Crochet Pattern: Hug for a Long Commute

Free crochet pattern: Hug for a Long Commute scarf or shawl in Universal Yarn Classic Shades Frenzy by Underground Crafter

I’m so excited to share my new favorite cold weather accessory with you! The Hug for a Long Commute crochet pattern makes a cozy but visually interesting accessory you can wear on your next adventure (or on your next commute to work or school). You can style this project as a triangular scarf or as a shawl.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Yarn for the sample was generously provided by Universal Yarn.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this sneak peek of the Hug for a Long Commute back in September.

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I was on a hat #crocheting spree for a few weeks and now it seems to be shawls. I am trying out a new-to-me #yarn, @universal_yarn Classic Shades Frenzy in Urban Transit. As someone who’s business is pretty much named after urban transit (that’s where I’m crafting underground, after all), I had to try this colorway. I am loving the greens, purples, and even (dare I say) the yellows. I have purposely arranged this WIP so that you can’t tell how the finished shawl is shaped. I like a little mystery, after all. #igotitfree #undergroundcrafter #universalyarn #universalclassicshadesfrenzy #crochetblogers #crochetersgonnacrochet #crochetersofig #crochetersofinstagram #crocheted #crochet #instacrochet #hookedoncrochet2018 #makersgonnamake

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Let me tell you a bit about my inspiration! Earlier this year, I connected with Universal Yarn and they sent me some Universal Classic Shades Frenzy yarn to try out. When I was looking through the colorways, I saw this one called Urban Transit and as a Native New Yorker who has been riding the subways since I was a wee one, I knew I had to try it. At first, the colors didn’t really seem like “me” (where’s my pink? where’s my Caribbean sea blue?), but the yarn quickly grew on me.

It’s a bulky yarn, but on the thinner side of bulky. The colors are a wonderful blend! Originally, I planned to design a crochet version of Martina Behm’s Hitchhiker shawl, which has an asymmetrical shape. As I got deeper and deeper into the project, I knew it had to have more of a triangular shape. Because that’s my favorite shawl shape, and I was definitely going to be keeping this!

Free crochet pattern: Hug for a Long Commute scarf or shawl in Universal Yarn Classic Shades Frenzy by Underground Crafter | smiling woman wearing scarfThe weather has recently gotten very cold here, so this weekend, I washed the Hug for a Long Commute for the first time. It emerged from the dryer super soft and I’ve been wearing it everyday.

Free crochet pattern: Hug for a Long Commute scarf or shawl in Universal Yarn Classic Shades Frenzy by Underground Crafter | shawl flat lay detailI’ve received quite a few compliments, especially from my friends who are more into yellows and greens.

Free crochet pattern: Hug for a Long Commute scarf or shawl in Universal Yarn Classic Shades Frenzy by Underground Crafter | flat lay of folded scarfI love that this can be worn as a triangular scarf, or pinned in place like a shawl. Maybe I’ll try that once the weather warms up again! Now, I’m glad I ventured outside of my color comfort zone.

If you make your own Hug for a Long Commute, I’d love to see it! Share your progress and questions by tagging me on Facebook as @Underground Crafter, Instragram as @ucrafter, or Twitter as @ucrafter. You can also share a picture in the Underground Crafters Facebook group. Sign up for my weekly newsletter and get a coupon code for your choice of one of my premium patterns and other subscriber goodies. Plus, you’ll never miss one of my free patterns again!

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LoveCrochet

Hug for a Long Commute

Crochet Pattern by Underground Crafter

This pattern was updated 1/10/2019 to correct an error in the decrease section.

Free crochet pattern: Hug for a Long Commute scarf or shawl in Universal Yarn Classic Shades Frenzy by Underground CrafterWrap yourself in a cozy but visually interesting hug before your next adventure. Style it as a scarf or as a shawl.

Finished Size

  • Adult: 62” (157.5 cm) wingspan x 12.75” (32.5 cm) spine.

Materials

  • Universal Classic Shades Frenzy yarn (70% acrylic/30% wool, 3.5 oz/100 g, 159 yd/145 m) – 3 skeins in 907 Urban Transit, or approximately 370 yd (338.5 m) in any bulky weight yarn.
  • US K-10.5/6.5 mm crochet hook, or any size needed to obtain correct gauge.
  • Yarn needle.
  • Stitch marker (optional).

