Peaceful Projects to Soothe and Inspire


By Nikki Van De Car

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around April 11, 2017. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

SereKNITy: Peaceful Projects to Soothe and Inspire weaves mindful crafting and peaceful reflection into this simple, yet beautiful, collection of knitting and crochet patterns.

The projects here are not the complicated sweater patterns found in traditional knitting guides, but simple, beautiful objects anyone can create. Practical crafts, like fingerless gloves and mug cozies, are featured alongside more meditative patterns, like granny squares and crocheted flowers. Each is paired with an inspirational, intention-setting prompt and falls under an overarching theme-Color, Texture, or Structure-that encourages knitters and crocheters of all skill levels to be fully present in the moment.

Author and crafter Nikki Van De Car gently guides readers to look inward as they work, releasing their anxiety as they create something beautiful. For experienced knitters and novices alike, this is meditative crafting of the very best kind.



I never go anywhere without my yarn. I take it with me to the movies, to the doctor's office, to my daughter's karate class. I knit while I'm waiting for the pasta water to boil, and I crochet while sitting in the sunshine with my cat. And for those twenty or ten or even five minutes that I am able to squeeze out of my day, I find peace.

The marvelous thing about crafting with yarn is that it's so portable—most of these projects are small enough to fit comfortably in your purse, ready to pull out at a moment's notice. Standing in line? Trying to center yourself while riding the train home from work? You have everything you need at your fingertips.

William Morris once said, "A good way to rid one's self of a sense of discomfort is to do something. That uneasy, dissatisfied feeling is actual force vibrating out of order; it may be turned to practical account by giving proper expression to its creative character." It's true. If I'm upset or frustrated or even just not quite sure how I'm feeling, all I need is a few moments to sit and feel the soft, beautiful yarn moving through my fingers, to observe the tactile pleasures of a craft that engages the senses—touch, of course, but also sight as I watch my work grow before my eyes. Sometimes I deliberately choose yarn that smells sheepy, and I think about the Shetland or Leicester sheep, roaming the Hebrides, whose wool I am holding now. And I hear the click-click-click of the needles, rhythmic and steady as breathing.

The book is divided into three sections—Color, Texture, and Structure—and each of these sections shines a light on that specific aspect of knitting or crochet. Of course, in reality, a knitter or crocheter is always dancing and trading back and forth among all three, all the time. You can't have a knitted or crocheted anything that doesn't play with color, texture, and structure all at once. But the patterns in these sections tend to focus on one thing or another—stripes and saturation in Color, yarn and stitch choice in Texture, gauge and construction in Structure. What will you choose to focus on today?

Yarn work is a craft that asks us to be fully present, to engage and lose ourselves in creating something that is both beautiful and functional. The act of knitting and crocheting is deeply satisfying in its own right—but to wind up with something lovely and handmade at the end of it is what crafting is all about.

Part One


adho mukha


Scarves are often chosen as first projects for a beginning knitter or crocheter, and it's easy to see why. They're very simple, they are worked back and forth, there is no shaping, and they are easy to wear and appreciate.

But scarves take a long time, and someone who is just learning usually wants to see some results, to finish something and feel that sense of accomplishment. And while doing the exact same thing over and over again can feel very meditative, eventually it feels very boring. It's a fine line.

This triangular scarf, named after the "downward dog" yoga pose, is still very simple, but the occasional increase on the first half and decrease on the second half will keep you engaged, while also teaching you something new. It's a great project to learn on. When it is worked in a color gradient, as shown here, the hues shift almost imperceptibly. As your scarf grows, your understanding of crochet will grow with it.


7¼ inches (18.5 cm) wide and 41½ inches (105.5 cm) long.


400 yards (366 meters) fingering weight wool yarn (shown in A Hundred Ravens Iachos Mini-Skein Gradient, in color Morgan's Frost)

Size F-5 (3.75 mm) crochet hook

Safety pin

Tapestry needle


28 sts and 28 rows = 4 inches (10 cm) in single crochet (see here).


