Saturday, November 14, 2009

UFOs and the Anniversary Road Trip

Sunset on the road to Canberra

It seems I haven’t blogged in ages. It isn’t that I don’t have anything interesting to talk about: quite the opposite. Life has been filled to the brim with our youngest celebrating his 18th in October. we also finally put in a new kitchen as the previous one celebrated its 20th birthday, and in much a shabbier state than our son!

This month my husband and I celebrate 30 years of marriage. To mark the occaision we decided (or rather I insisted) we go on a kid less trip. This is the first holiday we have had on our own since BC (before children). When he asked me where I wanted to go I said there were two places that I thought would be lovely for an anniversary trip. The first was Niagara Falls. I have seen so many photos of Niagara Falls, and the movies portray it as a honeymoon sort of place. The second place I have long wanted to see was to travel the Great Ocean Road, at the bottom of Australia and to see what remains of the 12 apostles. I believe a few of them have fallen into the sea due to erosion and I would love to see as many of them while they still remain. So hub, ever the imaginative one says "great – let’s do the Great Ocean Road! Furthermore, let’s drive all the way and stop at a few places along the way. "

Sculpture in the Gardens in Canberra

Now for those unaware of the distance the Great Ocean Road is approx 1900k (1,100 miles) from our home on the Gold Coast. This is a very long drive. And we will need to drive back. After 30 years what can we possibly talk about for such a long drive?

Hub has his podcasts of philosophy bites, and an iPod full of his choice of music. This includes Christmas carols, which the man listens to all year just because they make him feel good, Eva Piaf, and some ABC down loads. My only solution is to crochet the miles away. So in a moment of panic, at the thought of all those kilometres of road kill, Eva Piaf and Philosophy I decide to take as many UFOs with me to see how many I can finish. Seems like a clever plan to me.

We reached Canberra on Thursday night, and it was a mere 38 degrees Celsius (100 F) and we headed off to the National Gallery. Canberra is our Nations capital, and because I had a hook and yarn in my hand, I didn't take too many photos!I didn't realise how many famous pieces we have here in Australia and I stood in front of Monet's Water Lilies for some time in awe. The man of course, reckons he could paint that if he tried. Truth is he has been flat out trying to paint the decking.. he has been working up to it for a few years now. In the photo above he is checking out the bronzes by Rodin in the sculpture garden. I am not sure why I thought finishing the green wrap in mohair and wool was such a good idea. But I did finish it. I crocheted 8 blocks from the Gold Coast to Canberra (1, 105 klms), and did the edge from Canberra to Thredbo. I used a block called a snowflake motif which I found in one of those weekly binder jobs.

This I discovered at my Lifeline charity store. The yarn you might recognise from one of the prayer shawls I made for a friend in the last post. I did however, start my wrap over a year ago. As I enthusiastically bought a dozen balls of the yarn and I have now managed to get 2 shawls. If I had planned ahead I would have brought some charms with me to finish it off. In Cooma I discovered one of the best craft stalls I have been in for some time. I did purchase some little charms but the holes are too small to thread onto the yarn.

My crocheting was interrupted as we stopped to let an echidna cross the road just inside the Kosciuszko National Park. By the time I had put the hook and yarn down, and dug around for my camera the little guy was burying his way into the side of the road. I have never seen this before in my life and if you check out the video clip you can just seem the echidna as he digs himself into the ground.

ECHIDNA on the road to Thredbo

video


I did manage to get the shawl finished and here it is, draped over the balcony at Thredbo where we will stay for the weekend.

Thredbo is a Ski resort in the winter, and extremely pretty and quiet in Summer. You can see the remnants of the snow in the photo. This is one of the few places in Australia cold enough and high enough for skiing. I am sure it is nothing on Aspen, but it is a nice destination.



My plan is to use the wrap when we reach Melbourne as we have a dinner to attend. Thredbo is beautiful in Summer. We will do a few bush walks while we are here in Thredbo, and then we head further south to Melbourne. Given the heat, I am thinking I might work on some smaller projects for the next leg of the journey.


Thanks for looking!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Prayer Shawls


A dear friend of mine has recently had a pretty tough time as her 23 year old daughter died after a battle with cancer. I can not imagine any grief worse than losing a child, particularly at such a young age. Her daughter had a melanoma removed about 2 years ago, discovered secondaries early this year, and was cremated at the beginning of the month.


It is hard to know what to say or do as nothing seems adequate.

