Sunday, 31 July 2016

Staggy The Yarn Bombed Stag



Last year Kmart was selling these cute Stag Clocks for $15.

I bought one and hung it on my wall. I didn't really bother to use it to tell the time, but I loved the shape. One of those useless things you buy because... reasons.

Here is a photo of it taken ages ago when it was a benign random wall thing....


Then disaster struck. It was knocked off the wall. The hook at the back was kind of small and narrow. This broke one of the antlers and the clock mechanism.

Then I saw a picture on the Instabrag of someone's yarn bombed deer.  It was a 3D thing like my Juicy Moosey. I have just spent hours scrolling back trying to find it from months ago. But I can't even remember who made it. Sad face because I really REALLY wanted to show it to you!

And I was always envious of Lucy's wreaths from Attic 24. Especially her winter wreath with that super cute hedgehog! Queen Crochet Amazona Lucy inspires me monthly, weekly and sometimes daily, but her Winter Wreath is especially inspiring.

So I decided to make use of the pieces of my broken stag shape to create something like a cross between a seasonal wreath and Yarn Bombed Stag because I am an inherent hoarder and hate throwing useless crap away. Until I become overwhelmed with useless crap and throw ALL of it away. Which happens about once every 3 years. Or 10.

I glued the antler back on and threw away the cheap clock mechanism. I wasn't really interested in that anyway.

I had an idea for a woodland thingy where the stag shape was like a tree and it's antlers would be filled with leaves and forest-y things!

I started off with a nice oaky brown yarn for the 'trunk' and branches.


I crocheted it to fit adjusting the single crochet stitches for each row as i went along.


When I finished the shape, I crocheted around the perimeter in a double crochet  stitch to fit around all the sides.


I then stitched it to the back. It wasn't in any neat, pretty professional way. The back looks like a bit of a dogs breakfast!

Then disaster struck again! (jeezus this is as bad as an episode of Neighbours. And in bucking the trend of most inhabitants of Kangaroo Land, I don't actually watch Neighbours. Nor do I wear thongs. Although I used to love wearing a thong as in undies in the form of a string until pregnancy made my butt too big if that makes any difference? And I occasionally say 'Crikey'.)


The disaster catalyst came in the form of Sonofagun No.2 and his well meaning efforts to do... actually no. No well meaning sweet 7 year old stuff. He was roughhousing around and knocking things over pretending to be Godzilla or Spiderman. Or both at once, and knocked Staggy off the table.

So the antler that previously broke, broke again.


This time I splintered it and glued the crap out of it. See all that glue?
 
I then searched the interwebs for bits and pieces.

I made up the grass....

 
I also made up these cute toadstools which are applique style.  I am completely shithouse at French knots! Those little white dots had to be reinforced with Wonder Womans invisible thread.  I also made lots of small pink and mauve flowers.  They are fairly similar to Lucy's Teeny Tiny Flowers (tutorial here) except for some different stitches and they are made in mercerized cotton with a 2mm hook.


I whipped up these cute little balls to be sort of like berries. I simply used the basic principles of amigurumi to make little spheres.


And I made a bunch of these cute little acorns. They are available as a free pattern from another favourite blogger of mine called Sons Popke. You should check out some of her other cute woodland amigurumi!


The little half acorns in the 'knot hole' (also freestyled) were adapted from this pattern. I made the acorn cap according to pattern, then only made half the acorn but didn't stuff them with polyfill.


The pattern for the leaves below can be found on the Attic 24 blog here.

 
The leaves on the left below are called Spring Leaves and you can also find the pattern on Attic 24 here. The thing I love about them is the 2 tones. They look so fresh! They remind me of peacock feathers. And they are so quick and easy to make!
 


The mistletoe, fern and oak leaves came from the book 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet.

 

I knew I also wanted Hellebores. When I was growing up, the Mothership always had Hellebores in the garden. Last year when I visited the National Rhododendron Gardens in the Dandenong Ranges, there were thousands of hellebores in all the pinky/ plumy colours.


Luce (you don't mind if I call you Luce? It's an Aussie thing where we have to shorten everyones names. EG: Adam = Ads, Lucy = Luce, Brian = Bri. And if they already have one syllable names, we stick Y or O on the end. Dave = Davo, Jack = Jacko, Jane = Jane-y. Don't take offense! It means you're one of the gang!) So Luce has a gorgeous, easy to follow Hellebore pattern which I followed to make some for Staggy. (See what I did there?)
You can find the easy to follow tutorial here.
 
To assemble Staggy, first I stitched on the grass and toadstools and ground stuff.

 
I then started the long process of hand stitching on all the bits and pieces onto the branches.
 
I also wanted some wildlife. I played around with the idea of Australian native animals, but thought seeing as this tree was a little more European woodland style, I'd make some non- Aussie creatures.  I found a free pattern online for this adorable little squirrel.

Because I wanted the squirrel to look like he was scampering up the side of the tree, I only crocheted legs on his left side.


 
But this little owl I made up myself!  Would you like to make one? Then stay tuned in the coming week or so when I publish the pattern!

 
Sunny Jim the budgie has developed a habit of trying to get herself into whatever I'm working on or doing.  She loved to fly over, land on my workspace, pick up and throw pieces around. She also decided it was a new fun game to fly onto my cappuccinos to dip her beak into the froth, then turn around and crap in the cup like what she did shortly after I took the photo below. Deviant!
The sweet little toadstools were purchased on a whim a few months ago from The Figtree Forest in Milton.


Do you know that familiar feeling when you're working on something and can see the end? You look at your progress and inwardly think, "Only 5/4/3/2/1 rows to go!" or "I just have to sew on these last leaves/ flowers/ dingdongs on and I'm done!"

 
It didn't quite work that way for me. I crocheted all the leaves, animals, acorns and most of the flowers. Then I sewed them on and made more flowers. I also had a collection of cute shiny beads and things to sew on.  But I simply looked at it at one point and thought, "I don't think it needs anymore." And that was it. How anti-climactic!

 
What do you think?


I love it like a fat redhead love cappuccinos & timtams!! (yes I'm talking about me!)

I have hanging on a rather boring wall.  Unfortunately no pretty fireplace to hang it over so it can brighten up this boring part of the loungeroom!

 
Have you transformed something rather plain or broken at your place with yarn or some other medium? I'd love it to see it! Show me by popping over to me Facie page and posting it! Or tag me on Instagram.


xox
Louise
The Red Haired Amazona

Sunday, 17 July 2016

A Day at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show

There are times in a yarn lovers life when you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that you're going to make your bank account cry.

I've even heard some crack jokes about making their husbands grumpy but I don't have one of those and my BF the Bear is a very supportive partner of a Yarn Lover and maker of yarny things.

And these occasions which make husbands grumpy and bank accounts cry usually revolve around yarn sales, beginnings of projects, any time we're within a 1km radius of a place that sells yarn and anytime we look at our bursting yarn collections and think, "I have 4 shades of purple but not a BRIGHT purple in DK Superwash..."

And then there are times when you hear news of the most amazing thing you ever heard existed.

A whole weekend of amazing fabulousness call a WOOL SHOW!

I first heard mention of this by a lovely lady called Danielle of Raxor Yarns who I met at the Maribyrnong Makers Market a month ago.  She said it was like Christmas! So I hit the Google and it informed me that not an hour and half from my little house in the lovely town of Bendigo would be the Australian Sheep & Wool Show.

I know I usually sound like a bit of an excitable, crazy person full of exaggerative superlatives when I writing in this blog to you, but I assure you this is pretty much me in real life.  So I inwardly exploded with joy and started harassing the Bear with plans and research.

I absolutely had to be there.  Until I discovered the Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever was being held in the Melbourne CBD on the same Saturday I intended on going. I was conflicted. Did I want to soak up yarn amazeness or dance around in a red dress as Cathy with thousands of other Melburnians expressing our frustration at Heathcliff?

Who would not want to join these gorgeous people?!?
photo courtesy of abc.net.au
But then yarn!

It was decided when BFF the Blonde Bombshell and my sister Blonde Amazona were not able to join me on the day of being a part of the worlds largest gathering of Bush.
The Blonde Bombshell had a prior engagement and the Blonde Amazona said whilst the Bush sounded amazing, she wasn't yet game enough to join a mass orgy of Bush fans. I didn't fancy prancing around with all the other Bushes while my sister watched on and possibly secretly filmed me for the amusement of family on Facebook.

If I was going to prance around in Bush adoration in a red dress that doesn't match my complexion with 2000 strangers, I wanted my gal pals with me! So I hoped that it will be held again next year and made my choice. Yarn.

So I packed an extra large shopping bag and the Bear and I piled the kids into the car and off we went to the beautiful country town of Bendigo. 

I crocheted on the way.  Bear has cubs of his own and the youngest has said he wants his own crocheted blanket. In lime green. And yellow. Yes. Very bright, but want the Bear Cub wants, I will make!


We caught Pokémon along the way, and enjoyed a beautiful sunny winters day and arrived just after 10am.
Then we arrived.

There were fashion parades, stalls selling everything from shearing and farming equipment to yarn supplies for felting, knitting, crochet, embroidery, clothes, lots of yummy food stalls for fast food or produce.


I fondled and admired cotton yarns of a million colours, silk, alpaca, wool, tasted fudges and olives, slurped multiple cappuccinos and chatted with lots of lovely stall holders.

The theme of the show this year was to celebrate May Gibbs book Snuggle Pot & Cuddle Pie. So the fashions and entries for the competitions were May Gibbs inspired...






I had a lovely chat with the lovely Jenni and her husband from Shiloh Wool and bought some softer than soft 'Silky Wool' which is 100% Australian Wool. 


They had a range of beautiful colours.  My favourite is the variegated yellow, green, pink and teal.  I am seeing a yummy pair of wrist warmers in this yarn!  They were kind enough to let me take a few photos.


I also bought this delicious sock yarn called Jawoll Magic from another stall. It is 75%wool 25% nylon. But I thought whenever I decide to try my hand at knitting some socks, this might look interesting.


I also found this 100% Merino from Fibreworks.  Can you believe how rich the colour is?  I still haven't decided what to make with it but I think it would make a lovely cowl. What do you think?


I was also drawn to a Tweed Hat stall which had tamoshanters, caps, cloches, Berets, Capes in all sorts of lovely authentic Harris Tweeds from Scotland. They also sold a wide range of pins and brooches.


I don't think I have much Scottish ancestry but was drawn to this gorgeous pin.


One thing I wanted to do when I arrived was locate the Little Woollie stall.  I have following Julies blog for a couple of years and always lusted after her range of cotton yarns and some of the gorgeous blankets and cloths and cushion covers she makes.
After a full day of trudging up and down the Show, I finally found her stall by complete accident.

I walked into a large tent behind the main pavilions and found someone with some beautiful yarns. I chatted to the lovely lady and kept looking a one of her crochet blankets on the table. It had been a long day and after walking around all day being overawed from more yarn than I had ever seen in my life I wasn't really using my adult brain so I kept looking at the blanket on the table, the washcloths hanging up and another blanket and I said to her, "I feel like I've seen these before..."  and she said, "Maybe you've seen them online? Or Pinterest?"

I thought she was referring to the pattern she had taken them from until she showed me her business card which said 'Little Woollie Makes Yarn Store'.

I finally woke up and realized I had seen them online. On her Blog! Her original blanket! And I blurted out "OMG! Little Woollie! I've been looking out for your stall ALL DAY!!!"

Julie (all this time I kept thinking of this person in my head and calling her Little Woollie) had such lovely cotton yarns. It took me ages to decide.  If I had found her stall first I would have blown my whole budget on her cottons (Budget? Ha! Who am I kidding?) but in the end bought these 3 delicious colours of Cascade Yarns Ultraprima 4ply. 


So what happened to the Bear and the boys?  Well they left me to my own devices almost as soon as we arrived. Bear knew in his thoughtful way that I needed time to shop, talk, ponder on my own. So he took the boys around to all the Sheep judging pavilions, watched the sheep dog trials and drooled over steam engine displays and tractors.  He then took the boys off to Maccas for Thickshakes and around to all the parks to catch more Pokémon while I drifted around in a yarny haze to Every.Single.Stall.

I also purchased another skirt from my favourite skirt lady from Sheesh. I previously bought a pink toile one from her at the Handmade Market in Canberra which I was actually wearing at todays show. We saw each other across the crowded pavilion and pointed at each other in glee. I pointed at her as if to say, "Ah ha! I bought a skirt off you a month ago!" and she pointed at my skirt as if to say, "Ah ha! You're wearing one of my skirts!" And I skipped over, we chatted like old friends and I bought this dishy blush goldfish pond skirt.


Quite a satisfying haul. I do wish I could have danced around Kings Domain in a red dress but, you know, yarn wins every time.

So how did the Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever fair on the day? Feel free to pop over the the ABC website to check out more wonderous Cathys and this wonderous video I found by videographer Ron Cahill taken of the event in the Northern Rivers Lismore, NSW. I hope you don't mind me borrowing your video Ron. It was heaps better than any of the Melbourne videos online so far!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

It's funny how a trip to the market gives you a Virus... shawl.

After my little jaunt up north to the Handmade Market in Canberra, I had a hankering for more marketness.


The Google told me there was a local handmade market happening the following weekend locally in the cosy suburb of Seddon.

I found the aforemention market on the Instabrag and instantly started drooling over THINGS.

You know, the problem is, whenever I've got a case of the Spends, I spend. It doesn't really happen to me that often because I loathe and avoid shopping malls. But if there's a craft market, farmers market or similar, I go a bit nuts and spend dollars. Lots of them. I did it in Canberra. And I'm sad to say (for my bank balance) that I headed eagerly to this little market ready to do the same. Ssssh! Don't tell my bank account. It will start to cry again. Srsly.

This little Seddon market is a quarterly one called the Maribyrnong Makers Market. It is held in a cute little church yard on the corner of this street and another. Yes. That's a bit vague isn't it? I am still a Melbourne newbie after 5 years and I rely heavily on the Google Maps to tell me to go to that place in 300 metres, then I've reached my destination.

