Saturday, 9 June 2018

Knit in Public Day at Villa Cooper

Today was the day when knitters in 560 events in 53 countries gathered in parks, shops and other public places to knit together and to make the world a better place. We knitted at Villa Cooper, in the lovely big garden.

We had received lots of yarns ad other crafty materials as a donation, and auctioned them as the main attraction of our KIP Day.

We will pay it forward and give the money for local mental health work.

As you can see, the weather was sunny and so warm that we could sit and knit in the garden. Many knitters came to attend the day. I was able to give them different patterns for knitted bunnies and baby sweaters, and the address where to send the finished items.

I hope we can do this again next year, with more ideas and more knitters!

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Quilt for a boy

It took me long but the quilt top is finally finished.

This will be big (120 x 150 cm) for our new grandson now but he can use it for years when he has grown a little first. I think he will like to look at the swing and the dog, find the different birds and all the little critters in jars and on leaves.

I'm organizing a Knit in Public event with our Villa Cooper club on the 9th of June, and it has kept me busy. We will be showing ways to knit for different charities, and I knitted this Apupupu bunny for the Finnish Red Cross as one example. These soft toys are added to deliveries of children's clothes sent to different parts of the world where help is needed after catastrophes.

We will also auction crafty materials for mental health work, and have table for yarns and needles and such to bring and take for free. I just hope this warm weather we have had for weeks will also help us then to get many visitors and enable picnic style knitting in the lovely garden. A popup cafe will hopefully also attract visitors.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Hidden treasure

Last week Mr K. had brought in a big cardboard box when he was reorganizing our storage. I had a sneak peek to see what was in it. Ooh! It was unbelievably lovely, everything was like hand picked for my taste. I thought it was like a dream come true ... well, before I thought of where to put it all.

A few seconds later I understood this loot was what he had brought for me last Autumn when our daughter Kaija moved to Helsinki and told me she was sending me "some yarn and scraps for fabric" she didn't need. (The fabrics need another post.) As I had not seen the box on its arrival I had forgotten all about it, maybe because I had enough yarn to keep me busy. Now the treasure box really made my day!
You can see that she had some unfinished projects, with needles and patterns and the necessary yarn.

It took me about half an hour to knit the thumbs for the mittens:

And two evenings, some trial and error, to make the second sock approximately the same size as the one she had finished. I needed to use smaller needles.The leg part was finished, I just knitted the foot in the darker yarn. Alpaca, lovely to knit. All the yarns in Kaija's box were really good quality.

Finishing other people's UFOs can be very satisfying, as I don't have the experience of the problem that made them stay unfinished. The pale beige mohair lace scarf may be tricky, as Kaija told me there is an error somewhere. Finding and fixing it may be difficult, and unraveling that kind of yarn is no child's play! I did unravel two of her UFOs, a fingerless mitten crocheted so tightly that I have no chance to create the missing pair, this is the brownish curly skein on the left of the thumbless mittens, and a black circle crocheted to make a hat. There was a big ball of that yarn, so I can give it a try and make her a black beret. At the moment I'm knitting something with the red self striping yarn from the top photo. 
This sock yarn I have knitted earlier is also self striping:

Suddenly we have Summer temperatures and I have planted the first summer flowers.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Plus size quilt top

Finally I have finished a new quilt top! I even managed to make a little dent in my recycled shirt stash with it. I used all kinds of  light greys and creams, and red plaids and one plain red, as this quilt is for the Finnish Red Cross. 

Getting that step out of the way, I can now concentrate on a baby quilt using these fabrics I have cherished for many years. It will be a boy quilt, with worms and bugs but also with some hearts or flower petals.

We have been travelling abroad too, and for the long waiting hours at airports I had of course a book but also a knitting. I knitted the striped chemo caps during the trip and the plain ones at home.

Two new baby hats have been finished too. There is a little yarn left from a 50 g ball in all my baby hat yarns, so I think there will be a pink-blue-and-white striped hat on the needles sooner or later.

