Friday 27 November 2009

Quilt Patterns Everywhere

On Wednesday I was in Helsinki on my day off. There was a big construction site just next to Stockmann's Christmas window, and I had to take some photos of the wonderful pavement they were laying there. It is a pedestrian zone, and the tiling will cover a 250 m long area. This first part is 50 m long.

Isn't this a perfect (and difficult) quilt pattern?

One more view. The yellow shade is only a reflection on the water, the slabs are in grey and red granite.

 You can read more about the British mathematician Roger Penrose and Penrose tiling here. A less scientific and more fun approach to the subject is here. Helsinki has just been nominated  design capital of the world 2012.

The window reflected everything so badly that my pictures are of no use. Here is a tonttu girl, especially for you, Melanie!

The clock tower of the main railway station is under renovation, but look how nice tarps they use to protect the work:

The sky behind the tower in the tarp picture is blue, even when the weather is all grey.

In Helsinki I went shopping for some fabrics and things I needed, but mainly to have a pedicure. You may remember the custom order by my friend PN, a 6 m long wall hanging for her in exchange for free pedicure. I have almost all the fabrics for it from her, all I need is nice blue fabrics for the sky. I used my big box of coloured pencils for the first time to make a sketch of my ideas.

The drawing is 1 : 10, and I think I will need to make a big sketch on paper before cutting any fabrics. Luckily ther is no rush so I can postpone this project to January.

Finally I read about the results of the Tanzanian orphanage project in the newspaper. They received 177 quilts and blankets, 441 sheets and 24 pillow cases. Most of them have already been delivered to orphanages and hospitals in Tanzania.

This is a busy time, with secret projects, so there are no pictures of my doings in the sewing room. Have a wonderful weekend. It is time to light the first Advent candle on Sunday.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Christmas Shop opened again

On Saturday was the opening of my sewing club's Christmas Shop in Villa Cooper. Gingerbread and hot glögi was served, and the house seemed to be full of customers.  I tried to take some pictures, but it was difficult in the crowded house. I will need to go there on a more quiet day. Here you have some views:

Notice the special candle on the table! Everything here is made by members of the club, and for sale.

Table runners, and pottery.

The true Santa's helpers look something like this, and they are called tonttu (tomte if they speak Swedish). You can keep your elves in their green tights. The true Santa Claus lives in Korvatunturi in Finland, and his office is on the Polar Circle. (The North Pole is just ICE on water, if you don't mind me telling you.)

When they grow older, like 250 years or so, their beards are long already. They don't usually want to be seen.

Christmas is the most important time for candle burning, and these candles are especially festive. The blue and white ones are for Independence Day, December 6th. They are the colours of the Finnish flag.

More pictures will follow after my next visit to the shop.

Thursday 19 November 2009

Vintage Thingies 47 - Simplicity Patterns

When I was digging in my drawers to find some buttons, I came across the Simplicity and other patterns I have kept for whatever reason.

This is a teenage size, so I must have kept it for sentimental reasons only. What about these:

See how the middle girl on the first pattern has been cut off? That is what my mother did when she had bought the pattern and the fabric but had no time to sew it for Christmas or a birthday. She would wrap the fabric nicely, with the little picture, telling "you will get this of this fabric, when I have time". My overall was of a soft blue flowery synthetic material. Lovely to wear but not so nice when you had to go.

These dresses were probably not for me but for one of my elder sisters. I think the yellow suit in the top pattern looks very elegant.

The last set of overalls may be too new to be vintage, but it sure looks old fashioned. The big shoulders made my proportions look better, but taht is all I miss from this time. You can see the girl on the left carry a shoulder bag, so these are not pyjamas patters! Did you wear overalls?

This is of course Vintage Thingies Thursday, hosted by the Coloradolady Suzanne. Click here to get to her blog with today's list of links to vintage stories.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

I could kiss the mailman...

..and so I did. Mr. Kotkarankki is my mailman, he brings our home mail from his office on the lunch break. Most days it is just invoices or his professional magazines, but look what he brought me today:

Recently I won Paulette's Give Away, and because I was the first one to contact her back, I got to choose any one I wanted from her gifts. I picked the Primitive Gatherings penny rug table mat pattern, with wool fabrics for the appliqué. I have just made my first wool felt appliqué candle mat, and sewing it was such fun that I wanted to try another pattern. There are sweet lambs in this one, so I think I will try to make it for Easter.

