Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Electric Axel Neon Budgie Cushion

I finally finished my cushion! I think I'll call it Electric Axel.

It's made using the fairisle style of crochet where the unused yarn is floated along the back until it needs to be brought back into the work. I'm not sure that it was the most correct way to do it. I'm sure some people would work Intarsia style and cut off the threads that would need to be carried for more than 10 stitches, but the thought of sewing in all those ends! Ugh, I'm too lazy for that!

The back is a simple granny square in neon yellow.

I simply drew a picture in a child type way of my gorgeous grumpy Axel the Budgie, and then transposed this onto graph paper. Then simply crocheted according to the graph.

red haired amazona

He's not perfect but I love the bright neons!

I did try to encourage Sunny Jim into the photo shoot with a piece of apple, but after a little bit of training and playtime this morning, he was kind of non-compliant in a typical budgie way.

This blurry photo was the best of a bad lot as he kept trying to fly back to his cage.
So I gave up and let him go back for some private apple munching and rest time.

I'm now working on another cover to fit an old small ikea cushion that's looking a bit tired.

I have used the granny stripe to give a sort of green gingham effect. And with a pop of hot pink somewhere!

You know what I was saying about being too lazy to sew in the ends?

And I'm normally the one who reminds everyone to 'sew in as you go'!!!!!

I calculated that there are just over 200 thread ends to sew in.

Once this one is finished I'm hoping to design another style and publish the patterns together as a pair. What do you think?

Apart from a few blisteringly hot days, it's been a lovely summer.

We've enjoyed lots of fresh strawberry smoothies and summer berries.

I have been able to spend time with Sonofagun No. 2 while he masters riding his bike without training wheels. He is probably past the usual age but he's rarely shown any interest until he saw the neighbours kids out on their bikes last week.

After several scrapes and 6 year old tantys, he is now a 2 wheeled cyclist!

We take regular rides around the block, or even as far as the playground near the local small lake which is very far on a small bike!

When he doesn't feel like riding, that frees me up to ride the lake circuit. A bit too far for him but a nice 15 minute fast ride for me. There's lots of gorgeous little birds along the way such as Blue Fairy Wrens, Swallows, ducks, pelicans, New Holland Honeyeaters, cormorants and wading birds.

Here's one of those New Holland Honeyeaters.

honeyeater melbourne birdwatching

I love the yellow streak on their wings!

I also gave my yarn cabinet a much needed clean out.

It's so satisfying to sort and stack all the different colours, but I was kind of bemused by the fact I didn't realize I had 7 different shades of brown and only 3 different blues!

I found this cute box of matchbook labels which I received as a gift sometime in the last couple of years.

Isn't it adorable?

I can't remember who it was from or when it was given. But I had fun labeling ALL OF THE THINGS!!

Sometimes I didn't even write anything on the labels, but simply stuck them on for decoration!

How has your week been?
The Red Haired Amazona

Monday, 18 January 2016

Crochet Basics Videos

Howdy Groovers.

I love crochet. It's no secret.

I do it anywhere and everywhere.

I do it while watching movies, tv, I crochet on the train, in the car when I'm waiting to pick up the Grommits from school, in bed, outside, inside, while cooking dinner, and in my breaks at work.

I love crochet because you can make just about anything you want. Anything!

And it's so portable.  I have several projects in little bags for different situations. I usually have a small project for On The Go such as the train or car.
I have my big projects for schlepping about on the couch in front of the tellie.

The other thing I love about crochet is that it's so easy to learn. Anyone can learn it! 

Even you! Especially you. You're here aren't you? You might have breezed in on a weird random Google search and come across this page for random reasons.

Would you believe I get traffic searching for how to pick up a Redhead? Google works in mysterious ways. FYI I have a post from last year about HOW NOT TO PICK UP A REDHEAD.

So I'm afraid you're stuffed if that's why you're here.

But while you're here (you dirty bugger), why not learn how to crochet. Then you can CROCHET yourself a Redhead. Believe me buddy, if you're googling it, it ain't gonna happen.

