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really easy crochet shawl pattern

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I learned to crochet when I was ten. Even though I think of myself as more of a knitter now, I also still love to crochet. I think it's the easiest place for the newly yarn-smitten to begin, and for me, it's always a calm and quiet place to go back to when I need something more meditative for my busy hands and mind.

My friend Denise asked me to teach her how to make a simple triangle shawl last week, and although she understood what I showed her, she knew she might forget once she got home. She asked me to write it out for her, and I thought I might as well share it here too.
This pattern has only been proofed by me, so you are my test crocheters. If you catch any mistakes, please let me know Your gentle feedback regarding clarity will also be appreciated. Once I know it's all okay, I'll post a printer friendly version on Ravelry for you. For now, here you go!
This is a super simple granny triangle with some extra increases to make it nice and wide.
After the third ro…

a special sweater

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It all started with a picture. A few months ago, my grandson’s great grandfather on his dad’s side gave me this picture of himself wearing a beautiful hand knit Cowichan sweater that his mother had made for him. The photo was taken in 1979, in Tallinn, Estonia, where he was practicing for the Olympics. They are a family of sailors who have been competing - and winning - for three generations that I know of. 
Grandpa Bill was well known for his sweaters. He told me that when his competitors saw him in one of these bulky, hand knit, water-holding beauties, they knew they were in trouble because the extra weight from a wet sweater gave him an advantage.
I know next to nothing about racing sailboats, but I do know a little bit about knitting. When Bill learned this, we made a nice connection and he told me stories of his mother and of his family history. When he gave me this picture, I knew I wanted to try to recreate his sweater for his great grandson.

Without telling anyone in the fami…

slow down

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When I have a lot to do, I seem to get more done, in less time, if I slow down a little bit. It's kind of like thrashing around in the water vs. relaxing and going with the current.

It's been that kind of week for me. I'm here by myself for a few more days, and I've had a steady stream of projects in the works. I've been following my interest wherever it leads, jumping from one thing to the next, wandering back, finishing, starting, finishing another. I'm really enjoying this organic flow of creativity.

Here's what I've finished in the past week...



None of these are big projects, and the seat cushion was almost finished, so I only had to put it together. I did start another one this week, and it's almost finished, but not quite, so it didn't make the photo. The little bags are something I've circled back to many times over the years. I just love making them every so often.

The little bottles are dressed up with some customized crocheted lace…

spa week

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Rick and I live in a very small house. It’s not officially “tiny,” but 600 square feet of living space can be... cozy. It works for us. Usually. There are times when I’ll send him out to do something just so I can be home alone. He’s good about that. He does all the grocery shopping, goes to the library to write his own blog (Scattering Birdseed), and recently joined the Elks Lodge, just so he could go there to play pool with a couple of his friends. Rick is a Very Good Guy, and gives me as much space as he can.

I will admit though, that the trips he makes to California to visit his daughter and grandkids are really precious nuggets of time for me, because I get to stay home alone. I have one such nugget starting today, as a matter of fact. I have only one plan to be with other people, and the rest of the time is mine all mine. In fact, I may not even go to the twice-a-month get together of neighborhood women friends tomorrow. I’m dodging invitations, and flat out refusing to be enter…

and what do you do?

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I'm in my outdoor office this week, at the picnic table on the patio. I have a favorite vintage tablecloth, lilacs in a martini shaker, and tea in my new favorite cup, made by Charan Sachar. I'm considering a new format for my blog, which I'll try here today. I suspect that only three people actually read this, and yet I persist. I like to write, so that can be good enough. I have lots of things to talk about, so I'm going to try dividing my time here between Life Stories and Ponderings, and of course, Knitting. Feel free to tell me what you think, or even just grunt if you're out there. Really, have no idea.
Pondering...
I like meeting new people. But I hate the inevitable moment when New Person will politely raise their eyebrows and ask me, "And what do you do?" It's sort of like the human equivalent of dogs sniffing each others' butts. We need to size each other up somehow, right? What better way than to sniff out what a person does for money. 
Ev…

travel buddy scarf

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I never leave the house without my knitting. You never know when you'll get stuck waiting someplace, and I'd rather knit than stare at my phone. I like to have three projects going at any given time - something big, like a sweater, that I only work on at home, something random, like the giant crocheted "fence doily" I'm working on this week (you'll see it later), and always a small, easy, memorizable, one-skein scarf. That's the one I take along wherever I go, whether it's coffee in town, happy hour in Astoria, or a road trip where I know I need something to keep me busy in the passenger seat (or I become a very unpleasant copilot.)

My favorite scarf/shawl to take along for the ride is based on the lovely Chale Facile, by Emilie Marechal. It's free on Ravelry! I love how easy it is to make, and how absolutely wearable it is. I usually make it with fingering weight sock yarn on size 6 needles, but you can use any yarn and needles you have. One skei…

hazel's sand dollar

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As Airbnb hosts, we get an interesting array of guests here at Mermaid's Nest. Most people are perfectly nice - friendly enough coming and going, but there's no connection made, and we know we'll probably never see them again. A few are truly horrible. No point in dwelling there... we hope we'll never see them again. And then, every so often, we'll have guests who are nothing short of adorable. Those are the ones we wish would move in right next door and be our friends.

We recently hosted a family of three, just down from Seattle for the weekend. The mom and dad were great, but what was best about them was their daughter, Hazel. She was a curious and generous six year old, who loved to play on the beach, even in the rain.

When they arrived, they unloaded the car and headed straight for the sand. They came back a while later, soaking wet and smiling, with hands full of treasures. Hazel proudly showed me the whole sand dollar she'd found, and we told them where …