Gauge

  • 16 hdc = 4” (10 cm) across. Exact gauge is not critical for this project.

Abbreviations Used in This Pattern

  • BL – back (third) loop only Moogly has a helpful video tutorial for identifying the third loop in half double crochet here.
  • chchain
  • decdecrease [Yo, insert hook in third loop of next st, yo and draw up a loop] twice, yo and draw through all 5 loops on hook. This decrease is a variation on the hdc2tog with the hook inserted in the third loop. Whistle and Ivy has a helpful video tutorial for the hdc2tog here.
  • eaeach
  • hdchalf double crochet
  • reprepeat
  • skskip
  • st(s)stitch(es)
  • yoyarn over
  • *Repeat instructions after asterisk as indicated.
  • [] Repeat instructions between brackets as indicated.

Pattern Notes

  • Ch 1 at beginning of Rows does not count as a stitch.
  • Some crocheters find it helpful to place stitch marker at the end of Row 2, to indicate the side
    of the project that has increases and decreases.

Pattern Instructions

Increase to midpoint

  • Ch 3.
  • Row 1: Turn, sk 2 ch (counts as hdc), 2 hdc in next ch. (3 sts)
  • Row 2: Turn, ch 1, hdcBL in first 2 sts, 2 hdcBL in next st. (4 sts)
  • Row 3: Turn, ch 1, 2 hdcBL in first st, hdcBL in ea st across. (5 sts)
  • Row 4: Turn, ch 1, hdcBL in first st and ea st across to last st, 2 hdcBL in last st. (6 sts)
  • Row 5: Rep Row 3. (7 sts)
  • Row 6: Rep Row 4. (8 sts)
  • Row 7: Turn, ch 1, hdcBL in first 3 sts, 2 hdcBL, sk 4 sts. (5 sts)
  • Row 8: Turn, ch 1, 2 hdcBL in first st, hdcBL in ea st across. (Increases by 1 st)
  • Row 9: Turn, ch 1, hdcBL in first st and in ea st across to last st, 2 hdcBL in last st. (Increases by 1 st)
  • Rows 10-13: Rep Row 8-9 twice.
  • Row 14: Turn, ch 1, 2 hdcBL in first st, hdcBL in ea st to last st, 2 hdcBL in last st. (Increases by 2 sts)
  • Row 15: Turn, ch 1, hdcBL in first st and in ea st across to last 5 sts, 2 hdcBL in next st, sk 4 sts. (Decreases by 3 sts)
  • Rep Rows 8-15, ending last rep after Row 13, until project measures approximately 30”/76 cm, or approximately half of desired finished wingspan/length.

Decrease to endpoint

  • Row 16: Turn, ch 1, dec in first 2 sts, hdcBL in ea st across. (Decreases by 1 st)
  • Row 17: Turn, ch 1, hdcBL in first st and in ea st across to last 2 sts, dec in last 2 sts. (Decreases by 1 st)
  • Row 18-21: Rep Rows 16-17 twice.
  • Row 22: Turn, ch 1, dec in first 2 sts, hdcBL in ea st across to last 2 sts, dec in last 2 sts. (Decreases by 2 sts)
  • Row 23: Turn, ch 1, hdcBL in ea st across.
  • Row 24: Turn, ch 5, turn, sk first ch, hdc in next 4 ch, hdcBL across row. (Increases by 4 sts)
  • Row 25: Rep Row 17.
  • Rows 26-29: Rep Rows 16-17 twice.
  • Row 30: Rep Row 16.
  • Row 31: Rep Rows 22.
  • Row 32: Rep Row 24.
  • Rep Rows 25-32, ending after Row 30 when 3 sts remain. Fasten off.

Finishing

  • With yarn needle, weave in ends.
© 2018, 2019 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 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: https://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2018/11/29/crochet-pattern-hug-for-a-long-commute-scarf-shawl. Thanks for supporting indie designers!

Free pattern: The Semi-Slouch Hat (2016 Holiday Blog Hop)

The Semi-Slouch Hat, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter (2016 Holiday Blog Hop) | This semi-slouchy hat is a perfect commuter project. It works up quickly and is very portable, using just one skein of yarn. The tweedy yarn adds a bit of texture to the simple design. Although labeled as an intermediate pattern, an adventurous beginner can make it using the video tutorials.Back in June, I had the chance to visit The National NeedleArts Association summer show.

