Tuesday 29 November 2022

Meet the newest Unicef doll

This week I was inspired to make another doll for Unicef. I had a red striped skirt in mind, but ended up with this velvety jersey in dark blue. With a zipper in the back and a big ribbon bow in silver grey sateen, and a tiny flower brooch the dress is perfect for thee school's Christmas fete.

Here Elsa is again, between my old cacti in full blossom. They are a bit early for Christmas, but will probably have flowers again for Easter. As you can see, we have snow and the days feel so much lighter with it.

The funds raised through adoption fees of the dolls are used for vaccinations against lethal diseases and for programs that promote the health, education and safety of children. In this way the dolls will help save real children of the world.

My hands have not been idle in the evenings. Here are the newest socks from my needles. Two grey shades and some white.

Dark red and pale pink, I was trying to use up both of those rests but there is still a little left for some stripes of a new pair.

The green, red and light blue socks are gifts, each with a different slouchy leg part. The smaller socks are knitted with the leftover yarn from the green socks.


Monday 31 October 2022

9-patch quilt finished

This is a quilt that has been coming for a long time. I usually cut the small leftover bits from any quilt project into 2½" squares and store them in a box. At the beginning of this year I started sewing them into 9-patches when I had suitable colors for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. This month I decided on a setting and put the quilt top together.

This time the machine quilting was no problem, and I quilted diagonal lines from edge to edge.

The sashing fabric was chosen to match this chest of drawers.

My evening activity is - as always - knitting combined to TV. These two pairs of socks were a custom order in very light pink and beige stripes, and the same pink with white and green bubbles.


Wednesday 5 October 2022

Autumn's Joys

Finally the Autumn quilt is quilted, bound, washed, re-washed and delivered! Autumn's Joys is the name I gave it. In my previous post I told the story behind the rows of blocks.

Washed, you may wonder. Yes, I wanted to be sure the colours would not bleed, and washed the finished quilt (stupidly enough) in cold water to save energy. What I had feared, happened: the red apples from the top end bled, and I didn't even notice it before the quilt had been drying over night. I did what I thought was right, and washed the quilt again, but in hot water and with a colour catcher, and to my big relief all the white was bright again and all stains were gone.

I had some problems with the machine quilting, the needle thread formed loops on the reverse when I crossed multiple layers. I unpicked the worst, but decided to leave the small loops of  some few stitches.

This quilt was delivered today to Villa Cooper and is for sale for the Finnish Red Cross' Disaster Relief Fund to help in Ukraine.

Like always, I have been busy knitting in the evenings. Five pairs of wool sock and two pairs of mittens are waiting for the cold days of Autumn and Winter. With the energy costs going rapidly up, it is necessary to drop room temperatures, and wool socks will be our way to stay comfortable.


Sunday 18 September 2022

Baby blue blocks and a finished quilt top

This month's color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is baby blue, and my geese are flying on a pale blue sky.

They made the top row for my Autumn themed quilt. Then I hurried to join my rows and

even frame them with white and a brownish orangeish floral print.

Autumn is here, apples are ripening, leaves are turning yellow, orange, red and brown, fruit and berries are conserved in jars, hot tea warms us up after a walk in the forest having picked mushrooms in a basket while wearing warm knitted socks in out wellies. Oh, and flannel shirts too, they are the tiny 4-patches.

With the rapidly rising electricity costs we will be wearing wool socks in the house as well when the Winter comes. Luckily I love knitting and trying new patterns too. 

I'm linking this post to ScrapHappy Saturday.

Sunday 21 August 2022

Orange jars and leaves

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge's colour for August is orange. After a search in my yellow stash I found a scrap of bright orange, suitable for a couple of jars of cloud berries.

With some imagination we could count these maple leaves for orange as well, don't you think?

It has been unusually hot for this time of the year, so I have spent more time indoors with books or my sewing machine. Our three old apple trees have been full of little green apple babies, but with the strong winds lately we have had apples raining from the trees. Mr K. has picked them for a friend who takes them out to the forest to feed deer, so they are not wasted. I only need a little to make baked apples with custard, and some apple pies in September, when the apples are ready for eating. 

Monday 8 August 2022

New girls ready for school

My newest Unicef dolls are both little school girls. This first one is dressed almost like the very ugly fabric doll I made at school when I was about 9 years old. A simple green and white dress decorated with rows of cross stitches, but back then it was all hand sewn, we didn't use sewing machines until the next year.

In this photo made for the birth certificate she doesn't have her final look yet. I added a dark green bow to keep her hair to the side.

This young lady was ready for the world today. Yesterday she had an unfortunate accident with my blue permanent ink felt tip pen, and we were both nearly in tears. Stain removing didn't help, the colour was diluted but spread wider and wider, and the damage that started at her heel was creeping up to her knee.

Embroidering the face and sewing the hair are the most time consuming parts of my doll making, and essential for creating the personality of each doll. I just could not waste all that energy, so I had to perform emergency surgery. As a happy owner of an artificial knee joint I knew a transplant would work here too. Quickly I prepared a spare leg, stuffed it, sedated the poor little doll, cut off the damaged leg and replaced it with the new one at the hip joint. Good as new, and it takes an expert to notice the seam where on the healthy side the doll has just a hand stitched line to allow the legs to bend for sitting.

Today I took her to Villa Cooper where seven Unicef dolls have already found a new home this year alone.


Sunday 24 July 2022

Blocks, socks and flowers

Still going purple with my quilt blocks, Rainbow Scrap Challenge's colour for July. I found a plaid with purple in my stash so I made two 9-patch blocks for future use.

My knitting has been with purple as well, using up last bits of baby merino wool I bought for chemo patient hats some years ago. I thought there would be enough light blue yarn to finish a pair of bed socks for my own use, but I was mistaken. I'm forced to go yarn shopping in a real yarn shop as this yarn is not grocery store quality. Poor me! I might have to buy some other yarn there as well, if I'm tempted, which I probably will be.

I have mentioned sock knitting in most of my posts, and here is finally a photo of my efforts towards using up my yarn stash. The all grey pair needed just a little more than I had, so I bought more, and then knitted several pairs of small grey socks with stripes that used up tiny rests. Now all I have left really is some black and some white, and I have started a pair of mittens for a change.

Villa Cooper's campaign to raise money for the Finnish Red Cross to help Ukraine is still going. I'm happy my Red Crosses quilt has been sold. I have made these mug rugs with flowers and with birds in raw applique. 

The sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine. Each set of two mug rugs has one sunflower and one other flower.

Here are some of the little birds:


Saturday 9 July 2022

Purple blocks in July

This month I have been working on some blocks for my new quilt. I made a purple hat and another that is at least almost purple, if not just some kind of pink.

These mittens are more purple than the second hat.

And the second pair of mittens is definitely purple.

The knitting basket is full to the rim, but the socks in it are not yet ready for a photo shoot. After a long heat wave we are having a cloudy day with much welcome rain. I will wait for better light on a sunny day.

I'm linking this post to Soscrappy's blog for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2022.


Saturday 25 June 2022

More blue

Midsummer holidays have kept me from my sewing machine, so only two new blue blocks have been finished since my last post.

The one hat on the left is a really light blue. I designed the block myself, and it took me several attempts to get the pompom look somewhat round, and the proportions of the hat and bottom fold right. Now I'm pleased with the result, and will make more hats in different colors.

I'm linking this to So Scrappy's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Next time I hope to have all my recent knitting sorted and photos taken. The mountain of socks is getting bigger every week.


Saturday 18 June 2022

Blue blocks

This month the Rainbow Scraps are blue. My 2½" squares' box had enough squares in these blue plaids:

I felt like starting something new, so I went through my other blue and light blue stash and found these floral prints and one dotty fabric most suitable for mugs. The one in the middle is for me, a left handed mug.

Rag doll making leaves me with odd shaped bits of white sheet fabric from the ends and sides, where the sheets are not worn thin. I often cut these bits in 2½" squares for the 9-patch blocks, or even smaller like 1½" and 1" and even 3/4" squares for cutting corners like these mugs. Bigger leftovers are stored in a box and can be cut for longer strips like the ones I'm going to need when I join the mugs to a row and add background on both sides of the row.

I hope to add to this new quilt project something blue next week too.


Tuesday 24 May 2022

Unicef dolls - two new ones

My fingers have been itching with some new ideas for Unicef dolls. Several of those I have shown earlier have found new homes, and I felt there was a need for a basic cloth doll with a pretty frock. For some reason I find the fabrics from my own childhood best for the little dresses, like this one with delicate red roses and blue stripes. She feels almost like a princess in it. The ribbons in her hair are pure silk.

The next doll has more character. Her name is Eerika. She has been at the library after work and is on her way to a vernissage at an art gallery. For tomorrow night she has booked theater tickets with the other girls, and they may go out for a meal too. I think she would make a perfect 50th or 60th birthday gift for any lady of her type. You know, leggings and a tunic that is wide around the hips so the latest cake-eating doesn't show, and the long scarf to hide age spots and wrinkles on her cleavage. The comfortable tunics in plus sizes tend to have such wide necklines. What you don't see here is a strand of her otherwise raven black hair tinted purple like her glasses.

Here they are together. The doll pattern is internationally used for all Unicef dolls, but creativity is allowed and recommended for the rest. I have never counted the hours it takes to make a doll from start to finish, but the hair alone takes hours. The dolls are not tested for safety and therefore Unicef has made a label saying the doll is a decoration and not recommended for children under 14 years. I have sewn the label together with the Unicef logo label in the side seam of their left leg, and the same warning is printed on the identity card I fill in for each doll. Years ago, before these warnings, doll makers were told to avoid buttons and anything that might be dangerous for small children. I think it is up to the parents to decide whether their child can play with a hand made cloth doll, but I also welcome people over 14 years of age to find the fun of playing with dolls, or just owning a cloth doll that is special to them for some reason. I have had some wonderful moments with my own Swallows and Amazons dolls, taking photos of them in different environments.


Sunday 15 May 2022

Sage and forest green

After some busy knitting I decided to take the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for this month. The colours are sage and forest green, most pleasing colours for men's plaid shirts. My special stash is full of men's shirts, washed, cut apart and ironed, sorted by colour and waiting for inspiring projects. My RSC block is a simple 9-patch with white. The idea of forest green is luckily a very wide range of green shades, from pine and fir and juniper to early Spring or Summer leaves of birch, aspen, willow and alder, moss greens and all kinds of forest flowers. This is my selection:

Normally I would have chosen only plaids, but the solid green at the center was too nice to be left out.

I have not yet decided how to set the blocks. If I'm going to make several new blocks each month I may have enough blocks to make two new quilts at the end of the year.

Saturday 23 April 2022

Helping Bunnies for Red Cross

As many of you know, I love to knit socks. That means many balls of yarn, and finally many tiny leftover balls of those yarns. Luckily the Finnish Red Cross has published a knitting pattern, designed by Anu Pensola, a soft toy to bring comfort to children in need. This bunny is a cousin of the Trauma Teddy from the Australian Red Cross. Currently there is a campaign to get new bunnies knitted for every child coming from Ukraine to Finland.

I happened to have all these bits of yarn just waiting for a useful purpose, so I knitted five bunnies. They are knitted in the round so only minimal seams need sewing. The bunny is stuffed through the feet left open when starting, and through the final opening between the ears.

Even a few meters of  leftover yarn were enough to make some stripes in the sweaters. The scarf has been sewed tight in the neck so it will not get lost. The knitting café Lentävä Lapanen, the Flying Mitten, is one of the places where knitters can bring their bunnies. The campaign has been running from the end of March, and on Friday when I took my bunnies to them, they had two baskets full of bunnies waiting for delivery. The campaign will last until the end of May, so there is still time to knit a bunny or three.

Before getting the idea of knitting bunnies I used some leftover yarns like they are usually used, for striped socks.

These went to Villa Cooper and the selection sold to raise money for the Red Cross. Both pairs are knitted in a finer wool and that makes them perfect for Summer use in wellies or crocs at the holiday cabin.

I don't spend all my spare time knitting, I have a soft spot for quilting as well. This month's colour in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is pink, and I found two suitable plaids in my cupboards. I made these six 9-patch blocks:

I wonder what the colour for May will be. I decided to keep to this 9-patch block only in this challenge. 

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Helping through the Red Cross

What has happened in Europe since the 24th of February is hard to understand. Never in my lifetime has a war touched so close, and the willingness to help Ukrainians in need seems to be great. Our club or group of handicraft people at Villa Cooper have donated some of their products to be sold to raise money to the Finnish Red Cross, and our customers have found this a good way to help and to be sure the funds go where they are meant to go. Many members have created new products just for this, using blue and yellow colours as they are the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

I made this quilt top in 2018 for the Red Cross, but didn't have the energy to layer and quilt it.

Now seemed the perfect time to finish the project and as I happened to have a backing fabric large enough for the quilt at home, I only needed to buy some batting and get to work. The batting price was a little shock for me, five times as much as the one I had bought before this.

The quilting is as simple as possible, and I finished it in three sessions. I have a bad habit of pulling my shoulders to my ears at the sewing machine, so I needed to have a break after an hour or so.

I quilted diagonal lines except for the bright red cross where I went around the outlines.

These blue and yellow chicks are also for the aid for Ukraine project. Half of my first lot was sold in the first few days so I made some more.

These tiny ones with more details I made earlier in March for the normal sale as hanging Easter ornaments. I made the fundraising chicks larger so they can sit on a table as a couple, and used only blue and yellow fabrics and felt.