This has caused me some issues in the past when it has told me to turn the wrong way into one way streets and pissed off certain truck drivers who were driving the right way so we had a little bit of a Mexican standoff. Except a kind of vehicular standoff between a large delivery van and a blue Nissan X-Trail with a very apologetic, embarrassed Amazona muttering extremely bad words in her mind (for more confessions of my potty mouth, read here). Which she was accidentally saying out loud. To her captive 7 year old audience. Who would then remind her while she was trying to be the Stig, precision driving reverse down a narrow one way street in front of an irate truckie that Mum shouldn't say THAT word. The F word, the B word and the A word is rude and maybe Mum shouldn't have driven THIS way and WHY did she drive the wrong way? And the man in the truck is not an AW word because he's not the one letting the Google send him the wrong way up a one way street.

But I digress. Markets. It's on Gamon Street BTW where I discovered to my Saturday morning market delight, a coffee cart/ car/ truck thingo parked right out front. Because #coffee #morning #caffeineaddict #onlyhadtwobeforeicame .


And all of the wonderous market delights. Candles, terrarium thingos, an impressive, mustachioed hipster selling Tweed Tamoshanters, mulled cider (with many more mustachioed hipsters crowding around that stall)...


and then I found yarn.

Danielle from Raxor Yarns makes funky Octopi!
Yes. Yarn. Of course I did. I have a nose for these things without even realizing it.  A yarn stall with yarny delights filled with yarny things I never even dreamed existed in this life or the next!

Like yarn made from Charcoal AND Bamboo. Together! In long glorious hanks.


And YAK mixed with SILK!?!?!?!? If I knew how to spin and had a spinning wheel, I'd have a serious yarngasm right then and there. Like Meg Ryan in the café. I sort of did internally. I tried to keep it in but may have squeaked a little awkwardly.


And camel, Shetland & seacell (which is apparently seaweed or something). I'm telling you, if this lady had a hank of kangaroo & koala down, I'd be all like "Shut Up and TAKE MY MONEY!"

There was also this really interesting yarn called North, um, northumberdumbledorean, hang on. Here's the photo...


That's the one. North Ronaldweasley. I felt it. And said loudly like a total newb, "Ermagerd! It's so coarse!"

And a delightful lass sitting right there spinning merino at a spinning wheel told me it was because they only eat seaweed. Little dwarfy sheep eating seaweed in North Ronaldweasley with Scottish accents make this yarn!
And they look like this:

In Scottish accents: "Baaaaa. Taste like sushi without the rice. And fish. And Soy sauce. Baaaaaaa."
photo courtesy of http://www.countrylife.co.uk/country-pursuits/saving-seaside-scottish-sheep-84793
And the lovely lass spinning merino like a pro was Danielle, the stall holder of Raxor Yarns....


We chatted, became Instabrag buddies and I was a total yarn perve as I felt and fondled all her hanks and skeins.

I spent quite a bit of time drooling over and fondling the silks.....

Now, several weeks later, I still also want the soft pink, the mango and the green. And the lavender. And the peach.

And after all of the fondling and perving I said, "Shut up and take mah money!"

Actually no. I said, "Oh, this blue is just lovely. I think I'll buy this one. Thank you ever so much."

And then realized I had just spent dollars on silk, which is not cheap. Which meant I really, really should make SOMETHING with it.

Have you ever touched silk like this? It is sooooo soft! Like puppies and kittens soft.

So I went home and Pinterested with a cup of coffee or three and decided to make a Virus Shawl.

Ok so this photo kills a couple of birds with one stone, for you can also see some cute pom poms on a string AND some yummy Maple nougat which I also bought at the market!
And the beginnings of my Shawl!


 After a few days of Virusing, I used the whole 100gmish skein.


And I realized it wasn't big enough. So I Instabragged a message to Danielle and after a delightfully easy exchange of Paypal and Post I had another one within a couple of days!
So I kept going.


And today I finished!
With literally 10cm of silk left. How's that for awesome?


Sooooo my new Samsung phone has a wonderful thing in the camera which smooths out my wrinkles. But it seems I must have so many because while every thing else in the photo is in focus, my face looks slightly out of focus?

 
 
And while trying to take a selfie in the dining room, Sonofagun No.2 decided to try and photobomb...
This type of photo is more like us!
 

He has my eyes. So proud!

The silk scarfy shawl thing is so soft and warm. I love it. I do wish I could have found a pattern which could have done more justice to the yarn, but I can hardly wait to wear this out somewhere.

In a couple of weeks I've decided to take a trip up to Bendigo to check out the Australian Sheep & Wool Show. Apparently it's Christmas for crocheters and knitters and anyone who likes doing stuff with yarn or sheep. I better start apologizing to my bank account....
xox
Louise
The Red Haired Amazona