Yearly Archives: 2015

Hurray 2016!!!!

Wishing you a year filled with rainbows and pots of gold. With ups and downs and bends in the road. With unexpected vistas and adventures.

But most of all…



Free pattern: Rudolph ornament!

This cute Rudolph started out as an experiment with home made amigurumi eyes (remind me to write another post about that!).
A friend of mine had been hinting for a while that she’d like a cute ornament to hang in her Christmas tree, so once I had the eyes, I combined them with her wish into one efficient, doe-eyed package of cuteness. With antlers. Waaaaaah.


Project will cost around 4-6 hours to make, depending on your speed and experience. It’s worked in continuous rounds.

Rudolph the red-nosed Christmas tree ornament

– brown, black, green, red, white yarn
– pair of amigurumi eyes (or picot knots, felt eyes, whatever else you prefer)
– tapestry needle
– stuffing
– pair of scissors.

HEAD (brown)
NB: You’ll start by working around a chain, not in a magic loop!
Round 1: ch 5
Round 2: sc in 2nd ch from hook, 2sc | in last ch, do 3sc | 2sc | inc (10 st)

(Neatest way to crochet into a chain)

Round 3: inc, 2sc | in next 3 st, inc | 2sc, inc, inc (16 st)
Round 4-6: sc around (16 st)
Round 7: *inc, 1sc* four times, inc, 7sc (21 st)
Round 8-9: sc around (21 st)
Round 10 (short rows): *ch, turn, 12sc* twice
Round 11: sc around (21 st)

Start stuffing head. Attach eyes between round 7 and 8 or 8 and 9. Place them close together for that goofy ‘Wallace and Gromit’ look:).

Round 12: *dec, 5sc* three times (18 st)
Round 13: sc around (18 st)
Round 14: *dec, 1sc* six times (12 st)

Finish stuffing.

Round 15: dec six times (6 st)

Cut yarn, pull through and weave close with tapestry needle.

BODY (brown)
Round 1: 6sc in magic loop.
(Don’t know how to make a magic loop? Here’s a tutorial!)
Round 2: inc in every st (12 st)
Round 3: *inc, 1sc* six times (18 st)
Round 4-7: sc around (18 st)

Start stuffing.

Round 8: *dec, 4sc* three times (15 st)
Round 9: *dec, 3sc* three times (12 st)

Finish stuffing.

Round 10: *dec, 2sc* three times (9 st)
Round 11: sc around (9 st)

Cut yarn, pull through. Flatten ‘neck’ (not stuffed).
Sew onto head so that head tilts a bit forward.

ARM (black/brown, make 2)
Round 1: 6sc in magic loop with black. Finish off, sew in end. Attach brown thread invisibly (Here’s a tutorial!).
Round 2 (brown): *inc, 1sc* three times (9 st)
Round 3-6: sc around (9 st)

Cut yarn, pull through. Flatten top of arm. Sew arms on, up around 2/3rd of the body height (leaving room for the scarf).

ANTLER (black, make 2)
Round 1: ch 9
Round 2: sc in 2nd ch, 7sc along chain (8 st)
Round 3: ch, turn. Go into bl of first sc and one loop of first ch. 4 sl st ‘along the side’ of round 2. Ch 4, sc in 2nd ch, 2sc.

You should now have a forked shape. Cut yarn, pull through, and attach the ‘fork’ to the ‘main stem’. Weave yarn back down to the antler base and sew onto the head.

SCARF (green, white, red)
Round 1 (C1): foundation sc 4, ch, turn
Round 2 (C1): 4sc, pick up new color, turn
Round 3 (C2): 4sc – crochet over C1 with the first sc – ch, turn
Round 4 (C2): 4sc, pick up C3, turn
Round 5 (C3): 4sc – crochet over C1 and C2 with the first sc – ch, turn
Round 6 (C3): 4sc, pick up C1, turn


Cut off long strand of yarn, pull through. With wrong side facing,
fold double, bring up ‘turning side’ to ‘changing color side’
and sew together. With right side facing, arrange around neck,
sew one end onto the chest and the other end to the side of the jaw.

EAR (brown, make 2)
Round 1: 6sc in magic loop
Round 2: *inc, 2sc* two times (8 st)
Round 3: *inc, 3sc* two times (10 st)
Round 4-6: sc around (10 st)

Flatten, fold double. Ch, turn, make 3 sl st on top of ear. Cut yarn, pull through. Attach underneath antlers at a downward slant for maximum cuteness.

NOSE: with red yarn, go in and out a row of stitches vertically, on the front of the snout.

Now all you need to do is attach a loop of your choosing to the top of the head (between the antlers) and you’re DONE!

feel free to use these notes for whatever (commercial) project you desire! I appreciate a mention or link, but it’s not necessary.
Please DO NOT take this pattern, or the images, and charge people money for it.

Have fun, and happy whatever you celebrate!! 🙂


What’s hookin’? – Interconnected (art tapestry)

I spent all of October and November on this commissioned art tapestry, and I finally sent it out today! (!!!) It’s the first time I worked on something so big and, more importantly, FINISHED IT. Boy, oh boy. The emoticon for my mood right now would be a monkey diving into a pile of bananas.

Earlier, I wrote a post about the how and why of this project. For now, suffice it to show you the end result:


Interconnected, 100 x 100 cm (40 x 40 inches)
Crocheted in mercerised cotton

The idea for this came from my friend Hannah Sternberg, who wrote the book ‘Bulfinch’, about a monk and a knight lost in the present time. For the accompanying art show she’s organizing, she asked me to come up with an artwork inspired by the book.

After a lot of research, I settled on making a monochrome, medieval-inspired tapestry with motifs that might have existed back then. And I called it ‘Interconnected’ because…well, let’s be annoying and artisty here, and say ‘because that’s what it was supposed to be called’. There are also more rational reasons, but I won’t bore you with them.

You can see Interconnected live from January till the end of February at:

CHAW (Capitol Hill Arts Workshop)
545 7th St SE,
Washington, DC 20003

…and now, I’m going to eat a banana. (YAY!!)


Goals: catalyst or kryptonite? (a post about NaNoWriMo)

Goals are the perfectionist’s kryptonite.

Yeah, I know, quite a statement. But it’s true – at least for me. Some writers thrive on goals, others choke on them. And since NaNoWriMo is all about goals, this might be a good time to assess in what category you belong.

So writers, check in with yourself: goals, catalyst or kryptonite?


First of all: what is NaNoWriMo?

Says Wikipedia:

National Novel Writing Month (also known asNaNoWriMo /ˌnænˈrm/na-noh-RY-moh) is an annual internet-based creative writing project which challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel between November 1 and 30.

The first of November was this last Sunday, so as we speak aspiring writers all across the globe are popping their finger joints and stacking up on coffee and playing ‘Eye of the Tiger’ on repeat. An uplifting notion.

Goalgetters, rejoice!
So why would you participate in this or any other writing challenge? In other words: what’s the use of writing goals*?

*= in this context, I mean quantitative goals, like ‘a 1000 words a day’ or ‘finishing my manuscript three months from now’.

Well, most of us flawed humans are, on a day-to-day basis, lazy and scared and set in our trusted ways. We’re conservatives by nature. We’ll do anything to keep scary, uprooting change from happening. Therefore, for a lot of people, setting a writing goal can be a much-needed kick in the butt. It can tip the scales from ‘boy, I wish I could find the discipline to write every day’ to ‘okay, since I HAVE to have a 1000 words by tomorrow I’ll set my alarm at six and do my writing in the morning’. Dandy! Suddenly you’re an achiever!

So in this case, and that’s important, THE GOAL LOWERS THE PRESSURE. It doesn’t matterwhat you write, just that you are writing. Here’s a handy checklist to see if writing goals can be a catalyst for you:

  • You spend a lot of time on concepts, thoughts and ideas, but little time behind your keyboard.
  • For years, you’ve been toying with the idea of writing, but something else always takes priority.
  • You feel like you never get anything done, or at least, not as much as you would like.
  • You have a hard time finishing stories or manuscripts.
  • You get hung up on writing THE MOST ORIGINAL THING, like, EVER, and you end up weighing every word thrice and getting stuck on page one.
  • You know you’re a slacker by nature.

