Friday 31 January 2014

Best Winter weather, and Mittens Flying again

Our winter is on its best: sunshine, -10C/14F, hardly any wind, frosty trees, a little snow to lighten up the world, and the sun is up for more than 8 hours already.
The frost has killed most bugs too and I'm feeling at least 90% fine. The rest of the family didn't catch my sneezes.
I tried the sewing machine after a long break and made this Pooch Pouch originally designed for Abby by Stephanie. I used old jeans and a heavy felt batting so I had to attach the loop with the ends side by side. DS1's puppy is in Puppy School and her treats go in here.

When the days were colder and I was just feeling tired, I was knitting to keep at least my hands busy. These socks are from the Two socks at a time book:

and here again, with a basic pair knitted in a self-striping yarn. Both pairs went to the Red Cross sock campaign at the Flying Mitten. And yes, I have made pair of mittens too but I will show them later.

I bet you want to look inside with me again. Look at the knitted graffiti on the Lentävä Lapanen's  mailbox first, and on the blue stand.

A peek through the window, advertising the Red Cross campaign for socks and mittens.

And inside - there are 12 pairs of sock by the last time I looked, but I hope many more pairs are just being finished at the knitter's homes or in the knitting café.

DIY packages to make the official Järvenpää mittens called Jäpänen (mitten = lapanen, + Järvenpää > Jäpänen).

They also had new DIY packages for other mittens.

They have some great groups, some meeting regularly every two weeks in the evening, one group where you can sit and knit and have your tea or coffee, and listen to live reading from a book, and classes for beginners and for advanced knitters. Isn't this a dream come true?

Thursday 23 January 2014

More socks

A nasty flu has been slowing me down. No fever, just coughing so loud that the squirrels outdoors jump, and now a nose so runny that I must keep a hankie in one hand all the time. Almost, that is. It is so easy to exaggerate! I have been sitting quietly on the sofa and knitting, when I felt better.
Two new pairs of wool socks for the Red Cross campaign. I love to test new patterns for these. I can follow the pattern not knowing what size my socks will be because my yarn is not the same as in the pattern. I had two 50 g balls of red and one ball of grey yarn. First I knitted the red pair with a surface pattern of knit and purl, from the Two at a time socks book.Then I took the grey yarn and started a basic pair from toe to top from the other book by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. I made red stripes until I imagined there was just enough grey yarn to finish the top. Now I have two tiny balls of the red left, and I think I'll use them for some stripes in a new pair. At the moment I'm half way done with the heels of my next pair, another pattern from those books.
Yesterday I took these socks to the Flying Mitten Lentävä Lapanen. Some new pairs had already been added to the tub they provided for the collection for the Red Cross last week. Their own knitting group had a meeting last night so more socks or mittens were expected.

Thursday 16 January 2014

Train Socks and other charity knitting

Some years ago I found a baby sock pattern and read the story about them. This year the pensioners in Järvenpää have a campaign to knit a pair of these socks for every new baby born in the town. The estimate is 400 babies, so a few helping hands are needed. My favourite yarn shop and knitting café  the Flying Mitten or Lentävä Lapanen collects the socks knitted by non-members.
Are you interested to hear the story? During the Winter War, in January 1940, one of the coldest winters of the century, a young mother with her little baby was travelling by train. The train stopped for a long time because the tracks were damaged. A retired handicraft teacher was sitting opposite to the mother and her baby, and she felt pity because the baby had no booties. She unravelled her hand knitted cardigan and with that yarn she knitted socks like this for the baby while the tracks were repaired. The sister of that baby still has the original pair, and her mother has used the pattern to knit many more socks to keep little toes warm.
I knitted the train socks with the rest of the yarn I used for these socks for a certain young lady:

I hope the flat lace pattern is not tickly. The colour is right in the top photo.

This other pair has white toes - I used all the pink yarn left over from the rose socks and it was not quite enough. They are also for someone special, someone who loves pink.
A pair of my socks has already ended up at Lentävä Lapanen for another charity project. A big handicrafts magazine has challenged knitters to knit socks and mittens for the Finnish Red Cross in January.  They will send the socks and mittens to cold countries where help is needed. The knitting café will act as a collecting point, and knitters can easily buy new yarns for more socks when they bring their creations to the shop. Knitting is apparently a more natural way for us to help than making quilts: during my quilting years I have only once found a Finnish challenge to make quilts for charity, but there is always a challenge or more to choose from if you are interested in knitting or crocheting.

The sun doesn't get very high these days, this was taken at 1.15 pm today. The hint of snow we have makes all the difference. The days seem so much brighter with it. While the cold weather lasts, knitting by the fire is the best thing to do.

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Next step

Look, the quilt centre is ready! Tomorrow I hope to add the borders and make the quilt sandwich.
This is String Beans by Loft Creations, and her own version just happens to be for sale here. The Supreme tested, easy to follow pattern is here. I needed a bigger quilt for the nursing home so I added one row of blocks both ways.
Look, the sun is shining! Winter has finally arrived and today we had hours of sun and a real winter temperature of -17C/1.4F all night and all day.

Sunday 12 January 2014

New quilt in process

Happy New Year everyone! During the holiday break I have done some preparations for a new quilt. I have sorted through about 10 or 12 boxes, thrown away (recycled in energy waste, it is) lots and lots of fabrics I know I will not ever need, and re-organised the remaining ones.
Then I went through my Old Shirts/Green and Blue Box, and my Green Fabrics Box, and my 2½" white squares jar, and cut a little worn and well washed old sheet into 2½" strips and 3" squares and made these:
and ironed them.

I made them into blocks with the strips and show you later how they look.

I think my new ironing board cover with owls is very pretty. The day is more than half an hour longer already but the days are cloudy so there is not enough light for nice photos. We finally have some snow and - 10C temperatures. By this time last year we had had snow for two months already!