Tag Archives: holiday crafting

Indie Design Gift-a-Long 2014: Last Minute Gifts

I’m finishing my series of roundups featuring designs from the Indie Design Gift-a-Long, an awesome virtual event on Ravelry happening through December 31, 2014. All of these patterns are 25% off through 11:59 p.m. Eastern tonight with coupon code giftalong2014! In addition to this sale, the Indie Design Gift-a-Long includes a massive knit-and crochet-a-long, and phenomenal prizes.

Earlier this week, I shared roundups of some of my favorite crochet designs in the Gift-a-Long sale bundles: 9 patterns for men12 crochet lace patterns9 neckwarmers, and 12 crochet hats. (You can find even more great patterns on the Pinterest board I set up of all the crochet patterns on sale.) Today, I’m sharing 16 great last minute gifts. Each of these projects is relatively small and/or holiday related, so these would make great last minute holiday gifts.

Links to the patterns and designers are below the gallery. All images are copyright the designer unless otherwise noted.

Top row: La Villa Lace Fingerless Gloves by Betty Fay Wallace, Sweet Shells Purse by Melinda Miller, Snegurochka Mitts by Yuliya Tkacheva, Swift Kick Boot Cuffs by Janet Brani.

Second row: Crochet Splat Cat Coaster by cheezombieHardware Heaven – Boot Spats & Wrist Warmers by Sarah Jane, Cat Santa Hat by Akua Lezli Hope, Crocheted Vintage Rose Bracelet by Maya Kuzman.

Third row: Stash Pillow by Beth Graham, Dreidel Bowl by Lindsey Stephens, Mill Run Mitts by Amy Maceyko, Reindeer Baby Hat by Denise Balvanz.

Bottom row: Summer Girl Crocheted Headband by Monika Sirna, Mendeleev Vest by Debbie Sullivan, Tunisian Cat by Jennifer Raymond, Unraveled Sheep Bookmark by Justyna Kacprzak.

I hope you enjoyed this series, and I look forward to seeing you in the Indie Design Gift-a-Long group on Ravelry!

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

Free pattern: A Lil’ Something Sparkly Cowl

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!).

A Lil Something Sparkly Cowl, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

This post contains affiliate links.

Today’s free pattern is A Lil’ Something Sparkly Cowl. This infinity cowl/circle scarf makes a statement by combining Cascade Yarns Cherub Aran Sparkle (a yarn with just the right amount of metallic thread) and a crossed puff stitch to create just the right amount of texture.

A Lil Something Sparkly Cowl, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Don’t forget to add A Lil’ Something Sparkly Cowl pattern to your queue or favorites on Ravelry here!

A Lil’ Something Sparkly Cowl

Crochet Pattern by Underground Crafter

03-intermediate

US terms 50

4-medium 50

This infinity cowl is perfect for adding a little sparkle and just the right textural accent to highlight your style.

A Lil Something Sparkly Cowl, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Finished Size

50” (127 cm) circumference x 4.5” (11.5 cm) height.

Materials                                                                                                                             

  • Cascade Yarns Cherub Aran Sparkle (54% nylon/42% acrylic/4% metallic, 3.5 oz/100 g, 240 yd/219.5 m) – 1 skein each in 205 Coral (CA) and 201 White (CB), or approximately 240 yd (219.5 m) in CA and 100 yd (91.5 m) in CB in any light medium weight metallic yarn.
  • US G-6/4 mm crochet hook, or any size needed to obtain gauge.
  • Yarn needle.

Gauge

  • 16 sts x 13.5 rows in pattern = 4” (10 cm). Exact gauge is not critical for this project.

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

  • CA – Color A
  • CB – Color B
  • ch – chain
  • cpf – crossed puff st✪
  • dc – double crochet
  • ea – each
  • rep – repeat
  • Rnd(s) – Round(s)
  • sc – single crochet
  • sk – skip
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • st(s) – stitch(es)
  • yo – yarn over
  • * Rep instructions after asterisk as indicated.