This post contains affiliate links. Yarn for the sample was generously provided by Universal Yarn.

Universal Yarn had a large booth. Perhaps it was the air conditioning speaking, but I thought I heard this deep red colorway call out to me and say, “I should be a winter hat.”

The Semi-Slouch Hat, free crochet pattern in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted Tweed Superwash yarn by Underground Crafter (2016 Holiday Blog Hop) | This semi-slouchy hat is a perfect commuter project. It works up quickly and is very portable, using just one skein of yarn. The tweedy yarn adds a bit of texture to the simple design. Although labeled as an intermediate pattern, an adventurous beginner can make it using the video tutorials.The folks at the booth gave me a skein of Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted Tweed Superwash, a new-to-me medium weight, mostly-wool yarn to play with when I got home. And, it did end up becoming a hat!

This pattern is part of the 2016 Holiday Blog Hop. If you’re looking for more free crochet patterns for holiday gifts and decorating, you can find more information and links to the 2016 Holiday Blog Hop patterns here.

2016 Holiday Blog Hop | free crochet patterns every Thursday from July 28 through November 17, 2016 | Hosted by The Stitchin’ Mommy, Oombawka Design, The Lavender Chair, Creative Crochet Workshop, Underground Crafter, Simply Collectible Crochet, Look At What I Made, & American CrochetDon’t forget to share a picture on Ravelry, Instagram, or with my Facebook page if you make one!

Underground Crafter on RavelryIf you want an easy print format, you can buy an ad-free PDF version on Craftsy.

Underground Crafter on CraftsyCraftsy

The Semi-Slouch Hat

Crochet Pattern by Underground Crafter

03-intermediateUS terms 504-medium 50This semi-slouchy hat is a perfect commuter project. It works up quickly and is very portable, using just one skein of yarn. The tweedy yarn adds a bit of texture to the simple design.

Finished Size

  • Adult: 8” (20.5 cm) height x 22” (56 cm) circumference.

Materials

  • Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted Tweed Superwash (90% superwash wool/7% acrylic/3% viscose, 3.5 oz/100 g/218 yd/199 m) – 1 skein in 901 Garnet, or approximately 175 yd (160 m) in any medium weight yarn.
  • US Size H/5 mm crochet hook, or size needed to obtain gauge.
  • Yarn needle.

Gauge

  • Through Rnd 4 in pattern = 4” (10 cm) diameter. For best fit, always check your gauge.

Abbreviations Used in This Pattern

  • BPdc – back post double crochet – Yo, insert hook from back around front to back of st in previous Rnd, yo and draw up a loop, (yo and draw through 2 loops) twice.
  • BPdc-dec – back post double crochet decrease – Yo, insert hook from back around front to back of next 2 sts in previous Rnd, yo and draw up a loop, (yo and draw through 2 loops) twice.
  • ch – chain
  • dc – double crochet
  • FPdc – front post double crochet – Yo, insert hook from front around back to front of st in previous Rnd, yo and draw up a loop, (yo and draw through 2 loops) twice.
  • ea – each
  • rep – repeat
  • Rnd(s) – Round(s)
  • sc – single crochet
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • st(s) – stitch(es)
  • yo – yarn over
  • * Repeat instructions after asterisk as indicated.

Pattern Notes


Pattern Instructions

Hat

  • Beginning at crown, ch 4, skip 3 ch, sl st to first ch to join.
  • Rnd 1: Ch 3 (counts as dc, here and throughout), 11 dc in ring, join with sl st to top of ch 3. (12 sts)
  • Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc in same st, 2 dc in ea st around, join with sl st to top of first ch 3. (24 sts)
  • Rnd 3: Ch 3, dc in same st and next st, *2 dc in next st, dc in next st; rep from * around, join with sl st to top of first ch 3. (36 sts)
  • Rnd 4: Ch 3, dc in same st and next 2 sts, *2 dc in next st, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * around, join with sl st to top of first ch 3. (48 sts)
  • Rnd 5: Ch 3, dc in same st and next 3 sts, *2 dc in next st, dc in next 3 sts; rep from * around, join with sl st to top of first ch 3. (60 sts)
  • Rnd 6: Ch 3, dc in same st and next 4 sts, *2 dc in next st, dc in next 4 sts; rep from * around, join with sl st to top of first ch 3. (72 sts)
  • Rnd 7: Ch 3, dc in same st and next 5 sts, *2 dc in next st, dc in next 5 sts; rep from * around, join with sl st to top of first ch 3. (84)
  • Rnd 8: Ch 3, dc in next st and ea st around, join with sl st to top of first ch 3.
  • Rep Rnd 8 until hat measures approximately 7.5” (19 cm) in length from crown.

