Category Archives: New York

Free Pattern: ’80s Remix Chain

'80s Remix Chain, free crochet pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

I’ve seen my fair share of fat gold chains. After all, I grew up in New York City during the birth of the hip hop scene. In 2013, I was asked to make some samples for the Kollabora booth at Vogue Knitting Live, and this is one of them.

My friend, Carlota Zimmerman, also remembers those days. We shared a few laughs and memories during this summer time photo shoot. However, this eye catching necklace could be worn in any season.

I’m sharing this as a blog freebie. If you enjoy this pattern, show it some love on Ravelry here.

This post contains affiliate links.

'80s Remix Chain, free crochet pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

’80s Remix Chain Crochet Pattern

By Underground Crafter

02-easy 50 US terms 50 3-light 50This necklace has enough bling to remind me of growing up during the early days of the hip hop scene.

Finished Size

  • Adjustable. Sample is 24” (61 cm) circumference.

Materials

  • Galler Yarns Kismet (87% polyester/13% nylon, 8 oz/227 g/1,400 yds/1,280 m) – 1 cone each in 902 Light Gold (CA) and 907 Fuchsia (CB), or approximately 170-210 yds (155.5-192 m) in each of 2 colors in any metallic, light weight yarn.
  • E-4/3.5 mm crochet hook, or any size needed to obtain correct gauge
  • Yarn needle.
  • Stitch marker (optional).

Gauge

    • Link Tube 1 in pattern = 4” (10 cm) long before joining. Exact gauge is not critical for this project.

Hooded Scarves to Crochet

Abbreviations Used in This Pattern

  • CA – color A
  • CB – color B
  • ch – chain
  • ea – each
  • rep – repeat
  • Rnd(s) – Round(s)
  • sc – single crochet
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • st(s) – stitch(es)
  • * Rep instructions following asterisk as indicated.

Pattern Notes

  • Tubes are crocheted in the round. Do not join rnds unless indicated.

Pattern Instructions

Link Tube 1 (Make 9 in CA and 8 in CB)

    • Ch 9.
    • Set Up Row: Turn, sk first ch, sc in next ch and in ea ch across. Optional: Place marker in last st to indicate end of rnd, move marker up each rnd. (8 sts)
    • Rnd 1: Being careful not to twist, join with sc in next st and begin crocheting in spirals, sc in ea st around.
    • Rnd 2: Sc in ea st around.
    • Rep Rnd 2 until tube measures approximately 4” (10 cm) long, fasten off with long yarn tail of approximately 8” (20 cm) long. 

Dover Books

Link Tube 2 (Make 1 in CB)

  • Ch 9.
  • Set Up Row: Turn, sk first ch, sc in next ch and in ea ch across. Optional: Place marker in last st to indicate end of rnd, move marker up each rnd. (8 sts)
  • Rnd 1: Being careful not to twist, join with sc in next st and begin crocheting in spirals, sc in ea st around.
  • Rnd 2: Sc in ea st around.
  • Rep Rnd 2 until tube measures approximately 12” (30.5 cm) long, fasten off with long yarn tail of approximately 8” (20 cm) long.

'80s Remix Chain, free crochet pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

Assembly

  • Starting with Link Tube 1 in CA, fold link in half with short ends together. Line up sts across sides (4 sts on ea side). Close edge of tube by working sl st through 4 layers of corresponding sts on each side across (4 sl sts). With yarn needle, weave in ends.
  • Attach remaining Link Tube 1 pieces by alternating colors and folding through previously joined link, using the pictures of the finished necklace as a guide.
  • Join Link Tube 2 by folding through links on ea end of necklace to close.

If you like this pattern, show it some love on Ravelry here.

© 2014 by Marie Segares (Underground Crafter). This pattern is for personal use only. You may use it 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 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/2014/09/26/free-pattern-80s-remix-chain/. Thanks for supporting indie designers!

Interview with Melissa Martinez (Hispanic Heritage Month Series)

Interview with Melissa Martinez (Acts of Knittery) on Underground Crafter blog.

Today, I’m continuing my Hispanic Heritage Month series with an interview with Melissa Martinez, the knitting and crochet designer and maker behind Acts of Knittery Designs. Like me, Melissa grew up in New York City, but she has since moved to Philadelphia. Melissa’s patterns have been self-published as Acts of Knittery, as well as by Classic Elite and Made in America Yarns.

Melissa can be found online on her website/blog, Ravelry (as ActsofKnittery, on her designer page, or in the Acts of Knittery Designs group), Ebay, FacebookAmazonCraftsyPinterest, and Twitter. All images are copyright Acts of Knittery Designs and are used with permission. Click on pattern images to be brought to the Ravelry page.

