29 November 2011

Advent Doodlendar

I’ve been thinking about getting an Advent calendar. I’m childish enough to enjoy that sort of thing. “But what type?” I ask myself. I have been assuming that it should be one that contains chocolate, but I haven’t been able to make my mind up what to buy. The chocolate in the kiddy calendars isn’t very good, and I felt that an ordinary box of chocolates was a bit boring. I’ll get enough of those anyway before Christmas is over. And then I had an idea: I’ll make a Doodlendar, i.e. a calendar with a doodle a day until Christmas. Next I remembered one of the exercises that Melanie Testa suggests in her book Inspired to Quilt. In the exercise you draw a grid on fabric and fill the squares with quilting patterns. Some of the areas are left blank, and those areas form a figure (in the book a flower stem). I’m going to apply this exercise with paper and ink, and fill a square a day until Christmas. By 24 December I’ll have a completed page with patterns and an image formed by blank spaces. I haven’t drawn much since July and this will be a simple and fun exercise for me to get accustomed to holding a pen again. I will upload the Doodlendar to my Flickr account daily, where you can follow my progress day by day if you wish. That’s my Advent calendar to you, my reader. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Here’s the Doodlendar waiting for its first square to be filled with pattern:

 And now, to offer you something more to look at than an empty paper with a grid, I also offer you these crocheted cuffs that I recently finished. They’ve been living in my UFO-basket for quite a while, until I took pity on them and finally completed them. The pattern is from the book Virka muddar! by Maria Gullberg - a book filled with cuffs inspired by the crocheted wrist warmers that were used by both women and men in 19th century Scandinavia.

Thanks for visiting and see you again on 1 December!

27 November 2011

Oh By Gosh, Oh By Golly...

... it's time for mistletoe and holly!

In this part of the world we celebrate 'Little Christmas' (lillajul in Swedish and pikkujoulu in Finnish) on the Saturday before Advent Sunday. I celebrated Little Christmas by making this little bunch of mistletoe according to Susan Brubaker Knapp's directions in Quilting Arts Gifts 2010-2011, and by having a healthy helping of chocolate, nuts, my favourite cheese and mulled wine. The mistletoe is now hanging from the door frame, ready for some smooching, if a candidate happens to pass by.

My computer has been threatening to give up on me for some time, and today I finally got round to backing up my files. By gosh and by golly, there's stuff in there.... While the DVDs were burning away, I was bending wire. It was a bit fiddly at the beginning, as I haven't done much metal work before, but I got the hang of it eventually. I strung the snowflakes that I stiffened with sugar last week together with the wire, and added some beads for further embellishment. Now it remains to be seen whether the sugar will be able to hold the weight of the snowflakes, wire and beads. I might have to disassemble the mobile later and stiffen the snowflakes with another medium. It's an experiment. This is what the snowflakes look like strung together:

And here they are hanging in my kitchen window. Look at the weather: not were Christmasy yet, huh? There hasn't been any daylight to speak of  today. I wish we'd get some snow soon. It brightens things up considerably.

Happy Advent!

20 November 2011

Snowflakes and Wooly Socks

I enjoyed a whole day of adventures on my own yesterday. I got up early, boarded a train and went to Tampere, where Finland’s biggest handicraft fair was held this weekend. I’ve never been to this fair before, so I was quite excited. I even brought my camera, but there were signs that asked visitors not to take photos. So I’m afraid I don’t have any images to show you. But it was huge. At least in Finnish terms. I spent five hours wandering around in the throng. I was quite dazed by the end.

And the loot? To be honest, there isn’t as much as I had expected. It may be that the thought of the dentist’s bill lying on my desk put a damper on my eagerness to shop. (Almost two weeks ago I had a wisdom tooth removed surgically. Yikes.) But the main reason for the meagre shopping result, I believe, is that they didn’t really have the things I wanted. There were very few things related to quilting there, and as for dyes and PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabrics, these were practically non-existent. Art supplies such as paints and pens were also pretty absent. So I was rather disappointed in that respect. But I had a good time anyway, got some new ideas and some advice, and made a few bargains, so I’m glad I went.

I bought a few fat quarters of fabric at the fair. I love the batiks, the blue fabric is for a future sashiko project and I’m planning to overdye the white fabrics.

On the train to and from Tampere I worked on a crocheted snowflake mobile that I started a couple of years ago. I finished the snowflakes and today I dipped them into a solution of water and sugar to stiffen them. I’ll string them together with metal wire when they’re dry.

After frosting the snowflakes I finished a sock I started a few weeks ago. The pattern is from a book titled Around the World in Knitted Socks by Stephanie van der Linden. It should be titled The Rolls-Royce of Knitted Socks. I never knew knitted socks could look like these. The socks in the book are so gorgeous, I didn’t know where to start. So I started with the first pair in the book.

The sock is on the wrong foot, as the clock pattern should be on the other side of the ankle, but it was easier to photograph it like this. I don’t want to twist my ankle again.

The cable pattern travels over the foot. Ingenious.

I have a lot of smaller projects going on right now, and will save some of them for my next blog entry, so please stay tuned. Have a great week!

13 November 2011

By Hook By Crook I'll Get My House in Order

It’s been quiet on my blog for a while, and the reason is that my life is going through a turbulent phase at the moment, and I’m trying to find my bearings. I bought myself a bunch of flowers, and after having spent ages trying to choose the right colour, I picked these white carnations. They have such a fresh and crisp whiteness to them that I decided I will let them symbolise a new page, a fresh canvas. For the fun of it, I also looked up the meaning of carnations in the Language of Flowers and, lo and behold!, they symbolise: health and energy, alas for my poor heart, woman's good luck gift. Excellent choice.

And then I finished my Passiflora cushion, which I’m very pleased with.

Alabama Studio Style footstool and cushion