Ribbed headband

  • Rnd 9: Ch 1, starting with ch 3 in previous Rnd, *FPdc around ea of next 2 sts, BPdc around ea of next 2 sts; rep from * around , join with sl st to top of first FPdc.
  • Rnd 10: Ch 1, FPdc around ea of next 2 sts, BPdc around ea of next 2 sts, *FPdc around ea of next 2 sts, BPdc-dec around next 2 sts, (FPdc around ea of next 2 sts, BPdc around ea of next 2 sts) 4 times; rep from * around , join with sl st to top of first FPdc. (80 sts)
  • Rnd 11: Ch 1, FPdc around ea of next 2 sts, BPdc around ea of next 2 sts, *FPdc around ea of next 2 sts, BPdc around ea of next sts, FPdc around ea of next 2 sts, BPdc-dec around next 2 sts, (FPdc around ea of next 2 sts, BPdc around ea of next 2 sts) 3 times; rep from * around , join with sl st to top of first FPdc. (75 sts)
  • Rnd 12: Ch 1, sc in same st and ea st around. Fasten off.

Finishing

© 2016 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 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/2016/08/18/free-pattern-the-semi-slouch-hat/. Thanks for supporting indie designers!

Don’t forget to share a picture on Ravelry, Instagram, or with my Facebook page if you make one!

Underground Crafter on RavelryIf you want an easy print format, you can buy an ad-free PDF version on Craftsy.

Underground Crafter on Craftsy

Blog tour: Interview with Amy Gunderson, author of Knitted Mitts & Mittens

This post contains affiliate links.

Today, I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for Amy Gunderson’s new release, Knitted Mitts & Mittens: 25 Fun and Fashionable Designs for Fingerless Gloves, Mittens, and Wrist Warmers. I’ll be sharing an interview with Amy and offering a giveaway of the book.

Amy is a (mostly) knitting designer who is also the creative lead for Universal Yarn. Previously, she was the design coordinator for both Universal Yarn and Premier Yarns. Amy can be found online on Ravelry (as AmyGunderson, on her designer page, and in the Amy Gunderson Designs group), on her blog, Get Off My Lawn Designs, and on Twitter as @gundersonamy. All images are used with permission, and are copyright Burcu Avsar unless otherwise noted.

Amy Gunderson

Amy Gunderson. Image (c) Sarah Heady.

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

Amy: When I was about 20, I had a job cooking pizzas back in Iowa City, Iowa, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes (University of Iowa). Our busiest times were after 1 am when drunken college kids are in their prime (joke). But when it wasn’t bar time, things could get very quiet. Crossword puzzles entertained me for only so long, so I decided to learn how to crochet. My grandmother crocheted but her Alzheimer’s got the better of her before she was able to teach me. I picked up a “how to crochet” booklet at my local craft store and took off from there. I learned the basics from that little booklet but “invented” everything else I did. I’m so happy that was the way I learned, because it taught me to be in tune with what I was doing, and that nobody could tell me I was doing something wrong. I totally thought I had come up with a brand new idea which I eventually learned was called tapestry crochet. Ha!

Fast forward about 10 years, when my (now) husband and I owned our own pizza place. He delivered the pizzas, I cooked them. This was in the same college town with the same sort of down periods when college kids weren’t living it up. I unsuccessfully tried to learn knitting a couple of times before it finally clicked. Because I was a crocheter first, the throwing method of knitting where yarn is tensioned with the right hand just didn’t make sense to me. I found a video online that demonstrated continental knitting and I was finally able to “get it”. I delved into as many aspects of knitting as I could and drowned myself in technique knowledge. I did eventually learn how to throw-knit when I got into stranded knitting. Being able to hold one color in each hand makes the job much faster.

