Tuesday, 27 August 2019

New baby quilt, and yarn projects

Once I had the box with my father's old shirts out in the daylight when I repaired mother's old quilt, I took a better look at the ready cut 3½" strips and felt like making a little quilt with them.

It needed some more cutting but the 3½" squares for a 90 x 120 cm quilt were easily found. Now I have just the last white shirts left, and some striped squares. The blue fabrics for the star came from another project bag, the Business Class and Stained Glass quilts I made using my son's shirts.

This size is convenient for machine quilting on my domestic machine, so the quilt was finished in no time.

I even had the blue binding left over from some other project, and a light blue flannel with a baby print was in my stash of backings.

Octopus family has five new members!

Here is a closer look at the tubular cast-on I praised in my earlier post. It is easier to make every time I try, this is my third attempt now. I have tried it in a different way earlier, and I'm convinced this new to me way that involves crocheting suits me better.

The new pair of socks. 200 g yarn, two pairs of socks and still some yarn left.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Patched patchwork and new socks

A couple of years after my father died I made a light quilt for my mother, using father's old suit shirts. It looked like this, very light, but with a flannel backing warm like a hug for mother's little naps.

I took it back after my mother, and now after years of use it looks sad like this:

This one shirt seems to be more delicate than any other.

I read about repairing old quilts here , and decided it was time to save the quilt. I still had the last rest bits of the shirt collection in a box, so it was easy to pick new strips and hand sew them in place.

The new strip is grey, and I did the machine quilting on it the way it was before.

The weather is cooling down (and warming up again, like today), so I took out my sock yarns and bought some new ones, and started knitting for the Winter.

I really like this simple pattern with vertical stripes, used my muted colors and favorite heel together with the tubular cast-on. It makes the top edge look very professional!

After two pairs in the heavy yarn I picked a lighter one, and a brighter color, and finished this pair yesterday. The pattern is a simple knit 4 purl 2, moved two stitches forward after every four rows, and it looks like a cable pattern which I'm not very good at. Fake cables!

Today I'm trying to decide whether to knit another pair with this yarn and a different pattern, or to pick some other yarn or two. One color is tempting, it is so easy...

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Forest Adventure of the Unicef Dolls

Hi again, we have not been here on the blog for a while, but this week we had a great day in the forest and Roger was Prince of the forest with a fern crown on his head.

There was a fine spruce, behind him in the first photo, so naturally he had to climb it.

Roger was so proud of his crown that Susan made me a flower wreath to wear, and put some flowers in her hair too. My wreath was so big and heavy that it was not very comfortable. I can imagine that gold crowns are not comfortable either, and therefore you hardly see princesses playing out in the palace garden with crowns on their heads. Maybe they wear them for dances and things like that only.

The yellow leaves reminded of another fairy tale where gold coins fell from the clouds like rain. Some birches are all yellow already, the Summer has been to dry here, and hotter than ever.

I felt special with the heavy flowers around my head, but the common yarrow was not the best flower for this purpose. Auntie told us that she had made a real mess with dandelions on her trousers when she was 8 years old and  tried to make the world's longest garland with her best friend. Dandelion stains are not easy to remove! Anyway, the garland was at least 15 meters long. White clover would have been perfect, no stains and a sweet scent, but their time is over for this summer.

After a long day out we were really tired, but luckily we had not been too far from the house, you can see the lawn behind our little hill.

Now we want to say hello to our new English friend Arthur, who may be reading this blog post. Hi Arthur! It is nice that you have the same first name as Uncle Ransome, who invented us all.

So, this was Titty again. Enjoy your Summer, or your Winter down there on the other side of the world.

Best Regards,

Monday, 22 July 2019

Twelve and counting

Summer projects are preferably lightweight, small, cool and fun. It is also a good thing to use up small rests of material, and it would be nice if the result would be useful to someone. I don't like to waste anything, not even my time, so when I'm watching something on the TV that doesn't require my full attention, I usually knit or crochet.

I saw this book in the Summer Sale of the bookshop, so I bought it:

The book has patterns for crocheted and knitted octopuses for premature babies or other persons who like to fiddle, like dementia patients, and many ideas for creating different looks for the octopuses.

