Saturday, 27 December 2014

I was Socked

and then a bit shocked by the fact that I managed to knit all these socks in time. I don't think that I have ever knitted this many pairs in one go. The giftees were happy with them, so I am OK. (Sorry about the picture quality, this time of the year is tricky with light...)

I must say that the two pairs with white and grey and some colour theme teased me a fair bit. One of the socks took a week to make! A week! That was because I had to unravel and redo bits of it several times. I got the heel wrong, I used wrong grey, made a pattern go wrong way and used yellow instead of orange. I don't know where my concentration went during those times.

The second pair had its moments as well, but in addition I didn't seem to get it right from the beginning. I started them at least three times. In the end I ended stopping a sock after doing the heel. I still have it and might make a spare pair for myself out of that beginning. The colours just didn't seem right for the recipient...

These pink-orange-red ones were the speediest, off my needles in three days! (I don't knit all day long, just some spare moments and evenings).

The slate grey ones were fine, but the fact that anything this dark is just so much slower to do, because the stitches are more difficult to see. I did remember after a while, why I avoid making these, although I like the result.

Sorry about drowning you in knitty pictures, but indulge me, I am not really a knitter, so this was an achievement! Have you knitted anything lately? Leave a link as I would love to see!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Shirt dress aka hippie tent

This is the dress, which is quite like my dress for general usefulness, but made with the original pattern.

I found this shirt dress pattern on Merchant and Mills and simply could not resist. I seldom buy patterns, because I have a good selection of sewing magazines with patterns. I also favour certain type/model clothes and re-use the patterns over and over again. This pattern is going into that pile.

Unfortunately I was slightly wary of the sizing and did not bother making a toile as I should have. So I erred on the large side. My two other dresses I made smaller especially over the shoulders.

The fabric comes from the same place and is woven in India on a hand loom. It means that it has character and knots and all sorts and I LOVE IT! It is very light, summery weight, so I should actually pack it away from my mid-winter wardrobe. It is fine to  use in spring/autumn with long sleeved t-shirts and tights. Wearing it is a bit like running around in a nightdress from the comfort point of view.

The main picture has got that weird effect that sometimes happens with stripy patterns and camera, but you can see the true pattern and texture below. The fabric is called "Newsprint", should you be interested. The shop is delicious and I have to restrict my visits to their site, so I won't blow my sewing budget.

The hem, which has the shirty curve. In the other two dresses I straightened it and made side slits.

The smock detail and a good look at the texture of the fabric.

I could finger this fabric forever. It is just cotton, but so nice and light and it has that unmistakable "handmade" feel to it.

Do you have any places you find great fabrics from on the net? Leave a comment, so I can have a look,  I am always interested finding new places!

Just for fun...

Halloweenish birthday card I made for a niece around the Halloween time. I just like this sultry young madam.

Friday, 19 December 2014

My Inner Nun is Pleased

with the white walls and the strict old school wooden chair with a candelabra and an icon and the simplicity of this one corner of my home. (Yes, you are right, I am obsessed with this spot).

We managed to paint the hallway during the autumn. It doesn't seem such a big job, because in my head there isn't that much floor space. Lots of it is taken up by the staircase. In reality, it is possibly the room with the largest wall surface area. Not enough with that, some of the walls are up in heights where the air starts to thin out.

I  did chop the job in three; the stairs, the downstairs hall and the walls up along the stairs. Still, it took a looong time and if I am honest, is not entirely finished as yet. We still need to build the under the stairs storage area and the floor still needs its last layer of wax-oil.

I am planning the pictures on the walls. We need to buy two picture ledges to go on the wall, so I can have changing exhibitions of pictures and small objects.  I have pictures to go to the upper landing, but I am planning to paint three for the lower end. Watch this space.

We are now officially on our Christmas holidays, or nesting days as I like to think about them. I restrict consciously the "going-out" and being social aspect of the holidays, so it becomes more of a "feathering my nest" holiday;  I can read books, eat nice food, go for walks and do crafts. We are not recluse, still get visiting and such, but it's not a whirl wind of activity kind of time for us.

Hope that you have a lovely, suitable for YOU holiday ahead of you as well!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Yet another baby quilt

I was fortunate to become an auntie again and thought that I surprise the newly baked nephew's parents with a quilt with a dedication patch. I embroidered as usual the baby's name, birth weight, how tall they were and the date of course.  You can see from the date that this was made a while ago. The quilt was made a bit later as it is an old custom in Finland not to publish the baby's name before Baptism. Not that everyone keeps the name secret, but quite many still do.

The cool animal fabrics are organic cotton from Monaluna, which I love. I did machine quilt it with free wavy motion, which has become my go-to way of doing these. I think it looks nice and goes well with modern quilts.