Twisted Brown Sugar

Twisted Brown Sugar pattern.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Amy: My answer is probably very similar to a lot of knitwear designers out there. I would have in my mind this perfect sweater that I wanted to make and would scour the internet for such a pattern. When I couldn’t find what I wanted, I’d end up starting out with a base pattern and then adding my own modifications. It was soon clear that I didn’t really need that “base” pattern to start with, and that I could simply start from scratch. Ravelry makes it possible for someone like me to write up a pattern and offer it to the world, so that’s what I did. It was this combined with my incessant need to be “making stuff” constantly that led me to design knitwear. Ravelry also made it possible for me to have a place to house my portfolio. When I made my first submissions to Knitscene, Lisa Shroyer was able to see what I had done previously and that I actually know how to knit.

Gradient Flip-Top Mittens

Gradient Flip-Top Mittens pattern.

UC: You’re currently the design coordinator for Universal Yarn and Premier Yarns. Tell us how you entered that work. What are your favorite aspects? What are some of the challenges?

Amy: I’d been knitting for a couple of years and designing for maybe 6 months when I saw a post on Ravelry advertising for the position. I asked Kirk (my husband) how he’d feel about moving to North Carolina before applying for the position. I’m sure neither of us imagined I’d actually get the job, but after an interview process, I did! I don’t have a design degree or formal training. Being formerly self-employed taught me a lot about understanding people on both sides of a situation. In addition to crochet and knitting, I have a sewing background (self-taught) that has been instrumental in garment construction, shaping, grading etc.

I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have my job. I get to help develop yarn, pick colors, name them, draw, knit, etc every day. I just got back from our mill in Turkey where I was able to learn more about exactly how our various yarns are produced. After that, I was in Cologne, Germany at the annual Handarbeit craft trade show where I was overwhelmingly inspired for a couple of days by all the up and coming trends and new products in the craft world. I also feel lucky that I actually still love to knit and crochet, even though it’s my job!

Although I work for a yarn company, we’re not this huge corporation. The number of people in the office is actually very small. It can be very challenging to be constantly creative and have good ideas. The trick is realizing which ideas are not so great and trying to forget I had them! But that’s a joke, really. It’s a process, this creative thing is. And it’s important to keep an open mind and explore all options. Another thing that plagues me are pattern mistakes. Everyone who writes and edits patterns has them from time to time. I do my best to make sure the patterns I’m responsible are as accurate as possible, but they still work their way in some times. When I field a phone call or email from a customer with a pattern problem, I always take it fairly personally and feel awful. I know what it’s like to be confused in a pattern and wonder if it’s me or the pattern. It stinks!

Swedish Mittens

Swedish Mittens pattern.

UC: Your first solo book, Knitted Mitts & Mittens, has just been published. What was the development process like for this book? Will you take a mitt(en) hiatus after this, or are you more excited to knit them than ever?

Amy: Pam Hoenig, the craft editor at Stackpole Books, gave me great freedom with the projects in this book. It was basically just like, make 25 fingerless gloves and mittens, I know you’ll do a great job. And that was it. I thank her in the book for this liberty and I will thank her again now: Thank you Pam for your trust! Limitations can be helpful, but it was great to not really have any with this book. This was a liberating experience! Obviously, that all the patterns are for mitts/mittens are a limitation in and of itself. But I can’t lie, there were times when I wondered if I could possibly come up with another idea for a fingerless glove. In those times, I’d do what I usually do when I’m blocked about something in life: forget about knitting completely and do something else (possibly involving a glass or two of wine). It’s fun how one idea can lead to another. I think it’s so important to keep an open mind in designing. If I’ve imagined something and sketched it out and my stitching ends up going a different direction I let it take me there if that’s where it needs to go. I try not to robotically do things, but to be mindful of each step and detail.

I naturally am drawn to knitting garments. What can I say; I love clothes! But doing all these small projects that can be completed in such a short period of time have made me rethink my garment love. Yes, I’m excited to make more fingerless gloves. I forgot how nice it can be to start and finish a project over the course of just a day or two!

Boutros the Beetle

Boutros the Beetle pattern.

UC: What are your favorite knitting books (besides yours, of course) in your collection?

