Showing posts with label crochet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crochet. Show all posts

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Holy Morgan Freeman I'm Old! and Figs.



Summer has apparently finished.

Fortunately the seasons don't just stop dead in their tracks, tip their hat and say, "See ya losers!"  The change from one to another is a gradual process that takes weeks and sometimes months.

Down here in the bottom of Kangaroo Land we have escaped the heatwave that has affected the rest of the country and had a fairly mild summer. Not a single day over 40 degrees which I feel is an achievement. Well done Melbourne! You make my decision to move here 6 years ago feel justified!

Now we are cruising deliciously into a warm, sunny autumn.

The Rainbow Lorikeets which swept in at the beginning of February have flown home to their usual place of residence in the palm trees near our local train station. But not without first demolishing the nuts on the small conifer at the front of my driveway.

I pulled in one afternoon when I had finished work to see these guys. I immediately stopped and took this photo through the windscreen so they wouldn't get startled and fly away!




Although I have been busily crocheting and writing up patterns for my Winterlude Keyhole Scarf and Mandala, I haven't had much to report in bloggy land. I've been out enjoying the sunny days with friends and family!




It was Sister Amazonas birthday last week. She lives very close to an amazing place called the Unwind Craft Cafe.

It is located in Keilor East just slightly north of the Melbourne CBD.  You can bring your knitting or crochet along and have a coffee and Panini while crocheting away and not feel like a weirdo that everyone is staring at (like I normally do when I crochet in other non- craft cafes) because everyone else is crocheting or knitting too!  On this particular day, there seemed to be a crochet class in the back room, and down the front they were running a knitting clinic. If you are stuck with a knitting problem with one of your WIPS, you could bring it along for some help. How awesome is that?

The owners were 2 lovely ladies who must have thought I was a total fruitloop. I was so overwhelmed by all of the wonderful fibre pieces and yarns for sale that I did 3 whole circuits of the entire shop, decided to buy a whole batch of Bendigo Woollen Mill yarns, then promptly changed my mind because I couldn't decide what to buy!



An old friend Natalie drove up from Geelong for a visit on Sunday.  We have known each other for nearly 40 years as we lived in the same street back in Canberra.  I was 5 years old and she was 4. Holy Morgan Freeman I'm so damn old.

She brought over some beautiful flowers for little OLD me!



We took the kids down to the Esplanade for a walk and play.





Right in front of the Altona beach is a lovely medium sized park with playground. To the back of the park is the original Altona Homestead. On weekends it is usually open and free for people to wander in and check out the original house and there is also a little space at the back where you can have Devonshire Tea.  I had never been inside so we decided to check it out.

Photo courtesy of vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au

Do you see the gorgeous old crochet blanket in the cot?




In the dining room was this amazing/ macabre/ sad/ fascinating glass cabinet. It was the original taxidermied hummingbird display.  Apparently back in the 'good ole days' people like to collect these beautiful little creatures, kill them, stuff their teeny carcasses and stick them in display cabinets.

Aren't you so proud of your ancestors right now?




You know, as much as we all would love to have our own collection of stuffed hummingbirds, it much nicer to have crocheted stuffed hummingbirds, don't you think?

Like this!


(Shameless self promotion 'hint hint'. Click on the link above to see my Pearly Hummingbird pattern which is available to purchase for the super amazing price of US$5!!! Yes, just US$5!!))


"I wish I was crocheted!"

I have continued to work on my bright blanket. It's not very big. I would say cot sized or lap blanket sized.  Some lovely people on my Facie page gave me excellent name suggestions such as 'Tutti Fruity', 'Skittles' and 'Fruit Salad'.


I first started working rows of single crochet all around the edge. Now I've decided to add a green leafy round, then a little flower top similar to a round I incorporated in my Happy Flower Mandala. However I am not happy with the corners. See how they're a little rounded?

I'm enjoying the fruit and flowers in my garden before they finish for the season.

This flower carpet rose is divine. It's currently in a pot but I'm hoping it can find a permanent place in the garden before next spring.


Every couple of days I check the fig bush to see if the figs are ripe. I've been a bit worried the possums or birds would get them before I did.
I have never managed to pick them in time.

So I have been waiting for them to turn purple. Because I thought all figs turned a bit purple. So I went over to have a look and a squeeze.


I squeezed gently (Gosh that sounds rude), and the 3 big ones in the photo were soft! I searched in the Google and the Google told me that you CAN get green ripe figs. So I went inside for scissors and a bowl.

