Saturday, 29 December 2012

Craft Olympics - all my thimbles

Finally the secrets are revealed, Christmas gifts opened and I can show what I have been doing to get all those thimbles from Melanie's Craft Olympics. My first thimble was for a secret knitting project, toe to top two at a time socks for my daughter Kaija, and the rest of the yarn was enough to make wrist warmers for her busy hands. The yarn is hand dyed Araucania yarn from Lentävä Lapanen, the Flying Mitten knitting cafe, very lovely to knit. I'm also beginning to learn the idea of the toe to top heel!
The yarn was so lovely I bought another skein and knitted socks and wrist warmers for my daughter-in-law-to-be as well.

Second thimble is for this stitchery, where I learnt some new stitches.

My third thimble came with this Granny Square quilt I made for my sister, who is a granny. The grey and pink outer rounds of the blocks are from our Granny's old summer dress.

All the fabrics came from my stash as usual, and 90 % of them are recycled garments or bed linen.

My fourth thimble was a change of plans: I had no time to make the wool applique I had planned. Wreath making is crafty too, so this will be within the rules.

The fifth and last thimble was for a new skill, needle-turn applique. The pattern is one of Kaaren's freebies on her blog The Painted Quilt. My work is nowhere near perfection but I could give it another try, hoping for better results and rounder circles. Sorry for the poor quality of the photos, the days are really very short and dark at this time of the year here.

The applique is on the front of this bag I made for Melanie as a Christmas gift for her knitting projects.

The Craft Olympics has been a fun challenge at the end of the year, not too demanding as we could choose our crafts and change our plans during the Olympics. Go to Melanie - she always puts the kettle on when visitors arrive! - and see who else has been a crafts athlete. Melanie has links to all the finished projects on her sidebar.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

It has been a long and dark Autumn and an early Winter. Not much has been done, but I hope to come back to blog reading soon. Thank you all for coming by, thank you, my special friends, for the thoughtful gifts I have received. Take some chocolate or dried cranberries, or almonds and raisins if you prefer, and smell the Christmassy scent of the hyacinths. Coffee and gingerbread are waiting on the other table.

Have a happy and peaceful Christmas!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Craft Olympics 4

Change of plans - my fourth Craft Olympics craft will not be wool appliqué but this Christmas wreath.
It is hanging on our newly (last Summer) painted wall by the door. The red wall makes a better background to the green fir twigs, and I didn't want to hammer a nail to the new door. The green needles remain fresh for quite a long time outdoors.
My last CO project is also finished but it is a Christmas gift so I will show it later. It has been fun making these small projects at the end of the year. Melanie's thimbles are nice trophies for the sidebar.
We have lots of snow so Santa's sleigh will have a good chance to reach every house on time next week. Be nice, the elves are watching you!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Winter Roses

It has been a busy time, like it always is for everyone at this time of the year. Most of my doings has been secret, but here is something I can show you:
Mr. K painted two walls in our hallway with the leftover paint from DS2's room renovation. We thought of ways to protect the wall from new dark green marks from this chair. I suggested a board, then thought of covering the board with some fabric and batting ... and my thoughts wandered and I came up with this idea:
A hood for the chair back made with some upholstery fabric leftovers from my mother. It is not quite the same colour as the seat I renewed some years ago, but they go together nicely. I added some double batting on both sides, and simple tape ties at the lower edge.
The Winter came with the advent time, we had lots of snow at the end of last week and the weather turned really cold after a long and unusually warm Autumn. Today our thermometer hasn't climbed to the warmer side of -20C/-4F all day.
Mr. Bullfinch has a snow moustache (click on the photo to enlarge) from digging for sunflower seeds in the new soft snow. All the little birds seem to have come back from the forest where they stayed during the Summer and Autumn as long as they could find their food there. We put the feeder out again in early October when we had the first cold days.
I'm not doing an Advent Calendar this year, but if you want a look at great talent and a dose of beauty without fuzzing about Christmas, you should go here every day and see what my daughter has created. When she was little, she was not allowed to cut in books, but now that she can make them from scratch, and buy her own books to cut, she can do the most wonderful things.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Sunday with Stephanie

Today I'm having tea at Loft Creations.

Her button coffee and thread cakes are delicious, but in this cold climate I prefer a hot cup of Earl Grey!

Have a nice Sunday.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Flying Mitten

Last week a knitting cafe opened in Järvenpää, our nearest town. It is called Lentävä Lapanen, the Flying Mitten.
The opening day was very crowded, so I took my camera for another visit yesterday when there were just a few ladies enjoying the luxury of lovely yarns and cosy atmosphere. Welcome in, pick a seat!

There are pattern books and magazines you can read and discuss with other enthusiasts.

At the other end of the shop there are chairs and tables for drinking coffee or tea.

Which rosy cup would you choose?

Maybe a traditional Finnish pastry or a sweet slice of cake? Take a seat now, enjoy your snack and have a look around the shop.

Noro yarns in wonderful colours and textures.

Rowan yarns ... I feel like I'm fainting. Look at all the colours!

