Sunday, 7 August 2016

Half way point of the Splendid QAL

This week has been productive, we are back to normal everyday routines. Mr K. has been picking bilberries, "just a nice evening stroll, max two hours", and as a result of these strolls we now have about 30 liters of those tasty arctic blue berries in the freezer to give us vitamins and good eyesight with our oatmeal every morning until next harvest season. Blue berries, blue hexagons for the Splendid Sampler QAL.

This flower applique was easy. I made the background HSTs from two 4" squares of each fabric instead of cutting four 3½" squares of each and wasting the smaller triangles. 

Foundation piecing, luckily just large pieces of fabric this time.

I found my favourites are normal pieced blocks like this one.

Because I didn't even start one recent block and dumped my paper pieced Balls in the Air after just one quarter of the block, I have been sewing several of the bonus blocks to replace those two and maybe some future blocks.

A fun little hat,

a flower in a pot

and to mark the half way point with 50 blocks published, we are now over the Top of the Hill:

I made my moon over the mountain very realistic, but as we don't really have such high mountains here, I could have called this Moon behind a fir tree, if I had used green fabrics in this quilt. Well, I haven't, so a brown mountain it is. I try to keep to the fabrics I chose last winter for the project. There are browns, blues, yellows, oranges and reds, two blacks with print and a selection of white to grey and beige for backgrounds. All fabrics are from my stash, and this may be my first project where I use new fabrics only, nothing has been recycled.

Naturally, my hands will not be idle when I'm watching TV, so I have knitted a pair of train socks, again. You can read my short version of the history of the socks here. The ribbed long legs make sure the baby doesn't kick his or her socks off. A friend is having a baby in the autumn so I decided to prepare for his arrival. Witch the rest of the white yarn I made stripes for a pair of peppermint candy socks, and yesterday I started a pair of mittens to go with them.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Accumulator Seriali Spinoff Series - Needle Keepers and a mystery tool

Last Saturday my daughter Kaija, the original Accumulator, showed her vintage pins and needles here. I don't have a single old package of needles, they have all gone straight to her, but I have quite many old and new needle keepers. So many that I can call it an accumulation, as I have not tried to collect them.

 The first one is a stitched little thing from my mother's side of the family.

On the left is a little pocket, and there are two pieces of felt for different needles.

The two holders at the top are traditional crafted items from Lapland, with an engraved reindeer pulling a Sami man in a sleigh. I would think they are souvenirs, maybe for my Grandmother and her younger sister, my great auntie Saima. Needles are fastened in a little piece of red felt sewn on the leather that goes from the bone ring through the hollow piece of reindeer bone, ending in the twisted loop used to hang the needle keeper on one's belt or on a hook.

The three small ones hold the needles loose inside. The wooden caps are just pushed on, but the tiny bone thing has a twisted on cap. The middle one has a text Gütermann's Nähseide, so it advertises popular sewing threads.

These three are my modern needle books, all from a very dear friend. I'm sorry I have misplaced the pink needlebook Kaija made for me when she was a little schoolgirl.

With the heart needlebook above at the bottom came also this pincushion I couldn't find when I showed you my pincushions here.

Which brings me to the other pincushions missing from that post:

On the left, the red dressmaker's pincushion and the felt flower were my mother's. The small round one with an elastic band is one that Kaija made for me at school. The red and greed one with an edelweiss is from my mother-in-law. The big acorn in felt and the little angel with a back pocket for scissors are by Melanie. I remember how my mother made the felt flower pincushions, I had one of my own as well. They were made for a craft fair to raise money for our school. The Women's Committee did an amazing job as money raisers and provided all kinds of useful things for the school, like a language laboratory which at that time was a rare treat. It took much more than some pincushions to reach their goals.

Finding all the needle things I came across this mysterious tool, two of them in fact:

The shaft is hollow, and there is a hole for some kind of yarn or thread. Any idea about the use?

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Stitched, appliquéd and pieced blocks, washcloths, mittens and some new socks

 A week ago I made a short visit to England, but after that I have been busy trying to catch up with the Splendid Sampler blocks. They publish two new blocks every week so it is easy to fall behind. Basic pieced blocks are a nice way to make the to do -list shorter:

The stitched blocks are a welcome change to my TV knitting, I can stitch while watching something not too demanding, like the Tour de France was.

Schools begin in a few weeks, and the shops are full of colourful bags, notebooks and my special love, pencils and crayons. This block is paper-pieced, without the nerve-wracking tiny bits that have three times as much seam allowance as there is visible fabric on the right side.

I mean this kind of paper-piecing, it is not for me:

We have some strawberries growing in the flowerbed, so small that they almost look and taste like the wild ones.

I try to keep my fabric selection limited, so my squirrel's tree has autumn colours already.

I have made some of the bonus blocks so I can skip the regular blocks I don't fancy doing. Here is a happy one with summer feeling:

This summer and especially during the three week Tour de France I faithfully watch with Mr K. (even when I have never ridden a bicycle myself in my whole long life), I have finished quite many yarn projects. First I refreshed my memory by crocheting a washcloth in Bavarian crochet, and then I thought I will learn something new, the Moss stitch. Well, it turned out to be something I had done before, just didn't know the name.

Bedsocks in olive  green merino wool, red socks with cables, and a small pair of basic socks using up a rest of self striping yarn, added with stripes in an off-white yarn of the same brand.

Then I knitted some mittens for a change, pink ones in a child size and yet another pair of Aino'S mittens in Finnish sheep wool in white, like Aino Sibelius would have knitted them.

