Showing posts with label knitting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label knitting. Show all posts

Sunday, 6 January 2019

I haven't been quiet, I've been crafting like crazy!

It's always tricky for me to blog around November/December about what I'm making as it's usually gifts for Christmas.

So firstly I don't want to show friends and family what they're getting for Christmas.

Secondly and mostly I travel through November and December in a a sort of dazed chaos. I am disorganised, befuddled and just trying to get through it ONE DAY AT A TIME.

This year was especially busy. At the beginning of December I jumped on a plane and flew 1100km up to northern NSW to the town of Tamworth.  An old and much loved friend of mine, Jaime is pregnant with her first baby and was having a baby shower. 

Tamworth is a small town and the country music capital of Australia and home of the Golden Guitar.

Guitars breathed & scribbled on by Dolly, Keith Urban, Kris Kristopherson & Paul Kelly
Dolly breathed on this thing. And scribbled on it. In person. There may still be Breath of Dolly in the hole of the guitar. And I was close to it. This is the closest I have ever been to a holy relic.
This weekend the temperatures were in the mid to high 30s. Really hot!

So it was totally ironic that my present for Jaime's baby would be a crocheted blanket!!

Jaime and her lovely fella Casey don't know if they're having a boy or girl yet. And Jaime is like me. We both love bright bold, fun colours. 

Whilst thinking of what to make, I was inspired by a bright blanket I spied in a blog post by Pip from the blog Meet Me At Mikes.  Pop over and have a look at her blanket. It's just so fun and beautiful! I used many of the colours Pip used as I had them in my stash and many of her colour combos as they were so bright and joyful.
Here's my meager effort.

Chuck Norris approves.
As you know I was also working furiously to finish my Amazona Parrot pattern. I really wanted to finish it by the beginning of December. But LIFE keeps getting in the way.

LIFE= work, house work, kids, sleep.

The first one (work) is so ANNOYING! I know we have to pay bills, buy food and shit, but seriously! It totally interferes with the No.1 priority in my life. Crochet. And it is as annoying as anything.

OK, so mini rant alert.

I'm sure about 2 years ago I seemed to have WAY more time to create patterns for you guys. I was a creative FORCE OF NATURE! I had patterns oozing out all my orifices.The good ones. Not the yucky ones. I blogged. I wrote patterns. It was my thing.
Now it takes MONTHS for me to write up anything. It used to take just a few weeks.
AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!
A few months ago I was on an online job website looking for a job for Sonofagun No.1 when I randomly found a job for a major craft retailer in Australia.They wanted a knit & crochet designer who had experience writing patterns, providing pattern assistance, and testing new patterns for knit and crochet. 
It was TOTALLY my jam!

See? Even Chuck Norris thinks so!  I filled out the application. Wrote up a super groovy resume that was just informative enough, sounding like I was amazing with a touch of modesty. It had links to the blog and the patterns and ALL OF THE THINGS without being too overboard. Because you're supposed to condense your experience into less than 2 pages, yeah?
I did that thing you're not supposed to do. I told a few of my colleagues at work. They were totally like, "OMG THAT IS THE JOB FOR YOU! YOU WOULD BE AWESOME! THAT JOB IS MADE FOR YOU!!!"  Incredibly supportive and excited for me.


And to top it all off, there was the option of work from home. AND the office is literally 10 minutes from my house which is Melbourne is ridiculously rare.

But I didn't even hear back from them. Ah well. I'm sure they found someone who would be super amazing. They may have probably wanted someone with more knitting experience than me. I'm only good for knitting socks. And there is usually lots of swearing and frogging involved.

I don't believe in New Years Resolutions. They're kind of a load of crap actually. You promise to do something. Like lose weight or whatever. Then you try really hard for a week. Lose 300gms. Then kind of forget/ lose interest/ accidentally binge on a carton of Baileys Irish Cream flavoured ice cream then gain 3kgs and give up. 