I had many small rests of cotton and bamboo yarns from dishcloth making, so I started crocheting with the Tour de France TV broadcasts. So far 12 little creatures are finished and some empty shells are waiting for stuffing. I have stuffed them with the polyester wadding I use for the Unicef dolls but my bag is empty now and I hope to get some more today.

The tentacles take a lot of yarn so some have bi colored tentacles when I have seen that there is not enough yarn left for 8 tentacles. The book's instructions are good and they give explanations for their "rules" too. For safety reasons the max length of the tentacles is 22 cm. The octopuses will also have a hot wash in the machine before they get donated to a baby ward so they will be ready to keep company to the smallest babies.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Four new quilts in one weekend

after a long time of no quilting. You know I don't like to waste fabric, and one of my ways of avoiding waste is to cut irregular rest bits into squares and saving them for future use. Usually it means 2 ½" squares, sometimes bigger, but also 2" squares. I have different plastic trays and jars for the different sizes, and last weekend I decided to look into the 2" container. There were lots of little fabric squares! 

First I picked the ones in red, and some others, almost random, and the neutral ones, and arranged them into a 7 x 9 grid, and soon had the first quilt top put together and ironed. Then I used the remaining light squares together with the more feminine bits, and made another quilt. You can't see it really, but it is Titty's quilt in the bright sunlight below here. Digging deeper I found 63 squares in brown, green, grey and blue tones for the third quilt, that's Roger's above on the right.

I had been moving a stack of burgundy 2½" x 6½" strips out of my way, and noticed that I would get 3 squares from each very easily. I had some floral print rests from dressmaking, too oddly shaped to make a doll's dress but more than enough to make the second color for the last quilt. There was an uncut 2½" strip of the burgundy, and it was just the correct length for binding. Always a pleasure to use up something with nothing at all left!

Two of the other bindings were also finds from my bag of binding rest bits, one was what was left of a plaid border and also a perfect length. Naturally, the wadding was from a leftover strip of a normal quilt, and the backings came from my stash of recycled fabrics. Many reasons to be pleased: the joy of sewing and finishing the projects, using up material that has just been laying there, making something 'useful' with no material costs, and getting to play with the dolls a little.

The quilts could have been a little bigger, but as the dolls sleep very nicely flat on their back, they don't need bigger quilts. For picnics or sunbathing I can borrow them something more suitable.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Dishcloths, African Flowers and UFO finishes

After all my sock knitting I needed a fun little project to knit and decided to make some dishcloths to use up the bamboo cotton yarns I have bought many years ago.

With this one I tried i cord edging and bind off. It was not difficult but would look better with a simple pattern without a frame.

The red was a smallish rest ball and I didn't know how far it would go, so I started in a corner adding stitches in the middle, so my knitting would be a square from the beginning. The green was knitted in the same size just to make them a pair.

In the same box with the yarns were 23 African Flowers I had crocheted with the tiny rests when I knitted the first dishcloths. Now I figured out how to make half hexagons, and joined them all to this little blanket for my dolls.

Another UFO were these chenille pieces. They only needed the binding which I made with extra wide bias tape from my stash. They can be pot coasters or something like that.

Finally, the baby hats I knitted with the soft baby merino wool I swapped on the KIP day. They will be donated for newborn babies. Same patterns as before.

Our Flammentanz rose is soon in full bloom, there seem to be dozens of buds waiting to open. This is a rose we both had at home in our mother's garden, so it is nice to have one of our own now.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

The Swallows and a Midsummer treat

Hi everyone,
this is another post from Titty and the other Swallows, just a little bit of sewing related. The next post will be about knitting again.

Midsummer and Summer solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year. You really notice the difference up here in the North. The Finns have their white and blue flag up all night only for this night, so we took our Swallow flag out too.

Auntie has a new young English friend who will soon take care of Dick and Dot Callum, so she made them a Coot Club flag.

The boys were testing it before Auntie Ulla sent it to England.

This family has a tradition of eating pancakes with strawberry jam and whipped cream for a Midsummer treat. Auntie helped us make our portion in our size. This would be a perfect meal to prepare on a campfire, but as there has been no rain for a long time, campfires are not allowed! They could start forest fires, so there is a warning on the radio and TV weather forecasts. Anyway, Susan will know how to make them now. Well, how does this look:

And afterwards, the boys had eaten their bellies so full that they could hardly sit up! Roger wanted to lick the plate so no cream and jam would be wasted. He thought he could save washing the plate by doing so!

