Handmade with love. And snark.

Crafty Goals

life, crochetlauren schoenerComment

You ever have one of those days (or years) where you just don’t feel like doing anything at all? I’ve struggled with lack of motivation for what feels like forever. It’s so much easier to avoid doing things, ya know? Especially when also dealing with mild depression and anxiety.

But that’s caused me to accumulate this long list of goals that I haven’t actively been working towards. A list of things that, if I weren’t so unmotivated, and/or introverted, might be fairly easy to accomplish. I’m going to post part of that list here – these are just some of the goals I have that are related to my crafty endeavors. Maybe you folks, if anybody reads this, will help hold me accountable to this list.

They aren’t in any particular order; I’ve listed them as they’ve popped into my head over the past few months.

  • Teach crochet classes, preferably at 757 Makerspace’s studio space. *
  • Participate in a craft fair, flea market, or other such art show
  • Increase sales via / Etsy shop
  • Have a popup shop in Norfolk, maybe shared with other independent creators
  • Create a yarn bomb on a larger scale than I’ve done in the past
  • Make a vlog about my crafting failures, because people usually only post their successes and it’s kind of intimidating to see people make such lovely things without seeing their trial/error process
  • Organize a Night Market in Norfolk

Of course, these are the broad goals. I’m working on breaking them down into smaller bits so they don’t seem so daunting.

What goals have you set for yourself? How have you struggled with them? Do you have any advice or tips on helping me accomplish any of my goals? Leave a comment!

*I’ve already taken small steps to make this one happen. Keep an eye out for updates, I guess.

Where in the world did July go?!

crochet, life, yarn bomblauren schoenerComment

A while ago I posted that I wanted to give away crochet flowers, and that I would be holding a contest and people would have until July 23rd to enter. 

Well, I didn't really advertise that very well, because on July 6th, I started feeling ill, and I didn't completely recover until over 2.5 weeks later. It felt like a super flu, and when the doctor finally put me on antibiotics for a respiratory infection on July 15th, they made me feel nauseated. And I had to take them for a week. I did eventually start feeling myself again, but only a few days ago.

Needless to say, I haven't really done much of anything for the month of July, and I feel really terrible about that. SOOO. I'm going to fine-tune the contest and run it differently and then annoy the crap outta all of you with reminders. Stay tuned! 

(Oh, and I've learned not to take my health for granted, because being sick is very unpleasant, but I didn't really realize that until my health was briefly compromised. Take care of yourselves, both physically and mentally, please!)

Making cities more flowerful since 2014

crochet, yarn bomblauren schoenerComment

In March of 2014, I started #floweryourcity as a way to make my city brighter, more colorful, and happier.

And now I’m organizing a worldwide #floweryourcity to do the same for cities all over the world. If you’d like to participate, all you have to do is knit or crochet your favorite flower pattern in any color and then place it somewhere in the city where you live on the September Equinox - September 23, 2015.

Here’s the best part: if you can’t knit or crochet, I WANT TO SEND YOU FLOWERS. I’m running a contest on Instagram and will be sending crocheted flowers to the top 15 entries.

Basically all you need to do is take a photo of the place in your city where you would like to beautify, post the photo, and then tag me, including the tag #floweryourcity. If your account is private, I won’t be able to see it! You have until July 23 to post a photo, and I will pick the winners on July 25. Once the winners have been picked, I will gather further details about shipping.

There’s no limit as to where you live; I will send flowers ANYWHERE.
If you have questions, please comment here!!

Motivation, Accountability and Me

life, crochetlauren schoenerComment

I’m a procrastinator. I will not deny that. I find that I work better when nearing a deadline. I focus more, because I realize that yes, I absolutely need to have this project done by X day/time. I hunker down and get things done under the wire. If projects don’t have a deadline and I’m just making them for a gift, or to (eventually) list for sale on my website, I almost never complete them. I found myself getting into this habit in college. I’m pretty sure I understand why, too.


Back in my grade/middle/high school days, my mom never had to say to me “Do your homework.” I came home from school and sat down and did my homework. I held myself accountable. I wanted to get good grades and make my mom proud of me. The idea that my mom might be disappointed by me was a HUGE motivator. Because my mom was (and still is) the coolest person ever.  And here’s why.


My parents split when I was young. Kindergarten? First grade? I don’t remember exactly. But I know the exact moment when I found out their divorce had been finalized. I was in third grade. My mom collected me and my sisters from school that day and we drove from Michigan to Pennsylvania to attend my cousin’s wedding. My mom had told us that we wouldn’t be able to go to the wedding if the divorce hadn’t been finalized. But we went. So it was. Though, third grade was a long time ago so it’s entirely possible that I just made all of that up in my brain.


