Friday, 8 November 2019

Night at the Library

This week Auntie took us to the local library for an adventure with the nice librarians and a bunch of soft toys. Over 30 of us were there!

Dogs, teddy bears, baby dolls, a piggy, an octopus, a snake ... we had such fun. Roger and I played some football with the other boys .

There was a little campfire, and all guests could have some tea by it, or hot chocolate. We were given tea as we are British.

I think some grilled sausages there too.Titty was cutting some Christmas spirited bookmarks with the help of the librarians. Her photo is at the end of this set. We were also shown how all the machines and printers work, and how to look for a book by its title or by the author.

A whole set of photos was made with us alone. The Instagram text here says that we are Unicef dolls and inspired by the characters of the Swallows and Amazons novels.

Here am I with the Finnish translation of the first book about us.

Susan with a matching color book cover.

Titty with a book matching her quilt - the librarians knew without saying which quilt belongs to each of us. Aren't they clever?

Roger with Auntie Ulla's Finnish edition of Swallowdale. The other books have not been translated into Finnish.

Finally there was a good night story before we all cuddled under our quilts and blankets for the night. Some monkeys needed a banana before they could sleep.

All those links are to the photos the library published on their Instagram. The library ladies sent these photos to Auntie today for this blog post. And here we are ready to be taken home on Thursday afternoon.

It has snowed a little again, and it is not at all so dark even the days are getting shorter by several minutes per day.

Everyone who stayed the night at the library could take home a certificate stating that and telling a little about the visit. There was also a list of recommended reading for children at different ages. It was a good list, and we have seen many of those books here on the bookshelves too.

We also got a paper photo of the whole group so we can remember our new friends. We had a very good time. The librarians asked if we would like to come for a longer time in the Winter, so that many people could meet us, and we agreed with pleasure!

On behalf of the Swallows

Monday, 4 November 2019

Touch of Winter

A little while ago I took one of my Unicef dolls, John, out for a walk and to run some errands. We saw trees full of rowan berries.

There were lingonberries in the forest, perfectly good even after some night frosts. They get a sweeter taste after a frost bite.

On the following Sunday morning a week ago it started snowing a little. This willow was the only tree or bush with leaves, all the trees were naked.

By six in the evening the landscape had changed white. The snow remained for several days but is now almost gone again. We have minus degrees so it feels like the Winter is coming. Up here we have four proper seasons, but we have names for the "between" seasons as well: autumn winter, spring winter, spring summer and autumn summer. This is definitely autumn winter until we get proper snow and proper cold weather, and the calendar says it is December.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Finally a quilt finish

Sometimes plans and schedules are very useful. Some other times they are not. Example: Last year and the year before I managed to sew several quilt tops with the thought that I will worry about the quilting later. This way I had five tops neatly folded waiting for the final steps, and I had decided to finish them in the order I had stacked them, with the light blue and brown Log Cabin quilt on top. 

When the inspiration came, I layered it, pin basted it the way I'm used to doing, and started machine quilting it on my machine. And so the inspiration went away, and stayed away. The backing puckered and loose corners of the backing were caught in the quilting, and there were big folds really on the backing, so every one of my first 4 to 5 quilting lines had to be unpicked totally. Long lines, diagonally across the whole width of the quilt. A very uninspiring job for me at least. I still haven't unpicked everything, and so my quilting projects have been standing still for a long, long time. Only a couple of baby quilts have been started and finished during this time, bypassing the queue of unfinished quilts.

This month I decided to forget my plans and work on any of the quilts whenever I felt like it, all the way to the finishing touches or just as long as it was fun. This was the first quilt that 'spoke' to me, and today I donated it to be used as lap quilt for wheelchair users. The pattern is Paper Dolls by Loft Creations.

I had added one row of dolls in both directions and a narrow horizontal sashing between the rows, and borders to make the quilt suitable size for the use intended. Layering,basting, quilting, binding it - everything went smoothly and without any problems at all. Just like it should be every time.

As the days are getting shorter and colder I spend less and less time outdoors and enjoy the feel of warm wool in my hands instead. I played with this easy pattern and knitted three different pairs of socks.

Then I wondered how on earth the slouchy socks were knitted in 3D, and had to try that pattern. The answer is knit and purl stitches arranged in a certain way. Fun and fast!

I had lots of soft merino wool left from the chemo cap knitting, so I used up the bright pink in this bubble hat with a curly pony tail,

and some of the blue, green and yellow in this more traditional striped one. Both have found new owners by now, I hope.

It has been a beautiful Autumn with brilliant colors, but now the leaves are falling, most trees are almost bare. I think I need to concentrate on warm coats for my Swallows so they can continue their adventures outdoors. Enjoy the Autumn colors if you have them, or the new leaves if you are on that side of the world.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

September's woollen knittings

At the beginning of September I met with a good friend from so many years ago as she was back in Finland from abroad, visiting family and friends. We meet almost every year here for a latte and a chat. At home she spends a lot of time in an ice skating rink so I thought she would need a pair of warm socks to protect her feet from the cold.