Sweet P Paulette included two cute snowman labels. Thank you, dear blogging friend!

The weather has been cloudy but without rain in any form, and the temperature keeps above the freezing point. I was a spry girl and spent an hour and a half raking on the lawn and taking the heaps of leaves to the compost. That means three points for my activity card!

I took this picture a couple of weeks ao, when the ponds were frozen. There is still some thin ice, but it is covered with water and may melt away if the weather doesn't get colder.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Secrets Revealed

This weekend we went to Tampere to celebrate my Mother's 93rd birthday. Every one of her six children was there, together with two of her sons-in-law and both her daughters-in-law. The youngest grandchild, the only one still living with his parents - my younger son - was representing the next generation. Mother had cooked a giant soup for us which I helped finish, and everyone brought something to share as well, like drinks or bread or cakes or pies. Like in the old times, we all squeezed around the big dining table and enjoyed a delicious meal. - Thank you everyone who sent her congratulations! She was planning the celebration we will have in seven years.

Now I can reveal my secret project, a birthday present for my mother. It is a bedspread for her double bed, matching the curtains I made for her new bedroom four years ago. The big print was originally bought and cut to be curtains by my sister P, but she never finished them. I used the main part of the fabric for the curtains, edged with solid blue.

Now I just cut the remaining prints in biggish squares, added frames in the blue and solid white. I had just enough print (because I found some more at a flea market) for a border around the quilt, and blue for the binding.

My other secret project was a custom order of three more Unicef dolls for my sister Maija. She now has six of her own, representing herself - the first one I made for her - and all her sisters and brothers.

On Tuesday, when my sister P was visiting me, I asked her to change the eyes I had made for the doll representing her. P has heavy eyelids, and she had told me the doll should have too. I had no time to make a new doll from scratch, so all she could do was make up the doll's face. I think it turned out just perfect! The dresses of the dolls T and P are made from each sister's original dress scraps. These dolls are numbers 42 to 44 on my list. I'm still dreaming of making at least 50 of them in total. Unicef gets the adoption fee of minimum 20 €, which will rescue one real child's life through the vaccinations Unicef will buy and arrange for the child.

On Friday I had to deliver stuff for the Christmas Shop at Villa Cooper - why are all the deadlines so close to another? - and luckily I found quite a lot of things that didn't sell last year. Let's just hope the buyers will like them now. I also made some new angels, my main Christmas item. These can stand on a table or a shelf.

The other group prefers hanging around.

This was all for now. Today we have been raking leaves in our yard (yes I know it is kind of late for that) as the snow has melted away and the weather was good. 30 heaps wait for transport to the leave composting area in the back yard! Yesterday morning the temperature was -11C (12 F), and today we had + 4 C (39 F). The winter doesn't know if it should come already.

Thursday 12 November 2009

Vintage Thingies 46 - Sewing Notions

The weeks seem to miss a day or two, because Thursday aways comes sooner than I expect. I had no pictures prepared for this week, so I remembered the tatting shuttle I told you about last week.

No luck finding the shuttle in the places I looked for it. I found some other old tools instead:

The little embroidery scissors are made in Germany. My mother gave them to me when I was supposed to read for my final exams and was cross-stitching instead. The thimble is just an old thimble, my size but not my favourite shape. The knife is made by Fiskars in Finland. It has been my mother's, and she gave it to me to be used as a ripper. I love the smooth wooden handle.

The next two pictures are of the same items; I just wanted you to see both sides of the pincushion. My sister Maija gave me that pincushion together with a calender printed on fabric. She lived in Germany already, the year was 1970 or a little later.

The folklore clothes are so special! When we visited DH's sister in Munich earlier this year, I bought a Trachten vest for me. What I really would like to try on is a complete outfit with a wide skirt, white blouse and tight vest.

The scissors here remind me of the numerous times I was shopping for fabrics with my mother for her sewing. The fabric shop ladies always had such curved scissors with rounded points in their pocket, and when they cut the fabric on the big table, I heard that lovely sound. It took me years to understand that the scissors must touch the table to make the sound; and if you only have paper to cut and your scissors are made of plastic, you just are not big enough to make such sounds. What did you love most in fabric shops when you were little?