After doing some research I decided to make her a prayer shawl. I have never done one of these before, however I found it comforting for my soul as I thought of her situation, and prayed for her comfort. I am not a deeply religious person, however something about tragedy does make us consider our own mortality.

In researching prayer shawls I discovered the Prayer Shawl Ministry and this wonderful site:

http://shawlministry.com/

While I haven't been blogging I have been busy. Here is a picture of the shawl I made for my friend. It is in a soft green and cream angora and wool mix. I added little crosses and heart charms onto the fringe which were made from 9 ch, added a charm, and then did another 9 ch, slst in the base.

It took me a while as I made it about 150 cm long. The pattern is an interesting one I found in one of the old weekly crochet journals that I found in a charity store. She has a strong Anglican faith and I felt the green was a soothing colour and I like how it turned out. I plan to give it to her in the next week.



Another colleague of mine recently lost her Dad. It has been a very difficult time for her as on only child, and as a special daughter. I was originally going to get her some flowers, and then a plant for her office however as the first shawl turned out so well I decided to make another one.
This friend is in her mid 30s so I chose a summery colour called custard by moda vera. I added some little dragon fly charms to the fringe. The decorative stitch is the same as the green one, however I went for a triangle style with plain rows of granny square type pattern in between.
I found a plain card with some pansies on the front and wrote the following verse in side:


“This Shawl was made just for you
To bring comfort, to know you are loved
This Shawl is to wrap you up~~
When you're cold,
When you're hurting
When you need to snuggle,
This Shawl was crocheted with blessings, With Love, With Prayers,”


Crocheted with love by a special friend

Prayer Written By: Gena Kathka, March 16, 2006, http://www.prayershawl.com/, used by permission
On the opposite side of the card I wrote:
"Dear (friend) May this prayer shawl enfold you in warmth, comfort, healing and peace. Think of it as a big hug from your Dad, With Love .."

I left it on her desk at work after she had gone for the day. The next morning I received the following email:
"Thank you so much for the lovely shawl and words on my card. It really meant a lot, it has been a bit hard for me of late, so it was perfect timing. And the flowers on the front of the card ( pansies )are my favourite! I appreciate your kindness in such a difficult time"

I am so pleased I discovered the prayer shawl ministry, and hope my other friend likes hers as well.
Thanks for looking, and make sure to visit the prayer shawl ministry as they do some beautiful work.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Snuggly Ugglies for Big Kids

Well it took a particularly cold winter down here to prompt me to finish of my crochet uggly patterns! These are for big kids and adults following numerous requests in realtion to my baby snuggly ugg booties.

Another thing I started well over a year ago, which have taken me forever to complete. It has been now a year since Grandma left us and I did loose interest in crochet for a while. Last winter was a long one as we sorted her things and dealt with our loss.
These Uggies though would have made her smile!

I made numerous pairs before I got the shaping and sizing right. I have tried to keep these simple. They have a crocheted sole however some non slip goop could be added to the bottom if you wanted to.

The sons' gfs modelled them for me and decided they were very comfy. I have 3 sons and the gfs have learnt that if they eat at my table, then they model my crochet! It is funny how intrigued this Generation y is with old fashioned crafts such as crochet. The lass in the photo below is keen to have me teach her how to crochet. My son wasn't too impressed when she shows more interest in what I am doing than what he is doing! Payback time for the pain I suffered in bringing him into the world, the cracked nipples and other personal sufferings to get him where he is today.

Uggs are an icon down here. It took the fashionistas to make them popular internationally.

While nothing can replace the original sheepskin Ugg, my crochet ugglies are a bit of fun. The pattern can be worked in 8 ply or 12 ply and I am going to experiment with some novelty yarn for the band. I have a pile of fluffy stuff in my stash which might do the trick.
I have listed the patterns on etsy to correspond with the chilly winter down here.


Thanks for looking.

(c) crochetroo Australia

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hairpin Crochet


One of my latest fascinations has been with hairpin crochet. I remember as a kid my Nana would make hairpin crochet and I could never quite figure it out. Nana was also a fan of the broomstick as well and made many a rug using this technique.

Hair pin crochet forks aren't that available here. In fact I cant recall having ever seen them in the craft stores until very recently. My favourite Craft joint Spotlight, has one of those discount clearance tables up the back in the wool section. I stood there for about an hour a few weeks ago, sifting through the remnants of odd balls of wool, odd goggle eyes, beads, light up knitting needles that haven't seemed to really catch on, a pile of miscellaneous patterns and a few humble hairpin prongs. These had been respectably reduced from $4.99 to 50c each. And how I love a bargain, so I bought 4 in different sizes and challenged myself to learn how to use the things.