Get a load of these geezers! They're so ripe, some of the fruit is starting to split. Like fruity stretch marks!


I had to eat the flesh with a spoon! It was like jam! So sweet and sugary...  
**update: the Google just told me this is a variety called 'Battaglia' which is known for it's goopy innards resembling strawberry jam. For once the google is telling the truth. Pity it didn't tell me the truth when it told me 8 years ago I was experiencing menopause. Turns out it was pregnancy...**

Battaglia Figs: so yummy!

The good old lemon tree is full as usual...


So that's what I've been up to lately. What's been happening in your part of the world?
xox
Louise
The Red Haired Amazona

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Matahari Mandala- A Free Tutorial



Whenever I don't feel like working on a current big project, and want something small and fast, I've developed a habit of making mandalas.

Or doilies.

Or Mandoilies.

I can't decide what to call them!

I just grab one or more balls of cotton yarn, a hook and start crocheting.
The trick is to increase evenly so you don't get the wibbly- wobblys, just a nice flat circle.

Here is one I whipped up a few weeks ago from a delicious variegated cotton yarn called Moda Vera Mornington 8ply.  It's a mercerized cotton, so a bit shinier and slimmer than the normal 8ply cotton. 



And the colours are psychedelic!!  I've named it 'Matahari' which is the Indonesian/ Malay word for 'sun'. When I stayed on the Indonesian island of Lombok a long time ago it was common for the locals to hold a newspaper over their head on a hot, sunny day and remark, "Astaga! Matahari itu panas sekali!" (Gee Willickers! The sun is very hot!)

I then went CRAZY and added little beads. I am still using it as a doily, but it's reminiscent of the old fashioned milk jug covers, don't ya think?

Would you like a tutorial? Woo Hoo!

As with many of my patterns, if you would like a printable PDF, you can purchase a digital download from my Etsy, or Ravelry Stores for the super low price of US$1. Admin costs baby!!

For this tutorial I have used normal 8 ply cotton with a different colour for each row so it's easy to see the stitches in each row.

What do ya need?
  • Yarn: 8ply cotton yarn. I have used the following colours for the tutorial:
Colour A: mid pink
Colour B: light pink
Colour C: apricot
Colour D: dark pink
Colour E: Ecru/ cream
Colour F: Orange

BUT YOU CAN JUST USE ONE BALL OF YARN LIKE THE FIRST MANDALA ABOVE IN ANY YARN YOU LIKE.
  • If you're using a normal 8 ply cotton, I recommend a 3.5mm hook. For mercerized 8ply cotton, I used a 3mm.
  • 12 pretty beads
  • thread for sewing on the beads
  • darning needle.

Let's get started!


Round 1:   Starting with Colour A, crochet a magic ring, chain 3 (counts as first dc). Then 11 x dc in MR. Join with a ss to top of beg Ch3. FO. [12dc]


Round 1

Round 2:   Join Colour B into the top of any dc. Ch 3 (counts as first dc). Then in the same st 1dc, then 2dc in each st around. Join with a ss to top of beg Ch3. FO. [24dc]


Round 2

Round 3:   Join Colour C in any space between 2 dc. Ch 3 (counts as first dc). In the same space 1dc, Ch1. Sk next 2dc, *(2dc in same sp, Ch1, sk next 2dc). Repeat from * 11 times. Join with a ss to top of beg Ch3. FO. [24dc, 12 x ch1 sp]


Round 3

Round 4:   Join Colour D in any Ch1 space.  Ch 4 (counts as first dc & Ch1). In the same space 1dc, Ch1. Working only in each Ch1 in the round *(Dc, ch1, dc, Ch1). Repeat from * 11 times. Join with a ss to the 3rd ch of beg Ch4. FO. [24dc, 24 x Ch1 sp]


Round 4

Round 5:   Join Colour A in a 'V' ch1 space.  Ch3 (counts as first dc). In the same space 1dc, dc in top of next dc, dc in next Ch1 sp, dc in top of next dc. *( 2dc in the Ch1 'V', dc in top of next dc, dc in ch1 sp, dc in top of next dc). Repeat from * 11 times. Join with a ss to top of beg Ch3. FO. [60 dc]


Round 6:   Join Colour B in between any 2 dc. Ch 6 (the 1st ch counts as a sc), sk 5dc, then sc between the 5th dc and the next dc. *(Ch 5, sk 5dc, sc in between the 5th dc and the next dc). Repeat from * 11 times. Join with a ss to 1st ch in the initial 6ch. FO. [12 sc, 60ch]


