Keeping my hands busy

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, Artistic Endeavors90 Comments

Before I get into today’s post, I wanted to let you know that the Arhaus giveaway has been extended to my allow entries to my blog, so those who aren’t on Instagram can enter as well or those who entered on Instagram can have another chance to enter.  Just go back to the giveaway post HERE and leave a comment letting me know which fabric you would select for your piece if you win.

It was never our intention to exclude any of my readers, so we’re glad you gave me that feedback and we could make this change.

And, speaking of giveaways, the winner of the Cozy White Cottage book giveaway is Carol (csolverud.)  Congrats!

I already knew this about myself, but this whole recovery experience has taught me that I’m not great at sitting around.  All in all, I have been very good at resting…getting things done when I feel energetic and climbing back in my chair to watch a movie and ice my shoulder when I don’t.  But, the part of my personality that is rewarded from productivity is feeling a little squirmy.  I have to restrain myself from going into cleaning & organizing mode, taking a breath and turning a blind eye to fluff on the floor and clutter on the counter.  Just heal and all of that will come later.  Expectations can be just a little lower temporarily and the world will still spin.

But, there is still a bit of pent up energy that needs somewhere to land.  I have wanted to paint, but there is about eight weeks of distance between me and my last oil painting and I feel the memory of it fading.  How did I really do that?  Will I remember?  Will it come back?  Of course, I know I will have to kick off the rust, but I will remember.  It will come back.

I’ve started to feel the desire to paint stir again.  I was looking at clouds the other day and imagined how I would paint them.  It was the first time in weeks that I did that and it was a little hint.  I’ll be back at the easel soon.

Until then, I found a way to be productive and keep my hands busy.

We had a women’s craft night at our church last week and, I must confess that I wasn’t looking forward to it with any kind of optimism.  I attended because I was in charge of decorating (just some simple fall flower arrangements) and I’m on the women’s ministry team.  I figured I would sit and watch other attendees learn to paint, bead, and crochet.  I decided, though, to give crocheting a try.  I could hold the hook loosely in my right hand and do most of the work with my left.  It was clumsy and slow going at first, but I realized that the action was gentle exercise and I was relishing in the productivity.  I learned how to use the double-crochet-back-loop-only stitch to make a scarf and a hat.

It was a rich time and I’m so glad I was compelled to go.

I ended up unraveling my progress the next day, so I could start over now that I understood what I was doing.  And I finished my hat!

I enjoyed the process and the outcome, so I fished some yarn out of my materials stash and made another hat.

Now, I was out of yarn, so I asked Jeff if he would take me to out to buy more.

 I was drawn to all of the super-chunk yarns and quickly learned after working with them that some were just too thick and heavy for hats!  I didn’t even have a crochet hook large enough for the jumbolicious cream yarn, so I had to order that online.

I started making a hat out of the chunky black yarn and I realized it would be the heaviest, thickest hat ever.  Well, probably not ever, but it would stick out about 2″ from the wearer’s head when folded over.  So, I started over and have the beginnings of a scarf.

My antiquing buddy, Cheri, had me over for lunch yesterday and then took me to run a few errands and one of those stops was to pick up some more hat-appropriate yarn.

I don’t know who I’m going to make all of these hats and such for, but I live in Minnesota, so I’m sure I’ll find people to give them to.  Right now, it’s exercise and therapy.

I am planning to make some pillow covers with the chunky cream yarn, but we’ll see how that goes!  It’s just an idea right now.

I’m one-trick-pony at the moment, but I am looking forward to learning more…not that I really needed any more hobbies!  But, this one showed up at just the right time.

PS – For those asking, HERE is a link to the pattern for the hat.  The scarf is made with the same stitch, but you start with a 17 chain and do the double-crochet-back-loop-only stitch until the scarf is the desired length.

Keeping my hands busy

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90 Comments on “Keeping my hands busy”

  1. Love to see these products of your new skill! I can knit moderately well (though am rusty) but have never learned to crochet properly (although I can crochet an infinitely long chain). It’s encouraging to see how pretty the hats are after one lesson and some time to practice! Isn’t it great to have found something that you enjoy doing that also works as physiotherapy AND will make great Christmas gifts! Thanks, Marian!

  2. What a great thing to “produce” while you recuperate. The yarns look so rich, and the orangey-yellow is my fave.

    1. I love these hats! You inspire me to get out my old yarn and see if I can make some hats like these! Take care of yourself and let this be a time of healing. Soon you’ll be painting again!

