Friday 30 September 2011

Autumn bag and Stash use report for September

This week I have been suffering from a crushed down computer syndrome and the situation is still going on. Mr. K offered me his laptop so I have been able to read and send emails, but this poor thing is slow and constantly having internet troubles. Therefore I have not been able to visit your blogs. On the other hand, I have had more time with my sewing machine.

The Bag Club, Melanie, Simone and I, have been working on an Autumn bag. Melanie and I kept to the original plan of making a more complicated pattern from our book The Bag Making Bible, and Simone wanted to finish a big bag she had been working on. The Organiser Bag inludes details like a gusset, several interior pockets, a harness for a laptop, and an adjustable strap. These were all very clearly explained in the book and not too difficult to sew. The final touch was my big headache: the flap is closed by two twist-locks. Cutting the holes for the buttonhole metal parts was SCARY! The bag flap had many layers like exterior fabric, interfacing and lining and heavy interlining , and I had to be so careful not to cut the hole too big. Next time will be easier. Melanie can tell, as she has already made two of these bags. You can get to her blog from the link Houseelf Doings in my sidebar, she has great pictures of her bags there, and more.

Here is my bag:

There should be a picture but I'm not sure whether you can see it. I'll download it again later when/if the good computer will be good again. Anyway, the exterior fabric is from linen curtains from my childhood, and the bag front is an upholstery fabric. The lining is a brown fabric handed down to me from someone in the family. This makes the bag made completely from stash. For my statistics I estimate I have used about 1.3 m fabrics in all for this (exterior and lining). Other September sewings took 0.8 m for the last PIF gifts I made for Kaite, who signed in later, and some other minor projects.The gifts are now on their way to Heather, Barbara and Kaite. Pictures will follow when the ladies have received their mail. This all adds up to 2.1 m fabrics used, and nothing bought!

This time I can't put in any links or photos in the normal way, but I hope to have the computer problems solved as soon as possible and visit your blogs again.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Crumbs, limping geese, and swans learning to fly

Recently I came across a tempting challenge: Crumb Along! at Jo's Country Junction. I made my first crumb quilt last Spring and it was fun and addicting. Before I noticed I had started yet another block, and when I trimmed a finished block I was left with a new beginning. Therefore I didn't hesitate but started playing with another bag of crumbs. For the first block Jo showed us how to make Flying Geese in a liberated way, scissor cut and with no strict rules.

My geese look like they had a limp!

Jo is giving a new block every Tuesday, and yesterday she showed how to make a star and a heart. These are my first blocks for this week. If you want to play along, you can still catch up and start playing with your tiny bits of fabric.

On every Tuesday Jo also has a list of links to the blogs Crumbing Along, so you can visit the blogs and get new ideas. The button on my sidebar will also take you to Jo's blog.

Limping geese takes me to the beautiful whooper swans practicing their flight. The birds are big, from bill to tail 130 to 152 cm long, and quite heavy too. Getting up in the air is not so easy:

This is as high as this young bird got on any of its attempts I saw.

There was lot of running just under the water surface.

Yesterday Melanie gave us two challenges, one of them concerned decluttering the house and getting rid of five things that are useless, outgrown etc. I found all these blouses,shirts etc. in my closet, in good condition but made for a person smaller than I'm now, so they will go to the charity shop.

This is more than five already, but I also found a winter sweater of Mr. K and a small T-shirt of Son K to go with them. Then there was this pair of summer shoes. They were not my size either, but tended to be left behind like Cinderella's glass slipper when I tried to walk in them.

And finally something useless: two broken toys I had been thinking of repairing but I know I'm never going to do it. Binned!

The fun part of Melanie's challenge is left: an hour of time for myself, and as a reward for losing the useless items, to find something to the house that is really me. I'll need to think about that before I make the decision.

Monday 19 September 2011

Autumn feelings

The weather has changed to colder nights, misty mornings and shorter days. Two weeks ago we had our first New Jersey Moreton tomatoes finally ready to eat. Delicious! The seeds came as Christmas present from Candace and Mr. Squash.

Yesterday I had to pick the whole harvest as there is a chance of night frost any night soon. On the left are the Ramapo mid season tomatoes, and on the right the early season variety Moreton. Obviously our season is too short! And "everything's big in America", some of these are as big as my fist.

Here are the almost done ones. The small ones are our last domestic plum tomatoes.

These we had this morning at breakfast.

We also have some cherry tomatoes. Almost lingonberry tomatoes!