So there’s my mom. Single. Raising three kids essentially alone. In a place where she had no family but her daughters. (We had moved from Pennsylvania, away from her family and friends, because my dad had gotten a job in Michigan.) She had to get a job, something she had never intended on doing after becoming a mother. She had to figure out finances, daycare for 3 kids, having a social life, and making it seem like everything was hunky-dory for her daughters who weren’t really old enough to understand relationships and how life works.


And it was rough. For all 4 of us. For a long time. But we all tried to make the best of it. One year for Christmas, my mom bought each of us a Game Boy. TO THIS DAY I cannot figure out how she pulled that off. But I’m eternally grateful that she somehow managed it.


But here’s the thing. I grew up watching my mom work, and work HARD. She had 2 jobs; she took ballroom dance lessons and worked hard at that too. When we got older, we became latchkey kids. We looked after ourselves, and each other. Sometimes we failed at that. Two specific memories of me failing to be a good older sister to Amanda come to mind. (Sorry you broke your collarbone. But really, it was your own fault. Love you!) But our mom trusted us to come home safely, to have a snack, sit down, do our homework, and generally behave while she was working to keep us clothed and fed and cared for.


So I worked hard because mom worked hard. Luckily I was somehow one of those people who didn’t really have to study too hard in order to succeed. I feel like if I had actually done some serious amounts of studying, I would’ve done much better. I mean, I DID maintain an A average, but you know those kids who somehow manage to get a GPA above a 4.0? Yeah, those guys were jerks.


And I think my ability to get by without studying really killed my motivation. When I went to college, there wasn’t as much “busy” work as in high school. No teachers were saying “complete this set of math equations by class tomorrow, it will be graded.” It was more like “Oh hey, if you don’t study this stuff, you’ll probably fail?” But since I could sit in class and take notes and still do well on exams without having daily homework, I basically just cut down on the amount of time I spent staring at textbooks, on the amount of time I did actual work.


What about writing papers, you ask? I’ve been knocking those out of the park since elementary school. I LOVE looking stuff up and learning things, however briefly my silly brain retains them, and then trying to impart them to others. So I coasted by in college. I was on the dean’s list nearly every semester, and I managed to get into grad school and get an advanced degree, but there was never really any pressure to get “homework” done by a specific time or date. And so I started putting things off, and putting them off. And TO THIS VERY DAY I look at the project I’m working on and what it entails, then turn to the calendar and think “yeah, this doesn’t need to be worked on until …. next week?”


I need people other than myself to hold me accountable. Even though my mom never actually had to say “do your homework,” her presence in my life was my accountability. And not that she’s gone from my life or anything, but she’s 750 miles away. She doesn’t  know what I’ve got on my plate at any given moment of the day.  I think I need to join some sort of art collective or something, where the members keep track of each other and say “did you finish that Pikachu you were making for so-and-so? No? Isn’t it supposed to be in the mail by Tuesday? Shouldn’t you finish that?”


How do you work best? Do you need somebody to remind you about projects? I’m sure there are people that would find it annoying to have somebody watching over them. To think that people were keeping track of them and “checking up” on them like they were small children.


I would actually find it flattering if somebody remembered what I was working on and seemed interested in my work. Even if it was just a feigned interest. Occasionally a friend will ask about one project or another and I think that’s great, it makes me realize I’ve been slacking. But I need that on a regular basis, consistently. I have very little internal motivation. At least I know that about myself and can work on it, I guess, but still. If you know me and at all care about the stuff I make, I URGE you to send me a message now and then saying “did you finish that thing yet?” and I’ll probably reply with an enthusiastic Thank you! and some sort of crocheted gift. Deal?



crochet, patternlauren schoenerComment

Earlier in 2015, NYC Yarnbomber NaomiRag asked me to help her design a pattern for a crocus flower that could be made by crocheters located in various parts of the world. Honestly, I was more than a little flattered that she asked me, and that she was certain I could do it. We posted the pattern on all of our social networks, asking crocheters to please contribute to the yarnbomb.

As the flowers started rolling in, I couldn't help but feel more than a modicum of pride in each and every one of them. As we attached them to the bare fence in East Harlem, it felt like a little piece of me was in each of your flowers. I'm awed at how the piece looked once it was installed, each flower made with the same pattern, yet each somehow unique. Seriously frisson inducing.

