Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Corin Crochet Cowl

There's a place just outside my home town of Canberra called Corin Forest.  In summer it's a lovely place to go for a picnic. In winter it gets cold enough to snow a little bit. They have a snow play area which is supplemented by a snow-making machine and a really fun 1.2km alpine slide.

It's no Chamonix, that's for sure! But we used to take day trips up there when Sonofagun No.1 was little. We'd take a big thermos of piping hot soup for lunch and make snow men, have snowball fights and slide down the hill on plastic toboggans.

I have had these chunky yarns tucked in my stash for a few years. I'm not big on chunky yarns as you have probably seen all my little birds which use super skinny cottons!


The first thing I made with the chunkys was a new dog coat for Chuck Norris the pugalier. He loves it!

With the rest I made something for myself. A chunky, granny square cowl. Named it the Corin Cowl as it will keep you warm in Alpine temperatures with those lovely soft alpine colours!

It's super easy to make. 

It's made up of 2 rows of 11 granny squares sewn into a loop. You can make more or less depending how tight or loose you want it to be. So let's get started!


Yarn & Notions

Your choice of colours in chunky acrylics. I have used Moda Vera Mawson.
8mm crochet hook
Scissors
Needle for sewing in ends

Choose your own colours!
Round 1: Starting with a magic ring, chain 4 (counts as 1st dc and ch1), then {dc, ch1} x 7. Join with slip stitch to top of beginning ch3. Finish off. [8dc, 8 ch]



Round 2:  Join your 2nd colour in any Ch1 space. Ch3 (counts as 1st dc), 2dc in same space. Then 3dc in each ch1 around. Join with a slip stitch to top of beginning ch3. Finish off.  [8 x 3dc]
Round 3: Join your 3rd colour in between two 3dc clusters.
Ch3, then 2dc in same space. Sk 3 dc, *in space between next 2 clusters {3dc, ch3, 3dc}, sk 3dc, in next space between 2 clusters {3dc}. Repeat from * three more times. Sk 3 dc, then in space between next 2 clusters {3dc, ch3, 3dc}. Join with a slip stitch to top of beginning ch3. Finish off.
Your completed square should look like this:

Make another 21 squares or more if you wish but in multiples of 2.

Sewn together in 2 rows as per the photo below.

Then sew the two short ends to form a loop.

This cowl is so thick, chunky and soft and SUPER warm!









Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Hello Autumn!


The long hot days of summer are disappearing and are replaced by the up and down temperatures of Autumn. Most days we are lucky as it still hangs in the low to mid 20s. Glorious, warm sunny days and cooler nights.
So far we have only had to light the fire once.

The garden is still producing vegies and flowers.  We even have two watermenlons growing. I planted the seedlings just after Christmas. I should have planted them a lot earlier in the season but I didn't really PLAN to plant watermelons. I saw them in the garden centre one day, and thought, "Hey, let's see what happens with these!"


The Lebanese zucchini keep on producing. But the Bear and I decided we mostly eat zucchini in our winter casseroles and curries, so we keep offering them to anyone who visits. Otherwise they don't get eaten.
 I've come to the realization that I'm a Dahlia fan. I'm not sure when or how this happened. One day I was rather kind of 'Meh' about Dahlias. The next thing I knew I had them all through my garden and I get ridiculously excited when they flower.
It's all very strange. Has that ever happened to you before?

But look at this gorgeous thing! I can't remember what it's name is, but I bought it from a dahlia bulb seller at a farming expo last April.

 This amazing one was also purchased from the same seller. This one is called 'Starsister'.  I thought I had planted it in a pot. Then that dahlia started flowering with plain little pink flowers and I was really cranky as I thought perhaps there was a mix up of the bulbs at the store. Then a few weeks later this popped up and started flowering in the garden bed. I had mixed the bulbs up when I was planting them out!

I just adore it!
 Here's the little pink one.

I love a good pompom dahlia, don't you?

Our tomato plants went nuts! They are still producing loads of fruit. Loads of little orange pear tomatoes and black cherry tomatoes. They are only 2 plants on this arch trellis but they have been branching everywhere.



Most evenings before dinner, I take my little harvest basket out into the garden and pick limes, tomatoes, herbs and strawberries.
We no longer live super close to the beach, but on my days off after school drop-off, Chuck Norris and I go to the beach.  It's an 'off- leash' beach for dogs. And he loves it.
He runs around and says hello to the other dogs, smells all the smells, pees on Pee Rock, and occasionally runs back over to me wagging his tail as if to say, "THIS IS THE BEST FREAKING DAY OF MY LIFE!!!"
So I started thinking that the cooler evenings mean Chuck might need something to keep him warm.
I'm new to the world of dog clothing. Chuck didn't come with his own wardrobe. But he is a short coated dog who will need some protection when it get cold.
I found this pattern for a striped crochet dog coat by Bernat yarns.

