Showing posts with label scarf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scarf. 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 October 2016

The Thrills & Spills of Phillip Island

My Sonofagun No.2 loves penguins.

He loves penguins as much as I love crochet. And chocolate. And the sound of my own voice. But that's irrelevant.

A couple of months ago he made this statement:

"Mumazona. I haven't seen a real life penguin in YEARS. I need to see one soon."

This isn't quite true as I'm sure he's seen one in a zoo sometime in the past year but as school holidays were coming up, I thought we were long overdue for another trip to Phillip Island.

Phillip Island is only 2 hours from Melbourne and is home to colonies of Australian Little Penguins (aka Fairy Penguins), Swamp Wallabies, Seals, Cape Baron Geese, Koalas and loads of wonderful wildlife.

Every night of the year (except maybe Xmas), you can attend a wonderful event called the Penguin Parade.

Just after dusk every night, the penguins who have been out at sea fishing come into a particular beach.

And you can watch them as they parade up the beach, and into their natural nesting area.

It is very special!

We went about 3 years ago and I always wanted to go back. Not just for the Penguin Parade, but because Phillip Island is such a beautiful place. There is several small villages (I would think of them more as suburbs but probably not the right description) on the island as well as farming land and loads of wildlife sanctuaries.

On the last trip we made the obligatory stops at the Chocolate Factory and the Koala Sanctuary. This time we were just going to drive and walk around the town, enjoy the atmosphere and see the penguins.

Sonofagun No.1 opted to stay behind with the Bear. As far as he was concerned, sitting in the cold and dark was far less desirable than sitting at home with his laptop playing war games.

Sonofagun No.2 and I made the very easy drive down, and went straight through the town of Cowes down to the pier for beach walking and tidal rock pool investigating.

The weather was glorious! As we walked along the pier , there was a sign advising visitors about the local inhabitants.

And we spotted one just below!

We walked back and down onto the beach and rocks and looked at the amazing green algae stuff.

We carefully climbed around rock formations looking for crabs.


I was taking a photo of these mussels on the rocks when Sonofagun tipped sideways into a rockpool.


I said something cranky like, "Oh seriously? Now your clothes are wet!!" when he stood up, and a single drip of blood made it's way down his forehead to drip on his shirt.

He started screaming over and over:

MY BRAINS ARE DRIPPING OUT!!!
MY BRAINS ARE DRIPPIIIINNNNNGGGGGG!!!!!

I quickly pulled his shirt off and after checking his head to make sure that a) his brains weren't dripping out and b) the size of the wound was small enough for me to take him to a medical centre and not scream bloody murder for someone to call the ambos, I bundled the shirt up and held it to his head.

Then simultaneously reassured him his brains were not in fact dripping out, carried him up to the car and googled on my phone for the nearest medical centre.

To keep SOG amused, we played Pokémon Go in the medical centre. I found it amusing there was a Koffing... (PokeHunter joke)
It was only a kilometre up the road and after 2 hours, during which Sonofagun No.2 was checked for concussion, given 3 stitches to hold his brains in and looked after by the very lovely doctor and nurse, we headed to the motel to check in, rest and get ready for the Penguin Parade.

The Penguin Parade phone app told me to be there an hour before penguin time.  That gave us loads of time to get a good carpark, get through the ticket gate, grab a coffee, admire the stuffed penguin display and proceed to spoil my poor injured Sonofagun with all the penguiniest penguin things from the gift shop.

Have you seen Sonofaguns penguin collection?  He has about 18-20 toy penguins. I keep losing track. He has extra special favourite called Baby Penguin. Actually 6 of them are called Baby Penguin. The others have random names like Fluff, Fluffy, Big Fluff, Squishy and Dit. But when anyone talks about Baby Penguin, we all know we are talking about THAT Baby Penguin.

This is not all of his penguins. THE Baby Penguin is the very well loved little fellow in the front row, 3rd from the left. On the left is his favourite penguin blanket.

So we bought another penguin at the Phillip Island Penguin Parade gift shop. This penguin was appropriately named Phillip. Phillip was one of the penguins which has a special penguin jacket.

Meet Phillip!
When the penguin wildlife rangers find penguins who are sick or injured or have been in an oil spill, they are nursed back to health wearing a warm woolen crocheted or knitted jacket.

