Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cute fruit

Some of you will be familiar with the Beaut Fruit Platter. This has been one of more popular pattern sets. As well as tweaking this one, (there was something a bit strange with the lemon) I have been working on a second set. The second set has been in the making for about the last 8 months. I cant believe it has taken me all year to get to this point!

This little lot of fruit goodness I have decided to call Cute Fruit. While it has been in production for a while now and I have just about finished the write up of the patterns. The family are a bit tired of the half finished bowl sitting around the house for so long! I started it before Christmas when these fruits were available so I could have real fruit models.

I am really pleased at how it is looking though and gives the fruit enthusiast some more crochet fruit to add to the bowl.

Cute Fruit included all the yummy things we get here in our summer which is at Christmas time.

Kiwi Fruit. I just love these little guys. I slice them up and put on the top of the pavlova. Yummo. My sister in law is a kiwi and her mum makes the most delicious Kiwi and Apple Amber pudding. So scrumptious with loads of ice cream.

Next came the avocado. There are a lot of avocado farms in Queensland and we have a plentiful supply of these babies. My brother in law has a farm in the Maleny area and has avocados growing down the back of his property. I enjoy them in a salad, avocado and chicken on a turkish bread or used in mexican dip. I didn't have any real good avocado coloured yarn, but the look is good. This one is pretty easy to work up as it is basically a pear, and then I halved it and added the seed. I wouldn't leave a real cut kiwi or avocado on the fruit bowl, but they are pretty boring until you cut them open. I cant remember either avocados or kiwi fruit when I was growing up, but they are very abundant here now. I have always thought that avocados are an acquired taste.

Then there is the grapes. These are a bit tedious to make but look great in amongst the other fruits. I chose to do seedless white sultana grapes, but purple or black would look pretty cool as well. There are lots of grapes grown here, hence our fabulous wine industry. South Australia is probably the grape centre of Australia.

By this stage the bowl was looking very green and brown, and I felt I needed some colour. Nothing better than stone fruit to liven the kitchen up!

So I created peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines. Most of our stone fruit here comes from the Granite Belt west around the Stanthorpe area. Some comes from Victoria. This time of year there isn't much about, but come the warmer months the shops have plenty to choose from. I am hoping that our recent drought doesn't limit supply too much. The shapes are all fairly similar, it is really a matter of size and colour choice. These were a lot of fun to make and I found lots of stone fruit colours in my stash.

Finally, the other little treat we get in summer are cherries. I remember as a kid going cherry picking in Victoria. Most of our cherries come from down south where the humidity is less and the soil and climate conducive to cherry growing. I did notice earlier this week that US cherries are in the store. The US fruit always seems a bigger to the ones grown here. I don't know if that is because they export the best, or whether they are a different variety.

So now I have a full bowl and I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. I like the different shapes and colours.

Once the patterns have had a final test I will be listing them as a group on etsy.

Thanks for looking!

(c)crochetroo 2007 please do not copy my photos. Direct links welcome.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Rainbow Lorikeets

This is a picture of a rainbow lorikeet feeding on my deck. We leave wild bird seed out and they don't miss a trick. They visit in large numbers and are spectacular in colour. These fellows are so bloody noisy though! They squabble and fight and leave poop everywhere. But gee they are a stunning creature. I have been working on these guys for a while, trying to recreate a lorikeet in crochet. Getting the body shape and the look was the challenge. I used a bit of creative licence and tried to cutesy them up a bit.

The Rainbow Lorikeet is a small parrot and native to Australia. Colours to try when making rainbow lorikeets include yellows, greens, orange, blue and reds. They have red beaks and red eyes. I can't get red eyes here so had to do with yellow. I think they look a bit evil with the red eyes any way. Sort of like the demon lorikeet.

Surprisingly enough this colourful bird can be hard sometimes to pick out in its natural habitat. They are a small bird generally 11 to 12 inches long, weighing 120 to 140 grams on average females are generally a bit smaller and adolescents have duller markings They are said to live over 20 years in the wild. These guys make a heck of a racket from "screeching" in flight to "chatting" during feeding.

Rainbow lorikeets are found all over the north-east of Australia. Their habitat ranges from forests of all sorts (heathlands, open forests, rainforest) coastal or inland, to any area including urban areas that have suitable trees - and of course my deck.

They are normally found in flocks and make a heck of a racket at feeding time. “move over will ya mate so I can have some seed as well?" "crikey mate I was after that bit". We try and imagine what they are saying, as they a a bit like a noisy family at dinner time.

I have attempted to achieve the look of the rainbow lorikeet without getting too complicated with the pattern. I am amazed at how tame they are as I can walk right up photograph them. This guy was a bit of a poser.

