Comfort Projects

I’m writing this on a Monday and considering how Mondays can sometimes be, I thought I would gather some of the most comforting patterns I’ve completed and pass them along. These are for the most part simple and can be worked on while watching a movie or show. (The Puffs and Picots Mandala might be a bit challenging to a new crocheter, but if you’re experienced it shouldn’t be a problem.)

The Chrissy Baby Blanket (upper left photo) is something I completed last year when I was in a crochet funk. I was going through a period where every crochet project didn’t work out for one reason or another. (Kind of like what I’m going through now!) I decided to set all my WIPs (Works in Progress) aside and find something repetitive and not challenging. You can find the pattern in a booklet published by Annie’s Crochet titled Super Easy Baby Blankets by Bendy Carter. The only caveat to this pattern is you need to be willing to complete your HDC (half double crochet stitches) a bit differently and insert your hook at the “front bar” of the stitch, rather than the front and back loops where you normally would. There are detailed photos though. Once you get the hang of it, there aren’t any other pattern changes and you repeat row number 2 until the blanket is the desired size.

Snuggled next to a doll made by a dear aunt. Yarn: Caron Super Soft in Cobalt.

The next pattern, (middle top), the Picnic Basket Dish Cloth is a free pattern I downloaded from Knit Picks. If working in the front and back posts doesn’t bother you, the pattern is basically a two row repeat. And it is a quick, satisfying make. Probably the best thing about this project was the yarn, Dishie.

It is so soft and a pleasure to work with. I plan to buy this exclusively from now on for these type of projects. It’s cotton, but not like some of the rustic, hard on your hands, cottons that are sold for household projects. I’ve used and washed the dishcloths many times now and they are just as sturdy, squishy and pretty as the first time I made them.

Pattern by Kim Cameron for Knit Picks

Last Christmas, my husband bought me the Modern Crochet Mandalas Book by Interweave. I wasn’t overly excited at first as I’ve never felt pulled to crochet a mandala. But, during the few lazy days after Christmas, I thought I would give it a go. Now, I see what everyone’s saying when they talk about how addictive crocheting mandalas is! The third picture on right end of the gallery is The Tapestry Star and Puffs and Picots by Sandra Eng. I loved them so much, I made two more of the Tapestry Star and will be posting all three on my Instagram once I connect them to hoops. Again, the yarn used in this project was part of what made it so pleasurable.

For the Tapestry Star, I used Bernat Softee Baby Cotton. It provides wonderful stitch definition and is soft and smooth. Very easy on the hands and the eyes. Equally wonderful were the Bonbons by Lion Brand Yarn, which I used for the Puffs and Picots mandala. They are tiny, adorable, 2.8 oz skeins. I used the Nature packet.

Making a template to block the Puffs and Picots Mandala.
Tapestry Star in progress.

The last project pictured is the Casper Shawl, a free pattern from Lion Brand yarn. This is made with the V Stitch, which is essentially two double crochets in the middle of the V stitch below. The second row is repeated until you reach the desired length. So easy and relaxing! Again, I loved the yarn for this project. If you’re a follower of my Instagram account, you know I LOVE vibrant colors with purple being a lifelong favorite. I used Lion Brand Cupcake yarn in the color, Tutu Much. Sadly, this yarn has been discontinued. I see there are some still being sold through Etsy and Ebay though.

Wowza! Love those bold colors!

Well, that rounds out my list for right now and my Monday is almost done. Whew! Do you have some simple, soothing crochet patterns you could share? I would love to see what others have.

A Bit of a Vent—Dealing With Setbacks

At the beginning of the year, with that new-year-new-beginning feeling, I felt inspired to tackle some long-standing crochet WIPs (works in progress). I began by thinking about a trouble spot in my yarn room.

Orphan Granny Squares

This is a picture of some solid and traditional granny squares I crocheted from scrap yarn. I made them without any plan thinking I would just throw together something scrappy. Once I saw them together though, I didn’t like them. I know people make things with any scraps they have, but my perfectionistic side kicked in and there was no way I could conceive of going forward. I wound up doing nothing for months and the squares continued to clutter up the bed in my yarn room and make me crazy every time I saw them. My yarn room is supposed to be my happy place.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you insane your whole life.”

