Saturday, 24 January 2015

The World's Uncoolest Mother

I have a teenage son. If you've read a few of my posts, you'll know I refer to him as Sonofagun No.1.

I've tried through the years to instill in him all the important things every parent should teach their child.

Such as Star Wars.
Good music taste. As in My music taste.  The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, The Foo Fighters, most classic 70s rock, maybe a bit of classical music etc. 
Japanese based cartoons like Pokemon.  Actually I tried to get both the Sonofaguns into old school Astroboy, but they prefer the newer stuff. And that's okay too. 
Doctor Who. Harry Potter. And LOADS of other stuff. You know, all the cool stuff. Because I like cool stuff. 

Now I don't have tickets on myself but I think I'm kind of cool. Don't we all? Us parentals never really age in our hearts and minds. At the birth of our children, we do not stop being who we are. We may mature a little. Some of us anyway. But I'm still fairly similar to the person I was in my 20s. I'm not perfect. I'm not always logical or rational. But I'm fairly easy going. I'm a happy, social person. I still like alot of the same things I liked when I was younger, like Lego and Star Wars, and Fleetwood Mac.  I think I'm cool in my own space.  

Apparently I'm wrong. Wrong on all levels. 

It turns out now I'm the most uncool person on the planet. I know this now for a fact because my 14 year old said so.

School starts in a week, so the Sonofaguns and I ventured forth the other day to buy school uniforms.
We made the pilgrimage to the local School Uniform shop.

I handed my list of required clothing to the young fella behind the counter, the kids tried on their clothes and I prepared to hand over HUNDREDS of dollars for these necessities. 

We have visited that particular shop many times over the last few years. The shop staff have all been there for years and are a young, helpful and friendly crew.  As I passed over my hard earned cash, the shop assistant noticed the tattoo on my forearm.

I have a tattoo. It's kind of Crochet Geek Cool.  It's a granny square. I designed it myself and found a clever local tattoo artist who was able to embed it in my skin with needles.  

Coz that's how I roll people.

The original Granny square...

And the final result when it was newly inked....

So he says, "Wow, is that real?"
Amazona: Yeah, it's real!
Shop boy: Wow man, that's way cool! 
Amazona: Thx babe, it's only 4 months old.
Shop boy: Hey you should check out Jay's tatts. Hey Jay! Come over here and check out this cool tatt!
Jay comes over: Whoa is that real?
Amazona: Sure is! Show us yours!
Jay shows off a pair of American style sailor boy and girl skulls on each forearm still scabbing: I just got them the other day!
Amazona: Man that's cool! 
Jay then shows the Amazona some more on his legs and Amazona is suitably complimentary and the usual tattoo conversation takes place: Where'd you get them done, are you getting any more etc

I hadn't noticed that Sonofagun No. 1 had walked to wait outside until the tattoo show-off fest was complete.

I finished the tattoo show- off fest, grabbed my purchases and walked out to where the Sonofaguns were waiting.
Amazona: Hey why'd you walk out?
Sonofagun No.1: Coz you guys were so embarrassing!
Amazona: What are you talking about?
Sonofagun: Talking about your tatts and stuff. Like you were all a bunch of little kids showing off your favourite toys! Man it was soooo embarrassing! I had to walk out. 
Amazona: What?!?
Sonofagun: I mean it's just not cool!

I let that go, but later at the dinner table I brought it up in conversation...

Amazona to BFF: So apparently I embarrassed {Sonofagun No. 1} today!
BFF: What happened?
Amazona relayed the story.
BFF: What's so uncool about that!?!
Amazona: I know, right?

Sonofagun No. 1 speaks up and the lecture from HE WHO KNOWS ALL ABOUT COOLNESS begins (All delivered in a vaguely bored but authoritative tone)

"I mean, you were all just like, showing off your tatts and acting like a bunch of little kids and you think you're cool but you don't know the first thing about cool. I mean you don't listen to new music, just that old rock n roll stuff which is like so OLD and you didn't even know who Macklemore was for Christ's sake!  You might have thought you were cool when you were young but that actually WASN"T cool. Or maybe you were but now you THINK you're cool but actually you're not. So stop trying! Because when people YOUR AGE try and act cool, it's just embarrassing. I mean that AC/DC old man rock music you listen to, I mean they're just a bunch of hacks!"

Amazona and BFF throw back their heads and laugh. 

Ahhh sweet youth. Now most parents would do the parental thing and snap back about being disrepectful and 'Don't you take that tone with me young man!'  but I'm an imperfect parent and found that whole thing extremely funny.

Amazona: I don't listen to AC/DC ALL the time! Hardly ever! 
Sonofagun No. 1: Pearl Jam, whatever.
Amazona: I will not have you speaking about Pearl Jam that way!
BFF: She listens to Triple J!
Sonofagun No.1: That's a radio station for old people.
BFF: We're going to the Foo Fighters concert next month!
Sonofagun No.1: I rest my case.
Amazona & BFF: What case?
Sonofagun No. 1 then pulls out the GrandDaddy of them all. He stands up in a 14 year old huff and declares:  

You wouldn't understand...

Picks up his empty plate and leaves the room full of pimply self-righteousness.

God I love teenage logic.


The Red Haired Amazona

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Auntie MarthaStewart satisfies the Amazonas Pregnancy Cravings

Considering the fact I claim to be a crochet queen, I've posted very little so far about crochet haven't I?

My beautiful aunt, (let's call her Auntie MarthaStewart because she is the Martha Stewart of crafting & home decorating in our family equal only to the Mothership who cannot be called Mothership MarthaStewart because it's too much of a mouthful and sounds like a prison warder) taught me to crochet 15 years ago when I was pregnant with Sonofagun No. 1.