I never get tired of watching these birds. They have a sanctuary here where the birds flock in the thousands at feed time. Quite a spectacle. Interestingly though they have pest status in some areas and aren't real popular with the farmers. Somehow the little blighters found their way to Perth University and were released into the wild in the 60s. The numbers have grown to pest status. They have also made it to New Zealand. A flock of these birds can strip an orchard bare in no time. I believe there are also rainbow lorikeets in the Eastern Coast of the US.

The crochet pattern of the rainbow lorikeet is the latest in my Australian Native Birds series. I did enjoy this one as the colours were so much fun. Thank you to my wonderful testers, the patterns are available on my etsy store. Thanks for looking.

(c) crochetroo. Please do not copy my photos or ideas. I don't like to watermark as it is ugly. Links to this page are fine.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Schrap

I cant believe that is it July! It has been a cold winter here and my posts seem to be fewer as the days are shorter. It has been good crochet weather though.

I have made a heap of these little numbers which I am going to call the Schrap. They are a cross between a shawl, and scarf and a wrap.

The good thing about these is that they work up with minimal yarn. I stumbled across this idea when I accidentally ran out of yarn one day. I have a habit of buying 2 balls of pretty yarn when I see it on sale, with no idea what I am going to make out of it. I am sure I am not alone here!

One or 2 balls usually does it, of cause 3 balls will make it a big larger. My mum in law is an elderly lady, and she finds that scarfs, wraps and shawls, while being cosy, are a bit heavy and hard to manage. You also have bits of crochet fabric hanging about to catch on things or trip you up which is a certain risk for older people with walking frames and wheely walkers.

I hadn't thought of this until my mum in law requested more! It is the neck and shoulders that need the warmth and these are easier to fling on than say a cardigan or coat.

The other benefit is that these are easily stuffed into a hand bag, or a wheelie walker bag. I have made myself a few and they are great for sitting in the air con at the movies. Because the fabric is loose I pull one corner through the holes to secure it. This is a green one she requested to go with her green things.

The patterns I use are very simple, and a lot like some shawl patterns about. I keep the stitches very basic as the effect is in the yarn.

Yarn is one of those pretty sparkly yarns or ribbon type yarns with the holes in it. I also use a large hook - 6 - 7mm, so they work up pretty quickly.

They need to be lacy to remain fairly light and stretchy.

Instructions for a Schrap

These instructions are written in Australian/British terminology. If you are used to US terms you need to translate: tr = dc, dc = sc.

4ch slst in a ring

1. 3ch, into ring work 1tr 1ch, (3tr 2ch 3tr) this will become the point, 1ch 2tr turn.

2. 3ch 1tr into top of first st, 1ch 3tr into ch sp, 1ch, (3tr 2ch 3tr) into next sp, 1ch, 3tr next sp, 1ch, 2tr top of last st, turn.

3. 3ch 1tr into top of first st, 1ch, * 3tr into ch sp, 1ch* along side to corner work (3tr 2ch 3tr) 1ch, then repeat * - 8 along side, finish with 2tr in top of last st.

Repeat row 3 but make one extra (3tr 1ch) along each side.

If you want it lacy work (2tr 3ch) in place of the (3tr 1ch)

I usually do about 20 - 24 rows .

For a an even lacier effect, I use less tr/dc. Sorry these are hard to photograph, but hopefully the picture gives you a bit of an idea.

4ch slst in a ring

1. 4ch, into ring work 1tr 1ch, 1tr, 2ch (this will become the point), 1 ch 1tr 1ch 1tr turn.

2. 4ch 1tr into first space, 1ch, 1tr next sp, 1ch, (1tr 1ch, 1tr 2ch 1tr 1ch 1tr ) into next sp, 1ch, 1tr next sp, 1ch, 1 tr next sp, 1ch, 1tr top of last st, turn.

Repeat row 2 but make 1 extra (1tr 1ch) along each side than in the previous row. The trick is to mark your point in each row and to count that the number of tr/dc are the same along each side. It is easy to go wonky in the first few rows.

I have fun experimenting with the different yarns to see what works best.

To finish off I sometimes do one round of 3 or 4ch, 1dc in the spaces, and add tassels if I have any extra yarn left over. The tassels are pieces of yarn cut at 30cm or 12 inches, fold in half and loop through the corners. They add a touch of variety to the wardrobe.

Thanks for looking. Someone said these would be good to donate to aged care facilities as a change from the usual afghan, lapghan. I tend to agree as they are functional and quite pretty.

I was also thinking a little card with the words:

"Here is a schrap to wrap you in love" would be nice.

I hope you have fun creating your Schraps! These instructions haven't been tested so if they need a tidy up, please let me know.

(c) crochetroo 2007 Pattern not to be reproduced or sold. Finished schraps not to be resold. Make as many as you want to donate to friends, rellies or charities.