Sunday 27 March 2016

New Sock Pattern

You may remember the white mittens I knitted last year. Our local knitting café Lentävä Lapanen, in cooperation with the Ainola museum, created the pattern based on a pair of mittens knitted by Aino Sibelius, the spouse of the famous composer Jean Sibelius, to celebrate his 150th anniversary.

The pattern can be bought here in English or in Finnish. A kit with yarn and pattern in either language is abailable at the knitting café and at the Ainola museum shop. I have used my pair a lot, on very cold days I wear white fleece gloves inside.

This Winter I had a great idea. Why not knit a fancy pair of socks to go with the pretty mittens? Knit, knit, knit, said my needles and soon I had the prototype finished. It was a special birthday gift.

The next thing to do was to introduce my idea of Aino'S socks to The Flying Mitten, Lentävä Lapanen. They liked the idea, gave me a ball of the original 100% Finnish sheep wool by Pirtin Kehräämö, and asked me to knit a sample pair and to write down my pattern. The pattern can be downloaded here in Finnish for free.

I'm knitting yet another pair for my own  use now:

I changed the heel from the prototype, thinking that Aino Sibelius would have wanted her socks to be a little special all over. This is the heel I used when I wrote the pattern and knitted the socks for the Flying Mitten. The leg part is like the mitten cuff, and the top of the foot part is like the top of the mitten, so there is really not very much of my own design here apart from the heel, and the idea of making socks to match the mittens.

Tuesday 22 March 2016

More Blocks for my Splendid Sampler

Last Saturday I had time to do whatever I wanted, so I stitched the stems for my flowers

and the antennae for my butterflies.

The Splendid Sampler QAL publishes a new block for free every Thursday and Sunday. Some blocks take a little more time, but some others are really easy. Snug as a Bug, all stitched.

Block 8, Friends around the Square,

And block 10, Iowa

I'm currently stitching the text on the Local Quilt Shop, block 9, and picking fabrics for block 11, Crocheted Thoughts.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Friday 18 March 2016

New Sampler QAL

This week I finally started a new quilt. Not just any quilt, but a year-long, 100 block mystery Quilt-A-Long by The Splendid Sampler. Simone gave me the link and I looked at the blocks already published, and immediately wanted to join. Guess what? I'm going to use proper quilting fabrics this time. Not just scraps, but real large pieces of unused fabrics. Here are the main fabrics I'm going to use throughout the quilt. They are all from my stash, and there is so much more to take from.

My first block Hearts Aflutter

and number two,Wings. The yellow butterflies need some details to be stitched.

Block three is Lots of Love. I think I'm going to make this again as it is not quite 6½" like it should.

Block 4, Happy happy needs the stems of the flowers stitched.

Block 5 is Simple Simon

This is the last block I have made, Focal Point.

The next block will be a stitchery, and I have two more block patterns waiting. Next block will be out on Sunday so I'm not going to catch up very soon, but like they said on  the Splendid Sampler website, this is not a competition and the patterns will be available until the end of the QAL.

Last night we had some new snow so I took my knitting photo shoot outdoors:

A tiny pair from the leftover of the previous pair.

And two pairs using the knitting pattern my grandmother used on our mittens. The boys had gray with blue or green, and we girls had gray with red or yellow. There ought to have been four girl colours but I don't think grandmother had them. Maybe we had large and small versions in the same colour.

Saturday 12 March 2016

Many of the same kind ...

... will make a collection before you know it.  Earlier this year my dear daughter Kaija started to write weekly about her various collections on her blog Paperiaarre . Her Accumulator Seriali stories and photos are published on Saturdays. Visit her blog and enjoy. As many of her treasures have passed through my hands, I started to think about my relation with beautiful things, tiny things, old things, and whether I collect something or not. Well, naturally books, but other things? Well, naturally crafty books too. I don't want to mention fabrics here, I really don't collect them but they accumulate in our household for various reasons. That's it: I really don't collect anything, I just happen to buy/get/keep/find many things that are alike. Take for instance pincushions. If you sew, you need a pincushion. If you have one sewing machine upstairs and another and an overlocker in the basement, and you do your hand sewing on the sofa, you will need three pincushions. The ones I use most are these:

On the left is a needle book with a tiny pincushion for hand projects, a gift from Melanie years ago, on the right a sand filled beauty with a hanging bag for thread ends, from Suzie years ago, perfect for the overlocker, and in the back one that Kaija made for me, also years ago.