But without making a New Years Resolution, I'm going to try really hard to make more time for crochet and designing again. And blogging about random stuff. 


RANT OVER

Back to Craft-ember (craft + december)...

For Xmas this year we did a Kris Kringle type arrangement where we had to buy a present for 1 person (I got my sister) and gift them something that was handmade/ 2nd hand/ upcycled.

I knitted the Blonde Amazona a pair of socks.
I did make them a bit too long. But apparently that's ok as the Sister Amazona has a freakishly long big toe.
Once again I used the wonderful and easy to follow tutorial by Winwick Mum. Thanks again Christine! 
Sabrina the kitten rescued from the highway to hell (aka 45 mins out of Melbourne) approves.
I also made some polymer clay handles for crochet hooks. I gave 1 to the Sister Amazona, 1 for my Best Bloggy Buddy Vicki from Off The Hook, 1 for my friend Emma and 1 for me.
 




I have also finally started a project using a skein of Scheepjes Whirl in Blackberry Mint Chip which was gifted to me a while ago by Vicki. 
I came across a wrap pattern in a copy of Inside Crochet magazine (issue 104).


It's called the Ayumi Wrap by Annelies Baes.  The pattern is written for a different yarn and I have been following the pattern, but taking a few liberties. The pattern is written where you work off both sides of the base chain, 1 side in one colour, then the other side in a contrasting colour. I have just been working from the base chain in one direction. I hope Annelies doesn't mind!

It's lovely how the gradient colours start to emerge!

 And finally my holiday project.

When we went to the coast, I took lots of crochet cottons with the intention of making more Amazona Parrots. I also took the Inside Crochet mag mentioned above to keep working on the shawl. In that magazine there was a beautiful mandala pattern designed by Dedri Uys from Look At What I Made.
The journey home in the car was about 10 hours, so I whipped up this mandala! 
One of the rare times I block anything...




I did make a few mistakes as I was crocheting in the car. The highway stretches are fine, but there was also bumpy country roads, and windy mountain range roads involved.
The original pattern uses Scheepjes Calista which is an aran weight cotton. I only had a handful of 2 and 4 ply cottons with me. So it is a bit more 'doilyish' than Dedri's.  


I might make it again with some of the cottons from my new box of Scheepjes Catona... 

That's my project wrap up. What have you had on your hook lately?

Louise
Red Haired Amazona


Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Blossoms, Vegies, Yarn.

We have some blossom action happening in my garden at the moment. The Peach that I'm going to espalier has 6 or 7 little blossoms. I still haven't had the heart to give it a first proper espalier- prune because of these sweet little pink flowers.
The Apricot tree is now about 3 years old and has lots more blossoms than last year. And they smell faintly apricoty!
And below this lovely white thing is a Mariposa Plum. I gave it a vase- like hair cut a month ago. Now it's exploding!
 
I haven't seen many bees around to help pollinate the blossoms. 

They gotta have the flower sex to make the fruit, right?

So I decided to go around with a cotton tip and do it myself, but I felt like I was being inappropriate with the poor little flowers so I decided to leave it to the bees.

The Cumquat (aka the world's most useless fruit tree) has 4 cumquats. I dont eat marmalade so can't use it for that. They're too bitter to eat straight. Any suggestions?
 
I have a batch of different tomato varieties waiting until the soil warms. Black and red ones, pear shaped ones, yellow ones.
A couple of weeks ago, I bought these cute, yummy capsicums from the supermarket. They're sweet and delicious! 
I kept the seeds, dried them on the windowsill, and planted them in some toilet rolls from my bathroom (the empty rolls from the kids toilet always seem to have wee splashes INSIDE them. How the heck does that happen???). When they sprout and are big enough I can stick the whole thing in the ground as the rolls are cardboard.
The spinach continues to grow unmolested by snails and slugs thanks to copious amounts of crushed egg shells, coffee grounds and a teensy bit of snail bait.
The shallots are doing well too.
I am totally in love with the bulbs that have sprung up.
And now for your veiwing pleasure, some unadulterated flower porn...
 









