To say I’m a bit behind with my making journal posts here on my blog, would be an understatement! If it seems like I’m constantly playing catch up, it is because I indeed am.
It hasn’t been easy these past few months.Given all the circumstances I’m doing well. Thanks to my faith, and to my dear friends.
My Granny Square Cushion cover was completed back in January . My plan was to create a project to inspire the people who come to learn crochet basics with me at Outlaw HQ ; to showcase the million possibilities that the humble granny square presents itself to.
I just used my trusted granny square pattern and almost all the colours of Bandit Dk available to me . The pattern was taken off a finished cushion cover picture I had fleetingly seen on Pinterest.
This is an excellent project to take along anywhere you go. A 4 mm crochet hook and a ball of yarn in your favourite project bag ( ahem ) , and you are all set to go.(I carry around all my yarn and supplies in a cane basket from the Solomon Islands that a friend gifted me )
The modular squares are my favourite because it is mindless .The appeal of instant gratification as the rainbow pile grows taller is too hard to resist.Then I seamed them all together to fit the size of the cushion insert I had on hand.
As I finished seaming up the last little square, the bright idea to make two different versions on the each side of the cushion struck me . Hence I decided to go with one giant square for the other side.
I still have many squares in my little basket. While I haven’t decided what I want make next with them, I find immense joy, making just one little square at a time.
If you are still here with me on this blog, let me start by saying a heartfelt thank you for staying with me through these long months of silence here.
I know its March ,its not that I wasn’t doing anything behind the scenes, its just that I had too much on my plate that I did not know how to manage my time properly. Hence this very late Happy New Year wish, but I firmly believe in the adage , better late than never. So …. A very belated Happy New Year to you all . I do hope this year has been good for you all so far.
For me through the general ups and down of lockdowns , over all it has been good.
My brother and family came to visit our family around the time of my birthday. We had good food, had so much fun driving in and around Christchurch
My dad turned 75 years old this year. Even though we would have all loved to be in India celebrating his milestone birthday, we did a zoom celebration in keeping with these times.
Jacob and I celebrated our 24 th wedding Anniversary.We treated ourselves to a lovely brunch at one of our absolute favourite places the Strawberry Fare
And then to finally to round off the year beginning special occasion celebrations, we also celebrated Jacob’s birthday the end of February.
In other news, I have been posting vlogs on my you tube channel. I’m so excited to see it grow.
I did a few markets here and there and it has been a wonderful learning experience.Every time some one appreciates the bags or buys one from the stall, it is like a breath of fresh cool breeze gently caressing the soul.I’m so grateful to be a maker . I truly cannot express the satisfaction in words , when the image in my head translates to something I can hold in my hands, through the work of my hand.
Making wise I am still sewing bags and also knitting on my pearl sweater. Its all very exciting.
We had some glorious summer days .
I was really pleased with all the flowers we had this summer in our garden. We still have a lot of work to do in our garden to make it look we way we want it to look, but we are slowly working towards.
The early mornings and late evenings have turned a tad crisp , the birds seem to be flying north , all sure signs that summer is slowly giving way to Autumn to come and paint the town with its magical shades of orange, rust and golden. I am learning to embrace all the seasons and enjoy the beauty that each season has to offer.
That is all the life update I had to share with you all , I cannot be sure if I will be regular here once more but I am definitely going to try.
Until next time dear friends, take care and keep safe
It has been a while since I last posted here.Is it just me or are there a bunch of us who struggle with starting back again after a bit of a break?
I find that I’m often overwhelmed by the amount of catching up I have to do after said break. More so when the fog of ill health gets mixed in the lot and the uncertainty of these weird times too. On a side note , How is it even November already?
I cannot complain however, I am incredibly blessed to be doing exactly the things I love , surrounded by creative people, keeping my mind engaged and productive, while picking up new skills along the way.
