WIP: Blocking the shawl

This is a full size futon, by the way. I can’t wait to get pictures of it once it’s dry and the ends are all sewn in.

It’s almost done! I need to block it like crazy to bring out the lace, and then sew in all the ends, but the end is in sight!

Undated, but late 1910s, I think.


I think the phrase “complete detailed instructions” meant something very different 100 years ago.

Even so, I do find this one really pretty, although the off center Z is a bit odd…


I discovered a collection of 1915-1918 crochet & tatting pamphlets at my university’s library.


Although these are out of copyright and I could share the entire texts with you, I just don’t have the time to photograph/scan them all.

Instead, I’ll just share some of the more amusing or beautiful patterns I come across in them.

Like these squirrels!



It’s been difficult to focus on crochet lately.

Aside from attending an academic conference, running a small conference, and applying for grants, I’ve also spent the past three weeks focused on the political situation in my home country, Taiwan.

On March 18, students protesting a bad-faith move by the majority party in the legislature to force through approval of a trade pact with China stormed and occupied the main hall of the Legislative Yuan, the Taiwanese parliament building.

Soon afterwards, thousands of protestors backed the occupying students up from outside the legislature, filling streets around the building. These protestors, although they began with the forceful act of occupying the legislature and the area around it, were peaceful and non-violent.

Sometime in the early days of the protests, the students adopted the sunflower as a symbol for their movement. Back-room, closed-door meetings have hampered Taiwan’s democracy for too long, the protestors say, and it’s time to bring them out into the light. Sunflowers crane their faces towards the sun all day long and a representation of the democratic ideal the students hope to lead Taiwan’s government to honoring. They’re now called the Sunflower Movement.

The national attention the students cause garnered resulted in an outpouring of aid and support. On March 30, over half a million people joined the students on the streets of Taipei for a protest rally. To put that in perspective, that’s over 2% of Taiwan’s population. A proportional protest in America would have to have over 6.5 million people.

I’m not in Taiwan right now, I’m across the ocean and feeling mostly useless on this side of the world. The best I can do is to be informative, since this entire protest has been poorly reported in Western media.

And when, last week, I felt overloaded by trying to absorb information and be informative, I crocheted myself a sunflower.

Another perfect pattern by my friend YuLian, but with problems introduced by yours truly.

Pattern: Geoui
Yarn: Aarlan Toledo from the Massachusetts windfall

So, before I get into how thoroughly I messed this up, let me say that the pattern is flawless and definitely worth purchasing. As soon as I feel I’ve caught up with my works-in-progress, I’m going to properly start another one of these shawls.

Geoui is one of those patterns that definitely lives up to the descriptor “potato-chippy,” which I’ve heard crafters use to describe projects where, at the end of each row, you think, “Oh, I can do just one more…”

Worked side to side, the lace edging works up really quickly, and the sections of plain double crochet race on by.

Which is how I got myself into trouble. I assumed, not looking carefully, that I had four balls of yarn in the same color. Seven edge motifs in, I realized that there were only two skeins, and that the second skein was a partial one. Augh! And the yarn is SO NICE…

I went ahead and “finished” the shawl, making it into an asymmetric paisley boteh, but I think it’s too weird to send off as a gift to the Raveler who sent me all that yarn for my acrylic granny square blanket.


I added some metal buttons and it’s now an interesting looking cowl, but it’s not really my style.

IMG_20140320_155312 (1)

Anyone think it’s the perfect addition to their wardrobe?

Ever since November, I’ve been slowly working on what’s going to be a gorgeous lace shawl whenever I finally finish it.

Maybe it’s about 70% done now?

From Clipboard

Pattern: Hanataba by Joyce (YuLian) Yu
Yarn: Ornaghi Filati Merino Oro

I received the yarn in the mail, shortly after moving back to the US last year, from a Raveler named Gossamer, appropriately enough. She and I have been internet friends for a few years based on a number of shared interests, and when she was clearing out her yarn stash last summer, I claimed this gorgeous, soft green laceweight merino in exchange for some hair toys from Taiwan.

YuLian and I have been following each other’s craft blogs for probably about as long as Gossamer and I have known each other online. Years ago, I won a copy of Hanataba, her gorgeous crochet shawl pattern, in a giveaway on her blog. We discussed how it had to wait for the perfect, happy colored yarn before I could start it. Gossamer’s merino was exactly what I was waiting for.

Hanataba is a beautiful pattern. YuLian is incredibly talented and writes very clear patterns, including charted diagrams! It’s simple without being too boring, and I trust that somehow, through the miracle of blocking, my stretchy little scarf is going to become a giant shawl.

I’m so grateful to both women, part of my community of internet crafting friends, for making this piece possible.


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