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

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Yarn bent on different curves

 My first attempt to make a shawl with a very hairy mohair yarn was a) too long and b) impossible to unravel, so I decided it will be a scarf for dark winter days, wrapped around my neck 4-fold and three times round. It looks rather like something you could draw from the vacuum cleaner hose when it is clogged, dust caught by a long piece of yarn.

The rest of the ball was used for this shawl. This time I started with the desired width and crocheted as far as the yarn reached. A nice mosquito net for cool summer evenings, don't you think?

The pattern is Solomon's knots or Lover's knots. Easy to crochet, but also easy to crochet too many loops or too few, and then you need to un-crochet.

I had this lovely hand-dyed merino/polyamide yarn for my birthday and found a nice new almost lacy pattern to try on. French heels almost done!

On the 3rd of May we had already tiny leaves on the silver birches but also new snow for two days. Some parts of Finland had more, up to 6", and it snowed on top of old snow so it must have felt like proper winter again.

But today we have a sunny day and the ground is covered in white again, but this time it is wild wood anemones. Where I grew up we didn't have them, but hepatica was what we picked for Mother's Day in May. Here wood anemone is the spring flower for Mother's Day or "just so". Sometimes I miss the beautiful blue and purplish shades of hepatica.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Spring projects

Raspberry filled chocolates came to my mind when I knitted these socks for myself. Not that I could actually eat any milk chocolate, but I still remember the taste. I had cherished this yarn for many years and finally decided to use it.

At Villa Cooper a client has asked if I could make a small pouch like the ones for headphones I made last year

but with the zipper at the top edge. I tried, but making them look neat is more difficult this way.

For this lot I used the smallest scraps of Japanese fabrics from the big stash my DD Kaija left for me.

Spring is here but the only flowers in the garden so far have been the snowdrops, crocuses and now in bloom the Scilla Sibirica. I bought these Easter lilies at the florist for Easter. In the garden they will be up in a month or so!

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Greetings from abroad

Hi everyone,
this is John writing. It looks like we have taken over Auntie Ulla's blog, but she has really not finished, or even started, anything on the quilting front, and all she has knitted lately has been stuff for us. I think anyone can imagine how much clothes four children need! She will be back some day, this has not changed into a doll adventure blog.

Thursday last week was sunny, and the ice had finally melted so I had a beach photo taken in my travel clothes. We saw the first butterflies and chaffinches!

Have a closer look, I got to borrow Roger's scarf as I con't have one yet and he didn't need it.

Mr K. and Auntie Ulla took me along on their traditional trip to Germany! I had my own luggage, and naturally my birth certificate. We don't need a passport when visiting Auntie L.

She is Mr K.'s sister, and she has a big balcony. I had to climb up her trellis when I saw the dangerous lizards! Maybe she has trained them to look after her and protect her from wasps or something. I was scared anyway.

We visited the big fly fishing event Erlebniswelt Fliegenfischen. I was just hanging around Rio and half expecting to see the Amazons there. It turned out that this Rio was not the river but a brand name for some fly fishing products.

Uncle Ransome is a keen fly fisherman, so he could also have been there, but I didn't see anyone just like him. - Outdoors there were casting performances almost all day, so a proper warning was necessary.

A Scotsman was by the river, showing his skills. It made more sense, as there can't be any fish in the shallow plastic pools put up on the lawn!

As the sun was shining, Auntie let me change into my sailing sweater and shorts.

I had a little rest and a nap under a tree, enjoying the sun. I don't think I will get a tan with this complexion. Auntie Ulla told me that white cotton will get the bright whiteness back when dried on the line when the sun is shining.

After the fair we saw another one. There was a village Spring festival in Auntie L.'s town. Was the young girls' fashion of bare ankles spreading to grown up men? We saw a couple of them like this, with only top part of their socks showing a bare leg and ankle, and very short socks in the shoes. Strange!

The parade was led by this pair of horses and it was very long, with several marching bands. and all kinds of clubs and societies represented.

When we came back on Wednesday night, the weather had turned cold here, and in the morning everything was covered in snow again! I hope the butterflies find somewhere warm to wait for the Spring to come back.