Why we need hobbies

(This post originally appeared on my professional blog, The Glitter Bitch. It has been edited for inclusion into this blog because I want to share it with my fellow Tunisian Crochet artisans.)

The Man Blanket
The Man Blanket

When the going gets tough, I crochet. My mother taught me how to knit and crochet when I was a child. I picked it up again as an adult when I needed a way to pass the long winters in Manitoba. When I sit down with my hooks and yarn and start designing something, I am focused like a laser beam for hours. Ideas flow and I can let go mentally and physically. In my case it has started turning into a second career over the years because I now sell my designs.

When we focus on something that is relaxing and interesting to us, we enter what is known as an alpha brain wave state. This is the state that people enter into when they meditate and/or exercise. Not only does this help us to be less irritating to those around us by way of destressing, this deep focus on something not related to work helps to create new neural pathways. (You will get sick of hearing me talk about your brain, but I do not care.) These information highways in our brain allow us to see things differently and ultimately will provide us with a different way of thinking in all areas of our lives.

Focused minds also think more creatively because the alpha brain wave state allows inspiration in. We have access to levels of intuition closed off to us during less mindful, scattered moments. Although we are a society that is focused on multitasking, unitasking – focusing on ONE THING ONLY – is much healthier. Multitasking may be socially acceptable and desired in the workplace but it is unhealthy and contributes to the disconnect that many of us feel.

Having a hobby also gives you something interesting to talk about. The more you do, the more interesting you become. Interesting people are attractive people. They are folks whose energy is buzzing because they are experiencing things, not sitting on their asses in front of a television set or laptop wasting their life watching other people live. When you have things to do, you change and grow as an individual. If you are currently stagnating professionally, try taking a cooking class or painting class, or join a sports team – but do something away from work. See how you are in a few weeks. You probably won’t hate your place in the universe like you did when you weren’t doing anything for yourself.

Doing something in your spare time also gets you out there meeting new people. Whether it’s strangers in the yarn aisle at Michael’s, or new team mates in the beer league hockey team, you are interacting with people in a different way. We spend a huge chunk of our lives at work and while we may be the professionals with all the knowledge and talent, ultimately most of us are in fields which serve the public and making people happy is a big part of our day. After a while this can wear on you. Nobody wants to be servile all the time, especially during stressful times of the year when deadlines or holidays feel like crushing weights. It’s nice to be able to make yourself happy and enjoy new accomplishments in an environment where you have more control over your level of interaction than you do at work. You may have to make nice with a client or coworker who is  a colossal a**hole because their existence in your professional life pays your bills, but you don’t have to be nice to the prissy b*tch in the book club. In fact, you don’t have to talk to her at all. You can surround yourself with people that you want to be around or you can even be by yourself.

Having a hobby can also open up doors to new opportunities. This  year I am submitting several of my Tunisian crochet designs to magazines. I don’t know if they’ll be accepted but my work has been well received in the TC community for a few years now so I have my fingers crossed. In fact, a lot of the current wave of knit and crochet designers are not professionally trained designers at all – they’re people just like me who enjoyed something and turned it into a second or third career, or side gig. You see this in other crafting fields like scrapbooking, candlemaking, art journaling, and soapmaking, too. I wouldn’t take up a hobby specifically to make money because then it will feel just like…..ugh…..work…..but when it’s enjoyable AND you can pay the bills – well that’s a whole new ball game, now isn’t it?

Ultimately, having a hobby is just plain FUN. It is awesome to feel like a little kid again, holding up your crooked scarf or sort-of-puffy pastries that you made, all by yourself, to show off to your friends and family. Everyone needs to have fun just for its own sake :)



I’m trying to make this site look a little prettier. I also have a professional blog that I’ve been giving love to lately, and I’ve revived a site that I used to use to showcase/sell niche items that I have designed, inspired  by the runes.

My apologies if you have been here and gotten the lovely white screen of doom that reads “Maintenance mode”. This happens sometimes when I try to do Jetpack updates. I get the spinning wheel of tears for about 30 minutes and nothing happens. Boo hiss!!!


I have a few items on my hook but they aren’t ready for show and tell yet. My tendon is getting better and I credit my kettlebell workouts with helping a lot, even if that is probably how I buggered it up in the first place!! Of course, doing nails all day in the salon doesn’t help.


Earlier this week we said goodbye to a furry family member. Our little cat, Bruiser, affectionately known as “booboo” died due to complications from kidney poisoning on Tuesday morning. The vets and staff at Southglen Animal Hospital worked hard to help him get well for five days, but despite an improvement, his little body just couldn’t do it. Early Tuesday morning he developed such a severe and sudden anemia that his little body went into shock and he couldn’t recover. He was a little fighter right to the end. How did this start? He was getting into the dog’s food and we had not two clues until a week ago when he tried to chew his way into the bag. I had no idea that dog food could do this to a male cat.

