garments and there are stitch symbols for most patterns in addition to US pattern abbreviations.
  • This book allows you to explore several different crochet techniques while making women’s garments and accessories.

Some challenges about this book:

  • A true beginner to some of the special techniques may find the illustrations difficult to use as a primary learning resource. Luckily, there are many online tutorials for broomstick lace (you can find a roundup here), hairpin lace (a beginner’s roundup here), and Tunisian crochet.
  • There isn’t much discussion about under layering. It would be great if Doris would have shared more ideas about how to layer to wear these designs in real life.
  • Like all mostly pattern books, your enjoyment will be based on how many of the patterns you want to make. Check out the Ravelry source page for the book here to see thumbnails of all designs included in the book.

Overall, I would recommend this book to an intermediate to advanced crocheter (or an adventurous, confident, and patient beginner!) who enjoys crocheted women’s garments and accessories. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Giveaway

So, has this review left you itching for your own copy of Crochet Lace Innovations? To enter, visit the Ravelry source page here and leave a comment letting me know which pattern you would crochet first. This giveaway is open to U.S. readers only. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, June 2, 2015! Please note that only entries in the Rafflecopter widget will be counted, so be sure to log your entries there.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: A review copy and giveaway copy of Crochet Lace Innovations were provided by Potter Craft/The Crown Publishing Group. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

#Crochet #TipsTuesday: Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

When you’re crocheting a project with a long foundation chain – like a blanket or a scarf worked lengthwise – it can be so frustrating to discover (typically, at the end of the first row!) that you didn’t count your chains correctly.

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To prevent having to unravel my project or add on another piece of yarn, I always leave a very long yarn tail of 12” (30 cm) or more at the beginning of any project with a long foundation chain.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

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Easy fix for when you end Row 1 with too few chains

When I get to the end of the first row and find I need to add a few more chains to my project, I pull up the loop on the hook so that it is very tall and won’t unravel.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

Next, I remove my hook. I locate the slip knot I created at the beginning of my chain. I gently untie my slip knot until it forms a small loop.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

I place this loop on my crochet hook, and add as many stitches to the foundation chain as I need.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

(This time, I’m sure to check my count again before fastening off the foundation chain!)

Foundation Chain Too Long or Short 11

I finish by returning my hook to the loop and continuing across Row 1. I may waste a few inches of yarn when I’ve counted the chain correctly, but I save myself a lot of frustration when my chain is too short.

Foundation Chain Too Long or Short 12

Crochet Reversible Baby Blankets

Easy fix for when you end Row 1 with too many chains

Sometimes, the opposite happens. I finish the first row and  find that I started with too many chains.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochetI locate the slip knot I created at the beginning of my chain.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

I gently untie my slip knot.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

I slowly unravel each extra chain until I reach the base of the last stitch of the first row.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

I hold the base of the last stitch in one hand and the yarn tail in the other and pull them gently apart.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochetThis forms a new slip knot and the end of my first row.

Easy fixes for a foundation chain with too few or too many chains on Underground Crafter #TipsTuesday #crochet

I hope you enjoyed this crochet tip! If you have a crochet question – or a tip of your own – leave it in the comments!

Tuesday PIN-spiration Link Party – May 25, 2015

This week, I’m excited to join Amy from The Stitchin’ Mommy and Rhondda from Oombawka Design for the Tuesday PIN-spiration Link Party! Read on for more details.

Tuesday PIN-spiration Link Party with Stitchin' Mommy & Oombawka Crochet on Underground Crafter

Welcome to this week’s Tuesday PIN-spiration link party! Happy Memorial Day to all of you in the US! I hope you have had a wonderful holiday and have celebrated the brave men and women that have fought for our country and our freedoms.

Remember to stop by and pin the projects that you love the most and check out our Tuesday PIN-spiration Pinterest Board to see what Rhondda and I are pinning (at the bottom of the post)! Continue reading

#FlashbackFriday Crochet Link Blast: Week 6: 6″ and 12″ Squares

Roundup of 6 inch and 12 inch granny square crochet patterns on Underground Crafter

On Fridays, I share a link blast on Twitter and Facebook to get you excited about crocheting all weekend! Keeping with the #FlashbackFriday meme, I’m sharing patterns were first released last year (or earlier).