The major challenge is starting off. It is one of those left - right spacial things that once you get the hang of, is quite relaxing. However, until you do get the hang of it, hairpin can be incredibly frustrating! The flipping the thing around totally messed my head.

This was my first major hairpin project. I used a pattern on the web and adjusted the length. The yarn is a 5 ply cotton and acrylic mix that I found in Lincraft in Brisvegas. Given this was my first attempt I chose a heavier yarn in a bright colour that was easy on my eyes.



Having now mastered the hairpin knack, it has become a major time waster. Recently I travelled to Cairns in far North Queensland and decided to do a day trip up to Kuranda in the rain forest. This was a fabulous outing as I got the train up, and the Skyrail back. Whilst waiting for the train I pulled out my hairpin, determined to make the most of any down time. As quick as you can say "double crochet" I had a swarm of English and European Tourists watching what I was doing. One of them asked "is this a local Australian Craft". It was one of those moments when I realised how little the general person knows about crochet. This group of tourists weren't gen ys either! They were the over 50, retirement tour group!
So whilst sitting at the train station north of Cairns here was I showing a bunch of Tourists, the craft of hairpin crochet. My kids would have been horrified as the boys have banned me from CIP ( crocheting in public) since the time I tried at the light hook at the movies! The picture below is from the skyrail over the rainforest. This has to be one of the most amazing pieces of scenery and engineering I have ever experienced.


So here is the wrap I made a strip of in Cairns. I used a pretty cotton mix that has a slither of silver sparkle through the thread. I was trying to get a lighter, dressier type of effect. I learnt doing this that stitch markers are a good idea to stick on the prong to keep count of the 50s of loops. I nearly went nutty checking the count on this.

This little pink skinny scarf is an experiment with a left over ball of cotton thread. I wanted to try the loop technique of joining. This is where you weave the loops of the strips to join them together. I made 4 strips out of the ball and am happy with the result.

You can see in the close up how the loops interweave.


I am now experimenting with what else I can make as I think I have more than enough wraps now. I am trying a bag and have a few other ideas in my noggin. My Nana would be pretty proud of me if she was still around.
Thanks for looking!

(c) crochetroo

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Pesky Possums

I cant believe how long it is since I last blogged. I haven't stopped crocheting though!

Meet the possums. I called these guys Pesky, because they have taken me forever to perfect! Possums are a protected species down here but are pesky when it comes to eating the fruit off the passion fruit vine, and the paw-paws in the back yard!
I humbly declare that I think these are my cutest critters yet, and well worth the wait.


I remember my husband reaching up into a carton in his under the house blokes area in search of a hammer. He found asleep in there, what he thought was our cat, stroked and lifted it down to see it was a possum. Scared the living daylights out of him! Not to mention the stunned look on the possum as he scampered away.

These often hang about our bird feeder and you can hear them scratching around on the roof at night. They are a real pest if they get into the ceiling. Many years ago one did and my son couldn't sleep at night because of the racket. We thought it might have been a rat (UGHH) but the pest exterminator man trapped it and yep, it was a possum. Possums are protected here so he took it out to the bush and released it.

The challenge for me was to make several species as each has distinct characteristics.


Ring tail possums are a medium sized species. Fully grown they are the size of a kitten or large guinea pig. They range in colour from a beautiful russet red to brown with a tinge of grey. Tails are very long with a distinctive ring and often have a white tip. Ears are very small and close to the head. I did this one in a rusty brown. Here he is hanging about in the gum trees.


Brush tail possums are a larger species and when fully grown they will be a little smaller than an adult cat. They have a grey to grey/brown coat on top, and can be a soft cream to a beautiful ‘pumpkin’ colour underneath. Their ears are large and stand up from their heads. Tails are black and fluffy.


The brush tail is a bit of a nuisance where they have been introduced in New Zealand. While they are a native species here and we put up with them, over seas they are regarded as lowly vermin!

I think the brush tail is a lovely critter with a fluffy tail. Early settlers would kill these for their skins. Possum fur has a similar feel to mink. Possum were introduced to New Zealand from Australia approximately 150 years ago to establish a possum fur industry. They thrived in New Zealand to the point that they are now considered a pest and a threat to the native bird life and flora.