We rescued him from a drug house in August 2009, when he was about 8 weeks old. He was a tiny, filthy little bag of bones with the worst case of ear mites that our vet had seen in about 20 years. He had a saucy little attitude that quickly became apparent when we introduced him to the household diva, Honey, our other cat. He became the most social family member in the house. He was my husband’s modeling and Netflix buddy, my son’s gaming buddy, and my yarn and workout supervisor. He is very much missed in this house. Here is a photo collage I made, showing off a few of the crochet projects that he has sat upon over the years:







Mandala V 2.0



This time around I used a 9.0mm hook and added an extra round of triangles. After blocking it is about 100cm. Now to find a ginormous embroidery hoop to put this on because it is going on my living room wall 🙂

Copyright 2015 Nicole Cormier. 

You can make and sell items using my patterns but you may not sell the patterns. The patterns are free and traffic helps keep this site going, so please credit and link back to my patterns, do not post the pattern. 

Diagonal Cowl

Poor Francine has lost her nose. – I think the cat ate it. Don’t let her catch you looking – she’s very sensitive about it!!

This cowl is almost an infinity scarf. It can be worn doubled, over the head, or around the shoulders. The yarn is warm but not overly so.

10mm Tunisian hook with long cable
Stitch markers (optional)
Darning needle
3 skeins of Berroco Remix, 1 skein each of a different colour. I chose 3 neutrals from a similar palette for a graduated look. You choose whatever you like 🙂

Gauge: not terribly important. The finished scarf is about 45cm/18″ high and about 162cm/60″ wide. The scarf will grow greatly, mostly in height, when worn.

The top and bottom edges will curl. This was not a big deal for me, but for some it is a pet peeve. Youtube has a lot of videos where other crocheters offer their methods for dealing with the curl. I’m not concerned so I won’t be offering up too much advice 🙂

Basic Tunisian Eyelet Lace:

Note that the working loop on the hook corresponds to the very first edge stitch, which is not worked. This lace pattern will create a straighforward rectangle. Instructions for the diagonal shaping are included below this.

Row 1: (TSS2tog, YO) Repeat across to last stitch, TSS in last stitch. Work standard return pass.
Row 2: TSS in each stitch across, treating eyelet holes as stitches. Work standard return pass.

Repeat these two rows for the basic lace pattern. Work a standard BO on pattern row 2 to finish the work.

Diagonal Eyelet Lace:

Work increase (Inc) by picking up a loop in the space between two stitches.

Row 1: Inc, *(TSS2tog, YO) Repeat from * across to last stitch, TSS in last stitch. Work diagonal return pass as follows: YO, pull through 2 loops across. This balances the increase at the beginning with a decrease at the end to create the slant.
Row 2: Inc, TSS in each stitch across, treating eyelet holes as stitches. Work diagonal return pass.

Repeat these two rows for the diagonal lace pattern. Work a standard BO on pattern row 2 to finish the work.

Ch 130

Foundation row: flip the chain and pick up a loop in the back bump of the 2nd chain from the hook and each one across. 130 loops on the hook. Work standard return pass.

Follow Diagonal Lace Pattern for slanted scarf or Basic Pattern for rectangle scarf.

Stripe pattern:

Colour A: 8 pattern repeats
Colour B: 8 pattern repeats
Colour C: 8 pattern repeats (last row of 8th repeat is the BO row)

Weave in ends. Sew buttons on the 4th, 12th, and 20th pattern repeats or whipstitch both ends together.

Copyright 2015 Nicole Cormier. 

You can make and sell items using my patterns but you may not sell the patterns. The patterns are free and traffic helps keep this site going, so please credit and link back to my patterns, do not post the pattern. 

Sunrise Mandala

This is the first Tunisian crochet pattern that I’ve ever written down. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this, though. When I want to make something mindless and soothing, I make a mandala. If you notice an error or have a question about something you don’t understand, please leave a friendly remark.

Sunrise Mandala



Nicole Cormier

Twitter: @_nicolecormier_

IG: @tunisiancrochetchick

FB: fb.com/tunisiancrochet



Sunrise Mandala


6.0mm crochet hookFullSizeRender (9)

6.0mm Tunisian crochet hook

2 skeins Red Heart Boutique”Sunrise”

darning needle

stitch marker(s)





  1. In Tunisian crochet, the working loop corresponds to the very first stitch, which is the selvedge. It is often not charted or counted in patterns. When the instructions tell you to draw up a loop in the vertical bar, they do not mean this stitch.
  2. There is no gauge. It isn’t really important for this project. When done with a 6.0mm hook, the finished mandala is 57cm across (a shade under 22.5”) unblocked. Blocking adds about 5cm/2” to this measurement.
  3. In the video instructions (to come later) and the photographs, you will note that I am left-handed. Everything you do will be the same, but in the opposite direction.
  4. The mandala is worked from the centre out, and begins as a hexagonal motif. The rounds are not joined or turned. Throughout the project, the right side is always facing.

