Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sakura Slippers

The cherry blossom (sakura) is Japan's unofficial national flower. It is also my official favorite flower. 

It's a delicate flower that blooms only for a very short time. For the Japanese sakura symbolises the transience of life, in other words: life is short, shit happens, not much you can do about that so stop whining.

Life may be short, but as long as you can find beauty in life it's a life worth living. If you're lucky, your daddy ordered a custom pair of pretty slippers for you, so you'll never need to look any further, beauty can literalily be found right under your nose (I mean not right under your nose, unless you're a midget your feet probably are a bit further down..). 

These slippers were made of Novita Huopanen unspun yarn and following the same good old slipper pattern I always use (found in Finnish here and in English as translated by yours truly here).

Domo arigato, Mr Roboto. (Dunno why but I simply had to end the blog post with that. Had to!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Simple Teal Bag

I knitted and fulled this bag a few weeks back but haven't managed to attach the handles until today. I've been suffering from a cold past few days and apparently snot makes my brain too foggy to perform even the simplest tasks such as sewing on a pair of handles on a bag. I haven't used handles like these before and had been wondering what might be the best way to attach them securely. I googled and I googled and I googled a bit more. Maybe it was the snot, but what I found was of no help at all.

After trying a few different ways I decided to use thicker dark blue sock yarn to sew the handles on at the edge of the opening, about 1,5 cm from the edge. These are the stitches that hold the handles in place so I stitched these ones firmly and rather tightly.

I used the same unspun yarn I knitted the bag with to cover the stitches sock yarn stitches.The unspun yarn is there just for cosmetic effect and can be sewn on a bit more loosely. Unspun yarn alone does not have the strength to keep the bag in piece as it tends to break easy.

 This bag is the second in my series of more down to earth purses. I love it, the color is so rich and beautiful, I found it didn't need any embroidery at all. The dark wood handles work so well with the teal, I thought adding embroidery to it would be like adding salt on bacon, completely unnecessary. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Simple Bag with Heart Embroidery

Most the items in my little Etsy shop are said to be rather pricey. Indeed they might be, but the price does not only include the materials (yarn, embroidery cotton, handles, lining etc) but also the work that goes into these beauties, and believe you me, detailed embroidery does not create itself. I get it that I should have items in my shop that would be a little less valuable too, it makes sense to offer more range in both colors/themes and price tags too.

Lately I've been designing bags with a little less detail, bags of more subtle beauty. Offering items with smaller price tags does not mean to me offering items that are of poor quality, simply beautiful pieces with well thought and simply executed details. If I may say so myself, I think the shape on these bags is pretty in itself, plus I love the rustic texture of fulled wool. Elaborate embellishment is not necessarily needed to make these creations beautiful, the shape and texture itself make them pretty. Keep tuned for more bags of simple elegance..

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wet felted table cloth and coasters

Last weekend I took part in my second felt class and like last time, concentrated purely on having a good time, getting inspired and messing around. Among a few not so succesful projects I managed to produce something relatively usable too, to my own surprise at least.

Here's a set of coasters together with a little table cloth in colors we have in our kitchen/dining room at the moment. I'm fairly new to using blue in decor but have totally fallen in love with it during the last 6 months. It all started from the Stockholm Blad  curtains from Ikea, for a reason still unknown to me, they were screaming my name and I just had to get them. The coasters I made are a little clumsy and funky, but think they go well with both the curtains and the Taika -mugs in the picture, designed for Iittala by Heikki Orvola.

The Taika dishes have grown on me little by little, but now I'm dreaming of replacing them with a few items from the 24h Tuokio collection, a new design from Arabia by Heikki Orvola and Helorinne & Kallio. This is pure madness, I tell you, as I have my cupboards full of Vanilla Tableware from Pentik.. But even still.. In a perfect world I'd have room enough for a million complete sets of tableware, one for each mood I'm in, so I'd always have just the perfect set for each occasion.. Though right now it wouldn't make sense to buy more ceramics in blue and white, as in just nine days I will be changing all the curtains, table cloths and cushion covers in the house to match my winter color scheme (I don't have Christmas curtains with reindeer or dancing Santas, but even still my bf wont allow me to change colors until the first of November the earliest, and oh boy do I intend to change them the moment the clock strikes 00.01 on that day!) Oooh I can't wait to dig up all the red, white and linen..

