Saturday, 31 December 2011

Crochet and Fireworks

Just a quick pic to show you some of my crochet progress. It's coming along in ripples and rows!

I am enjoying myself with this project a great deal! Even more so with the amazing view from the back of the boat. Yesterday we dropped our mooring in peaceful Middle Harbour and motored out into the fray that is Sydney Harbour. We checked out Farm Cove, which still had heaps of space, but decided we'd enjoy the view a little further back. So we joined a multitude of other boats already anchored in Athol Bay off Taronga Zoo.

Those big sausage shaped doovers on the bow are fenders, that we think we might need on hand as they bay gets more and more packed with boats. Smaller boats are coming now and anchoring in between the larger boats. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the wind does not change again, and send us all careening into each other!

I have decorated Lucey Blue with some of our Australia Day flags, and lots of other boats have flags and banners and plenty of colour flying too. It is very exciting to be this close in. Bring on the fireworks!

Happy New Year everybody!!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Ripples on the water...

I've gone all hook happy here. I'm in a bit of a ripple rhapsody you might say. Crochet crazy? Definitely!!

I can't remember if I ever said much here, but I know I mentioned it (even if briefly), because I got two generous offers of crochet tuition from some fabulous stamping friends (thanks so much Patrice and Jocelyn...even if I haven't managed to take either of you up on your kind offer...yet ;-).

Before we set off sailing on Lucey Blue in May I had been inspired by Lucy of Attic24 to teach myself how to crochet (her excitement is highly contagious), so that I could make beautifully brilliant blankies like hers. So I got myself a 'how-to' book of crochet stitches, watched several online tutorials, got some el-cheapo yarn from Spotlight, mucked around with swatches of this, that and another, and kept my eye out for the perfect yarn. I even made myself a snazzy little purse to hold my crochet hooks, scissors, stitch counters and needle in.

One thing I have discovered of this fabulous hooky past-time, is that it is easily portable! Not like stamping and cardmaking at all! With stamping, I like to have ALL my things on hand, and if I've left a particular embellishment, ribbon or cardstock at home (and it is the thing I think I need to finish the card just so) then that is likely to annoy me a lot....a real lot! And we've already discussed here that I would have needed a second boat tied to the back of Lucey Blue to store all of my craft goodies on this voyage (a cruise liner may have been more appropriate in actual fact).

Anyhoo, not so with crochet. I have a  little pink and white tote bag that was a freebie during one of Clinique's promotions (I keep those bag for all sorts of things). This holds all my goodies in it. One of each colour of yarn I am using, my crochet purse, and my project (at least while it is small).

While we were away I started out small, and have made a scarf out of vertical stripes of treble stitch, using a nice cotton yarn (Moda Vera Sombre) that I picked up in Spotlight...

I did feel a bit silly crocheting on a boat, in the middle of a hot Whitsunday spring/ actually felt like summer up there, not like Sydney...which currently feels like winter!!!!! But it was fun, and it was a good way to become well and truly familiar with treble stitch.

And now, I have started my gorgeous Ripply Blanket, and I am in love. I am using Lucy's awesome Neat Ripple Pattern...which you can check out for yourself here. It is such a great tutorial, even a complete novice like me can follow it.

I went up to a local yarn store last week and bought some yarn. The details are:
Name: Sublime (by Sirdar)
Type: Baby Cashmere Merino Silk dk
Composition: 75% extra fine merino, 20% silk, 5% cashmere
  0160 Rubadub
  0051 Button
  0002 Cuddle
  0245 Caterpillar
  0244 Ragdoll
  0243 Little Miss Plum
Weight/Length per ball: 50g/116m

Thankfully I only bought 2 balls of each of the above six colours at first, but then found it for almost $10/per ball cheaper online (ZOWIE CAVEY THAT'S A BIG SAVING) have ordered the rest online. I'll let you know how that purchase goes after it arrives. The little swatch above was made to test the pattern, and compare colours. I may make the actual blanket with a slightly different pattern of 2 rows/1 rows interlocking (like Lucy is currently using in another ripple blanket), but I'll experiment and see how it goes. I know my colours are not as varied and brilliant as Lucy's, but I love these colours, and I love distinct patterns.

And this is the start of my blanket...

I started with a chain of 283 stitches ([20 x 14] + 3). The chain, and the first row of treble stitches were hard work. Lots of counting and squinting and checking....but in an amazing Christmas miracle, I got my numbers right the first time, and didn't have to undo any of it! Now it seems to be plain sailing (no pun intended), and I am on my way. I am using a 4.0 mm Clover Bamboo hook...I really like the way the Bamboo feels.

It doesn't look like much all curled up here, but when you straighten it out, it looks big. I estimate I'll need about 35-40 balls to make a good size blanket (thank goodness for the discounted yarn eh?).
Ok....enough jabber from me. Back to my crochet while the kids are happily playing with Lego.
Have a great day.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

A little Christmas Bling...

I was just wrapping one last Christmas gift, and I thought I'd open up my poor old neglected blog and post a picture of what I made, and say hi...and Merry Christmas...if there is anyone still out there reading!

The gorgeous black, red and white glass lampwork focal beads in this set are by two different artists on Etsy...Laura Critchfield of Chestnut Ridge Designs and Kandice Seeber of Air & Earth Designs.

I didn't have the energy to do much with the Christmas wrapping...we'd just finished our Christmas lunch practice run (what the heck, may as well make the most of a good thing, right?!), and I was feeling pretty sleepy.

I also thought I'd let you know that after seven months of sailing on the high seas (some higher than others ;-)...we motored back through Sydney Heads on Thursday afternoon...and I was feeling just a little teary at the time too!

It has been such a wonderful adventure, but for now I am pretty pleased to be home (although as we sat around the table today at lunch I commented on how much Lucey Blue feels like home right now). Thankfully we have a few more weeks to relax in Sydney and get our heads ready to pack up the boat before we head back to Canberra (and school and work and stuff...).

Very best wishes to you and your family this Holiday Season!