This post contains affiliate links.

Interview with Melissa Martinez (Acts of Knittery) on Underground Crafter blog.

Melissa Martinez

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

Melissa: My grandmother first taught me as a young child. I started learning crochet first and then went on to learn knitting shortly after that.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Melissa: I had sold finished knit and crochet accessories on both eBay and Etsy for several years. Customers would often ask me if I had patterns available as well. I figured why not start writing them down and selling the patterns.

Interview with Melissa Martinez (Acts of Knittery) on Underground Crafter blog.

Shrubbery, a knit shawlette pattern by Acts of Knittery Design.

UC: You design a lot of hats and shawls. What do you enjoy about those projects?

Melissa: I love how quick they are and also how most don’t require a lot of yarn (or time) to make. I also love how a relatively small accessory can make such a big impact and really transform a whole outfit and your look.

Interview with Melissa Martinez (Acts of Knittery Design) on Underground Crafter blog.

An Ounce of Flounce, a knit scarf pattern by Acts of Knittery Design.

UC: The photos for your self-published patterns have a very consistent (branded) look. Do you take your own photographs or do you use the same photographer? How did you develop your photographic style?

Melissa: Thanks so much for that compliment! I take all of the photos myself. I guess I’ve had lots of practice with shooting product photos for when I sold on Etsy and Ebay. I just try to make sure there’s adequate light coming in from the window (natural light is definitely the best) and then when I crop my photos I try to not have all of them exactly centered. I think that adds a bit of interest.

Interview with Melissa Martinez (Acts of Knittery Design) on Underground Crafter blog.

Mesh Cowl with Flower, a crochet pattern by Acts of Knittery Design.

UC: You sell your finished objects on Ebay and individual patterns on Amazon. What do you see as the pros and cons of selling on websites that get a lot of traffic but aren’t focused on the needlecrafts?

Melissa: I think that selling on these large marketplaces definitely helps to expose your products to an entirely new audience. There may be a lot of potential customers who are looking for a hand knit item or pattern and have only heard of the major online sites Ebay and Amazon. On the other hand, I find that most of the time these customers may not be fully aware about how long it actually takes to make an item, the quality of yarn used and the great attention to detail that goes into a handmade item. A lot of people on Ebay are just looking for bargains and you can’t really blame them. On Amazon, I find that some of the more classic or generic patterns sell well but not the truly unique. That’s one area where sites devoted exclusively to the needlecrafts such as Ravelry and Craftsy excel, since customers already have more of an appreciation for hand crafted goods and unique patterns.

Interview with Melissa Martinez (Acts of Knittery Design) on Underground Crafter blog.

Wyvern Scarf, a knit pattern by Acts of Knittery Design.

UC: Your parents are Argentinian with Spanish and Italian roots, but you grew up in my hometown of New York City. What was the yarn crafts scene like in your family and community when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene in Philadelphia?

Melissa: My grandmother was always knitting something and she made the most amazing knit onesies for babies I had ever seen. She would actually go out and sell them on consignment at a few local stores. My mom is also an avid knitter and crocheter. She is very DIY (do it yourself) and I think that’s where I get it from. She would sew clothes for me and my siblings growing up, bake her own bread, etc. There were a few craft stores and fabric stores that sold yarn in Queens where I grew up but when I had discovered the yarn shops in Manhattan, or “the City” as us native New Yorkers call it, I was completely blown away and my yarn addiction took on a life of its own. I really like the yarn shops in Philly as well.  (UC comment: You can read my yarn shop reviews from my trip to Philly here.) The people are really friendly here and extremely helpful. One of the yarn shops here is actually owned by a New York transplant like myself. I hope to personally get more involved in the local scene soon. Most of the time I feel like I’m the only one I know who knits. I guess I need to get out more, lol.

Interview with Melissa Martinez (Acts of Knittery Design) on Underground Crafter blog.

Chai Beanie, a knitting pattern by Acts of Knittery Design.

UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?

Melissa: I don’t often think about, this but I guess it does. I think it’s more of the fact that previous generations and other cultures place a greater value on crafts and handmade things. I see it almost as carrying on a tradition in some ways. The only other thing I can think of is that I do adore using vibrant color when I design a piece so maybe my cultural background sneaks in that way.

Interview with Melissa Martinez (Acts of Knittery Design) on Underground Crafter blog.

Northern Belle Cloche, a knitting pattern by Acts of Knittery.