  3. How about a hat give away? I would love one of those hats!
    Love you and your blog.
    Have a great day.

  4. I love crocheting and do it every evening while watching tv with my husband. I find that the really large yarns hurt my hands so I usually only use those 6 and under. My husband is a woodworker and he makes all my crochet hooks! They are ergonomic and beautiful!

  5. That is amazing that you were able to do that and fulfill some creative time. Blessings for more healing!

  6. I’m so glad you have found something that is a blessing while you recover. I’ve crocheted for years, but this last year I’ve been very sick and the one thing I can do is crochet. It’s been a wonderful opportunity while I learn about my illness (I’ve been diagnosed with severe asthma) and walk the road to recovery. I can also say your beautiful blog has been a joy to look for in my email even if I am unable to paint or decorate or travel, I’ve enjoyed walking with you in all of your adventures. Thank you for letting me come along!

  7. That is a great hat. I’m now inspired to dig out my crochet hooks and try this out. I loved your reports from your most recent trip, and the photos were beautiful. And even though I’m a cat person, your dog sitting right in front of your lens cracked me up–your pets just never do what you want when you have a camera out.

  8. Maybe there is an organization that is looking for hats and scarves for people in need. I love to make granny squares! I think if I ever get it put together it will be the largest blanket around. I kind of went over board on them. 😉

  9. I like the sofa in either Howell Redwood or Thelma Lagoon. It would be a tough choice. It’s great to have the option of customizing the placement of the tacks.

  10. I like to crochet — my grandma taught me. I must have been very small because she died when I was 5. She lived with us, and I would go sit in her room with her for a while every day. She had two rocking chairs in there, and we would put our feet on the radiator in the winter as she instructed me. Then after she died, I didn’t think about it any more till my son was a toddler, and my Aunt Margaret taught me to make the granny squares because I wanted an afghan. It was as though my hands had some kind of muscle memory twenty years later. They just seemed to know what to do!

    About those hats: I had a cousin who died at 93 a few years ago. Right up until her death, she knitted hats for a charity. She did not crochet, but she could whip those knitted ones out lickety-split! One year she donated about 100!

  11. Fabulous giveaway! i entered on Instagram too! i think i would maybe go with the Thelma Onyx color. i love the deep warm muddy colors! Thanks

    1. Marian, the Rochester Public Library (Rochester, MN) is and will be taking donations for warm items all winter long. We give these hat, scarf, glove donations out for the public for free. The free, take one if you need one, program is for anyone! We have out SO many last year. It is called warm up Rochester. If you need an outlet, that would be a great one!

      1. That’s awesome! Yep, if I make extras, I’ll bring them there. So far, I have found people to give them to.

  12. I would love the Outerbanks chair in DESO ARTICHOKE. Thank you for the opportunity to enter the contest on your BLOG.

  13. You are a woman if many talents! I also love to knit and crochet, it’s very relaxing and rewarding! I’m sure these hats would love to be donated to a homeless shelter (especially with the winters you all have there!) given to low income families through your church, or donated to hospitals for cancer patients or newborns.
    Enjoy! And I’m glad you’re on the mend, its tough suffering that kind of injury in your line(s) 😉 of work!

  14. You are one amazing woman with no end to your talents. That hat is adorable.

    Please enter me in the giveaway. How fabulous is that?? I’d love the sofa.

  15. Oops, forgot to put my color choice. Chalet smokey I think. Also liked one of the Graceland colors.

  16. Thank you for allowing us to enter the giveaway through your email. I so enjoy your postings.

  17. Chile, is there anything you can’t do? Nailed it!!! I am in Alabama and we freak out with the slightest of cold so those hats would be great here too. HaHa!

  18. I second the request for the pattern! There are a ton of patterns out there but I’ve not found the right one. Would love to try this one. Am impressed you learned so quickly!

  19. Wow, love your hat! You have soooooo many talents. Could you post the pattern for the hat? My daughter crochets hats and scarfs for charity and she would love this pattern. Thanks!

  20. Yay to crochet!!! I LOVE it!!!! I learned when I was 12 yrs. old from an Aunt…..I am a bit older now!!! It is a GREAT hobby
    to relax with. You can make many things. I mostly make afghans and scarfs. I also have made pillow covers, hats, pot holders, bibs, pillow case and towel edgings. I don’t make sweaters but I did make a cute beach cover up once. You really can take off with it by just knowing a few simple stitches. I could never just sit and watch TV my hands need to be busy.
    You might start up a whole new interest in crochet!!!…..YAY!!!!
    Prayers your way for your recovery… takes time but it will come.

  21. I see a church project in the future, knitting hats and scarves for the homeless or those in need. What about school kids? I know others mentioned this type of thing, too, but thought I’d toss in my two cents. It might be a great project for teens, too. Glad you are healing and I thank you for all you share.

