Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Coming back

Such a long time! I'm learning to use my arm again, reaching higher almost every day and trying new ways to do simple things like taking a plate from the microwave over my shoulder level. This is my third week without the sling.
Right at the beginning of October we had the first snow, it only lasted for a day or two.

Last week we had the first "real snow" that required shoveling and the plough trucks were out, and there is still some snow left. Winter weather requires winter crafts, so I have started a pair of socks in blue. I can only knit a few rows before taking a break, so the socks may just be finished on time for Christmas. I use a solid greyish blue and a variegated yarn in alternating rows.

During my long break from blogging I have been reading your blogs on the iPad my son borrowed me so I didn't have to climb upstairs to see my e-mails. That little thing was quite nice and handy, but sometimes I could not even open the comments section, and often the writing of comments was just not working. This is just to let you know that I haven't forgotten you.

A month ago the Villa Cooper celebrated its 110th anniversary, and we found it a great opportunity to invite the representative of the New Children's Hospital 2017 fundraising committee for coffee and home made buns so we could officially donate the funds raised during our bird themed campaign. The sum by then was €1,600 and we keep raising funds for the worthy cause as long as there are products left with the special price tags.

Last weekend the traditional Christmas Shop was opened at Villa Cooper, and I hope to get you some lovely pictures from it, with more light than this anniversary picture.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Autumn Break

This is the beginning of Autumn. See how bare the young aspen already are! They didn't even have time to change their colour properly.
The Summer flowers have been replaced by Chrysanthemums.

The rowans are full of berries. That was good for our apples, no need for the bugs and worms to attack them when they had enough of their natural food in the forest.
I have crocheted half of my granny squares for my cardigan. The other half must wait until I can use both my hands again.
Another baby thing knitted, to go with the Princess Estelle's cardigan.

I'm prepared for the weeks with idle hands:
Here is about half of the books I have kept waiting. Some of them are too big or heavy to read in bed, some were just new hand-me-downs, and some especially borrowed for this special occasion of having the chance to read all day long. About a dozen of the Elm Creek novels are waiting on the shelf for me to I finish the triple volume that comes first in the series.
This is it, dear friends. I'll be back some time in November or so ... keep posting about your lovely projects and I will visit your blog when I can. Comments I can't promise for quite a while.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The little indie artist and her victory of sorts

I'm upset! My daughter's work has been copied and put on sale by Anthropologie. Please visit Kaija's blog Paperiaarre here  and see with your own eyes. Her journals have been copied. She has also given a link to another case of copying by this firm, so it seems to be their habit to look for beautiful things on Etsy, Pinterest etc. and have them made in a cheap labour country. As little as it may mean to them, I have written an e-mail to Anthropologie and given my opinion about this. I can be as biased as I want; they have wronged my daughter! - I didn't have time to finish this blog post last night, and I'm glad to tell you that meanwhile the issue is resolved and the big company has offered to withdraw their copied journals. Naturally they don't admit they have copied anything, so maybe it was their supplier who did it.
 On the knitting front, I have been working on a multi-coloured baby blanket. 
Here it is all finished. Knitting on the circular needle makes it easier for my hands and arms, as the weight on the blanket rests on my lap instead of on the long needles and my hands.
Speaking of hands and arms, in a week I will start a long break from all things crafty, and also from writing in any form. I will keep reading your blogs, I hope, but can't comment for a while with my good hand immobile in a sling. The sling thing causes a dressing problem I didn't have 8 years ago when my other shoulder was operated on. It was against the Summer, so I just altered a few tops so I could step in through the neckline. This time I need something against the cold as well, so I took another step as a designer and made a poncho:
The lining is there to protect me from wind, and I even added an interfacing for extra warmth. Now I'm knitting wrist warmers to give a final touch:
Today is Autumn Equinox and the days are getting shorter so fast that you really notice it: 40 minutes in a week now. The temperature has dropped close to freezing point for the day as well, but at the end of the week we can expect some +15C days. Warmer clothes are needed, summer dresses can be stored away for eight months at least. Enjoy the colours of Autumn, the fresh air, and cosy evenings in the warmth of your home. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

"Designer" socks and various birds

You may remember the fundraising for the New Children's Hospital 2017 we have been having at the Villa Cooper? I'm very happy to tell you that my Happy Scrappy Spring quilt was finally sold!
I made this quilt designed by Kaaren of The Painted Quilt, and she kindly gave her permission to sell the quilt for the worthy cause. A member of our club was the buyer, and I can be sure the quilt has found a good home! The nice sum of € 350.00 was added to the fundraising account.
My original 25 birdy coasters have all been sold and I have had two custom orders since then. Making the last one of them, I decided to use up all the linen fabric I had left for the background so there will be a dozen or so new mug rugs for the hospital project still available. We decided to keep our project going as long as we have items left.
Speaking of custom orders, I knitted a pair of socks for Mr K. to keep his toes warm in the waders. Those shoes let the cold water through, and only the sock part of the waders keep his feet dry but not necessarily warm.

I have seen his technical socks designed for the left and right foot and using different materials, and took an idea from them:
I made a stretchy part on the sole after the heel to keep the sock from creeping towards the toes like my socks tend to do in my wellies. The top of the foot part is in rib stitch as well to make the socks fit like a glove. (That would be really stupid though, nobody has toes as long as fingers. This must be seen as a figure of speech.) The bottom of the heel is flat and smooth so nothing will put pressure on his baby soft skin.
Mr K. has added a polycarbonate roof to our terrace. The project is nearly finished, just missing the boards to cover the triangles at both ends.

