Category Archives: New York

Updated: Visitor’s Guide to NYC Yarn Shops

Visitor's Guide to NYC Yarn Shops by Underground CrafterAs part of my NatCroMo celebration, I decided to update one of my favorite blog posts of all time, the Visitor’s Guide to New York City Yarn shops. If you are planning a visit to New York City in the near future, check it out here and let me know what you think!

 

Crochet Groundhog Pattern Roundup

With New York City under a blanket of snow from Winter Storm Juno, I’m trying to remain hopeful about a cloudy Groundhog Day next week. Crocheting a groundhog seems like the best way to woo spring, so today I’m sharing a roundup of my favorite groundhog patterns.

Crochet Groundhog Free Pattern Roundup by Underground CrafterThis post contains affiliate links.

1) A little groundhog amigurumi by Tea, Love, Crochet. This little critter is made with Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice yarn. I love the teeth and the expression!

2) Groundhog on Yarnspirations. This groundhog is crocheted with Lily Sugar ‘n Cream. I love the little legs.
3) If you’d like a bit more support, try out the Happy Groundhog Day pattern with photo tutorial on Genuine Mudpie. I love how this dude seems to be dancing.

4) (Not pictured) And, although it isn’t free, I think Stacey Trock‘s Amigurumi Phil the Groundhog is just adorable!

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If you like this roundup, you may enjoy my Amigurumi – Crochet board on Pinterest!

Unexpected treat

I traveled up to Saratoga Springs for a few days for a work-related project. I knew I’d have plenty of down time, so I packed enough yarn for 3 projects. Except, I packed the yarn before leaving in the morning. Early in the morning.

When I opened my suitcase in Saratoga, it turned out that one of the yarns I brought with me was already assigned to another project. In the dark, it looked just like this yarn (even though in the light of day, there is no resemblance between the two).

Luckily, there happened to be a local yarn shop literally around the corner from the hotel. My colleague agreed to make a stop over there before we set up to for the day.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

 

 

Common Thread turned out to be a delightful local yarn shop.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

In addition to the welcoming staff, they have a great yarn selection.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

The shop organizes the yarn by weight, so medium and bulky was in the second room and the lighter weight yarns are closer to the front door.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

They had a great selection of madelinetosh (one of my favorites) and some fun looking kits.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

They even convinced my colleague, who hasn’t knit since she was in college in the 1970s, to buy some yarn and needles for a one-skein cowl (the Quick Slip Cowl by Andra Asars) for her daughter.

The highlight for me, though, was the wall of local yarns.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

There’s something really special about visiting a yarn shop and finding some yarns that you can’t pick up at home. There was a great selection of undyed wool and alpaca from regional farms, as well as some great hand dyed yarn.

I ended up picking up a skein of Stillwater Island Alpacas called Melanie and a skein of FlockSock from Holiday Yarns by Jennifer Vancalcar in Wolverine.

Visit to Common Thread, yarn shop in Saratoga, NY on Underground Crafter

And, a few notions, too. I had been looking at the Knitter’s Pride Symfonie Dreamz cable needles for a while, and I couldn’t just let my colleague knit in the round for the first time in 30+ years without a stitch marker.

This turned out to be a fun diversion. If you’re ever in Saratoga, I suggest you check out Common Thread!

NaBloPoMo

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

New crochet patterns in Dream in Color yarns!

I love Dream in Color! Ok, now that I’ve gotten that statement out of the way, let me tell you about two crochet patterns I’ve just released featuring two different Dream in Color yarns.

Both patterns continue the series of designs I’ve been working on that are influenced by the pioneering women of flight. The first one is the Ruth Cloche in Dream in Color Classy.

Ruth Cloche, crochet pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter.

Classy is one of my favorite yarns (and has been since 2011, according to this blog post). It’s a soft superwash Merino wool yarn and it’s what I consider a true worsted (medium weight) yarn in that it isn’t too thin or too bulky. And, like all the yarns from Dream in Color, it’s beautifully hand dyed and washes well.

This design was influenced by Ruth Elder, who was both an aviatrix and a film actress. She had a great sense of style and I was completely draw to this series of photographs of her from 1928, including the one below where she’s sporting a cloche. (You can find more great pictures of her on my Ruth Elder Pinterest board.)

Ruth Elder, pioneering aviatrix and film actress, on Underground Crafter blog

Ruth Elder at the State House, Boston. Image via Boston Public Library’s Flickr stream. Photographer: Leslie Jones.

My friend, Carlota Zimmerman from the Creativity Yenta, seemed to channel her inner Flapper in these pictures.

Ruth Cloche, crochet pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter.

