Saturday, 25 February 2012


This week we have had heaps of new snow, but also the first thawing days. When the snow is wet, you can build a snowman. It's been about 20 years since I last made a snowman, so I made just a little one. I didn't have any coal for the eyes and mouth, so I used old leaves. He has twigs for arms, you just can't see them too well because there are dark trees in the background. He is standing on the lid of our composter to have a good look over the yard. By the way, when I was shovelling my path there I saw something big and dark move between the trees, about 30 metres from me. It was an elk! They live a very quiet life in the forest and I have never seen one here before. Too bad it was gone by the time I got my camera, so all I can show is the snowman.


I had an unexpected problem with the snowman in my Block 2 of Scandinavian Christmas. Today I was cutting the churn dash block pieces to finish this BOM and thought I could trim the stitchery to size as well. Finished size should be 15½" x 12½", the fabric was cut bigger to make the stitching easier. Arrgh!!! Look at this:

I had cut all four background fabrics at the same time, two horizontal ones and two vertical. When I started working on this one, I just tested that I could place the pattern on it. Well, it would have been even more OK for the next block. Here I should have used one of the 16½" x 13½" pieces instead of the 16½" x 10½". Luckily there was some of the original linen left so I can start all over again. I will use this block to something else. So Ladies of the group, Block 2 will be finished later than by the end of February!

Thursday, 16 February 2012


This week I was supposed to clean my cutting table so I could start a new project from a clean desk so to say. Instead of cleaning the table like any sensible quilter would do (in 5 minutes, because they are not me), I just took one of the fabric piles there and found a Project in Progress. Oh how nice, Stephanie challenged everyone to finish their PIPS this year! I hurried to find the other pile of fabrics that belonged together with pile number one, to start finishing my PIPS. I found ready cut squares in three sizes, some lonely blocks, long strips of fabric and a large piece of white flannelet. I arranged the big squares first and made this Nine-Patch:

I cut some more of the middle sized squares and they turned into this:

The smallest squares became this:

There were some leftover blocks as well, with pale yellow centres. I used the remaining purple squares and added green borders to make my fourth preemie quilt.

The last one is a tiny quilt for a tiny preemie or a stillborn baby, with super soft bamboo knit backing:

When I get my Angel Pods finished I will take all these to the local Maternity ward to be given to the families and their babies. Five PIPS finished in two days! The table is still suffering from restricted access, but at least I put the baby fabrics away where they belong.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Don't tell my mother

We are having a cold period, at the end of last week the temperature dropped to -27C/-16.6F as you can see here. Today has been just -10C/+14F, but the wind makes even that little frost bite into my cheeks.

It has been nice to sit by the fire and stitch. Even the tulips look like little flames.

My mother has taught me many things about handwork, certain rules how things are done for the best results. And naturally the basic idea "If it is worth doing, it is worth being done well". I made my first cross stitches around age 10, for my other Grandmother. It was a cushion with roses, something like this:

The pattern  was painted on the aida, so I knew where to make the stitches, all in the same direction. Wool yarns, big needle, not too difficult for a child. Mother told me that the reverse side was important too. I should not jump with my needle to the next place of that colour, and the stitches on the reverse should all be in one direction too. Very clear rules, and I tried to obey them. The result was good, and I enjoyed making something "for real". I think I have done OK here too with the top stitches, at age 19:

And look at the back:

I'm still proud of my work.

Several years later, I'm working on the Scandinavian Christmas. This is how my work looks now on the hidden side. Don't tell my mother! The border is cross stitch, and the long jumps are from the other embroideries in the picture. The pellon makes this mess invisible from the right side, and it will be hidden in the quilt finally, but I can't help feeling a little ashamed of what I'm doing.

On the quilt front, I'm busy making Maverick Stars for the outer border of my Crumble quilt, to fill the gaps between the words.

What did your mother teach you about handwork?
Happy Valentine's day to all!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Tit Day and a new block

Today was an amazing bird watching day. All last week we had very low temperatures, down to -29.5C/-21F, and the birds stayed in the woods, not wasting any energy in flying and finding food. Now the temperature is up in -3C/+26F, and they spend a long time on the feeder. New friends arrived too, like the Crested Tit:

Here you can have a closer look on the coiffure:

We hadn't seen Crested Tits in over two years.
The Blue Tit thought of making an early reservation for this house, where the Great Tit lived last Summer:

Then came the Willow Tit, for the first time this year. We keep a record of our first sight of all the birds we can see in or from our garden.

Here he is approaching the sunflower seed while the Blue Tit sits on the roof of the feeder, ready to defend his right to the seeds. The Blue Tit can chase away any number of other birds when he comes to get some food.

Naturally there was also the Great Tit, our most numerous tit. He likes peanuts too.

I didn't get a picture of the little Coal Tit, who returned in January after several years of absence. The trees in the woods around us have grown so much that many species are coming back. They don't like too open places where they can be caught by Owls or Falcons. The Coal Tit only came once to the feeder today. To complete the series of Tits, Mr. K saw a flock of Long-tailed Tits high in the birch tree on his way out, but they flew away before I had the camera ready.

On the crafty front I have been making some crumble work but not enough to show any progress, and I have started the Block 2 of Scandinavian Christmas:

The appliqué is done and I have started stitching the reindeer's antlers. I had the perfect dotty fabric for the mushrooms so I don't need to stitch any white dots.