Suzanne is hosting this week's Vintage Thingies Thursday with memories of her childhood. Go back there and see the list with links to other vintage lovers.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

A Late Finish of SSC 2008

Do you remember the Summer Stash Challenge from Summer 2008? Eileen and I wanted to start and finish a quilt during the summer, using only fabrics from our stash for the top. Nearly 50 other quilters joined us, when they read about this idea on Eileen's blog. Eileen made this cute logo using our fabrics; the prints are from her stash and the plaids are mine. My sister Maija planned making a quilt for her daughter, and I asked her to join us.

Maija has no blog (yet), so I published some pictures of her progress on mine.

She didn't quite make it by the end of August 2008. I wanted to encourage her to go on with the project anyway, and last year during my visit to Germany I stayed at her house and helped her baste the quilt layers for stitching in the Autumn.

The batting was so thick she couldn't machine stitch the quilt but had to hand stitch it all. The quilt was finished for her daughter's birthday in September 2009!

Maija was just now visiting me, as she is in Finland for our mother's 93rd birthday on Saturday. It was so nice to have her here for a little shopping and chatting, and she stayed over the night. She even ironed almost everything from my ironing mountain while I was working on a secret hand sewing project on the sofa. How cool was that? (She had to take off her cardigan, so I think she didn't think it was cool.) Today our eldest sister picked her up to stay at her house until tomorrow, when she returns to our mother for the rest of her stay.
Here is her quilt all finished!

She had one more picture. This is her newest project, a cushion cover for her daughter. I think this will be finished for Christmas.

Hurrah for Maija! She has finished her first quilt. She told me how she had many possibilities to learn how not to make a quilt, and she is quite eager to start a new one. I think we are going to have a true quilter sooner or later.

Thursday 5 November 2009

Vintage Thingies 45 - Tatted Lace Tablecloth

It has been a while without Vintage Thingies Thursdays for me, but now I'm back again here too. It is time to show our vintage treasures and share the fun through Suzanne's blog.

My entry this week is a little table cloth with tatted lace and embroidery. Great Auntie Saima, who else, tried her hand on tatting as well. You can click the picture to see the details.

I wanted to show her knotting shuttle, too, but (because my sewing room in the cellar is such a mess) couldn't find it just now. Maybe later, on another Thursday.

Please visit all the blogs showing Vintage Thingies this Thursday, the link list is on Coloradolady's blog here.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Orphanage Project Finished

This is a project I started last summer, and my faithful readers have been following the progres here. I made it my Brown Owls Community project, and it can be used for gaining the Sewing, Knitting and Crochet badges as well. The church will be sending quilts, blankets and sheets for orphanages in Tanzania, and asked members to donate them. I used my granny squares from Pip's challenge A Granny A Day in May to make two blankets of yarn rests. This is the girly one:

And this one in for a boy (or a girl who likes the same colours as I):

I used an Africa themed fabric to make this window quilt, and added green squares from an old pillow case. The border is my mother's old summer skirt, also used in some windows, and the brown jungle pattern was my summer skirt.

I used the giraffes and lions to make my first strip quilt.

Yesterday I finished the binding of this elephant quilt. The pattern is from Miri, and Eileen made a sweet baby quilt with it last summer. I copied her idea of making some of the elephants face each other and one elephant giving a flower to another. If you click the picture, you can see it is the dark grey elephant with the purple one.

My youngest sister gave me some of her sheets (wrong size for the blankets she has, I think), and I made 8 sheets of them for the project.

This was my pile before the last quilt and the blue sheets.

I also planned to knit one blanket, but I ran out of a) time and b) yarn in the right colour, so I just packed my 16 squares in a plastic bag (recycled, it was used for tomatoes first) with a note asking someone else to finish the blanket for me.

Then I packed the whole stack in a big plastic bag (used, of course, and because I had to leave it there) and asked Mr. K to take me to the parish office. This is me going there. Then I was just asked to leave my bag in someone's empty office, and that was it. I hope the little orphans like the quilts. They are all backed with soft flannel, so I think they will feel warm at night.