Now, Naomi has decided she wants to make a cherry blossom installation and I could not be happier. I think that aside from lilies, cherry blossoms are my favorite blooms. Designing the pattern proved to be more challenging than the crocus, but I love a good challenge. After literally throwing my yarn and hook across my bedroom, I was finally able to come up with something that I think fairly accurately represents a cherry blossom. If you'd like to contribute, you can find the very simple crochet pattern below. All are US terms.

For big layer:

With 7mm hook and worsted weight pink yarn:

Chain 3, sl st in first chain to form a ring.

Chain 2. 10 dc into ring. sl st to first dc (skipping beg ch 2) to join.

Ch 3, triple crochet, double triple, triple triple, double triple, triple, chain 3, sl st in same space. Skip next dc, sl st in following dc. Repeat 4 times. Fasten off. 5 petals made.


For smaller layer:

With 4mm (G) hook and worsted weight pink yarn:

Chain 3, sl st in first chain to form ring.

Chain 2. 10 dc in ring. sl st to first dc (skipping beg ch 2) to join.

Ch 2. Double crochet, triple, double triple, triple, double, chain 2, sl st in same space. Skip next dc, sl st into following dc. Repeat 4 times. Fasten off. 5 petals made.

Because we know everybody's different, you have the option of making a dual layered flower, or a single layered flower, either version with or without a stamen. Neither of us designed a stamen, so that's your opportunity to really make your flowers stand out. Use that creativity I know you all have! If you have any questions or the pattern doesn't make sense, please comment below. You can contact Naomi by DM on Instagram or Twitter, or via email, for the mailing address for your completed pieces. 

More flower yarn bombing!

crochetlauren schoenerComment

Recently I was asked by the incredibly talented NaomiRag to help with her next yarn bomb project, a field of crocus flowers for a fence in East Harlem.  She is making one or two of her signature large-scale versions of the flower, but wants to make a field of flowers surrounding them. 

Naomi doesn't typically work in the "small scale" (which for many of us is normal scale, really), so she asked me to help design a pattern for the smaller version of the crocus. I'd never designed a flower pattern before and at first I was completely stumped. But I looked at about a zillion pictures of crocuses and finally managed to come up with something. Naomi is looking for contributors to help create more crocuses for this installation. If you're interested in helping, please contact her for the mailing address for the flowers. I've posted the pattern below. Your finished crocus should look similar to this picture:

(please excuse the unfinished nature of this flower; I was at work and didn't have the appropriate tools to complete it)

(please excuse the unfinished nature of this flower; I was at work and didn't have the appropriate tools to complete it)

Larger (6 in) crocus pattern


Purple yarn in 2 different shades.

Small amount yellow yarn

H (5 mm) hook

Darning needle

Front Petals (make 2)

With one shade of purple, chain 25. 

Round 1:

SC in 2nd ch from hook and next 2 ch; hdc in next 2 ch; dc in next ch; tr in next 3 ch; dtr crochet in next 8 ch; tr in next 2 ch; dc in next 2 ch; hdc next ch; 2 hdc in last ch.

Rotate work so that you’re working in the bottom edge bump of the starting chain. hdc in same ch (this ch should now have 3 hdc in it); dc in next 2 chains; tr in next 2 ch; dtr in next 8 ch; tr in next 3 ch; dc in next 2 ch; hdc in next 2 ch; sc in next 2 ch; 2 single crochet in last ch. Join with slip stitch to first single crochet of round. Fasten off.


With yellow yarn, chain 7. 

Row 1: hdc in 3rd ch from hook; sc in next ch. Sl st in remaining 3 ch. Fasten off.

Back petal:

With contrasting purple, chain 5.

Row 1: dc in 3rd chain from hook and remaining 2 ch. Ch 2, turn.(3 dc)

Row 2: 2 dc in first st, dc in next st, 2 dc in last st. (5 dc)

Row 3: Chain 2, turn. 2 dc in first stitch, dc across until last stitch, 2 dc in last st. Ch 1, turn. (7dc)

Row 4: Sc in first 2 st, sc2tog, sc in last 3 stitches. Ch 1, turn. (6 sc)

Row 5: Sc2tog, sc in next 2, sc2tog. Ch1, turn. (4sc)

Row 6:sc2tog twice. Ch 1, turn.(2 sc)

Row 7: sc 2 tog. fasten off. (1 sc)

Arrange all 4 pieces as desired and sew together. Weave in ends.

This pattern has only been tested, so far, by me and by Naomi. If you need help or find an error, please let me know.