Amy: I actually own almost no knitting books. I have the first three books in Barbara Walker‘s library which I love to refer to from time to time. The most recent knitting book I purchased was Cast On, Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor. (UC comment: You can find my review for Bestor’s book here.) I’m always most interested in finishing details and other persnickety things in knitting. (I’ve been trying really hard to find a good reason to use “persnickety” lately).

Energy Mitts

Energy Mitts pattern.

UC: What’s your favorite fiber to work with and what do you love about it?

Amy: Linen, definitely. It just feels good. I read lots of complaints by people who don’t like working with it. Certainly, it’s not as pleasant as knitting with springy wool. Soaking linen (and letting dry) helps the stiffness. The drape and breatheability of linen are just unbeatable. Something about the raw natural texture draws me in like nothing else. Plus, it only improves in softness each time it’s washed and dried!

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

Ravelry! And the Universal Yarn blog and Premier Yarns blog, of course!

Thank you for stopping by Amy!

Full disclosure: A free giveaway copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for giveaways, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.

Giveaway

Knitted Mitts & Mittens cover

 

Are you ready to win your copy of Knitted Mitts & Mittens: 25 Fun and Fashionable Designs for Fingerless Gloves, Mittens, and Wrist Warmers, courtesy of Stackpole Books? This giveaway is open to all readers with an email address.  Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, April 22, 2014.

 

Interview with (mostly) crochet designer, Anastacia Zittel a.k.a. anastaciaknits

As we pass the midway point of National Crochet Month, I’m excited to share an interview with indie designer, Anastacia Zittel, today.  Anastacia is active online as a blogger and on Ravelry, and you may have come across her as anastaciaknits.  She’s primarily a crochet designer, so I thought it appropriate to interview her during NatCroMo!

You can find Anastacia online on Ravelry (as anastaciaknits, on her designer page, in the Anastacia Knits Designs group, and in the Afghans & Blankets group, which she founded and co-moderates), in her Etsy shop, on her Facebook page, on Pinterest, and as @anastaciaknits on Twitter. All photos in this post are used with permission and are copyright Anastacia Zittel unless otherwise noted.

This post contains affiliate links.

Anastacia Zittel

Anastacia Zittel.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting and knitting?

Amastacia Zittel (AZ): I remember learning as a little kid, like so many of us, from our mothers and grandmothers. I don’t really remember learning to crochet – both of my grandmothers were crafty (including knitting, crocheting and sewing), and dad’s family were especially crafty, and my mom made a lot of my clothes and toys growing up. I do remember moving and desperately wanting a new afghan for my new bedroom, and I couldn’t convince anyway on to make me one, so I went out and bought yarn and a hook and made myself an afghan – I was 14.

I got completely “hooked” and my grandmother started “lending” me patterns, which I wouldn’t return, and I quickly went from hooked to obsessed. Right around the same time, a church friend taught me to knit but it didn’t stick – I didn’t know that there were different methods and ways of knitting, I just knew I couldn’t knit. I kept trying though, and finally about ten years ago I just figured out how to do it on my own. Years after that, I realized that my style of knitting is different from any method I’ve ever seen – it’s sort of combo knitting but I do things backwards! It works for me.

Leafing for Spring

Leafing for Spring, a crochet wrap pattern by Anastacia.

UC: What was your original inspiration to start designing?

AZ: I always tweaked patterns – I couldn’t help myself, I always had to change things up! Around the time I was seriously crocheting, one of my grandmother’s developed Alzheimer’s. Part of me has always just wanted to honor the memory of her, sitting crocheting granny squares and ripples everywhere she went. I remember them hosting Bible study classes at their house, and even then, her crochet would be right by her side. So as corny as it may sound, I wanted my grandmother to be proud of me.  (UC comment: It doesn’t seem corny to me at all, Anastacia!  As I mentioned here, I started my crochet business for similar reasons.)

Triangle Trellis

Triangle Trellis, a crocheted shawl design by Anastacia, published in the Contrarian Shawls ebook.  Photo (c) Universal Yarn.

UC: You’re known online as “anastaciaknits” but most of your designs are in crochet. Tell us about how that came to be (both the name, and the focus on crochet designs).

