Saturday, 30 April 2016

More new blocks and socks

Where did all this time go? Two weeks have gone, and I intended to show you another of my collections before I have new blocks to show. I have knitted so many socks too ...

As I still have not taken the collection photos, I'll show the new blocks of the Splendid Sampler. This one is called Family Stars.

The next one is a basket block called Lina's Gift.

Then comes a piece of very useful advice: Measure twice, cut once ...

The next block is on hold, I haven't decided how to do it. But the one after that was easy, Sweet Candy:

And finally a paper-pieced Goose on The Loose:

In that one the measuring twice was very necessary: printing the pattern before saving it resulted in   3 1/4" quarter blocks when 3 1/2" was the correct size. When I printed another copy from the saved file, the size was OK. Strange. I never do the scale or "fit to page" thing.

This was a bonus block, Earth Day

and this bonus block is Log Cabin Inside Out.

I may use them to replace some other blocks I don't fancy doing.

Want to look at the newest socks now? I'm showing them anyway. I really like the look of this pattern, but the four balls of yarn need some traffic rules! I love knitting two socks at a time, it helps me to make both socks the same size and shape. Starting all over again after having finished the first sock is no fun, so I rather proceed a little slower and have them finished at the same time.

This is my Grandmother's favourite mitten pattern I used for socks for the first time.

Bedsocks in fine 100 % wool and a faux cable I have used earlier too,

and the same two 50 g balls of yarn made for another pair of bedsocks. One pair of the red socks at the end of this post is knitted with this easy pattern.

New stitches are on the needles, big decluttering projects going on, the ironing pile is growing, and I made an interesting test with an antique cushion cover and a modern detergent. More about that in my next post.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Splendid Spring

While I was on a short trip to Germany, our snow had melted away and the first spring flowers in the garden and by the roadside came out. I have tried to catch up with the Splendid Sampler QAL. This one was finished weeks ago:

Some blocks took their time, like this one with a stitched doily:

Some other came together more quickly.

Today is a lovely sunny day but still very cold for bare hands, especially after hanging some laundry on the line to dry in the fresh air.

I took all these pictures around nine this morning so the shadows are still long.

Migrating birds are returning to Finland, and after the trip we greeted many newcomers, like finches, robins and song thrushes.

The paper-pieced block above seemed awfully difficult but it really wasn't that bad.

The rhubarbs and this newest block somehow matched perfectly. 16 blocks done, two to go for now. 

Sunday, 27 March 2016

New Sock Pattern

You may remember the white mittens I knitted last year. Our local knitting café Lentävä Lapanen, in cooperation with the Ainola museum, created the pattern based on a pair of mittens knitted by Aino Sibelius, the spouse of the famous composer Jean Sibelius, to celebrate his 150th anniversary.

The pattern can be bought here in English or in Finnish. A kit with yarn and pattern in either language is abailable at the knitting café and at the Ainola museum shop. I have used my pair a lot, on very cold days I wear white fleece gloves inside.

This Winter I had a great idea. Why not knit a fancy pair of socks to go with the pretty mittens? Knit, knit, knit, said my needles and soon I had the prototype finished. It was a special birthday gift.

The next thing to do was to introduce my idea of Aino'S socks to The Flying Mitten, Lentävä Lapanen. They liked the idea, gave me a ball of the original 100% Finnish sheep wool by Pirtin Kehräämö, and asked me to knit a sample pair and to write down my pattern. The pattern can be downloaded here in Finnish for free.

I'm knitting yet another pair for my own  use now:

I changed the heel from the prototype, thinking that Aino Sibelius would have wanted her socks to be a little special all over. This is the heel I used when I wrote the pattern and knitted the socks for the Flying Mitten. The leg part is like the mitten cuff, and the top of the foot part is like the top of the mitten, so there is really not very much of my own design here apart from the heel, and the idea of making socks to match the mittens.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

More Blocks for my Splendid Sampler

Last Saturday I had time to do whatever I wanted, so I stitched the stems for my flowers

and the antennae for my butterflies.

The Splendid Sampler QAL publishes a new block for free every Thursday and Sunday. Some blocks take a little more time, but some others are really easy. Snug as a Bug, all stitched.

Block 8, Friends around the Square,

And block 10, Iowa

I'm currently stitching the text on the Local Quilt Shop, block 9, and picking fabrics for block 11, Crocheted Thoughts.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Friday, 18 March 2016

New Sampler QAL

This week I finally started a new quilt. Not just any quilt, but a year-long, 100 block mystery Quilt-A-Long by The Splendid Sampler. Simone gave me the link and I looked at the blocks already published, and immediately wanted to join. Guess what? I'm going to use proper quilting fabrics this time. Not just scraps, but real large pieces of unused fabrics. Here are the main fabrics I'm going to use throughout the quilt. They are all from my stash, and there is so much more to take from.

