Crafts · Knitting · Slow Craft · Slow living · Works in Progress

In the Making…#1

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.

Sending you all my love

Pearlin

Autumn · Crafts · Crochet · Fingerless Mitts · Granny Hottie Cover · Granny Square Hottie Cover · NZ Yarn · Outlaw Yarn · Seasons

Maker’s Journal : The Crochet Edition

Granny Square Hottie Cover :

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.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Until Next Time

Happy Crafting

Autumn · Covid 19 , 2020 · Life · Lifestyle · New Zealand · Seasons · small things

Chat over Chai # 3

Hi Everyone

Lockdown Diaries

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.

lots of love

Pearlin

Journaling · Lifestyle

Moments of Bliss -Journaling

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

Hobonichi journals

Sojourner covers.

Washi tapes , stickers

Fountain Pen

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 !

Crafts · Knit · Knitting · Outlaw Yarn · Shawl · Yarny Love

Favourite FO of 2019

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.

Project Details :

Pattern : 2nd Avenue pattern by Amy Miller

Yarn : Outlaw NYX Prohibition

Needles: 4.0 mm ChiaoGoo Needles

Project Notes :

  • I cast on 156 stitches
  • I used 5 colours , Corpse Reviver, Apple Jack,Highball ,Hanky Panky and Whisky Sour
  • I used one ball and a little more of the second ball of yarn of all the colours.
Crafts · Crochet · Shawl

Sunday Shawl

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.

Handknit · Home Decor · Knit · Knitting · Outlaw Yarn

Chunky Cable Blanket

It has been a long dream of mine to make a throw blanket. If you go through my past blog post, you can see how many I have started. The reason there is no finished blanket on here is because I never got around to finishing them.

Honestly, when I started this Chunky blanket, given my previous history of making blankets, I wasn’t sure if I would finish it. The Outlaw Chunky Queen Bee yarn , and the easy and fun Chunky Blanket Pattern , made this blanket dream of mine come true. To my own surprise , it turned out to be a quick knit.

With the little leftover yarn, I decided to make tassels because I just wanted to use them up and also add a fun element to it. I was tossing between pompoms and tassels but then I decided to go with tassels. I am happy with how it turned out.

Project Details :

Pattern : Chunky Cable Blanket

Yarn : Queen Bee Yarn in Smudge, Yara, Titania and Zelda ( 9 skeins in total)

Needles : 12 m.m Knit pro symfonie

Cooking · India · Recipes · Sea Food · South India · Tamil Nadu · Tirunelvelli

Tirunelveli Simple Prawn Masala

Prawns are a family favourite .Ever since we discovered, frozen deveined prawns in our local supermarket, I always try to have some in my freezer so that I can make this recipe quickly. This recipe is so simple and and so easy to make , goes really with curd rice, sambar rice or with rasam and rice that I make it when I am lost for ideas to make for dinner.

Ingredients :

250 gms Shelled and deveined Prawns

1 cup chopped Red Onion ,( I like to use shallots or pearl onions)

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 tsp Fennel seeds

1 tsp red chilli powder ( I use medium spicy)

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

a handful of chopped coriander leaves

2 sprigs curry leaves if available

a little less than 1/4 cup water

2 tbsps sesame oil

Salt to taste

Method :

Heat oil in a skillet.

Add the fennel seeds and curry leaves if available. Let them splutter.

Add the chopped onions. Let them become nearly caramelised.

Add ginger garlic paste, sauté till the raw smell goes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, sauté until mushy.

Add in all the powders, sauté until the raw smell goes and oil separates

Pour in the water, let it cook for a minute

Add salt

Add the prawns, let the masala coat over them and the prawns turn a little pink.

Cover and let it cook for a few minutes.

Cook until the prawn are well cooked but not over cooked

Then open the cover , increase the temperature on the stove, ( or flame to medium high) let the water evaporate a little and the masala becomes semi thick.

Garnish with coriander leaves .Serve.

Cook Book Scribbles

Keep track of how much water you add by adding a little at a time as the prawns release some water too when covered.

I also used dried curry leaves because I did not have fresh ones at hand.

Edited to add the video version as well

Life · New Zealand · Outlaw Yarn · small things · Summer · Yarn Festival

Chat over Chai # 2

Hi Everyone,

Happy New Year 2020

I hope you all are back to work after enjoying lovely Christmas and New Year holidays.

I have been long gone from the blog ,but I have been busy posting on other social media, which is You Tube and Instagram in bits and pieces. If you would like , you can catch up on my 12 days of Vlogmas on my You Tube channel Planetpearl.

The year 2019 seemed to whiz past , mostly because it was a year of huge personal growth for me.

I started working at Outlaw Yarn HQ . People who know me really well, know its a dream come true for me.

Once I read about a research that found ,that people who worked in Flower shops were one of the happiest . I can understand that , because how is it possible not to smile when you are surrounded by flowers, right?

As a fiber craft enthusiast, I feel the same way working in a yarn store( or Wool Shop as some people like to call it here ). It is hard not be happy surrounded by all the colourful yarn and meeting some really cool people , seeing the amazing projects they make. Needless to say, I’ve been enjoying it immensely.

It also opened up the opportunity for me to meet Steven Be . THE Steven Be . Which was one the year’s highlights for me.

He helped me cast on my Pearl Sweater. Which I thought was so cool. Really who would have thought I would meet him right ? And that he would be so down to earth and humble ,to patiently take the time to teach an absolutely beginner sweater knitter , how to do a cast on, explain the garment structure and make sure I got it right. Surely if that is not being generous with one’s time, I do not know what is !

Ever since I met him, I have been fan girling gushing talking about what a wonderful person he is to know! So much inspiration, wealth of knowledge , so positive and funny.

One of the things I checked off my Bucket list in 2019, was attending Christchurch Woolfeast as a stall Vendor ,selling my Hold and Cherish project bags . Two of my close friends and my son gave me so much support and made it a wonderful success.

Another wonderful experience was flying over to Wellington to attend Craft Camp. It was such a well organised camp which helped me meet some amazingly talented women.

I learnt to dye yarn along with Steve, my younger son, which was a great exposure to art of yarn dyeing for both of us.

I also tried weaving which I really loved too.

I’m really proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone and I’m really pleased with how the year 2019 went for me craft wise.

For the year 2020

Regardless of how my personal life is going, I always get excited about a New Year. It’s always a time to reflect on the past lessons and look forward with hope, to another year of inspiration and learning .

The plans for this year include ,moving towards a more intentional ,slow living and uncluttered lifestyle.

I have already cleared out my closet of clothes that I do not wear, to be donated to Salvation Army. Which does make me feel better about putting my thoughts into action.

I also hope I will be able to keep up with my blog more regularly, sharing more of my creating journey ,towards a joyful life.

With that said,Thank you so much for being part of my creative journey , for your encouragement and support by way of likes and comments. Appreciate you all so much.

Have a very blessed 2020 dear friends.