Episode 36 – Obsession to Completion

Hello, and welcome to The Craft Room Podcast. I’m so glad that you’re joining me for this episode, because it’s a wild ride. Even if you’re not into crochet (or parasols), I hope you’ll stick around for the thrilling tale of how a 34 second TikTok video sparked a crafting odyssey. I have some hot tips to share that you might find useful in your own crafting life.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this … you know that moment when you see something on the internet and you just know in your heart that you HAVE TO MAKE IT. This is what I’m talking about when I say “obsession”. I’ve experienced this many times, though in recent years, not so much, as I’ve dabbled in most crafts already. However, mid-2021 I had a moment on TikTok where I saw a project, and I instantly became obsessed with it. I had to do it, and I knew I would do it, even though I didn’t know how I was going to do it. So today I will regale you with the tale of the crochet parasol.

On the surface this may sound like it’s all about the parasol, but it’s merely a story time that illustrates a different approach to turning that craft obsession into success. A lot of times when we see these projects we know we want to do that, then wonder how we can achieve it, I must make it … but we sometimes get stuck, or go down paths that give us misinformation, waste our time, waste our resources, and sometimes we just don’t get that project done. I have 10 hot tips woven through this story, so let’s take this ride together.

It all began on TikTok. July 2021, I’m scrolling and scrolling when I spy a crochet mandala project. Obviously I stopped for that, because I love a crochet mandala. I love them so much that I’ve made the same crochet mandala jacket 3 times, from the same yarn … and I don’t even wear it! So why have I made 3 identical jackets? Because I discovered that I really enjoy making crochet mandalas. I like the predictability and repetition, yet there’s a new stitch combination (and therefore variety) in every round. So, I was interested. This was a really intricate mandala, and there were stitches in there I’d never seen before. So, the way this video went was like a reveal, starting with a rainbow yarn cake, and with each reveal, a new colour and more of the pattern was revealed, over and over again. As each new coloured section was revealed I was wondering what she was going to do with the mandala … it’s too small for a jacket … maybe it would go on a hoop? And then … the final reveal. I literally gasped as she twirled a stunning rainbow mandala parasol. I was done scrolling on TikTok, because I had a new mission in life. I NEEDED to know how I could make one.

Obviously crochet parasols are not new, and I had seen them before … but never like this. The design was entrancing … it enslaved my brain, and I had to know more. If you have also experienced this phenomenon after seeing a very cool handmade project online, in a magazine, on a television show (I’m looking at you, crochet snoods from Wednesday on Netflix!) … then you get it. Our first instinct is to take to the comments section, or your favourite Facebook craft group, and ask questions. And in this case, I had questions … lots of questions! I had questions about the pattern, the yarn, the umbrella, the process … these were things I needed to know. However, there were already many dozens of comments on the video, so this is where the hot tips come in. See … I’ve been on the internet for a while now … long enough to have learned a few things. Not only do I consume internet content, but I also create it, so I have experience on both sides of this. At the time, there were over 80 comments on her video (I recently checked, and there are over 1,150 now), so I was supremely confident that all these questions I had could not possibly be unique to me. Surely someone else had already asked the exact same questions, and chances are that the video creator had already answered them. I was no longer Dawn Lewis, TikTok scroller … I had become Dawn Lewis, Craft Detective … and I was hunting for clues.

So this is hot tip #1 – Mine the Comments section

If you are looking for information, you can’t just scroll randomly through the first few you see. I recommend going all the way down to the oldest comments. Look at them all, whether it’s on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, a blog … you need to mine deep in that comment section. As somebody who is a creator of content, I often see the same question over and over again, and I love answering questions. However, it’s simply not practical to answer the same questions many times over, so I’ll answer it once, and hope that people follow this tip, and mine the comments section.

So, this is what I did … I went through all the comments. Most of them were compliments, and asking if she sold finished parasols, but I was looking for something specific, and sure enough, when I got down to some of the earliest comments, someone had asked if she had designed the pattern, and thankfully, the creator had answered. Here was my first clue, and I was making notes like a crafting Nancy Drew. The pattern was called Mandala Madness, designed by Helen Shrimpton, and she also said that it was a free pattern. At this point I was thinking that couldn’t possibly be true. This was an incredibly detailed and intricate pattern … how could it be free? Was it stolen content? I needed to know more, so I took this first clue and was reminded of …