It’s no secret that I love the portability of granny squares! Today’s roundup is all about 6″ (15 cm) and 12″ (30.5 cm) squares. I’ve included links to more than 20 granny square patterns, most of which are available for free!

All images are copyright the designer and are used with permission.

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@SwirlsSprinkles has a series of 6″ alphabet letter blocks. These are great if you want to customize a blanket, bag, or pillow for a special gift! You can find the free patterns for A through E here, F through J here, and L here.

Afghan Square Alphabet Letter series, free crochet patterns by Becky Ferris.

Afghan Square Alphabet Letter series, free crochet patterns by Becky Ferris.

Melinda Miller has so many wonderful granny square patterns that it is difficult to choose from her collection! Two of my favorite free patterns from her collection are the More V’s Please 12″ Square and the Crown Jewels 12″ Square.

I designed a series of 6″ floral squares for National Crochet Month in 2014. My favorite is the Hydrangea Shrub, which is available for $1.99 on Craftsy.

Hydrangea Shrub 6" Square, crochet pattern by Marie Segares.

Hydrangea Shrub 6″ Square, crochet pattern by Marie Segares.

If you’re looking for some floral sunshine, try Linda N‘s free 6″ Sunny Sunflower Square.

I love granny squares so much that I wrote a roundup of 10 granny square books here! A recent favorite granny square book that wasn’t on that list is @WoolnHook‘s 100 Colorful Granny Squares to Crochet (reviewed here).

@CraftingFriends has a free 6″ Ribbon Puff Granny Square that would be great for an awareness blanket.

Ribbon Puff Granny Square, free crochet pattern by Kate Wagstaff.

Ribbon Puff Granny Square, free crochet pattern by Kate Wagstaff.

If you like to crochet for charity, you may want to check out these 6″ squares Michele DuNaier designed for the Ravelry group Afghan Squares for Pine Ridge Reservation. Both Lakota Sky Dance and Lakota Star are available for a nominal fee which supports the charity efforts of the group. (Or, you can use the coupon code to download them for free.) You can learn more about Michele in my interview with her here.

Craftsy

Do you like learning through video tutorials? You might enjoy @MeladoraCrochet‘s 6″ Flower Granny Square pattern which includes written instructions, both right- and left-handed video tutorials, and a photo tutorial!

Flower Granny Square 6 inch, free crochet pattern and tutorial by Meladora's Creations.

Flower Granny Square 6 inch, free crochet pattern and tutorial by Meladora’s Creations.

@anastaciaknits is the self-described scrap yarn queen, and she has some great granny patterns. Two of my favorite free 6″ square patterns from her collection are BLO and Simply EZ PZ. I had the pleasure of interviewing Anastacia here.

Another talented granny designer is @donnalacey, who I interviewed here. Donna’s free 6″ Forever Lace Block will add a feminine touch to your next project.

@mooglyblog has a free reversible pattern, the Squares Squared 12″ Block and Custom Blanket, for those of you who don’t want to spend all day worrying about whether your blanket is the right side up :). If you’d like to learn more about Tamara, check out my interview with her here.

Squares Squared 12" Block, free crochet pattern by Tamara Kelly.

Squares Squared 12″ Block, free crochet pattern by Tamara Kelly.

The Majestic Bloom Granny Square by @Myhobbyiscroche is a delightful free pattern with a detailed photo tutorial.

Majestic Bloom Granny Square, free crochet pattern and tutorial by Kinga Erdem.

Majestic Bloom Granny Square, free crochet pattern and tutorial by Kinga Erdem.

@Dragonflymomof2 has tons of free 6″ and 12″ granny square patterns. One of my favorites is the Snowfall 12″ Square.

Crochet Reversible Baby Blankets Sue Rivers shared a free diagram of her Mitered Square Granny here, for those of you who prefer international stitch symbols.

The Argyle Diamond by Tammy Carlton is a great unisex 12″ square pattern.

If you like grannies as much as I do, follow my Crochet Motif Patterns – Squares Board on Pinterest!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet Motif Patterns – Squares on Pinterest.