Saturday, 24 October 2015

Spring days and Crochet Tits (er, Birds)

Spring melbourne
It's Spring! Prepare for a few gratuitous flower photos...

We've had a funny kind of Spring down here in Kangaroo Land.

Love love love Apple Blossom! 
Spring can be cool, warm, windy, then cool again.
I literally inhale the perfume of sweet peas!
This year the temperatures are swinging so rapidly and widely some times I'm not sure if it's the Godzilla El Nino the meteorologists are threatening us with or if I'm going through early menopause.
The Pear blossoms were falling like snow last week.
Last week we had a 35 degree day. That's celcius people! That's hot summer, yuck, 'where's the bloody air-con' hot!
Native violets growing in my Lime tree pot.

Then the very next day it was 18 degrees.  Yes. 18 degrees celcius.

So in practice it works like this:

Oh holy Oprah it's friggin hot!

I bring the guinea pigs inside to live in the bathtub for the day so I don't come home after work to find their little smelly carcasses dead in their hutch.  Axels cage is plonked on the cool of the tiled kitchen floor.
When we're home, the 1980s aircon blows constant Antarctic chill into the loungeroom at the noise level of a Boeing 747 and there are no less than 4 fans and 2 portable evaporative coolers going so the whole house sounds we're testing the latest Holden Monaro for aerodynamics in a wind tunnel.

After tossing and turning in the wind tunnel until 3am when we finally drift off to sleep, the cool change blows in and we wake again at about 5am when the temp drops to 11 degrees.

All windy, cooly blowy things are switched off and we cosy up under doonas.

Waking up bleary eyed at 6.30am after the crappest night sleep, it's time for ALL OF THE LAYERS as I dress the kids and myself to set out for a miserable cold day.

The guinea pigs go back outside, I de-stinkify the bathroom from their fetid piggy- pee smells and actually Thank Yoda I live in crazy weather Melbourne where the heat waves never last too long.

It's crazy weather times, but except for inwardly freaking out at this possible End Of The World example of Global Warming, I don't mind it!

I have had some lovely Spring flower joy so far.
Sonofagun No.2 was disappointed that they didn't look like real dragons. 

I haven't planted too much this year, but just enough to fill a vase or two.

I've also been working on a few little things.

I have finished creating this sweet little bird. 

My friend Vicki from off The Hook called him a Tit. 

I was thinking of making a whole bunch of them, taking a photo to post on Facie and asking people if they like my Tits.

I've just read that last sentence back a few times. Perhaps it's not the best idea.

We don't really have THOSE kinds of Tits in Australia. There's a Crested Shrike- tit. But I think Australian Ornithologists realised if they called birds in Australia 'Tits', and had to talk about them at lectures to other Australian Ornithologists, the whole audience would be snickering and chuckling like a bunch of teenagers.
It would be worse if it was their main focus of study. At dinner parties, sorry, it's Australia: at BBQs someone would ask,

"Oi mate, whaddya do for a crust?"

"I study tits!"

"Crikey! I tried doin' that at the beach the other day and they called the coppas! And you do it legit? You're a bloody legend Mate!"

One of my Facebook page followers Margaret suggested I call it Steve.  I liked it, but thought as I'm headed to see Fleetwood Mac in concert soon I'd call her Stevie instead. Hope you don't mind Margaret!

I'm also trying to work out how to make a kingfisher.  Kookaburras are members of the kingfisher family.  I'd love to make a Kookaburra. It's in the works but their bodies are a bit stockier than other kingfishers. And they have longer tails.

I've also had lots of questions lately about the Cloche Hat pattern.

Little girls cloche hat

The main questions people ask are about how to alter the pattern to suit children of different ages.

So I'm working on it!  There is a brief description in the original Russian pattern which mentions reducing the number of double crochets worked into the 1st row, but I'm experimenting on a few different options.  I've also been revisiting some of the different methods that put single crochets in different places etc.  Just to kind of get a sense of what looks best. 

I've also had another cotton yarn splurge.  I really totally, honestly intended to only buy 1 ball!  But every colour just made me think of different types of birds I could make!

OK. I've blabbed enough for today.  Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

How to Invisible Decrease in Crochet

Have you ever come across this in a pattern: invdec?

It means "invisible decrease".  It's a clever way of decreasing in a row that's a little less noticeable than when you single crochet 2 together (also known as "sc2tog") to decrease.

I've whipped up a quick little video tutorial that shows you how to do this stitch.

I've also got a few photos below if you can't be stuffed watching the vid.

Step 1:

To start your invisible decrease, first insert your hook into the FRONT LOOP ONLY of the next stitch.  Now you'll have 2 loops on the hook.

Step 2:

Then also insert your hook into the FRONT LOOP ONLY of the NEXT stitch along.

The original loop, plus the 2 front loops on the hook as seen from the front.

The view from the top of the front loops from 2 stitches on the hook.

Step 3:

Yarn over.  Then pull through the 2 front loops leaving 2 loops left on the hook.

Yarn over....
Then pull through both of those 2 front loops.

Step 4:

Yarn over, then pull through the remaining loops. And you've done it!
Then yarn over again and pull through the remaining 2 loops on the hook.
And you've done it!

If you did enjoy my tutorial or any others you've found on my little blog.  Many of my tutorials are free for everyone, however if you'd like to make a little donation, it would be gratefully received and contribute towards future free tutorials!

How to start with a Magic Ring for Crochet

Are you still starting to work in the round with a few chains in a loop?

Have you heard about this tricky magic ring thingo?

It's quick and easy.  Perhaps actually easier than the chains.  AND you can pull it tight so you don't have any little hole thingo in the middle!

Perfect when making amigurumi or beanies etc.

Wanna know how?

Here's a video I made!

Now if a video isn't your thing, here's a brief run down...

