_MG_8172.jpgBefore the year changed I finished my Alder shirtdress and started another one. I like this pattern a lot and shirtdresses in general. And the instructions it comes with teach so much about sewing. I made this dress out of very odd piece of fabric, it´s plaid cotton double-gauze. Tricky to sew when trying to match plaids because the fabric has four loosely moving layers when attached together. But I guess for the same reason the fabric feels very comfortable to wear. But with these colours and patterns I am afraid it will not leave home… All in all, it fits and works on day-to-day basis so I kind of regard it as a success. And it restored my confidence to sew more clothes.

_MG_7457-(1).jpgOne day last year I sampled dyes for a good primary red and blue. Well, actually my target was more stormy blue and tomato red because it´s very hard to set your mind on an idea of colour rather than actual color. In the past I have had my crushes on primary colors but always settled on more earthy shades. This time my crush was probably triggered by flags with red and blue and white and my last January´s trip to the Netherlands where I found these pure colours everywhere. Also with blue in particular, it think it has always been discriminated in my palette. Also the interest in blue has something to do with Ilse Acke´s beautiful blues. I think she made me accept blue and deal with it.

_MG_7445.jpgOh, and Tati wants to wish you all happy new year! He turned one 22nd of December and I can hardly call him a puppy anymore. He´s a handsome dog and learns very easily. Until December also very well-behaving but learned new tricks just before turning one… Nothing big, just a little mischievous when left alone. Others say it´s normal but for him it´s new to pick up yarns and put them somewhere else or dig soil from the pot of a plant. Nevertheless my dearest friend.

_MG_7447.jpgI got this feather duster as gift to R. I think he likes more to look at it than actually use it…

_MG_7455-(1).jpgAnd here´s the final choice for tomato red. The yarn is wet but I like the color a lot. I had to dye it twice because first it came out too orange and washed-out looking. No idea for what I was targeting these colours. I just had to make them to get them out of my thoughts.

_MG_7287.jpgBought a new bag for small things. I am not a purse person. It´s always a small shoulder bag plus backpack if I have to carry something. Or a tote/ canvas bag for groceries etc. This bag is very clever and rugged, I am glad I decided to buy it after a lot of thought. Towards the end of the year I became increasingly anti-shopping. Of course it had something to do with having less money on my leave of study but also because I have (finally) started to realize the value of my time. Also, buying something ready-made takes away the opportunity to make it yourself. And I dream making almost everything myself. Increasingly so.

_MG_7464-(1).jpgDon´t you just love looking at him sleeping? I do.

_MG_7518.jpg And here´s two dyed skeins. The gray one is for socks. Red, I don´t know.

_MG_6689.jpg My room is one of my favourite places. It is what it is. Sometimes I wonder how it looks because it’s different -simpler- than I have always imagined.

_MG_8042.jpgEucharis is blooming again in winter. I don´t get why it does that. I have heard it should bloom in spring.

_MG_6702.jpgMiddle gray mittens in progress.

_MG_6707.jpgI got a batch of plant-dyed yarns as a gift. They date back to eighties and had names of the plants they were dyed with. As I wound these into balls I decided to try dyeing with plants and mushrooms next summer. It sounds sort of perfect pastime for me… When I was young my mother who is a gardener/florist and taught me the plants that grow in our forest. Next summer me and Tati will go and explore the woods.

_MG_8045.jpg Begonia corallina (also known as “Angel wing”) joined in bloom because I changed it´s soil. I got this root from my mum because customers always bring these to florists because it´s traditional and I think they´re quite hard to come by in this corner of the world. Never knew how easy this plant is to take care. Unfortunately I have not inherited the green thumb.

_MG_6919.jpgMore mittens in progress and occasional breakfast.

_MG_7280.jpgKnitting mittens while R plays solitaire.

_MG_6915.jpgFelting mittens.

_MG_7283.jpgI made a wreath of fern.

_MG_7301.jpgFinished mittens.

_MG_8053.jpgNew weaving project on the big loom. This was a beginning of a second rug that I wove but I unravelled the beginning because it was too dull without colour.

_MG_8057.jpgThen I added colour but warp thread broke. I cannot see how that happened but of course that´s not a big deal.