At some point I wanted to try another new to me stitch and knitted these potholder/dishcloths in Cream 'n Sugar. The colour reminds me of milk chocolate with raspberry filling.

There it is, a post as long as the title.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Accumulator Seriali Spinoff Series - Herbarium

This week my collection is a real one, or actually two. When I was a schoolkid, our Summer vacation was a whole three months period, but it was not just for play and rest. We had to collect plants and learn their names. The collection was called a Herbarium, and mine looks like this:

Each year we had to collect 40 plants, press them, find out their Finnish and Latin names, attach the flowers on white papers and write the labels in ink. Here is my Alsike clover, Trifolium hybridum. (I was surprised to notice just now that the Alsike part of the name is the same as in Finnish, so it must be someone's name.)

Back to school in September, the biology teacher would check all the collections, and then we had a test. She would show any plant in our own Herbarium, and cover the label, and we would say the Finnish and Latin name of the plant and its genus.

No mistakes were allowed. In the picture above I have a pressed red clover, Trifolium pratense, but the fresh sample I picked today is the Trifolium medium. It has a red flower as well, but notice how the three green leaflets are more pointed and narrower than those of the red clover.

It took me about five minutes to collect the little bunch of wild flowers, more than ten species. I wonder why collecting 40 during a Summer felt sometimes like a burden? Well, it was really 40 new ones each year, three Summers in a row. One could naturally begin in May and find the last ones in September. Sometimes one just was too late there:

The Geum rivale, water avens, was past bloom today.

My specimen was from June 1962, so I knew when to pick this one.

The Chamerion angustifolium has different names in Britain and in America. I'm surprised how well the colour has kept.

Before the time of colour pictures one had to look at the details of the flower more carefully and compare them with the drawings of the guide book.

When we were just married, Mr K. and I started our own Herbarium and collected about a hundred flowers in it. The last picture is from this new collection. I managed to find the right kind of labels for them. Still sometimes when I see a wild flower, the Latin name just comes to my mind. Maybe not very useful, but fun anyway.

The original Accumulator Seriali posts are on my daughter's blog, Paperiaarre. Her blog is on a new website worth visiting.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Stitching and sewing

The Splendid Sampler blocks sometimes take their time, like this one,

or allow an easier way of doing, like this fancy machine stitchery instead of doing it by hand.

Some blocks are easy and take very little time

compared to some others that require more.

This is my newest finished block, so I'm just a little behind schedule. 

The next block is tiny paper piecing again, not my favourite type.

My peonies before the big rain that filled them with water and they were bent all the way down.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Peppermint Candy

Last week I was getting frustrated, I was working on a quilt that can be finished next year in February at the earliest, and knitting a scarf in fingering weight yarn and a simple lace pattern that still requires my full attention. There was no hope to finish any project in the near future. I looked around in my piles and project boxes, and found six red and white blocks with large polka dots. They were left over last year when I made this quilt for my exhibition at the Villa Cooper.

I had a larger quilt in mind but decided to keep it smaller, perfect for a little girl. All the other fabrics were still stored in that box so it didn't take long before I had cut and pieced a twin quilt for this one. Here it is:

There was enough polka dot fabric left for a border just like in the other quilt, and I will make the backing in the same red flannel, and the binding in the same red. This way the two quilts will be the same size and a perfect pair, if someone needs two quilts for two kids.

We had several days of hard rain and chilly weather, so I knitted another pair of socks in two grays.

The sun is out again, and today it will be up for 19 hours. It doesn't really get dark here at all at this time of the year, but naturally in six months we are paying our price for it. Here is a link to a beautiful diagram with the dawn and dusk times.

The warmth and the sun opened the first of my pink peonies

and the wagtail found a perfect watch point to keep an eye on their babies on the lawn.

Have a nice Solstice day!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Creative designing and some new blocks

This morning Mr K. was packing for a short trip to Sweden, for a casting competition. He asked if I had a piece of fabric I could use for something he had in mind and needed, today. Well, as you know I save all kinds of rest pieces, and had a long and narrow scrap of green fabric I had used to make summer trousers for our youngest, many years ago. Mr K.'s suggestions for this project were quite useless, so I did some thinking and soon the scrap of green fabric had turned into this:

I added the flap because I wanted the contents to be safe.

His casting rods will now be safe and unscratched. He has such faith in my skills in the sewing room and still he is every time so surprised when I can fulfill his wishes, be it a simple pouch for a reel or a tailored fly fishing vest with 19 pockets and ten zippers.

Best of all, he remembered to pack every rod he will need there. 

I have been busy with the sampler blocks this week. The Splendid Sampler button on my right sidebar takes you to the QAL's website, and there you can find all the patterns, 34 by now plus many bonus projects, for free.

This is finally my block number 20, using a piece of the antique cushion cover I showed in my previous post.

I'm working on another stitched block, number 31, but this flower was a quick one:

I use the blanket stitch of my Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 870 Quilt for the applique.
The selvedge block was an easy one, and I could finally use at least some of the selvedges I have been saving ever since I saw the most wonderful dress .

The newest block, Lemonade, was a bit scary. I have only sewn a couple of curved quilt block seams in my life, and didn't like them, and didn't do very well. It was in a class,  for a very ugly cushion cover I never used. I'm taking this quilt-along as a learning process, so I thought I'll keep sewing those two seams until I manage to produce two 2" squares. I have enough of those fabrics. To my great surprise, my first attempts were, after being ironed, quite acceptable. So, here is my Lemonade: