Category Archives: Needlecrafts

Free pattern: Gradient Shells Scarf (with styling suggestions)

I’m releasing a new free crochet pattern every week through December. Each one can be made with 3 skeins of yarn or less, and would make a great gift (for someone else, or as a reward to yourself for all of your holiday crafting!).

Gradient Shells Scarf, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

 This post contains affiliate links.

The Gradient Shells Scarf is a great last minute gift. It’s crocheted with two skeins of Knit Picks Chroma Worsted, a self-striping yarn. The yarn does all the work of striping the scarf for you, so you don’t have to change colors or weave in lots of ends.

Gradient Shells Scarf, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Unlike many shell stitch pattern scarves, this one has straight edges on both sides, making it a great unisex pattern.

I wanted to keep it to a two-skein project. Since this scarf ended up a little shorter than most, I thought I’d try some styling variations. I checked out the Scarf Knot Master List on Scarves.net, and tried The Girly Windsor,

Gradient Shells Scarf, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

and the Scarf Boa.

Gradient Shells Scarf, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

I think both look great, as does the traditional wrap,

Gradient Shells Scarf, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

and the over the shoulder wrap.

Gradient Shells Scarf, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

I don’t think this colorway, Parakeet, is still available, but there are many fabulous colorways available in Knit Picks Chroma Worsted. Chroma is also available in a fingering weight version!

Don’t forget to add the Gradient Shells Scarf to your Ravelry queue or favorites here!

Gradient Shells Scarf

Crochet Pattern by Underground Crafter

  02-easy 50US terms 504-medium 50 This unisex scarf works up quickly with self-striping yarn. 

 

Finished Size

Adult: 6.5” (16.5 cm) wide x 53” (134.5 cm).

Materials

  • Knit Picks Chroma Worsted (70% wool/30%n nylon, 3.5 oz/100 g, 198 yd/181 m) – 2 skeins in 26181 Parakeet, or approximately 390 yd (357 m) in any medium weight, self-striping yarn.
  • US I-9/5.5 mm crochet hook, or any size needed to obtain gauge.
  • Yarn needle.

Up to 60% on Zazzle.com

Gauge

17 sts x 8.5 rows in pattern = 4” (10 cm). Exact gauge is not critical for this project.

Gradient Shells Scarf, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Abbreviations Used in This Pattern (✪ see Special Stitch Pattern, below)

  • ch – chain
  • dc – double crochet
  • dc5tog – double crochet 5 sts together✪ (decreases 4 sts, worked over 5 sts)
  • ea – each
  • rep – repeat
  • sc – single crochet
  • sk – skip
  • st(s) – stitch(es)
  • yo – yarn over
  • * Rep instructions after asterisk as indicated.

Special Stitch Pattern

  • dc5tog – double crochet 5 sts together (decreases 4 sts, worked over 5 sts) – (Yo, insert hook in next st, yo and draw up a loop, yo and draw through 2 loops) 5 times, yo and draw through 6 loops.

Gradient Shells Scarf, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Pattern Notes

  • For best results, start the scarf at the beginning of a color repeat. When adding on a new skein of yarn, start at the beginning of the same or next color repeat to continue striping pattern.

Gradient Shells Scarf, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Pattern Instructions

Scarf

  • Ch 32.
  • Row 1: Turn, sk 1, sc in next ch and ea ch across. (31 sts)
  • Row 2: Turn, ch 1, sc in first st, *sk 2 sts, 5 dc in next st, sk 2 sts, sc in next st; rep from * across.
  • Row 3: Turn, ch 3 (counts as dc, here and throughout), 2 dc in same st, *sk 2 sts, sc in next st, sk 2 sts,** 5 dc in next; rep from * across to last 6 sts, rep from * to ** once, 3 dc in last st.
  • Rep Rows 2 & 3 56 times, or until scarf measures approximately 52” (132 cm).
  • Row 4: Turn, ch 1, sc in first st, *ch 2, dc5tog, ch 2, sc in next st; rep from * across.
  • Row 5: Turn, ch 1, sc in first st and in ea st across. Fasten off.

Finishing

  • With yarn needle, weave in ends. Spray block if necessary.

Don’t forget to add the Gradient Shells Scarf to your Ravelry queue or favorites here!

© 2014 by Marie Segares (Underground Crafter). This pattern is for personal use only. You may use the pattern to make unlimited items for yourself, for charity, or to give as gifts. You may sell items you personally make by hand from this pattern. Do not violate Marie’s copyright by distributing this pattern, the tutorial, or the photos in any form, including but not limited to scanning, photocopying, emailing, or posting on a website or internet discussion group. If you want to share the pattern, point your friends to this link: http://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2014/11/28/free-pattern-gradient-shells-scarf-with-styling-suggestions. Thanks for supporting indie designers!

Gradient Shells Scarf, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Gratitude

Last May, MC and I lost our dear furry friend to a rapidly progressing illness. We were both devastated. Our only solace was discovering My Cat from Hell and thinking about the happy memories we shared with our cat. We didn’t plan to adopt again soon, but we were convinced we’d be even better cat parents this time around because we had learned so much about cat behavior from Jackson Galaxy.

In late July, as MC and I were out for a weekend stroll, I happened to see what looked like a cat out of the corner of my eye in the window of a local pet store. This was miraculous for two reasons: I have terrible peripheral vision, and the pet store was the sort that only has fish and gerbils inside. I pointed it out to MC and, upon closer inspection, we realized there were two cats sitting in a crate in front of the window. The cats looked terrified, the crate was much too small, and their surroundings were filthy.

Over the next several days, we were drawn back to this window over and over again. Each time we visited, the situation seemed more dire. At night, the cats were left in the uncovered crate in the window with all the lights on. One slept in the litter box. They appeared weak, skinny, and sad. Though we didn’t feel ready for (up to 20 more years of) pet ownership again, we soon decided we had to adopt these two creatures, if only to take them away from this tortured existence, or the other – worse – possibility.

The two cats, a few weeks after moving in with us.

The two cats, a few weeks after moving in with us.

The pet shop was “fostering” the cats on behalf of a large animal charity, and after about a week of phone calls, we were finally able to adopt – or, as I often say, rescue – these two cats. After bringing them home, we learned more about their history. They were raised in what was described as a “hoarder house” with almost 40 other cats. They had been rescued by “a good samaritan” who soon after became ill and dropped them off at the animal charity’s shelter. From the shelter, they were brought to the pet shop as part of an adoption outreach program. They had been living for several weeks in the small crate under bright lights for 24 hours a day by the time we found them.

As you might imagine given their history, the cats were not well socialized. Their hygiene habits were atrocious. They never purred. They were emaciated and stunk – for weeks. Their claws were black and brittle and came out in chunks on the floor. They fought and wailed for most of the night and hid for most of the day. They growled at each other – or us – while eating. On top of that, they seemed disinterested in forming any relationship with us. Life with these creatures seemed a thankless task – we saved their lives and in return, we were forced to live with them. It only made us miss our dear Mr. Tubby even more.

tiny

Cappuccino.

After a few weeks, the cats gained weight and their fur looked glossy and healthy. The putrid smells also disappeared. The litter box habits improved (just slightly, though) and they came out more during the day time. We finally gave them names – Cappuccino and James Bond. But the interactions were still pretty bad and the nights were still filled with caterwauling.

BondCappucchino

James Bond and Cappuccino.

And then, in early November, it happened. I had the bright idea of getting a new toy to try and play with them. Perhaps, I thought, I could tire them out during the day so they would sleep through the night (or at least be quiet enough to let us sleep through the night).

Before I could even take the toy out of the package, Cappuccino became interested in it. So interested, in fact, that he repeatedly bit me – hard – in an effort to grab it. After several bites, he punctured through my finger. I was shocked, screaming, and bleeding. James Bond hid as Cappuccino continued to play with the toy.

MC helped me to clean the wound, which was painful and looked even worse. I was between health insurance plans and I didn’t want to spend the money to go to the doctor. Within a few days, though, it was clear that something was wrong, and, since the bite was on my right (dominant) hand, I needed to have it checked out. Of course, it was infected and I had to pay for treatment and medication.

Cappuccino.

Cappuccino.

