Step 1: Spend at least one hour carefully choosing yarn to match an evening gown that you haven't tried on yet. Do not have a pattern in mind while you shop. It's much easier to find the pattern after you've limited yourself by the amount and type of yarn you've bought. Bonus points for bringing your fussy toddler and exhausted husband with you to the yarn shop. Step 2: Try on dress. When dress does not fit properly, have a small meltdown. Consider sacrificing knitting hours for extra jogging hours in order to become both shorter and less lumpy. Have a good laugh when you come to your senses.
Step 3: Pick a shawl pattern after no less than three hours on Ravelry. You should make sure to take into account how many meters of yarn you've purchased so you're sure to have enough. Or just pick any pretty pattern you like and ignore all pattern notes. There's no way this shawl can take 1,000 meters and you'll most definitely be fine with the 600 you've bought.
Step 4: Begin crocheting. Choose any size hook you like! This is supposed to be fun! Bonus points for starting the shawl in a moving car while riding down a winding, country road while simultaneously trying to sooth a toddler and balance your ipad with the pattern on one knee.
Step 5: Frog first 20 rows because you did not read the pattern all the way through before charging blindly ahead. Instead of a triangular shawl you have started to crochet a lace amoeba. Since your yarn was rather expensive, frog what you've created and start fresh.
Step 6: Come to the terrible realization that you can't rip back the amoeba because the yarn you've chosen has fused to itself. Narrowly avoid meltdown by breaking yarn and tossing your lace amoeba into a cupboard.
Step 7: Crochet madly for a few hours until you have a nice chunk of lace. Feel smug and confident that you'll have this shawl finished in plenty of time. Only work on the shawl when you're bored of other projects or need something fancy for your Instagram.
Step 8: Panic. You've run out of yarn and the shawl is puny. Raid your stash. When you realize that nothing in your stash goes well with "shiny", come to terms with the fact that you just need to suck it up and buy another ball, even if it is rather expensive. You've already come this far, don't wimp out now. Maybe you can find a good deal on the Internet. Bonus points for choosing a colorway that has been discontinued.
Step 9: Procure yarn from local yarn shop. Hope the dye lots aren't horrendously different. Crochet leisurely. Now that you've purchased a whole new ball you will be able to make a huge shawl and have loads of wool leftover to crochet something fancy like earrings. No worries.
Step 11: Cry. You have run out of yarn on the final row of your border.
Step 12: Go and find the lace amoeba that you weren't able to frog. Procure seam ripper. Gently pry stitches apart until you have salvaged enough yarn to finish the border. Bonus points if you have a toddler who will destroy your house while you do this. Watch as she hides your credit cards and driver's license under the rug. Hopefully you have a backup seam ripper because she will hurl the one you're using (lid on, thankfully) into the oblivion.
Step 13: Rejoice! And block. Victory is yours. I hope you have enough pins.
My shawl is finally blocking and I am hiding from my crochet hooks for the night. What a whirlwind. Thankfully I've found an evening gown that matches my yarn and still have four more days to string some pearls to tie it all together. I can't wait to show you all what the shawl looks like after blocking! Isn't it such a mystical process? Watch this space for sparkly updates soon.