UC: What are your favorite knitting and crochet books in your collection?

I only have three right now. Two were lent to me by my mom and I sort of just kept them with me but she can always have them back if she ever needs them: Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns by Sterling Publishing Co. and Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Crochet (UC comment: reviewed here). The third book I purchased myself when I seriously started thinking about designing: The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design by Shannon Okey (UC comment: reviewed here). This last book has really helped shine the light on so many questions I had about becoming a designer. I was truly clueless and this book helped me so much. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to follow a similar path.

Interview with Melissa Martinez (Acts of Knittery Design) on Underground Crafter blog.

Cloche Hat with Two Flowers, a crochet pattern by Acts of Knittery Design.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Melissa: I love Design Sponge even though it’s mostly geared toward interior design. Rena Tom has some cool business tips at times, Tara Swiger is absolutely wonderful and really understands what it’s like to be a creative entrepreneur. I also enjoy reading your blog. :) I wish I did follow more blogs, especially Spanish language ones. I’m always open to suggestions.

Thank you so much for taking the time for the interview, Melissa, and for your kind words about my blog!

Free Pattern: A Little Bit of Bling Shawl

A Little Bit of Bling Shawl, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Last January, I crocheted some samples for the Kollabora booth at Vogue Knitting Live.

A Little Bit of Bling Shawl, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

One was this shawl. Kollabora was looking for something that really stood out in the booth, and I held two strands of yarn together – a metallic and a mohair yarn. I’m really excited to be able to share the pattern for A Little Bit of Bling Shawl with you today. It’s a great project for the last days of summer – it’s quick and airy, but the long fringes provide good coverage in case it gets chilly.

A Little Bit of Bling Shawl, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

This post contains affiliate links.

This summer, I spent a great afternoon with my friend Carlota Zimmerman from the Creativity Yenta (interviewed here). In addition to being a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post, she’s a great model! After a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we went to Central Park to take some pictures, and Carlota had some great poses wearing this fun and flirty design. (Her tagline isn’t “Just your average sexy force of nature” for nothing!)

A Little Bit of Bling Shawl, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

A Little Bit of Bling Shawl Crochet Pattern

by Underground Crafter

02-easy 50 3-light 50 US terms 50This quick and easy triangular shawl makes a great transitional weather accessory. 

The metallic yarn brightens up any outfit! Adjust the length of the fringe to fit your personal style.

Finished Size: Adjustable. Photographed sample is 50” (127 cm) wingspan length, 13.5” (34 cm) spine length, excluding fringe.

Materials:

  • Galler Yarns Kismet (87% polyester/13% nylon, 8 oz/227 g/1,400 yds/1,280 m) – 1 cone in 901 Silver, or approximately 300 yds (274 m) in any metallic, light weight yarn.
  • Galler Yarns Flore II (75% Kid Mohair/15% Wool/10% Nylon, 1.75 oz/50 g/100 yds/91 m/) – 3 skeins in 1005 Ocean, or approximately 300 yds (274 m) in any light weight mohair blend yarn.
  • L-11/8 mm crochet hook, or any size needed to obtain correct gauge.
  • Yarn needle.

Gauge: 10 fdc = 4” (10 cm) across.  Exact gauge is not critical for this project.

New to crochet? Check out Improve Your Crochet, an online class at Craftsy.

Abbreviations Used in This Pattern:

  • beg fdc – beginning foundation double crochet – Ch 4, turn, sk 3 sts, insert hook in next ch, yo and draw up a loop, yo and pull through 1 loop (counts as ch 1), [yo and draw through 2 loops] twice.
  • ch – chain
  • fdc – foundation double crochet – Yo, insert hook in ch 1 from previous st, yo and draw up a loop, yo and pull through 1 loop (counts as ch 1), [yo and draw through 2 loops] twice.
  • ea – each
  • rep – repeat
  • sc – single crochet
  • sk – skip
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • sp – space
  • st(s) – stitch(es)
  • yo – yarn over
  • * Rep instructions after asterisk as indicated.

A Little Bit of Bling Shawl, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Pattern Notes:

  • Entire shawl is crocheted holding one strand of ea yarn together.
  • Shawl is worked from top (long) edge with steady decreases to point.