A Lil Something Sparkly Cowl, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Special Stitch Pattern

  • cpf = crossed puff st (worked over 2 sts) = Sk 1 st, *yo, insert hook in next st, yo and draw up a loop, (yo, insert hook in same st, yo and draw up a loop) twice, yo and draw through all 7 loops on hook, rep from * in skipped st.

Pattern Notes

Cowl is crocheted in the round and is reversible.

Pattern Instructions

Cowl

  • With CA, ch 203.
  • Set Up Row: Turn, sk first ch, sc in next st and in ea st across. Being careful not to twist, join with sl st to top of first sc and begin working in rounds. (202 sts)
  • Rnd 1: Ch 3 (counts as dc, here and throughout), dc in next st, *cpf over next 2 sts, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * around, join with sl st to top of first ch 3.
  • Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same st and in ea st around, join with sl st to top of first sc.
  • Rnd 3: Ch 2, *cpf over next 2 sts, dc in ea of next 2 sts; rep from * around to last 2 sts, cpf over next 2 sts, join with sl st to top of first cpf.
  • Rnd 4: Rep Rnd 2.
  • Rnds 5 – 7: Rep Rnds 1-3, changing to CB with sl st at end of Rnd 3. Fasten off CA.
  • Rnd 8: Rep Rnd 2.
  • Rnd 9: Ch 3, dc in next st, *cpf over next 2 sts, dc in next 6 sts; rep from * around, join with sl st to top of first ch 3.
  • Rnd 10: Rep Rnd 2.
  • Rnd 11: Ch 2, *cpf over next 2 sts, dc in next 6 sts; rep from * around to last 2 sts, dc in next 2 sts, join with sl st to top of first cpf.
  • Rnd 12: Rep Rnd 2, changing to CA with sl st at end of Rnd. Fasten off CB.
  • Rnd 13: Ch 3, dc in next 5 sts, *cpf over next 2 sts, dc in next 6 sts; rep from * around to last 6 sts, cpf over next 2 sts, dc in next 4 sts, join with sl st to top of first ch 3.
  • Rnd 14: Rep Rnd 2. Fasten off CA.

A Lil Something Sparkly Cowl, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Finishing

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

Don’t forget to add A Lil’ Something Sparkly Cowl pattern to your queue or favorites on Ravelry 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/2014/11/21/free-pattern-a-lil-something-sparkly-cowl. Thanks for supporting indie designers!

NaBloPoMo

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

5 Tips for Holiday Crafting Success

Right now, many crocheters and knitters are revving up for the holiday crafting season. Unfortunately, this time of year can be filled with late nights, repetitive stress injuries, and disappointment. In the hopes of sparing you these dramas, I’m sharing my 5 tips for holiday crafting success.

5 Tips for Holiday Crafting Success by Underground Crafter

1) Create gifts only for those who are “worthy”

It can be tempting to make handmade gifts for everyone on your holiday gift list. If you love your craft and are skilled, often the fruits of your labor are more valuable than any gift you can afford to buy. But there are two realities you should consider before trying to crochet or knit gifts for everyone on your life.

  1. You are only one person with a finite amount of time.
  2. Not everyone is truly crochet- or knit-worthy.

By knocking the non-worthy off your list, you can manage your holiday crafting time more realistically, and increase the odds that the gift will actually be appreciated. When your gifts are appreciated, neither you nor the recipient is disappointed, so everyone wins!

What are some signs of a knit- or crochet-worthy recipient?

  • S/he has enjoyed and used previous handmade items you’ve gifted, or
  • S/he is also a crafter, and appreciates the skill and labor that goes into a handmade gift, or
  • S/he has complemented your work and seems to grasp that handmade gifts are difficult to produce!

2) Make a list – and check it (at least) twice

I usually start with 3 lists for holiday crafting: the must-makes, the maybe-makes, and the if-I-have-extra-timers.