Centre Motif:

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Chain 5, join with a ss to form a ring.






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Round 1: Ch 1 (sc, ch5) 5 times in the ring, ch 2, dc in first sc. 6 sc with “flower petals” in between.


Mark the end of the round and keep slipping the marker as you work each round.




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Round 2: *Ch 4, sc in next ch 5 space. Rep from * around to last ch 5 space, ch 4, sc around post of dc. 6 sc.





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Round 3: *Ch 4, 2 sc in ch 4 space, sc in next sc, rep from * 18 sc.







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Round 4: *Ch 4, 2 sc in ch 4 space, sc in each sc up to last sc – skip this sc. Rep around, 24 sc.







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Continue working Round 4 until each of the six segments of the motif has a ch 4 space plus 20 sc.


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Close off the last round with a ss into the sc that you would normally skip, if you were continuing the rounds.

Ss into the first chain stitch.







First Tunisian Round (Base Triangles):


Switch to Tunisian hook.


Row 1: Remember, the working loop on the hook counts as drawing up a loop in the first stitch. Draw up a loop in the next chain st.







Work return pass: YO, pull through 1 loop. YO pull through 2 loops. First row of triangle done







Row 2: Draw up a loop in the vertical bar, draw up a loop in the next chain st. Work return pass: YO, pull through 1 loop. YO pull through 2 loops until 1 loop is left on the hook. Second row done.












Row 3: Draw up a loop in the next two vertical bars, draw up a loop in the next st. Work return pass: YO, pull through 1 loop. YO pull through 2 loops until 1 loop is left on the hook. Third row done.


Continue until all chain sts and 20 sc have been worked and you have a triangle that looks like the one to the left. It will curl. This is normal.

Bind Off Row: Chain 1, draw up a loop in the next vertical bar as shown on the left, pull this loop through the working loop – 1 stitch bound off. Carry on like this across the last row, placing a ss in the last  stitch worked in the previous row.


SS into next chain st. Follow the same process to make the next triangle. You will make six triangles in total. Cut yarn. Weave in ends as you go.


Second Tunisian Round (Squares):


First Square:



From that last ss, count back up the bound off edge 12 sts and attach yarn to this st. If it helps, mark the side edge of the first row of the next triangle so that you know where to put your hook to eventually join the square.





Draw up 12 loops on hook, working across the bound off sts, toward the “valley” between the two triangles. Draw up loop in next side edge of first row of next triangle, which you have marked. 13 loops on hook. Return pass: YO, pull through 2 loops across, until 1 loop is left on hook.




Second row: repeat as for first row.



Follow this process for 12 rows.

BO row: follow as for triangle, working ss into same stitch as joining at end of 12th row. Cut yarn, weave in ends. Follow this process around for six squares.


Now, at this point, you could make another round of even smaller squares, following the above process, or you could round off with inverted triangles. You could actually do a whole lot of other things with this mandala, because it would make a fine and dandy central motif to a larger project, but here is what I did:


Third Tunisian Round (Inverted triangles):


Attach yarn to any triangle point.


Row one: pick up loops in this row as you did for the squares. Work the same return pass.

Row two: SKIP THE SECOND VERTICAL BAR. (The first one corresponds to the working loop on your hook. By skipping the second one you will create a decrease. This creates the inverted triangle) Go to the third stitch and pick up a loop in that, working across the  row as per normal. Work return pass as established.

Rows three to six: work as row two.

Row 6A (short row): work the second vertical bar (there is no need to make the decrease as the row will be short anyway) and the next four bars. 6 loops on hook. Return pass: YO, pull through 1 loop, YO pull through 2 across until 1 loop is left on hook.

Row 7: work as established in rows 2-6, skipping the second vertical bar. Draw up a loop in the last stitch of the short row and then pick up loops in the unworked stitches of the 6th full row. Continue as per normal.

Continue decreasing one stitch at a time until only the working loop is left on the hook. Join with ss in the next point to complete inverted triangle and continue working next one. 12 inverted triangles.

At end of round, join with ss, cut yarn and weave in ends.

Here is another one that I did a couple of years ago in a similar fashion. Instead of a mandala, I made a hex sign:







This one was done in lace weight yarn for the Ravelry group “Harry Potter Knit Crochet House Cup” for a class in which we were to create a project inspired by a particular dragon from the books:


Copyright 2015 Nicole Cormier.

You can make and sell items using my patterns but you may not sell the patterns. The patterns are free and traffic helps keep this site going, so please credit and link back to my patterns, do not post the pattern.