Hot tip #2 – Google is your friend

I headed to Google, typed in Mandala Madness and only needed to add the letter H before Google auto-suggested Helen Shrimpton. Clearly I was not the first person to seek this information. Google knew what I wanted, and Google delivered. I found her website, called Crystals & Crochet, and Google led me directly to the source of all things Mandala Madness. On this page there was a LOT of information. In a nutshell, here is what I learned. This pattern is, indeed, free, which blew me away. There’s also a lot more to it than I saw in the parasol video. It’s actually quite a large blanket or afghan. It was released as a Crochet ALong (also known as a CAL), where the pattern was released piece by piece over a number of weeks. It’s kind of fun to know that people all over the world are making the same project all at the same time. Since discovering this, I have become a huge fan of Helen’s work, and participated in the annual CAL for the past 3 years. Because the Mandala Madness CAL had run its course and was not an active crochet-along, I found three options to access the pattern. I could download it in parts, as it was done during the CAL, download the full pattern, or my favourite option … a video tutorial, in parts, on YouTube. While the video wasn’t made by Helen, it was made by someone else (with Helen’s permission of course). Now, I consider myself to be a competent crocheter, I’m self taught from YouTube. I know the basics. My workmanship is excellent, and I understand how the stitches work well enough that I can design my own patterns if I want to. However, I’m looking at this breathtaking mandala and seeing stitches I didn’t recognise. I downloaded the pattern, but on my initial read-through, I realised that I certainly did not know enough to tackle this … so I opted for the video tutorial. I figured even if I didn’t know how to do a particular stitch, the video would show me how it was done, which would be faster than me trying to google every unfamiliar stitch (and it turned out there were a LOT of unfamiliar stitches, so I absolutely made the right call!).

Now that I had checked off the first category of questions. I had the pattern, but I still needed to know about the yarn and the umbrella frame.

I figured that if I learned about yarn first, I could get a start on making one, and learn about umbrella frames later. For yarn information, I went back to the original TikTok video. My initial search through the comments section at the time revealed nothing about the yarn, so that brings me to …

Hot Tip #3 – Zoom Out

In my initial search, I only looked into the one TikTok video. However, she had a whole channel that I had yet to explore, and chances are, this was not her only parasol video. So this time I zoomed out a little, checking other videos on her channel. Once again, I hit the jackpot, and found several other videos she had made showcasing Mandala Madness parasols. I picked one, and I went back to hot tip #1 … mining the comment section. This time I found an early comment asking about yarn, and she had answered it. I added that clue to my investigation, and located the store. 

At this point I think it’s relevant to mention that this all happened when we were deep into a pandemic lockdown. The Aussie dollar was low, and international shipping was not only slow but extremely expensive (or not available at all). The yarn maker was in Canada, and while she had a great selection on the website, they weren’t shipping internationally at the time. Even if she was, this was a handcrafted yarn, and it was more than I wanted to spend. Here’s the thing about me and craft obsessions … sometimes I don’t finish the project. Sometimes the research and shopping for the materials satisfies the itch, and I never get it finished. Then I feel guilty about spending all that money on yarn that’s just going to sit and never be used. I needed another option, so I put my detective hat back on, and remembered …

Hot Tip #4 … Rinse and Repeat

Sometimes the search for clues is not a one-and-done situation, and this was definitely one of those times. Finding all of the answers in one place is nice, but sometimes it doesn’t happen that way. Instead I needed to find a clue, follow it, and then come back to the beginning and repeat the process. This was one of those times, and I knew that my time hunting for answers would be well spent. While it was incredibly tempting to just leap in and start, I knew from previous experience that I would not be happy with my results until I had more information. So I continued to utilise tips 1-3 until I had the basics covered. Sure, I could jump to the next question about blank umbrella skeletons, but I wanted to be a bit more methodical, and solve one mystery at a time, and right now, the investigation was all about yarn.

I went back to Helen’s website, and found there were loads more clues when I looked outside of the Mandala Madness page, and remembered …

Hot tip #5 … Mine the existing resources

There are resources on pretty much every website you’ll visit, like FAQ’s (frequently asked questions), About Me page and even the welcome page. I can tell you from experience, that some people just don’t read them, and I often receive emails with questions that I’ve already answered on my FAQ page. Consequently I make an effort to check the resources provided before I ask questions. Obviously, if the question has not been answered, by all means send that email and ask. In this case, though, I didn’t need to ask anything, as I found the most valuable clue yet … a link to Helen’s Facebook Group, called ‘Helen’s Hookaholics’. I went immediately to Facebook, clicked the ‘Join Now’ button, answered a few questions, and by this time it was late, so I went to bed. I was thrilled to awake the next day to find my application to join was approved, and day 2 of the hunt for clues began. I started by using …