I'm enjoying my favourite time of the year: sunny days with just room temperature or a little cooler, fresh little wind, the smell of apples, many flowers still in bloom, the swans teaching their young cygnets to take off and land (is it 'landing' in water too?), and the first cranes preparing their migration to the South. Yesterday I saw a flock of about 50 cranes getting arranged to their typical V formation. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

Travel report and a tiny new finish

A week ago we attended our nephew's wedding in Germany. The wedding ceremony took place at the town hall where they had a special room for it. This is a part of a large appliqué on the wall.

The celebration started at noon in this garden of the restaurant where dinner was served in the evening. The weather was rather chilly so we didn't feel like sitting in these chairs facing the wind from the lake Pilsensee.

The wedding cake was cleverly chosen: each layer was a different cake, just the icing was the same. I hade some dark chocolate cake from the bottom layer. A young wedding guest was admiring the cake before it was cut.

As always, the bride was beautiful, the groom was handsome, the food was delicious and the wedding party was a happy one. After 13 hours of driving and celebrating, elderly people like we were quite exhausted!

At home, the apple trees are doing their best to compensate for last year's harvest of 10 apples/tree. The branches reach to the ground under their heavy burden. I cooked the first lot today.

I couldn't resist the pattern of the Swedish Princess Estelle's cardigan pattern in my handicraft magazine. The original was knitted by Queen Silvia's mother Alicia, obviously for baby Silvia 70 years ago and not for baby Estelle.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Vive le Corduroi!

Getting started is the most difficult part. If the project is nice or very important, keeping on working is easy. I promised to show what happened to the plum coloured tight tunic from my last post. Well, you know the Uncommonly Corduroy book by Stephanie, published earlier this year? I tested one of the bag patterns for her, the Ethel and MJ, and after I got the book I was ready to have a go at a new pattern. I really wanted to use corduroy this time, but with the fabric shops so far from me, and their selection being more curtains than quilting fabrics and especially not baby corduroy, I just kept knitting...

... until I realized I had this great piece of fabric (the old tunic from my last post) just waiting to be repurposed in its deep plum coloured baby corduroy loveliness. I decided the California Girl pattern was perfect, and the size of the parts needed was small enough so I didn't need to make any extra seams.

The back and the flap are corduroy. For the lining and front I used a floral print, originally cut up by my mother to make a shirt dress for one of her daughters. By the colour I would judge it to be my sister P. Turquoise or yellow would have been for M, light blue or bright red for T and brown, rust or olive for me. We all had our own favourite colours.


So, here it is, with pockets under the flap and inside. I'm still looking for wonderful buttons for the flap. I have great ones, but some of them are too colourful, some are too shiny, so I keep looking.

I'm not a tiny person, so there was some leftover fabric after I finished the California Girl (go ahead, this link is to another version!). I also happened to need a smaller bag for a nephew's wedding this weekend. None of my old purses would do. My outfit is unusually colourful, but the corduroy just happens to be the same colour as my new tunic. The new bag had to be small but large enough to hold my EpiPen. I'm allergic to wasps, and I can imagine the local wasps will find their way to a garden where there is wedding cake and perfumed ladies, so I must be prepared. So I measured the EpiPen, and the short sleeves of the old tunic which were the largest pieces left of it, and I designed a little bag for myself.

I had used all long strips of the tunic for the California Girl's strap, so there was not enough fabric for a strap without too many seams. I went shopping and found exactly one velvet ribbon, luckily in an OK colour, and a dark blue gross grain ribbon for the strap lining. I forgot to think about keeping the bag closed, so I just added two little squares of Velcro by hand under the flap afterwards. To the bag front I managed to sew the other halves by machine.

Sewing with corduroy was pure joy. I used my machine's walking foot because of the heavy fusible interfacing. For use in a quilt top nothing special is needed. I have some narrow strips and yoke pieces cut on the bias left over from making these two bags, and I will put them aside to wait for a suitable project.
Now I just need to pack for tomorrow's flight. Weddings are such happy events! 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Still here, and new finishes too

It's been a long time, due to computer problems, but with the temperatures finally going down I just might get more active after the too hot July. I haven't been all lazy, so I can show you some projects I have finished. The newest creation is this big tote bag for groceries. It is lined with raincoat fabric so I can just wipe it clean if a yoghurt lid get perforated or some other accident happens. The floral panel is a rep weave table runner I bought years ago for this purpose at a sale for 1.50 €.
During the Tour de France watching in July I knitted this set of washcloths. The cool colour and the bamboo yarn made it feel relaxing.
Remember the Train Socks in knitted for the twins across the street before they were born (probably not!)? After I heard that the newcomers were both girls, I just couldn't send them socks in green and beige and brown and blue...these here on the left:
... but I knitted them new ones in white and yellow. As June was so very cold here, I also knitted them tiny woollen hats like the one I had given to a friend's grandchild a little earlier. These hats have a crocheted flower on the side.
The Kaffe Fasset stripe yarn socks will go to the charity project in Järvenpää. I think they will look quite nice on a bigger baby as the colours go well with the maternity package contents.
My newest project involves this, a baby corduroy tunic that somehow shrunk in my closet.