Anne Lamott, writer — Found on by Cristina Morero

So, I was determined to do something, even if it was a mistake. I took a good chunk of the squares and made them into a nice pillow top. I am very happy with it.

I decided for the back I wanted to use up some fabric stash. I was excited about this because I have wanted to learn to meld crochet and fabric together. I did some research and discovered I needed to order a special type of crochet hook. Well…okay I can wait. And besides, I will have a new skill and a new crochet hook!

With the way shipping has been lately, I had to wait longer than I thought I would. It didn’t help I kept receiving inaccurate, cheery emails from the seller, “Your package will arrive tomorrow!” But I was determined to remain positive. After all, I was making progress on my WIPs and I was proud of my stick-to-itiveness. Finally, the day came when I got the package.

Okay! Now, I will pick a fabric from my stash—or so I thought. The pieces I wanted to use weren’t the right size. Ugh….  I really had my heart set on a particular fabric. Once again, I consoled myself—“Well, I can make a trip to the fabric store and that will be fun.” At least it did go off without a hitch and that was encouraging. Once home, I consulted the crochet hook instruction booklet and found I would need to do some simple zig zag stitching around the edge of the fabric to prevent fraying when crocheted to the pillow top.

I got my machine set up and began to stitch. But for some reason, my machine didn’t want to zig zag. I tried different settings and all it would do was a straight stitch. At this point, I started to sink and felt like there’s something working against me.

Being a mental health counselor, I am very good at seeing possibility though. So, once again I come up with a positive re-frame, “My little sewing machine needs servicing anyway. I haven’t done a thing to it in 30 years.” I looked up a local shop and faithfully lugged the little one in.

To my delight, they took only a few minutes to look it over, oiled it, and it began zig zagging! I wasn’t charged a penny! Hallelujah! I triumphantly brought my faithful craft companion home.

The next day, I decided to work on another long-term frustrating sewing project that a relative asked me to do. That’s a story for another time. The zig zag worked beautifully, and I made good progress on that project. But when I went back to the fabric for my pillow, depressingly, the zig zag function wasn’t working again.

And so, that’s where I’m at. I will need to make another trip to the repair shop if I want to continue. Meanwhile, the squares, albeit joined, are still just sitting there, making me crazy. I’ve run out of re-focusing and re-frames to say to myself. I could crochet a pillow back, but that really isn’t what I want.

I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if this were the only project I experienced such bad luck, but I’ve experienced long setbacks with almost everything I’m working on lately. Truthfully, it makes it very hard for me to feel motivated or confident I can finish anything. Sometimes, it’s just hard to power through.

Interestingly, I remember feeling this way at about the same time last year. I don’t know if it has to do with the lower energy I experience during wintertime or not. The way I dealt with it then, was to pick up something simple and repetitive. It helped, but I am loathe to add more projects to the WIP pile at this point.

As I am writing this, this is the phase of the 3rd quarter moon. I’ve become more interested in pairing my energy and focus based on the cycles of the moon. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time and so, I bought the book Moonology by Yasmin Boland. This is what she has to say about the influence of the 3rd quarter moon, “Although we might feel tired during this part of the cycle, this is no time to stop or rest on our laurels. There’s tension at this time: a result of the hard angle between the egotistical Sun and the emotional Moon. … This is also a very good time to break bad habits.” The message here for me is to find the courage to try again and get the machine fixed. I need to let go of the expectation (ego) that a project will be done by a certain time. In the past, I would have just started something else (emotion). But I want to break the bad habit of creating more and more projects for myself when I have so many in progress. In the short term, I feel some relief trying something new, but in the long run, that’s just one more thing on the WIP pile.

That reminds me, I think I wrote about something similar in my last blog post—Anything worth doing won’t be simple. Sometimes, it’s annoying as you know what, but in the end, the finished piece is more precious to us. And so, I keep on.

Have any crafting war stories you would like to vent about?

