I’m back!

You read right, there will be a new baby to knit for next year!  Just as I was excitedly picking out little sweater patterns (I bought this one) a cruel twist of fate caused my morning sickness to come in the form of an extreme aversion to yarn. What in the holy heck is up with that?  Up until yesterday I didn’t want to smell, see, or touch yarn of any kind. I have never heard of anything so odd or stupid.  The overflowing baskets of wool that adorned every flat surface of my living room were hastily stashed in the farthest corners of my craft room and my many shawls were taken down from their hooks and folded neatly into the back of the closet.  Instagram wasn’t checked, woolly podcasts were avoided, and the only exposure to yarn that I could stomach was reading the Yarn Harlot’s blog.  I could barely think about knitting without experiencing a wave of nausea.

In a way, maybe that break was a good thing. I can sometimes get a little obsessive about things *ahem* and wool was sort of taking over the house…and my life.  Creative outlets are a necessity for me and now that I’m a parent, they’ve become an even bigger key to my happiness…but creative outlets shouldn’t cause stress. I was starting to feel stressed that I had so many projects on the go, stressed I wouldn’t finish them before G outgrew them, stressed about getting a new blog post up, and stressed that this blog wasn’t good enough.  Things like exercise, cooking, drawing, and reading were taking a back seat to my yarn addiction and that wasn’t making me happy. Over the past month I’ve been simplifying my life and my surroundings, and re-focusing on what is important to me.  So far I love where it’s taking me.

Enjoy your day!

Wool in Amsterdam

My family and I went on a rather exciting trip last weekend up to The Netherlands. We saw the biggest tulips I’ve ever laid eyes on – many were taller than my toddler with blooms bigger than my hand! – a chilly North Sea beach, and more cyclists in one place than I could have imagined.  Our trip was full of interesting sights like this Michael Jackson statue at a McDonald’s in Best and a good deal of yarn bombing. Everything we saw was exciting, new, and memorable…especially on our trip to the yarn shop, Stephen + Penelope.  First, let me advise you strongly against driving a car through Amsterdam. It’s a bad idea. Oh, was that obvious to you? Well silly us thought we would save some of our precious time (we only had a little more than a day to see Holland) by driving into the city instead of taking the train for a little obligatory wool shopping.  Time-saving was not what went down. Not only did it cost us 10 Euro to park for two hours, but we very nearly ended up at the bottom of a canal in a borrowed station wagon! Parallel parking a long car on a canal without a guardrail is mildly terrifying and I wasn’t even the one driving. Eek! Once we parked it was time to meander through the picturesque bicycle-covered streets in search of Penelope Craft Shop.  I may have squealed when I saw it. Sorry, not sorry. Even though the legendary Stephen West of West Knits wasn’t there (he was in Germany! Ach, such luck that we would swap countries for the weekend) the shop was just wonderful. I got to see my first Madelinetosh in person (it’s exquisite and vibrant and gorgeous) and meet the lovely lady behind A Pin A Day.  Overall I was just happy to poke around in oh-so-much yarn and goodies. So what came home with me?  I tried to be good but a few luxury skeins happened to hop into my basket.  A skein of Madelinetosh, a skein of Malabrigo, four skeins of Icelandic Lett Lopi, some Wrapture wool wash, and two little patterns. Oh, and a shop bag! That one was suggested by Mr. Pickle who thought I had so many projects that another bag couldn’t hurt. I love that man.  Not many men I know would drive to Amsterdam, parallel park on a canal, and spend their only hour in the city at a yarn shop. That is love. I can’t wait to show you what becomes of all these woolly goodies, but for now I have a pair of wool soakers with a  deadline, and they’re not going to knit themselves. Happy making!


Neon Toddler Socks

I LOVE the color of these socks. Who wouldn’t want some hot green socks?  My toddler loves them and stole them just as soon as they came off the needles.  Seeing them here I realize I could have used smaller needles because the gauge is a little loose (or maybe my cereal box toddler sock forms are just too big).  These socks went through the ringer while they were in progress. They rode around in a few different purses and diaper bags and came together over the course of several car rides and naps.  There are plenty of mistakes, twisted stitches, and ladders but I hardly think the toddler will mind just yet.  ‘m hopeful that we have just a few more cool spring days left for her to wear them!

Happy making!