And the great sign at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodome really draws out the colorway (Visual Purple) of the yarn.

The Ruth Cloche has a subtle stitch pattern which adds some textural interest while letting the stunning hand dyed Dream in Color Classy shine! It’s now available for sale on Ravelry here. Dream in Color shared it on their Facebook page here.

The next pattern is inspired by Louise Thaden, who I talk more about in this post.

Thaden's Asymmetrical Shawl, crochet pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

The Thaden’s Asymmetrical Shawl is crocheted with one skein of Jilly Lace in Wineberry. When I first contacted Dream in Color about the design, they recommended that I use Jilly Lace, which was new on the market at the time so I had never tried it before.

Thaden's Asymmentrical Shawl crochet pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

I’m so glad they suggested this yarn! Jilly Lace is a beautiful, superwash Merino wool lace weight yarn. Unlike some lace weight yarns I’ve worked with, it winds into a cake really easily from the hank. It’s got a great drape and, of course, like all Dream in Color yarns, the dyeing is just stunning.

Thaden's Asymmetrical Shawl crochet pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

This shawl has a scalene triangle shape and an asymmetrical border. I featured a simple stitch pattern that includes eyelets and crossed stitches for an interesting texture that doesn’t distract from the colorway. You can buy Thaden’s Asymmetrical Shawl on Ravelry here. Dream in Color featured it on their Facebook page here.

Both patterns are one-skein projects, so if you’ve been considering trying out Dream in Color Classy or Jilly Lace, these are great projects to test out the yarn with! Enjoy.

 

NaBloPoMo

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

Strings attached

Earlier this year, my mother had a business opportunity to travel to New Zealand. My sister had just recently finished law school and was able to go with her. They asked what I would like them to bring me back, and naturally, I said yarn.

Side note: You know you’re a yarn addict when every country is reduced in your mind to its capabilities as a fiber producer. (On a more serious note, apparently declines in wool demand are causing problems for New Zealand’s sheep farmers, according to this recent New York Times article.)

When they returned from the trip, I was presented with exciting yarns in brands I had never heard of before.

Countrywide Opals yarn on Underground Crafter blog.

They brought me 8 skeins (4 in each color) in Countrywide Opals, a DK acrylic yarn.

Naturally Loyal yarn on Underground Crafter blog.

And, they brought me 3 skeins of Naturally Loyal, a machine washable DK wool yarn.

But, here’s where things get tricky. As soon as I opened up the Loyal, my sister said it was intended was for a scarf. For her.

Somehow, my request for an extra special gift – a unique/inaccessible (to the American market) yarn from the world’s third largest wool-producing country – turned into a job.

If you’ve ever made crocheted gifts, you know what I’m talking about here. Because you love to crochet, anyone and everyone feels entitled to ask for (or, rather, demand) handmade gifts from you. As if that weren’t enough, the gifts have to be customized to their needs.

I’ve made many crocheted gifts for my younger sister before. You may remember this double bed sized granny square blanket, in the colors of the New Orleans Saints, which she asked for as a housewarming gift when she went off to law school.

Double Irish chain granny square blanket on Underground Crafter blog

It’s the Geaux Saints blanket!

It took five months to finish. I’m assuming its still in use, since I recently got a text message asking about washing instructions.

And, speaking of text messages, I started receiving them sporadically after I was gifted the yarn. Most messages would start with “I’m sure you haven’t started the scarf yet but…” and end with a picture of something she did or didn’t want included in this famous scarf I would be making for her from my “gift.”

Although this could have turned into an opportunity to talk to my sister about entitlement, assumptions, and gracious gift giving, it didn’t. I decided to actually take this beautiful yarn from a land I’m unlikely to ever visit and convert it into a scarf for her.

However, none of her pictures were suitable. You see, as a non-crocheter/knitter, my sister has really no idea what can be made from 3 skeins of yarn totaling less than 350 yards, especially when she wanted me to hold two strands together for a tweedy look.

And, since she’s now living in Houston, I had a hard time understanding why she might need a double stranded scarf. (Apparently, years of living in the harsh climes of New York City has made me a bit biased about what constitutes “winter.”)

So, I decided to create something different. I’m calling it Tweedy Pineapples for now.

Tweedy Pineapples scarf project on Underground Crafter.

It measures about 5″ x 40″ long off the hooks, but I’m sure things may change once I add the border and block it.

Tweedy Pineapples scarf project on Underground Crafter.

Even before blocking, you can see the little pineapples doing their thing.

By the way, I really liked the yarn. Too bad there’s barely enough left to make anything for myself. On the plus side, this makes the second Christmas gift I’ve finished so far. And I still have the Opals to try out.

NaBloPoMo

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