Foundation ch: Ch 3.

Next row: Begin in second ch from hook, sc in each ch, ch 1, and turn—2 sts.

Next row: Skip turning ch, 2 sc, ch 1, and turn.

Increase row: Skip turning ch, 2 sc into first st, sc to end, ch 1, and turn—3 sts.

Place safety pin on this side of the fabric, as you will always increase or decrease with the safety pin facing you.

*Work 3 rows even.

Increase row: 2 sc into first st, sc to end, ch 1, and turn—1 st increased.

Repeat from * until there are 50 sts.

Work 3 rows even.

**Decrease row: Sc2tog, sc to end, ch 1, and turn—1 st decreased.

Work 1 row even.

Repeat from ** until 2 sts remain. Sc2tog, and fasten off.


Weave in all ends using tapestry needle. Finish the piece by blocking it, as instructed on here.


My friend Anna Noyes made this garland as we sat together on the rubber floor of the neighborhood playground while our children ran around in the sunshine. I sketched out what I wanted her to do and gave her a crochet hook and some yarn. But when it was finished, the result was not the rigid necklace I had envisioned. It's more fluid, because as Anna crocheted and I knit, we chatted about our work, and in that flow the necklace evolved.

It is as much Anna's design as mine, and I love it. This is creativity—the excitement of exchanging ideas and of letting your ideas change with the push and pull of someone else's. When the necklace is worn, the green leaves nestled on the chest represent the heart chakra, the chakra of healing and, of course, relationships. Let the whimsy of this necklace inspire you to let yourself be moved by others, like leaves fluttering in the breeze.


30 inches (76 cm) long.


75 yards (69 meters) fingering weight yarn (shown in Debbie Bliss Rialto 4-ply in colors Light Green [MC], Duck Egg [CC1], and Cream [CC2])

Size E-4 (3.5 mm) crochet hook

Tapestry needle


Foundation ch: Using MC, ch 3.

Row 1: Begin in second ch from hook, sc in each st across, ch 1, and turn—2 sts.

Row 2: Skip turning ch, 2 sc in each st, ch 1, and turn—4 sts.

Row 3: Skip turning ch, sc across, ch 1, and turn.

Row 4: Skip turning ch, 2 sc into first st, sc in each of next 2 sts, 2 sc into last st, ch 1, and turn—6 sts.

Row 5: Skip turning ch, sc across, ch 1, and turn.

Row 6: Skip turning ch, sc2tog, sc in each of next 2 sts, sc2tog, ch 1, and turn—4 sts remain.

Row 7: Skip turning ch, sc2tog twice, ch 1, and turn—2 sts remain.

Row 8: Skip turning ch, sc2tog—1 st remains.

*Insert the hook into the next visible hole you find along the center of your leaf, yarn over and pull up a loop, and pull it through the loop on your hook, creating a slip stitch; repeat from * down the center of your leaf until you run out of holes.

To finish off, make this final loop on your hook large enough to fit your entire ball of yarn and any previous leaves through it. Pull it tight!

Measure yarn 5 inches (12.5 cm) from the base of the previous leaf, making sure yarn is relaxed. Begin your next leaf there with the foundation chain.

When your string measures 30 inches (76 cm) and has 7 leaves, cut the yarn, leaving an 8-inch (20.5 cm) long tail, and fasten off.

Make one more string using MC, then make 1 garland of each CC, for a total of 4.


To connect the garlands into one necklace, lay them flat, offsetting the leaves. Gather all the ends together and tie them in a square knot at the base of your two outside leaves. Weave in all ends using tapestry needle.


This striking, flowing vest is made using two different balls of self-striping yarn, and alternating them so that the colors from each ball play with those of the other in surprising ways. It's extremely easy to knit, being nothing but a giant Stockinette rectangle with holes, but there's nothing dull about it. Watching as one color blends into the next, and then jumps out in startling contrast, keeps the mind engaged, even mesmerized.

As your conscious thoughts, your to-do list, your worries drift away, watch what comes up instead—how will one random thought bleed into the next? What will you learn about yourself?

