Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf, Part 1: Getting Started; Staircase Stitch

Monday, July 25, 2016

Welcome back to the Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf Crochet-a-Long! You can get all the information about the CAL, including a complete schedule and links to previous posts, here.

Part 1: Staircase Stitch
You can get the stitch pattern for Part 1: Getting Started and the Staircase Stitch here on Underground Crafter. Or, watch the video below.

Join in the crochet-a-long and share your progress with other crocheters.

Summer, 2016 CGOA Crochet-a-long: Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf

Monday, July 18, 2016

Everyone had so much fun with our Across the Board crochet-a-long that we've decided to host another!

Like our last CAL, our summer crochet-a-long features a pattern designed by a CGOA member - me! You may know me as the host of the monthly CGOA member spotlight series, but I'm also a crochet (and knitting) designer and the blogger behind Underground Crafter

I've been holding onto this pattern for a while, waiting for just the right time to share it! Let me tell you about more about it and the crochet-a-long.

About the Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf

Explore intermeshing crochet (also known as interlocking crochet or double filet crochet) by making this reversible sampler infinity cowl. The pattern includes 6 different stitch patterns.
Intermeshing crochet seems hard at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be happy you tried it! You need only basic crochet skills since intermeshing crochet uses just chains and double crochet stitches. This unisex project is a great way to get a head start on your own fall accessories or holiday gift-making, or to make something special to donate to charity.

About the Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf CAL

This pattern will be released in 6 parts. Each section will include both a written pattern and a video tutorial to help you as you make your first (or latest) intermeshing crochet project.

How to Join the CAL

You can crochet on your own, but isn't it more fun chat with other crocheters? 

Summer 2016 CAL Schedule 

Here is our CAL schedule. As each new part is released, this page will be updated to include links.
  • Monday, July 18: Supply List 
  • Monday, July 25: Part 1: Getting Started; Staircase Stitch 
  • Wednesday, July 27: Part 2: Divider Rows; Horizontal and Vertical Stitch
  • Monday, August 1: Part 3: Chains and Spines Stitch 
  • Wednesday, August 3: Part 4: Grids and Columns Stitch 
  • Monday, August 8: Part 5: Morse Code Stitch 
  • Wednesday, August 10: Part 6: Dots and Dashes Stitch; Assembly and Finishing 
  • Crochet at your own pace 
  • Sunday, August 28: Deadline to share a completed project picture to enter giveaway 
  • Wednesday, August 31: Giveaway winners announced
We'll be sharing more details about giveaway prizes in an upcoming post. Until then, if you'd like to join in, let us know on Ravelry or Facebook. Share your progress with hashtag #cgoasummercal. You are welcome to use the button below to spread the word! Link back to this post so other crocheters can join in. We're looking forward to crocheting with you.

Thanks so much to the rest of the CGOA Now! blogger team for their support, especially Stitches'N'Scraps for finding giveaway sponsors and Art, Like Bread, Crochet Kitten, and Jessie At Home for sharing ideas.

P.S.: You can find more details about the supply list and how to choose yarns for this project in this video.

CGOA Member Spotlight: Dianne Hunt

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I'm Marie Segares from Underground Crafter and this is the seventh post in my monthly series on CGOA Now! where I shine a spotlight on a CGOA member and tell her story with an interview.

Dianne Hunt.
This month's interview is with Dianne Hunt from Same DiNamics Crochet. Dianne is a stay-at-home-mom to 3 boys. When she was 35, she founded Same DiNamics to have something to call her own. Soon, she started selling her crochet work and later, she began designing. You can find Dianne at Same DiNamics Crochet, or follow her on CraftsyFacebook, G+, InstagramPinterestRavelry, and Twitter.

All images are used with permission and are ©  Dianne Hunt/Same DiNamics Crochet.

