Thursday, 5 April 2018

Spring colours in snow, and some nalbinding news

On Easter Monday we had a snowfall that lasted all day. Nothing fancy, just tiny flakes or larger ones, slowly or with a wind, but by the evening we had about 20 cm new, fresh snow covering the dirty old, melting snow. The next day was sunny and lovely, so I took my newest fingerless mittens and other knittings out for a photo shoot.

From the rest yarns of the mittens I knitted some baby hats for a charity.

Then I made a group photo of the yellowish chemo therapy caps. I used the last remnants together with a light grey yarn for a striped beanie.

My nalbinding has taken a leap since my last posting, with the simple chain of stitches. I tried the Finnish stitch, well, naturally, because I am Finnish. I was right thinking that it would be easy to learn after having practiced the Oslo stitch. I didn't care about the odd big loops left from the starting stitches, nor about the Oops! stitches where I missed a loop or picked one too many, nor the lumpy joints of yarn. I just tried to get a feeling to the movements of my hands. It was easier to make new stitches when there was something to hold onto, unlike the floppy tail of loose single stitches.

With this technique you don't work from a ball of yarn but thread a needle with a suitable length of yarn and when you have almost used it up, you felt the end of the new yarn to it. This little pouch is hardly good for anything, but it has given me tremendous courage to start a proper project. I like the texture, and there is stretch in both directions.

On the right you can see my new nalbinding needle. My dear Mr K. made it for me just this week! He is building a bamboo fly fishing rod and used bamboo to make this for me. It is glued together of two slivers so the smooth enamel surface is on both sides.

Here you can see the amount of snow we had on April 1st! Mr K. shoveled just a track for the car.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Dots and dashes, socks and beanies, and finally something new

 After a long break I have been cutting my fabrics again. Reds and neutrals from the shirt boxes.

Squares and strips like dots and dashes. I wonder if this will be something in Morse code? I really liked Inspector Morse!

I knitted a plain pair of socks for little Miss Purple, because her little sister was going to get one,

and a striped pair for little Miss Yellow, because there was a striped pair for her big sister.

The chemo caps are easy and fun to knit. This one took a little more than one ball of yarn 

so I used this pattern with less stitches and made an XS size in straw yellow.

This is the "new" I'm learning. In fact this technique, nalbinding or nalebinding, in Finnish neulakinnastekniikka, is ancient and much older than knitting or crochet.

It has been used to make mittens and socks and hats. This is the longest chain of first stitches I have managed to make so far. The idea came from Melanie, and we are learning together with Tracy in Norway, all of us total beginners. In Finland this technique has been used up to WWII and the last masters have passed it on to new generations. I have been asking around, but several friends who have studied handicrafts only remember they learned the basics during their studies but didn't make it a hobby. My mother had taken a class in nalbinding as well, and made a lovely, beautiful pair of mittens nobody was allowed to wear as she had won a price with them at some contest. At that time I was too young to be interested in learning something so old and slow. At least I have her needle and some papers from her class. I hope to be able to show you a chain in the "Finnish stitch", and maybe a second row as well. Our first stitch to learn has been the Oslo stitch.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

More socks and mittens

Little Miss Yellow's set is here. Very basic socks here on virgin snow.

The mittens are striped with the rainbow yarn I used for some socks and mittens already before Christmas, and some navy blue also from my old stash. I call this pattern "Grandmother's three colour pattern" as I have not seen it anywhere but in the half finished mitten I have inherited, and of course in my memories from the time I had such mittens.


Little Miss Purple's mittens from my previous post in a closeup. This is a new version of "Grandmother's two colour pattern" that I have in fact found on the Internet under the name of Ailin lapaset, but they make no gusset for the thumb like my Grandmother and I did. Using a third colour makes a big difference ...

... because the bicolor version has clearly vertical stripes:

Both of the Grandmother's patterns only use one colour at a time for each row, and the lifted stitches make them dense and warm.

Custom order not too tight not too itchy socks for a friend. Self-striping Step yarn from Austermann.

