Summer Drinks "Sandy Beach" & "River Boat" Coasters

Here are the second and third sets I’ve made for this Summer Drinks coaster collection, I call these colour combos “Sandy Beach” & “River Boat”.

Sandy Beach is mostly light blue, for the shallow ocean. Sand is the second colour for the beach and white is for the waves. Or maybe it is white for the seagulls and shells?

A simple thing is choosing 3 colours to make a set of coasters, but these have an extra thought and meaning, to help transport the imagination on those hot summer days!

Navy and white are common sailor stripe colours and is the theme of the upholstery on our “River Boat”, and of course it has timber decking!

Washing instructions are ‘Hand wash, do not bleach, dry flat in shade’. Choose the darker coloured coasters when drinking red wine.

Enjoy!

Summer Drinks "Deep Sea" Coasters

Here is the first set of six coasters I am making to give as Christmas gifts. I hope the recipients don’t think they are too silly!

I’m thinking each set will have 3 colours, a major, a minor and a highlight, which tells the story of a scene or season. This first one is called “Deep Sea”. The major colour is dark blue for the deepest part of the ocean, the minor colour of light blue is for the shallows, with a little white highlight for the tips of the waves. No two coasters are the same, neither are any two coasters a negative image of each other. The even number of coasters with random patterns reflecting both order and chaos in natural landscapes.

After trying out a couple of different patterns, this one is my favourite coaster pattern from Crochetspot. I used a 4.5mm hook for this, and thick 5 ply  COTON-A made by Sullivans, which is a 60% cotton blend with acrylic. Washing instructions are ‘Hand wash, do not bleach, dry flat in shade’. I would say to avoid putting red wine or coffee mugs on very light colours like the white.

Making these were a lot of fun to do. Oh no! I think I’m going to make a few more …

Pretty Irish Rose for a Sunhat

I had a go at adding a flower to the child’s sun-hat I made the other day, using a tradition Irish Rose pattern. I think the end result is very cute, if I do say so myself!

I wasn’t sure how the colour changes would go, but it worked out fine. I changed colour after doing the back posts and chain foundations for the next row. I made a 6th petal, although the pattern I followed had 5, as I prefer it this way. A couple of buttons added to the centre provided just the right amount of embellishment. I’m glad a couple more of my homeless buttons have found a new home. This flower is not removable like my other flowers I make for hats, I just sewed it right on securing it tightly.

I wonder if my 4 year old niece would like this hat? I don’t know anyone else this would fit, and it would be a shame if no one wore it, it’s just too nice!

Three Small Things – soap saver, dishcloth, square motif

<<< I don’t really understand why I woke one morning thinking I needed to make a soap saver for the laundry soap, but I did! I don’t usually use these things, but the soap I have in the laundry at the moment was a gift and really needed one as it was making a mess. I didn’t follow a pattern as it’s a pretty basic shape, but I did look at crochetspot and google for some inspiration, and used my thick cotton and a 4mm hook. I got the idea of continuing the first round all the way round the bottom of the first row from the free pattern at crochetspot, there are also pictures and patterns of other soap savers there. I’ve tested it out, so far so good. The plan is, when you get the little shards of soap left over at the end you keep them in the bag so you don’t waste them. Very thrifty, I like it!

>>> I have been working on a spiral dishcloth using the same aqua cotton as my first cotton dishcloth, but I’m not happy with it so it’s currently in my pile of unfinished projects. I bought some ‘amalfi’ yarn from Lincraft for $4, which is 100% cotton. I think the choice of colours look ‘dishclothy’, if there is such a thing, so chose the aqua greenish one. This time I made a bigger version of the basketweave dishcloth, as David asked for a bigger one. This used most of the 50g ball, there isn’t enough left to make another one this size. Consolation is that this cloth can be washed and reused for quite a while, so I can get my money and effort’s worth out of it. This didn’t take long to do, I used a new bamboo 3.5mm I thought to try for fun. I found working with the bamboo hook that it stuck a little, and is not as smooth as using a metal one. The final product measures 22cm x 18cm.

<<< I tried this square motif, I’m thinking of using it to make some baby play cubes. This coaster pattern is at crochetspot.

My Piano, November 2010 Update

I need to keep a record of what’s been happening with my piano, as every time someone comes to look at it, I forget what work has been done!