Aeris Buttoned Cowl, free crochet pattern by Same DiNamics Crochet.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting?
Dianne: As a child, I was exposed to crocheting through my mom. She crocheted doilies when I was younger. I've always known how to do a simple chain and nothing more. I'd try doing more but it never clicked. However, it wasn't until about 2013 that I started crocheting with love and joy. I don't know what exactly it was that made it all clear to me. I started crocheting like I've been crocheting all my life, and I've enjoyed it every since. It's like my fingers were meant to crochet. 

Lacewing Shawlette, crochet pattern by Same DiNamics Crochet for sale on Ravelry.

UC: When did you start designing?
Dianne: I started designing in 2015 when I became a contributor to Cre8tion Crochet. (UC comment: You can read the interview with Lorene from Cre8tion Crochet here.) Before then, I'd done two simple designs but I didn't consider myself a designer. I'm still learning about designing and how to combine stitches to make fun and interesting designs. I've still got a way to go in my designing journey and I can't wait!

Super Chunky Super Warm Scarf, free crochet pattern by Same DiNamics Crochet.

UC: How long have you been a member of the CGOA? What’s your favorite thing about being a member?
Dianne: I became a member in January of 2016. This was one of my goals for the year. So far, the benefit of the exclusive newsletter is one of the things I like about being a member.

Raspberry Burst Coaster, free crochet pattern by Same DiNamics Crochet.

UC: On your blog you talk about balancing your time between two passions (reading and crochet) as well as with being a stay-at-home mom. What are some favorite crochet books that you've read? 
Dianne: I read mainly fiction in most genres. I've read cozy mysteries that center around crafts but have yet to read one about crochet. Not good! Now, as far as non-fiction crochet books go, I recently read The Crocheter's Skill Building Workshop by Dora Ohrenstein and I have to say that one is perhaps my favorite. It's a book that I'd recommend all crocheters, whether they are designers, hobbyists, or have a crochet related business. This book is filled with lots of necessary information that can answer questions or make things clearer to the crocheter. 

Candy Stripes Cowl, free crochet pattern by Same DiNamics Crochet.

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for relaxing?
Dianne:  I'd say cowls. I really like how quick they work up and enjoy wearing them. One of my latest cowl design is by far my favorite, the Candy Stripes Cowl.

Face Scrubbies and Soap Pouch Spa Set, free crochet pattern by Same DiNamics Crochet.
UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for challenging yourself?
Dianne: Doilies... I enjoy making doilies that use a combination of stitches to make the project unique and extraordinary. I have several doily books that were passed down to me from my mom that are in Spanish. While I read and speak Spanish, translating the stitches from Spanish to English is challenging, so I make the doilies by looking at the stitch diagram available in the books. That's a challenge but the end results are beautiful.

Wrapped in Stars Mug Cozy, free crochet pattern by Same DiNamics Crochet on Cre8tion Crochet.

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects to give as gifts?
Dianne: Simple projects that work up quickly are great gifts. Mug cozies are wonderful; almost everyone drinks either coffee or tea and can use one. Spa sets and dishcloths are great, too; they will get used. 

Dreamcatcher's Anklet, free crochet pattern by Same DiNamics Crochet.

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for the summer months?
Dianne: Simple things like spa sets for pampering. Also, beach skirts/wraps are fun to make because you can wear them to the beach, lake or poolside like the St. Croix Beach Wrap. I also enjoy crocheted jewelry like the Dreamcatcher's Anklet, my first design. 

St. Croix Beach Wrap, free crochet pattern by Same DiNamics Crochet on Cre8tion Crochet.

UC: What are you working on in 2016? What's next for you?

Dianne: My main goal for 2016 is to continue adding designs to my repertoire. I'm publishing 2 patterns per month. Continuing to learn and grow in my craft by watching others and helping others. I also want to become self-hosted with my blog.  

Thanks, Dianne, for sharing your love of crochet with us!

