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.

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

Easter Outfits

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCHello my friends and flowers! Easter weekend in Germany is nice and long. With stores closed for Good Friday you can’t help but start a nice relaxing weekend early.  And a relaxing weekend (if there is such a thing when you live and care for a toddler) is just what I needed after the veritable crafting fit I’d had the week prior.  I don’t know what possessed me to think this, but a week before Easter I decided that Little Pickle and I needed matching skirts for an Easter egg hunt.  And matching skirts turned into matching outfits complete with shawls.  And then Papa needed a matching bow tie…and as you can see, I spent a lot of time at my sewing machine this week. Thanks to a very patient Papa who kept Little Pickle at bay while I sewed the fiddly bits and a very curious little one who is still happy to sit in my lap while I sew the easy parts, I was able to get them all finished.

Alas, the Easter egg hunt was not to be.  The weather was cold and wet and a soggy, teething toddler did not sound appealing to any of us so we stayed home and baked!  The Osterbrot turned out marvelously.  It was my first time using a German recipe and I was very pleased with how infrequently I needed to open my dictionary to get through it. (You can find the recipe I used here.)  I wanted to buy an Osterbrot from our local bakery so that I had something to aim for, but apparently it’s more of a Bavarian treat and we live farther north.  No matter, it’s delicious either way.

I hope you all celebrated this weekend in whichever fashion you like and for whichever reason suits you best.  Spring is truly upon us now.

Flashback – Dutch Inspired Hot Pink Shawl

This post was originally published on my old blog, From Honolulu to Eternity on September 23, 2014:

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This shawl has been a long time in the making. I started it when I saw this photo by Marian van Kooten-Stok.  I absolutely love the colors! It’s so bright and cheery and wonderful. And I needed something to do with all the leftover yarn from my Enchanted Castle Baby Blanket.  My shawl turned out a bit smaller (I think) than the original, probably because the yarn I used is fairly thin.  I feel that German worsted weight is actually much closer to DK or sport.  I also ran out of the darker pink so I wasn’t able to add a ruffle border, but I really like it without.  It works very well as a neck scarf with all the drama and volume I crave in my winter wear (and in my wardrobe in general, ha!).
You may notice I have a passenger on my back in these pictures…sometimes the baby wants to be part of what I’m doing and we just have to make it work!  Babywearing is the solution to so many of my frustrations and I think we made it work quite well!
I am so into Dutch crocheting right now. I’ve even seen some epic Polish and Norwegian designs that I love.  Come to think of it, I’ve got a whacky German crochet project as well!  It could just be a European thing.  I think I’ll be putting together an inspiration board to suss out just what it is that gets me so excited about these designs. I think it’s the colors and the whimsical everyday-ness…it’s been just the push I needed to bust out my colorful yarn and let loose a bit with my hooks.

Street Shawl Reveal

SONY DSCAs some of you know I’ve had this shawl finished for over a month and have been waiting for a properly sunny day to take photos.  Well the sun hasn’t been around these parts very much of late so I had to settle on a somewhat bright and snowy day.

Before I show you pictures let me give you some project details. This was a fantastic mindless project for me.  By the end I was crocheting without even looking at my work.  I used cotton for the whole thing, which is sort of an odd choice for winter but I really loved that neon yellow and the drape of the whole thing is just wonderful.  The yarn used is (pictured):

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I used an entire skein of Cotone for each stripe of gray/brown and just crocheted until they were used up.  What a fun way to do a pattern, letting the yarn decide!  The purple Shine worsted from Knit Picks is the splash of color on the neckline as well as the final border. The Line Pura is the line of ombre grey along the border.  The Sun City Project was my original inspiration for the whole piece; I found it on clearance at one of my local yarn shops on a very dreary day and absolutely knew that I needed to make something wearable from it to drive away the rainy sadness.  I do love a good rainy day but when there’s no break for months and months you need a little daily pick-me-up, don’t you think?

The basic granny shawl pattern was borrowed from one of my favorite crochet blogs, Haak Maar Raak’s Vintage Sweet Shawl.