Sizes: Small (medium, large, extra-large). Shown in medium.


Back width, between armholes: 11½ (11½, 12½, 12½) inches (29 [29, 31.5, 31.5] cm).

Length: 21¾ (23, 24¼, 25½) inches (55 [58.5, 61.5, 65] cm).


1,080 (1,192, 1,327, 1,450) yards (987 [1,090, 1,213, 1,326] meters) sport weight yarn (shown in Noro Taiyo Sport, in colors Earthtones/Yellow/Olive [MC], 2 [2, 2, 3] balls, and Blues/Greens/Rust/Red [CC], 2 balls, each size)

Size US 7 (4.5 mm) needles

Stitch markers

Stitch holders

Tapestry needle


18 sts and 29 rows = 4 inches (10 cm) in St st (see here).


For a helpful diagram, see here.

right side

Using MC, cast on 100 (106, 112, 118) sts.

Next row: K8, pm, knit to last 8 sts, pm, knit to end.

Knit 3 rows, slipping markers as you come to them.

Change to CC. Knit 4 rows.

Change to MC. Knit 4 rows.

Change to CC. Knit 4 rows.

Change to MC.

Row 1 (RS): Knit.

Row 2 (WS): Knit to marker, sl m, purl to next marker, sl m, knit to end.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 once more.

*Change to CC. Work rows 1 and 2 two more times.

Change to MC. Work rows 1 and 2 two more times.

Repeat from * until there are 30 (32, 34, 36) Stockinette stripes, not including garter border at the bottom edge, and end with a WS row.

right armhole:

Set-up row (RS): Using MC, k60 (60, 64, 64) stitches, pm for armhole, knit to end.

*Next row (WS): Knit to marker, sl m, purl to armhole marker, sl m, knit to end.

Next row (RS): Knit.

Repeat from * 2 more times, then repeat WS row once more, maintaining stripe pattern, and end with a WS row.

Next row (RS): Using MC, k17 (17, 19, 19), bind off 39 (39, 41, 41) sts, knit to end—44 (50, 52, 58) sts remain for body, and 17 (17, 19, 19) sts remain for shoulder. Cut CC, leaving a 6-inch (15 cm) tail. Place shoulder sts on holder.

*Next row (WS): Knit to marker, sl m, purl to marker, knit to end.

Next row (RS): Knit.

Repeat from * 4 more times, then repeat WS row once more, maintaining stripe pattern, and joining CC at armhole edge.

Cut both colors, leaving a 6-inch (15 cm) tail for each color. Place sts on holder.

Return held shoulder sts to needles. With WS facing, attach MC to top of armhole and knit to end. Knit 2 more rows.

Knit 12 rows, maintaining stripe pattern, and joining CC at armhole edge.

Next row (RS): Using CC, k17 (17, 19, 19), using the backward loop method (see here), cast on 39 (39, 41, 41) stitches, knit held side sts—100 (106, 112, 118) sts.

*Next row (WS): Knit to marker, sl m, purl to armhole marker, sl m, knit to end.

Next row: Knit.

Repeat from * 2 more times, then repeat WS row once more, maintaining stripe pattern.


Leaving armhole marker in place, work rows 1 and 2 as follows:

*Row 1: Knit.

Row 2: Knit to first marker, sl m, purl to last marker, sl m, knit to end.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 once more.

Change to MC. Work rows 1 and 2 two more times.

Repeat from * until there are 19 (19, 21, 21) Stockinette stripes after the right armhole.

left armhole:

Set-up row (RS): Using MC, knit.


On Sale
Apr 11, 2017
Page Count
128 pages
Running Press

Nikki Van De Car

About the Author

Nikki Van De Car is a blogger, mother, writer, crafter, and lover of all things mystical. She is the author of ten books on magic and crafting, including Practical Magic and The Junior Witch’s Handbook, and the founder of two popular knitting blogs. Nikki lives with her family in Hawaii.

Learn more about this author