The must-makes are the gifts at the top of my production schedule. The recipients are the most “worthy,” I have a clear idea of the project I plan to make, and the yarn is already in my stash or readily available. These are the projects I start right away.

The maybe-makes are the next tier of gifts. Perhaps the recipient is not as “worthy,” or I’m not quite sure what to crochet or knit, or I don’t have a suitable yarn, or, the recipient is really looking forward to another (non-handcrafted) gift. These are the projects I may (or may not) start once the must-makes are finished.

The if-I-have-extra-timers are the last tier of gifts. These include projects for people I don’t always exchange gifts with and quick and easy projects that can be used as gift wrap or embellishment. For instance, if I have the time, I may crochet a set of washcloths to go with a luxury bath kit, or coasters to go with a set of gourmet jams.

The lists keep me on track throughout the holiday crafting season, and I frequently make adjustments. I may find a perfect gift for someone while shopping, and decide to take them off the must-makes list, for example. Then, I may move up a project from the maybe-makes list.

And, of course, it helps to be realistic about your lists. Think about how much time is left before the holidays and what else is going on in your life during this time of year before even adding projects or recipients to the lists.

3) Remember the recipient

This tip may seem simple but it can be a difficult one to keep at the forefront of your mind, particularly if you spot a project that you’d love to create. The best handmade gifts are the ones that are enjoyed by the recipients, so taking some time to consider his/her needs, interests, and preferences before picking up the hook or needles can really make the holiday crafting season go much smoother and spare you (and the recipient) some hurt feelings down the line.

The key things to consider are project type, color, fiber, and care instructions. Your cousin who doesn’t wear jewelry will probably not love those crocheted earrings, even if they are lovely. Your friend with a very specific color scheme in her apartment will probably never display that stunning blanket (in a clashing color) that you labored over for weeks. Your uncle that is allergic to wool (or *thinks* he’s allergic to wool) will tuck that wool scarf in the back of the closet (even if it’s Merino!). And, your son who can barely do his own laundry will not be hand washing anything in the near future, so please use machine washable yarns.

4) Take breaks

Especially if your lists are long, it can be tempting to crochet or knit during every spare hour of every day through the holidays. But remember to be kind to your body. Repetitive stress injuries can make it impossible for you to enjoy your favorite craft again, so to avoid them be sure to take frequent breaks from your crafting (at least every half hour). Stretching, especially your neck and hands, can also keep you flexible and comfortable.

5) Add in something fun!

I frequently hear from crafters who dread this time of year. Gift making becomes an albatross around the neck, or a hated obligation. If you feel this way, drop as many projects from your lists as you need to and remember, you don’t owe anyone a handmade gift. Make some fun projects – for yourself, for gifts, or for charity – so you can remember why you love to crochet or knit in the first place.

NaBloPoMo

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

Free pattern: Tweedy Pineapples Scarf

If you’re like me, fall is a time of feverish production as you crochet (or knit) your way through many holiday projects. I’ll be 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!).

Tweedy Pineapples Scarf, free crochet pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

This post contains affiliate links.

Today’s free pattern is the Tweedy Pineapples Scarf. This short lace scarf is a perfect gift for someone in a warmer climate – like my sister, who lives in Houston.

Tweedy Pineapples Scarf, free crochet pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

Holding two strands of yarn together creates a tweedy appearance, and it also allows the pattern to crochet up more quickly, so it’s a great last minute project.

Don’t forget to add the Tweedy Pineapples Scarf pattern to your queue or favorites on Ravelry here!

Tweedy Pineapples Scarf

Crochet Pattern by Underground Crafter

03-intermediate US terms 503-light 50This lacy scarf works up quickly with two strands of yarn held together, which also creates a tweedy look.