When I went into work a few weeks back, Ethan had blocked it beautifully and left it on the counter for me. I wasted no time to try it on and Carmin my friend (and co-worker) offered to take a picture for me; so that I can have pictures of my finished shawl.
Given that I’m always awkward in front of the camera, hasn’t Carmin has done a great job of posing me and taking beautiful pictures of an awkward old me ?!
In all fairness, I had no clue this pattern existed and I have to thank Ethan for pointing me to this pattern and choosing the colours for the shawl with me, more because it was going to be a Store sample at Outlaw Yarn HQ
As per his suggestion , I also added a YO after the first knit stitch but instead of dropping the YO, when I got back to it on the purl side (the WS) , I unwittingly knitted it as well.
Nevertheless the top edge turned out tight , (I am a tight knitter) which through the amazing power of Ethan’s blocking skills looks fabulous now.
I learnt to do short rows for the first time with this project and it was n’t as hard as I imagined it to be.
The garter rows, the colour changes and a little bit of new technique made this project a very enjoyable one.
Every month I make plans to do a weekly update on my making and things I’m enjoying at the moment ,but then just let that thought slip through the cracks.
We are in level 2 of lockdown.Covid -19 situation has been so much better in NZ than in other parts of the world. I have so so many things to be grateful for , but in this time of uncertainty,I have been quite scatterbrained. While I keep reading and hearing about how we all navigate these surreal times in our own ways, I hate to admit that I have been struggling with anxiety as well.
I am trying , to be productive and positive. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. However , I ‘m not giving up and I try to focus on things that bring me joy.
I’m writing down everything, to keep track of my schedules, the things I do ,to keep track of things and slow down and enjoy.
Like I said before, I’m trying and giving myself grace to fall down and get back up again.
Signs of Spring are popping up everywhere in the form of daffodils, cherry blossoms and hyacinths, I just hope we will have gone back to level one normality by the time Spring and Summer rolls by.
Recently I bound off a few projects off my needles, Skyping Beanie , Rafa’s Hat and the Colour Affection Shawl.
Skyping Beanie :
Winter this year has been hard for specially Jacob,after staying away for three years in the middle east. He specially requested that I make him a hat to wear when he takes Amber for her walks and when he works out in the garden early in the morning or late in the evening.
It always is a pleasure to make things for my family because they love it . They have worn whatever I’ve made them proudly announcing to every one that asked that ‘Pearlin/mumma made it’ . Isn’t that enough to make a maker’s heart itch to cast on things all the time?
I could have finished it long back but as per usual, I didn’t have DPNs to finish the crown part. I had order some online, and by the time they arrived , I had lost track of what I was doing and made a few mistakes before I got back into rhythm with the project.
I used the Vanitas yarn I got in my goodie bag at Craft Camp Nz. It is super soft yarn made with baby alpaca and organic merino from Outlaw yarn again.
Project Details :
Pattern : Skpying Beanie by Halldora J
Yarn: Outlaw Vanitas in Nostalgia
Needles: 4mm Chiagoo Circulars and DPNS
Project Notes :
This was a really quick and wonderful pattern to knit.
While Jacob really loves his Skyping Beanie , and wears it often, he is someone who doesn’t like wearing too much colour. He requested another Skyping Beanie in some shade of grey or greyish blue or shades of black . When I saw Outlaw Bohemia Worsted in Ebony, I knew he would love it. I did plan to make a Skyping Beanie, with it but then I wanted to try a different pattern and decided on Rafa’s Hat by Joji Locatelli.
Project Details :
Pattern : Rafa’s Hat by Joji Locatelli
Yarn: Bohemia Worsted in Ebony
Needles: 3.75 mm Chiagoo Circulars, 3.5 mm Dpns
Project Notes :
This was a another lovely pattern
I did not have 3.75 mm DPNs for the crown decrease and so used the 3.5 mm DPNs I had on had , it did not make a big difference .
The yarn was a dream to work with . The result is another cozy , warm beanie for the winter cold.
I also finished the Colour Affection Shawl , I was working on. While it seemed like it took forever to finish, it worked up pretty quickly in the end. My co-worker Ethan has offered to block the Colour affection shawl for me and so its with him, until he can find time to block it and finish it completely.
The past couple of weeks I must confess have been hectic. Things that took a lot of my mental energy and didn’t leave me energy to do much else.
I had a few projects going , but however hard I tried, I just could not make myself to pick them up my needles or my hook.
So instead of just pushing myself to keep going with my projects, I decided to take some time away from it all. Until I really felt the desire to pick up my needles or hook back.
I downloaded an e book on Libby ( which is an app from the Christchurch Library that my friend Louise introduced me to) and read it. Did a little bit of journaling , tried a few new recipes and kind of went with the flow until I got the making spark again.
The break did me good and now I am back to making .
I have been working on my colour affection shawl and really enjoying it. The garter stitch fabric that the Little Bandit Yarn from Outlaw Yarn creates feels so squishy and soft. I love it.
In the first section, I ran out of the first colour , a few stitches before finishing that section. I ploughed through that with my second colour. And then I ran out of the second colour as well!
So, I decided to put it aside until I could go back into the store to get more yarn.
In the meantime, I was working on a few rows here and there on my Skyping beanie. In spite of the few mistakes I made on it, I’m thrilled , it is now technically finished. I still need to weave in the ends though for it to be officially finished .
After I completed the Beanie, I did manage to go into the store and get the little bandit Scallywag yarn I had run out on. I have started working back on my Colour Affection Shawl. However, I was getting a tad restless as I wanted to get done with this shawl and move on the other two projects I have in mind already.
As I was reflecting on my making journey , I realised that it is good for me to embrace the moments of not making, just as much the moments of making , to truly enjoy the bliss of making things with my hands and to come back with renewed enthusiasm to my projects. I even have a progress keeper to remind of finding joy in the process of making just as much as holding a finished project in my hand.
Instead of just churning out finished objects one after another for the sake of numbers (of projects finished ) I want to experience the joy of making ,with every single one of the items I make. Not just that, I also want to make time to read, walk outside with Amber , try a new recipe or skill or technique, enjoy the simple beauty of nature around me.
I feel truly grateful for having the choice to choose what I want to do with my time and my resources. I do hope this post inspires you to do the same if you are able to.
Finishing projects has been a struggle for me lately . I had misplaced two works in progress somewhere.That put a damper on my spirits and I kind of lost my making mojo.
The Granny Square Hottie cover came about as a result a scrappy make along. I had a big tangled mess of yarn which I had frogged from an abandoned project . When I found a hottie bottle without a cover , covering it up with granny squares seemed like a great plan. And it indeed was !
So quick and easy, with the granny squares getting done in just three rows each , I kept reaching out to them until it was all done. The Hot pink colour and the cream ( Kan Ten and Curiosity) made it a very bright and cheerful project.
I think the vintage buttons that came along as a free gift with Molly Makes magazine, tied the cover so well together. It is one of my favourite features of this project, on top of how this hottie cover came along.
Moreover ,an added bonus was the immense satisfaction, of pretty much using up all the yarn ,that was a frustrating pile of tangled mess mocking me.
I roughly followed Alexandra Mackenzie’s Granny Square Hottie Cover pattern.
Pattern Details :
Pattern : Granny Square Hottie Cover by Alexandra Mackenzie
Yarn : Outlaw Yarn Bandit DK in Kan Ten and Curiosity
Hook : 4 mm
Project Notes :
A few things I did differently from the pattern first and foremost , were the granny squares themselves . As a result I had to adjust the number of squares I made for the cover. I also joined the squares using single crochet rather than whip stitching them around. I was really happy to have a guideline in the pattern to follow and then make modifications to suit my needs.