Thousands of caring people all around the world make these gorgeous little jackets for sick penguins and send them to Phillip Island. The only problem is now they have tens of thousands of excess jackets. SO many that the Phillip Island Penguin Centre now sell these beautiful toy penguins wearing a selection of the jackets. They add a few extra dollars to the price and those funds go directly to Penguin Conservation projects.

Phillips jacket had this cute little Finnish flag sewn on. When we went to pay for him, the shop assistant told us a package of hand knitted penguin jackets arrived from a lovely lady all the way in Finland, all with different Finnish Flags or the word 'Suomi' (Finland) on them.

Sorry for the blurry photo. Just as I took this, I broke the coffee table I was sitting on. Yes I really did. Then my phone refused to take anymore photos because the battery was dying. And I was too lazy to charge it and take another. I am that type of slack blogger.
Before heading outside to the boardwalk, we peaked into some of the nest displays at the edge of the Penguin centre. All nesting boxes had access to outside.


Apologies for the glarey picture. It was taken through a clear plastic window into the nesting box of one of the penguins. And it's sitting on eggs!
We then headed out to the boardwalk. There is a system of boardwalks towards the Penguin Grandstand that go through the penguins natural nesting sites. You can see lots of other animals hanging out such as swamp wallabies...



Occasionally you can hear the soft 'duk- duk' of a penguin left behind to guard the nest, but they don't come out until after dusk.



We got a great seat in the middle of the grandstand and pulled out our warm blankets. 


Then a ranger came up and said because it appeared we had thick warm blankets, would we like to come all the way down the front onto the sand? 


Absolutely!! The sand was damp so we were able to sit on our thickest blanket right at the very front of the rope line.

One last gratuitous sneaker photo before all cameras had to be put away. See the rope line above my shoes?

When the first group of Australian Little Penguins wandered up from the choppy surf, just after sundown, one of them broke away from the group and walked right up under the rope line to peck Sonofaguns shoe with his little beak. He was very still and quiet so as not to scare the little penguin off, and exhaled a huge super happy sigh when it wandered back to join his buddies to follow the well worn penguin paths up into the bushland behind the seats.

 

These two images are courtesy of Phillip Island Nature Parks

www.penguins.org.au







After half an hour of watching groups of penguins come up the beach, we climbed the steps up the stands to go up to the boardwalk area. This is a system of wooden bridge pathways that wind through the penguins natural nesting habitat to the Penguin Centre. It was dark, but there are plenty of dim lights to see the Little Penguins waddling back to their nests and everywhere you can hear the 'Duk duk' sounds they make.
One of the penguins finding their nest around the penguin centre.
The whole area from the beach, through the boardwalk, around the Penguin Visitors Centre to past the carpark is the penguins natural nesting area. So check under your cars as you leave!!
The next morning Sonofagun No.2 said, "I'm NEVER going to Cowes again. That's where I had my head injury!"
"Rubbish" I replied. I very much wanted to visit a cute little church craft market before we headed home and wasn't letting a 7 year olds case of PTSD get in the way of my selfish need to browse...

I love markets. Especially markets with the most amazing tea cosies!!


And markets that are close to funky coffee shops with random old furniture and board games!!!


And markets that are sort of, but not quite close to antique shops!!!!!

It's a very laid back atmosphere on the island...



I would have LOVED to have bought this!!!
All of the vintage clothing- SIGH!!!

 
And then at the gentle, constant nagging of Sonofagun No.2 ("when are we going home? when are we leaving? Are we going yet? why do we have to look in ANOTHER shop? I'm bored, I wanna go home. Muuuuu-uuuuum, the car's THAT way! Srsly mum!"), we headed across the bridge to the mainland and back to Melbourne.
 


But the penguin lurve didn't end there.

On the 4th of October, the Blonde Bombshell sent me one of those Facebook Iphone Memories thingos of a photo taken 3 years previously.


It was taken the day we bought Baby Penguin for SOG No.2 at the Melbourne Zoo.

So we decided that night to surprise both BP and SOG2 with a Penguin Party.

With Black Forest Cake.
Baby Penguin (on the right with the gold hat) was extremely chuffed we FINALLY remembered his birthday.


xox
Louise
The Red Haired Amazona