Pattern Instructions:

Shawl

  • Holding one strand of ea yarn, beg fdc, 103 fdc. (To adjust size, fdc in multiples of 4 sts until the appropriate length for long edge is reached.)
  • Row 1: Turn, *ch 5, sk 3 sts, sc in next st; rep from * across. (26 ch-5 sp)
  • Row 2: Turn, *ch 5, sc in next ch-5 sp; rep from * across.
  • Row 3: Turn, sl st in ea of first 3 ch in first ch-5 sp, *ch 5, sc in next ch-5 sp; rep from * across to last ch-5 sp, sk last ch-5 sp. (Decreases 2 sets of ch-5 sp)
  • Row 4: Rep Row 2.
  • Rep Rows 3 & 4 until 2 ch-5 sp remain, ending after Row 4.
  • Row 5: Turn, sl st in ea of first 3 ch in first ch-5 sp, ch 5, sc in next ch-5 sp. Fasten off. (1 ch-5 sp)
  • With yarn needle, weave in ends.  Spray block if necessary.

A Little Bit of Bling Shawl, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

 

Make and attach fringe

  • For each fringe, hold one strand of each yarn together and cut strands to 40” (100 cm).
  • To attach fringe using crochet hook, insert hook into st or sp indicated below.  With fringe strands folded in half, insert hook into fold (center) of strands, pull up a loose loop in st or sp. Yo with both halves of the fringe strands and pull through the loop. Tighten loop to hold fringe in place.
  • Starting from top corner, use crochet hook to join fringe to third ch of first ch-5 sp. Working across angled edge, *sk next ch-5 sp, join fringe in next ch-5 sp; rep from * across edge until 2 ch-5 sp before center point.   Attach 2 strands of fringe (2 strands of ea yarn/4 strands of yarn) to center point, sk next ch-5 sp, rep from * along edge. Trim fringe as necessary.

If you like this pattern, share the love on Ravelry!

© 2014 by Marie Segares (Underground Crafter). This pattern is for personal use only. You may use it 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 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/2014/09/01/free-pattern-a-little-bit-of-bling-shawl. Thanks for supporting indie designers!

A Little Bit of Bling Shawl, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

 

Blog and website relaunch!

This post contains affiliate links.

I’m so glad to announce the relaunch of my blog and the Underground Crafter website! As my regular readers know, I’ve been experience technical issues on the blog for the last 18 months due to issues with my former web host. I knew I needed to switch, but it was tough to put aside the amount of time required to ensure a successful relaunch and I was terrified of the switching process.

Thanks to the hard work of dear MC – and many phone calls and chats with the team at InMotion Hosting (special shout out to Mike R, Larry W, Kayla H, Alex K, and Jacob M), I made the transition late last week. I am so impressed with the folks at InMotion and their fabulous customer service that I even became an affiliate! (Cue MC saying, “I told you so.”)

My former web host gave me a hard time about leaving and had set up many things improperly, so I needed to spend several days cleaning up the blog on the back end. I have to thank Carlota Zimmerman, the Creativity Yenta (interviewed here), for her tough love last week when I was very frustrated and even considering web site abandonment! I decided to change my perspective by looking at the downtime as an opportunity to do some much needed website overhaul.

I know I’ve posted a link to this video on the blog before. I guess “Back in the New York Groove” is the song I most associate with triumphant returns ;).

You’ll notice a few new things around here. Thanks so much for your patience and support, and I’m very excited to be back! And, starting tomorrow I’m celebrating my return with a week filled with new free patterns and giveaways, so stop back for your chance to win.


Interview with crochet designer, Julie Yeager

Today, I’m happy to share an interview with crochet designer, Julie Yeager. Though we’ve never met in real life, Julie and I share a love of crocheting squares and blankets, and of participating in crochet related swaps. (And, I learned from the interview that we also both grew up shopping for yarn at Woolworth’s in New York City!)

Julie can be found online on Ravelry (as JulieAnny, on her designer page, in the Julie Yeager Designs group), Facebook, and Etsy. Julie also founded and co-moderates the Vanna’s Choice Fan Club group on Ravelry, where you can exchange squares and share pictures of your Vanna’s Choice creations. All photos are copyright Julie Yeager and are used with permission.

This post contains affiliate links.

Julie Yeager

Julie Yeager.

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

Julie: I’m honored to talk to the readers of Underground Crafter, Marie.  Thanks for having me. (UC comment: Thanks so much, Julie! It’s great to have you stop by.) I’ve been knitting and crocheting since I was about 8; learned from my Irish mom. I would buy sparkly crochet thread at Woolworth’s in the Bronx, NY and crochet clothes for my Barbies. I also made my share of granny square tote bags. I didn’t do much crafting in my 20s, maybe an occasional baby blanket, but then when I became a stay at home mom I got back into knitting and machine knitting for my daughter. When I discovered Ravelry I got into crocheting afghan squares and blankets and I haven’t stopped.