I wanted to show you a better photo of the other chemo cap from last week. This pattern is perfect for the 50/50 cotton and wool yarn I used:

It was a free baby hat pattern I just enlarged for an adult size.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Winter sports

Today is a sunny, snowy day, perfect for the traditional school winter break which started this weekend in Southern Finland. When I was a schoolgirl, it was called ski holiday, and the main purpose was to get the children spend lots of  time outdoors in the snow, skiing or ice skating with  their sisters and brothers and friends and getting rosy cheeks and good appetite. Now it seems that many families book a holiday in some distant sunny place instead. I was asked to knit new ski socks and mittens for the growing grandnieces who are coming to Finland for their Easter break. They will fly to Lapland where the ski season is at its best then.

Young Miss Purple's set is finished.

The hat is one of the chemo caps I have knitted, 50/50 cotton and wool, and here just completing the picture.

My niece will also get a pair of socks, just a basic pair.

Here is the other chemo cap, in a smocked butterfly pattern.

Miss Yellow's socks are finished and I'm knitting her mittens now.

Skiing is no longer my thing, sliding downhill on a piece of plastic would end in a disaster, but a little walk in the fresh air with the sun in my face feels great. I can still enjoy watching younger people having ski holiday fun, and I could even drink a cup of hot chocolate after my walk. Others can do the sporty bits!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Product development and zipper lessons

This week I made some new bag dispensers, improving my sewing routine. I use zippers on the back so it will be easy to fill the dispenser with a whole roll of bags, and it looks neat.

Then I added something for the dog walker in the same range, tissue holders in matching fabrics. I get a runny nose easily when walking in the chilly weather so I thought these would be useful.

Many people wear a set of headphones, and as long as they don't grow out of people's ears, they sometimes need to be packed away. To avoid a tangle, they can be stored in a tiny pocket like these:

I used the almost last scraps of these fabrics and a collection of odd zippers.

The Winter has come to stay now, finally. We have some snow, some minus degrees, some clouds and some sun. Fine! I just wish we had some bird visitors at the feeder. Days go by that we don't see a single little bird. I hope they have just found a more delicious menu or a more sheltered bird feeder, and not abandoned us for any more sinister reason. There was a very snowy, very cold period earlier. A magpie may come and drop some seeds and nuts on the ground from the feeder as they are too big to sit on its edge. The hares have eaten our Spiraeas (saving us from cutting them down in April), and now they have started on the roses:

Luckily they too were waiting for pruning in the Spring. Looking from where I live, Spring is still about two months away.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Trying something new

This week I have widened my sewing range to new products. This has been a process of learning from errors, but I think I'm getting there ... some day! 
These are pouches for treats for dogs, to be worn by the person who is training them, not the dogs. Dogs could not open the snap closure and take just one treat when they have done a trick. Not even after long training, I'm sure.

The dog owners are supposed to pick up the poo after their dogs (but many of them still need some training), and these dispensers can hold an entire roll of those plastic bags for that purpose. The pouches are meant to hang from a D-ring on the lead so they are always at hand when needed.

The first collars. I'm looking for a different kind of clips. I didn't make anything for tiny dogs yet.

The leads have a fleece lining to make it more comfortable for the hand.

These leads have some reflective tape sewn on both sides to make the dog and the owner more visible for drivers when it is dark. The dogs need to go for walks early in the morning and late in the evening when it is dark outside for many months up here. The owners usually have reflectors sewn on their clothes and hanging knee high where the car lights easily catch them, but the dog can be in total darkness without a reflector.

I have been knitting too, but decided to save you all from that this time. We don't have a dog so I'm relying on expert opinions from dog owner friends for my product development.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

-19C, new snow, no wind,

and the sun is up from nine to four. Nearly a month has passed without a new blog post, the days are almost an hour and a half longer than at Christmas and we have had new soft snow on several days. This morning was cold, -19C when the sun was rising and the temperature is at the lowest. Now it is a pleasant -12C, no wind.

I took these photos of my new year's knittings before the recent snowfall. These socks are all for chemo patients, knitted in soft yarns with jojoba and aloe.

This pair is from rest balls of normal sock yarn.

So are these mittens.

But the fancy pair of fingerless mittens is alpaca yarn, soft as butter and a treat for the knitter as well.

Windy days took dry twigs and branches down from the trees.

I hope you all have had a good start of the new year!