Category Archives: Needlecrafts

Interview with Rebecca Langford from Little Monkeys Crochet & CrocheTrendy

Interview with Rebecca Langford from Little Monkeys Crochet on Underground Crafter

I’m excited to share my first NatCroMo interview today, with Rebecca Langford, the crochet blogger and designer behind Little Monkeys Crochet. Rebecca recently launched a new venture, CrocheTrendy, a free crochet pattern directory focused on trendy and chic patterns. You can learn more about CrocheTrendy in this one minute intro video.

Rebecca can be found online at Little Monkeys Crochet, on Facebook, Pinterest, Ravelry, and Twitter. In addition to the CrocheTrendy website, you can also find CrocheTrendy on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. All images are copyright Rebecca Langford and used with permission.

This post contains affiliate links.

Rebecca Langford.

Rebecca Langford.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?

Rebecca: I was a graphic and web designer at the time, and was hired by a friend who owned a crochet business to build a web site on which she could sell her crocheted creations. I spent a lot of hours on that site, looking at all of the amazing and adorable things she was making, and decided I wanted to learn, too! So I bought some basic supplies and watched a ton of YouTube videos, and that’s how I learned.

Buttoned Infinity Scarf, free crochet pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet.

Buttoned Infinity Scarf, free crochet pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Rebecca: I figured out pretty early on that I enjoyed coming up with my own designs much more than following someone else’s. I started writing them down, and it was my husband who encouraged me to start publishing them in blog format.

Sandy Slouchy Hat, free crochet pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet.

Sandy Slouchy Hat, free crochet pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet.

Creative Video Workshops on Creativebug.com

UC: Although you have a lot of variety in your patterns, you definitely have a lot of neckwear. What do you enjoy about designing women’s accessories?

Rebecca: I love scarves and cowls! I love to wear them, so I think that’s why I love to make them. I think they’re also a great beginner project, and a very appealing project for the younger crochet crowd, which is my target audience.

Maribel Cowl, free crochet pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet.

Maribel Cowl, free crochet pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet.

UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?

Rebecca: My little sister and my nieces are my biggest inspirations. They are teenagers who love fashion, so my goal is to design things that they would wear.

Sparkly Buttoned Cowl, free crochet pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet.

Sparkly Buttoned Cowl, free crochet pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet.

UC: You just launched a new free pattern directory, CrocheTrendy. Can you tell us about it and how people can connect with it?

Rebecca: Crochetrendy.com is a new pattern directory filled with patterns from today’s trendiest designers. Crochet obviously spans a very large demographic, but I wanted to concentrate this more on the younger crocheters out there, who want patterns that are young and fresh. I didn’t see anything out there that compiled them all into one place, so I decided to make it myself. If anyone is interested, they can register for a free account at crochetrendy.com or visit us on Facebook.

Striped Mug Cozy Rebecca Langford Little Monkeys Crochet

Striped Mug Cozy, free crochet pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet.

UC: What is your favorite crochet book in your collection?

Rebecca: Is it strange that I don’t actually own any crochet books? Honestly, I think that it stems from the fact that I’m a mom of two young boys and can barely find time to design my own patterns, let alone make someone else’s! If I were to buy one, however, it would definitely be Dedri UysAmamani Puzzle Balls, because they’re adorable and way out of my realm of expertise.

Wildflower Granny Square, free crochet pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet.

Wildflower Granny square, free crochet pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet.

UC: Do you have any crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Rebecca: Too many to list! Among my top favorites are All About Ami and Moogly. However, I’ve always been the type who searches Pinterest for what I need, so that’s exposed me to all kinds of wonderful bloggers and designers.

Slouchy Crochet Hat, free crochet pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet.

Slouchy Crochet Hat, free crochet pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet.

UC: How are you celebrating NatCroMo this year?

Rebecca: By crocheting as much as I possibly can! (But then, that’s no different than any other month for me!) I’ll also be releasing a couple of new patterns on my personal blog, and working hard to continue to promote Crochetrendy.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story, Rebecca! We look forward to seeing CrocheTrendy grow!

If you enjoy cowls and scarves as much as Rebecca, you may want to check out my Crochet Neckwarmers Board on Pinterest!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet Neckwarmers on Pinterest.

NaBloPoMo BlogHer 2015-03

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through March, 2015.