My first block Hearts Aflutter

and number two,Wings. The yellow butterflies need some details to be stitched.

Block three is Lots of Love. I think I'm going to make this again as it is not quite 6½" like it should.

Block 4, Happy happy needs the stems of the flowers stitched.

Block 5 is Simple Simon

This is the last block I have made, Focal Point.

The next block will be a stitchery, and I have two more block patterns waiting. Next block will be out on Sunday so I'm not going to catch up very soon, but like they said on  the Splendid Sampler website, this is not a competition and the patterns will be available until the end of the QAL.

Last night we had some new snow so I took my knitting photo shoot outdoors:

A tiny pair from the leftover of the previous pair.

And two pairs using the knitting pattern my grandmother used on our mittens. The boys had gray with blue or green, and we girls had gray with red or yellow. There ought to have been four girl colours but I don't think grandmother had them. Maybe we had large and small versions in the same colour.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Many of the same kind ...

... will make a collection before you know it.  Earlier this year my dear daughter Kaija started to write weekly about her various collections on her blog Paperiaarre . Her Accumulator Seriali stories and photos are published on Saturdays. Visit her blog and enjoy. As many of her treasures have passed through my hands, I started to think about my relation with beautiful things, tiny things, old things, and whether I collect something or not. Well, naturally books, but other things? Well, naturally crafty books too. I don't want to mention fabrics here, I really don't collect them but they accumulate in our household for various reasons. That's it: I really don't collect anything, I just happen to buy/get/keep/find many things that are alike. Take for instance pincushions. If you sew, you need a pincushion. If you have one sewing machine upstairs and another and an overlocker in the basement, and you do your hand sewing on the sofa, you will need three pincushions. The ones I use most are these:

On the left is a needle book with a tiny pincushion for hand projects, a gift from Melanie years ago, on the right a sand filled beauty with a hanging bag for thread ends, from Suzie years ago, perfect for the overlocker, and in the back one that Kaija made for me, also years ago.

But there are others. This one my mother used to keep on a side table with some other old things, and I would't dream of pushing any pins through the delicate silk (which is torn on the underside).

This little one is also very old.

I have some fancy ones:

and some beauties with cross stitch by Simone.

Some have a mushroom theme

and some look like something you could eat

This reversible one came with a wall calendar in the 70's from my sister M in Germany

And this one is from a swap in the early years of my blogging, from Marie.

These two are the only ones I have made for myself. I know there is at least one more pincushion misplaced, one that Kaija made for me in school.

Once more all together:

When I was picking the pincushions up from where they were used or displayed, I noticed some other accumulations of a crafty kind. I try to make a blog post about something else next week, and if al goes well there could be a series. I have no quilt in process right now so this could be a way to keep my blog active.

And do go and visit Kaija's Accumulator Seriali posts. She is a poet and has such a way with words. Seeing this post not only reminded me of the rocks and sand I had seen at home but also the numerous trips my parents made together. I went with them three times and saw an adventurous side of them I never thought such old people (they were over 60 by then!) could have. And I could suddenly smell my father's Old Spice after shave lotion. Go and read, and if you are a keeper, I hope at least one of your offspring or their children has inherited the gene.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Mystery Quilt finished and some more knitting

Last Autumn I pieced a Mystery Quilt designed by Kaaren of The Painted Quilt. I knew immediately it was going to be a birthday gift for Mr K.'s best friend.

When I could climb the stairs again to my upstairs sewing room, I machine quilted it. At first I tried a special quilting thread, but every crossing over seam allowances caused giant loops of the needle thread on the reverse. Adjusting tensions didn't help so I changed to Essential Threads and unpicked the first attempts.

The birthday was this week so I can show the finished quilt.

I really like the simple houses but my favourite in this quilt are the Flying geese.

The 4-patch rows at the top and bottom are my own addition. I wanted to add some length without making the quilt any wider. I also chose a simple narrower border instead of the wide one of the original design.

There is some knitting I haven't shown you yet. There was this pretty pattern for fingerless mittens in French. Melanie and I wanted to try it. Melanie made a Google translation into English but it didn't make much sense, so I brushed the dust off my school French and found out what it really was about. After that I made an unofficial English translation I knew Melanie would understand, and so she did. Her bright red version is at the end of this blog post. My version is naturally a cheerful brownish beige, a very lovely alpaca yarn:

It is too cold to go out in these just yet, and they would be too warm worn on top of my leather gloves. In a few weeks maybe?

After finishing these I knitted two pairs as a custom order for a dear friend 

and her friend.

As you can see, the colours are from my palette, a deep coffee brown in merino wool and a pale beige in 50/50 alpaca/wool.

Then I used up some yarn ends and knitted these socks for a little boy.