Round 6 close up

Round 6 not close up

Round 7:   Join Colour E in any Ch 5 space. Ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), sc x 6 in the Ch5 space. Sk sc of previous row. *(Sc x 6 in next Ch 5 space, sk next sc of previous row.) Repeat from * 11 times. Join with a ss to 1st sc. FO. [72sc]



Round 7

Round 8:   Join Colour F to the 3rd sc of the 6sc's that you crocheted over the Ch 5 spaces. Ch 1(does not count as a stitch). Sc in same st, Ch 6, sk 5 st, *(sc in 6th st, Ch 6, sk 5 st). Repeat from * 11 times. Join with a ss to the 1st sc. FO. [72 ch, 12 sc]



Round 8

Round 9:   Join Colour C in any Ch 6 space. Ch 1 (does not count as a stitch). Sc x 7 in the Ch 6 space, *( sc in the sc of the previous row, sc x 7 in the Ch 6 sp). Repeat from * 11 more times. Join with a ss to the 1st sc. FO. [96 sc]


Round 10:  Join Colour D to any sc stitch which is above a sc stitch from Round 8 (see photo below for clarification). Ch 1 (does not count as a stitch). Starting from that first st: *(sc, sc, hdc, dc, tr, Ch3, then ss in the 1st ch, tr, dc, hdc). Repeat from * 12 times. Join with a ss to the 1st sc. FO. [96st, 12 x 3ch 'peaks']


Round 10
Round 11:  Join Colour E to the Ch3 'peak' bit of any triangle from Round 10. Ch 1(does not count as a stitch). Sc in same st, Ch 10, sk to the next Ch3 'peak', *(sc in Ch3 'peak', Ch 10, sk to the next Ch3 'p). Repeat from * 11 times. Join with a ss to the 1st sc. FO. [120 ch, 12 sc]



Round 11
Round 12:   Join Colour B to any crochet stitch. Ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), then sc in the same stitch. SC x 11 in each Ch 10 sp and sc x 1 in each sc of the previous row around to the end. Join with a SS to the beginning SC. FO. [144sc]

Round 13:   Join Colour A to any single crochet stitch which is right above a Ch3 'peak' from Round 10.  Ch3 (counts as first dc), then dc in the same stitch. In each stitch across Dc x 11, *(2dc in next stitch, 11 x dc). Repeat from * 11 times. Join with a ss to the top of beg Ch 3. FO. [156 dc]



Round 13

Round 14:   In between the last dc of Round 12 and the beg Ch3 on R12, join Colour D, Ch 3, then dc in same space. Then *(sk 2 dc, 2 x dc in between next 2 dc). Repeat for the rest of the round. Join with a sl st to beginning Ch 3. FO. [156 dc]



Round 15:  With this last round we are simply going to slip stitch around.

To start insert hook into any dc, yarn over, pull through to the front, insert hook into next dc, pull through to the front, then slip through the loop leaving one loop on the hook. Continue to slip stitch all the way around in each dc of the previous round.

Follow the photo instructions below.


Insert hook into any dc...


Pull through a loop...


Insert hook into next dc, yarn over and pull through the loop...


Then slip through the previous loop on the hook.


This is what it looks like after 6 stitches.


This is what those 6 slip stitches look like from the back of the work.



Round 15 finished.

If you didn't sew in your thread ends as you finished each row, do so now.

And if you want to add beads, grab needle and thread and sew them on.

I used 12 beads and matched them roughly in line with the peaks of those rays from Round 10.


The next step is to block your work.


Your piece may look a little wibbly- wobbly, but this is easily fixed with a light blocking. I simply pin out the mandala on a piece of foam, then lightly spray with water and leave to dry.

This is sufficient as I use my mandalas ALOT! Especially on the dining table where they may get dirty.  So they get washed frequently. And if you use spray starch, you will need to restarch after every wash.

Here's a classic example of how I usually have an assortment of mandalas on my dining table. 



 
 Meet Violet...


After I took this photo, Violet pee'd AND crapped on one of my cotton mandalas. I was able to pop it in a laundry bag and into the washing machine on a gentle cycle. The mandala, not the guinea pig. Because we don't put our guinea pigs in the washing machine, do we boys & girls?

Did you make one? Good for you! I'd love to see it! Post your makes to my Spacey Facey page, or tag me on Instabrag!

And stay tuned because I have several more mandala patterns on the cook, so I look forward to posting those over the coming months.

xox
Louise


The Red Haired Amazona