Saturday, 16 July 2016

Accumulator Seriali Spinoff Series - Herbarium

This week my collection is a real one, or actually two. When I was a schoolkid, our Summer vacation was a whole three months period, but it was not just for play and rest. We had to collect plants and learn their names. The collection was called a Herbarium, and mine looks like this:

Each year we had to collect 40 plants, press them, find out their Finnish and Latin names, attach the flowers on white papers and write the labels in ink. Here is my Alsike clover, Trifolium hybridum. (I was surprised to notice just now that the Alsike part of the name is the same as in Finnish, so it must be someone's name.)

Back to school in September, the biology teacher would check all the collections, and then we had a test. She would show any plant in our own Herbarium, and cover the label, and we would say the Finnish and Latin name of the plant and its genus.

No mistakes were allowed. In the picture above I have a pressed red clover, Trifolium pratense, but the fresh sample I picked today is the Trifolium medium. It has a red flower as well, but notice how the three green leaflets are more pointed and narrower than those of the red clover.

It took me about five minutes to collect the little bunch of wild flowers, more than ten species. I wonder why collecting 40 during a Summer felt sometimes like a burden? Well, it was really 40 new ones each year, three Summers in a row. One could naturally begin in May and find the last ones in September. Sometimes one just was too late there:

The Geum rivale, water avens, was past bloom today.

My specimen was from June 1962, so I knew when to pick this one.

The Chamerion angustifolium has different names in Britain and in America. I'm surprised how well the colour has kept.

Before the time of colour pictures one had to look at the details of the flower more carefully and compare them with the drawings of the guide book.

When we were just married, Mr K. and I started our own Herbarium and collected about a hundred flowers in it. The last picture is from this new collection. I managed to find the right kind of labels for them. Still sometimes when I see a wild flower, the Latin name just comes to my mind. Maybe not very useful, but fun anyway.

The original Accumulator Seriali posts are on my daughter's blog, Paperiaarre. Her blog is on a new website worth visiting.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Stitching and sewing

The Splendid Sampler blocks sometimes take their time, like this one,

or allow an easier way of doing, like this fancy machine stitchery instead of doing it by hand.

Some blocks are easy and take very little time

compared to some others that require more.

This is my newest finished block, so I'm just a little behind schedule. 

The next block is tiny paper piecing again, not my favourite type.

My peonies before the big rain that filled them with water and they were bent all the way down.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Peppermint Candy

Last week I was getting frustrated, I was working on a quilt that can be finished next year in February at the earliest, and knitting a scarf in fingering weight yarn and a simple lace pattern that still requires my full attention. There was no hope to finish any project in the near future. I looked around in my piles and project boxes, and found six red and white blocks with large polka dots. They were left over last year when I made this quilt for my exhibition at the Villa Cooper.

I had a larger quilt in mind but decided to keep it smaller, perfect for a little girl. All the other fabrics were still stored in that box so it didn't take long before I had cut and pieced a twin quilt for this one. Here it is:

There was enough polka dot fabric left for a border just like in the other quilt, and I will make the backing in the same red flannel, and the binding in the same red. This way the two quilts will be the same size and a perfect pair, if someone needs two quilts for two kids.

We had several days of hard rain and chilly weather, so I knitted another pair of socks in two grays.

The sun is out again, and today it will be up for 19 hours. It doesn't really get dark here at all at this time of the year, but naturally in six months we are paying our price for it. Here is a link to a beautiful diagram with the dawn and dusk times.

The warmth and the sun opened the first of my pink peonies

and the wagtail found a perfect watch point to keep an eye on their babies on the lawn.

Have a nice Solstice day!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Creative designing and some new blocks

This morning Mr K. was packing for a short trip to Sweden, for a casting competition. He asked if I had a piece of fabric I could use for something he had in mind and needed, today. Well, as you know I save all kinds of rest pieces, and had a long and narrow scrap of green fabric I had used to make summer trousers for our youngest, many years ago. Mr K.'s suggestions for this project were quite useless, so I did some thinking and soon the scrap of green fabric had turned into this:

I added the flap because I wanted the contents to be safe.

His casting rods will now be safe and unscratched. He has such faith in my skills in the sewing room and still he is every time so surprised when I can fulfill his wishes, be it a simple pouch for a reel or a tailored fly fishing vest with 19 pockets and ten zippers.

Best of all, he remembered to pack every rod he will need there. 

I have been busy with the sampler blocks this week. The Splendid Sampler button on my right sidebar takes you to the QAL's website, and there you can find all the patterns, 34 by now plus many bonus projects, for free.

This is finally my block number 20, using a piece of the antique cushion cover I showed in my previous post.

I'm working on another stitched block, number 31, but this flower was a quick one:

I use the blanket stitch of my Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 870 Quilt for the applique.
The selvedge block was an easy one, and I could finally use at least some of the selvedges I have been saving ever since I saw the most wonderful dress .

