Thursday, 28 January 2010

VTT 3 - Sock Pattern

Suddenly it is Thursday again and time to see what Suzanne's friends are showing this week for Vintage Thingie Thursday.

Around Christmas, when DD Kaija was helping me start to reorganize my cellar sewing room, she found my hand written notes from my school days in the early 60's. It was my 6th year of school, second year in the big school, and I had already learned to knit mittens. Twice, in fact. The second time we used two different colours to make stripy mittens. But let's see how to knit socks:

You need to know the names of the different parts you are going to learn to knit.

And you need to understand the signs for the different stitches:

The heel is difficult for many beginners.


Then you must knit a sample of the different patterns and choose your favourite, and count you stitches.

My notes included pictures of other fashionable socks, for inspiration.

I had also found pictures of different heels in my mother's knitting magazines.

My socks ended up very well made, just the right size, and I even had a chance to practice mending on them when my toes finally found their way through the sock.

This was all for this week's VTT. Time to go on with the link list!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

New Books

The beginning of the year means also the beginning of great sales. I haven't found there anything for me to wear, but the book store's sale never fails to offer me something. This year's find was this originally Norwegian book about quilts. Original price was 51.50 €, I bought it for 8 €.

I love their fabric choices, and that makes me love the patterns more, too:

I also ordered one book online, a book I have known about before it was even there. This is the book Pip Lincolne from Meet Me at Mike's published last year.

There are fun and easy projects from crafting and sewing to a delicious recipe. If you follow Pip's blog, you can imagine how encouraging and lovely the text and the photos are.

I'm still waiting for my tatting book to arrive.

This morning I have started two more pillowcases for Jackie, the tubes are sewn and waiting to be ironed so I can sew the French seam on two sides to finish them. Nowadays my sewing table looks usually like this:


No strings attached yet there, but so far 25 blocks are sewn for the string challenge quilt.

We are still enjoying beautiful frosty weather, this morning being one of the coldest this year with -27C or -16.6F. Today we are expecting new snow, for several days, so there will be less sun. Yesterday I took a couple of pictures at 11, to show you how "high" the sun is. First a picture to show the Finnish blue and white:


The cold weather keeps the birds away from the feeder, and I'm afraid most of them will not come back. They manage a few cold days without wasting energy for flying, but then they must get their seeds and fat to survive.


The picture is so dark because I wanted to catch the sun in it, too. Barely above the tree tops, at noon it was about as high as the second highest tree from the left. When I turned to go back in, I felt that the dark door was warm from the sun.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Last Christmas Wish Blocks

This weekend I finished stitching Gail Pan designs'  Christmas Wish BOM blocks. Here are the last three, happy


and magic

Today I have been cutting the sashings. I have decided to allow myself a fun sewing project only after I have sewn something useful first. This means mending Mr. K's trouser pocket. After changing zippers, that is my least favourite reparation. The trousers are otherwise in good condition so I better change a black spool and bobbin in the machine and get it done.

Monday, 25 January 2010

New start and another finish

Last week I finally started my string blocks for Stephanie's No Strings Attached challenge. It also qualifies for my own Use Your Stash 2010, as everything comes from a box in my sewing room. Here are the 14 first blocks:

I think this will be a bed quilt. The blocks will be 7" finished, so I need a few more. Luckily there are more blue scraps than I can use. - Reading the blogs joining in this challenge and another one I joined last year has made me think where I'm going with my life. In real life I'm a rather shy,  usually quiet, middle aged mother of three grown kids and happily married to Mr. Kotkarankki. Last May I became a hooker when crocheting the granny squares, and now the string block ladies are writing about stripping and referring to themselves as strippers. Great Aunt Saima would have understood this kind of play with words. Oh yes, and my mother (a very talented word twister as well) has called me an angel maker because I sew angels for Villa Cooper. I don't know about the term in English but the Finnish word has been used for someone illegally helping women with unwanted pregnancies. Oh dear! Sounds far more ominous and exciting than it is.

My first real finish for this year is the Country Calendar quilt. I have been working on it all last year, and now have put the month blocks together to make a wall hanging. Finishing it I only used fabric from my stash for the sashings, corners, borders, batting, backing and binding, so this qualifies for my UYS 2010 challenge as well. I only bought the black fabric for the October block background, and it was last year.

This morning was again beautiful like from a fairy tale. I took these pictures about 8.30, twnety minutes before sunrise. It has snowed a little last night. This is my washline, waiting for warmer, sunny days:

And this is where the sun comes up, not yet East but more like Southeast:

The days get almost 10 minutes longer every day here in South Finland. Up North the change is bigger: from the 'no sun at all' day the first day has almost an hour between sunrise and sunset, and a week later the day is 3 hours 15 minutes from sunrise to sunset. By Spring Equinox their day is longer than ours, and in mid May they will have no more sunsets for 10 weeks.

Friday, 22 January 2010

New finishes, from stash

I have been busy sewing this week. On Wednesday, when I had my day off duties, I visited my mother in Tampere and took the train there. On the train I was working on this:

It is the Hope block of A Christmas Wish. I have also finished Peace

and Believe:

Now I'm working on the last three blocks. All the material for this project is from stash, I only needed to buy the white embroidery floss. So far I have not bought any fabric this year!

I took the pillowcase challenge Stephanie wrote about, and used Jackie's 20 minutes pattern for the pillowcases. Again, all fabric comes from the depths of my boxes and plastic bags. This is also the first charity project of the Finnish Brown Owls of this year.


The Finnish Brown Owls chapter has so far only one member, so I can pretty freely decide the time and place of my meetings! If you care to join me, please say so. There will be no fee, there will probably only be virtual meetings and projects shared through the internet, just like I have been doing the last two years as a faraway member of the original Melbourne Brown Owls.

The weather is still cold even for this season, -18C or 0.4F. The wind makes it feel even colder. My walk from the bus stop to mother's house was therefore a very quick one, but I needed to stop and take some pictures. The water in a little brook was running so fast that it had not frozen:


If you click on the picture, you may see the snow crystals and the ice forming above the water.
The big trees were all covered in snow. This was about 9.30 in the morning, the sun had just risen.


And finally the snow castle with the brave snowman guard. Have a lovely weekend!


Thursday, 21 January 2010

VTT 2 - Lacy Thingies

Two weeks ago I posted about my Christmas presents, the tatting shuttle and other treasures from my big sis P. Well, my little sister T commented on that post and promised to send me another shuttle, so now I have two of them!  Here is the new one, again from the 1920's and from our dear Great Aunt Saima:

and a side view:

I studied the books I have and the comments received, and ended up buying a book + DVD together with some proper tatting thread. I intend to try my fingers on this, but I also want to save the original threads on the shuttles. I guess you are never too old to learn something new. (The book has not yet arrived, so I still feel confident!)

T also sent me some other family historical items. First there was this table topper or tray mat in redwork

It is like the one I have shown before, but with more embroidery. I have reason to believe that this one has belonged to our great-grandmother.

Our grandmother used to wear suit dresses, and she had blouse fronts to wear under them: blouses with no back and sleeves, just the front and collar, and an elastic band at the waist to keep it in place. Even before we were born she wore loose collars and ruffles attached to a simple blouse with a brooch. T sent me one of these ruffles:

Fine ladies would never go out without gloves, not even in the summer, at least not in town:


This reminds me of my own lace gloves, I had a pair when I was about 10 years old. They were made of the new crepe nylon material, stretchy and soft compared to these. Nothing can beat the elegance of this pair! Thank you T, and P, I will start a tiny museum.

This last picture is not vintage at all, it is just to cheer you up. Yesterday I visited my mother, and on the way from the bus stop to her house I saw this jolly snowman. It reminded me of the wonderful childhood (= vintage) winters with lots of snow like this year, snow castles and caves, and snowmen guarding them.


Happy VTT, remember to go through the list of links on Coloradolady's blog. You never know what interesting treasures the others have to show and tell about today!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Announcing the Winners

The giveaway is closed and it is time to announce the winners. From December 1st to January 16th there were 193 comments with contact details to my posts, and all these names were printed on paper, cut, and folded. Mr. Kotkarankki then put his hand in this vase where I usually keep the selvedges and my quilting gloves:

He picked up four names, the last one just in case I would find the rose bag I promised to give away. The winners are:

This means that the apron will go to Melanie, one of my most faithful commentors (she happened to have 28 tickets in the draw).

The next two will get a little bag with Marimekko scraps, and the first one to contact me back will get to choose between the blue and green set. So Roslyn and Heckety, I will send you an email immediately after I publish the post to get your mailing addresses.

After the draw I just remembered where I had not yet looked for the rose bag and so I went to my paper and colour cupboard, where textiles have no business, and there it was:

Merete will get the bag, because her name was the last one picked.

Congratulations to the winners! This giveaway has helped me to reduce my stash and finish a project marinated at my mother's attic for decades and then some months in my sewing room. I have put together a new button for my sidebar, to remind me of all the fabric I have in the house waiting for a new life. There will be no challenge, no list, it is just for fun. If you want to, you can copy and paste it to your blog or make your own button with your own fabrics. It feels very rewarding to finish a project with no money spent on the materials. It makes me feel less guilty when I go fabric shopping the next time.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

2nd Anniversary Giveaway

Today is the day. Two years ago I wrote my first blog post, and soon I noticed that I had entered a whole new world full of nice people, brilliant ideas, beautiful pictures, inspiration, challenges, treasures and great friends. (If you are curious to know about the name of my blog, it is explained in the second half of that first post.) To celebrate the two first years I'm having a giveaway. Like I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I wanted the giveaway be like me and my blog. Therefore I'm giving away an apron,
A) because I wear aprons every day,
B) because it is vintage from the 60's
C) because it was an UFO I inherited from my mother
D) because it is recycled: my mother started making it from a summer dress she had sewn for my grandmother

I finished it last night, and here it is:

What is even more typical of me is that I misplaced the second item I was going to give away, the Stitchers' Angels rose string bag. If I find it during the weekend, it will go to someone as well.

To replace the missing gift I pulled some Marimekko scraps from my endless stash. I will give two sets, and the first winner to answer my e-mail gets to choose. The one set is blue:

The other set is green:

I will be away in a meeting almost all day, so you have all day to participate. I will draw the winners tomorrow  and contact them by e-mail for the mailing address. You have one ticket for every post you have commented on since the beginning of my Advent Calender. No-reply comments don't count.

Thank you for being there.

Friday, 15 January 2010

New Projects

This year I'm starting my Christmas preparations early. I have already packed the Christmas ornaments and lights in such a way that they can easily be taken to use when the time comes. I suppose vacuuming the house doesn't count, at this time of the year, as a Christmas preparation. But I have started a stitching project I admired on many blogs last year, A Christmas Wish by Gail Pan Designs. I altered the pattern a little, translating the words into Finnish. The first block is Love:

And the second one is Merry:

Believe it or not, but I have finished a third one too (there is SO much snooker for Mr. K on Eurosport!), the original word is Joy:

This is a perfect project for TV programs you don't need to see at all, just listen and when it sounds intresting, you can look up and see what is going on. Crocheting and knitting are better for watching Grey's Anatomy or CSI or Rebus. Spooks is too exciting to do anything else but watch. America's Next Top Model is my ironing program only.

Yesterday was my first sewing class of the year, and I stitched the binding and sleeve on my Country Calendar quilt. Hand sewing the binding will be my evening project of the weekend. I also cut some pillowcases and tested the 20 Minutes Pillowcase pattern. Stephanie of Loft Creations gave here a challenge for this project for the Hole in The Wall Gang. Jackie of Canton Village Quilts is organizing a giant donation of pillowcases for all the kids who go to the Summer Camp. Follow the links to read more and see if you could make a pillowcase for them as well. It would be a nice way to use up your stash, at least I see it that way. I have not yet finished my pillowcase, but there will be pictures later!

Come by tomorrow and see what my 2nd Annniversary Giveaway is about. The winners will be drawn and announced on Sunday 17th.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Winter Views and Giveaway Plans

Yesterday we had an amazing day. The temperature climbed up some 15 degrees to -7 C (20 F), which is most pleasant. It was not snowing, but the humidity in the air formed ice crystals everywhere.

Thick frost covered every tree. The wind had blown snow away from the oaks and birches at the station, but now they were dressed in white again.

A closeup of their lace pattern:

And finally a look across the tracks to the other side.

You may remember that in December I promised a giveaway for my blog's second anniversary. That will be on Saturday the 16th. I will be giving away a string bag with rose embroidery, and after some hard thinking I found another gift which very much represents me and my blog. It is a vintage, recycled apron which is still in UFO state! Like this one I made for myself:

The one to be given away will have a different bib and pockets, but the fabric is the same, recycled from my Grandmother's summer dress. I'd better get started with the sewing! I mean to give it away completed and ready to use.

The winners will be drawn from the comments from the beginning of my Advent Calendar posts up to Saturday 16th of January at 18.00 my time. Each comment counts as long as it is not a no-reply one.