Book Review - Super Cute Crochet for Little Feet

Monday, July 11, 2016

Title: Super Cute Crochet for Little Feet
Author: Vita Apala
MSRP: $22.99 USD

Book review by Pia Thadani - Stitches'N'Scraps

Very few things in the crochet world are cuter than little baby booties and shoes. They're also relatively fast and easy to make, so are great for last minute gifting. With 30 adorable designs, this book is a must have. Choose your favorite designs and build up your baby gift stash or craft fair inventory in no time.

Super Cute Crochet for Little Feet by Vita Apala

The patterns are divided into 3 sections: shoes, boots, and sandals. They are based on classic adult shoe styles like moccasins, work boots, and espadrilles. There's even a pair of cowboy boots, complete with spurs!

Super Cute Crochet for Little Feet by Vita Apala - pg 48Super Cute Crochet for Little Feet by Vita Apala - pg 49

Most of the designs are made in size 3 / DK weight yarns, though there are a few in other weights as well. The book includes a "Crochet Basics" section with tips on tools and notions, as well as illustrated instructions for basic stitches. There's also a useful discussion of  different sole treatments including double soles and non-slip finishes.

As I said, this book is a must have....and you can win your own free copy! This giveaway prize is generously provided by the publisher, St Martin's Griffin. To be eligible, you must be 18 years of age or older, with a valid, US or Canadian shipping address. The winner will be contacted by email, and must reply to that email and provide the shipping address within 1 week in order to receive the prize. If the winner does not reply within 1 week, a new winner will be selected.

The giveaway ends on 7/26/16. Hurry and enter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: A free review copy of Super Cute Crochet for Little Feet was provided by St Martin's Griffin. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. All images of copyrighted material are used with permission.

Reason to Join a Local CGOA Chapter #4: Swap Meets!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Post by Stacy Vaka of Crochet Kitten.

Welcome back to my blog series on what it's like to join a local CGOA chapter! I joined the Prince William County chapter of CGOA back in January, and I've been writing about what the experience has been like. You can find links to the whole series on this post.

Has your yarn stash gotten so large that you're beginning to consider thinning it out? Or do you ever wish you could raid someone else's stash in hopes of finding a perfect new treasure you've never seen before? Your local CGOA chapter is the perfect venue for both of these scenarios!

One of our guild officers recently inherited several boxes of crochet-related materials--I'm talking thread, hooks, patterns, yarn, cross-stitch materials, swatches, WIPS, and finished objects. Rather than take the unwanted items to the local thrift store, where their fate would be unknown and possibly under-appreciated, she had the perfect place to find eager recipients.

And believe me, our guild members were delighted to look through everything, myself included. The biggest issue, of course, being trying to restrain ourselves from taking too much home. There were some vintage gems in there that you won't find in a store. Now I'm thinking about going through my own stash so I can bring some treasures to the next meeting.

How Do You Show Love through Crochet?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy July!  Well, we made it through another month and now is a good time to pause and reflect.  

There have been a lot of disturbing news stories lately and that adds to the stress of our daily lives.  Even though we are all individuals with different opinions and viewpoints, I hope we can all come together and unite for love.  Love is the place of healing.  If we feel love, we know we are not alone.
Therefore, in July's Question of the Month, I want to ask you, "How do you show love through crochet?"  It can be any kind of love you wish.  

It can be self love and self care, love for the community through service, love for your family and friends, love for a higher power if that speaks to you, or love for nature through your choices.  It can even be love I haven't mentioned yet.
I show love through crochet mostly by crocheting gifts for others.  And that love multiplies when the recipient likes the gift and uses it.  I find that since crochet is tactile and cuddly, the love and warmth is effectively conveyed.
What about you?  How do you show love through crochet?
June's QOTM:  How often do you use the yarn suggested in the pattern?  

We had three responses on the CGOA Blog, and each person seemed to have enough yarn on hand to creatively substitute yarn to suit the pattern.  For example, Gymnart said
I mostly use what I have since I have bought quite a few different types of yarn. I pay attention to the weight listed on the label and use the same weight as recommended. If I decide to use a heavier yarn, I will make a swatch to see how it's going to look and act.
ColoHarpare said,
I almost never use the yarn suggested. I can't always find it at my LYS, or it's a yarn I don't care for. And I've almost always got something in my stash that will work. Since I'm changing yarns, though, I always swatch. I'm sometimes surprised by what works and what doesn't.
HooliganHooker showed us her stash with a comment we could visualize!

I have 6 20-gallon tupperware type boxes filled to the brim with yarn and then some, so I very rarely use the suggested yarn unless I happen to have it handy. I do always try to get the best match to fibre and weight though!
I am fairly certain that our group can relate to these three ladies.  I have quite the stash going myself.  
Love heals, so let's keep the conversation going.  How do you use crochet to show love?  Please leave a comment here on the blog, or on the CGOA facebook page!  Do you want to connect on social media?  I can be found on facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat (It's fun!).  Join my newsletter about crafts, crochet, and education. 

Author Interview - Marie Segares - Make Money Teaching Crochet

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

This post contains affiliate links - if you click these links and make a purchase, I may be compensated. 

This year, I've had the great pleasure of working with and getting to know Marie Segares, author of the new book Make Money Teaching Crochet. I am very excited to share with you more about Marie and her new book, through this interview. You could also win your very own copy! Read on to find out how.

Marie Segares - Author

Make Money Teaching Crochet starts with goal setting, and then walks you through the steps to reach those goals. Learn business basics like pricing and payments. Determine your target audience, and learn marketing strategies to reach that audience. Develop lesson plans and tools to help you provide an organized, professional, and fun learning experience.

This book is available in several formats to suit your preferences: There's an e-book version, as well as a print Workbook Edition. The workbook version includes extra worksheets and forms.  If you prefer an electronic version but still want the extra features, there's the Ultimate Printable edition which includes the same worksheets, as well as editable/customizable forms. Whatever format you choose, this book really can help you Make Money Teaching Crochet.

Make Money Teaching Crochet - ebook version   Make Money Teaching Crochet - workbook version

I asked Marie several questions about her own background and experiences that led to this book:

Q: Your fiber arts career includes designing, publishing, blogging, teaching, podcasts, and more. Is there one aspect that you like best? If so which one and why?

Marie: I can honestly say there isn’t one aspect that I like the best. I’ve always been one of those people that enjoys rotating between different types of work to keep things interesting. It’s also a great way to make sure I have money coming in to the business from a variety of different sources all year long.

Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show podcast by Marie Segares

QOther than the CYC certification, are there any industry memberships or certifications that have helped you grow your career? How have they been useful?

Marie: When I first started my business, I joined the CGOA as an associate professional and participated in the mentor program. Mary Nolfi was my mentor and she really helped me to get my design career off the ground. I encourage any CGOA member who is interested in pursuing a crochet- or yarn-related career to ask for a mentor.

Q: Aside from the crochet business, do you have a background in accounting, business management, marketing, etc?

Marie: Yes! I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family, so there were a lot of business discussions that I got to listen to around the table in my teens. I started my career as a health educator so I had to market my classes and services to the community and use persuasion to encourage people to change their behaviors to be healthier. Later on, I moved into non-profit management and created budgets and tracked expenses for grant funds. I also earned a master’s degree in business administration at night while working full time. As part of that program, I took classes in accounting, marketing, management, and entrepreneurship.

Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Marie: I love getting the chance to meet people I wouldn’t normally get to know and learning about the way that crochet impacts their lives.

Wonder Blanket CAL on Underground Crafter

Q: Is there an age group, skill level, or other segment of students that you particularly enjoy? Why?

Marie: I’ve been teaching at a local union since 2008 and I’ve grown to love working teaching mixed-level groups. I think there’s something more dynamic about a mixed-level class. Students can help and inspire each other – and me – with their project ideas. I have taught children but I prefer working with adults. I meet a lot of great friends that way!