Favorite and Not-So-Favorite Projects of 2021

Photo credits (left to right) Holly Trim Table Runner by Michelle Wilcox for Yarnspirations; Pumpkin Bookmark by me; (Photo collage--starting at top left corner and going clockwise) Granny Keep Warm Cowl by Sandra Paul/Cherry Heart Designs Blog; Granny Stripe Blanket by me; Picot Headband by Ali/The Turtle Trunk; Zipper Pouch by Caroline/Kandou Patterns; Granny Scarf by me; and Ivy Cowl by Natalia Kononova/Outstanding Crochet

I am not the best at reflecting on the projects I’ve completed to discover what I liked/disliked or what worked and what didn’t. As a fan of astrology, I tend to think it has something to do with being an Aries. Aries are great at starting and moving forward. I just want to get going and keep going! Rams see their objective and keep hammering away–sometimes fruitlessly……But this year, the images from my Instagram account have helped. The pictures are such a good memory jog. Here are the takeaways grouped by surprises and not-so-surprising.


  • Frustrating projects can be a good thing. Or anything worth doing is hard. (Paraphrased from Theodore Roosevelt.) In my group of favorites, there are two projects I started and had to frog or rip out multiple times–the Ivy Cowl and the Zipper pouch.

The Ivy Cowl is the hardest crochet pattern I have ever completed. It is not a pattern you could casually follow while watching television. Each row is filled with a variety of stitches and it’s very easy to lose your way. At one point I did almost give up. But I have been striving to be better at finishing what I start. Plus, I was obsessed with the look of this pattern.  I am so proud about how mine looks. 

The Zipper pouch took almost a year. I would get really discouraged and have to set it aside. I think I ripped it apart at least 3 times because I’m rubbish at zippers. There was some extra lining I had to do too, because the flannel wasn’t substantial enough. I had to have things my way and not use the suggested fabric. This caused more frustration and steps. But I so admire the project bags people show off on Instagram and I wanted to make at least one for myself. Also, the project was important to me because I wanted to upcycle from my stash of worn out or little used clothing and household items. I am a big believer in using what you have and reducing waste. For the pouch, I used my husband’s old work pants to line it and his old jeans on the bottom half. I also used some light curtain material to plump up the flannel panel (remnant I bought at Joann’s) on the top of the bag. I use this pouch for my crochet hooks and it is one of my most beloved accessories for crochet. 

  • I actually like my own designs or experiments and sometimes others do too: The Pumpkin Bookmark and the Granny Stripe Throw. 

You would think that as a Mental Health Therapist, I would have self-esteem problems whipped. Sadly, no. My self-doubt holds me back from more projects and ideas than I care to admit. A few times this year, I gave that critical narrative a push back. 

For instance, the Granny Stripe Throw, was a yarn stash busting project. When I lined up all the colors I wanted to use up, I thought, “This will look awful.” But, I really wanted to give it a go because of my admiration for others’ scrappy blankets on social media. Once I saw the finished piece, I was still dubious. However, I went ahead and posted it to Instagram because if nothing else, I wanted to honor the hours I put into it. I was so shocked when Yarnspirations messaged me and asked if they could use it for their social media post! I realized how overly critical I had been. Someone else found worth where I didn’t.

The same stinky self doubt was keeping me company when I put together my little Pumpkin bookmark. I was experiencing a good impulse to play with yarn, but it was nearly drowned out by the domineering thought that if I don’t use a pattern, I will make some awful mistake. (Really? I mean so what?!) Once I finished, I was truly surprised to be happy with it and posted it to social media. It received a good number of likes, which dispelled the ridiculous “No one will like it.”

Not So Surprising

Other takeaways

  • Send a donation rather than start a project you don’t love. When I start a project because I’m trying to support a designer or small business, and not because I’m in love with the project, I can know it will hang around, unfinished, for awhile. I really don’t like a bunch of unfinished projects in my yarn room. It creates a mood of obligation and I sigh every time I see it. This isn’t what I want for my happy place. I think I will send the designer a donation instead. 
  • I completed about 27 projects this year. I say about because I didn’t photo document all of them.
  • I don’t like custom commissions. I did one and it was a pain. I undercharged for the amount of time it took me to make it.  If it’s something I already made or the customer has a straightforward pattern without changes–that could be alright.


I enjoyed this reflection. It was easier and more pleasurable to undertake with the use of photos. I appreciated learning some valuable lessons that will make my crafting more meaningful and waste less materials. I guess I can see why this process is useful. *wink*

How was your year and what are some takeaways for you?