How to Start a Crochet Circle

How to Start a Crochet Circle in Your Local Community on Underground Crafter

These days it can seem easier to find other crocheters online than in your local community! Meeting regularly with a crochet circle can be a great way to finish your crochet projects while having fun.

This post contains affiliate links.

What is a crochet circle?

A crochet circle is a group that meets regularly for socializing and crocheting, and they can take many different forms. Some circles are made up of close friends while others are open to the community. Some meet in public while others rotate visits to members’ homes. Crochet circles may meet as frequently as once a week or just a few times a year. Before starting up a crochet circle, think about what type of group you’d prefer to organize and join.

Membership

Open Membership

If one of your goals for the crochet circle is to meet people, you may choose to have open membership. For the privacy, safety and convenience of members, meet in public locations such as coffee shops, food court dining areas, public library community rooms, book stores, or local yarn shops. Many of these venues will allow a crochet circle to meet for a few hours free of charge while others will expect members to spend a minimum amount. Check with the manager if you are unsure.

You can recruit members with fliers placed in the meeting location and local community centers. Talk up the circle at your local crochet guild. (You can search for local chapters of the Crochet Guild of America here.) Online, spread the word by starting a thread in a local group on Ravelry, writing a Craigslist ad, or Tweeting using a local hashtag.

Network Membership

Perhaps you don’t have many friends and family who crochet, but you don’t want to open membership to the public. Target your own networks of friends and family, co-workers and alumni.

Creative Video Workshops on Creativebug.com

Email your friends and family asking for referrals, or ask friends to share your Facebook post about the crochet circle. If you work for a medium to large employer, talk with a Human Resources representative. The company may be willing to promote your crochet circle as part of their efforts to increase work-life balance, and may even allow you to use a conference room during lunch or after work for meetings. If crochet circle membership would be industry-appropriate, consider sharing information on LinkedIn or with professional networking groups. Update your high school and post-secondary school alumni networks with information about your crochet circle, especially if you live near the campus. You may even be able to use an alumni lounge to meet.

With network membership, you may feel comfortable hosting the first meeting at your home, or you may prefer to find a public location.

Closed Membership

A personalized invitation can go a long way towards growing the membership of a crochet circle made up of friends and family. Create your own crochet-themed invitations using color pictures of a crochet project or yarn. Print invites at home on cardstock, or find some great customizable print invitations on Zazzle. If the first meeting takes place at your home, be sure to mention whether you are providing snacks or if it is a potluck.

The First Meeting

Set the stage for a fabulous crochet circle by welcoming everyone. Share your vision and get feedback from the other members for the next steps. Some discussion points to consider are:

  • Meeting frequency: Will you have a set meeting day and time, or will meetings change based on member availability? How often will the group meet?
  • Meeting location: Will you always meet at the same location or will you rotate locations?
  • Refreshments: Are meetings potluck/bring your own snacks, does the host provide refreshments, or do all members contribute towards the cost of refreshments? If you’re meeting at a public eatery, be sure to inform members about any minimum orders you have discussed with management.
  • Activities: Will you work on group projects such as charity blankets, pieces for a street art project, or a layette set for a mutual friend? Or, will each member bring their own project(s) to work on?
  • Skill Building: If some members are new to crochet, will other members provide technical support? Will the group want to hire a teacher for some meetings to demonstrate new techniques? Do members want to volunteer to teach a new project or skill to other members?
  • Field Trips: Will the group attend local fiber events together?
  • Communication: What’s the best way to get in touch with each other between meetings or on the day of the crochet circle if plans change?

Once you’ve established guidelines for your group and have grown the membership, the fun begins! Be sure to periodically revisit membership and guidelines to keep your group active and engaged.

Do you have a local crochet circle? What are your tips for keeping one active?

NaBloPoMo BlogHer 2015-03

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through March, 2015.

Read Across America Giveaway 2: My First Crochet Book

Celebrate Dr Seuss Day with Kids Crochet Books Giveaway on Underground Crafter

Did you know that March 2 is Dr. Seuss Day (also known as Read Across America Day)?

This post contains affiliate links.

It’s a great way to encourage kids to read more while honoring the legacy of one of the most beloved children’s book authors, Theodor Seuss Geisel (also known as Dr. Seuss). 