I have made some little vids for all you peeps who'd like to learn the basics.
My library will be expanding so watch this space!

Chain Stitch Tutorial

Single Crochet Stitch Tutorial

Double Crochet Tutorial

Treble Crochet Stitch Tutorial

So sit back with a cup of tea and some Tim Tams, or better yet: a crochet hook and yarn!


The Red Haired Amazona

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Russian Cloche Hat Size Guide

red haired amazona

One of my most commonly asked questions in relation to the Russian Cloche hat is about how to make smaller or larger sizes.
So I have worked up a size chart which I hope helps answer your questions.
The chart is for when as per instructions, you are using the 2.5mm crochet hooks and 4 ply cotton yarn, whether it's plain or mercerized. However normal cotton yarn has more stretch than the mercerized cotton.
The chart below gives the sizes from Premie up to Adult XXL. I have sourced the sizings from a variety of websites. It's funny because there is some slight variation on what is deemed to be the correct size and measurements for different ages, so I have averaged the results.
I would advise where possible to get a head measurement of the person who is going to be wearing the hats as I can say my 6 year old Sonofagun No.2 has a slightly smaller head than his female cousin who is 6 weeks younger than him!
The general rule of thumb with the Cloche hats is that they are made in slightly spiraling columns. Each column starts with one double crochet (US terms) which produces a column that is ultimately 3cm wide when the hat is worn. So a head that has a diameter of 48cm will need 16 dcs in the first round.
This chart can also be a good general guide for making any knitted or crocheted hat (just ignore the Double Crochet column!).
red haired amazona hat
If you intend on using other yarns that are smaller or larger such as 8ply cottons or acrylics, you may need to create a swatch or sample first to determine how wide each column will be and calculate accordingly.
For example, if you are using a DK acrylic and one double crochet results in a 4cm column, for someone with the 48cm head diameter, you would only need to crochet 12 double crochets in the first row. Because 48 divided by 4 = 12.

I don't actually know if DK does produce that 4cm result. You'll have to work it out yourself!

crochet hat size guide chart
I hope this chart helps answer all your sizing questions!

Mollymook Bliss 2016

I've been having a little holiday with the Sonofaguns.

red haired amazona

A much needed trip away to stay with my parents at Mollymook on the NSW South Coast.

The poor Bear had to stay home as he had to work, so I traveled up in convoy with mum and dad, who had been down in Melbourne for Xmas.

It's just beautiful here.  

My favourite view as I arrive is this.

red haired amazona

When I glimpse the view of the beach and the waves I feel like I'm actually AWAY.

Sadly the weather wasn't very obliging for the first 4 days.  It rained every single bloody day! For the first 4 days, I hadn't had the chance to touch toe to sand because RAIN.

Thursday was the first day that there was a bit of sun and blue sky. After a drizzly morning, the skies cleared so I could take the Sonofaguns, the Mothership and my Furbrother Koko to the beach.

The Mothership and Fatherdoms garden is quite lovely.

Lots of beautiful tropicalish flowers and greenery. 

A King Parrot rests briefly after decimating the Fatherdoms tomatoes.


With passionfruit as big as lemons!

And little interesting creatures and sculptures.

Sunny Jim spends his days sheltered under the verandah tweeting and singing to all the local parrots.

Whenever I travel anywhere new, I'm always on the look out for local yarn shops. I google, ask locals etc because the small shops usually have interesting yarny finds.  Sadly there doesn't seem to be any of those around here, so when we drove up to Nowra on Wednesday, I satisfied my Yarnoholic tendencies by popping into Spotlight.  

I only picked up 2 balls of acrylics (because I don't think I have these specific shades of yellow and red ;)  ) but also splurged on a few metres of lovely japanese kimono style fabric.  
kimono fabric

So here's my thinking with that:

Before going to Spotlight, I found this pretty blue greeny floral maxi dress in a shop. It cost dollars. Just enough to make me think "Do I need this? No. Is it cheap? Not really. Do I look Not Fattish in this? Sort of."  
So I pulled the Mothership into the shop with me. She also agreed I looked not too fatish in the dress.
And before I had firmly decided NOT to buy it, I bought it.