_MG_8059.jpgAfter the sticky beginning I got on track. With blacks, dark grays and middle grays, I added random muted or pastel colours. This is the toned down version of the previous rug I will show you later. But I have to admit that toning down does not necessarily yield great results. I think I like the other better…

_MG_8077.jpgSomehow the palette of the rug was transferred to my sewing project. Here´s my first Alder shirtdess by Grainline Studio in the making. I like that pattern a lot but the fabric is terrible. It´s loosely woven double-gauze and with seams I am basically sewing striped 4-layered stack. You can imagine that it´s not easy to align the stripes. The garment is already finished but it was a struggle because of the choice of fabric. Well, learned another lesson there.

_MG_8078.jpg One reason I chose the pattern was because I decided to face my biggest fears when it comes to sewing: the collars, buttonholes and gathered hems. With buttonholes especially I have completely avoided making them after failing to match them in size a long time ago. But this time I refused to give up and decided that I can do them (and do them well) instead of letting buttons to decide the patterns I make. And I think they came out very good. After preliminary research I realized I had used the wrong threading in my machine and wrong presser foot earlier and after that I knew I could make it work this time around.

Oh well, a lot has happened to blog about but I think this will be the last post before Christmas. I hope all of you readers merry Christmas but not yet happy new year!

_MG_8061.jpgFor years I have been thinking of improving my sewing skills but never had the time to do that. Sewing feels difficult because it involves giving three-dimensional form. Not my strong suit. Therefore I tend to avoid sewing even though I want to make something with it. This fall I finally have more time (and courage) to try new things. I am taking my leave of study as comprehensive as possible and sewing was scheduled too ;-)

What got me motivated in the end was a few a patterns that I came across on Pinterest: the Alder shirtdress and the Scout tee by Grainline studio. I love Jen´s patterns and I quess they´re well made because I could match everything easily. I made these muslin versions of both of the patterns and followed instructions step-by-step. And during that overcame my fears concerning sewing and fitting. And learned how to alter the patterns to improve the fit. Never before had I realized the actual problem with pattern AND knew how to fix it.

I have made clothes before for parties etc. and they´ve been fine to wear. But I concider making everyday clothes more difficult and those are the ones I can´t seem to find ready-made anymore (withing my budget and requirements). I am so happy to find this growing set of patterns and Jen´s blog for her professional instructions. Without her work my sewing machine would be left untouched and my intentions only daydreams.

_MG_8006.jpgThe weather keeps changing between freezing and warm. I hope it stays warm as long as possible so that I can keep breathing the mist of forest.

_MG_7959.jpgBut this week it snowed on couple of occasions too. Tati went crazy because of the snow. I guess he doesn´t remember much.

_MG_7999.jpgI have been cutting rags during the weekend for a rug. I already finished the first one but jumped right in to newest photos so it´ll have to wait. I am using all kinds of old fabrics and some of them date back to decades ago. For this set off two rugs I have gathered scraps of materials and I don´t havean actual plan or use for the rugs. And again it´s so liberating. Especially when turning nothing into something as is the case with most of these fabrics.

_MG_8038.jpgIn Finland women used to cut rags during summer, outside in fresh air. I can see why they did so. Because it´s very dusty. I hope my rag rug weaving settles for the winter. Next summer I will do my chores and get to weave when it´s cold and dark. With much less dust. I should make this into a new year´s resolution. Never to cut rags inside. And especially not velvet.

_MG_8039.jpgSomeone was about to make pants out of this fabric. And now I am cutting the parts to smaller shreds.

_MG_7976.jpgDuring the weekend I did a lot of cutting (now that I think of it). Tati got a new haircut too. Don´t get me wrong, I think this is his best look but he´s also starting have the notorious tangle phase apparently almost every poodle goes through. Here´s he washed and groomed but there underneath are the tangles even though I tried to go them through every day. So I had to basically shear him before the coat would be all tangled up.

_MG_8017.jpgAnd here´s the chopped version of him, after rain. This was my first time cutting his hair with shears. And I think it´s pretty ok. I know where I went wrong but all in all it was pretty easy because he behaves so well.

_MG_8019.jpgAnd we went for a very long walk to the forest too. Perfect. It was so quiet and peaceful.

How was your weekend?