I am a huge Dr. Seuss fan (two more of my childhood favorites are My Book About Me and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!), and I thought the best way to celebrate children and reading during (Inter)National Crochet Month would be by hosting a giveaway for a children’s crochet book! This is my second giveaway (you can find the first one here), and this one is for My First Crochet Book, courtesy of CICO Books.

Giveaway for My First Crochet Book on Underground Crafter

My First Crochet Book is a comprehensive crochet book geared towards children. The book opens with a 1-page Tools and Materials overview, followed by an 8-page Crochet Techniques section that includes written and illustrated instructions for basic crochet stitches, increasing, decreasing, and more. The book uses bright colors and includes cute illustrations of animals playing with yarn or hooks throughout.

The book then moves onto the patterns, which are organized by project type. The first section, Clothes and Accessories, includes 11 patterns. Jewelry includes 7 patterns, Bedroom Essentials includes 7 patterns, and Perfect Gifts includes 10 patterns. Each pattern is written out in U.S. pattern abbreviations and includes multiple illustrations. Some are informative (e.g., to show how to finish a project) and others are entertaining (e.g., an elephant holding a pair of scissors). There are also multiple full color photos of each project. The book ends with a list of suppliers with links to websites and a written index.

Although the subtitle on My First Crochet Book by CICO KIdz is “35 fun and easy projects for children aged 7 years +,” I would actually recommend it for older children in their tweens and teens for several reasons. It is fairly text-heavy, relies on illustrations rather than progress photos to provide instruction, and uses pattern abbreviations in the patterns. I think younger children would struggle with the translation from English to crochet pattern abbreviations (I know many adults do!), so I recommend this book for an older audience that has stronger reading skills and a longer attention span. Also, because the patterns are arranged by type rather than by skill level, I think a younger child might get frustrated if s/he unknowingly chooses a project that is too difficult. However, for an older child, or with parental guidance, I think this book has some really fun projects for kids. The cute illustrations and varied color palette make it visually appealing as well.

So, are you ready to enter the giveaway for My First Crochet Book, courtesy of CICO Books? Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget to enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, March 8. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: A free review/giveaway copy of My First Crochet Book was provided by CICO Books. 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.

NaBloPoMo BlogHer 2015-03

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through March, 2015.

Read Across America Giveaway 1: Crochet for Kids

Celebrate Dr Seuss Day with Kids Crochet Books Giveaway on Underground Crafter

Did you know that March 2 is Dr. Seuss Day (also known as Read Across America Day)?

This post contains affiliate links.

It’s a great way to encourage kids to read more while honoring the legacy of one of the most beloved children’s book authors, Theodor Seuss Geisel (also known as Dr. Seuss). 

I am a huge Dr. Seuss fan (some of my childhood favorites are I Wish That I Had Duck Feet and Ten Apples Up On Top!), and I thought the best way to celebrate children and reading during (Inter)National Crochet Month would be by hosting a giveaway for a children’s crochet book! I’m hosting two giveaways today, and the first one is for Crochet for Kids: Basic Techniques & Great Projects that Kids Can Make Themselves by Franziska Heidenreich, courtesy of Stackpole Books.

Crochet for Kids giveaway on Underground Crafter

Crochet for Kids is formatted like a high quality beginner crochet book but with details that make it just right for children learning to crochet. It opens with some great introductory material, including A Short Guide to Yarn, Basic Equipment, and Crocheting Step-by-Step. Each of these sections includes many pictures and is written with simple, straightforward sentences. The Crocheting Step-by-Step section includes photo tutorials for all the basic crochet stitches, increasing, decreasing, and more.

The next section, Ready To Go! includes 12 beginner-friendly patterns that kids would love to make, like finger crochet shoelaces, a unisex brimmed hat, and hacky sacks. The patterns are written out in words without abbreviations and include lots of progress pictures to help. The next section, Moving Up, includes 10 slightly more advanced projects, like a slouchy beret with a bow, and appliques to sew on to to t-shirts or jeans for customization. The last section, Projects for Pros, includes 5 more challenging projects. These projects don’t necessarily require more skills, but they do require more patience! These include a blanket and other larger projects with frequent color changes. The book ends with a visual index so it’s easy to find a favorite pattern again, and a bio of the author.

