Wednesday 2 December 2015

Grey Autumn

I can't believe the whole grey November passed without a single posting. It was a very grey month, warm for the time of the year and not too rainy either. Just the dullest month of the whole year.

We had a little snow on the 21st, it lasted a couple of days making the world so much lighter.

My knitting has been grey too, and black. I learned a new technique in my class, and had to try it.

Here is a knitting tutorial for English rib in two colours. My teacher called this Brioche knit, it sounds more delicious!

Every row is knitted twice, first with one yarn and then with the other, and the result is a dark side and a light side.

What looks like a fault in the first picture, light grey colour, is a large buttonhole for the other end of the scarf. No knots needed!

On Friday I will get a new knee. I have dreamed of a pretty little knee, usually seen on young women with pretty slim legs. Then I thought it would look silly with my not at all slim legs and changed the plan and started dreaming of a knee the size it was when I was young. Then I found out that they just use parts they think are best for each patient. No future for me in shorts or mini skirts then ;o). I just hope my life as a Bionic Woman will be painless after the painful start they promised. For a while there will be no climbing the stairs to the sewing machine or this computer, so I will have to take a longer break from blogging again. I will be able to read blogs and comment on the little iPad.

I wish you all a stress free holiday season, see you next year!

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Knitting for the Winter

Finishing the mystery quilt top apparently took all my quilting energy for a while, so I have just been knitting for two little girls, Miss Yellow

and Miss Purple,

these too for her,

and for their mother Silver Darling.

The brilliant colours of our Autumn are almost gone, and almost composted too already.

Remember this view from May, when the forest around our place was cleared so the trees can grow better, and Mr K. asked if he could clear away some trees they had cut down? 

Well, they were happy to say yes, and so he did some harvesting, and now there is this nice pile of logs seasoning and waiting for further sawing so we can burn them in our fireplace, not this Winter but the next one, and maybe some years after that too.

Today was the first day with ice on the ground at places all day long, and even the shallow parts of the ponds had a thin ice cover. Visiting swans were there together with the usual ducks, they must stay until the cygnets have learned to master their wings for the migration.

Saturday 10 October 2015

Mystery Quilt top Finished

As I mentioned earlier, I was having problems with my mystery quilt dimensions. For a slim, tall man I wanted the quilt to be clearly longer than it was wide, and Kaaren's design kept the difference at 4" only. Therefore I decided to add my own row to both ends, and a 1" solid border to frame it.

I had enough 2" squares in my sorted scraps, so I made 4-patches in blues and reds with white.
After adding another thin brown border all around it was time to use the French Braid snake. It was just the required length +3"!

For the 4 ½" cornerstones I designed a tree block, and finally added a 3" border in the  same blue fabric as in the cornerstones around the houses.

I'm pleased with the size of the quilt now, and therefore I'm not going to add the 6½" final border with Prairie Points but stopping here.

I delivered the baby hats this week, and now my evening project has been knitting these just so,

and these for two little very well behaving boys

who are grandchildren to my big brother. He had a big birthday party and I gave him this Bear Paw quilt you already know from my exhibition last Spring. On his fishing trips to Alaska he has seen bears, so I thought the pattern would be perfect for him. Not to mention that I wanted to make some bear paw blocks.

This has been a good Autumn, with not too much rain and some really wonderful sunny days, like this two weeks ago

but now the same trees have shed most of their leaves, and we are having real frost of -5C on clear nights.

These trees are aspens, the birches are almost bare already. All flowers have been cut down, Ericas replace them for the winter.

Sunday 27 September 2015

French Braid

Back to working on the Mystery QAL. The French Braid was a very slow process, no chain sewing at all. I needed over 240", six meters and some.

I decided to make one huge snake so nothing gets wasted when I cut the ends straight. I'm going to add my personal touch to the quilt at this stage to make it a little longer so I don't know yet what length the braid is going to me in my quilt.

I have added some new fabrics to the mix but am still keeping my palette limited to the colours I have already used.

The Nature's palette is adding shades of yellow and brown and reducing the greens to minimum.

Ligularia Dentata. We moved these from the old garden of my FIL this Summer to replace the rose bushes which didn't like this place in the shadow of the house. Now the roses grow in front of the house and these handsome beauties obviously have found their place here.

Tuesday 15 September 2015

End of Tour de Baby Hat

 The cyclists have reached their destination and so has my knitting. There is still one hat on the needles, but

66 hats are here, all ready to be delivered to the maternity ward for new babies. Some of my hats ended up rather large so I decided to take them to the Red Cross collection point where they take donations for the refugees who come to our cold country with so little. Winter clothes are needed, and anything for little babies.

Our grandson has naturally grown out of the white outfit I knitted before he was born, so I made him a new set. The hat covers the ears and forehead, the size is for right now so I can see myself knitting a Winter version very soon. The mittens are without thumbs, but the next pair must be with thumbs so he can hold his shovel or make his first snowballs. The socks are once again train socks (if you click the link, you find the English translation of the pattern, and the story behind the socks).

I made him two bibs too now that he is eating delicious food with a spoon.

September means often the beginning of new classes or hobbies, for me too. I'm taking a class in yarn techniques, just once a month for an evening. Last week we started with Bavarian crochet. With the big holes this will be no good as a potholder, but when it grows a little, it could be a nice dishcloth.

For dessert a picture of my flower box in August to remind of the Summer that is clearly ending.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Flying Geese, Dresden Plates and more hats for babies

After a lot of cutting and sewing, all 88 geese are flying in a nice formation around the houses of this mystery quilt I'm making after Kaaren's design.