Hot tip #6 – Use the FB Group search function

Not enough people know that Facebook Groups have a search function. You won’t find it on pages or profiles, only in groups, and it is a very useful tool. If you have a question, as I did, chances are someone has already asked it … in fact, chances are that many people have asked the question, and the existing members are sick of answering it. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen the phrase ‘use the search button’ in a FB group … well, I’d be on a cruise right now! Look for the magnifying glass icon, type in your question (at least the key words). You’ll save loads of time, and decrease your risk of annoying existing group members. 

So, in my hunt for yarn answers, I searched for the word ‘parasol’ and ‘umbrella’. I was not disappointed, and I found some beautiful photographs of the parasols others had made using the Mandala Madness pattern. Of all the results my searches turned up, one group member showed up quite a few times, as she had been making these parasols on repeat. At this point I want to give a huge shout-out to the lovely Kyrie for her ‘no gatekeeping’ approach to sharing her finished parasol photos. She provided loads of information in her photo description, which was incredibly helpful. However, I still needed more, so I went back to hot tip #1 and mined the comments section. This time I didn’t have to dig too deep, because one of the first questions was asking which yarn she had used. The answer … a Hobbii Sultan Cake. I’m going to be honest, I had never heard of such a thing, so back to hot tip #2 … Google was once again my friend. I merely typed in H-o-b-b-i-i and Google swept me away to a Scandinavian website … a treasure trove of glorious yarn. I looked in their yarn cake section and I found two types of Sultan cakes, then narrowed it down to the one I was looking for … the most unusual yarn I have ever used. It is a yarn that’s not spun … essentially 4 threads, like sewing machine thread, and they create a stunning ombre look. The way that they ombre is what drew me to Kyrie’s work … the way the colour gradually changed, rather than a hard colour change. They achieve this effect by starting with 4 threads of the same colour, then one of those threads will have the next shade tied on with a tiny, but secure, knot. Then a little further along a second thread will change, then further along the third will change, and then the fourth, and it continues like that until you reach the final colour at the end of the cake, but because it’s such a tiny knot in a tiny thread, it’s unnoticeable in the finished parasol. Was I tempted to buy ALL THE YARN CAKES? Yes … of course I was. I don’t think I’ve ever bookmarked a website so fast in all my life! But I needed to pause for a moment and check in with myself. The prices were in US$, so I had to do the math to convert to Australian dollars. Also, the yarn I was looking at was on sale! Did I need to rush to buy, or was this a website that had sales all the time? What was the price for international shipping? Was there a spending threshold that qualified me for free shipping? And if so, did that count for international shipping? I had to utilise hot tip #5 again, and look for all of that information. I also had to utlise #2, and do a Google search to see if Australians had success shopping with this website by checking reviews. Spoiler alert … they do have sales all the time, but sometimes those yarn cakes are retired (so get it if you love it) … International shipping was pretty reasonable, but they do have a spend level where you get free shipping, and yes … that includes international … and the reviews I read were pretty good. I felt confident enough to shop, but I had one more thing to figure out. 

I had to decide, at this moment … do I buy enough to hit the free post threshold, and if I buy that amount of yarn, will I use it all? Is this obsession with this pattern (that I haven’t even started working on yet) going to be long term interest, or a short hyperfixation. Will I get bored with it before I finish one, leaving those extra yarn cakes languishing in a cupboard somewhere? The reason I stopped to ask myself these questions is because I have been crafting my entire life. I have a house full of craft supplies. I know myself pretty well, and sometimes a new obsession like this, especially one where I’m doing loads of research and detective work, and I can’t think about anything else … is just a hyperfocus, and in a few weeks or months, I’ll drop it and never touch it again. Because I know this about myself, I make the time to have a quick mental debate before I go through checkout. In this case I had some evidence supporting this potential purchase. Remember I mentioned earlier that I had made the same mandala jacket 3 times because I just loved the process? That was pretty strong evidence in favour of this being more of a long-term interest than flash-in-the-pan curiosity, thereby justifying a splurge on some sultan cakes. I decided to allow myself to hit that free post threshold, made my purchase, and went through checkout. It was about now that it clicked that it was going to take weeks (possibly months) to arrive, and I had a project itch that needed to be scratched RIGHT NOW. I figured I could become familiar with the pattern by doing a practice run with the yarns I had on hand. So I dug into my stash and found a full rainbow of gorgeous DMC Natura yarns leftover from some projects that I previously did for DMC. Practice and stash busting for the win, although I quickly learned that an 8 ply bamboo thread was far too bulky and heavy to turn into a parasol. You learn some things by researching & reading, and other things by doing.

