Friday 30 December 2011

Happy owner of a new camera!

About a week ago, I graduated from the university and are therefor now a Master of Arts. But that was actually only the history-part of my studies, I will still continue to study handicrafts for a while. Even so, it still feels good. 

As a graduation present, I got something I've been wanting to have already for a long time: a new camera. And what a camera I got! It's a Nikon D5100 with a 18-105 mm lens. And it takes absolutely gorgeous photos! I don't think I'll ever use my old camera again..

Just to illustrate, here's first a picture taken with my old pocket camera and then the same motif photographed with my Nikon:



I hope you agree that the first picture just looks very, very flat compared with the other one.

Just to celebrate my wonderful new camera, here's a few photos I shot at Christmas:




Next time some more crafts will be seen on this blog. So stay tuned.

Monday 26 December 2011

Lambs on a field

I was so incredibly busy this autumn that I actually had time to finish only one knitted Christmas gift. And this is a sweater I started knitting already last spring. So I already started thinking it would never be finished. But eventually it was.


Needles: 3 mm & 3,5 mm
Yarn: Anemone by Marks & Kattens
In Ravelry: Lambs on a field

A cardigan for my 1,5-year-old godson. Since I made it a little bit bigger than my godson actually needs at the moment, I also used cotton yarn. Therefor the cardigan may be used during the summer too.


The sheep-buttons I just happened to stumble over in Sinelli the same day I finally finished the knitting part of the cradi. I had intended to sew on some smaller buttons at first, so the buttonholes could actually have been a bit bigger for these. But I hope they'll stretch, because these sheep eventually turned out quite perfect for this sweater, didn' they?


ROAR!

Since this was the only gift I had time to finish, I've now made a pre-New Years resolution: next year I'll start knitting on Christmas gifts already in january! Now I just need to find somewhere to store everything for a year...

Will be back soon with more news from my life lately! Till then, be good, even though Christmas is already over!

Sunday 18 December 2011

My photographic year

This time I wont say much. In stead I wanted to show you some of my favourite photos from this past year. Let them speak for themselves.

Seagull

Happy couple in 1889

Yellow beauty

Bug

Marmalade

 Miserable

 Boat

Next time I'll probably have some handicrafts to show you. See you then!

Thursday 10 November 2011

For someone small

Since I mentioned the baby boom in my last post, here's still another small knit for a baby. It's for the same soon-to-be-born baby that got the soft baby blanket I showed you in my previous post. Since I happened to have just enough left of some white yarn, I decided it was time to start using it up. You see, a winter baby absolutely needs a lot of woolen clothes!


Yarn: Novita 7 Veljestä
Needles: 3,5

This was such a fast knit! Yeah! I love miniature-sized clothes! :) At first I was going to embroider something on the vest, but since I got a bit short of time (and became I felt very lazy) I just sewed on a small teddybear in stead. Turned out pretty cute, didn't it?


I also got a new knitting book: Knitted Lace of Estonia. Really love the cover, it's so very beautiful.


So now I'm just waiting for the inspiration to find me. But hopefully I wont get too carried away since I have at least six unfinished projects waiting for me. But maybe after those ;)

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Where do all these babies come from?

As you've probably noticed, I haven't updated anything for a long while. It's just that I've been quite busy (again). But now everything's done and I may start living a normal life again. Three weeks ago I handed in my Master's thesis for an official evaluation. Since then I've also had two written exams and deadlines for two short essays. But if everything goes as planned, those should have been my last studies of history. Phew. Feels great! Now I'll just continue whit my handicraft studies and try to get them done as soon as I have enough time for them.

But then, over to the actual topic for today. Babies. All around. I mean, I know at least seven women who's just had a baby or who will shorty give birth to one. So there's clearly a baby boom going on. But it's very nice since it gives me a reason to knit a lot of small, quick and cute stuff.

For a little baby boy, born a few months ago, I made these very basic socks for the winter:


Pattern: Novita Perussukat, size 22
Yarn: Novita 7 Veljestä
Needles: 3 mm

They are actually too big for the boy at the moment, but maybe they'll fit later in the spring or then next winter. I just figured he probably got a lot of clothes exactly the size he wears right now, so his mom would perhaps be greatful to have something to change up to.