I can't show you my front yard. It's just an abomination. It kills my soul to look at it! 
It's mostly gravel. There is an attempt at garden beds which I planted things into last spring, but the soil is so clayish and the wind blows through making everything look withered and sad.
The Bear promised me the first weekend in October for a landscaping blitz to buy fresh soil, remove the gravel, set down proper garden beds etc. So I dusted off my rusty landscape design skills, poured myself a nice, long gin & elderflower cocktail and drew this little sketch.
 
 
I do have a general idea of what is going to be planted in, but haven't written them down in a key yet. I'm thinking the pink tree shapes will be flowering cherries. The big tree thing on the left is a Jacaranda which is a little ambitious as it's a small yard. A sweet osmanthus hedge along the front, an assortment of marguerites and pelargoniums (which are already there) and some other small trees such as crepe myrtles and something evergreen, and a nice bit of grass. 
Maybe a random assortment of hellebores and other perennials throughout.
The idea is that it will be like a garden room. Not completely closed off to the street, but a little bit private. What do you think? I'm open to suggestions!

So the yarn. I have three projects on the go at the moment!

This is my 'watching movies/ bingeing on Netflix' project:

A friend of mine is expecting a baby. She's a lovely lady who I met at Sonofagun No.2s swimming class. She and her family moved here from Pakistan and she doesn't have many friends here yet. She already has two gorgeous boys and every Saturday morning we chat about how our kids are going at school, she tells me how to make her delicious curries and I tell her that she needs to give her hubby a kick up the ass so he helps a bit more (because I'm an opinionated lady who likes to tell other women to give their husbands a kick up the ass because my fella is so awesome and I want their fellas to be awesome too but I really should shut up and mind my own business.)
So I'm making a cot blanket for her little one who is due in November.
I finished a pair of socks that I started in JANUARY. Yes, I know. Very poor form. But it was put aside a few times. The yarn is a nice, cosy sock yarn called Schachenmayr Regia which I bought at Morris & Sons in the city. I'm still using the Winwick Mum Sockalong tutorial to make my socks. Christines' tutorial is so easy to follow!
This is my train commute project:
Another pair of socks! Although I'm a little frustrated because I keep stuffing up one sock by dropping 1 stitch, then noticing the dropped stitch 5 rows later and having to frog it back. Twice so far.  Frogging knitting is the worst! 
This yarn is called Opal 'Colors In Love'.
And this is my Wednesday project:  My little bird pattern.
I'm continuing to work on my new little birds but I'm still not happy with the body shape.
This little one was 'prototype No.3'.
I love the colours but not the beak or the body. I'm trying to make him more parrot like!
Because it's Spring, I decided to Spring clean. And because #priorities I started with the yarn shelves.
The blue buckets are filled with neatly rolled remnant balls and craft supplies. All my cottons are in that wooden case I showed you a couple of weeks ago.
Don't they look pretty and neat? Then I decided that Spring Cleaning the rest of the house was too much effort. The yarn is tidy but the rest of the house is a dogs breakfast. 
 
And can you believe that exactly one year ago today I was jetting off to New York? I watch a tv show with Sonofagun No.1 called Person of Interest which was filmed all over New York. 

I annoy him by saying, "I've been there!" at least 3 times each episode. Although secretly between you and me, I think out of the 27 episodes we've watched so far, I had only been to 2 of the places shown. It's a mothers prerogative to mildly irritate her teenagers several times a day as payback for years of their annoying questions (are we there yet? what's for dinner? why are your boobs sooo much fatter than Harrys mums?), farts, dirty socks left everywhere, and pee on the toilet floor.
 
So that's the catch up! Thanks for stopping by. I'm soooo happy Spring is finally here!

xox
Louise
The Red Haired Amazona