Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Australia Day!

Today is Australia Day. This celebrates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney cove and the start of our contemporary Australian Settlement. For the indigenous Australian, this day marked the invasion of the British, the arrival of rabbits, rats, measles and the common cold.

We have come a long way in reconciliation, however more is to be done.

Last night we watched Jelena Dokic win the quarter final in the Australian Open. This was quite an Achievement for this young woman. Her life has been pretty tough as she has battled depression, financial difficulties and a father who has attracted a lot of bad press for his antics. It was her Dad who brought her to Australia in 1994 to escape the conflict in their native Yugoslavia and turn her into a tennis champion. He was then thrown out of the United States Open in 2000 after screaming obscenities. But last night she was remarkable.

So while watching the tennis I was feeling a little patriotic and decided I would try and do an Australian Flag Tea Cosy - just for Australia Day.

How stupid of me as the Australian flag isn't the easiest thing to crochet. In fact why couldn't our flag be as simple as the Yugoslavia ( Serbian ) flag with simple stripes of red white and blue.

So here is my first attempt.

Family feedback - "the stars aren't starry enough"

" flags are supposed to be rectangular not square" .. doh but the teapot is round

"The pointer looks like the size of a meteor about to hit Ularoo"

"mmm I didn't realise the Southern Cross was made of triangles, and a white space.

"You know the pointer has 7 points Mum"

Yep, I know that I counted them.. pity it looks like a wildflower.....

The points are symbolic , one for each State and 1 for the territories. I reckon a flannel flower would have been a hellava lot easier to crochet though. It could easily have 7 petals.

" You should have started this about 6 months ago if you wanted it finished by today...."

Yes I love having honest critique to improve my design skills ; o)
Oh well at least I got the colours right.

So this is the first side of the cosy, and I am away to see if I can make the stars starrier, the pointer a bit more pointy, and find a rectangular teapot.

As for the rest of the Day, I have baked the pavlova, and it is now cooling in the oven. We have a nice leg of lamb to roast in the Weber and a bottle of Jacobs Creek red.

I was planning to go and sweep out the barb q area as we had a bit of a storm last night. As I look out the deck though, it is starting to rain. Maybe I will just stay in side and see if I can improve on the flag instead.

I am also thinking that the Indigenous flag might have been an easier choice for my first flag attempt.

Have a happy Australia Day!

(c) crochetroo Australia

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A yarn about yarn - Panda Lustre

A work colleague of mine is having a baby this week ( his wife that is) , and we had a baby shower for him. She is a tiny little thing and is having a planned c section. They have the date set, and they know it is a girl. I always liked the surprise factor when I had my kids. Knowing the date and sex to me, is a bit like knowing what your Birthday present is, before you open it.

So in the knowledge that it was a little girl I made the baby pink booties above. This got me thinking about baby yarns. Now I must say they turned out the cutest little things, however this is mainly due to the yarn. Had I made them from string, I doubt they would have the same cuteness factor happening!

I made these little tea tree booties out of Panda Lustre. I just love this yarn. It is my favorite for making baby stuff in the synthetic yarn range available down here and quite reasonable priced.

If you look close at the picture you can see the viscose lustre running through the thread. The composition is 85% acrylic and 15% viscose.

Crocheting with this stuff is very satisfying, and no I don't have shares in the company! However a look inside my wool cupboard might indicate otherwise.

The koalas above were made in the variegated lilac in the range, and the little hat below in the flecked white, aqua and yellow.

And then there is baby blue.. I have been experimenting with baby sulphur cockatoo designs, and while the lemon isn't quite sulphur it is soft enough for babies gear.

And a few years back they had mint but they seem to have discontinued it. At the time I bought a few balls of it as I reckon mint green is a nice alternative to lemon when you don't know the babies gender. It works brilliantly for my koala booties as it reminds me of the gum trees.

So this is my favourite synthetic baby yarn. I have never been big on the nylons as they seem to split. The lustre in the Panda gives a nice texture that adds to a quality finish. It also has an increasing colour range in the traditional baby pastels.

Here is a link to their web:

Now as you can see the page really under represents this product as the colours are much sharper and the viscose really sparkles. An Australian company who has been around for a few years now. Why the heck they are "Panda" and not "Possum" or "Numbat" is any ones guess, but they do spin a good product.

Thanks for looking.

(c) crochetroo Australia images protected by copyright.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Summer Crochet

So Christmas has come and gone and the weather here is perfect for the beach. My family are always horrified when I take my togs, towel and crochet to our favourite local beach. I have never understood why. Others sit and read, and have things stuck in their ears, and play cricket... and well I crochet. And if Beach Cricket is good enough for The Australian Cricket Team to be televised, then I reckon there is an opening for Beach Crochet as well.

There is only one thing worse than getting sand in your undies, and in your chewing gum, and that is getting in in your yarn, so I have a special Beach Crochet Bag. Sad but true. And if I never took my hook to the surf, how would I have ever managed to take the great photo above?

I already have a backlog of Adult Uggs and a tail less possum in my basket, but I much prefer the coming up with the designs easier than the sizing and testing.

I finally listed my boomerang booties which took me forever because I needed to get the sizing right. Motifs on the other hand give me much more creative licence.

So my mind has been refreshed and the kids have been home and I have been on a rugalug binge.

I designed the Muttaburrasaurus late 2007 and have since been pondering whether I could come up with another of the dinosaur family.

My son ( who claims he is the source of all my great ideas) suggested a stegosaurus. So After a few prototypes here it is below. I kinda like this guy as he that boyhood adventure about him.

Trouble is with these sort of critters, is having never seen one, other than in the Jurassic Park movies, and lying around the boys room when they were little. (Gosh how I hated standing on those plastic dinosaurs in the dark. They used to scare the willies out of me and hurt like crazy.) My conundrum is always how to get the character, and the colour. I mean what is the character and colour of stegosaurus any way? I decided they must be flamboyant with all those spikes happening. Remind me of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, very gregarious and colourful in an outbacky sort of way.

So now I am on a dinosaur roll and I am getting a bit more confident. So I say to my self, if I can crochet Butterflies and Budgies, then a Pterodactyl cant be too hard.

This is what I did New Years Eve. I know , I must have a very boring life, however I did have a cocktail, in a long glass beside me.

Next morning I ask hub "what do you think this is"

His response; "a rabbit"

" er a rabbit in a batman cape".... not a good start to the new year my dear!

So I turn it on its side, and now it is looking more in flight. This angle reminds me more of the pterodactyls in the Flintstones.

So my January projects are to finish these guys off, however I decided that I need 4 of them to make a balanced set. I now have triceratops at an early stage of design and am feeling pretty pleased with myself.
Doesn't last long as our son says, " you have only done herbivores - you need to do some carnivores as well....." Maybe after the adult uggs, possums and cleaning out the fridge and tidying up the yard post summer storms....
Geez and I was thinking the herbivores was a terrific start to 2009. All I need now is a few of them in the backyard to munch through the jungle out there after the hot wet weather.
Happy New Year to You all, may you have many hours of fun with your families, wherever you are on the globe. I also wish you many hours of crocheting!

(c) crochetroo Australia