The little misses Purple and Yellow spent a fine holiday in Lapland before Easter with their family, and the girls learned to ski, make snow castles, roll in the snow to refresh during a sauna bath, and to have Winter fun like native Finnish children. For this, the socks and mittens I knitted for them were naturally useful, and so they wanted to thank me with this:

100 % Irish wool to knit something for my own use! I think I need to dare take a step into the unknown and learn to knit some Celtic cables in a scarf or something like that.

Weather report: This morning we had -4C, today is sunny but not warm, on Wednesday we had rain for most of the day. The snowdrops and tiny yellow crocuses are the only flowers up in the garden. By the roadside we can see bright yellow coltsfoot dots where the sun has been shining.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Spring colours in snow, and some nalbinding news

On Easter Monday we had a snowfall that lasted all day. Nothing fancy, just tiny flakes or larger ones, slowly or with a wind, but by the evening we had about 20 cm new, fresh snow covering the dirty old, melting snow. The next day was sunny and lovely, so I took my newest fingerless mittens and other knittings out for a photo shoot.

From the rest yarns of the mittens I knitted some baby hats for a charity.

Then I made a group photo of the yellowish chemo therapy caps. I used the last remnants together with a light grey yarn for a striped beanie.

My nalbinding has taken a leap since my last posting, with the simple chain of stitches. I tried the Finnish stitch, well, naturally, because I am Finnish. I was right thinking that it would be easy to learn after having practiced the Oslo stitch. I didn't care about the odd big loops left from the starting stitches, nor about the Oops! stitches where I missed a loop or picked one too many, nor the lumpy joints of yarn. I just tried to get a feeling to the movements of my hands. It was easier to make new stitches when there was something to hold onto, unlike the floppy tail of loose single stitches.

With this technique you don't work from a ball of yarn but thread a needle with a suitable length of yarn and when you have almost used it up, you felt the end of the new yarn to it. This little pouch is hardly good for anything, but it has given me tremendous courage to start a proper project. I like the texture, and there is stretch in both directions.

On the right you can see my new nalbinding needle. My dear Mr K. made it for me just this week! He is building a bamboo fly fishing rod and used bamboo to make this for me. It is glued together of two slivers so the smooth enamel surface is on both sides.

Here you can see the amount of snow we had on April 1st! Mr K. shoveled just a track for the car.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Dots and dashes, socks and beanies, and finally something new

 After a long break I have been cutting my fabrics again. Reds and neutrals from the shirt boxes.

Squares and strips like dots and dashes. I wonder if this will be something in Morse code? I really liked Inspector Morse!

I knitted a plain pair of socks for little Miss Purple, because her little sister was going to get one,

and a striped pair for little Miss Yellow, because there was a striped pair for her big sister.

The chemo caps are easy and fun to knit. This one took a little more than one ball of yarn 

so I used this pattern with less stitches and made an XS size in straw yellow.

This is the "new" I'm learning. In fact this technique, nalbinding or nalebinding, in Finnish neulakinnastekniikka, is ancient and much older than knitting or crochet.

It has been used to make mittens and socks and hats. This is the longest chain of first stitches I have managed to make so far. The idea came from Melanie, and we are learning together with Tracy in Norway, all of us total beginners. In Finland this technique has been used up to WWII and the last masters have passed it on to new generations. I have been asking around, but several friends who have studied handicrafts only remember they learned the basics during their studies but didn't make it a hobby. My mother had taken a class in nalbinding as well, and made a lovely, beautiful pair of mittens nobody was allowed to wear as she had won a price with them at some contest. At that time I was too young to be interested in learning something so old and slow. At least I have her needle and some papers from her class. I hope to be able to show you a chain in the "Finnish stitch", and maybe a second row as well. Our first stitch to learn has been the Oslo stitch.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

More socks and mittens

Little Miss Yellow's set is here. Very basic socks here on virgin snow.

The mittens are striped with the rainbow yarn I used for some socks and mittens already before Christmas, and some navy blue also from my old stash. I call this pattern "Grandmother's three colour pattern" as I have not seen it anywhere but in the half finished mitten I have inherited, and of course in my memories from the time I had such mittens.