The corners have blue Dresden Plates appliquéd on yellow table cloth (really, this was a self-made tablecloth for a Summer party some years ago).

I like trying new blocks in a small scale, like just four Dresdens. I only have made a Dresden plate block once before in my life, when I made a bag after Stephanie's pattern.

Then of course I have been knitting. The broadcast from the Vuelta is usually just a little over an hour so these baby hats are not strictly Grand Tour hats. I simply like to keep my hands busy when I'm watching something not too demanding or interesting on TV, and so there are 11 new hats for my bag to be taken to the maternity ward. I try to make them for every taste, for boys and girls, small heads and bigger ones. It is fun to try out new patterns, and I happened to develop a new one too: the white hat in the middle was going to be 2 tog, yarn over, purl 1 but I started accidentally with ssk, yarn over, purl 1 and so the zig zag pattern is softer than 

in this yellow one in the middle of the front row. Oh, I see these make together already 21, my goal for the Vuelta. I still have some yarn left, and the Vuelta ends on this coming Sunday.

Maybe 70 hats instead of the intended 63 would make a nicer number?

Sunday 30 August 2015

Building houses, knitting hats

Last month Kaaren of The Painted Quilt started a new Mystery Quilt-Along. As soon as I saw her house blocks I knew I was going to sew this quilt some day. As it happens, the new project left all nice quilts on my list behind and here I am, with steps 1 and two done and step 3 on my cutting table.

Like almost always, I'm using old shirts as my main fabrics. Here the brown sashings are unused fabric, and the red plaid of the outer border is a leftover piece of  something I have bought for a backing.

Last weekend the last of the grand cycling tours, Vuelta a Espana started, and so did the last stage of my knitting project for the maternity ward babies at the local hospital. My personal goal is to finish 63 baby hats in all by the end of the Vuelta, one for each cycling day of the three tours.

The weather is still warm but we can feel the Summer is ending. After the exceptionally cold June and not warm at all July we had some lovely warm and sunny weeks in August. Now we have thunder and rainy days, but sometimes the sun comes out too.

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Strawberry season continues

It seems like ages since my last post here, and I felt like I hadn't finished anything after the large quilt top. Then I noticed that I haven't shown you this needle book  I stitched for a dear friend for her birthday this Summer.

The wool strawberry is filled with emery to keep her needles sharp.

Our tiny strawberries give us a handful of ripe berries every day now. We have finally got Summer weather, just the most perfect sunny days with a fresh wind reminding of the Autumn just behind the corner.

On a sunny day about two weeks ago our DD Kaija was married. After the ceremony and lunch we helped to arrange the food on plates and in bowls to be served to the younger guests in the evening. The couple looked so happy! And therefore I'm so happy for them.

My morning glory has grown. The large blue flowers really only open for the morning.

This morning there was a lot of dew on the roses. The nights are getting cold, only about 5C, but I love the daytime 21C more than really hot days.

Monday 27 July 2015

Shadow Plaid quilt top and Tour de Baby Hat 2015

Finally the Shadow Plaid quilt top is finished, with all four borders and extra rows in the centre.

I'm quite pleased how I managed to get the corners right, only one corner needed some adjusting to make the bias squares meet. The next big step will be the layering of this large quilt and quilting it on my machine. I don't know about the Queen and King sizes, but this will cover two beds nicely. It feels good to have the quilt at this stage after maturing the plan for so many years. It wasn't even an UFO really, just some squares cut and some unlucky bias seams sewn.

The Tour de France is over for this year and I can have some free time again ;o). It just happened that I knitted one extra baby hat. This baby boy yarn only needed 64 stitches and about 70 rows so I often started a second hat and didn't keep count on the finished hats every day. The finer yarns I used for the lace patterns needed about 90 stitches.

All Tour hats in a group photo. Now I only need to knit 20 hats in August during the Vuelta which is not so interesting to watch as many of the stages are on big open roads.

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Tour de Baby Hat, second day of rest

The cyclists are reaching the Alps and enjoying their well earned rest today. Many have been hurt in crashes during the first stages, many continue the race with bleeding limbs patched on the road and later properly. Last night I experienced some dangerous moments with hard cheese and a cheese slicer:

My grip slipped, and I sliced away the scar on my thumb from a previous cheese slicer accident some years ago. There was a lot of bleeding, but luckily I just missed a proper vein. This picture is from this morning, with a new dressing on the wound. I'm just showing you how far I was with the next baby hat before I had to stop for the night.

Here are the week's hats, the last bits of the light green and the white I used during the Giro, and a collection of the tiniest rests in the green, blue and multi colour hat. On the right is the first hat with the Sirdar Kisses baby acrylic, the second one is on the needles. I found a bag with six balls of this yarn, in green and blue shades. This will look a bit boring but keep me busy for the rest of the Tour and beginning of the Vuelta d'Espagne.

In celebration of the 50th year since I hurt my knee I'm on the waiting list for a knee replacement. My old stick from the school days didn't look too great, so I decided to do some yarn bombing. I didn't want to look like an old granny with a walking stick, so I crocheted some bright granny squares to cheer up my stick and maybe to get a smile or two when I limp around.

Close-up of my grannies:

I was wondering if the doctors would give me a smart looking knee after all the years I have been walking around with chubby knees and a huge scar in one, but I can forget about mini skirts for the rest of my life: they will only replace the damaged surfaces of my old bones and add another scar to the knee. Now it is just waiting for Winter and my turn on their long list.