Although the book was originally written in German, it does seem to be translated clearly and I don’t anticipate children struggling through it. I do wish the lighting was better in the Crocheting Step-by-Step photos, but I’m sure that most children have better eyesight than I do ;). It’s filled with brightly lit pictures of children crocheting and wearing crochet gear, so it makes crochet seem really fun. It also doesn’t ask children to make the mental translation required for reading pattern abbreviations. The author seems to really understand how to teach children to crochet. If your child is confident about reading, this would be a great book to nurture a love of crochet.

So, are you ready to enter the giveaway for Crochet for Kids, courtesy of Stackpole Books? Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget to enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, March 8. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: A free review/giveaway copy of Crochet for Kids was provided by Stackpole Books. 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.

NaBloPoMo BlogHer 2015-03

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through March, 2015.

10 Ways to Spread the Love of Crochet during NatCroMo!

Are you ready to have a great month celebrating crochet? I know I am!

March is (Inter)National Crochet Month, and I’m thrilled to share my love of crochet with pretty much anyone who is willing to listen! I’m also excited to kick off Crochetville’s 2015 NatCroMo Designer Blog Tour! Visit Crochetville here to see the daily schedule of blog stops, learn more about the featured charity, Halos of Hope, and find out more about the daily giveaways.

I’ll be sharing my own special gift for readers at the end of this post, so read on for details!

10 Ways to Spread the Love of Crochet During National Crochet Month on Underground Crafter

I love celebrating (Inter)National Crochet Month every March, and I know a lot of other crocheters feel the same way. Here’s a list of 10 ways you can spread the love of crochet during March (and all year round).

This post contains affiliate links.

Share, share, share!

There’s plenty of eye candy on display during NatCroMo so it’s easy to share! Set up a special Pinterest board, share links on your preferred social media platforms, or create roundups of your favorites on your blog.

I have over 30 crochet boards on Pinterest, including this one you may enjoy!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet Pattern Roundups on Pinterest.

Show appreciation

Do you have a favorite crochet blogger, designer, author, or teacher? What about a crochet-friendly local yarn shop (LYS) or yarn company? Is there a crochet book, hook, or magazine that you love? Show your appreciation by commenting or reaching out on social media, making recommendations to your friends, or writing reviews.

Start a crochet circle in your community

March is the perfect time to start a local crochet circle. Crochet circles are great ways to meet people and have fun together while crocheting.

I’ll be sharing my tips for starting a crochet circle on the blog on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. (I was going to share my tips tomorrow, but I’m hosting a giveaway instead, HINT HINT.)

Share your skills

Teach a friend to crochet or host a lunchtime class at work; volunteer to teach children, seniors, or hospital patients; or ask to lead a stitch demonstration at your next crochet guild meeting. You’ll have fun sharing your love of crochet and you may inspire someone else to pick up the hook!

Make a gift

Crochet an unexpected gift for a loved one. To keep the experience stress free, make it a surprise and choose a project you’ll enjoy making!

Wear your own crochet

If you gift more crochet projects than you keep, make something extra special for yourself and be sure to wear it to display your crochet pride!

Donate to charity

Contribute to a local or national charity by donating yarn or hooks, or crocheting blankets, chemo caps, or other items for distribution. Crochetville’s featured NatCroMo charity, Halos of Hope, lists their donation guidelines for chemo caps here. You can find other organizations that accept crochet donations through…

Always check with the charity to make sure the information is up-to-date before delivering a project.

Crochet in public

Take your hook outdoors and crochet on public transportation, in the library, at a coffeehouse, or wherever people spend time outdoors in your community. Be prepared to chat with strangers about what you’re working on, and don’t be shy about explaining that knitting is the one with two needles.

Learn something new

With all the excitement surrounding crochet this month, it’s a great time to learn something new. Pick up a new stitch, learn a new technique, or even try out a new project to keep up your enthusiasm for crochet.

Geek out on crochet gear

Visit Café Press or Zazzle and add a crochet t-shirt, bag, bumper sticker, mug, or other conversation starter to your collection!

Some of my favorite crochet-themed shops are:

What other suggestions do you have for spreading the love of crochet during NatCroMo?

I’ll be celebrating NatCroMo all month long on the Underground Crafter with great giveaways, interviews with crochet designers, and more! To start the month off right, I’m sharing a coupon code with my readers:

Use coupon code natcromo15 to download one free crochet pattern or ebook of your choice from my Ravelry shop through Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 11:59 p.m.

Enjoy!

NaBloPoMo BlogHer 2015-03

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through March, 2015.