Tag Archives: knitting

New knitting patterns!

I’m really excited to share two new knitting patterns today. Both patterns are 50% off through Tuesday, November 4, 2014 with coupon code pioneers!

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Both are inspired by pioneer women of aviation, and I had a great time taking pictures up at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodome.

Old Rhinebeck Aerodome on Underground Crafter blog

It’s a great aviation museum just about 90 minutes outside of New York City.

Old Rhinebeck Aerodome on Underground Crafter blogAlthough it rained most of the day and we didn’t get to see the famous air show, I’m still glad we visited. My friend, JS, modeled for both of these patterns.

The first pattern is the Alaskan Moonrise Scarf.

Alaskan Moonrise Scarf, knitting pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

The inspiration behind this pattern was pioneering aviatrix, Marvel Crosson, who had a wonderful, flirty sense of style.

Marvel Crosson. Image via San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive on Flickr.

Marvel Crosson. Image via San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive on Flickr.

(You can see more pictures of Marvel here on my Marvel Crosson Pinterest board.) Marvel was the first woman to earn a pilot’s license in Alaska and was posthumously inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

Alaskan Moonrise Scarf, knitting pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

I love this leather jacket, which was loaned to us for the day by a phenomenal local artisan, Carla Dawn Behrle. Carla makes stunning custom-made leather clothing from her studio in New York City, but you can shop in her virtual store from anywhere!

Like many early aviation pioneers, Marvel’s life was cut tragically short. She died in a mysterious crash in Arizona during the first Women’s Air Derby in 1929 when she was 25.

The combination of the semi-circle formed by the stitch pattern and the stunning and icy blue of the Miss Babs hand-dyed yarn (in the Faded colorway) remind me of an Alaskan moonrise, something Marvel might have seen up close during one of her afternoon flights.

Alaskan Moonrise Scarf, knitting pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

By the way, with the jumbo Miss Babs Yowza! Whatta Skein!, this is a one-skein project, even though it measures 69” (175 cm) x 6.5” (17 cm) after blocking. (There’s even enough yarn left to make something small, like a pair of fingerless mitts.)

I used two different shawl pins from Michelle’s Assortment in the photos. I love her wire work. You may remember that I had the chance to meet her at Vogue Knitting Live in New York earlier this year.

If you like the pattern, please show the Alaskan Moonrise Scarf some love on Ravelry here!

The next pattern is Thaden’s Ridged Shawlette.

Thaden's Ridged Shawlette, knitting pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

This asymmetrical shawlette is inspired by a different pioneering aviatrix, Louise Thaden.

Louise Thaden. Image from the San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive Flickr stream.

Louise Thaden. Image from the San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive Flickr stream.

Thaden also had a wonderful sense of style and frequently wore neckwear. (You can see some great pictures of her on my Louise Thaden Pinterest board here.)

Thaden's Ridged Shawlette, knitting pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

This picture includes another shawl pin from Michelle’s Assortment.

Thaden won the first Women’s Air Derby in 1929, and was the first woman to win the Bendix Trophy (in 1936, the first year women could compete against men).

She wrote an amazing biography, High, Wide, and FrightenedI had the opportunity to skim through a first edition copy (held together by lace!) via interlibrary loan.

Thaden book

Thaden’s story is fascinating. Essentially, she was playing hooky from work by hanging around air fields, dreaming of learning to fly. Eventually, Walter Beech noticed her and worked out a sort of trade with her boss. Beech negotiated an entry level job for Thaden – at reduced pay – which included flight lessons. She was also able to use Beech Aircraft Company planes for many of her flights, which helped her defray the costs that became so challenging to other early pilots.

Thaden's Ridged Shawlette, knitting pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

This mostly stockinette shawlette features asymmetry in the garter ridged “stripes” and in the asymmetrical picot bind off.

Thaden's Ridged Shawlette, knitting pattern by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter

The design is perfect for the hand dyed yarn I used, Mountain Colors Twizzle, because the stitch pattern is subtle enough to let the yarn shine. This is also a one-skein project.

If you like the pattern, please show the Thaden’s Ridged Shawlette some love on Ravelry here! And, don’t forget: both patterns are 50% off through Tuesday, November 4, 2014 with coupon code pioneers!

Temperature Cowl for Mom

In 2013, I had a great time crocheting my temperature scarf, and having a 365 row scarf certainly came in handy during the brutal cold of January and February.

blog Temperature scarf folded flatIf you’re new to the temperature scarf phenomenon, it’s a conceptual project where you link a particular colorway to a set of temperatures, and then allow the weather to dictate your striping pattern. (You can find my free temperature scarf crochet pattern here.)