AZ: I know, it’s crazy right? *laughs*. When Ravelry first started, I was big into knitting. I still really loved to crochet, but I was knitting pair after pair of socks. I’ve never been very creative when it comes to names (for years, my online name was zorrosmommy, named after my cat!). I like to use my name in profiles because it IS a unique name, so that’s why I came up with anastaciaknits. This was way before Ravelry offered pattern sales!

I had done some designing on my blog but had never really considered designing as a career, and by the time I realized I did want to design, I was already known as anastaciaknits & I didn’t want to change that. It’s frustrating sometimes because I get a lot of comments from people “Well I like your designs but I don’t knit!” Well, I don’t really design knit, either! But I feel it’s way too late to change my name now.

Around the Twist Log Cabin

Around the Twist Log Cabin, a knit blanket design by Anastacia.

UC: Though you have a range of designs, your patterns are mostly for shawls, scarves, and blankets. What do you enjoy about making those projects and designing those patterns?

AZ: I’ve always made a ton of afghans in my “personal” fiber arts – I make them mostly for charity and for fundraisers. I make a ton of scarves for charity, too, so it just seemed to fit that I design that stuff, too. The shawls were pretty much an accident! No seriously!

Scrap Shawl

Scrap Shawl, a customizable crochet pattern by Anastacia.

I was trying to design an afghan square for my first paid self published design, but my square wouldn’t turn into a square shape. I kept staring at it & realized I had a shawl started and I just kept going. The first design did really well and I started getting a lot of emails and PMs from people saying “I really like your shawl, but could you make a triangle shawl?” or “could you make one with more lace?” etc etc. Most of my shawl designs now are because someone specifically asked me to design it – often times it’s just a rough idea (like my Short Sands Shawl) and sometimes more specific – like the Scrap Shawl. There is so much endless variety that can be put into designing a shawl, and I’m just never ever bored designing and making them!

Anastacia Zittel Alzheimers blanket

Anastacia’s 2013 Alzheimer’s charity afghan.

UC: Every year you make an afghan and raise money for Alzheimer’s. How did that start?

AZ: As I mentioned, my grandmother had Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately a few years ago, my uncle at the age of 50 was also diagnosed with the disease. My cousin Adrienne started doing the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk and one year she happened to mention that she wasn’t raising as much money as she was hoping to. My mom and I started brainstorming so we came up with the idea of the afghan, and then Adrienne had some ideas and input, too.

I crochet an afghan that uses granny squares and ripples (my grandmother’s two favorite types of afghans to make) and uses predominately the color purple (the Alzheimer’s color) and we sell raffle tickets. Any amount will get you one ticket, but additional tickets are sold at $5 a piece. Last year, we had several additional items also added to our prize pool & I’m working on making this year’s raffle bigger and badder than ever! I’m really proud and honored to be a part of this, and we raised over $850 last year alone for Every Mile’s a Memory, Adrienne’s team.

Blueridge Shawl

Blueridge Shawl, a knit shawl pattern by Anastacia.

UC: Most of your designs are self-published (although you’ve been published in several yarn company collections and magazines, too). What do you see as the challenges and rewards of self-publishing? Do you plan to continue this ratio of self-published to externally published patterns?

AZ: I love self-publishing for a lot of reasons. As a professional, maybe I shouldn’t say this, but the number one reason for me, is I am really, really bad at deadlines – they stress me out really bad, and when I’m stressed, I do stupid things – like forget to check gauge and realize your whole afghan is weirdly disproportionate & you have to take apart 3 seams and frog the whole thing. (Yes, this happened very recently for a design I just finished last month for Love of Crochet magazine!).

Hawaiian Sea Glass Shawl

Hawaiian Sea Glass Shawl, a crochet design by Anastacia.

I also really, really like the control one has over one’s designs when you do everything yourself. When you are working for a yarn company, not only do you lose control over the yarn and the color, but the finished design may not look anything at all like the design that started in your head. But it’s a LOT of work, and a LOT of time to do it right, and there’s definitely a big learning curve. I was lucky in that I already worked hard at taking decent photos, and photography is a big part of self-designing, and there’s always room for a lot of improvement!

I will probably concentrate mostly of self-publishing in the future. I’d really like to work regularly for one or two smaller yarn companies – that’s really my big dream!

Julia Heliconian Shawl

Julia Heliconian Shawl, a crochet pattern by Anastacia.