My 15 year old Alex Steinbach piano got it’s first tuning in about 4 or 5 years this week, which is a bit sad. I had left it to wallow for that time while I had other things on my mind, like sorting out my life! For the record, I bought my piano new in 1994 or 1995 for $3995, and it was shipped to Darwin from Tasmania. While in Darwin I looked after it pretty well, getting it tuned every year, sometimes twice due to the monsoonal humidity. After I separated from my husband, the piano sat at my friend Nikki’s house for a year or so, from there the piano was trucked to Brisbane around 2005 for the cost of $880.

While living on the north-side of Brisbane I got it tuned once, and I vaguely remember that tuner saying something about silverfish and a broken string, he left some insect repellents in there which was removed this time around. I started looking for a south-side piano tuner about 12 months ago and it’s taken me this long to get up the courage to get someone in. I narrowed my search to tuners registered at the APTTA site for Queensland. I really wanted to get it done before I was 20 weeks pregnant, because that’s when the baby can hear in the womb, but I am 28 weeks now so I have left it a bit late.

So last week the piano tuner I had decided upon, a local musician called Martin Holmes, comes in and says it’s not worth tuning because all the felts on the keys have been eaten, probably by silverfish, and need to be replaced first. This of course tripled the price and really threw me at the time, although in hindsight it shouldn’t have surprised me that much. It has been sitting idle for a long time, afterall.  I was very nervous that this man unknown to me was taking out all my keys, to take away and refit some new felts, which apparently is a very fine and detailed job to do, and would take more than the weekend to complete. I had to utilise several anti-worry techniques that I’ve been taught this year  by my counsellor to get through the week, lol!

So this time around, the key bushes have been re-felted by hand. A string has broken and will need to be replaced when the part arrives in a week or two. There is a spare broken string wound up in the bottom of the piano which might have been the original of another string which had been replaced at some earlier date. The piano has been vacuumed out, so next time we can see any new dust. Thankfully, the piano is sounding very nice again, I think Martin has done a good job, and I can’t wait to get stuck back into my playing.

Now it’s finally done, and I can start with my planned repertoire of children’s songs, a basic piano course and some improvisation. As long as I don’t need that bottom A with the broken string too much over the next fortnight, I should be right!

Child's Cotton Sunhat

Because I had to cancel going to craft group today due to the piano repairs, I went to Lincraft yesterday instead. While there, I picked up a pattern book and some cotton for some new projects, including this child’s sunhat, which I finished just this morning.

This is the last of 25 patterns in a book I picked up from Lincraft called ‘cute clothes for kids’ by Sue Whiting. The book looked pretty comprehensive, and I didn’t think it was too expensive, so I grabbed it. Flicking through it, I was reminded how I didn’t make any hats for my sister’s children as they were going back to Darwin and had no need for woollen beanies up there. My sister had suggested I make my niece a sunhat, so now I have given it a go using this pattern. I found some cotton blend at Lincraft, not 100% cotton unfortunately, its a 50% cotton 50% arcylic blend, but I’m very happy with the colours and how they go together.  I chose white, pink, purple and a light brown colour. For this I used a 4mm hook, and I think it took me about 3 hours, it really wasn’t hard to do. The pattern says it fits a 2 to 4 year old.

Now I’m trying to decide if I want to add a big floppy flower to it, or is it better as it is? Luckily, I have some of the cotton left so I can make a flower, or perhaps a matching bag as suggested in the book.

Round Blue Baby Rug

This round blue baby rug seemed to take ages! I’m so happy I’ve finally finished it, although it’s ended up a bit smaller than I thought it would be at 56cm across.

I got the idea for this one from crochetspot, they were saying round is a good shape for baby rugs. I didn’t follow a pattern, I just looked at the photo for inspiration. I had already gotten a fair way into it when I realised I had 13 segements instead of 12. I couldn’t believe it (wait a minute – I know how to count)! I figured it would be ok and just kept going. Maybe 13 is a lucky number in this case, well that’s what I’ve decided anyway. This is the same pattern I used for the simple spiral white doily I finished last week, except for this rug I edged it with 5 trbl scallops. The reason it took so long is because, yet again, I used a 3mm hook and fine baby wool. Really, when I make a rug I should use a big hook and thick wool, then it won’t take so very long. I must have been working on this for a month or two, using nearly 3 x 50g balls of the blue 100% Australian merino wool I got on special from Lincraft.

This year I’ve really gotten ‘hooked’ on completing projects. I don’t like how I start something and have incomplete projects around, although of course I do have some of those! I just felt a need to finish this one so I can get some Chrissie presents done – now I just have to figure what I could make as gifts that will be practical and nice, that they might like and not hate!

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