The pattern is Lady-in waiting by Tiina Kuu, a free pattern available in English and in Finnish. It was fun but slow to knit as I'm not used to cables and using the extra needle. It was easy to see where I was going on the pattern, but I think I will leave cables for now and keep to my trusted methods.

My next project was to create "cheerful hats" for a lady who has lost her hair in chemo treatments. I searched the Internet for inspiration and found that the beanies for little children met the requirements better than any other patterns. The Flying Mitten, Lentävä Lapanen, had this baby merino wool in strong colors, so I knitted a basic hat in adult size and added the octopus tentacles on top.

The other favorite was a fox hat. My sister's idea was to add a tail to get some volume for the back of the head. As I worked without any pattern, just the idea, both the ears and the tail needed a second version before I could sew them on. This yarn is 50/50 merino wool and cotton, warm and soft and not itchy at all.

I hope these hats will be what the lady was looking for, and help her keep her spirits up. Maybe she will put a smile on other people's faces when they meet her wearing one of these!

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

New baby quilt, and yarn projects

Once I had the box with my father's old shirts out in the daylight when I repaired mother's old quilt, I took a better look at the ready cut 3½" strips and felt like making a little quilt with them.

It needed some more cutting but the 3½" squares for a 90 x 120 cm quilt were easily found. Now I have just the last white shirts left, and some striped squares. The blue fabrics for the star came from another project bag, the Business Class and Stained Glass quilts I made using my son's shirts.

This size is convenient for machine quilting on my domestic machine, so the quilt was finished in no time.

I even had the blue binding left over from some other project, and a light blue flannel with a baby print was in my stash of backings.

Octopus family has five new members!

Here is a closer look at the tubular cast-on I praised in my earlier post. It is easier to make every time I try, this is my third attempt now. I have tried it in a different way earlier, and I'm convinced this new to me way that involves crocheting suits me better.

The new pair of socks. 200 g yarn, two pairs of socks and still some yarn left.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Patched patchwork and new socks

A couple of years after my father died I made a light quilt for my mother, using father's old suit shirts. It looked like this, very light, but with a flannel backing warm like a hug for mother's little naps.

I took it back after my mother, and now after years of use it looks sad like this:

This one shirt seems to be more delicate than any other.

I read about repairing old quilts here , and decided it was time to save the quilt. I still had the last rest bits of the shirt collection in a box, so it was easy to pick new strips and hand sew them in place.

The new strip is grey, and I did the machine quilting on it the way it was before.

The weather is cooling down (and warming up again, like today), so I took out my sock yarns and bought some new ones, and started knitting for the Winter.

I really like this simple pattern with vertical stripes, used my muted colors and favorite heel together with the tubular cast-on. It makes the top edge look very professional!

After two pairs in the heavy yarn I picked a lighter one, and a brighter color, and finished this pair yesterday. The pattern is a simple knit 4 purl 2, moved two stitches forward after every four rows, and it looks like a cable pattern which I'm not very good at. Fake cables!

Today I'm trying to decide whether to knit another pair with this yarn and a different pattern, or to pick some other yarn or two. One color is tempting, it is so easy...

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Forest Adventure of the Unicef Dolls

Hi again, we have not been here on the blog for a while, but this week we had a great day in the forest and Roger was Prince of the forest with a fern crown on his head.

There was a fine spruce, behind him in the first photo, so naturally he had to climb it.

Roger was so proud of his crown that Susan made me a flower wreath to wear, and put some flowers in her hair too. My wreath was so big and heavy that it was not very comfortable. I can imagine that gold crowns are not comfortable either, and therefore you hardly see princesses playing out in the palace garden with crowns on their heads. Maybe they wear them for dances and things like that only.

The yellow leaves reminded of another fairy tale where gold coins fell from the clouds like rain. Some birches are all yellow already, the Summer has been to dry here, and hotter than ever.

I felt special with the heavy flowers around my head, but the common yarrow was not the best flower for this purpose. Auntie told us that she had made a real mess with dandelions on her trousers when she was 8 years old and  tried to make the world's longest garland with her best friend. Dandelion stains are not easy to remove! Anyway, the garland was at least 15 meters long. White clover would have been perfect, no stains and a sweet scent, but their time is over for this summer.

After a long day out we were really tired, but luckily we had not been too far from the house, you can see the lawn behind our little hill.

Now we want to say hello to our new English friend Arthur, who may be reading this blog post. Hi Arthur! It is nice that you have the same first name as Uncle Ransome, who invented us all.

So, this was Titty again. Enjoy your Summer, or your Winter down there on the other side of the world.

Best Regards,