Q: What do (or did) you struggle with most about teaching, and how are you overcoming (or how have you overcome) that obstacle?

Marie: I think the biggest challenge for any teacher is a student who is really disruptive in a group class. Since I primarily teach adults, I have to be really diplomatic about how I engage these students. To be honest, it isn’t really an obstacle you can overcome. Each student and class situation is unique so I have to have a “bag of tricks” and try different approaches. Some students can be gently redirected while others have to be pulled aside for a more direct conversation.

Q: Do you think some face-to-face teaching experience is helpful before doing on-line videos?

Marie: I do. One of the challenges of video classes is that you don’t necessarily get the same feedback as you would have when teaching face-to-face. Even in live streaming classes, there are sometimes delays that impact the feedback you get from a student. With that being said, I do think there are some great online teachers who don’t have any face-to-face experience. I think teaching is more of an art than a science.

Justine Shawl - Underground Crafter

Q: In section 1, you talk about thinking ahead to the next 5 years. Where do you see your business 5 years from now? Any new and exciting avenues you plan to explore?

Marie: 5 years from now, I’d like to have much more video under my belt. I’d like to do some more collaboration with other businesses. And, I’d like to have at least 5 more books published!

Q: If someone was interested in hiring you to teach at an event, how should they contact you?

Marie: I can be reached on Facebook, Instagram, Ravelry, or Twitter, or via email.

You can win your own free copy of Make Money Teaching Crochet!  Marie is generously providing an Ultimate Printable edition ebook for one lucky winner. To be eligible, you must be 18 years of age or older, with a valid email address. The prize will be sent to the winner, at the email address provided in the entry.

The giveaway ends on July 8th 2016 (at 11:59pm central time). Hurry and enter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: A free review copy of Make Money Teaching Crochet was provided by Marie Segares of the Underground Crafter. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. All images of copyrighted material are used with permission.

CGOA Member Spotlight: Lorene Eppolite

Friday, June 17, 2016

I'm Marie Segares and this is the sixth post in a monthly series on CGOA Now! where I feature a CGOA member and tell her story through an interview.

Lorene Eppolite.
This month's interview is with Lorene Eppolite from Cre8tion Crochet. Lorene started designing in 2012 and she loves to make fun and easy accessories and garments. Lorene also strives to make her designs achievable for any skill level. She was named one of the Top Ten Designers by The Yarn Box in 2012 and by AllFreeCrochet in 2013, 2014, and 2015. You can find Lorene on Cre8tion Crochet or follow her on Facebook, InstagramPinterest, or Ravelry, or by subscribing to her newsletter.
All images are used with permission and are © Lorene Eppolite/Cre8tion Crochet.