I promised my mom that I’d make her a temperature scarf before this winter. The catch was she only wanted to include the dates between my sister’s birthday and her birthday. (My birthday happens to be in the middle of theirs.) So, instead I decided to make a cowl.

Last weekend, I picked up some cozy and monochrome yarns from Frog Tree Alpaca that I thought would be perfect at Knitty City during the New York City Yarn Crawl.

FrogTreeAlpaca

Earlier this week, I looked through the weather from December 20, 2013 through February 23, 2014.

TempScarftracking I assigned the colors and charted out the striping pattern.

TempScarfdetailsNow, I just need to pick out a stitch pattern. I’m thinking this may be a knit version, with cables. I know my mom likes cables, but I’m not sure which stitch pattern might look best with frequent color changes. I guess I’ll get swatching!

Interview with Pam Hoffman from Indian Lake Artisans

I’m really excited to share an interview today with Pam Hoffman from Indian Lake Artisans. I had the pleasure of meeting Pam at Vogue Knitting Live in 2013, and then again in 2014. Pam and her husband, Mark, make these amazing hexagonal knitting needles (and other knitting and crochet accessories) using locally sourced materials. If you are at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend (also known as “Rhinebeck”), please check out their booth!

Pam and Mark also generously sponsored my 2014 Sampler Mystery Knit-a-Long by providing a set of hexagonal knitting needles to the winner of our August giveaway. (If you want to join in on the MKAL, you can buy the pattern here on Ravelry and chat in the Underground Crafter group here. There are more fun prizes to come in October, November, and December!)

You can find Indian Lake Artisans online on their website, Facebook page, and Twitter. Product photos are copyright Indian Lake Artisans and used with permission.

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Interview with Pam from Indian Lake Artisans on Underground Crafter blog

Pam at Vogue Knitting Live in 2013. I loved the booth as soon as I saw it!

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you start Indian Lake Artisans?

Pam: We live in a little log cabin, on a little island, on a little lake, in southeastern Michigan, north of Detroit named Indian Lake. Mark and I have always loved the outdoors and find much inspiration in our life from nature. We love arts and crafts so when we began making knitting needles we wanted a name that would grow with the company and encompass multiple art forms and artisans, thus Indian Lake Artisans was born. We launched the company in May 2010 with 9 products and we now make over 200 items. We make single point, double point and circular knitting needles. We have shawl pins, cable needles, stitch markers and our very own unique hexagonal wooden yarn bowls.

Interview with Pam from Indian Lake Artisans on Underground Crafter blog

Straight hexagonal knitting needles by Indian Lake Artisans.

UC: What inspired you to create your signature line of hexagonal knitting needles?

Pam: I was shopping for a Christmas present at my local yarn shop and I wanted to buy some knitting needles, yarn and a book for my daughter who was in her mid twenties and a beginning knitter.

The expert knitter at the shop thought square needles would be a good idea for her. She took a set down and began casting on to show me how easy it is to knit with the square needles. She was all thumbs and really struggling, and she was the expert. It sure didn’t look easy to me!

I declined on the square needles and bought a traditional pair instead but I couldn’t stop thinking about different shapes that might be beneficial for knitters. Back in my Jeep and driving to pick up my son, I came to a stop sign. Octagonal? No, too many flat sides. I had a Dixon Ticonderoga pencil on my dash board and that triggered my brain. Hexagonal! Easy to hold, round in nature. Returned home, grabbed my pencils and yarn, and began knitting. This felt really great.

The hexagonal shape is easy to hold. You do not have to grip the needles tightly to control them. The hexagonal shape is round in nature and creates beautiful stitches with uniform tension, and your stitch gauge stays true to size. If you think about the hexagonal shape, the yarn stretches from point to point around the hexagon. The flat side is slightly under the yarn and this creates a tiny gap or ease in the yarn. This makes it very easy for you to slide your knitting needle under your stitch, making it very easy to knit and purl. You never have to force anything.

The minute you have to force your knitting needles, you need to grip them tighter and that action tenses everything…hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, back and brain. When you are holding our needles in one hand, they rest comfortably flat side to flat side. You don’t have to try to control two round objects that want to spin against each other. The hexagonal shape makes knitting multiple stitches together, or knitting into the front and back of a stitch, so much easier because you have just a little extra wiggle room to work your stitches. The needles are recyclable and non toxic. Allergy sufferers really love our needles as they are nickel free. We hear from our customers all of the time how our needles have changed their lives. They are able to knit again and their hands no longer ache. Our needles are very ergonomic.