Now I had my yarn questions answered, but was left with one final question I hadn’t previously considered … what size hook does one use with this pattern & yarn combination to achieve a finished parasol? For that I went back to the Facebook group, found Kyrie’s posts and read the descriptions, comments, questions and answers on every single one of them. Only when I confirmed that this question had not been asked did I comment on her most recent parasol post … opening with a compliment, thanking her for giving so much information, and then asking what size hook she used to achieve these stunning results. I learned that she was using a 4mm hook, and I could check off the yarn category of questions.

That left me with the final question category … where do you get an umbrella skeleton. I had searched this on Google, Amazon, Etsy, umbrella specialty stores … I couldn’t find one. So I turned to …

Hot tip #7 – Utilise YouTube as a search engine

I searched a number of different phrases, like ‘crochet parasol’, ‘mandala umbrella’, and eventually I found a deeply buried video about how to attach a mandala to an umbrella frame. While it wasn’t about how to skeletonise an umbrella, I thought it might contain some clues, and it was, indeed, helpful. Not a tutorial, more like an FAQ video, but I learned that you simply cannot buy an umbrella frame … you need to skeletonise it yourself. It was so obvious, but I was so focused on looking for this specific thing, that I had forgotten to think outside the box.

So while I was waiting for my yarn to arrive from Denmark, I was working on my full sized blanket, and it was getting to a decent size, I happened to be putting in a KMart order online, and I added an umbrella to my cart. It wasn’t very expensive (maybe around $12), but I knew I needed to get a stick umbrella, not a collapsible one, and figured this would be a good start. When it arrived, and I tried my blanket over it, I realised that it was probably going to be too big, but until I started working with the Hobbii yarn, I wouldn’t know for sure. Meanwhile I kept searching for information, because I now needed to know how to fit the centre of the mandala over the umbrella tip. I went back to the FB group, and implemented …

Hot tip #8 – Ask questions in public

Kyrie had been so generous with details, and I knew this information wasn’t being talked about (because I searched, and I could not find it anywhere). We ended up having a great discussion about different options that would allow the centre of the mandala to fit over the end of the umbrella, and while I wasn’t able to utilise the method that Kyrie used, I understood it enough to find my own solution. The reason I asked this question publicly, rather than sliding into her DMs, is because it would make the information searchable for future parasol makers. I figured out that I needed a smaller umbrella, so a side-quest began for child sized umbrellas. I also learned that when came time to remove the plastic, I had to make sure to save the end caps, as they would need to be attached to the mandala in order for it to be placed securely and with proper tension onto the umbrella frame. Kyrie suggested looking for a stick umbrella with an end tip that unscrews, however I’ve been unable to find one like that in Australia so far. I knew I didn’t want to secure it to the umbrella at the beginning, because that would be an impossible way to work! Kyrie had a better way, which was really clever. She would take her umbrella to the hardware store, and get a rubber washer that fit snugly around that pointy bit at the centre of the umbrella. No need for a magic ring, just work around the washer. However, we were in lockdown, and I hadn’t yet found the right sized umbrella, so I thought I could just use a metal washer I already had. Kyrie wisely warned against using a metal washer, as those sharp edges would eventually snap the delicate threads. The entire crochet piece would come undone, and there was no way I was going to risk all that work for the sake of a single metal washer! I ended up creating a more flexible solution, by starting with a magic circle, but tripling the number of stitches in the first round, and then adjusting the number of skipped stitches so that I end up with the correct number of stitches by round 3 or 4. This creates a secure start to the mandala, but is flexible enough that I can fit it to the umbrella later. Not only did I learn alot, but other people found that conversation helpful as well. I also noticed that when Kyrie posted her next parasol photo, she did something really smart … she listed the pattern name, yarn type & colour, hook size and gave information about the umbrella in her description, turning it into a mega FAQ. When I eventually posted a photo of my first finished parasol, I did the same. Answering questions before anyone could ask them might lead to less comments, but I’m not posting for comments, so that doesn’t bother me one bit!

