Saturday, 8 October 2016

Knitter's Block

This is my newest pair of socks, honey coloured honeycomb socks among autumn coloured bilberry leaves.

I like to spray the finished socks with water and stretch them out to dry to make my stitches look smoother and the pattern more visible.

My dear, clever Mr K. made me sock blocks in three sizes, and now the socks get a new, almost professional look.

Earlier this week we visited our DD Kaija and brought her some old things, and she designed and printed nice price tags for all my new socks and mittens. It was good to see her, and a lovely trip through beautiful landscapes, with the trees still in their autumn colours in bright sunshine.

Since my last post I have been busy with two more blocks for the Splendid Sampler quilt.

I'm again three blocks behind, but the ones I have waiting are all nice ones.

Our nights are cold by this time of the year so the morning temperatures are just around the freezing point.

Brassica and Calluna have replaced my summer annuals. It is time to cut down the perennials in the flowerbeds. All apples are cooked for the winter, I'm quite proud of my new record of 112 jars. They should last until next summer.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Struggling and enjoying

... that is how it goes when you start a QAL not knowing what the final quilt will be like. I have finished ten new blocks for the Splendid Sampler quilt since the last time I showed my blocks. Here is what I renamed a Dutch kitchen tile and an allotment shed, both appliqued.

Two more appliques, the nice and easy cone flower and the intimidating 17-piece monster.

Two examples of paper-piecing.On the left the straight forward flying geese, and on the right a nerve-wrecking shell. In the middle section I felt really, really stupid when I was unpicking the red fabric for the xth time and had to tape the paper foundation back together because I had just perforated that cursed line too many times. Finally I pinned the red in place from the right side, flipped it open and at that strange angle it finally went on the right way.

For this Dresden plate ring I just happened  to have the Easy Dresden ruler so I didn't need to cut the wedges with a template. I have learned to take liberties to change the blocks if I feel like it. Here I used a striped background fabric instead of piecing the background from 1½" strips.

My favourites are the pieced blocks. They don't take too much time to finish and still they can have something  interesting to offer. With two new blocks every week I prefer the blocks not be too time consuming. Making this quilt with friends and sharing our experiences makes it worth while.

The thornless hawthorn socks are finished. We don't have sea hawthorn bushes here, but the poisonous berries of the lily of the valley are the perfect colour too. I knitted the foot part without the bubbles and with a rib knit on top so the sock has a nice snug fit for shoes and the legs with bubbles to show.

Same yarns, and my grandmother's mitten pattern for the legs.

It is time to change to autumn flowers. We have had some chilly mornings with only 3C after a cloudless night, but some very lovely sunny and fresh days like today.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Farmers' Market, flower fence, and knitting again

This year the (very un-)traditional flower arrangements in Järvenpää were chairs fastened to the ugly fence. You may remember the wellies from 2013,

the bags from 2014,

and the bikes from 2015.

This year they used old, donated chairs. I didn't have a chance to take a photo of the whole fence, but after the chairs were taken down earlier this month, they found new addresses where to stay as long as the flowers are pretty. This one found a new home outside Lentävä Lapanen, the Flying Mitten. One of he owners is active in the movement that makes the flower project possible.

Yesterday a storm was sweeping across the country, leaving 200,000 households without electricity for some time, but we enjoyed a sunny and relatively warm, windy day. The beautiful weather brought thousands of people to the pedestrian area and the park by the lake in Järvenpää where the annual Farmers' Market Maa elää was held.

The market was filled with the autumn's harvest from fields, gardens and forests as well as craft rooms.  Delicious chanterelles:

and lingonberries.

There was an info desk with wild mushroom samples. The ladies from the local equivalent of a Women's Institute (or something like that) were there to help people identify different mushrooms and especially to separate the good ones from the really bad ones.

After this point the street was too crowded for me to get any photos, but there were over 130 tables or stalls. Beautiful flowers, home made cordials and jams, bread, cakes and flour, carrots and potatoes, handmade clothes for dolls as well as children or women, hand woven rugs and many more crafty things.

It has been some time since my last post so a lot of knitting has been going on. A pair of mittens to go with the peppermint candy striped socks, using my grandmother's favourite pattern which makes them thick and warm and yet not stiff.

I had little balls of yarn left from sock knitting so I combined them and  tried my hands on the bubble pattern I used for my grandson's blanket two years ago:

Those bubbles felt a bit too big after all (six rows high) so I reduced their size and used finer yarn and just two colours. Sea-hawthorn berries without the thorns?

This pair will take an evening or two to finish, but every time I finish a pair I feel so happy the pair is finished, both socks or mittens are the same size, have the same number of rows, and I can start a new pair, not just a new sock or mitten and trying to knit it the same way.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Half way point of the Splendid QAL

This week has been productive, we are back to normal everyday routines. Mr K. has been picking bilberries, "just a nice evening stroll, max two hours", and as a result of these strolls we now have about 30 liters of those tasty arctic blue berries in the freezer to give us vitamins and good eyesight with our oatmeal every morning until next harvest season. Blue berries, blue hexagons for the Splendid Sampler QAL.

This flower applique was easy. I made the background HSTs from two 4" squares of each fabric instead of cutting four 3½" squares of each and wasting the smaller triangles. 

