Thursday, 20 January 2011

New project with shirts, and bird news

As you may know, my favourite fabric source is Mr. Kotkarankki. I usually just gently guide his shirt choices to suit my purposes, and then wait patiently until the collars and cuffs start to fray. It takes a few years to get a shirt to my stash this way, but if I'm lucky and he likes the shirt, he wears it often and I get it sooner. Another way is to make him understand that he doesn't really like a shirt because it is a) too tight or too big, b) too stiff or too coarse, or c) the wrong colour for him after all (but not for me!). This way I can lay my hands on barely used shirts. This lot has been worn and loved, and now it is mine:

And this is what I have been doing with them this week:

The first nine-patch blocks for Anne Marie's Nine Patch Challenge 2011.

The blocks will be 9" finished size, because so many of the shirts have such big patterns. I must dig deeper to find more material for the light squares.

It has been snowing almost every day. My path to the composter is more than knee deep. There is more snow already than there was last year during the whole winter, and we still have about two snowy months left. It often snows in April too, but by then most of the snow has thawed away.

When there is no wind, the snow gathers on the oak branches.

We keep a record of different birds we recognize in our yard, and mark on a list the first date we spotted them each year. The long-tailed titmouse flock comes a couple of times a week to eat the fat and seeds. I think they look cute, such soft, round creatures.

By this date we have seen 15 species, most of them daily visitors at the bird feeder. They eat sunflower seeds with a small addition of peanuts, and the tits and woodpeckers like the fat-and-seeds sausage or balls. They need lots of energy just to keep  warm in this climate. We take care there is always food for them once we have started the winter feeding. When the weather has warmed and there are insects available, we take the feeder away so the birds will take care of themselves during the warmer season. After the migrating birds have left in late October, or when the first frosts come, we start feeding birds again. This way we don't tempt the migrating birds to stay as they are not going to survive our winter, no matter how much we feed them. This place is for the tough guys only!


  1. i had a chuckle about the shirts, such a good idea. and that photo of the oak branches with snow looks so surreal, it's more of a drawing than a photo. k.

  2. Hi Ulla..
    What a lovely story about your husbands shirts. Great ninepatch blokks ! You are a good person feeding the birds, I am not feeding my neightbour birds.. Should have, yes...

  3. What a wonderful use of shirts! I have a small stack of my son's shirts that are like new and have yet to decide how to use them. Mr. Creations keeps our feeders full. Our winters are mild compared to yours but it's always thrilling to see the birds against the snow.

  4. How nice of your husband to contribute to your stash - even if unknowingly.
    Those little birds definitely do come by their name honestly. I love their long tails.

  5. Shirts are a very good source for scrap quilters! You're lucky to have Mr. Kotkarankki! My "men" at home hardly wear plaid, I only have small shirts when my boys were kids, it wasn't a problem for them. I like the pictures, though I'm glad we're having a break from snow now!

  6. Dressing your man for future recycling - love it!!!
    We have gray titmouse (mice) here - no long tail, and a pointed peak of feathers on their head. So cute!!!

  7. Oh that is such a great story about Mr. K's shirts! I love what you did for the 9-patch challenge, too! My -- you have had so much snow, Ulla! It's wonderful that you feed the birds and also keep track of their appearances. Ours haven't been as visible this winter and we miss them!

  8. Great tips on acquiring the shirts for our projects, Ulla. I have saved some of my husband's shirts and have my eye on some more :)
    Your 9-patch blocks are so lovely!
    Your sorroundings are so beautiful with the snow! How sweet that the birds get to enjoy their favorite treats in these colder months!

  9. I like your blocks, and the story of how you acquired the fabrics.

  10. OO yes the titmouse birds are so sweet and cuddly looking.

    LOL I like your style procuring fabric. :-) Well done being so quick with your 9 pach blocks. I haven't even started.

  11. Great 9 patches...they look cosy!

    Love your snow pictures.


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