My Vibrant Lonely Tree Shawl

I had a really wonderful time knitting this shawl.  I’ve wanted a lacy leaf-patterned knit shawl for ages but didn’t quite have the courage to start a lace chart with a toddler underfoot.  Then I saw how easy and straightforward The Lonely Tree Shawl was.  Most of the knitting took place on a very long drive (thanks to German construction season) to the Bavarian Alps while the toddler snoozed and the mister drove.  I’m so lucky.

I used Tosca Light  by Lang Yarns in color 0053.  I held two strands from two skeins together and I’m really enamored with the effect. I was a bit worried that the oranges and greens would mix and make mud but they played really well together.  The only complaint I had about this pattern was that I wished I could keep knitting when I reached the end of the chart!  I had a good bit of yarn leftover and I usually go for a bigger shawl, though this one drapes just right over my shoulders or around my neck.  As luck would have it, Silvia Bo Bilvia released The Elder Tree Shawl with an endlessly repeatable chart and variations for any weight of yarn (it’s a paid pattern whereas The Lonely Tree Shawl was free). I might go for that one next time! Probably would have done it this time if I’d seen it before now.

So, do I have enough shawls yet? Well, of course the answer is NEVER.  I’m a shawl girl, what can I say?  If I had to justify myself I would tell you that this is my first knitted shawl, the rest are all crochet. It has the most wonderful drape and texture and I’ve been taking every opportunity to wear it before the full-blown summer heat hits us.  You just can’t have enough shawls, I tell you.

Until next time! Happy crafting.

Flashback – Scottish Princess

This post was originally published on my old blog, From Honolulu to Eternity, on June 17, 2014.

What a lovely day for another lovely!  This week I finished a new princess you may recognize as the fiery redhead from a recent animated picture.  This one was a special request from a friend of mine and think it turned out darling.  I hope her little girl has a lot of fun with this Scottish princess.


Flashback – Ice Princess Lovey

This post was originally publshed on my old blog, From Honolulu to Eternity, on Tuesday May 20, 2014. I still have this lovey in the back of the car. I think she might be in need of a bath!

Life with a baby makes crafting into a whole new ball game.  I’ve got a giant basket of half-finished shawls and various yarny things (what’s new) but no time to finish them! When I do get time to craft, it’s nearly impossible to get more than ten solid minutes and so it feels like I can’t get any sort of traction on my big projects. What does that leave me with? Baby projects!

Last week, on a car trip up into the mountains, I finished a new toy for Baby G.  You may notice a resemblance to a certain princess who recently starred in an animated feature this winter…. Baby G has no idea who she is, but I just can’t get enough of the movie.
You can find the pattern I used here. It’s amazingly customize-able and easy to follow!  Worth the $4.50, for sure.

Rapunzel/Tangled Wigs

This post was originally published on my old blog, From Honolulu to Eternity, on Sunday August 12, 2012

After almost a month of crochet madness, I was able to see the fruits of my labor enjoyed (or at least tolerated) by the little girls they were intended for.

This is my first freestyle crochet project and I really love the way they morphed into art by the end.

And now I think I’ll go get some much needed rest.

**I created the pattern for the Rapunzel wigs but the crowns were adapted from these fabulous hooking ladies:
Princess Tiara    Large Princess Tiara    Toddler Princess Crown
Thank you for making your patterns free to the public.

Formal Lace Shawl

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCPicMonkey Collage   It’s finished! It’s been blocked! And my toddler didn’t eat any pins off the blocking board.  I call this a win, win, win situation.  The lace is shiny and lustrous and has a beautiful drape, perfect for frolicking in meadows (or my backyard).  I hope it’s also perfect for formal events but I can’t be sure until Saturday.  The result is totally worth the crazy, struggling process of making it (click that link if you want the gory details). Now I’ve just got the issue of styling and accessorizing to worry about.  Wait, what do you mean a shawl is an accessory? No, no, no, the shawl is the main event!  Everything must compliment the shawl.  I’m not going to tell you all how many times I’ve tried on my outfit, thrown it back into the closet, and dragged it back out again so that I could glare at it better. I think I made the classic error of investing so much love and excitement into this shawl that there isn’t an outfit in the world (or my price range) that can measure up to it. So right now the shawl, dress, and I are in a cooling-off period. Mister Lace Shawl is buried in the back of my closet with the evening dress and I’m not going to look at either of them all day.  This is good because I’m actually very busy today.  I’ve got an important meeting to attend, a toddler to occupy, a potluck dish to whip up, and a good book to read.  Speaking of books, have you heard of Women Are Scary?  I literally just held back tears through the first chapter because I felt so much hope while reading it.  Nobody really tells you how lonely motherhood can be, and if they do you don’t believe them because babies. Babies are cute. Pattern notes if you’re interested:  Pattern is Maia Shawl by Lisa Naskrent. I used an entire three balls of Lace Lux by Lana Grossa and had to cut out a border repeat to make that happen. I would caution against using Lace Lux if you tend to make mistakes because it is nearly impossible to rip out.  The wool surrounding the metalic thread gets tangled very easily and I may or may not have used a seam ripper to frog my swatch for extra yarn… I used a size 5mm hook instead of the recommended size because I’m cool like that and I wanted a lacier shawl. Well, have a lovely day, all!  I hardly know what to do with my hands now that I’ve finished my shawl but I think I recall having one or five works-in-progress to keep me busy… Talk soon!