_MG_6296.jpgDaily snapshots from late summer. It´s so cold already that I had to go through pictures that makes me remember that we just had a long warm summer and another will follow…

_MG_6258.jpgMade a blueberry pie from frozen blueberries.

_MG_5949.jpgWent to zoo with my friend and her two boys. These guys must be happy under the warming lamp…

_MG_6113.jpgPlaying with his sticks. Favourite toys: sticks, balls and toys that make noise.

_MG_5947.jpgOld beetles always make me happy.

_MG_6673.jpgR´s daily read, mostly on Surrealism. Doilies that I received to pass along to my mother.

_MG_6173.jpgAt my mother´s place. It´s amazing to step outside the front door and find yourself in the middle of the fields. With our apartment you have to walk quite some time to find an open place.

_MG_6256.jpgBaked two breads. So easy. How come I had not tried that before?

_MG_6303.jpgFrom the kitchen window. Love the neigbourhood we live in.

_MG_6297.jpgMint tea break.

_MG_6356.jpgOur house turned 100 years. Actually it happened last year but we never got around to celebrate. Our neighbour makes the best cakes, more cakes here.

_MG_5654.jpgI have been emptying my cabinet from old materials because I have been too lazy to order/buy new ones. Also, it´s good to keep stash low because I wouldn´t remember to use those anyways. Here´s a warp for two table runner experiments.

_MG_5718.jpgThis time I had to make something out of Poppana wefts I received when I bought the small loom. There were a few plastic bags filled with odds and ends in colours that I necessarily wouldn´t have bought myself. Of course there were a few favourites as well but in general quite odd selection of colours. You could tell how the old lady had been making Poppana table runners for every season…

_MG_5662.jpgDressing the loom for this project was so easy because I didn´t have to change the treadling from the last project. With countermarch loom tying the treadles is my least favourite task.

_MG_5749.jpgI don´t know how well known this type of textile is, but “Poppana” here is still very popular. It´s basically thinner and smaller textile that resembles rag rug, a miniature rug. The only difference is that the weft is always bias-cut. This makes weft fabric borders open up more (than when cut against the grain) and creates lovely soft weft-faced surface in time. They´re heavy-duty and become a lot better after use.

_MG_6359.jpgI had no plans for the runners except produce one that I could give to my mom. She had been asking for one. This ended up being the one for her. And the one above is left on hold. I don´t know if I even like it.

_MG_6379.jpgTati was trying to sleep under my loom but it was too disturbing with all the clanking noises. I´d like to know what he thinks of all this…

_MG_6382.jpg The end of the warp. I chose the worst colours and tried something else. For some reason the X-pattern caught my attention. I wonder what to do with that?

_MG_7111.jpgNew socks listed in my Etsy shop. I have listed two pairs. As soon as I started to take these pictures Tati stole the scene. I had to push him little by little out of the frame. And even then most of my pics had to be cropped so that the curls on top of his head wouldn´t show… So eager to participate ;-)

_MG_7289.jpgBasically I make two types of socks: thinner and thicker. These are thinner ones, the specialty ones as they require more work. With socks I usually pick yarn and pattern that I would use but end up selling them because I have so many pairs. I wear handknit socks everyday throughout summer and winter.

_MG_7297.jpgDo you remember this orange yarn? I bought it from Paris where sock yarn is actually very difficult to find. It is the perfect colour and softness. I wrote a post about it a long time ago. Still is the gem of my sock yarns.

_MG_7128.jpgThis is what happens when you can´t be on both sides of the camera at the same time. This is me pointing to R where to focus and being overhelpful (perhaps a little imperious as well…).

_MG_7296.jpgLove decorative rib patterns for socks. You really can´t beat rib in socks but it doesn´t have to be boring old “two knit and two purl stiches”. Besides, you get to do less purl stitches (the lesser nice ones in my opinion) with these textured rib patterns. I call them lazy ribs.

_MG_7139.jpg These socks I won´t sell because something (or someone) mysterious happened to them. I noticed a small hole in one of the socks. I must admit that I suspect Tati. He hasn´t chewn anything but still I can´t find any other reason. Perhaps when he was a small puppy because these were finished around the time he came to live with us… It´s a pity even though they´re already amended. I wish he´d had a bite of those orange ones so that I´d have an excuse to keep them.

Oh well, have a nice week!