I am facing a pretty busy working week as I have had to postpone several of my clients due to my cold. When I get a cold I do a full blown "man flu". Not because I feel that rotten, but because in my line of work I cannot return before I am totally healed. To get as quickly as possible over the cold, I rest, rest and rest. I let my body use all available energy for its healing. I must admit that this one took me by surprise by really flooring me couple of times, but hey, I am good now.

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Dress of General Usefulness

 I made this one in the beginning of September. It is made of medium heavy linen and is great. I like linen for its texture and the fact that it is environmentally better fabric than cotton. It does not require pesticides as it is fast to grow and also grows in colder climates.

The back has a yoke and gathered fabric, which gives room for movement in the dress.

I like the front "grandpa shirt" smock detail.

 The pattern comes from Merchant and Mills and is called the Shirtdress, but adjusted it a bit. The original has sleeves, so I had to make pattern pieces to see that the armholes were neat.

As you see I used another fabric, a lighter linen for this. It stops it becoming bulky and also I had only 1.5m of the heavy linen, which would not have been enough for adding these pieces.

I also re-shaped the hem to suit my purposes and added pockets.

I have actually made the dress according to the pattern before, but haven't shown it here.

The dress is great; it covers me, leaves plenty of room to move, is easy to wear with different tops under it and the fabric cost £12 from IKEA. At the moment my favourite combo is a yellow and white striped long sleeved t-shirt and mustard yellow tights.

The dress is named after a draw in my household. Yes, a draw. We have a draw called "The Draw of General Usefulness". It is a draw having bits and pieces of stuff, which are not used daily, but regularly enough so they need to be found easily and there is no other "logical" place to put them in. In my draw I have my hair dryer, 3D glasses for cinema, bright LED light for attic visits, DVD player for journeys etc.
This dress has a feeling of being really useful for many purposes and although I don't wear it EVERY day, it is in pretty heavy use. I have also lately made a version with a wool mix fabric. I'll take pictures of it as soon as the light and timetable allow and show it to you.

Have you made or bought clothes, which you seem to use "all the time"?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

A beam of light from the crack of the door

...and she tiptoes into the dusty room, where the blinds have been shut for so long time. The room is familiar, but unused and dusty. It is time to open the blinds, throw the window open and let light and air into the room and begin cleaning.

That is how coming back here feels. I often think of writing, then am too tired,  too busy and also too ambitious. The pictures are bad, don't know if I have anything interesting to say, there are so many better/funnier/prettier blogs on the net...But being all those things is not why I write. I write to remind myself of times which otherwise would be buried in the stream of days, which makes months, years. I write to show my family and friends who are scattered all over the globe what I am up to. If non-family members, friends I have never met, also read, it's a bonus. I need not to live up to an imaginary editor's expectations. This is my diary. So be it, possibly umpteenth time that I resolve to blog a little and often.

While I haven't been writing I have been busy. There is a virtual stack of photos waiting to be shown. I am sure some of them will make it here. At the moment I have time, the winter cold has forced me into resting, despite the things I want to start, finish, get on with, ready for Christmas...

A quote from Dalai Lama has made its way to my life several times this year. It was one of the things starting this year and it is certainly there in the end as well. It was read to me in a "work" context, just as I needed it very badly. You see, I often feel guilty about having my lovely life. I grew up in the culture that told me that one had to expect the life to be hard and the work to be a burden. My work is great, I enjoy it and it aligns with my ethics. It does not earn my living though. I am dependant on my husband's income for that. And there we go again: I was brought up with a thought that one needed to be independent, have their own income, it would be silly and dangerous to trust anyone that much as let them be the breadwinner. It has taken me years and years to accept that the partnership can have equality in other ways than this. I don't mean that the ways were unfamiliar to me, but to feel that they truly are as important and that is what makes the partnership. And as you might guess, I still need reminding. Not in mental level, but emotional.

The quote, which is so important for me, is this one: 

"The planet does not need more 'successful people'. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds. It needs people to live well in their places. It needs people with moral courage willing to join the struggle to make the world habitable and humane and these qualities have little to do with success as our culture is the set." -Dalai Lama

I need to hang it on the wall to be reminded, I think.

I have been on a cushion cover kick this year. This is how these things work; I make a present to a family member. They like it and then the next one asks if they could have their version as well. I then continue producing the same type of gift to everyone who either wishes to have one or could be thought to wish one.

This is the pair I made for my MIL.

 One of the nieces got "feminist" cushions:

The left one has an (incorrect) Virginia Woolf quote saying:
Although the quote is incorrect, the sentiment in my mind is right on many levels.

The right one has a little funny snippet on it's "washing instructions" label. I typed it with an old-fashioned typewriter and it says:

If it is too hard to read it says:
"balls are weal and sensitive. If you wanna get tough, grow a vagina. Those things take a pounding.

The backs of the cushions looked like this:

She liked them a lot.

