Thursday 31 October 2013

New Quilt, New Tunic and Old Books and Bears

Have you seen Stephanie's Long Johns quilt? She remembered her grandfather's long johns on the washline, and made the polka dotty pieces like them, up and down. She also made a Christmas version, very pretty. She gave me the pattern for my senior home quilts, and here is what I came up with:

Long johns on the line are, in this climate and this family with two men and just one me, a very usual sight even today. (So there you see, Mr. Squash, you don't have to be "a woman of a certain age" to have seen that sight.)  The quilt top is made with what forms another substantial part of my laundry, men's old shirts. Old men's shirts, whatever. That's why I named my quilt Laundry Day. Take a look at Supreme Candace's version here. She too added a border, but I made an extra row too. This way the quilt will be big enough to keep any tall grandpa warm and cosy when he is taking a nap. The backing is checkered flannel like the binding. Tomorrow I'll be taking this and the Bee in my Bonnet Row-Along quilt to the nursing home.

This quilt is also my 4th project in the Special Category of the Craft Olympics hosted by Flickenstichlerin. I have been on a new sewing class, just 6 evenings with the theme tunics. I learnt to alter the pattern to my personal measures, and here is the result:

I'm really pleased with it, and the jersey's cheerful grey and greenish colours are just me. This is my 4th project in the New Category of the Craft Olympics.
Last Friday we went to the Helsinki Book Fair, a perfect place to test use my new tunic (can be classified as one of the "cultural ladies robes", you know the roundish ladies between 40 and 80 who go to concerts, theatres, art exhibitions and interesting lectures, wearing figure flattering long tunics/vests/jackets). We concentrated once again on the older books.

This raven has been on every book fair I remember.

This year the teddy bears had a special place at the fair.

I didn't even know there are so many literary teddy bears.

This one I know!

And here's for you, Melanie! (She is going to Rupert's cottage next Spring). Bamse is sharing this shelf with Rupert.

Do you know Rasmus? He comes from Denmark. I have read about him to my children...

... but not as much as about this brave fellow, Uppo-Nalle. He is created in Finland but according to the story he floated here from France.

Some of the teddies were really old.

Some were more famous as toys than from stories in books.

Winnie the Pooh like he originally was and what Walt Disney did to him.

The modern Pooh Corner gang.

We spent a lovely day at the fair and I found a used copy of the new Finnish translation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, illlustrated by Helen Oxenbury . Perhaps I can finally read the whole story!
Have you a favourite literary teddy bear? Was he on this exhibition? I had a toy teddy bear that my best friend made for me when we were maybe 12 years old, and my childhood literary bear friend was Winnie the Pooh like Uncle Shepard drew him.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Colours are changing

This year the change of colours in the trees has been more beautiful than in years. Our backyard oak was yellow like this a week ago:

and only three days later the leaves were brown.

The rowan changed early, I just managed to take a photo of the last brilliant reds two weeks ago.

I have been busy catching the Autumn colours in socks for the winter.

This was taken on a sunny day and the yarn colours are more natural here. Three balls of heavy yarn made 4 pairs of socks, and I think I can make yet another baby pair with the rest.

The big ones are a Christmas present, but the little ones are no particular size, just testing different patterns from my books.

I'm sure I can find the right little feet for them too. Therefore I call them my third thimble project in the Special Category.

The aspen on a sunny day were like carrying gold coins and letting them fall on the ground.

The birches had a different shade of yellow.

This morning Mr. K and I were raking leaves for one and a half hours, clearing the driveway and the strip of lawn behind the house. At lunch we looked out of the window and noticed almost no difference to yesterday's view, but those were new leaves from the oak. It is kind of like laundry, or washing dishes: you have just done it, but the basket/sink is half full again before you dried your hands. But some day the trees will be bare, and regardless of whether the leaves are raked or not, the snow will come and cover the ground, hopefully until next Spring. (The laundry and the dishes never end.)

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Dolls who needed a doctor

Last week I took some tiny patients to see a doctor. The dolls came to me from my mother last year, and they were so poorly! The little one had one arm loose and a severe hip condition. She was also dusty and her outfit - just underwear - was more grey than white.
The bigger one had her wig (my other grandmother's own hair) off and her blush was spotty and her face needed some soap and water too. Only now I noticed that she should have had an eye operation as well.

Luckily there is a doll doctor in Helsinki, and I had an appointment with them and left the dolls in capable hands.
Here are some views of Dr. Benita's surgery and shop. Some of the dolls are antique, some just old, but they are all lovely. Maija, your doll's twin sister is on the bike!
Here are two special dolls: On the right a Bebe doll from the time after the WWII when there was shortage of everything. Many kinds of substitute materials were used for the dolls' heads, and as mohair was not available the hair was just painted on. The baby doll sitting next to her is a rare specimen of plastic dolls made in Finland by Siro Oy. You could get it in exchange of newspapers for recycling, when you had collected enough vouchers.

This is the doctor's reproduction based on the old Finnish Martta doll called  Pipsa, made in Finland from about 1908 until 1974. The manufacture was organised by a women's association Martat, and the sewing, stuffing etc. was done by women at their home. Some specialised in sewing the dolls, others made clothes for them, and the demand was so great that the manufacture soon grew into a real industry.

The doll doctor with her staff also treat teddy bears and other soft toys.

While my dolls were taken care of, I washed their clothes. She has new rubber bands for her arms and legs now, and she has had a bath. Look how pretty!

Here is my other "new" doll. Her dress had so many holes that she has to wait in her petticoat until I have sewn her a new dress. Any suggestions?

Doctor Benita helped me also with this case. I don't remember ever having seen this doll's head among my mother's things, but it is one of her own dolls and must be over 80 years old. They didn't have body patterns for this size of a doll, but I got copies of a smaller doll and instructions how to enlarge them. I also bought her socks and shoes so I can sew her feet the right size for them. This is an exciting project, as I have only sewn rag dolls (64 Unicef dolls over the years, plus some other rag dolls as a teenager) until now. I will show you if I ever get her finished.

 I'm still sorting my photos from England and will continue my travel report in the near future.