Foundation piecing, luckily just large pieces of fabric this time.

I found my favourites are normal pieced blocks like this one.

Because I didn't even start one recent block and dumped my paper pieced Balls in the Air after just one quarter of the block, I have been sewing several of the bonus blocks to replace those two and maybe some future blocks.

A fun little hat,

a flower in a pot

and to mark the half way point with 50 blocks published, we are now over the Top of the Hill:

I made my moon over the mountain very realistic, but as we don't really have such high mountains here, I could have called this Moon behind a fir tree, if I had used green fabrics in this quilt. Well, I haven't, so a brown mountain it is. I try to keep to the fabrics I chose last winter for the project. There are browns, blues, yellows, oranges and reds, two blacks with print and a selection of white to grey and beige for backgrounds. All fabrics are from my stash, and this may be my first project where I use new fabrics only, nothing has been recycled.

Naturally, my hands will not be idle when I'm watching TV, so I have knitted a pair of train socks, again. You can read my short version of the history of the socks here. The ribbed long legs make sure the baby doesn't kick his or her socks off. A friend is having a baby in the autumn so I decided to prepare for his arrival. With the rest of the white yarn I made stripes for a pair of peppermint candy socks, and yesterday I started a pair of mittens to go with them.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Accumulator Seriali Spinoff Series - Needle Keepers and a mystery tool

Last Saturday my daughter Kaija, the original Accumulator, showed her vintage pins and needles here. I don't have a single old package of needles, they have all gone straight to her, but I have quite many old and new needle keepers. So many that I can call it an accumulation, as I have not tried to collect them.

 The first one is a stitched little thing from my mother's side of the family.

On the left is a little pocket, and there are two pieces of felt for different needles.

The two holders at the top are traditional crafted items from Lapland, with an engraved reindeer pulling a Sami man in a sleigh. I would think they are souvenirs, maybe for my Grandmother and her younger sister, my great auntie Saima. Needles are fastened in a little piece of red felt sewn on the leather that goes from the bone ring through the hollow piece of reindeer bone, ending in the twisted loop used to hang the needle keeper on one's belt or on a hook.

The three small ones hold the needles loose inside. The wooden caps are just pushed on, but the tiny bone thing has a twisted on cap. The middle one has a text Gütermann's Nähseide, so it advertises popular sewing threads.

These three are my modern needle books, all from a very dear friend. I'm sorry I have misplaced the pink needlebook Kaija made for me when she was a little schoolgirl.

With the heart needlebook above at the bottom came also this pincushion I couldn't find when I showed you my pincushions here.

Which brings me to the other pincushions missing from that post:

On the left, the red dressmaker's pincushion and the felt flower were my mother's. The small round one with an elastic band is one that Kaija made for me at school. The red and greed one with an edelweiss is from my mother-in-law. The big acorn in felt and the little angel with a back pocket for scissors are by Melanie. I remember how my mother made the felt flower pincushions, I had one of my own as well. They were made for a craft fair to raise money for our school. The Women's Committee did an amazing job as money raisers and provided all kinds of useful things for the school, like a language laboratory which at that time was a rare treat. It took much more than some pincushions to reach their goals.

Finding all the needle things I came across this mysterious tool, two of them in fact:

The shaft is hollow, and there is a hole for some kind of yarn or thread. Any idea about the use?

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Stitched, appliquéd and pieced blocks, washcloths, mittens and some new socks

 A week ago I made a short visit to England, but after that I have been busy trying to catch up with the Splendid Sampler blocks. They publish two new blocks every week so it is easy to fall behind. Basic pieced blocks are a nice way to make the to do -list shorter:

The stitched blocks are a welcome change to my TV knitting, I can stitch while watching something not too demanding, like the Tour de France was.

Schools begin in a few weeks, and the shops are full of colourful bags, notebooks and my special love, pencils and crayons. This block is paper-pieced, without the nerve-wracking tiny bits that have three times as much seam allowance as there is visible fabric on the right side.

I mean this kind of paper-piecing, it is not for me:

We have some strawberries growing in the flowerbed, so small that they almost look and taste like the wild ones.

I try to keep my fabric selection limited, so my squirrel's tree has autumn colours already.

I have made some of the bonus blocks so I can skip the regular blocks I don't fancy doing. Here is a happy one with summer feeling:

This summer and especially during the three week Tour de France I faithfully watch with Mr K. (even when I have never ridden a bicycle myself in my whole long life), I have finished quite many yarn projects. First I refreshed my memory by crocheting a washcloth in Bavarian crochet, and then I thought I will learn something new, the Moss stitch. Well, it turned out to be something I had done before, just didn't know the name.

Bedsocks in olive  green merino wool, red socks with cables, and a small pair of basic socks using up a rest of self striping yarn, added with stripes in an off-white yarn of the same brand.

Then I knitted some mittens for a change, pink ones in a child size and yet another pair of Aino'S mittens in Finnish sheep wool in white, like Aino Sibelius would have knitted them.

At some point I wanted to try another new to me stitch and knitted these potholder/dishcloths in Cream 'n Sugar. The colour reminds me of milk chocolate with raspberry filling.

There it is, a post as long as the title.