Indian Lake Artisans single point knitting needles are available in US size 6 through size 15. Each single point size has a decorative copper topper unique to that particular size. I designed all of the tops and they are made with a very lightweight and recyclable plastic that is copper plated. The toppers from small to large are as follows; feather, owl, fish, rowboat, arrowhead, lantern, acorn, turtle, and cabin.

The double points are available in size 2 through size 15. The DPN’s are wonderful as they provide control for your hands and your stitches. No need to worry about your stitches dancing off the needles while resting on the table.

The circular needles are available in size 3 through 15. We make standard lengths 16″, 24″, 32″ and 40″. We are also able to make custom lengths. We have made 12″ and 60″ length circulars for customers and everything in between. We love customizing needles for a particular project need. The circular needles swivel on the connector and this relieves twisting of the cord as the needles move with you.

Hexagonal knitting needles make happy knitting!

Interview with Pam from Indian Lake Artisans on Underground Crafter blog

Hexagonal circular knitting needles by Indian Lake Artisans.

UC: Tell us more about your commitment to using locally sourced materials.

Pam: On receiving the first patent, we had to figure out how to make the needles. What an adventure it has been! Michigan had not rebounded from the recession of the early 2000s and was devastated by the financial crash of 2008. I wanted to utilize every Michigan company I could to produce the needles. If we couldn’t find a Michigan source, it would have to be a USA company. I was determined to avoid overseas, outsourced, cheap labor and components.

We are extremely proud to say that we have succeeded in our “Michigan made” mission. We use more than ten Michigan companies that help employ roughly 500 people to produce our needles. The individual decorative tops for the single points are made in Grandville, MI along with the tooling for these tops. They are copper plated in Warren, MI. The wood we use is from sustainable forests in the Great Lakes and a mill in Highland prepares the native wood, walnut, cherry, and maple, for Mark. The two custom made machines Mark uses to cut the needles were made in Ann Arbor and Lapeer. The cutting blades for the machines are made in Flint. The US stainless steel connector parts for the circular needles are made in Saint Clair. The packaging is made in Rochester and is die cut in Dexter. The brands to mark the needle sizes and our logo for the beautiful yarn bowls were made in Madison Heights. The 100% natural beeswax we use to finish the needles comes from Benzonia. We use local patent attorneys, lawyers and accountants.

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And there is us, me and Mark, our labor force of two. Yes, indeed, the needles are handcrafted by us, every single one, hand cut, hand sanded, and hand polished. The needles are beautiful! We both try very, very hard to make the best quality knitting needle available in the marketplace today and we think we have succeeded in this mission. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you are knitting with a locally sourced, locally handcrafted product, helping to provide economic support to your local community.

Interview with Pam from Indian Lake Artisans on Underground Crafter blog

Shawl pins by Indian Lake Artisans.

UC: You travel to a lot of fiber festivals to showcase the Indian Lake Artisans products. (In fact, I met you at Vogue Knitting Live in 2013.) What are some of your favorite memories from the fiber festivals you’ve visited?

Pam: We have been participating at fiber festivals for roughly two years and we absolutely love it. Mark and I love adventure and travel and we enjoy meeting people everywhere we go. Having a booth at a fiber show allows us to meet our fellow fiber enthusiasts and tell them all about our wonderful knitting needles. We always have a few different sets with some yarn for knitters to test drive the knitting needles and experience the hexagonal shape. We just have the best time and it is always fun to see a beautifully finished project the following year from a satisfied customer.

We have exhibited at  the Vogue Knitting LIVE events, STITCHES, and many local fiber festivals. We have a lot of fun at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY and will be there again this October. We are busy right now preparing for the Michigan Fiber Festival held in Allegan, MI (UC comment: This event was held on August 15 – 17, 2014). We hope to exhibit at more festivals in the future and see more of our great country. We really like driving to our shows to help keep the travel costs down. Plus driving allows us to take more products along too. We met Marie at VKLive in New York last year.

Interview with Pam from Indian Lake Artisans on Underground Crafter blog

Hexagonal yarn bowls by Indian Lake Artisans.

UC: If people aren’t able to meet you at a local fiber festival, where else can they buy your needles?

Pam: We of course sell the needles and accessories at the fiber festivals we attend. Our complete product line is available on our Indian Lake Artisans website marketplace. We are lucky to have about 75 retailers across the country that carry our needles and that list of retailers is on our website. We are constantly surprised by the number of people who have never heard about our fantastic knitting needles and we are always looking for opportunities to reach more people. So please spread the word to your favorite local shop owners and friends.

Interview with Pam from Indian Lake Artisans on Underground Crafter blog

Stitch markers by Indian Lake Artisans.

UC: Do you and Mark knit?

Pam: I learned to knit as a teenager and  almost finished a sweater but really took up knitting with interest in 2003. Mark just learned to knit last year and was only using size 10 needles to make his first scarves and hats that sent him on his knitting adventure. He challenged himself recently though, and picked up some size 6 double points to knit a pair of fingerless gloves with flaps. The fingerless gloves are a very complicated pattern for a new knitter and pose additional challenges with a first attempt using double points. You can see photos of Mark’s gloves in progress on the Indian Lake Artisans Facebook page. I think you will agree that Mark is doing a great job!! I firmly believe the hexagonal shape facilitates learning to knit and purl, and control of the knitting needles. Mark’s very first scarf was even and straight. For a first project I attribute his success to our hexagonal needles as his stitches were well formed and very nice. Successful beginnings lead to a life long hobby.

UC: What’s next for Indian Lake Artisans?

Pam: We are in the process of developing interchangeable circular needles and designer needle cases. We plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for the project. This is a very exciting undertaking for Mark and me. We will be sure to announce the Kickstarter on Facebook and Twitter so friends can help us reach our goal.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Pam! We look forward to seeing those interchangeables on the market, so let us know when the Kickstarter launches! 

Interview with Susana from Creaciones Susana (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

I’m excited to share an interview with emerging Chilean knitting designer, Susana from Creaciones Susana. Susana is also a maker who sells her finished knit projects in her Etsy shop. You can find Susana online on her (Spanish-language) blogFacebook, FlickrPinterest, Ravelry (as CreacioneSusana, in the Creaciones Susana group, or on her designer page), and Twitter. All images are copyright Susana and are used with permission. Click on the design images to link to the Ravelry pattern pages.

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Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Susana from Creaciones Susana.

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

Susana: Initially, I learned to knit crochet with my grandmother. I was about 7 or 8 years old. I remember I started with a circle in various colors, which she surprising transformed into a small bag. At 13 years old, I started to knit with two needles. My first great work was a sock for my younger brother when he was born, it had a nice yellow color and was too big.

UC: What inspired you to start selling your projects on Etsy?

Susana: I always liked to design clothes. I designed for my sisters and friends when I was young. Esty is a great platform to sell your work, allowing you to reach many countries. Also, I thought they understood the process of handmade creation and crafting, and that encouraged me to participate. When I started Etsy didn’t work in Spanish, and I can proudly say that I was part of the many artisans who urged that great change. (UC comment: You can read about Etsy in Spanish! here.)

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Wishes Shawlette, a knitting pattern available in Spanish.

UC: What led you to start designing knitting patterns for sale? Do you think you will eventually sell crochet patterns, too?

Susana: I have always knitted my designs. My first pattern for sale I made about two years ago. I concentrated on the shawls, which are my favorites. I try to make easy, simple language, making something different on the design, in general employing the techniques looking for elegant and feminine results. I like to knit seamless, start up or down, with short-rows, shining colors and contrasts.

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About crochet designs, I have some patterns, but I need a crochet tool to make the stitch patterns. I hope to sell it very soon.

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Whisper Shawl, a knit pattern available in English and Spanish.

UC: Some of your patterns are available in both English and Spanish. Why did you decide on a bilingual format and what are some of the challenges and benefits of being a bilingual designer?

Susana: It was interesting this aspect. I started in English because it is a more accessible market. The knitters love to find new designs on the internet. Often they have read and used patterns more than the Latin-Americans knitters. In this moment, I have some bilingual patterns; I hope to have them available next month for sale.

One of the challenges is, the language in the patterns and instructions when I use English. The symbols and names are very different in Spanish. And one of the benefits is, my English patterns have more views and sales.

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Cuello Hojas de Primavera, a knit pattern in Spanish.

UC: Tell us about your cultural background. What was the yarn crafts scene like in Chile when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene?

Susana: The crafting world started with grandmothers. They trained their daughters and granddaughters. At that time, nobody was thinking about design. In my case, when I was a teenager, I designed and sold informally in a small environment, however, it was exceptional.

Actually, the handmade world is very important and appreciated. It is considered like an ancestral art and interesting commercial activity. There is much exchange between English trends and fashion influences in the general public and lovers of handmade through internet tools.

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Blue Deep Shawl knitting pattern.

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

Susana: It has influenced me very little. My style is a combination of techniques, several forms and materials for knitting that are very different to the textile scene in Chile.

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

Susana: I do not have favorite books; I used few in my self-education. I have used electronic information, magazines, tips and techniques shared friend knitters. The favorite books that I have are really recent; these are two examples:

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Chaqueta Carmencita, a knit pattern available in Spanish.

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

Susana: I visit daily several pages that I love so much:

Spanish:

English:

Dover Books

UC: What are you working on now?

Susana: In this moment, I’m working on new patterns for the spring and summer season (in the Southern Hemisphere). I’m focused on natural elements, soft color, and new textures for my designs. Also I’m teaching new and expert knitters.

Thank you for stopping by, Susana!

Interview with Sol Maldonado (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

Interview with Argentine designer, Sol Maldonado, on Underground Crafter blog

Today I’m interviewing Argentine multi-craftual designer, Sol Maldonado. Sol creates crochet and knitting patterns as well as sewing patterns and tutorials. Sol can be found on her website, Craftsy (in the bySol and Soles shops), Etsy (in bySol, her crochet & knitting pattern shop, and in Soles, her fabric doll/flower/toy/pattern/tutorial shop) , Facebook, Pinterest, and Ravelry (as soles and on her designer page). All images are copyright Sol Maldonado and are used with permission. Click the design images to be brought to the Ravelry pattern pages.

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Interview with Argentine designer, Sol Maldonado, on Underground Crafter blog

Floral Yummy 3d Flower Granny Square, crochet pattern by Sol Maldonado.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet and knit?
Sol: My mother, grandmother and aunts used to knit and crochet after lunch on Sunday visits during my childhood, so I learned with them.

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UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Sol: I started designing my own sweaters because I never liked what was available in shops!
In Argentina there were not many options, designs or colors in the past… but from long ago we have wonderful yarns, so I thought that making my own stuff would be easier and better.

Interview with Argentine designer, Sol Maldonado, on Underground Crafter blog

Cape Geometric Neckwarmer, knitting pattern by Sol Maldonado.

UC: You’re multi-craftual. Do you have a favorite craft or does that depend on the project or season?
Sol: I love them all, but yeah depends on climate a lot!!
These days, it’s so cold now here, I prefer to knit and crochet warm pieces, and as the summer trends start to pop up in magazines and all around, I start planning next summer projects.

UC: You’ve had over 4,000 sales in your Etsy shop. Wow! What tips do you have for new Etsy sellers?
Sol: Sell what you love most and this will guarantee your success.

My pleasure is to make new things always, so my job is to plan-make-publish and design something new again. Because of this, I’m always excited about what I’m doing…if you get bothered about your daily work it will be a loss of energy.

Be aware of what you are best in and go for it!

Interview with Argentine designer, Sol Maldonado, on Underground Crafter blog

Tribe Tapestry Granny Square, crochet pattern by Sol Maldonado.

UC: Tell us about your cultural background. What was the yarn crafts scene like in Argentina when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene?
Sol: In Argentina the yarn scene is high quality since forever….lots of products, colors and textures, and not very expensive.

Here winter is very cold, and knit and crochet are popular practices, like traditional craft.

Interview with Argentine designer, Sol Maldonado, on Underground Crafter blog

Bubble Zoe Purse, crochet pattern by Sol Maldonado.

UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?
Sol: Yeah, it influences a lot! As a third world country there are not enough tools or books available ever!!! So, to make something you will have to figure out and work on it with the basic tools, minimize resources as much as possible because tools here are very expensive!

Interview with Argentine designer, Sol Maldonado, on Underground Crafter blog

Clamshell and Pinwheel Geometric Pillows, knitting pattern by Sol Maldonado.

UC: What are your favorite knitting and crochet books in your collection?
Sol: I do not have any collection, since I search for instructions online.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?
Sol: I’m totally in love with Pinterest, regular people pinning and building trends is the most exciting thing ever to happen in design!

I find inspiration and delight with wonderful photos and trends.

I think that image is everything, Spanish or English – with Google translate tool, it doesn’t matter anymore, and frankly I don’t have much time to read any post, I look only at photos!

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your patterns with us, Sol!