Easy Victorian Shell Mitts :
While I do love a quick and easy granny square, nothing makes my soul sing like a feminine lacy pattern . I have made these mitts before in a cotton mix yarn called Main Line from Knit picks, now discontinued , when we were in Kuwait. For the Winters in Kuwait , that was good. After coming to Christchurch, a 70% cotton and 25% merino did not cut it for the Winter chill here. My hands were froze constantly and I have been meaning to make another pair in Merino.
When I first joined the Outlaw yarn team , Deb gifted me a Bohemia Worsted Yarn in the colour Royal and immediately I decided that I was going to use it for these mitts . Only, I never got around to making them. Even though they are a very quick and easy pattern that hardly takes more than an afternoon to finish the pair.
When I finished my granny square hottie cover, I was pumped up to crochet a little more and decided to just get these mitts done too. I had to go up a hook size than the pattern called for as I could not get the gauge right.That took a bit of time , as I started with a size smaller like I had done the first time, then the size called for in the pattern and finally going up a hook size . Yet, it did not take more than an evening to finish the Mitts.
The Polwarth, Possum and alpaca mix in the yarn makes these mitts so cozy , soft and extremely warm to wear. I love how the yarn and the colour bring out the beauty of this pattern. Needless to say , I’m so pleased with how they turned out and have this long overdue project ticked off my list of to do things.
Pattern Details :
Pattern : Easy Victorian Shell Mitts by Bron Green
Yarn : Outlaw Yarn Bohemia Worsted in Royal
Hook : 5 mm
Being able to create these two projects with yarn I had in my stash, after not finishing anything at all for a while ,has truly been a magical making moment for me.
What a couple months it has been! No one saw this dark cloud coming huh? The leaves have started changing colour . We had a couple of earthquakes like we didn’t have enough already with the Covid 19 Pandemic.
All businesses except essential services have closed and we are still in level 4 lockdown.It feels strange to see caution tape in the park near our home.
The uncertainty of days after the lock down is lifted ,kind of looks bleak at this pointNevertheless , never have I been happier to be living in NZ like at present. I admire our Prime Minister for the decisions she made during this critical time.
Moreover , since I enjoy being home, it hasn’t been too hard for me .All essential things are available without any hardship. More than anything however, I am so thankful for the family time this quarantine has allowed our family to have. It has definitely helped keep my spirits up , to notice little things and enjoy them.Like someone close to us pointed out, its a strange blessing for us.
The boys are having online classes, although they miss their friends and going out, they seem to be happy to be home. We have now become used to online Church Service, Zoom Bible study, chats and Knit groups . Its good to be connected this way, although I do miss going out to cafes with my friend.
I had to clear out my craft room for my son and now I really don’t have a designated space to hide sew or knit.My routine has gone off the window and I am trying to hold on to some sort of schedule ; successful sometimes and unsuccessful at other times.
I must admit that I have been feeling like I have ten tabs open inside my brain and unable to think clearly. So now I have decided to not check my phone as soon as I wake up. Instead , I wake up at 6.45 a.m when my alarm goes off, brush my teeth, drink a cup of warm water, pray, shower , have breakfast, attend Bible study and only after that, I check my instagram and emails.
This has helped me not feel overwhelmed all the time.Plus I’m taking it easy and not stressing over unfinished projects. I do regular updates of my day on Insta-stories, I rearranged my journaling space and now enjoy journalling my day to day updates and sometimes do creative art journaling with soft music playing in the background.
With everyone being home, a lot of food is being cooked and polished off in like ten seconds
.I may have put on weight but I have gone off sugar during this period and was surprised that for the amount sugar I was taking in, it hasn’t been that hard to give it up.
The one being that has single handedly been drawing us out of our respective spaces of the house, keeping us all distracted, entertained and our spirits up, is our sweet adorable Amber. I think she is the happiest to have all her humans at home all the time.
Have a blessed time my friends and please stay safe at home if you are able to.