Saturday 26 February 2011

A week of very small accomplishments

Weather report: the winter is still very much the same, cold and long and snowy. The temperatures keep around -20 to -25C (-4F to -13F) in the mornings but warm up to about -10 C /+14F by early afternoon. The sun must be working a little on the snow, because in the morning the trees are often covered with frost as the humidity in the air concentrates on any surface. It has not been snowing in over a week.

I had more cupcake mail from Melanie:

She used up her cupcake fabric rests to make me a mushroom mat for autumn. We have had long correspondence about the use of mushrooms in the kitchen and for dyeing yarns and fabrics. Melanie knows so much about history and old methods in handicrafts.

I have been sewing some more QAYG blocks for Oz Comfort Quilts, satin stitching the shoes I showed in my last post, and using little scraps of fabric for a needle book for my friend P who is desperately waiting for the wallhanging to be finished:

She started in my sewing class last autumn, and for her new hobby I equipped her needle book with small scissors and a seam ripper

and some machine needles so she can continue sewing at home when school is out.

At the moment I'm working with some silk threads I have inherited from my Great Auntie Saima. My regular readers know a lot about her, she was like a young grandmother for us and lived many years with our real grandmother, her elder sister, so she was always there for us.

If you want to see a picture of Saima, you should visit my daughter Kaija's blog here. My mother has given her a photo album with pictures by Saima's husband. Now Kaija has started a new blog, Emil's, to show the contents of this great amateur photographer's work. We have very little information about the people and places in the photos, but they are great pictures from the early decades of the 20th century. Enjoy!

Saturday 19 February 2011

What have I done while I missed class

On Thursday night I didn't go to my sewing class, and my teacher Anne said she will keep an eye on my doings here on my blog, as next week is the school's winter holiday and we can't have our class. I bet she doesn't control everyone's absences like this, but I have been in her class for several years already, and hardly ever absent. And I have reason to believe she was joking, but here it comes. First the 5 socks I have knitted, the tiny one is for a Unicef doll. I have started knitting a third pair of normal size socks and will use the rest of the yarn for the dolls' socks.

Then some strip cutting on Thursday ...

... to make a new lot of QAYG blocks for Oz Comfort Quilts.

I have bought 1.5 yards of lovely  fabrics from Sew Fabulous, it arrived on Thursday:

I think I have made space for some new fabrics in my stash, so this is to fill the gap (gap?) and "just because it was lovely".

I have also worked on the everlasting wall hanging project, adding some shoes in the lowest part, and batting and backing for the first panel:

and the two first shoes for the second panel. There will be five panels in all, so I know I'm far behind my schedule. My original plan was to finish the whole thing by the end on 2010, but sometimes projects just don't happen as planned. These shoes still need the satin stitch which I will add as soon as the other shoes are ironed on.

I have also received some lovely mail this week. First from Candace a handmade fabric Valentine's Day card with some chocolates for Mr. K and me (we had some for dessert before I took the picture!).

Sweet Houseelf sent a cupcake mug mat  (free pattern by Stephanie can be found here) for her housewarming guests, and for me she added some plant dyed embroidery threads and what looks like handmade buttons. We have a Bag Club with her and Suzie and Simone, and I think the buttons will be used in one of the bag I'm going to sew with them later this year.

The weather keeps staying on the very cold side of the thermometer, and on the coldest days the little birds may save their energy and not fly to our restaurant. This was the newest cold record at our place -29.5 C or -21.1 F on Friday morning. We now light the fire also in the morning to keep the house comfortable. The sun works wonders: during the day the temperature can be nearly 20 C higher, around the very comfortable -10 C to - 15 C. That feels very OK after a long period of colder days. 

From other blogs I have read about signs of spring, and it sounds a little comforting. The only sign of spring here is the increasing amount of light, and I think without it the winter would seem too long.
Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday 13 February 2011


This winter feels like there is no end to it. It started early, we had the first snow in mid October, and the snow that stayed came around the 15th of November. Three months ago. It has snowed over 60 cm or 25" ( a quilting ruler would be snowed in) in all, and there will be more snow before any sign of spring.

A sunrise last week:

Our little friends have eaten almost 50 kg sunflower seeds and peanuts this winter. Here on the left a Mrs. Bullfinch and on the right Mr. Gray Linnet. He is a newcomer, they don't usually stay up here for winter.

This morning the temperature was really low, -23 C or -9 F, but (or beause of that) the day has been sunny. Mr. Bullfinch enjoys the sun here.

It has been so cold that I have just been knitting socks by the fireplace and not freezing by the sewing machine. All I finished this week there was these two pillowcases for Jackie's summer camp project.

This left me with some colourful strips so I can make a couple of QAYG blocks for the OZ Comfort Quilts - click the button on my right sidebar.
The ninepatch backing gives me a headache so I decided to let it rest until my head is clearer. I started - finally - a plaid shirt project from this book in class:

but the sewing was so wonky that I think I have an unpicking project for the evenings before I can continue. I hope you have had a more successful week!

Sunday 6 February 2011

Pastry, stitcheries and some Boobs

Yesterday was the birthday of our national poet J L Runeberg (1804 - 1877), and we get to eat his favourite pastry. Yum!

I have been stitching the Raggedy  & Friends January blocks with golf and snooker on the TV, a perfect combination as those sports are not loud and noisy. Today I made the first nine blocks to rows:

This is a detail of the block 7:

and 8:

and 9:

Three big blocks still to come, and the top will be finished in May, I hope. Kaaren of The Painted Quilt has designed the quilt.

Do you remember Mrs. Moen's Boob appeal for breast cancer patients?

make boobs for the make a boob project

I have finally picked up a CD disc and some test blocks and other scraps, and made six Boobs for Mrs. Moen's project. They are plain ones and treasured ones for her workshops, where they will be decorated with lace and ribbons and threads, beads and all kinds of lovely stuff you can also send for this project by the end of March. This lot will be mailed tomorrow. If you are interested, just follow the links and you will find instructions how to make the Boobs and where to send them.

The Boobs will end up at the Make a Boob Art exhibition at the end of the year, or the participants may keep the boob they decorated at the workshop.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Stash use report for January, and 9-patch update

The first month is behind us and it is time for me to look at my stash. Much of it looks like this:

I seem to collect all the nice shirts from the family and charity shops. If I buy a shirt for quilting, I count is as bought fabric, not for the "full value", but maybe for 1.3 m if it is a good big one. So much goes to waste when I cut them to squares for my quilts. When I calculate how much fabric I have used, I try to think how many of those squares I would get from the width of a normal fabric, and I don't think about the waste bits at all. They will be counted when I use them for smaller things like scrappy stars. So, according to my careful measuring and calculations, I used 3.5 m plaids for this nine-patch top, plus 1.5 m denim, and 1.3 m solid red for the sashings. I'm thinking of our normal, 1.5 m wide fabrics. Naturally, sometimes my fabric is only 112 cm, so there will be less squares for the width of the fabric.

The QAYG blocks and bindings and my other sewing projects added, my total fabric use was 14.2 m. No matter how hard I think, I can't remember having bought more than 1 m of black T-shirt material, and 3 m of children's prints for the pillowcase appeal. That makes 4 m, so the stash was reduced by 10.2 m in January. I think it is a very good start! The most of the fabrics were recycled or leftover bits from making clothes.

On Thursday in my class I will be working on the backing for the nine-patch quilt, and I'm thinking of a nine-patch surprise for it.

It is a bit chilly today, so I'm going to make a big cup of tea and take some quilting magazines for inspiration with it. What happened to your stash in January?