Many pregnant women have cravings. I only had 2 pregnancy cravings. One was vegemite, the other was to crochet.

I occasionally crafted. I never knitted. But as my pregnancy progressed, I developed the strongest craving to crochet a blanket for the little alien growing in my belly.

The vegemite craving was not bizarre at all. It is perfectly normal for a pregnant Amazona to EAT VEGEMITE STRAIGHT OUT OF THE JAR and think it is the most fricking amazing thing she's ever tasted in her life.  

So the Vegemite craving was not an issue. The crochet craving was. I had never crocheted. 

Enter Auntie MarthaStewart to the rescue!

Auntie MarthaStewart sat patiently with Amazona and her bursting belly and began to teach her the basics of the magic hook.

I'm not really a patient person.

So after a few basic granny squares, after fiddling and fuddling with single crochet, double and trebles, I launched into My First Blanket.

It's nearly 15 years old, and was very well used and very well loved. Now retired to a vacuum sealed bag at the bottom of the linen closet...

Not very exciting, is it?  But I was so bloody proud of it.

When my little alien was spliced from my engorged abdomen (yes, I had an emergency C-section), I had his new blanket at the hospital waiting for him.

All crochet queens can probably remember when they lost their crochet virginity and who was the marvellous teacher of forbidden hooking secrets that introduced them to the profane world of yarn.

You try it once. You're not very good at it and it just seems too messy and too much trouble. 

You decide you're not going to do it anymore and wonder what all the fuss is about. 

Then you're coaxed into trying it again. You might look up a few tips on the Interwebs where you see what you're doing wrong. You try a few different positions (with the hook). Then you start to get a bit better at it and it becomes more satisfying until one day, one magical day you finish a project and it looks amazing. You feel amazing! You start doing it as often as you can because not only do you enjoy the end result, but the whole thing from start to finish! 

You find you can do it anywhere! You can do it in bed, in the lounge room, at the dining table, while watching TV! 


You even find sneaky ways to do it at work in your lunch breaks!
Your colleagues walk into the lunchroom and ask, "What are you doing?!?" with shock and awe! 
And you sheepishly reply, "Hooking."

I do have a few pieces, mostly blankets, which I'm particularly proud of. 

My absolute favourite, which gets unpacked from it's special bag every winter, is my queen sized White Hexagon blanket inspired by Lucy at Attic 24.
A photo of when the White Hexagon blanket was half finished....

Sorry for the half cropped toddler and bad lighting, but here is a photo taken early in 2013, shortly after the blanket was completed.

This project took me possibly 2 years?  Only because there were a few occasions where I'd put it aside for a few months when life got busy.

Since then I have also finished a picnic blanket for the Luciano the X-Trail....

Polar fleece backed blankets for both of the Sonofaguns...

And an Ottoman cover:

This sad looking beauty was a roadside find on the way home one night. I took pity on her dirty, worn toile-y body.  

New cover! Please ignore the threads which were not yet woven in.....

I mentioned several posts ago, that Auntie Horse Rescuer (yes, that's her real name) asked me to crochet the adorable Little Girl's Cloche hats for her grandbabies.

Now I dunno about you, but I've noticed on many blogs, that crochet bloggers post amazing pictures of their wonderful creations, successfully completed and photographed with super whizz-bang cameras and perfect lighting.

This Russian Little Girl's Cloche Hat update is not about the success and perfect lighting.  It's about the painful process, the wriggling 5 year old and photos taken on my Samsung S5 mobile phone.

For those who'd like to attempt the first hat pictured in pink below, the Ravelry pattern which can be downloaded for free is here .

I gave it a go. It's pretty good but I'm not quite happy with the brim of the hats as I feel it gets too 'fat' and not perky enough.  

Here's a photo from the original webpage:  

cap-beds (2) (440x600, 86Kb)

Here's what I am up to so far....

I chose to use Patons Cotton Blend 8 ply because I thought the hat may need a stiffer kind of yarn than normal wool, however when practising with a 4 ply acrylic, it seemed to be the right size and shape, just way too soft to hold any semblence of shape.  I was searching for a smaller ply in the cotton blend but the shop I was in only had them in white and ecru (batshit boring).

I also used a 2mm crochet hook.

So this hat squeezes over the head of my 5 year old model (unwillingly modelled by Sonofagun No.2 who refused to stand still for more than half a second!)

In relation to the Ravelry pattern, it was easy to follow, however I made a slight adjustment with the brim to counteract that fatness.
So I altered it a little from alternating back post double crochets & front post double crochet stitches, to using front post double crochets and normal double crochets but the result is still kind of fat looking.
I also did not do as many of the backpost/ front post rows as specified in the pattern. Probably about 2-3 rows less.

All I have to do next is the flowers!

The other hat style shown on the Russian pattern is this one:

panama (1) (469x640, 85Kb)

I am having a MASSIVE HAT FAIL with this one!

It is almost impossible to understand the Google translated version as some of the Russian words just don't translate.

So I have attempted to make the pattern just from the pictures shown.

Here's my attempt so far:

The problem I've encountered is that it keeps widening out like a beret instead of forming a hat type tubey shape when you start forming the regular rounds.
I'm not adding in extra stitches so it's a mystery!

This is using the same type of yarn as Orange hat and the same 2mm hook. Yes folks, I did make a little boo boo which you might see in the photo which has made a gap but after I took this photo, I pulled the yarn back all the way to the crown so I could figure out how to make it without it widening.

If I cannot get the shape right, I may switch back to a 4 ply acrylic and see if that works.  

As I promised in my earlier post, if I can figure it out, I'll provide the pattern for everyone!

Any tips and suggestions would be very welcome and greatly appreciated. 

The Red Haired Amazona