Now my head is still ponding, but my tummy is empty, so I better make a plea for some food...or at least have a snack. See you soon!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Veggie Update

Here is an update from our allotment. These pictures were actually taken a week ago...have been too busy painting and gardening to hang about on the net.
My tomatoes are tall and in all honesty either need more headroom or have to be cut. I hope that our polytunnel can be finished on time to move both the tomatoes and the cucumbers to a loftier environment. They have grown quite a bit in the week which has gone since the picture was taken.

I also managed to tidy up the shed bit and install a shelving unit. It is still quite a squeeze to get past the wheelbarrow, but at least I can find my things easily.

Outside my asparagus is still sprouting the very thin stems. It is only a year old plant and has been moved, so no surprises there. My strawberry beds are kept strictly for good rooting, so I have nipped all the flowers away as soon as they appear. I have let them make some runners, don't know whether this is a bad idea. In the front you can see my chamomile edging: as I would not have any crops there anyway, it is better to have something to keep the weeds down.

Behind the hut in still very messy area I have my pumpkin growing together with couple of courgettes. I have bigger courgette plants in the main veggie area. 

My newly planted black currants have started well. As there will not be any crops this year I filled the spaces in between with flowers and edged the whole lot with lettuce. Pretty!

The kales and broccoli and such are doing well. You can also see here the different contraptions to support beans. The runner beans along the tepee and the other at the fencing.

 I am holding my breath with these dudes. There is a rampant blight in the allotments at the moment and I can just hope that our potatoes won't get it. You can see our compost bins, the incinerator and if you squint the comfrey in the corner.

One thing, which has not gone brilliantly; the peas. I was too slow to realise that I was feeding pigeons...My peas suffered a BIG setback and I ended up putting some seeds next to the seedlings to fill the gaps. These will come much later. I also have some seedlings growing in the greenhouse and hope to plant them in the polytunnel. In my experience the peas are a dead cert crop in there!

I moved our globe artichokes with us and they don't disappoint. Despite moving and dividing them, they are making artichokes for us to eat. In the background you can see my plant collars hanging for storing. In this way they don't offer slugs and snails as cosy quarters as when they are stored on the ground.

Do you have a garden? What is happening in there? Leave a link, I would love to see!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Paper Carrier


This bag is a birthday present. I got the measurements for a bag needed to hold the old newspapers between a sofa and a wall in a small home office until they are ferried to the recycling bins. We had talked about the colours; black and white going well with the same colour curtains.

The handles needed to be relatively short to allow for carrying in the hand. I used an old IKEA canvas fabric and lined the bag with black sheet fabric in order it to not to look dirty after the first lot of papers had taken the residence.

Unfortunately I didn't have enough of the lining fabric for the bottom of the bag, so it was made of the outer fabric. Pretty, but no necessarily practical. So I sewed an additional plastic coated bottom, which can easily be wiped down.

The giftee was of opinion that the bag night be too nice for its purpose. What? Of course one should have nice recycling facilities, that makes it easier to recycle!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Busy Bee

I have been, lalalaaaa! I haven't forgotten you and my blog though. What I have been doing hasn't been awfully photogenic or just haven't had the camera with me. So this post is an odd cocktail of everything and nothing... In no specific order:

  • I have been making birthday cards and gifts...cannot show as yet, but here are couple of peeks at how they looked while I was working:

 Notice the old enamelled Chinese pot. I love it as my desk tidy while I am sewing. The red creamer is for water I put into my iron. Rest will be revealed in the near future.

Another pressie under the construction...totally different colour scheme.

  • I have used many a lunch time in our yard soaking the sunshine. I love, love, love the fact that I can just go out of the kitchen yard and plant myself into a yard enjoying the plant pots and the one bed I have there.

My hanging basket plants are not very big, just planted them, ehm. Well, I am sure they will prettyfy (not a word, me thinks) my yard towards the end of the summer. I like to have a real "Secret Garden" gate in a stone wall.

The corner bed plants are filling the space. I might have to think of thinning them out.

 I do not have a big bloom feast here, but I love the different green textures of the leaves.

Look away, real gardeners! I am so inordinately proud of keeping this fuchsia alive over two winters. It will flower soon.

  •  My favourite piece of art at the moment is this mask situated in my kitchen, made by Elf Son.

  •  Happy news: I found an icon I thought was lost in our move. It is only 10cm tall, so not big at all and I have not been able to find it. Suddenly it was in a draw I thought I had used aplenty...weird and wonderful. The icon has sentimental value for me and I think is beautiful as well.

So that was the miscellaneous newsround from me. Hopefully back soon showing something more interesting! If I am not back before; Happy Summer Solstice!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Extra TA-DAH for bathroom

We managed to hang the blind today and I decorated the window sill with a jar with shells.

So now we are really finished with the bathroom!