      1. Marian, you might want to scout around online to find the most comfortable yarns for a chemo hat. I’ve read before that many kinds of yarn can be uncomfortable.

        On that note, I’m going to give you a couple of sites to reference. is an online community that shares crocheting and knitting patterns, many of them free. They have forums which might help you out.

        Another site that I enjoy is which is written by a young woman who develops free crocheting and knitting patterns. I’m a knitter, so I can’t speak to the crochet patterns, but I have found her patterns to be easy to follow with tutorials available as needed. The patterns have a young vibe that I think you would enjoy.

        Just be careful ….. working with yarn is addictive and you may find yourself haunting yarn stores and buying skeins because they are so pretty! 🙂

        1. I already loved yarn before this, so I know I’m in trouble! I sent Renee the cream hat, because the yarn is a soft, non-itchy wool blend. The beige hat would’ve felt scratchy, I think. Hopefully, it’ll work for her.

  22. I’d either go with Deso Navy or Team Navy! I hope once my kiddos are older (4, 2 & 2 months) I can get back into “adult” crafting. 😂

  23. I love those hats!!! I learned to crochet many years ago and think it is time to start again!! Would you be able to post the directions and the type of yarn??? As others have said and I echo…a woman of many talents!! You have been blessed!

  24. Great job! I love to crochet and loom knit. Thousand of free and easy patterns on Pinterest. Best way to learn a new stitch is to do dishrags.

  25. Ohhh…I love the sofa in Vangog oyster….and love those crocheted hats…I’ve always wanted to learn how to crochet…

  26. My daughter crochets and has her own online biz. Makes mostly anime characters, but also some fantasy (such as dragons) and sealife (squids, etc.) as well as holiday themes. When she first began to crochet, she made us a rug for in front of our bathroom sink, and a beautiful afghan, as well as flowers for her aunt’s wedding. She can make anything from “poufs” to kimonos to…
    I don’t recommend making anything that will get heavy use and need regular washing (such as the rug), but I appreciate other crocheted items.
    Marian, you never run out of creativity!

  27. My friends would all faint if I won the chair since all of my furniture comes from thrift, garage or estate sales. I think I would pick artichoke but what a wonderland of choices in colors and textures of fabrics and tacks and wood tones. Continue healing and inspiring people to never give up no matter the challenge. God bless you!

  28. I would love something in the Jennings navy. I’m a blue girl and it is so gorgeous! Love the knitting. I can’t do anything with my hands.

  29. That is a very pretty sofa. Hard choice on colors but I settled on Deso Sand.. It would look good in my sun room.

  30. Love your hats. Many years ago, my grandmother would crochet all her grandchildren a winter hat. They were long like stocking caps, all different color stripes. They came way down the back with a yarn ball at the end. I loved that hat and wish I still had it. I would wear it today! Make me one if you get bored. 😉
    Thinking about her and her crocheting-this is kind of sad. She lived to be 98. In her final couple of months she couldnt crochet anymore but she would lay in bed and her hands would be going a mile a minute, making all the moves as if she was crocheting. Oh how I miss that woman! 🙁

  31. Love the hats. Senior centers where they gather would love to receive a donation of hats for the holidays. You learned so quickly! You do amaze all of us!

  32. Love the hats and that you now have something to make the time pass that won’t hurt but, help. I crochet and my first endeavor was scarves. Have fun and a great day.

  33. Wow- what a quick learning curve. The hats are so cute and I love the fur pom pom on top. (care to share a source?) When I was having chemo at UM hospital, there was an area with hand made hats that were given to those under treatment. It was a thoughtful gesture to have those hats after the emotional loss of our hair. They were made and given with love, so I am sure you or your readers might want to add to the supply at any cancer treatment center.

  34. Thank you for the chance to enter by leaving a comment rather than Instagram. I will be doing a great room refresh after the holidays and I want a sectional. I had never seen this style and I love it! I will be working with a blue color way and would use Thelma lagoon or another blue choice.
    By the way, I love your hat!

  35. I started knitting during an illness last year – one scarf – and then I just kept going. I ended up with over a dozen and I donated them to our local foster care closet. So many kids with nothing and they were always welcome. Guilt free crafting for me, with a purpose.

    I’m glad you found a new form of exercise for your recovery!

  36. The hats are lovely. I know recovery is hard but when do you get a chance to have such down time? I need a sofa – mine is 20+ years old!

  37. That hat is too cute. Although I’m not really a ‘hat person’ (just ask my kids)
    If you’re looking for a place to send hats to perhaps your local hospital would accept donations for their tiniest patients in the NICU. A friend of mine is making some to donate. They are just the sweetest little hats and are very needed and appreciated.