MC and I were both angry. And, frankly, I was afraid, too, though I hid it well. (No one wants to be around an animal that senses fear, after all.) What kind of crazy cat would bite you over and over, while you were shrieking, and then play with a toy as though nothing had happened? The worst part was the feeling of isolation. Everyone we spoke to said we should take the cat back to a shelter. This would definitely mean he would be put down, and I couldn’t believe we had discovered these creatures, saved their lives, and spent a full quarter of the year with them only to split them apart and kill one.

I researched sanctuaries and no-kill shelters, and all had notes refusing to take cats who had displayed aggression against humans. It truly seemed like we were out of options and were doomed to be stuck with these dreadful cats forever.

James Bond.

James Bond.

And then, eventually, it started happening. The growling became less and less frequent. The crying over night decreased as they eventually learned to play with some of the toys we brought home. They stopped having stare downs with us and flinched less and less as we approached. This fall, after over a year of living with us, they even began to occasionally sleep on the bed.

MC continues to push Bond’s challenge line by picking him up (though he doesn’t like it) and blocking off his hiding spaces. I continue to carry Cappuccino around and cuddle him, which he now accepts as part of the deal that includes yummy food. Neither one purrs, which is just super sad. But, in many ways, they are turning into “real” cats. We can play with them and even trim their nails. They can fight with each other in a playful rather than terrifying way. They don’t display any aggression towards either of us, even if we move their bowls or approach them from an angle.

putties2

I’m sharing this today, which is Thanksgiving in the United States. My mother, who in a protective mode last November encouraged me to return Cappuccino to a shelter, thought I should tell our story on my blog so that other people who rescue pets will know there is hope.

It takes a lot of focused work and dedication, and I’m so grateful to MC for the many nights he stayed up with them and for all of the work he has done with them. I’ve come to love these creatures deeply, even if it isn’t returned in the way that I grew accustomed to with my other cats. There is something incredible moving about looking into the eyes of two creatures who know you saved their lives, and being open to the unique journey you will share with them.

NaBloPoMo

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through November, 2014.

Voting is open for the Flamies!

flamies

A few weeks ago, I shared my nominations for the Flamies, also known as the Crochet Awards. Voting is now open, and I’m excited to see that many of my nominees made the final ballot.

Please take a moment to vote over at the official Crochet Awards website here. There are 31 different categories and a lot of great designers, teachers, bloggers, authors, yarn companies, and hook makers and manufacturers listed.

NaBloPoMo

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through November, 2014.

Interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor

Interview with (mostly) knitting designer, Stefanie Bold, on Underground Crafter

Today I’m sharing an interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor.  Like me, Peggy Jean is participating in the 2014 Indie Design Gift-a-Long, a virtual extravaganza running through December 31st here on Ravelry.

This post contains affiliate links.

Stefanie can be found on Ravelry (as pjkaylor and on her designer page). All images are copyright Peggy Jean Kaylor and used with permission.

Interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor, on Underground Crafter blog.

Peggy Jean Kaylor.

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

Pegg Jean: When I was very young, I would watch my great-grandmother (my mother’s maternal grandmother) knit and crochet.  The first time she put needles or hook and yarn into my hands, I was about 4 years old.  I would sit with her and try to make the stitches she showed me … for maybe 5 or 10 or 15 minutes … then I would run off to play with my big brother or little sister.  Whenever I came back, my knitting or crochet was always waiting for me to work on it some more.

My mother has since told me that she caught Grandma putting the wool and needles/hook away in a drawer between sessions.  She said she tried to tell Grandma not to do that with her precious yarn and tools but Grandma wouldn’t listen.  Instead Grandma gave me a small supply of yarn oddballs, a pair of needles and a hook.

It took a few years … and my paternal grandmother took over teaching me when my great- grandmother became blind.  By the time I was 7 years old, I was beginning to knit and crochet Christmas gifts for family and friends.

Interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor, on Underground Crafter blog.

Belgian Waffles Scarf, free knitting pattern by Peggy Jean Kaylor.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Peggy Jean: My transition into designing was a long, drawn out process.  I was in my late teens when my paternal grandmother and I had a conversation.  I can remember her telling me that before I could make anything at all, I needed to have a pattern for it.  I probably took that as something of a challenge.  Granted, up until then I had always had a pattern to work from and I always followed it somewhat religiously … but … at that point, I began modifying many of the things I made from patterns.  At some point in my late 30s, I had reached the point where I had never met a pattern I couldn’t modify … and during my 40s, I worked steadily to free myself of all the patterns.

