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.
Back in January 2019, when I got my journal from Kikki. K , I loved it but I was not certain if I would finish it.
I have always had journals. This Kikki .K journal from the Life is wonderful series , with all the woodland motifs was a delight to write on. As a result , I did not abandon it half way through, like I have sometimes done ,and actually finished the 2019 journal pages
Apart from the cute layout of the journal, I also liked that it was date free. That took the pressure out of having to stick to everyday journaling , leave dated pages empty , and feel disappointed looking at the un filled pages. Usually , I only journaled once a week , but journaled more than once when I felt like I needed to get my thoughts in order ,
Back in September, I discovered a few things that propelled me to a whole new world of art journaling
Water colour paints and brushes my son had discarded.
With all my supplies and December Daily musings journal prompts from @retrowtures , a new love for journaling took root and I thoroughly enjoyed the process of decorating my pages with water colours and putting down my thoughts on paper.
Although there are some amazing art journal pages, I look upon my journaling as something I do just for my own personal joy , without a self imposed performance pressure on myself.
While at the Craft Camp , I took a class on Mindful Knitting, where I learnt about the importance of creating a making space . Ever since I have strived to slow down, keep the area I work in ,clear of clutter and light a scented candle. Sometimes I have instrumental music playing along. This has helped me truly have a few moments of calm and peace at the end of the day .
The things I journal about differs every time. Sometimes its just about my day, sometimes its how I am feeling, my thoughts, fears etc, sometimes its prayers, or gratitude , things I’m loving at the moment and so on.
I do not do it on a regular basis , sometimes its once a week , and sometimes I journal more often
I have also been using it to practise my art journaling and calligraphy and it has been a wonderful creative outlet for me.
Each time I ‘m able to set aside a good chunk of time, I use it to journal and sometimes art journal. No part of it is perfect in anyway , but process of creation something without any sort of restriction, embracing the flow of the moment is what is fun for me.
So, I do want to encourage you to try journaling , creating a making space for yourself and see how you like. I have definitely enjoyed the process and I think you will too !
Two months have gone by in 2020 already and 2019 seems like a distant past.
Still the fact that I had not not share my favourited Finished Object of 2019 here on the blog was not lost on me.
So to amend the glaring omission, I just wanted to share pictures of my 2nd Avenue Shawl here .
Working at Outlaw HQ, has given me the privilege of being surrounded by very talented makers, gorgeous yarn and so much inspiration.
Initially ,seeing the colours, the different yarns , textures, patterns , makers , enjoying the community and admiring their beautiful creations, I was like a child in a sweet shop, I wanted to make all the things .In the end, I really couldn’t decide what I wanted to make !
When Outlaw October rolled around, it was also around the time , a new limited edition of polwarth/ silk yarn line called NYX Prohibition was released. The colours and the silky sheen of the yarn were too hard to pass up .
So off to Ravelry I went to search for a project that would use as many colours as possible ; which then ended up in me zeroing on the Second Avenue Shawl. I have had this pattern on my queue for a while now but never got around to casting it on.
The Outlaw October Knit along and the irresistible beauty of the NYX Prohibition yarn ,ended up being the creative fuel I needed to cast on this shawl .
This shawl is a really nice, simple pattern with just enough elements ,to keep me interested -with slight pattern changes and colour changes -in the pattern until cast off . So I enjoyed knitting on it and was really pleased with the end product.
This week I finished my Sunday Shawl. I usually stay away from making the same project twice. This shawl is too pretty not to make .Unlike the first time I made this shawl, this time I made it in DK yarn , again from Outlaw Yarn , this time in Bandit Yarn. As expected, it worked up to be another quick project.
The pattern has been updated since I made it last time .It was not a difficult pattern to follow in the first place but with the updated pattern , it was a breeze.
It felt really good to get back into crochet again.
Project Details :
Pattern : Sunday Shawl by Alia Bland
Hook : 5 mm
Yarn : Outlaw yarn Bandit
(I used 5 skeins of the colour Curiosity for the main colour and one skein each of Daring, Frolic,Rouge, Kan-ten, Adventure and Scallywag for the accent colours)
My work mate Ethan and I chose the colours for this shawl as it is going to be a shop sample at Outlaw HQ . It was sweet serendipity that the colours I got custom dyed for my previous Sunday Shawl accent colours were all almost of the same colour palette.
Whats more, my usually very disinterested teen actually thought he could pinch it from me for himself and was sorely disappointed that it was a for a store sample.