In the garden most of the roses are pink or red, but this yellow one is my favorite!

We stayed up so late last night, waiting for the darkness that never came, so I think I will join the others and have a little nap. We will wake up when Auntie makes afternoon tea.

Your friend

Sunday, 9 June 2019

I'm a Kipper?

Yesterday was the World Wide Knit in Public Day, KIP. I was organizing it at the Villa Cooper like last year and the year before. So, does it make me a kipper? I do like to eat fish, but smoked herrings are not a favourite.
Anyway we were knitting in the lovely garden on Villa Cooper, and this year seemed to be a success. The famous knitting café and yarn shop Lentävä Lapanen you might remember by its translation Flying Mitten was with us and brought loads of their delicious yarns for sale.

We placed the tables in the shadow, but soon they were in full sunshine. These ladies found a great place in the shadow:

The weather was beautiful, but almost too hot in the sun. Luckily we had a pop up café inside the Villa Cooper, with coffee, tea and cold refreshments to go with the delicious treats baked by two of the club members. The balcony on the garden side of the house was a perfect place for a cuppa, and the lawn in the garden could have offered excellent places for picnic if there had been even more visitors.

Skeins of yarn need to be wound into balls so helping hands make the job easy.

We had an exchange point (on the left) for materials no longer needed. I brought some fine crocheting yarns I  knew I'm not going to use ever, and found two almost untouched balls of baby wool I will use for knitting baby hats or booties for charity.

On this little table in the center was my  (Villa) Cooper's Test point. Ladies who took the test had to show their ability to read knitting instructions and show the basic skills by knitting a 14 stitches by 14 rows sample with knits, purls, yo's and k2tog's. Timing was voluntary but everyone wanted to time their performance. The majority of the test group (which was only 7 persons) finished the test in an amazing time of less than 12 minutes, a result never achieved in the official Cooper's Test that requires running. My ladies managed this in hot weather and sitting down! Isn't that lovely! They received the result card with their name and time, and a shiny heart sticker of their choice.

I have been knitting in my spare time too. In the middle is the pair I showed you earlier when it was half done, on the right a pair with the rest of that hand dyed yarn in broken seeds stitch with a dark purple yarn rest, and of the left a simple pair of cotton mix socks in a self striping yarn in lemon and lime colours from the Flying Mitten.

Rosa pimpinellifolia or the Finnish Midsummer rose was already opening its buds in the garden of Villa Cooper, two weeks before Midsummer.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Titty's Secret Project Revealed

Hi again, Titty here in my new summer frock among the primroses.

Auntie and I finished the secret project, and John and I climbed a local mountain for the launching. It is the Swallow flag for our sailing boat in the books by Uncle Ransome, but as we don't have a boat here, we will take the flag to new places we are going to conquer.

John helped me put up the flag but here I wanted to pose alone with it, as it is my idea and my design, Auntie Ulla just helped with the sewing.

Yesterday it was like it was snowing in bright sunshine, just click the photo and you can see yourself. It was just the hairy seeds from the aspen! They flew in our teacups when we had afternoon tea on the veranda.

These violas or pansies appeared on the gravel by the front steps, growing from the seeds of last year's summer flowers in a planter just a meter away.

We have been living quietly without any adventures to mention, so there is not much to report. I do like my new frock! It has daisies printed on the fabric and tiny green buttons on the back. Next on our wish list are a summer skirt or frock for Susan and a shirt for Roger. Auntie just keeps cleaning her windows and washing laundry and ironing and cooking and when she is not busy like that she is just lazy and reads books when she should be taking care of us and our clothes. Window cleaning n the middle of the pollen season and with rain forecasts for the rest of the week! I'm just saying. It is not very comfortable to sit in a wool sweater and long trousers waiting for a summer outfit, when the sun is shining and the temperature is almost 60 degrees higher than when I got the winter clothes. - Sorry Auntie, but it is true. I could help you pick nice fabrics to get you started. I hope you will let me write here again some time, I would love that.

Titty Walker