I chose rainbow colours because I am allergic to non-rainbow.

I really like the way the neck ribbing is created. The pattern is fairly easy to follow, but I did encounter a few issues which were answered by some of the comments left on the webpage.

I am using Stylecraft special DK whereas the pattern requires an aran weight yarn (Bernat Super Value).

So whilst Chuck would be a 'medium' size, I altered the stitches a little to crochet his jumper between a 'medium' and 'large' size.

It mostly fits well so far, except for the front leg holes which are a little tight. I think that's more the fault of my adjustments than the pattern.

I have a few more rows to go, then sew in the last ends and it's done!

Doesn't he look like a supermodel!

I have also been crocheting some jackets for a set of metal tealight holders which are kind of metal and naked looking (ie: ugly).
I'm using Scheepjes Catona. I love it's glossy colours.

I simply started by crocheting a flat circle. Then when the flat base was the same diameter as the tealight holder, I crocheted 1 round without increasing in the back loops. Then kept crocheting around without increasing.

This one below was inspired by the silk blue bag that it's sitting on.



This one below is a little experimental and as yet, unfinished. I love the art of French artist Nathalie Lete.
I have a few blank notebooks that are covered in her designs, such as this one.  For months I have played around with the idea of crocheting designs based on her paintings.


 It's not finished yet. I love the vibrant colours and quirky creatures she paints. I also absolutely ADORE, (or should I say 'j'adore') her Christmas decorations. Very expensive and hard to find in Australia.

They give off a lovely warm glow and the tealight holder is large enough that the cotton isn't close enough to catch the flame.

 And while many of you are watching your Spring bulbs pop up, soon I'll be planting mine!
Thanks for visiting!

 Louise
Red Haired Amazona















Sunday, 27 January 2019

Soaking Up Summer

I've been very lucky to have enjoyed the past few weeks away from work to spend time at home with the Sonofaguns, the weather and the garden.

Our tomatoes are producing quite well. The Diggers Heritage breeds do much better than the standard ones. 
Tomato 'Black Cherry' (and a few blackberries)
And this Lebanese zucchini (also from Diggers Seeds co) is pumping out heaps of produce.

The strawberries are growing in a large patch but despite bird netting, the cheeky buggers are still finding their way in the devour most of our delicious strawberries! Any leftover strawberry carcasses go straight to the guinea pigs!
I absolutely love my blackberry plant. The real fight here has been with the weather.We have had an occasional horrid hot day where the temperature flies up over 40c and a hot wind blasts through turning almost ripe fruit into desiccated lumps.
At some point the Bear threw some seed potatoes in. I kind of ignored them. They didn't seem to do much apart from a bit of green above ground. But the other day he did a bit of prodding around in the soil and filled a bowl with these wonderous treasures!
The Mariposa Plum tree put on a lovely show of flowers in Spring followed by a profusion of baby plums. But most of them dropped off leaving just 3 to keep growing. Every couple of days I would check to see if they were still there. I watched them grow.

And grew they did! A few days ago I finally thought, "YES! It's plum picking time!" Which would last only a few seconds because there was only 3 but it would be 3 GLORIOUS SECONDS of PLUM PICKING!

Some little bastard bird had already destroyed one plum leaving the mashed remains on the ground. The other 2 looked ok. 
I picked them and discovered to my horror that little bastard bird had a go at both remaining plums on the other side!
Now I know it sounds a bit gross but I cut them up anyway, threw away the picked at bits and we sampled the 'good' leftover bits. They were delicious and sweet! 
Our pergola outside is now mostly finished. It's lovely out there now. The Bear found a 2nd hand projector and screen as well as a proper pool table. I been reliving a youth well spent in pubs playing games of pool, and curling up on cushion filled chairs watching movies on the big screen.
I have been making Amazona Parrots, Stevie Birds and Pearly Hummingbirds using the Scheepjes Catona which I was gifted for Christmas. They are much larger than the originals but look gorgeous in the bright variety of colours!
This morning I took a little drive with a very dear friend and her daughter to The Garden at St Erth in Blackwood, just 55 mins out of Melbourne. 

 Would you like to come for a little walk with us?

 This beautiful Clematis was near the cafe where we had coffee, Elderflower Sodas and scones.
 I love this gate made out of garden tools.


 Lots of New Holland Honeyeaters and this pretty Eastern Spinebill drank nectar from the flowers.
I loved this beautiful Copper Beech tree. It wasn't as 'coppery' as you expect.
A magnificent Copper Beech
 Check out the bark!



Tromboncino squash
Too. Much. Pollen. Can't. FLY!
Hellebores growing under apple, pear and quince trees.
Lichen on the apple and pear trees
Apparently these are a type of sunflower!

If you know what these are, let me know. They didn't have a label...

Echinacea
 So that's what I've been up to lately. What's been happening in your part of the world?


Louise
Red Haired Amazona