Thursday, 25 June 2015

Pin codes or code pins

 Have you ever joined your quilt blocks upside down, left instead of right or to the wrong end of the row? I have. To avoid this I have used pieces of masking tape with row numbers and block ABC written on them. Lesson: if the quilt is a slowly progressing UFO, there will be glue remains and permanent stains. I have used little pieces of paper with row ABC and block numbers pinned on the blocks, and kept the countless used papers in a tiny box. Lesson: it is very hard to find the numbers or letters needed for a second project. Then I started using one pin for the first row, two for the second etc. Lesson: I run out of pins when I had very many rows to mark.

Yesterday I was piecing 9-patches for the Shadow Plaid quilt and had an excellent idea. I just had the three rows to sew, so I marked the top left HST with a blue pin, the beginning of the next row with a red one, and the bottom row with a white pin. I always think of these colours as blue-red-white, no other order, so it was easy to remember which row was which.

I wanted to make all four 9-patches for a block at a time, so I pinned the finished rows together with an extra pin (no colour code here ;o)).

This way it was easy to keep each set separate for ironing. When the 9-patches were sewn after ironing, I marked the top left corner with a pin again, because it matters that they stay the way I planned.

I don't want the same fabrics side by side in two blocks, and in a scrappy quilt like this I don't have my fabrics representing those of the pattern. I just make my own combinations. When a whole block is ready, I have removed all the other pins but use again one pin to mark the top left corner. I think I will use the blue-red-white system here too for the first row of three blocks, or, because I will have 12 blocks at the end, I could use any colour in the alphabetical order of their names.

This quilt has had such a slow start but now I'm at the stage I love most, and the little scraps of old shirts stored in a box are finally coming together to blocks that look like something with a plan.

How do you keep your blocks organized?

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

 Some projects don't want to play with me nicely. This is one of them. I was excited to start it quite a long time ago, one Winter.

I had not much experience with HSTs at the time, so I cut my fabrics exactly like the pattern said. My seam allowances weren't as scant as they ought to have been. Arrgh! Better store such a project away for a long while. Now I have unpicked some seams, cut down several hopelessly too small squares for a smaller project, and cut lots of new more generous squares. I have drawn diagonal lines, sewn diagonal seams and cut 146 medium/dark HSTs and so far 116 dark/light HSTs.

Still a lot of sewing and cutting and trimming to do before I get to the fun part, arranging the squares to blocks.

This year we have had to wait for warm (over 20C/68F) days longer than in 50 years. In Järvenpää, the same organizers as before have planted flowers to cheer up the streets, especially this ugly fence around a parking lot.

In 2013 they used boots and in 2014 handbags as planters. The florist shop sells a special bouquet of flowers all year, and for each sold bouquet they donate one plant for this project. They have donated 1,000 plants again this year!

I really like this year's idea with bicycles that have reached the end of their cycling life, painted all in different shades, with all kinds of baskets and 

even an old barbeque on top of a painted suitcase or a metal bucket look fun.

Another Aviatrix baby hat for a friend to give to the future granddaughter (?) of  her sister. I really like this pattern and I hope it will suit the baby. The flowers can be removed if the baby is a boy.

This is the first year that our rhododendron is in full bloom, at least this one. Maybe it likes this 12C/56F temperature and the strong winds!

Saturday, 6 June 2015

First baby hat goal reached

Do you remember the baby hat challenge I set for myself in May during the Giro d'Italia? I wanted to knit one baby hat for the hospital for each of the 21 stages of the cycling tour I watched with Mr K.

Here are 19 hats, including the top left one I knitted before the race, but not counting one white hat that already went for a tiny baby due soon, and the hat and booties set that I sent to our nephew's son. The next knitting session will be the great Tour de France beginning on 4th of July, also 21 stages and about 3,000 kilometers.

Mr K. has been busy again with his Summer projects. This week he added the wall triangle to this end of our terrace and painted it red. The other end is more difficult so he will rent a lift thingie.

Last night we had a 0 temperature but the garden flowers are used to it, they seem to last longer in this not so warm weather. Today is the day when it is traditionally safe to plant the potatoes and summer flowers. No more night frosts to be expected.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Baby things and finished repair job

This week we had baby news from a nephew, and I knitted this set of hat and booties for his brand new son. The yarn is 50% cotton, 50% acrylic, and the colour is more teal than in the picture.