Finally during my mid-50s, my teenage daughter convinced me to begin writing up formal patterns for some of my designs.  My darling daughter also convinced me to join Ravelry (she had already joined) … she argued that it was a place where I could self-publish my designs.  So, I guess Ravelry has been a ‘business decision’ from the get go … but I never had more fun from any other business decision … and my husband tells me every year at tax time that it’s not a business yet, it’s still only a hobby.

Interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor, on Underground Crafter blog.

Hourglass Chevron Scarf, knitting pattern by Peggy Jean Kaylor.

UC: You have a joint Ravelry shop with your daughter. How did you decide to start this venture? What are the advantages and disadvantages of working together with family?

Peggy Jean: Yes, I have a joint venture Ravelry shop with my darling daughter.  Our Ravelry shop, Fiber Fabrications, really represents the fact that I did pass this art form on to the next generation … to the daughter I’d named for the woman who taught me to knit and crochet.  I was thrilled when my own daughter asked me to teach her how to knit and crochet.  Because of my own experiences, I made sure to teach my daughter that she could make anything she wanted to … whether or not she had a pattern.  While she was a teenager, I helped her design a felted backpack … I used the project to teach her how to pick up stitches, how to shape the bag seamlessly, how to make mitered squares, how to felt (full) the fabric, how to sew the straps and inside pocket onto the bag, and how to write clear instructions.  She sold a few hard copies of her pattern at the LYS down the street and around the corner, where she worked every Saturday while she was in high school.

Having the Ravelry shop with my daughter is now mostly a gesture … because last spring she finished her BS in Chemistry and this fall she moved to almost the other edge of the country to pursue a PhD in Biophysics and Biochemistry.  I miss her a great deal … and she hasn’t had time since she graduated high school to design and produce any patterns.  I am a good mom, though.  I let her have whatever she wants from my own stash every time she is home because it would be way too sad if she did not have enough yarn to engage in stress knitting while she keeps up with the intensity of graduate school.

Interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor, on Underground Crafter blog.

Heart Throb Scarf, knitting pattern by Peggy Jean Kaylor.

UC: Most of your patterns are for scarves and wraps. What do you enjoy about these types of projects?

Peggy Jean: I have enjoyed the challenge of designing reversible scarves and stoles.  I’d grown tired of scarves and stoles that roll and curl when they don’t hold a block … and it pains me when one side is much less attractive than the other and yet still often seen.  It makes my day to design something that is totally reversible.  I do have some things in the works that are not reversible … hats and cowls and such … hopefully, those designs will see publication during the next year along with some more shawls and scarves.

Interview with knitting designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor, on Underground Crafter blog.

Melite, Nymph of Calm Seas knitting wrap pattern by Peggy Jean Kaylor.

UC: What’s your favorite knitting book in your collection?

Peggy Jean: Well … I kind of feel like Elizabeth Zimmermann wrote the Old Testament of Knitting (I was able to borrow some of her books once, so I’ve read a couple of them and find that her ‘voice’ is much like that of the great grandmother who taught me my first stitches), Barbara G. Walker wrote the New Testament of Knitting (I own all 4 volumes of her Treasury and they are well worn), and Nicky Epstein wrote the Apocrypha of Knitting (I own and love her entire Edge series).  I can’t really choose a favorite from amongst those.  They are all very important to me.  The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt is the other really important book in my personal reference library.

UC: Tell me about a designer you discovered through participation in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long. What attracted you that designer’s work?

Peggy Jean: Annie Watts.  I am tickled by her whimsy.  I will be knitting her Fightin’ Words (fingerless mitts) in the Indie Design Gift-a-Long Hand & Arm Things KAL for my darling daughter.

Thanks so much for stopping by for an interview, Peggy Jean!

To find more designers participating in the Indie Design Gift-a-Long, visit this forum thread on Ravelry.

NaBloPoMo

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through November, 2014.