How (not) to crochet a lace shawl

SONY DSCStep 1: Spend at least one hour carefully choosing yarn to match an evening gown that you haven’t tried on yet. Do not have a pattern in mind while you shop.  It’s much easier to find the pattern after you’ve limited yourself by the amount and type of yarn you’ve bought.  Bonus points for bringing your fussy toddler and exhausted husband with you to the yarn shop.

Step 2: Try on dress.  When dress does not fit properly, have a small meltdown. Consider sacrificing knitting hours for extra jogging hours in order to become both shorter and less lumpy. Have a good laugh when you come to your senses.

Step 3: Pick a shawl pattern after no less than three hours on Ravelry.  You should make sure to take into account how many meters of yarn you’ve purchased so you’re sure to have enough. Or just pick any pretty pattern you like and ignore all pattern notes.  There’s no way this shawl can take 1,000 meters and you’ll most definitely be fine with the 600 you’ve bought.

Step 4: Begin crocheting.  Choose any size hook you like!  This is supposed to be fun! Bonus points for starting the shawl in a moving car while riding down a winding, country road while simultaneously trying to sooth a toddler and balance your ipad with the pattern on one knee.

Step 5: Frog first 20 rows because you did not read the pattern all the way through before charging blindly ahead.  Instead of a triangular shawl you have started to crochet a lace amoeba.  Since your yarn was rather expensive, frog what you’ve created and start fresh.

Step 6: Come to the terrible realization that you can’t rip back the amoeba because the yarn you’ve chosen has fused to itself.  Narrowly avoid meltdown by breaking yarn and tossing your lace amoeba into a cupboard.

Step 7: Crochet madly for a few hours until you have a nice chunk of lace.  Feel smug and confident that you’ll have this shawl finished in plenty of time.  Only work on the shawl when you’re bored of other projects or need something fancy for your Instagram.

Step 8: Panic. You’ve run out of yarn and the shawl is puny.  Raid your stash.  When you realize that nothing in your stash goes well with “shiny”, come to terms with the fact that you just need to suck it up and buy another ball, even if it is rather expensive. You’ve already come this far, don’t wimp out now. Maybe you can find a good deal on the Internet.  Bonus points for choosing a colorway that has been discontinued.

Step 9: Procure yarn from local yarn shop. Hope the dye lots aren’t horrendously different.  Crochet leisurely.  Now that you’ve purchased a whole new ball you will be able to make a huge shawl and have loads of wool leftover to crochet something fancy like earrings. No worries.

Step 10: Panic. You are running out of yarn.  Do some math, cut out repeats, crochet quickly.  The faster you crochet, the less likely that you will run out of yarn.SONY DSC

Step 11: Cry.  You have run out of yarn on the final row of your border.

Step 12: Go and find the lace amoeba that you weren’t able to frog.  Procure seam ripper.  Gently pry stitches apart until you have salvaged enough yarn to finish the border.  Bonus points if you have a toddler who will destroy your house while you do this. Watch as she hides your credit cards and driver’s license under the rug.  Hopefully you have a backup seam ripper because she will hurl the one you’re using (lid on, thankfully) into the oblivion.SONY DSCSONY DSC

Step 13:  Rejoice! And block. Victory is yours.  I hope you have enough pins.

My shawl is finally blocking and I am hiding from my crochet hooks for the night. What a whirlwind.  Thankfully I’ve found an evening gown that matches my yarn and still have four more days to string some pearls to tie it all together.  I can’t wait to show you all what the shawl looks like after blocking! Isn’t it such a mystical process?  Watch this space for sparkly updates soon.SONY DSC