The newest block, Lemonade, was a bit scary. I have only sewn a couple of curved quilt block seams in my life, and didn't like them, and didn't do very well. It was in a class,  for a very ugly cushion cover I never used. I'm taking this quilt-along as a learning process, so I thought I'll keep sewing those two seams until I manage to produce two 2" squares. I have enough of those fabrics. To my great surprise, my first attempts were, after being ironed, quite acceptable. So, here is my Lemonade:

Friday, 27 May 2016

Old embroidery, sampler update and flowers

Some time ago I mentioned a detergent test I made, and now you can see what the result was. I had this embroidered cushion cover from the beginning of last century, loved and used to shreds really, and still kept safe. I photocopied the embroidery to keep the lovely pattern safe. As you can see on the right side of this picture, the fabric was stained and yellow. I thought it can't get worse if I give it a try with some Vanish Oxy. Two hours soaking, a careful wash by hand, a thorough rinse and a flat dry, and you can see the difference.

Here it is after a light ironing. I can't imagine a better future to any of my handicrafts. Instead of being folded away from light and sight, they would be used, worn and washed. This cushion cover has been used for a long time after the first holes appeared, until it practically fell apart and could not cover a cushion any longer. I can imagine some female ancestor insisting on keeping it, maybe her own work or a gift from someone special. Maybe her husband used the cushion when taking a nap, the linen feels so cool and lovely. This piece is definitely beyond repair and must have been kept for sentimental reasons.

The colours have faded over the years

but on the reverse you can see how lovely it must have been when it was new.

I'm trying to find a spot with the fabric intact, large enough to use in the Splendid Sampler quilt instead of the embroidery suggested. I'm honoring the original creator by doing so, and I hope to copy the pattern some day for a new cushion cover.

Here are the new blocks I have finished since my last update. Mr Bunny, almost like Peter Rabbit. Not trimmed to size yet, I notice.

This one was fun and easier than it looks.


and paper piecing, with the tiniest pieces I have ever tried.

Dresden plate with wonky appliqued parts.

Paper-pieced heart

And yesterday's block, fast and easy piecing for a change.

A group photo of all my blocks, missing block 20 but including two bonus blocks. 69 more blocks to sew!

We have finally had some warm days again and the flowers in the garden are doing well.

The apple trees were in bloom a week or two earlier than usual, but luckily the weather remained warm and the bees were busy. The tree in the back was already full of blossoms when the on in the front was just beginning. This is my apple sauce tree, the bigger one is just for eating apples.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Accumulator Seriali Spinoff Series

In March I thought I could post about my collected/accumulated treasures every Saturday like my daughter Kaija does under the title Accumulator Seriali on her blog Paperiaarre. Well, as my treasures are not real collections but spread all around the house, I didn't come to making the necessary photos (and the weather was cloudy etc.). Now that I found out she is making today's post about jigsaw puzzles, I decided to show mine on the very same day. I'm using old photos I took in 2013 (and 2008) when I had a period of puzzle making, so some of these may have already changed owner and appear on my daughter's blog too. In my childhood the puzzles were a lovely, quiet way to spend rainy Summer afternoons indoors.

These puzzles all come from my mother's family, from the first decades of the 20th century. They originally came in hand made folded boxes made of strong paper, but when those fell apart, small chocolate boxes were used to keep the pieces safe.

I made a lot of new boxes after the original pattern and copied the hand painted logo to be glued on the lid.

I bet you want to see a hand-made jigsaw puzzle from almost one hundred years ago. Here is a typical one, a landscape picture from a magazine, glued on thick cardboard.

A more exotic looking one, with a tip of one piece fallen off. We used to write on the box bottom if pieces were missing, or tips.

Favourite themes were art reproductions, like The Gleaners by Millet (I had two of these and gave Kaija the other one)

or  this Shepherd Boy from Paanajärvi by the Finnish painter Akseli Gallén-Kallela.

Some jigsaws look like illustrations to romantic stories from a ladies' magazine

or this one, The Diva,

and some other are more on the domestic side.

There are unusual shapes, like oval pictures

and unusual shapes of the individual pieces, like in this one:

They were almost impossible to hold in place until a larger area was finished, but the result was this charming picture:

Very few of the pictures are from Finland (the Shepherd boy painting and the gingerbread baking), but at least this one showing people on their way to Christmas church has all the elements of an old fashioned Christmas card.

My mother was not a little child by the time she started building these jigsaw puzzles so there are no children's puzzles here. Four Little Pals would have pleased a child as well, but putting it together is no child's play. My mother used to lift a finished puzzle like this one from one corner, and it would hold together. But it had to be finished, and no pieces missing.

This is the only picture that looks like an illustration from a children's book,and even the sawing is easier than in the other puzzles, where the maker has intentionally chosen tricky lines along a shape in the picture.

I leave you with this dark picture of a young girl. The saw lines remind me of free motion quilting.

More antique jigsaw pleasures on Kaija's blog right now!