Now, we flash forward to October 2021. My yarn has arrived from Hobbii, my questions have been answered and I’ve nearly finished my practice piece. It’s stunning. I’m learning new stitches and finding the videos very easy to follow. The practice blanket is put to the side (I still haven’t finished it!) because I have learned enough, and now I get to make the real thing. The original TikTok video used rainbow colours, so I made my first parasol-sized Mandala Madness using a rainbow sultan cake. Fun fact, you can start from the inside or outside of these yarn cakes, and the colour that you choose to start with will be at the centre of your mandala. It will also be the dominant colour of your mandala, as those first rounds at the centre are small, so that first colour features in the most rounds. As your mandala increases in size, the yarn doesn’t go as far, so the colours are in thinner bands. I completed the first 7 parts of the Mandala Madness pattern, and continued to work around with single crochet stitches until the yarn cake was used entirely. There was some thread leftover, which I kept for what came next … attaching the mandala to the umbrella frame.

This was the moment that my concerns about that full sized umbrella from KMart were confirmed. I tried my rainbow mandala on it, and while I had nailed my adjustable centre, it was nowhere big enough to cover this umbrella. I would have needed to order another yarn cake (maybe 2) and wait another 2-3 months for that to arrive, or find a smaller umbrella. Google was once again my friend, and I found a speciality umbrella store online, ordering 2 childrens umbrellas, and I took a chance on a paper parasol (spoiler alert … the paper parasol had way more than 8 spokes, so it remains in a box, waiting to be used for a future painting project). More conversations were had with Kylie about umbrellas, and that took me down a new rabbit hole into …

Hot tip #8 – Budgeting (AKA going into a project with a full grasp of what it’s going to cost)

A lot of people seemed to be genuinely surprised that a crochet parasol is kind of expensive to make. Once you factor in the cost of the yarn, shipping and umbrella, it can end up costing quite a bit. The first children’s size umbrellas I bought were $15 and $24, and full transparency, I’ve never been able to bring myself to skeletonise them. Eventually,  we were done with lockdowns, and that December I found 50cm diameter childrens umbrellas at Daiso that were much more affordable. I loved that, because if I messed it up, it wasn’t a lot of money wasted. It turned out to be perfect, and I bought a dozen of them the following year when I visited Diaso again. You not only have to budget for the physical materials required, but also your time. It’s a complicated piece, and some of those stitches are quite yarn-hungry. Also, to this day I have not printed the pattern. Every time I make it, I follow along with the videos, but that means I am limited in the locations where I can work on it … I need a big screen and wifi, so it’s not exactly a train or waiting room project. However, that hasn’t stopped me from making half a dozen more, and while I am getting faster at making them, I still make mistakes here and there, and I need to allow plenty of time if I’m working to a deadline. In reality, it takes me a full week to make one of these, that’s working on it all day and evening, up to 80 hours (and that’s just the first 7 parts of the pattern). I wouldn’t sell a crochet parasol for less than $250, and I have zero plans to take orders or sell them. It’s something I do just for me.

I had a couple of months when I was so busy with the shop that I had to put project crochet parasol to the side. But in that glorious week between Christmas and new year, I had some down-time, and got the itch to crochet the mandala again. Sure, I hadn’t put the rainbow piece onto an umbrella frame yet, but I was low-key procrastinating on that, because it seemed easier to start a new crochet that was familiar, rather than tear an umbrella apart, which was unfamiliar. I worked on nothing else but a pastel pink yarn cake for 5 days straight, and with just 2 days left to the end of the year, it was time to complete this project. I took everything I had learned from Kyrie, the YouTube video, the Googling, searching and all those questions and combined them with my own experience and common sense … and I demolished that Daiso umbrella. I cut off the plastic, reserved the end caps and admired my skeletonised umbrella frame. I also chanced upon using …

Hot Tip #9 – Testing

I needed to stitch the 8 umbrella end caps onto my finished crochet mandala. Normally I would stitch on all 8, then try to put it together, but the first cap was so tricky, and I was so excited, that I decided to put it on the umbrella to get a sense of how it would look stretched out. This is where I caught a mistake, and I’m so glad I did. I knew I needed to sew the end cup onto the underside of the crochet mandala, but I had sewn the end cap upside down (with the hole facing up to the sky instead of facing down to the ground). I’ll be honest … if I had done that for all 8 caps, and not tested it first, I probably would have been so disheartened that I would have abandoned the project and never finished it. But because it was just one, I was able to suck it up, snip the stitching, flip the cap and try again. I tested it again … it worked … and I made sure I had every cap correct. When I think back, I used testing at every step of this process. I tested my detective skills and looked for evidence of potential success before doing a big yarn shop. I did a test run by making the pattern with yarn from my stash. I tested umbrellas by just buying one (even though it would have been better value to buy multiples to offset the cost of post). Without doing all that testing, this would have been a much more expensive and frustrating endeavour, and I doubt I would have succeeded.