Stained Glass Afghan Square

Stained Glass Afghan Square, available as a 12″ block pattern.

UC: What inspired you to start designing? 

Julie: I’ve always changed patterns to my taste and would put together the yoke from one sweater with the sleeves from another so I guess I’ve been “designing” a little for years.
I joined some afghan square swap groups on Ravelry and perfected my technique using the patterns of many great designers. Interweave Crochet magazine and the Crochet Me website sponsored a contest in which readers could submit afghan square patterns and the winners would become part of a published pattern called the Chain Reaction Afghan Project. I just picked up my hook and started playing around and submitted a few designs. Three of my designs were chosen and appeared in Interweave Crochet in 2010 – 2011. It was very exciting and the start of my designing career. With Ravelry, I had a great tool to share my work.

Hexaghan

The Hexaghan, including 6 different hexagon designs joined together into one 61 hexagon blanket.

UC: You primarily design crocheted squares. What is it about square motifs that you enjoy designing? 

Julie: I love designing 12-inch squares in aran weight yarn and I have an obsession with Vanna’s Choice. I like the modern look of large scale stitching and I feel like a sculptor with my hook in hand. Fitting my idea into a 12-inch square and getting it to square is very satisfying. My squares are small enough to design and crochet quickly, and I enjoy writing a clear pattern that is easy to follow. I also like an unfussy and repetitive design; as a pattern-user I do not like to have to constantly refer to the instructions and I want my customers to enjoy themselves. Also, there are no fitting problems with blankets.

Catalina Afghan Square

Catalina Afghan Square, a free pattern available in both 9″ and 12″ sizes.

UC: Most of your patterns are self-published. What do you see as the advantages and challenges of self-publishing? 

Julie: With Ravelry and Paypal and a head full of ideas, it is easy and stress-free to work this business around my life. I have a full-time job as a Registered Nurse and am raising a 16-year-old, so I can write and publish patterns around my schedule. Although I would love to have my patterns in magazines and books, for now I find this a great outlet for my creativity and am very happy with how it’s going. It is not for everyone; you have to be a jack-of-all-trades and competent with designing, writing, proof-reading, and know your way around the internet. No editors or publicists on my staff, haha.

Tangled Web Afghan Block

Tangled Web Afghan Block, a 12″ square design.

UC: You’ve hosted several Mystery Crochet-a-Longs. What do you enjoy about using this format to release your patterns? Do you have any tips for designers who want to dip their toes into the MCAL waters? 

Julie: Mystery Crochet-a-Longs are a fun way to draw interest to my patterns. I am lucky to have a base of fans who trust me and are willing to blindly follow where I go! I can only do it about once a year because designing, crocheting, and writing and proofreading a pattern for a whole blanket is very time-consuming! I need a compelling idea to keep my interest through the work! My fans seem to enjoy it and it keeps them interested in my new work. It also brings new fans. I’ve kept the Mystery’ghan free for participants and then later I put the pattern up for sale. The finished projects become a marketing tool. I’m always a little nervous hoping that people will like it after they’ve invested their time and money into a “Mystery.” My only advice is that you have your pattern fully tested before you start.

Garden State Afghan

Garden State Afghan, which Julie originally offered in June, 2013 as a MCAL design, includes eight 4″ squares, four 8″ squares, and two 12″ square patterns.

UC: What are your favorite crochet books in your collection?

Julie: When I first started swapping afghan squares, Jan Eaton’s 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans was my favorite. I also worked my way through a few other square reference books, like 101 Crochet Squares by Jean Leinhauser. I love Edie Eckman’s Around the Corner Crochet Borders for finishing after I have a pile of squares to join! I sometimes use The Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden for stitch inspiration. I try to invent my own stitches these days!

Sun Catcher Afghan Square

 

Sun Catcher Afghan Square, a 12″ block.

UC: Are there any crafty websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Julie: I am a Ravelry addict and check in there several times a day. I like to check the Hot Right Now pattern list and I also check in with my group to see if anyone has any questions or if anyone has posted an awesome photo. :)

In Treble Afghan Square

In Treble Afghan Square, a 12″ block.

UC: What projects do you have coming up this year?

Julie: I am currently working on the pattern for my next Mystery-Ghan and hope to have that ready for a June 2014 start. Stay tuned to my Ravelry board for information on that. Clues will be given out over a six-week period and you will have a complete afghan finished!

Thanks again for stopping by, Julie, and I wish you and your fans the best for a fun summer Mystery-Ghan!