But there are others. This one my mother used to keep on a side table with some other old things, and I would't dream of pushing any pins through the delicate silk (which is torn on the underside).

This little one is also very old.

I have some fancy ones:

and some beauties with cross stitch by Simone.

Some have a mushroom theme

and some look like something you could eat

This reversible one came with a wall calendar in the 70's from my sister M in Germany

And this one is from a swap in the early years of my blogging, from Marie.

These two are the only ones I have made for myself. I know there is at least one more pincushion misplaced, one that Kaija made for me in school.

Once more all together:

When I was picking the pincushions up from where they were used or displayed, I noticed some other accumulations of a crafty kind. I try to make a blog post about something else next week, and if al goes well there could be a series. I have no quilt in process right now so this could be a way to keep my blog active.

And do go and visit Kaija's Accumulator Seriali posts. She is a poet and has such a way with words. Seeing this post not only reminded me of the rocks and sand I had seen at home but also the numerous trips my parents made together. I went with them three times and saw an adventurous side of them I never thought such old people (they were over 60 by then!) could have. And I could suddenly smell my father's Old Spice after shave lotion. Go and read, and if you are a keeper, I hope at least one of your offspring or their children has inherited the gene.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Mystery Quilt finished and some more knitting

Last Autumn I pieced a Mystery Quilt designed by Kaaren of The Painted Quilt. I knew immediately it was going to be a birthday gift for Mr K.'s best friend.

When I could climb the stairs again to my upstairs sewing room, I machine quilted it. At first I tried a special quilting thread, but every crossing over seam allowances caused giant loops of the needle thread on the reverse. Adjusting tensions didn't help so I changed to Essential Threads and unpicked the first attempts.

The birthday was this week so I can show the finished quilt.

I really like the simple houses but my favourite in this quilt are the Flying geese.

The 4-patch rows at the top and bottom are my own addition. I wanted to add some length without making the quilt any wider. I also chose a simple narrower border instead of the wide one of the original design.

There is some knitting I haven't shown you yet. There was this pretty pattern for fingerless mittens in French. Melanie and I wanted to try it. Melanie made a Google translation into English but it didn't make much sense, so I brushed the dust off my school French and found out what it really was about. After that I made an unofficial English translation I knew Melanie would understand, and so she did. Her bright red version is at the end of this blog post. My version is naturally a cheerful brownish beige, a very lovely alpaca yarn:

It is too cold to go out in these just yet, and they would be too warm worn on top of my leather gloves. In a few weeks maybe?

After finishing these I knitted two pairs as a custom order for a dear friend 

and her friend.

As you can see, the colours are from my palette, a deep coffee brown in merino wool and a pale beige in 50/50 alpaca/wool.

Then I used up some yarn ends and knitted these socks for a little boy.

Thursday 3 March 2016

Hi, I'm back

It has been three months. Three months of Winter and ice and snow and sleet and rain and slippery roads and pavements. Three months of short days and long nights. Three months with my new knee, too. The beginning was painful and scary, but after two weeks in rehab at the end on January and beginning of February I have felt like I have a new, great knee. Rehab may sound like I had other issues than a not cooperating knee, but it really was like a physio therapy camp for elderly people. I had a nice young physio therapist who encouraged me to bend the new knee just a little beyond the intolerable limit, and she praised my courage for every fracture of an inch. I had my own program to follow in the warm pool, and another for the gym. After those two weeks I could leave the crutches and my old granny square stick and just walk. Even walk up and down the stairs again, to the PC and the sewing machine.

While I have been away from my blog, I have still been busy with some projects. This is a quilt I made for our dear grandson for his first Christmas:

A detail of the dog in the middle, made with some wool fabric and my usual recycled fabrics. I changed the original pattern a little by adding some background fabric and sashings.

After finishing this quilt I was only able to concentrate on lap projects. I filled my stash with various sock yarns and started knitting socks, one pair after another, two socks at a time.

Different sizes,

different patterns,

for men and women,

bedsocks too,

and otherwise girly socks. All the socks I knitted for Christmas are on the iPad and not my camera, but I think you all know by now what socks look like. I enjoyed experimenting with new ways to cast on or turn the heel, and I used knitting patterns from sweaters or mittens to knit new socks.

At the beginning of February all our snow was gone, we had several days of rain and above zero temperatures. On the 12th it turned colder and started to snow, and since that we have had more snowy days, cold nights and sunny days too. This is the time of winter sport holidays in our schools, and it means skiing and ice skating and enjoying the lighter, longer days and the winter at the same time.