    As for the couch fabric color I’d need to see the selection but I lean towards navy blues or coastal colors. Fingers crossed.

    Good luck with your recovery.

  38. That hat is too cute. Although I’m not really a ‘hat person’ (just ask my kids)
    If you’re looking for a place to send hats to perhaps your local hospital would accept donations for their tiniest patients in the NICU. A friend of mine is making some to donate. They are just the sweetest little hats and are very needed and appreciated.

    As for the couch fabric color I’d need to see the selection but I lean towards navy blues or coastal colors. Fingers crossed.

    Good luck with your recovery.

  39. I sure wish I knew how to knit, embroider and crochet. Those hats are awesome.

    Thanks for opening up the Arhaus giveaway to blog fans w/o FB and IG – really appreciate it.

    I want to win so badly I can hardly stand it. LOL. : – )

  40. The hat is lovely. I’ve been following your blog for so long now. Your such an inspiration and so talented. I wish you well and speedy recovery.

  41. These are great! I love how in your challenging time with your shoulder you are still finding ways to create! It’s so therapeutic, isn’t it? Have you tried a simple hand knit chunky throw with your fingers? They are super easy to make and rewarding. It is not the one where you use your arm to knit, but the one using only your fingers to loop and put threw. It doesn’t take too much arm movement. You may want to give it a try.

  42. I would select the fabric color in Team Topaz. Thanks to you and Arhaus for offering the sofa giveaway on your blog.

  43. Thank you for including those of us who do not have Instagram….very hard to choose a color for the couch…..your choice is beautiful.

  44. Is there nothing you can’t do? I’ve tried several times and I’m way too uptight or something as I pull the stitches too tight and always end up unraveling them all.
    If you run out of people for your hats you can always donate them. I live in Houston and we are home to MD Anderson Cancer hospital who will take all the hats you can give for their cancer patients who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy. Just a thought… and a right off!
    Or a give away… I’d love to own one of your cute hats and it’s home made by YOU!

  45. Well, it’s official – even all crippled up after shoulder surgery, you are an energetic art-crafting-entrepreneurial machine!! Love that gold yarn by the way! Marian, you rock❤️

  46. When we moved last month, I also came down with an upper respiratory bug. It’s been slowing down the unpacking and home decorating to a frustrating extent. It’s hard to ignore and live in the clutter while I recuperate. Maybe I should take the down time to go down home decorating rabbit holes to inspire me.

    I knit and crochet, but prefer knitting. Natural fibers are wonderful to work with. I just keep knitting those simple hats and scarves and keep them in the hall drawers because my boys and their friends are always losing winter gear.

  47. Ah, the “Renaissance” woman has discovered a new skill!
    I totally agree with you that it can be really difficult to have to lower expectations when the brain tells us something needs to be done, but the body is restricted from making it happen!
    I’m so glad you found a new challenge and an activity to help pass the time.
    Crossing my fingers to win the Arhaus giveaway. I’ve been wanting to have a new sofa or chair in blue or gray. Thanks!

  48. You could easily make a throw or Afghan, just longer and wider than the scarf. I learned to crochet as a child but I also knit. I like both. Congratulations on learning a new craft!

  49. The chair in Tyrol Royal would be perfect for my daughter who just graduated from college and has been living in an almost empty apartment for two years.

    You are so blessed for having such a lovely home and are able to use your given gifts to make it suit your style.

  50. Those hats are beautiful and would make a great contribution to a homeless coalition to keep someone down and out warm in Minnesota winters! I mean if you are going to continue making hats as therapy for yourself, why not spread some warmth to those who really need some?

  51. You are good at everything you do. I tried crocheting once and it was a disaster! There are too many loops and tucks for my brain to handle. I find knitting easier, although after this post maybe I’ll give it another try. And please, do a hat give away—I would love to win a hat made from that mustard yarn!

  52. I am self taught from a ladies magazine circa 1970. No interned utube then. I am left handed and had to learn right handed and never looked back. If I forget or want to learn something I go to uTube…………….

  53. Welcome to the Dark Side, Marian! I’ve been crocheting since my oldest was in diapers. I love that I can keep my hands busy while my mind is focused on a podcast, or mulling over a problem.

  54. There’s 86 comments ahead of me that I don’t feel like reading so please forgive me if someone already suggested this. You can make hats for homeless shelters, preemies in the hospital, and kids with cancer in the hospital.

  55. Hi Marian, thank you for sharing out your story. It was inspiring and people would be motivated. I’ve noticed the quality of the materials you used during the tutorial. Where can we buy it?

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