It is now 31st December 2021. If I’m going to finish this by the end of the year, I have to do it now. This project had been six months in the making, but it wasn’t complete until that crochet mandala was affixed to the umbrella frame and opened. I knew logically it should work, so, I put the centre of the crochet piece over the umbrella tip of the umbrella, and adjusted it to fit. I nervously stretched out each point and slipped the end caps onto the spokes. I was surprised how much give it had, but as I began to open the umbrella, it wouldn’t open far enough to click into place. I raged, and I cried, I vented online and stomped around the house. But then I stopped, and I remembered tip #9 … testing. Logically this had to work, but to find out where it was going wrong, I needed to do some testing. I removed half of the end caps and opened the umbrella, and this time it worked. If it worked with only half of the umbrella in place, it should work with all of the end caps. It was working for other people, so what was I doing wrong? I took a breath, I put all of the end caps back onto the spokes, and I tried again. I was determined, and as I began to open the umbrella again, I realised that I was being too precious with it. I was confident with my workmanship (my joins, the yarn, my tension), so I pushed it a little further, held it there for a moment, then I pushed it further, and little bit by little bit, the threads adjusted and then … there was a click. The umbrella was open. I had done it. I took a load of photos, I went back to my online venting post and gave a celbratory update, and I revelled in the thrill of a completed project. I documented the rollercoaster in a Tiktok of my own (I’ll link to that in the show notes as well), and then I wondered .. what is next. To nobody’s surprise, the answer was ‘make another one’, and so I have crocheted at least half a dozen covers, but not put them onto frames. I’ve been so busy with other things that I’ve not made the time, but for the first time in four years, I find myself caught up with all things business and Christmas, so I’m looking forward to that week between Christmas and new year, to secure more mandalas onto frames. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them, but I sure do love to make them.

My final hot tip is #10 – Seek the Source

Recently I’ve seen a disturbing trend where crochet patterns are being stolen and resold by a person (or people) who have no right to be selling something they didn’t create. When I see a gorgeous crochet piece in one of my favourite Facebook crochet groups, I make sure to find out who the original designer is so I can buy it directly from them. I also like to ask them for a link to the platform that will charge them the least amount of fees when I inevitably go and buy that pattern. Buying direct from the source is a double win … encouraging and supporting the artist, and denying the couterfeiters a sale on stolen work. This also allows me to give credit where credit is due, and point others in the correct direction when I post a photo of my finished project. If this is happening in the crochet world, I have no doubt it’s happening in other crafts as well, and by seeking the true and original source of that project I just fell in love with helps me to feel confident that my choices are ethically sound. The other benefit of seeking the source is that you can avoid misinformation. If you are taking advice from someone who hasn’t made the project, they may steer you wrong, and whether that is intentional or not, incorrect information could end up costing you a whole lot of time and money that you might not have to spare. Sometimes we might have to pay for correct information from someone experienced, but I’m ok with that, especially if it’s going to save me time, money and frustration in the long run.

This was a project where I was able to call upon years of internet experience, technical knowledge, problem solving and crafting know-how to take a 34 second video and create something I could hold in my hands. For me it was a parasol, but for you it might be something different … a star wars yolk knit jumper, a cross stitch featuring every pokemon, an elaborate pop up card. No matter what your craft, when you have that moment, I hope that by using these tips you can go from Whoa to Woohoo! If you’ve had a project like that in your life, I would absolutely love to see it, so please tag me on Instagram or send me a pic via DM or email. Let me fan-girl over your finished obsession project. And while I’m no crochet expert, if the project you’re desperate to achieve involves stamps, dies, stencils or Copic markers, well … I can help you with that, and I do love an original question!

Happy crafting. Merry Christmas, and I’ll see you in 2024.

Original TikTok video … 34 seconds that started this whole thing!

Crystals & Crochet

Mandala Madness pattern

Mandala Madness YouTube

My Crochet Parasol video on TikTok


Hobbii, Sultan Yarn cakes

Helen’s Hookaholics FB Group
Umbrellas & Parasols shop

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