The Windmill Square, free crochet pattern by Cre8tion Crochet.
Marie: How did you first get started crocheting?
Lorene: My grandmother taught me how to crochet a little bit as a child.  Basically I think it was just chaining and maybe double crochet.  Occasionally throughout my teen and early adult years I would pick it up and play for a little while.  I never made anything more than scarves or glorified baby blankets (one stitch, one color and when I ran out of yarn, the project was over, lol). 
This all changed when my best friend was expecting her first child, who just turned 6 this May.  I wanted to give her a gift that she could keep as an heirloom, so I decided to make her a baby blanket.
I was pleased with how well it came out.  The stitches were nice and even and it looked really pretty.  I decided that I wanted to make her a matching hat, so I just started playing around.  The first hat was not as pretty but it wasn’t so bad either.
Sea Breeze Summer Slouch, free crochet pattern by Cre8tion Crochet.
Marie: When did you start designing?
Lorene: I started designing at the same time, but only for personal use.  It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I ever even looked at a crochet pattern.  I taught myself from looking at pictures and lots (and LOTS) of frogging. 
I was just selling my finished items but people kept asking me for the pattern.  I decided to start a blog with my own free patterns, and it’s been history from there.
Bulky Striped Cowl, free crochet pattern by Cre8tion Crochet.
Marie: How long have you been a member of the CGOA? What’s your favorite thing about being a member?
Lorene: I joined the CGOA in 2013.  Until then I had never heard of the CGOA.  I googled “crochet professional membership” and they popped up.  This was at the time when I was really getting into designing and blogging and I wanted to be affiliated with a professional group.  I was so happy I did because I learned about their next conference, which was being held in my own state.  Only 5 hours away, and in a town where I had family.  My husband thought I was crazy when I said I wanted to go, but little did he know where this opportunity would lead me.
I had found some success before the conference but this was definitely one of the catalysts to my business booming.  I met some wonderful people in the industry as well as meeting lots of lifelong crochet friends. 
Saffron Sweet Shawl, free crochet pattern by Cre8tion Crochet.
Marie: You started out as a maker and have shared many posts on the business of crochet on your blog. What tips would you share with a crocheter just starting to charge for her/his work?
Lorene: Two things really, well maybe three.  1) Do not sell yourself short.  Learn about pricing, and learn about your demographic before pricing your items.  You can start by reading my Selling Your Crochet, a 6 part series that teaches you everything you need to know about getting started, from what to sell, where to sell, how to market yourself and more.
2) Make sure your work is of a high caliber.  Practice seamless crochet, invisible finishing, or other techniques designed to make your work professional.  Be sure to weave in your ends, well.  You don’t want them slipping out after you sell your item, or worse, having it unravel. 
3) Take good photos.  Nothing sells your work better than great photos.  Use props when possible, have an uncluttered background and make sure your pictures are in focus.  You don’t have to have an expensive camera, nowadays cell phones take excellent photos. 
Unique V-Neck Cropped Vest, free crochet pattern by Cre8tion Crochet.
Marie: What are your favorite types of crochet projects?
Lorene: Hmmm, this one really depends on my mood.  I LOVE tops, tanks, tee’s, sweaters, etc.  But I also love cowls and shawls.  I love fashion so it just seems natural to me to create items you can wear.  While I’m not so much into home decor or amigurumi, I have made a few of these types of patterns and it is fun to mix it up sometimes.  
Winter Waves Chevron Cowl, free crochet pattern by Cre8tion Crochet.
Marie: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for relaxing?
Lorene: When I want to relax I make hats, or cowls.  Something a little more mindless, that follows an easily repeatable pattern.
Flower Power Flip Flops, free crochet pattern by Cre8tion Crochet.
Marie: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for challenging yourself?
Lorene: Garments with a lot of shaping and fancy edging.  I like crocheting from charts, much more than patterns, so occasionally I’ll find a nice lace or edging chart online and play. 
Pop of Pink Vertical Chevron Bag, free crochet pattern by Cre8tion Crochet.
Marie: What are your favorite types of crochet projects to give as gifts?
Lorene: The things I give most often as gifts are scarves and cowls.  I love that they are one size fits all.
Cathedral Window 12" Square, free crochet pattern by Cre8tion Crochet.
Marie: What are you working on in 2016? What's next for you?
Lorene: So many things, never a dull moment.  Most of what I’m working on is under wraps, so I can’t share a lot about it, but it will be an exciting time for me.  Lot’s of growth and expansion is on the horizon. 
One thing I can share is that I am working on being more disciplined with my designing and blogging.  Over the last couple years, between having babies, raising kids and just general craziness, I have been too lax with organization and consistency.  I hope to release a new free pattern every week, just as soon as the craziness of getting ready for CGOA conference in 2016 is over.  I’m heading up the design competition with my friend and fellow blogger, Jessie Rayot of Jessie at Home. 

Thanks so much for sharing your love of crochet with us, Lorene, and for the volunteer work you do for the CGOA Design Competition! Readers, you can enter the competition through June 30, 2016. Find more details here on the CGOA website.

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