Step 1:

Loop your yarn around your index finger with the tail hanging over the back.

Then insert your hook and pull up a loop.

Then yarn over and make 1 chain. This secures the yarn ready to make your first single crochet (or double crochet depending on the pattern requirements ).

Step 2:
Make your first single crochet by slipping the hook into the loop, yarn over, back through the loop, then yarn over and pull through both loops.

Step 3:
Repeat step 2 as many times as the pattern requires.  Here i have completed 6 sc as commonly used in many amigurumi patterns.

Step 4: 
When you have the required number of stitches, gently pull the loop closed by pullibg the short end thats's still at the beginning but not tightly. Allow it to still be a little bit loose so you can easily work into the first stitch when you begin the 2nd round.

And here's the finished product!  

I usually complete my next round and then pull then starting short tail end tight at that point to secure the hole. 

If you did enjoy my tutorial or any others you've found on my little blog.  Many of my tutorials are free for everyone, however if you'd like to make a little donation, it would be gratefully received and contribute towards future free tutorials!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Meaning of Life

douglas adams hitchhikers guide to the galaxy

And as of yesterday, that's me.

I don't feel 42.

And I'm sure when many sci fi geeks like me turn 42, they often ponder whether they should know the answer by now. Or even just think they should wear some kind of Douglas Adams badge to be clever. If anyone is vaguely impolite enough to ask my age, I think I'll let Sonofagun No.2 answer for me.  He thinks I'm 14.

Apparently that's REALLY OLD when you're 6!

I feel like I'm still in my early 30s. With the mind of a 26 year old. And the habits of a 50 something year old.

But it's all good. I had a lovely extended weekend of birthdayness with the family and close friends as well as some time off during the Spring school holidays.

It was my Dads birthday last Friday and my Super Bro in laws (the Bro with the Mo) birthday this Friday so we kind of roped them all into one.

I received some gorgeous gifts and cards. I won't share all of them with you. Just one or two!

The Blonde Bombshell delivered my Laugh Out Loud card of the weekend:

To begin a brief recap, last week during school holidays, Sonofagun NO.2 and I visited Werribee Open Plains Zoo.  If you recall several weeks ago we visited another of the Zoo Victoria zoos at Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary which was very Australian Animal-y.

Werribee is very Africa-y with African Native dogs, lions, rhinos, giraffe and deers and oryxes and all of those animals with crazy horns and crazy names. 

lions zoo
There's a lion in there somewhere...

This is the super cool Jeep thingo kids can stand on/ sit in to see the lions.

The walkway up to the viewing platform to the African Wild dog enclosure.

Sonofagun No. 2 thought it would be funny to take a picture of me sunbathing. 

lions attacking keepers
safari bus
The Super Extended Magic Bus

giraffes werribee open plains zoo sanctuary
In the Open Range section, this photo was taken from one of the Super extended Magic Bus

giraffe safari
View from the carriage. Look Ma! No windows!

compare the meerkat
The view from the Café. A large MeerKat enclosure where you can sip your cappuccino and watching all the furry shenanigans!
I must say, the Zoo staff at all the Zoos in Victoria are so super friendly and helpful.  The enclosures are large and spacious and there are many 'Meet the animals' opportunities and Keeper shows you can attend. And best of all admission is free for Kids on weekends and school holidays. All the time!

The Mothership, my sister the Blonde Amazona and I paid a brief 3 1/2 hour visit to Ikea on Saturday.

Now normally this would be a shit idea.  Ikea. Saturday.  Worst combination ever.

BUT this Saturday was no ordinary Saturday!

It was the day of the AFL Grand Final!

The streets and freeways were nearly deserted!

Being a non- footy watching Amazona in Victoria on Grand Final day is heaven because I can peacefully shop ANYWHERE in Melbourne.

Almost every man, woman and child are either at the MCG, at a BBQ for the GF or hosting one.
I bought stuff.  Ikea type stuff. Like, oh crap, I can't even remember most of it now. You know, Ikea-ish stuff.

What I did set out to buy was a cabinet to store my yarn and supplies.  I chose the Hindo Outdoor Greenhouse Cabinet.  I sort of liked its industrial look.

I apologise for the dodgy photo. I couldn't get a good one without the sun streaming in...

Hindo Yarn Cabinet.
 I know it doesn't look like a lot of normal sized yarn (the DKs and merinos down on the bottom shelf).  But I have finished not 1 but 2 afghans in the past 4 months and haven't replenished my stocks since then!  The rest is all different plys of cottons.

On B Day, I received some lovely pressies.  I was super spoilt.  See that book in the middle?

That was one of my pressies from the Mothership. A colouring in book! 

I had recently decided I had to buy myself a good quality 'definitely not suitable for children' pencils as I often colour in little hummingbird drafts in my crochet ideas books to help me decide on colourways.  Now I have a really good excuse!

I then dropped the kids off at school (their 2nd day back after the holidays), and my Bear, parental units and I trotted off to Yarraville for breakfast, shopping and a movie. We saw the Martian. It was mind blowing.

Yarraville Shopping Joy
 One last thing, and you're probably sick of photos and rambling by now but I had to show you this beautiful teacup which was a gift from the Blonde Bombshell.  A Hummingbird Teacup. Isn't it exquisite?
Remind you of anything?

In other interesting news, I have been invited to participate in the Reso Box Amigurumi Exhibition in New York in December.  Have any of you guys participated in anything like this before? Or even this exhibition last year?  It looks interesting. I'm just not sure at this stage whether I'll have the time to produce the required minimum of 10 pieces to arrive in NY by the required 30 November deadline.
I'd love to hear what you think! Or did!

So back to the original meaning of life. Have I found it at age 42?

patsy edwina absolutely fabulous

The Red Haired Amazona