And here is the tiny Glider possum. There are several species of gliders including sugar gliders and pygmy possums. All gliders have a membrane running down each side of their body which they use as sails to glide from tree to tree. These are tiny marsupials which can fit in the palm of your hand.


The pygmy possum is now an endangered species. Urban cats and dogs have significantly reduced the numbers as has deforestation. I was interested to learn that in some countries sugar gliders are kept as pets. They are particularly cute and easy to handle.


Leadbeaters possum is the animal symbol of the state of Victoria. It was thought to be extinct, however a few have been found and it remains an endangered species. The recent Victorian bush fires would have really damaged their native habitat.

Possums are another of our fascinating marsupials who have their babies in a pouch. They are also arboreal living in the tree trunks and nocturnal, coming out at night.


I hope you like my pesky possums. I have the patterns listed on etsy. My next crochet challenge is the Tasmanian devil.

Thanks for popping in, and do leave a comment!

(c) copyright crochetroo Australia 2009.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Harmony Wrap ( free crochet pattern for Harmony Day)

March 21 is Harmony day. This is a day where we celebrate the diversity of our community. It is celebrated on this day as the 21st March is also known as Human rights day and Sharpeville Day in remembrance of the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa in 1960.



The Living in Harmony program was established in 1998 and administered by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs. The Diverse Australia Program is designed to highlight cultural issues for all Australian citizens, and give all Australian's collective goals to reduce racism within Australia, such as:

· Take a stand against racism, prejudice and intolerance;
· Help build a peaceful and productive future for our children by setting an example of how to live in harmony, making the most of our racial, cultural, social and religious diversity; and
· Put into practice the best of traditional Australian values - justice, equality, fairness and friendship.
· Celebrate Australia's many successes as a diverse and harmonious multicultural society;
· Re-commit to our common values of respect and goodwill towards our fellow Australian's of all backgrounds;
· Say 'no' to racism.


March 21 is also my birthday, and I treated myself recently to some gorgeous yarn I found at Lincraft in Brisbane. The yarn is called "surprise" and is full a happy colours which remind me of the harmony day banner. I had to think what to make it into and finally came up with this wrap. The outrageous cheery colours are fabulous and this yarn is super soft.




All of these colours come out of the ball so I guess that is why the call it "Surprise".

So here is the pattern for what I have called my "Harmony Wrap". It is a little out there, but hey it is a lot of fun. The increases make the wrap fan out and provide a nice stretchy shaped edge which allows for flexibility in how you tie it. I hope you enjoy it as much I do!

Harmony Wrap
© crochetroo Australia, this pattern is for your personal use only. Please do not reproduce, resell, load to the web or make items to sell

NOTE: Australian UK terms are first/ USA terms second = tr/dc

The yarn is called surprise from Lincraft and I used 2 balls. Each ball has about 160 metre and a thickness of about 9wpi. Any variegated yarn will do however this yarn has a lovely soft feel and a bright array of colours. It reminds me of the diversity in the Harmony Day banner.

Hook H8/ 5mm
Shell = (2tr/dc 2ch 2tr/dc) worked into the 2ch sp of previous row.



1. Start with a 6ch, slst join into a loop. 1ch start then 12dc/sc into ring, slst join.

2. 5ch start (counts as 1 tr/dc 2ch throughout), (1tr/dc 2ch) into next st 9times = 10 posts TURN

3. 5ch start, (1tr/dc 2ch) into ch sp 4 times, into next ch sp ( 2tr/dc 2ch 2tr/dc) shell, 2ch then repeat (1tr/dc 2ch) into next 4 ch sp, 1tr/dc into 3rd ch of start ch, TURN.

4. 5ch start, (1tr/dc 2ch) into ch sp, work shell into shell sp, then continue 2ch, (1tr/dc 2ch) into ch sp till end, 1tr/dc into 3rd ch of start ch, TURN, repeat this row for 5, 6 and 7.

8. 5ch start, *(1tr/dc 2ch) into ch sp 4 times, into next ch sp ( 2tr/dc 2ch 2tr/dc) shell into next sp*, 2ch* repeat *-* around giving you 3 shells in the row, finish row as before with 1tr/dc into 3rd ch of start ch, TURN .

9 – 12 work as before with a shell in each of the 3 shells in each round

13. Repeat row 8 = 7 shells

Continue pattern on these stitches for approx 13 rounds = 26 in total or until you are almost out of yarn.