Debbie Bliss - here is a free pattern you could use if you have just one hank of their yarn.
Debbie Bliss continued. New yarns are still coming in, the shop only just started.

These hand painted Araucania yarns come from Chile. I bought a hank to make a pair of socks and I will show them as soon as there is something to show. I'm still learning the Toe-to-Top two at a time method and only have the toe part covered by now.

Look at the candles matching the theme of the true knitting cafe!

This basket holds a knitted graffiti in process; anyone can add a row or two.

The shop also keeps a good selection of bamboo knitting needles and crocheting hooks. If the urge hits you, you can buy everything you need and just start knitting! It is definitely a place to go to even with a full stash of yarn at home. You can always have just a coffee and sit with your knitting, surrounded with all those wonderful yarns that inspire you to start a new project.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Granny Square Quilt and another thimble or two

This Autumn I have been working secretly on this project:

I saw Granny Square blocks at the Blue Elephant Stitches blog and knew it was my thing. I had looked at the grey and pink floral summer dress of my own Granny so many times, trying to figure out the best pattern for the fabric. I had almost all of the dress left, so I knew I could make it the main colour in this quilt.

Other florals and solids to match were easily found in my stash. I had been cutting 2½" squares of white leftovers for a long time every time I made a Unicef doll. Well, I needed to cut quite many more to get the 360 white ones to make 30 blocks, but I enjoyed it. Putting the blocks together was, as usual, almost addicting. I made a rule: every time I pressed the seams open for 5 blocks I was making at one time, I also ironed five pieces of laundry.
I wanted to stitch the quilt in a grid so I figured the width of my sashings accordingly. Then I added wide borders. All the white is recycled bedsheets, the good parts around the edges.

The stitching took a while but was not too difficult. Finishing this quilt also gives me my third thimble in the Craft Olympics organised by Melanie. Only two more crafts to go, and there is time until the end of the year.

Over 8 metres of binding (light grey and white stripes) meant two evenings in front of the TV. This is taken after I washed and before I ironed the quilt. Every bit of fabric was from my stash, most of them recycled.
It was a birthday gift for my sister P. Her husband's starry birthday quilt is on my header at the moment. I hope it will keep her warm at their new summer cottage.

This morning I took a picture of the sunrise just before 8.  We had a sunny day, but windy and cold. The snow is gone so we spent almost two hours raking the leaves in the back yard. I'm still feeling a bit chilly, after two cups of tea and all. It takes time to get used to the colder temperatures again.

I decided to frame the little stitchery for now to finally earn my second (because I finished the framing before the quilt) thimble in Melanie's Craft Olympics. I can unframe it and use it for something else later, if I find the perfect use for the fantasy bird.

Friday, 26 October 2012

The first snow is here

This morning we woke up to a sstarry clear sky and the second cold temperature of the Autumn, -5C or 23F. By the time we had read the newpapers and finished our morning tea there was snow on the ground.


I had to wait until the sun was up behind the clouds before I could take the photos.


The snowing had stopped but the temperature has stayed the same.

The leaves are waiting under the snow.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Stitching and knitting

This little stitchery is something DD gave me for last Christmas as a kit. It required some new to me stitches such as long and short stitch and satin stitch over large areas, and stem stitch. This will be one of my Craft Olympics projects once it is all finished. I don't know what I will use it for. Any suggestions? The kit included framing instructions, but maybe it could be something more fun. The circle is about 6" in diameter.
We are enjoying the last splashes of colour. Rose bushes by the road
and maples in the village. 
My begonias are learning to swim. It has rained lots and lots lately.
Our aspen about a week ago - today half of the leaves are gone already.
 The rowan tree has only its berries left. They can be gone in one day when a flock of waxwings finds them in the winter.

This weekend I knitted one more blue and one more grey sock from toe to top. I knitted the first blue and grey sock a year ago when I tried to learn this new method. Now I have two pairs of nice socks for some child with feet this size. I have knitted a few pairs of socks this way, and some the usual way but two at a time on a long circular needle, and I like it. It helps me get the heels the same. And I just noticed this will be another project on my PIPS 2012 list!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Busy weeks

September is such a short month. I have been busy making apple sauce, 91 jars in all. That ought to be enough for the year, anyway I can't squeeze any more jars on the cellar shelves.
In the evenings - the days are getting shorter every week - I have knitted the last squares for this little blanket and crocheted them together.

Then I have knitted a secret gift which is also my first Craft Olympics project. I'm sorry I can't show more!

I made new curtains for one of the new windows we had installed this Summer.

The trees have started to change their colour, some birches have even dropped their leaves already.

Our garden must look a bit like a witch's garden with so many poisonous toadstools
and berries. Lily of the valley - Convállaria majális - is also poisonous.
The open college sewing group I have attended for many years already was too small to start this Autumn, only three of us wanted to join. We decided to have our own group without any fee, and tomorrow will be our second meeting at Mr. K's conference room. It is a "bring your own sewing machine" night, but I think I will bring my own light box and start preparing for my next Craft Olympics thimble.