Then, there's another baby soon to be born. The mom is one of our colleagues at work, so when she left on her maternity leave, the rest of us at work decided to surprise her with something that perhaps would provide her family a softer landing to their future life together:


Pattern: just basic garter stitch squares*
Yarn: we used left-over yarn from our stashes, mostly Novita 7 Veljestä, Nalle, TicoTico, Polka and Raita.
Needles: 3 mm & 3,5 mm


I think it turned out really nice although we hadn't really thought that much about the colours. And the mother seemed very pleased with it too. It was also much nicer to give her something homemeade that had been created with the help of all of her colleagues, in stead of just buying something from the store. Now we're all just waiting to hear when the baby is born and if it's a boy or a girl.

* EDIT: If you'd like to make similar squares, you might want to use for example this pattern or this pattern. We used 39, 41 or 43 stitches, depending on the yarn.

And oh, together with the blanket we also gave her a card I made:


I'll be back with more news (and handicrafts) soon!

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Legwarmers

I decided a friend of my absolutely needed a pair of legwarmers for her birthday that she could use with high heels. And these are what I came up with:


Pattern: my own (see below)
Needles: 3 mm
Yarn: Novita 7 Veljestä (maybe half a skein)
More pictures in Ravelry

When knitting the red mug jacket (in the previous post) I fell so much in love with the smock-pattern that I decided to use it again in these. The rest was just very easy: CO 72 st, do a k2p2 rib in both ends and work the smock-pattern in between. Last but not least, I added some black buttons. Et voilà! I think they turned out almost perfect. Now my friend can stay warm and still be elegant during this upcoming autumn.

Sunday 25 September 2011

Mug jacket

I grew sick of the ugly old mug I drink tea from at work, so I decided it really needed to be cheered up a bit. After scanning Ravelry for a while, I found this lovely pattern:

Needles: 3 mm
Yarn: Novita 7 Veljestä
Ravelry: Mug jacket (for more photos)

But here again I made some modifications to the original pattern. Firstly, I knitted only the sides. I also started knitting them flat right from the beginning in stead of working it in a round. Last but not least I also made it a bit smaller than the original one.

I really feel the cover makes my mug more cosy. Plus, it now feels much more confortable to warm my cold hands on the hot mug when the woolen cover is on. And when the mug needs to be washed, the cover is also very easy to take off thanks to the white ribbons on the side.


I've already for quite a while been wondering how to make that beautiful stitch pattern used here, and I have to say I was surprised at how easy it was! So go and try it! I already have another small project going on with this stitch pattern. Photos of that coming soon. Till then, have a look at these mushrooms! There's hundreds of them.

Sunday 18 September 2011

New school

The past two or three weeks have just been crazy. I've barely had time to sleep in between of running from one place to another. I've started working 3-5 days a week and then the courses at the handicraft teaching program has also started. On top of all this, I finally managed to finish a first version of my master's thesis in history that I last monday sent to the professor for comments and suggestions for how to make it better before I officially hand it in. So, in other word, I haven't had that much time to do anything else than "compulsory" stuff.

So far I've enjoyed the handicraft courses very, very much. It's so different to history that very much circles around books. During the handicraft lessons we actually make something with our hands, that really makes the time fly by. I mean, a four-hour lesson usually feels much shorter than a normal 90 min history lesson. Everything feels so inspiring and I just wish I'll soon have more time to carry out all my ideas in action.

So, what have we done so far? Well, not that much. We've been practising on sewing machines, using different kinds of techniques. Then, in another course, we've studied colours, and that actually feels like being back in high school - but in a positive way! It's very refreshing and relaxing to sit and just mix different colours. I haven't painted with watercolours in years so it was very nice to realize how much more fun it was than I remembered. And not at all as hard to control than I remembered. Here's my humble achievements from the first lesson:


Then, during the time I spent in a bus from one place to another, I did have time to finish this:


A very basic hat for the winter. Not for myself, but for a friend.

Pattern: my own/mix of several
Yarn: Novita 7 Veljestä and some unidentified black yarn I found in my stash
Needles: 3 mm

That's all for this time. Hope to be able to update more often from now on!

Thursday 1 September 2011

Autumn hat

I've been looking at this pattern for ages already, but didn't have the right yarn nor the right needles at home, so until now, it has only been on my to do -list. But the other day, I finally went to buy everything I needed and started knitting. And man this was a fast knit! I finished it all in only one day!




Yarn: Novita Kelo
Needles: 8 mm

You can imagine how nice it felt to knit something really fast after my 2 mm lavender sweater! More big needles for me, please!


Now I also have something to wear with my old yellow mittens. Everything in lovely autumn colours! <3 Also, eagerly awayting next week when my first handicraft lessons start! Yay!

Sunday 28 August 2011

Tender lavender

One of my, what I thought would be a never ending project, is finally finished! Remember how I've ranted about a project I'm working on with 2 mm needles that never progressed the speed I wanted? Well, here it is:


Needles: 2 mm
Yarn: Novita Princess Baby

This time I made only one small modification to the pattern: since my bodyshape demands it, I added some waist shaping to the sweater. The buttonhole band is exactly the same, but I choose to wear it buttoned in stead of opened as in the original pattern pictures. Then, as a small detail, I embroidered some branches of... something :)


But in spite of the embroidery I would say it stays very true to the origianal name "plain and simple". No fuss at all. Very easy and actually rather boring to knit. But something you could do when you wanted to really clear your head of every thought in it.


Quite pleased with the result after all. And that's good since it took me over a year to finish it. The yarn is by the way some really old yarn my aunt gave me. It's not in production anymore, in case you wonder.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

A drawing


A drawing I made in the beginning of the summer. It's a portrait of Selma Lagerlöf, although her face looks a lot younger than it should. I like drawing when I have a "model", but I suck at drawing straight from my head. And even with a model, the drawing never turns out exactly like a look-a-like.

I've slowly started to knit again, although only a few rows a day. BUT I do have something new to show you as soon as I've had the time to take some photos of it... Meanwhile, you can drool over my new stash of yarn that my parents brought me from London:



Some 800 g of wonderful Purelife Brittish Sheep Breeds Chunky by Rowan. I already know what to do with it and can't wait to start! Then I also got a whole new set of wooden needles. One pair of them got in use straight away as I changed my metallic needles to these in one of my WIP's.

Friday 5 August 2011

Parisian picnics

As I said in my previous post, I added one small detail to the picnic bag I made for entrance exams. By this I both tried to personalize the product and take distance from usual tourist information.

One problem when deciding on having a picnic is to decide where to go for that picnic. My sollution for that dispute is to add a "best picnic places" -guide to the bag. Therefor, if you can't decide where to go, you might just lean to the bag for help. My guide isn't a booklet that you by accident might lose or forget at home. In stead I embroidered my guide directly to the canvas: a simplified map of Paris (and a written list of the names of the numbered places, not shown in the photo).


I also tried not to list the same places for picnics as all the usual tourist guides. The basis for my tips were my own experience. Hence, I listed six of my favourite places to have picnics in Paris. Some of them are well-known places, some are places where tourists usually don't go. (The numbers by the way have nothing to do with order of superiority)

The number 1 in this map stands for a small but cosy parc not in such a respectable area in Paris: Parc de Belleville.

During my spring in Paris we went there a couple of times since it was close to where one of my friends lived. This time there happened to be a juggler practising.

The number two is a much bigger and much more popular parc among the citizens of Paris: Parc de Buttes chaumont.


This was one of the last parcs I visited before heading back to Finland.

The third one is actually part of the riverside of Seine, located a little bit futher to the East of the small island Île Saint-Louis: Port Saint-Bernard.


The fouth parc I chose was perhaps the one I frequented the most: Pont des Arts. This one is also known among tourists.


The fifth is simply La Tour Eiffel. I know it's rather a cliché, but you actually felt you were in Paris when you sat there.


Last but not least, the parc furthest away is located right outside the centre of Paris: Bois de Bologne. A huge parc that was very idyllic and calm.


So next time you visit Paris, you might want to try out some of these.

Sunday 31 July 2011

Soon to be a handicraft teacher!

This spring I decided to apply for the craft teacher program at the University of Helsinki. And I made it through! Even though I was so sure I wouldn't make it this year. The entrance exams consisted of three parts: a test based upon literature, an interview and a handicraft assignement with a report that you were supposed to make at home. I was so busy with studying the teaching program in history that I really didn't have time to even think about entrance exams until a few weeks before the first, written part. After that I had a month to work on my project when everyone else probably had been working on it for three months. And when I saw what the assignment was, I was pretty distressed. The assigment was to make a "Modern souvenir" using textiles and textile techniques. Well, I'm so not an expert in that field. I've mostly been working with yarn lately and haven't even touched a sewing machine in years - not because I don't like sewing but mostly because I don't own a sewing machine and because my mom's machine is just rubbish. But well, I set of planning and doing my best and apparently it was enough.


Well, let me just present what I did. (Remember the sneak peak a few posts back? This was what I was refering to) The choice of country was a piece of cake: of course I chose France since that's the only country except Finland where I've been spending some more time. Therefore I thought I would perhaps be able to see it more through the eyes of a frenchman than of a tourist. Further on I specified my area to Paris and the parisians. My final idea evolved around what I did a lot when I spent my spring in Paris in 2009: I had picnics. My idea was therefor to create a picnic "basket" suited for a modern citizen. An old-fashioned basket isn't perhaps the best equipment to be carrying when the metros are crowded or if you have to carry it a far way. A better choise would therefor be a bag that you can throw over your shoulder. 


Other important components where somewhere to but the essential picnic "ingredients": a bottle of wine, the cheese and a freshly baked baguette from one of the lovely boulangeries in Paris. For this I chose to knit the pieces since I wanted to have at least one texture that was compleately different from the rest of the bag. I also made them in garter stitch so that any bottle and bread in any size would fit perfectly. Then the colours of the bag also had to be kind of elegant, something that would suit the streets of Paris and not stand out too much:


I especially like the green and pink cotton fabric I used for the lining. I'll definitely be using the leftovers for something else too. But back to the bag. There was still one detail on it that I made to make it more personal, but since this post already is getting quite long, I think I save the presentation of that one to next time. In stead I'll quickly present the report:


The idea was to present and kind of sell my idea and the project. I had to describe the country or area I chose and present in detail the working process, the choices I made and the materials I used. I also had to present who or what the finished object was meant for and why. Last but not least I had to do a self-evaluation of the whole project and process.


Now afterwards I think it might have been the report that saved me because unlike sewing, this was something I felt I could do. I've written so many reports and essays during my five years at the university that I really think this was something I might have been better at than those who applied directly from college. The limit of the report was 10 pages, but I could easily have written 20. So actually it got a bit crowded and not so esthetic as I had wished for. But I think the content was ok.

Shortly I might say I liked my idea, but I wish I would have had more time and more knowledge to make the finished object more like I pictured it in my head. But since I haven't been sewing that much since high school, I think I'm still rather pleased with what I eventually managed to do.

Friday 8 July 2011

Tea time!

 
During the midsummer holiday, I went to my parent's and took advantage of my mother's garden. I had heard from several sourses that it isn't hard to make home made blackcurrant tea. So I went out, picked a whole lot of leaves from the blackcurrant bush and dried them in the owen at 50 °C for some 3 hours. After that they were so crispy that they broke into small, small pieces as soon as I crushed them once in my hand. Already the smell of the fresh leaves on the bush was lovely, but I was surprised to notice that the leaves kept their smell even after the drying process.


There was enough crushed leaves for filling a small metal tin my mom gave me. And now, every time I oped that tin, the lovely blackcurrant scent hits my nose and it really smells like summer. I think I'll very much look forward to opening that tin in the middle of the winter.

When I got back home, I got so inspired by my new tin and my new home made tea, that I decided to rearrange my stash of loose tea. So far they've just been inside a kitchen cupboard, losing flavour while stored inside simple paper bags. But now, I put all of my loose tea in different tins and jars, put a sticker with the name of the tea on the jar and moved them to this small shelf on the wall:


I especially like the white tin to the left. It's a souvenir a friend brought me from London with the Underground map printed on it. It used to be filled with English breakfast teabags, but now I filled it with loose Earl Grey in stead - so still remembering the origin of the tin.

I also have a lot of teabags in a wooden box made just for them, but perhaps I'll show you that another time. Maybe when I've finished my mug jacket I've been planning to make to prevent burning my fingers on the hot cup of tea.