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

AZ: I have a HUGE pattern collection – though mostly vintage magazines. My favorite crochet book (besides stitch dictionaries) is the Woman’s Day Book of Granny Squares and Other Carry-Along Crochet – yes, that I got from my grandmother! Most of my first projects came from that book. I also love the The Ultimate Book of Scrap Afghans (from American School of Needlework that came out in 1999) – I’ve made a ton of charity afghans from that book!

Anastacias Scrap Afghan

Anastacia’s Scrap Afghan, a free crochet pattern by Anastacia (perfect for stashbusting!).

UC: Do you have any crafty websites you frequent for inspiration or community?

AZ: Pinterest! I spend way, way, way too much time on that site looking for inspiration! (UC comment: You can find Anastacia’s boards on Pinterest here.)

Thanks for stopping by, Anastacia!  I hope you break your fundraising record for the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk this year!

Readers, if Anastacia’s story has inspired you to donate, Anastacia contributes to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

July stash explosion, courtesy of Robyn Chachula

This post contains affiliate links.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’ve been really trying to reduce my yarn stash this year.  But, you also know that I find giveaways very hard to resist – and I’m kinda lucky.

So when I saw this giveaway on Robyn Chachula‘s blog, I had to enter.  In my defense, it wasn’t clear exactly how much yarn would be in each of the five goodie bags Robyn was assembling.  Even after winning, I was blissfully ignorant for the next few days.

And then, this arrived.

That’s a mighty big box you got there.

And when I opened it, this is what I saw.

The Mother Lode.

I may have lost consciousness for a few seconds.  But then I came to and took some more pictures.  Here’s what I found inside the box:

Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk (one skein of Quartz) – I haven’t used this yarn before, but I’m a fan of Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton, and Spud & Chloe Sweater is one of my favorite yarns.

Cascade 220 Superwash (one skein of Cordovan) –  Cascade 220 Superwash is one of my favorite yarns for gifts.   I’m hoping to make this skein  into a hat in time for the winter holidays.

Classic Elite Provence (one skein of Gimlet Green) – This looks like it will be a really lush, mercerized cotton.  I don’t have a project in mind for this yet.

Debbie Macomber Blossom Street Collection Rosebud from Universal Yarn (one skein of Clover) – To me, this skein has my mom written all over it.  I think it may end up as a gift for her eventually.

Filatura di Crosa Tempo from Tahki Stacy Charles (one skein of Mood Indigo) – I really love the colors on this one.  Now to find the perfect project for it…

Green Mountain Spinnery Alpaca Elegance (one mini skein of Sencha) – I love that this worker owned cooperative sources all of its yarn in the US.  I’m a sucker for alpaca, and this mini skein is just enough for me to swatch with before choosing a great project.

Lion Brand LB Collection Cotton Bamboo (one skein of Magnolia) – I actually have another skein of this yarn in my stash that I bought at Lion Brand Yarn Studio.  The colors would work nicely together.

Red Heart Boutique Eclipse (one skein of Sunset) – I’ve been having a lot of fun with self-striping yarns lately.

Sirdar Click Dk (one skein of Tarn) – This reminds me of a discontinued yarn I worked with about ten years ago – it has a similarly subtle color and soft feel.

Zealana Kia Ora Kiwi (one skein of Aurora Pink) – I’m so intrigued by the possom in this yarn!  Zealana is having a big design contest right now – perhaps this will get my ideas flowing?

Besides the ten (!) skeins of yarn, there were some other goodies in the box.

A signed copy of Robyn’s Baby Blueprint Crochet: Irresistible Projects for Little Ones – Looks like I’ll have plenty of ideas for the next time one of my friends or colleagues is pregnant.

A super cute Craftsy needle measure and gauge ruler – I used this to check gauge on my sock project.

A Crochet Dude crochet hook –  I love Boye hooks, so I’m looking forward to using this one on my next project.

A notions case –  I’ve been using this to store all the goodies for the socks I’m making for the Ravellenic Games.  It is the only one I have long enough to fit the size 1 double pointed needle I’ll be using as a cable needle.

A circular Susan Bates Velocity knitting needle – This looks like just the right size for subway knitting.

 

Thanks, Robyn, for sharing all of these wonderful goodies with me!  It certainly didn’t help with my stashbusting efforts, but I’m thrilled nonetheless.