Finished Size

  • 5” (13 cm) wide x 42” (107 cm) before blocking; 5” (13 cm) wide x 46” (117 cm) long after blocking

Materials

  • Naturally Loyal 8 ply/DK (100% washable wool, 1.75 oz/50 g, 115 yd/105 m) – 2 skeins 933 (CA) and 1 skein 935 (CB), or approximately 220 yd (201 m) in CA and 115 yd (105 m) in CB in any light weight yarn.
  • US K-10.5/6.5 mm crochet hook, or any size needed to obtain gauge.
  • Yarn needle.

Tweedy Pineapples Scarf, free crochet pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

Gauge

  • Width of unblock scarf (before edging) in pattern = 5” (13 cm). Exact gauge is not critical for this project.

Love crocheting lace? Check out Beyond Basic Broomstick Lace, an online class on Craftsy!

Abbreviations Used in This Pattern

  • CA – Color A
  • CB – Color B
  • ch – chain
  • dc – double crochet
  • ea – each
  • hdc – half double crochet
  • rep – repeat
  • RS – right (front) side
  • sc – single crochet
  • sk – skip
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • sp – space
  • st(s) – stitch(es)
  • * Rep instructions after asterisk as indicated.

Pattern Instructions

Scarf

Tweedy Pineapples Scarf, free crochet pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

  • Holding 1 strand ea of CA and CB together, ch 16.
  • Row 1: Turn, sk 3 sts (counts as dc, here and throughout), (dc in next st, ch 1, sk 1 ch) twice, dc in next st, ch 3, sk 2 ch, (dc in next st, ch 1, sk 1 ch) twice, dc in ea of next 2 sts. (15 sts)
  • Row 2: Turn, ch 3, dc in next st, ch 1, [(dc, ch 1) 5 times, dc] in ch-3 sp, ch 1, dc in last 2 sts.
  • Row 3: Turn, ch 3, dc in next st, ch 2, sk ch-1 sp and next dc, (sc in next ch-1 sp, ch 4) 4 times, sc in next ch-1 sp, ch 2, sk next dc and ch-1 sp, dc in last 2 sts.
  • Row 4: Turn, ch 3, dc in next st, ch 3, (sc in ch-4 sp, ch 4) 3 times, sc in next ch-4 sp, ch 3, dc in last 2 sts.
  • Row 5: Turn, ch 3, dc in next st, ch 3, (sc in ch-4 sp, ch 4) twice, sc in next ch-4 sp, ch 3, dc in last 2 sts.
  • Row 6: Turn, ch 3, dc in next st, ch 5, sc in ch-4 sp, ch 4, sc in next ch-4 sp, ch 5, dc in last 2 sts.
  • Row 7: Turn, ch 3, dc in next st, ch 1, [(dc, ch 1) 5 times] in ch-4 sp, dc in ch-4 sp, ch 1, dc in last 2 sts.
  • Rep Row 3-7 11 more times, or until scarf measures approximately 40” (102 cm) long.
  • Final Row: (RS) Turn, ch 3, dc in next st, ch 2, sk first ch-1 sp and next dc, hdc in next ch-1 sp, (sc in next dc, sc in next ch-1 sp) 3 times, sc in next dc, hdc in next ch-1 sp, ch 2, sk next dc and next ch-1 sp, dc in last 2 sts, changing to 2 strands of CA in last yo of final dc. Fasten off CB.

Circular Ponchos

Edging

  • Round 1: *Turn to work along long edge, 3 sc in side of next row, 2 sc in side of ea row across to last row, 3 sc in side of last row,** turn to work across foundation ch, 2 sc in first st, sc in ea st across row to last st, 2 sc in last st; rep from * to **, turn to work across Final Row, 2 sc in first st, sc in ea st across row to last st, 2 sc in last st, join with sl st to top of first sc. Fasten off.

Finishing

  • With yarn needle, weave in ends. Spray or wet block to open up pineapples.

Don’t forget to add the Tweedy Pineapples Scarf pattern to your queue or favorites on Ravelry 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/2014/11/14/free-pattern-tweedy-pineapples-scarf. Thanks for supporting indie designers!

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.