Then I went to Spotlight because I also decided that even though me and sewing don't love each other and I'm moderately shit at it, that I can absolutely replicate this blue greeny floral maxi dress because the Bear bought me a whizz bang sewing machine for Xmas which can do everything all by itself and sew ALL OF THE THINGS. 
And that's what the lovely japanese fabric is for.


I will easily replicate the blue greeny floral maxi pretty dress to make another with the japanese fabric, even though I am totally shithouse at sewing and have 5% sewing skillz.  

After buying 3 metres of the fabric for a dress, getting home and having a cup of coffee to think about the making of the dress, I started to think the fabric would make very nice cushion covers. With Crochet edging.  Because I'm good at crochet.

Stay tuned for THAT one!
In about 3 years when I rediscover the pretty japanese fabric in the bottom of my sewing box.

The next day the Mothership and I swanned our ladylike selves in to the nearby village of Milton for ladylike breakfasting and the spending of the monies.

**Just in case, I'll drop in a quick note to say that I'm probably going to name drop a few shops and places of interest in this post. But only because I REALLY LIKE THEM.  This is NOT a sponsored post by any means. **

Milton is super cute with lots of cosy cafes and shops for the spending of the monies.  We breakfasted in a very ladylike manner on the top verandah of the Driftwood Cafe.

The Breakfast Egg Pot thingy with mushrooms and tomatoes was so delicious, I was trying to scrape around the inside of the pot to get every last morsel.

So ridiculously tasty!
We then popped into one of my favourite shops Nikki B's. It's a bit of an institution in Milton and has been there for years. In there you can find an eclectic variety of antiques, curios and new pieces, including some bootilicious Rockabilly dresses.  

Many years ago I bought a little dead crab in a glass bubble. Because dead crabs are cute. And macabre. This time I bought one of these little Sewing Pin pots in the photo below!  

Then Mum wanted to show me one of her fave shops called Surya which was a little further up the main street. Suryas website states 

"All our pieces are either Nepali certified Fair Trade, or are produced by small, ethical traders. Our producers are small cottage industry artisans, many of whom are home based workers empowering the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives in villages and cities in Nepal"

Nepalese ethical clothing

I had a little chat with one of the owners Melissa who was very friendly and kind enough to let me take a few photos of her shop! I loved the all beautiful homewares, jewellery, toys and clothing.  

hair pins

I bought myself this funky singlet dress (on the left), a cute blue skirt (on the right), one of those pom pom trivets (which I have been lusting after for yonks), and a couple of gorgeous hairpins. You can only see one in this photo as I was wearing the other in my hair!  I couldn't believe how reasonable the prices were and what a fabulous range they had! The Mothership bought some hand pressed wrapping paper. 

I just realized everything I bought in this photo has circles.

When the clouds finally cleared later that afternoon, we went to the beach.

Sonofagun No.1 contemplates like, rocks and water and stuff. And took lots of photographs of both.

We dipped our toes in water. I don't really like photos of peoples feet. You know those naffy pics peeps take when they're on holidays of views of the palm trees with their manky toes taking up the bottom third of the screen? Blech!
Or pictures of their feet squelched in sand on the beach? Jeezus people! I'm loving that you're on holiday but the only ones who wanna see your feet are the foot fetishists. You know this is true.
So here's a photo of my fat paddles. Because I was photographing everything in sight,  and ranting to the Mothership about peoples manky tinea holiday snaps, I logically decided to photograph our feet. The Motherships tootsies are delightfully painted. Mine are the ugly ducklings on the left.

narrawallee beach

Sonofagun No.2 caught his first ever fish in Ulladulla Harbour on his first ever attempt at fishing thanks to his fishing savvy Nanna...

The fish were practically leaping onto our hooks, but all were undersized, so they all got the Rex Hunt pash....

ulladulla harbour

And then popped back into the harbor to swim another day!

How's your summer/ winter going?

The Red Haired Amazona