As for the name, it comes from the way that the headlights of cars glisten on rainy streets. I’ve never used my headlights so much during the daytime as I do these days.  Would you like to see the whole thing?

SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCThanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to come back soon for a new pattern release (my very first!).

Sleep Crocheting

Street Shawl

Street Shawl (2)

Street Shawl (1)

There has been very little sleep to be had in this house the past few days.  Thankfully I can crochet the “granny stitch” in my sleep and without looking so I’ve been making a bit of progress. These photos are actually a day old and I’ve already added a whole new color block to the shawl today.

I often get asked how I have the time to crochet.  I have a crawling baby, volunteer work, lots to do.  I think I just prioritize crochet over housework more often than I probably should.  I also don’t spend time on a smartphone while I’m out so if the wee one falls asleep on a car trip I can sneak in a few minutes of crochet in the parking lot instead of surfing Facebook.  Crochet time sneaks into the little spare moments that happen here and there.  I can’t seem to manage any complicated patterns anymore with the sleep deprivation and baby chasing.  But the colors make me happy and I suppose that’s enough for right now.

There isn’t much that I have control over in my life at the moment and while that’s frustrating it’s also a good exercise in letting go.  This is one of the first shawls that I’ve come at with a game plan (albeit a rough one) but the plan entails a lot of letting the yarn show me what it wants.  You can see how much I’ve had left of each skein at the end of the color blocks.  Just a tad. It has me rushing through the last row wondering “will I make it? Will I have to frog this whole row?”.  Letting go.  I could get better at that.

Street Shawl Progress

Street Shawl 3

I’ve been crocheting busily away during all my free moments yesterday and today and the shawl is showing progress! I’ve finished the first skein of the grays and am adding some divisive neon yellow before slapping on another skein.  I’ve thrown caution to the winds a bit in that I’m using a few different weights of yarn and only one size of hook but I don’t think it’s affected the look of the shawl much at all (Oh dear, now I’m agonizing over whether or not I used the correct affect…effect? Could a grammar expert clue me in please?  And if said grammar expert could also kindly ignore any additional glaring grammatical errors, that would also be lovely.)

Street Shawl 5

I’m not exactly sure why I chose to call this my “street shawl” other than the fact that the grays I chose remind me of the gravel and asphalt of the road slick with rain in this dreary fall weather.  The neon yellow and magenta just spice it up a bit in a way that a person really needs on a cloudy day, don’t you think? A bit of zip and burst of color never hurt anyone.

Street Shawl 4

Thanks for joining with me today.  Once again I’d love to see what my fellow crafters are working on so please don’t be afraid to leave a comment with a link to your blog or a photo for me in the comment section! Please and thanks.  Have a glorious, crafty day!

Welcome to Wool Pickle

Hello lovely readers, if there are any of you out there.  I hope that some of you have followed me from my previous blog space to this new one.  The walls are a bit bare here and the archives quite empty but I hope to fill them with lots of woolly and artsy goodness in the times to come.  I hope you’ll join me in a bit of fun.SONY DSCA new shawl is in the works inspired by the grayness we’re experiencing in German weather of late.  I picked up some slick and shiny cotton at my local yarn shop and am adding some pop and zazz with magenta and neon yellow.  I can’t wait to see how the colors play when they come off the hook.

Sock YarnI’ve also had a bit of a falling off the wagon when it comes to sock yarn lately. Pictured are my two latest sockish purchases as well as the only sock I have ever knit. You’ll notice it isn’t even finished yet!  Such is my addiction.  Buying yarn for a type of project that I am extremely very slow at.  Eep.  But who could resist a bit of wool for baby socks? And the promise of rainbow striped socks?  Not this little knitter.  Not a bit.

If you’ve found yourself here and are a knitter, crocheter, or otherwise craftily inspired person I would love to see or hear what you’re working on! Drop me a link to your blog or just a tiny description of your creative pursuits in the comment section.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to welcome you back again soon!