2014 Crocheter’s Gift Guide: Handmade Crochet-Friendly Stitch Markers

Underground Crafter's 2014 Crocheters Gift Guide - Handmade Crochet Stitch markers

It’s that time of year when we all start thinking about gifts for others – and for ourselves – so I’m sharing a series of gift guides for crocheters. Yesterday, I shared 10 yarn clubs and community supported agriculture projects that are accepting new members/shareholders for 2015. Today I’m sharing a roundup of 11 handmade crochet stitch markers.

These are all stitch markers I found while browsing on Etsy. Each one has a locking/opening closure (often using a lobster claw fixture) that makes it crochet-friendly. I use stitch markers all the time to keep track of right and wrong side, to note the beginning or end of a round when crocheting in unjoined spirals, or to keep track of row counts.

Stitch markers are a great gift because there are so many different types that you can choose something very suited to the recipient, and they are relatively inexpensive when compared to other gifts for crocheters.

Images are copyright the respective shop owners. Prices are listed in US dollars.

Underground Crafter's 2014 Crocheters Gift Guide - Handmade Crochet Stitchmarkers

The Color of Dreams BoutiqueGranny Square stitch markers

This is a set of 4 stitch markers using polymer clay beads that look just like granny squares! Price: $10. Ships from US.

Underground Crafter's 2014 Crocheters Gift Guide - Handmade Crochet Stitchmarkers

Haberdash-a-dooMade with Love stitch markers

This set of 6 non-nickle heart-shaped stitch markers include a keyhole opening and the phrase “made with love.” Price: $8.04. Ships from UK.

Underground Crafter's 2014 Crocheters Gift Guide - Handmade Crochet Stitchmarkers

AbsoKnittingLutely: Macaron stitch markers

This set of 5 hand-sculpted stitch markers are the perfect no calorie substitute for tasty macarfons! Price: $12.89. Ships from UK.

Underground Crafter's 2014 Crocheters Gift Guide - Handmade Crochet Stitchmarkers

FC Whimsey: Film-inspired stitch markers

This set of 6 polymer clay stitch markers are modeled after one of my favorite film series and make a perfect gift for the special sci fi nerd in your life. Price: $15.99. Ships from US.

Underground Crafter's 2014 Crocheters Gift Guide - Handmade Crochet Stitchmarkers

Crafty Cat Knitty bits: Round flower crochet stitch markers

A set of 10 polymer clay stitch markers with a floral theme. Price: $14.49. Ships from UK.

Underground Crafter's 2014 Crocheters Gift Guide - Handmade Crochet StitchmarkersKnit Cubby: Kokeshi Doll stitch markers

This set of 5 stitch markers is graphically designed and then finished with a waterproof finish. Price: $14.99. Ships from US.

Underground Crafter's 2014 Crocheters Gift Guide - Handmade Crochet Stitchmarkers

The Clay Sheep: Pastel Sheep Stitch Markers

This set of 6 polymer clay stitch markers would make your favorite wool-lover very happy. Price: $24. Ships from US.

Underground Crafter's 2014 Crocheters Gift Guide - Handmade Crochet Stitchmarkers

My Polar Projects: Letter Stitch Markers

When you love the alphabet (or want to spell your best friend’s name or favorite crochet stitch), try this set of 6 metal stitch markers. Price: $18. (Additional letters are $3/each.) Ships from US.

Underground Crafter's 2014 Crocheters Gift Guide - Handmade Crochet Stitchmarkers

Little Knitty Bird: Grandmother’s Lavender Stitch Markers

This set of 5 stitch markers are made from plastic and metal beads and have a classic look. Price: $10. Ships from US.

Underground Crafter's 2014 Crocheters Gift Guide - Handmade Crochet Stitchmarkers

Teri Loves: Miniature Cassette Stitch Marker and Counter

This retro mini cassette stitch marker and row/stitch counter makes a great gift for your favorite audiophile. Price: $6.95. Ships from US.

Underground Crafter's 2014 Crocheters Gift Guide - Handmade Crochet Stitchmarkers

Snarky Llama Creations: Pinups Stitch markers

This set of 9 stitch plastic stitch markers include vintage-style pin-up images. These are a bit more risqué than the others, but are undoubtable a perfect gift for someone on your list! Price: $10.99. Ships from US.

NaBloPoMo
I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through November, 2014.