I have been knitting again. When I was digging through some boxes I found lots of yarn I didn't remember I had, and so I knitted the pink sweater using some of the darker red for stripes. All three sweaters have the same amount of stitches, and the same 3.5 mm needles, and the yellow and dark red even have the same yarn, but all three are different sizes. Luckily, so are babies! These are going to be my PIF gift for a charity. My PIF ladies, be patient, I will send your gifts soon too!

Yesterday I was picking our last apples for apple sauce and found a tired little hedgehog asleep under the apple tree. I didn't make a picture because I didn't want to wake him or her up. The hedgehog looked almost like dead but it was breathing steadily so I think it was fine, just enjoying the sun's warmth. There were many of these toadstools on our lawn , maybe here is a guest room for the Houseelf?

When I was hanging up my washing on the line, I heard the cranes. They are a sign of Autumn coming too, gathering together for their migration to North Africa and the Nile. There is a video on this link showing the cranes in the spring when they return here for nesting.

As the birds leave us, the nature gets more quiet. The cheerful singing belongs to spring when the males try to impress their mates. Come Autumn, the birds only chirp quietly and they will share in a peaceful manner the seeds we offer. In a few weeks the last little migrating birds are getting on their way and we will start feeding the ones which are meant to stay here for the winter: tits, bullfinches, greenfinches, yellow-breasted buntings, siskins, woodpeckers, blackbirds. I miss seeing them already, as they have disappeared in the forest for all summer. After the first hard night frost they will return and see if the sunflower seeds are in the usual place again. They will be!

Sunday 11 September 2011

Farmers' Market and Harvest Fair

Last weekend we visited the annual farmers' market and harvest fair in Järvenpää again. We left home in rain, but were lucky to have sunshine for the time we walked through this marketplace and pedestrian area. You can see how dark the clouds were.

Farmers brought their harvest: chanterelles, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and cabbages here, and leeks

Home made jams, juices and pickled vegetables


and flowers

Dried flowers and straw ornaments, including straw goats for Christmas

The yarns in soft colours here in the front are dyed with plants and mushrooms (not the pink, I think!). They had yarns for knitters and woven and knitted shawls.

The weather is getting colder, and wearing these fingerless gloves would be a good idea soon.

Hand-made ceramics

Some of the Villa Cooper ladies with their wool socks, leather slippers and ceramics

Guess how many new ladies wanted to join the open college quilting class this autumn after seeing my pretty display? 0!
Really, on Thursday only one of last year's ladies joined me and the teacher in class. After the rain stopped, one more lady came and asked if she could join and not quilt but make herself a jacket, and we all welcomed her with open heart. Three is not a crowd here, so we need at least two more to be allowed to start the class for real. We just hope some of our regulars have been busy with work, grandchildren, harvest or summer cabin, and will be there next week full of energy and new ideas.

Sunday 4 September 2011

Stash use report for August, and swan news

August is the last of our summer months, and it seems I have been in the summer mood with my sewings as well. I have just been working on the secret PIF project, which is about half done now. I also and managed to finish a tiny mobile phone holder for a display I was asked to put together. This was for the sewing group in the open college; we are trying to get more people in the group as we have only been about 5 ladies at a time there. I used the lovely little table runner from Melanie to catch the eye, as all my self-made quilts were too long for this board.

As you can see, there is also a tutorial for No Waste Flying Geese on the left, and Half Square Triangles on the right. My Flying Geese phone holder is hanging in the middle. The signing in starts today, and our first class in on Thursday. Let's hope someone new will notice this class while signing in for her Pilates class. - Back to the statistics: fabrics used in August total the amazing 0.7 m, and fabrics bought, also very moderate 0.85 m. Then I also gave away about 1.5 m from my stash for an Armadillo project (don't ask!), and it counts as stash reduction aswell. This makes -2.2 m and +0.85 m.

With so little result to show, I will take you to the wild whooper swans again. This year the couple has five cygnets, and they all survived. They have moved from their little nesting pond to wider waters in the village centre, and were having a nap on the lawn in the middle of the day.

One of the parents was in the water keeping an eye on the others.

The other parent was balancing on one foot while sleeping.

Then they were waking up, one by one. The cygnets are all still grey, and their peaks are more flesh colour than the beautiful yellow of the grown-ups.

The others woke up too, but while I was standing there (quite a bit from them, not to disturb), they didn't go in the water.

There was a lovely white swan feather floating in the pond, and I had to wait for a long time for it to reach me and stop so I could get a focused picture. The feather came to me like a tiny sailboat.