This set counts for one stage of the Giro knitting. Two more stages to watch and knit!

Earlier I made this nursing cushion for my daughter-in-law.

The idea came from Dolores, and the pattern from one of the links on her blog.

I made two covers, the baby fabric one has the zipper in the inner curve and this other one in the outer curve, which seems to be both easier to sew and easier to use. For some reason this cover is not as tight as the other.

Last week I finished the repair of my daughter's quilt and gave the quilt a final touch by soaking it and giving it a gentle wash in the machine. 

Here it is drying on the line in the sun. you really can't tell the new blocks from the old ones any more. 

The garden has recovered from the winter very well and we have more pearl hyacinths both is blue and in white than we had before.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Change of view, new hexagons and tiny hats

This used to be the view from our kitchen door until mid May.

 And this is the same view some days later.

The young trees were growing so close to another that it was not easy to walk among them.

The trunks were left lying there, so a walk will be even more difficult, but we have much more light in our yard now.

For my daughter's quilt I made six new flowerbeds to replace the frayed ones. I saved some of the middle hexagons. These blocks are in place now, but when sewing them I found two blue hexagons that needed replacing too. Luckily I found a hexagon in the exact same fabric among the leftovers of this quilt, and one fabric that will do. I'm doing the hand quilting over the new blocks now.

The Giro d'Italia cycling tour has reached stage 14 today. I have been knitting these hats for newborns to be donated to the maternity ward of our local hospital, and it seems I have finished one hat per stage. We don't watch the whole race, but even a couple of hours in front of the TV doesn't feel so wasted when I can show the bag filling with hats. The Giro has 21 stages, and so does the Tour de France in July, and the Vuelta d'Espagna in August. 63 little hats sounds like a nice goal!

On Thursday night we had the first little thunder of the season, and after it a perfect rainbow.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Learning the hard way

For the quilt show at Villa Cooper in April I borrowed some quilts from their new owners, and one of them was my greatest effort in quilting, the Grandmother's Garden quilt for my daughter Kaija. It was also the beginning of this blog in 2008. The quilt was started in 1993 when I didn't know very much about quilting. One of the important things I didn't know back them was that it is not wise to use very old and very worn fabrics, however lovely and filled with sweet childhood memories they might be.

I picked the fabrics in my mother's attic where she had boxes of old clothes and fabric rests to be used for rag rugs, like old clothes usually were recycled in my country. Frayed fabrics were cut wider so they would last, no problem there. But if you find a lovely pair of doll's long trousers in the sweetest fabric with apples and green leaves and little red stripes, you are tempted to use that fabric for as many hexagons as you can, aren't you?  And look what happens:

The other fabrics are all nice and without any holes, but the apple pants just didn't make it. Six whole blocks, all with damages in so many hexagons that it it not worth it to try to save the best of them to make even one new block with them. I'm going to repair this quilt before returning it to my daughter.

At the moment Kaija's quilt has six gaping hopes like this:

I still had the paper templates I used to make the quilt, and some leftover hexagons too. 

I found some matching fabrics, and spent yesterday's Giro d'Italia TV time basting them on my papers.

Today is stage 5 of the Giro, and my plan is to finish the blocks, and maybe do some knitting.

P.S. I checked all the fabrics for the new blocks, and they are either unused or in good condition.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Knitting and Tatting - well, I haven't done anything else lately

That's how it is when you are learning a new skill. Keep starting new little projects, some are finished and some end in the bin because your knots were too tight to be undone. This heart is almost fine, I still have to learn how to hide the last ends of my thread.

While in Germany, I finished the light green bed socks. Our trip was to the same event and same places as in earlier years so I will not bore you with the same photos again. The trip was fine, the fair was excellent and the weather could have been a lot warmer.

They are very comfortable, and I like the longer legs for a change.

Some yarn was left, so I knitted a tiny baby hat. I think I will make some more, and when I have knitted enough, I can take them to a local hospital for their newborns as a gift.

I have started working on a new old quilt, something I cut up years ago and my squared for HST blocks were cut too small so I put it all in a box. Now I'm saving all the blocks I can and cutting the rest to a smaller size. I have material for new larger squares so I think it can be finished almost to the original plan, and then I have all those smaller HSTs for another project.

OK, just one photo from the Fly Fishing Event. The Finnish casting demonstrator Antti Guttorm was wearing his traditional Sami outfit after having seen the Scots in their kilts and the Germans in their leather pants: