Friday, 2 December 2016

Day 2

We just watched again the movie Calendar Girls on TV. The husband of one of the ladies died of leukaemia, and he had no time to give a speech at the Women's Institute. It was read there though, and in the speech he compared the women of Yorkshire to the flowers of Yorkshire, and how each stage of their bloom is more beautiful than the other. And then they seed.
I thought of his words when I saw these flowers of last summer, waiting for the birds or winter winds to spread their seeds, and in my eyes the flowers are still beautiful.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Day 1

My irregular blog Advent Calendar is back. Last year I had knee issues, some other years other things on my mind, but I decided to try again. Just a few words and a picture every day until December 24th or maybe even 25th.

This picture, taken today almost at noon, shows how close to Winter Solstice we are. Our days are getting about six minutes shorter every day for a couple of weeks still.

Welcome back tomorrow to a new picture of our winter.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Quilt blocks for the sampler and some knitting

After a long absence from my sewing machine I have taken the bull by the horns again and finished ten new blocks for the Splendid Sampler. I have decided to make things easier for myself whenever I feel like it, so I used a striped fabric here instead of piecing the half circle, and I appliqued the halves on the background instead of piecing them. I don't like curved seams very much.

This one is done by the book (there will be a book with these patterns in the Spring!).

Plus Love:

First Stitch, block 71:

And here a group photo:

I have knitted little mittens

and a pair of pink and grey socks.

Winter arrived at the beginning of this month for about ten days, but is now gone again, with rain and plus degrees. It was pretty while it lasted.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Dolls for Unicef, again

Meet my newest Unicef dolls, numbers 66 to 69 on my list. My hopeful plan is to make them a hundred dolls in my lifetime. I finished this lot today, and they are waiting for the new identity card forms from the Unicef office.

The dolls will not be sold but adopted, and the adoption fee, 20 to 40€ or more, will go 100% to Unicef. It is enough to buy all vital vaccinations for a real child somewhere out there where life is so much tougher.
The dolls don't even have names yet. I will go through my list first, because I don't want to use the same names again. I think the boy will be called Valtteri.

I was experimenting with new hairstyles and noticed that the more yarn I use, the better the hair will look, to a certain limit of course. The girl in the blue and white dress is having a bad hair day because I ran out of that yarn. Let's not call it bad hair, it is more like typical Finnish mouse coloured thin  and limp hair.

Maybe the two redheads ought to swap dresses? The purple might look great with green eyes.

Here are all my socks with the price tags Kaija designed and printed for me. I just stamped the size, price and name of the socks on them and punched the holes before sewing them on the socks.

October has almost over and I haven't sewn any Splendid Sampler blocks since my last post here. Maybe now when the socks and the dolls are off my list I can concentrate on the quilt blocks again.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Knitter's Block

This is my newest pair of socks, honey coloured honeycomb socks among autumn coloured bilberry leaves.

I like to spray the finished socks with water and stretch them out to dry to make my stitches look smoother and the pattern more visible.

My dear, clever Mr K. made me sock blocks in three sizes, and now the socks get a new, almost professional look.

Earlier this week we visited our DD Kaija and brought her some old things, and she designed and printed nice price tags for all my new socks and mittens. It was good to see her, and a lovely trip through beautiful landscapes, with the trees still in their autumn colours in bright sunshine.

Since my last post I have been busy with two more blocks for the Splendid Sampler quilt.

I'm again three blocks behind, but the ones I have waiting are all nice ones.

Our nights are cold by this time of the year so the morning temperatures are just around the freezing point.

Brassica and Calluna have replaced my summer annuals. It is time to cut down the perennials in the flowerbeds. All apples are cooked for the winter, I'm quite proud of my new record of 112 jars. They should last until next summer.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Struggling and enjoying

... that is how it goes when you start a QAL not knowing what the final quilt will be like. I have finished ten new blocks for the Splendid Sampler quilt since the last time I showed my blocks. Here is what I renamed a Dutch kitchen tile and an allotment shed, both appliqued.

Two more appliques, the nice and easy cone flower and the intimidating 17-piece monster.

Two examples of paper-piecing.On the left the straight forward flying geese, and on the right a nerve-wrecking shell. In the middle section I felt really, really stupid when I was unpicking the red fabric for the xth time and had to tape the paper foundation back together because I had just perforated that cursed line too many times. Finally I pinned the red in place from the right side, flipped it open and at that strange angle it finally went on the right way.

For this Dresden plate ring I just happened  to have the Easy Dresden ruler so I didn't need to cut the wedges with a template. I have learned to take liberties to change the blocks if I feel like it. Here I used a striped background fabric instead of piecing the background from 1½" strips.

My favourites are the pieced blocks. They don't take too much time to finish and still they can have something  interesting to offer. With two new blocks every week I prefer the blocks not be too time consuming. Making this quilt with friends and sharing our experiences makes it worth while.

The thornless hawthorn socks are finished. We don't have sea hawthorn bushes here, but the poisonous berries of the lily of the valley are the perfect colour too. I knitted the foot part without the bubbles and with a rib knit on top so the sock has a nice snug fit for shoes and the legs with bubbles to show.

Same yarns, and my grandmother's mitten pattern for the legs.

It is time to change to autumn flowers. We have had some chilly mornings with only 3C after a cloudless night, but some very lovely sunny and fresh days like today.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Farmers' Market, flower fence, and knitting again

This year the (very un-)traditional flower arrangements in Järvenpää were chairs fastened to the ugly fence. You may remember the wellies from 2013,

the bags from 2014,

and the bikes from 2015.

This year they used old, donated chairs. I didn't have a chance to take a photo of the whole fence, but after the chairs were taken down earlier this month, they found new addresses where to stay as long as the flowers are pretty. This one found a new home outside Lentävä Lapanen, the Flying Mitten. One of he owners is active in the movement that makes the flower project possible.

Yesterday a storm was sweeping across the country, leaving 200,000 households without electricity for some time, but we enjoyed a sunny and relatively warm, windy day. The beautiful weather brought thousands of people to the pedestrian area and the park by the lake in Järvenpää where the annual Farmers' Market Maa elää was held.

The market was filled with the autumn's harvest from fields, gardens and forests as well as craft rooms.  Delicious chanterelles:

and lingonberries.

There was an info desk with wild mushroom samples. The ladies from the local equivalent of a Women's Institute (or something like that) were there to help people identify different mushrooms and especially to separate the good ones from the really bad ones.

After this point the street was too crowded for me to get any photos, but there were over 130 tables or stalls. Beautiful flowers, home made cordials and jams, bread, cakes and flour, carrots and potatoes, handmade clothes for dolls as well as children or women, hand woven rugs and many more crafty things.

It has been some time since my last post so a lot of knitting has been going on. A pair of mittens to go with the peppermint candy striped socks, using my grandmother's favourite pattern which makes them thick and warm and yet not stiff.

I had little balls of yarn left from sock knitting so I combined them and  tried my hands on the bubble pattern I used for my grandson's blanket two years ago:

Those bubbles felt a bit too big after all (six rows high) so I reduced their size and used finer yarn and just two colours. Sea-hawthorn berries without the thorns?

This pair will take an evening or two to finish, but every time I finish a pair I feel so happy the pair is finished, both socks or mittens are the same size, have the same number of rows, and I can start a new pair, not just a new sock or mitten and trying to knit it the same way.