Goalgetters, beware!
Writing goals are a two-handed sword: setting a goal automatically means that you can fail. No biggie though, right?

Well, here’s the thing. To a perfectionist, at least the kind of perfectionist I am, failure IS a biggie. It’s a huge-ie. It’s a laying-awake-in-the-middle-of-the-night-and-becoming-self-destructive-with-blame-and-guilt-ie. In general, a perfectionist is someone who’s mortally afraid to fail, and pins their entire sense of self-worth on completing (self-set) tasks successfully – and the standard for ‘success’ is usually impossibly high.

(here’s a cool post that explains it perfectly)

So yeah, to me setting a strict and rather far-fetched goal – finish a whole novel in a month, why dontcha? – is really like kryptonite. To me, THE GOAL HEIGHTENS THE PRESSURE. Here’s a checklist to see if this goes for you, too:

  • Once you’ve set a goal, you start feeling nervous and unpleasant, like ‘OMG the clock is ticking!!’. The goal becomes paramount in your thoughts, like a giant roadblock.
  • You always make your to-do-lists too long, telling yourself you’ll feel good if you do half; but you still end up feeling like you should have done it all.
  • Your day is filled with purposeful activities from dawn till dusk.
  • As a writer, you push and push yourself. You don’t let up or ‘go with the flow’.
  • You’re a hard worker by nature. You are super competitive.
  • You feel easily stressed, threatened and/or under pressure.

Finding balance
It’s cool though (to quote Eminem (’cause why not)). I’ve learned to find ways around my choking perfectionism (such as creating an alter ego). I’ve also learned – and am learning – TO BE KIND TO MYSELF. And if I can do it, so can you.

My ‘goal’ for NaNoWriMo
What I want right now is to finish this version of my novel. What I want is to trust that this version is going to be good enough to show to agents. And, most importantly: what I want is to keep my writing as organic and, well, FUN as it is right now.

So what about you??
Any writing goals for November? Feel inspired, or just plain scared? Don’t let NaNoWriMo be your kryptonite, okay? Writing goals can be inspiring and freeing (not to mention a swift kick in the butt) as long as you keep track of why you’re setting the goal in the first place (TO HELP YOURSELF).

So, go forth and be proliferous…and HAVE FUN EVERYONE!!

Why lowering your expectations is a good thing (sometimes:))


So, I baked a pear pie today.

Not exactly an extraordinary feat, right? Well, maybe for the average person, it isn’t. But when I woke up this morning, I felt so sore and tired, I thought all I’d be able to do was lie in bed and maybe crochet a little. For me, baking that pear pie means I aced my day.

If there’s one thing that being chronically ill teaches you, it’s how to lower your expectations. For the longest time I felt bad about spending whole days in bed, writing and crafting but not being able to, say, get my own groceries – because it wasn’t ‘normal’.
I wasn’t able to let go of normal. I kept comparing myself unfavourably with normal, and falling short. Until one day somebody said: “What if this IS your normal? I mean, societal norms aside, is this life really so terrible?”

And I realized: you know what, it’s not. It may not look like the average life of somebody my age – but it actually feels pretty fulfilling, to me. Letting go of the norm has enabled me to reset my whole idea, all my expectations, of what a good life should be and what it should look like. It has set me free.

This is what they call a blessing in disguise. And it doesn’t just apply to chronically ill people, though it does seem like people who’ve had a lot of adversity in their lives often have an easier time with this lesson. But really, I think this is true for everyone:

Once you let go of your expectations, you discover that anything can be happiness. That’s it. It’s that simple.
An impromptu meetup with old friends in a bar can be happiness. A smile on an elevator can be happiness. Baking a pear pie on a rainy day? Definitely happiness.

PS. It’s delicious. 🙂