Little Miss Purple's mittens from my previous post in a closeup. This is a new version of "Grandmother's two colour pattern" that I have in fact found on the Internet under the name of Ailin lapaset, but they make no gusset for the thumb like my Grandmother and I did. Using a third colour makes a big difference ...

... because the bicolor version has clearly vertical stripes:

Both of the Grandmother's patterns only use one colour at a time for each row, and the lifted stitches make them dense and warm.

Custom order not too tight not too itchy socks for a friend. Self-striping Step yarn from Austermann.

I wanted to show you a better photo of the other chemo cap from last week. This pattern is perfect for the 50/50 cotton and wool yarn I used:

It was a free baby hat pattern I just enlarged for an adult size.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Winter sports

Today is a sunny, snowy day, perfect for the traditional school winter break which started this weekend in Southern Finland. When I was a schoolgirl, it was called ski holiday, and the main purpose was to get the children spend lots of  time outdoors in the snow, skiing or ice skating with  their sisters and brothers and friends and getting rosy cheeks and good appetite. Now it seems that many families book a holiday in some distant sunny place instead. I was asked to knit new ski socks and mittens for the growing grandnieces who are coming to Finland for their Easter break. They will fly to Lapland where the ski season is at its best then.

Young Miss Purple's set is finished.

The hat is one of the chemo caps I have knitted, 50/50 cotton and wool, and here just completing the picture.

My niece will also get a pair of socks, just a basic pair.

Here is the other chemo cap, in a smocked butterfly pattern.

Miss Yellow's socks are finished and I'm knitting her mittens now.

Skiing is no longer my thing, sliding downhill on a piece of plastic would end in a disaster, but a little walk in the fresh air with the sun in my face feels great. I can still enjoy watching younger people having ski holiday fun, and I could even drink a cup of hot chocolate after my walk. Others can do the sporty bits!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Product development and zipper lessons

This week I made some new bag dispensers, improving my sewing routine. I use zippers on the back so it will be easy to fill the dispenser with a whole roll of bags, and it looks neat.

Then I added something for the dog walker in the same range, tissue holders in matching fabrics. I get a runny nose easily when walking in the chilly weather so I thought these would be useful.

Many people wear a set of headphones, and as long as they don't grow out of people's ears, they sometimes need to be packed away. To avoid a tangle, they can be stored in a tiny pocket like these:

I used the almost last scraps of these fabrics and a collection of odd zippers.

The Winter has come to stay now, finally. We have some snow, some minus degrees, some clouds and some sun. Fine! I just wish we had some bird visitors at the feeder. Days go by that we don't see a single little bird. I hope they have just found a more delicious menu or a more sheltered bird feeder, and not abandoned us for any more sinister reason. There was a very snowy, very cold period earlier. A magpie may come and drop some seeds and nuts on the ground from the feeder as they are too big to sit on its edge. The hares have eaten our Spiraeas (saving us from cutting them down in April), and now they have started on the roses:

Luckily they too were waiting for pruning in the Spring. Looking from where I live, Spring is still about two months away.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Trying something new

This week I have widened my sewing range to new products. This has been a process of learning from errors, but I think I'm getting there ... some day! 
These are pouches for treats for dogs, to be worn by the person who is training them, not the dogs. Dogs could not open the snap closure and take just one treat when they have done a trick. Not even after long training, I'm sure.

The dog owners are supposed to pick up the poo after their dogs (but many of them still need some training), and these dispensers can hold an entire roll of those plastic bags for that purpose. The pouches are meant to hang from a D-ring on the lead so they are always at hand when needed.

The first collars. I'm looking for a different kind of clips. I didn't make anything for tiny dogs yet.

The leads have a fleece lining to make it more comfortable for the hand.

These leads have some reflective tape sewn on both sides to make the dog and the owner more visible for drivers when it is dark. The dogs need to go for walks early in the morning and late in the evening when it is dark outside for many months up here. The owners usually have reflectors sewn on their clothes and hanging knee high where the car lights easily catch them, but the dog can be in total darkness without a reflector.

I have been knitting too, but decided to save you all from that this time. We don't have a dog so I'm relying on expert opinions from dog owner friends for my product development.