Last round. 1dc/sc into first sp, 20ch 1dc/sc same sp, then * (3ch 1dc/sc) each space till you reach shell (1dc/sc 20 ch 1dc/sc) in shell space*, repeat from * - * till end of row, work (1dc/sc 20 ch 1dc/sc) in last loop.

Continue to work along side edge of rows with (3ch 1dc/sc) each space till you reach the start, slst join into first dc/sc, weave in ends.

Holding each 20 ch loop in half, tie a knot.


You can tie the corners across the back and achieve a shrug like effect. I ended up sewing a button onto one of the corners to make it hold.

Enjoy wearing your harmony wrap and remember to be inclusive and harmonous all year round.

(c) crochetroo Australia


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Victorian Bushfire Appeal

http://www.redcross.org.au/vic/services_emergencyservices_victorian-bushfires-appeal-2009.htm

There is not much more that can be said about the bush fires that ripped through Victoria last week. The victims of the fires included both human and wildlife. It is estimated that nearly 200 people lost their lives while over 1Million wildlife are estimated to have perished. I count my blessings that where I live is safe from the fires, and I have appreciated the numerous enquiries I have received from the Internet community.


The photo above of Sam the koala is one of the most touching encounters I have ever seen. Sam drank three bottles of water and had badly scorched paws.

The Dust team ( Down Under Street Team) at Etsy have organised a special store in order to raise funds for the bushfire appeal.

All the goods have been donated with 100% going to the Red Cross.

I have listed some special packages of my crochet patterns and will be contributing some more as soon as I get them together.



Please visit the Etsy VICTORIAN BUSHFIRE APPEAL store:
http://ozbushfireappeal.etsy.com/



alternatively if you wish to donate direct:

http://www.redcross.org.au/vic/services_emergencyservices_victorian-bushfires-appeal-2009.htm


Thank you for your support.
(c) crochetroo Australia


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Happy Hearts (free crochet pattern)

Happy Hearts - to make you feel warm and fuzzy like a nice hug!


This is one of those silly things I came up with while I was watching TV. We don't really celebrate Valentines Day in a big way down here, however it does seem to be getting more popular with the young ones. My boys are at the age when there seems to always be a young lady at the dinner table so I figured I would go with the flow and make some hearts in the mood of love.

This is what I call my Happy Heart Motif. I am still working on the background count, however here is the heart to get you started.

Some of the ideas for what you could do with these are:
  • Make a set for some quirky coasters,
  • Join 2 together and fill with lavender for a sachet,
  • Add a ribbon to the top to make a hanging decoration,
  • Make one in cotton and add a tassel for a book mark,
  • Sew a bobby or pin on the back and wear as a brooch, or
  • Use to decorate a card for someone special.



Instructions

Australian and UK terms are used first; USA are shown second in [brackets].

8ply/double knit/worsted weight yarn in 2 colours 4mm/ J6 hook = 9cm, 3.75 in wide
Small heart use 4ply [size 10] cotton and 1.75mm/ steel 5 hook = 6cm / 2.5 in wide

Round 1: 3ch slst into ring, 3ch start then working into ring make 15tr [dc], slst into top of start ch to form a circle =16

Round 2: 3ch start, into next st work 8tr [dc], miss 2st, 1dc [sc] next st, miss 2 st, 8tr [dc] next st, 1tr [dc] next st, 2tr [dc] next st twice, 1tr [dc] next st, (2tr 1dtr 2tr) OR [2dc 1tr 2dc] into next st (chin point), 1tr [dc] next st, 2tr [dc] next st twice, slst join to start ch, finish off and weave in ends = 34 st

Round 3: Worked in front loops only
Join contrast yarn with a slst at the chin, 1ch 1dc [sc] in same st, 2ch 1tr [dc] same st, *miss 1 st then 1dc [sc] next st, 2ch 1tr [dc] same st* repeat from *-* around heart, slst join to last ch finish off and weave in ends = 17 shells.

Smile and Eyes

If you look at your heart you will see the outline of a smile and some eyes.

Using contrast yarn neatly stitch a mouth between round 1 and 2.


Work 3 stitches to create eyes. These can be angled to create different personalities.

Enjoy giving your Happy Hearts to someone special. Have a loving Valentines Day!


(c) crochetroo Australia protected by copyright. Please do not reproduce my patterns or images by any means. While I am happy for you to make these for personal use, gifts and limited charity fundraising, please do not sell on the web or sell finished items to make a personal profit.