_MG_9755.jpg I saw this lovely herringbone knitting stitch used in Big Herringbone Cowl at the Purl Bee. I liked the idea of a cowl as well because I had been using one made of thin fabric. I like using cowls more than scarf because they´re more practical. So I headed to a new yarn shop in town and bought a few skeins of this thick merino for a cowl.
_MG_9745.jpgThe other side of my coffee table is a mess. I have almost 50 books borrowed for the thesis and I can´t wait to throw them out for good.
_MG_9759.jpg I could not use the existing pattern because the gauge is different with this yarn. I did a small test and I hope it was´t too small too guess to measurements right. Knitting herringbone is so easy but I wish the backside would be flatter instead of horizontal rib.
_MG_9205.jpgTati got a wash too. It´s amazing how different he looks in this picture. He´s sulking…

_MG_9544.jpgMore sewing. Gives me so much pleasure to be able to piece together clothes. I don´t enjoy buying clothes so this a perfect solution. Well see, if I am able to manage with my own sewing. I have only bought one pair of jeans this year and they´re the exact same pair, same dye and size I bought before that. I often buy an identical replacement when something breaks. This is a Scout Tee by the way. Love it´s modern shape. I made a muslin version earlier to check the size so I know it´s going to be good. And the fabric is by Leah Duncan, love her work too.
_MG_9543.jpgCan´t but repeat that Jen of Grainline Studios has taught me so much about sewing in the few last months. I´m forever grateful to Jen for writing an information-packed blog in these times that thorough blog writing has become so rare. I learned to grade seams for example -what a difference!
_MG_9560.jpgI found a free pattern from Grainline called Hemlock Tee. I have a similar boxy tee in black that I have used a lot so thought I give a try to this one size pattern. I´m not sure yet but I might have to make it smaller, we´ll see. This purple fabric I found for very little money (less than 6 euros). It very thin but drapey, but might wrinkle.
_MG_9549.jpgThese days I am dreaming of sewing and using books for paperweight (yes!). Writing the master´s takes on it´s toll. I don´t like to write essays, at all. It makes me sick, literally. Talking is fine but writing has always been a little battle for me. Just not my thing. To get through this I have set a very tight deadline so it means only few of moments like this in a week. But only a little more than a month left and then I have so many nice things waiting for.
_MG_9558.jpg Here´s Hemlock´s patterns cut. I have sewn two knit shirts and thinking of getting a walking foot for my machine. I assume it would help the stretching with hems and matching patterns… Do you think it´s any good?

_MG_9502.jpgDid I ever tell you that I visited Stockholm in the beginning of February? The perks of living in Turku is to have a cruise line straight to Stockholm. The ferry is very cheap if you buy the tickets cleverly. One night in boat and early morning in Stockholm. The next ferry takes you back in the evening. The only downside being the ferries, it takes only one time to kill the thrill out of it. But it is cheap and easily worked around a day off work for example because travelling/sleeping in the cabin for two nights. I take this trip whenever there´s something interesting to see, usually art exhibition.

_MG_9518.jpgThis time my friend, his son and I got a great idea while having breakfast. I remembered there is a silk museum somewhere and it happens -just around the corner. So we visited K.A. Almgrens Silk Weaving Mill. Great little museum in the heart of Södermalm.

_MG_9514.jpgThere were a lot of old machinery and one person still working there. I remember reading about her work on Vävmagasinet. Also an exhibition of Barbro Lomakka, whose work I came across when working in Visby, Gotland.

_MG_9520.jpgBut the main reason I left for this trip was an exhibition by Anu Tuominen. I had to see one more exhibition before I would be finish my master´s thesis on her work. It was a tiny gallery exhibition and gave a lot of inspiration.

_MG_9528.jpg After walking (literally) around Stockholm we has some time to peruse Old Town and fika.

_MG_9532.jpgAnd the ferry back home (but this is not the ferry we took). Such a nice trip but travelling with almost 1-year-old boy made me almost fell asleep/ pass out in the children´s play corner at the ferry…

_MG_8356.jpgOh well, there´s a first for everything. This is a first knit tee I have ever made. I have had a serger for years but I have not used it much. Finally I thought that I would use it or sell it. And after this t-shirt I will definitely keep it. Another thing I did with this tee was double-stitching the hemline, neckline and sleeves. What a difference in finished look. And functional too, because the double-stitch is stretchy.
_MG_8333.jpg The t-shirt pattern I used was Burda 3197. It had a wide separate neckline facing that I ended up almost cutting away. I think I might try to do the next one without this piece at all.
_MG_8396.jpgThis fabric is perfect: marled middle gray with polka dots. And it was dirt-cheap and doesn´t wrinkle. One thing though with this tee: it could be smaller by one size or so. And as with sleeves usually in my case, they´re a little too wide. But still, it has already seen a lot of wear.
_MG_8338.jpgView from my room´s window. I have many projects on the side (for instance those rags in the corner) while sewing is taking the lead. But what I should really get over with is my master´s thesis. I have set a deadline but it´s still a little too far away to do other than procrastinate.
_MG_5935.jpg By the way those curtains on the picture above I sewed last summer. That was good enough excuse to post one picture of Tati while he was(n´t) helping me with the curtains and posing for the camera. Handsome devil.
_MG_8339.jpg And what I wouldn´t do to escape the writing work but also develop 7 rolls of film that had been lying on my desk for months…

And last but not least… watched this video on manufacturing cotton fabric. Almost broke to tears (not even kidding) by the time the fabric was printed because of the labor that goes on to making beautiful things.

_MG_8090.jpgAfter finishing the plaid cozy version of Alder, I decided to make another one. I had some cheap herringbone wool blend that I had bought without any plans. So I laid the pattern pieces and guess who understood that it was all laid for him?
_MG_8081.jpgAfter plaids, this was easy. But I wish I had a table to work on.
_MG_8082.jpgFrom the beginning I suspected that this fabric had quite a lot of polyester (or similar) in it because it has a sheen to it. I still haven´t decided that if it´s too much…
_MG_8088.jpg With two meters the pattern requires, I was left with this much fabric. I think I could do this dress with a half meter less. I hope I remember that next time.
_MG_8096.jpg All cut and stacked. The half a meter will continue to be cut for a rag for my rugs.
_MG_8347.jpgI think the sewing went pretty smooth and here´s the finished piece.
_MG_8352.jpgAnd the close-up of the fabric. Pretty graphic.
_MG_8370.jpg And me wearing the newest addition to my wardrobe. Next on my learning to sew -list: knitted t-shirts!

_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.