But a few more words on the felt (as this post was supposed to be of them and not of tableware). I used a pre-needled felt cloth as a base and decorated it with blue (remotely) leaf like patterns. First I needle felted bits of blue wool roving to the base, not attaching them completely but using the needle just enough to keep the wool in place. Then I wet felted them and to finish tossed them in the washer (cause I was feeling lazy). They are not fancy at all, as you can see the table cloth is lumpy and uneven, but I'm still pretty pleased with them (mainly because they go with the colors).

Huzzaah, great achievement indeed.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Handles

Ordered these wooden handles last week from Hong Kong through Etsy and huzzaah, they arrived earlier this week! That was fast! I had had my eye on them for ages, but as there wasn't a lot of info on the products listed I had been a bit doubtful whether or not to order. At the end I just took a risk knowing only that they were made of wood (not very specific) and that the surface had been treated with spraying (what exactly, who knows..) I ordered 5 to start with and they truely are gorgeous! If I manage to squeeze more info out of the seller regarding the manufacturing process (it's all about sustainable products these days!) I might even order some more. GORGEOUS!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Exchange

A friend of mine has taken up knitting after X years (we decided it best not to count them precisely, as the result would force us to admit the cold fact that time is passing by and we aren't getting any younger).

The other evening she called me with sincere enthusiasm in her voice to ask how does one make a cable twist. I instructed her to my best ability over the phone but we agreed that her next question regarding something a little more complex for a newbie-knitter (reinforced heels) called for face-to-face tutoring.

We agreed I would go over and help her with socks and other projects and she would make me dinner in exchange. Huzzaah, said I in my little mind, as I'm always hungry and never say no to good food (hence the muffin tops)! This arrangement suited me fine; I'm an eager reader (=drooler) of her delicious food blog, Martan Keittiössä and knew I'd be a fool to decline.

While she prepared dinner (breaded chicken tits with cheese I can't remember the name of, whole grain rice and tarragon carrots,) I sat on her sofa flickering through the book she had used to get back into the groove with knitting. I couldn't believe my eyes, it was the same elementary school text book I had when I was a kid! Time has done no credit to the illustration which even back then looked horribly retro.

Seeing the book after X years (still not feeling like counting) brought back so many memories. Mostly unpleasant though, I hated knitting in school. Hated with a passion. I was terrible at it. Yet now I couldn't imagine life without it. God only knows what skills I'll develop X years from now. If I've learned how to knit I can do anything!

(PS. anyone wishing feed me, please contact me immediately!)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Apple Blossoms and a Butterfly

 Oooh, finished another bag last night!
It's fairly girly, naive even, but then again, the customer ordering it was 6. Fingers crossed she'll approve!

I really like the apple blossoms, they look so nice against the fuchsia background I'm thinking I might try embroidering something similar on the pink slippers I'm working on next.

I love autumn, it's such a beautiful time of the year but these colors totally make me wish it was spring!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

World's Largest Crochet Quilt

When there's a chance to go see an attempt to break the world record for the largest crochet quilt I naturally jumped at the chance. My bf will probably never stop making fun of me for this, according to him I'm a total yarn nerd.

I didn't take part in this project as I *hate* making granny squares. They are quick and easy to make, but darning the ends, oh boy that's tedious! And don't let me get started on joining the squares, yawn! But in respect for all the patient crocheters around the world I simply had to see this.

In Helsinki, Finland, local womens organization Martat alongside with the largest yarn manufacturer of the country Novita and craft teachers union were covering the stairs of Helsinki Cathedral with thousands of granny square quilts yesterday. The quilts were made my hand by volunteers around the country and gathered together by the said organizations. According to MTV3 news there were 3800 quilts, consisting out of 152 000 granny squares, covering the stairs. They actually managed to get together 7800 of these quilts, but couldn't fit them all on the approx 50x28m stairs! Mental!

The separate quilts were joined together with cable tie for the occasion and will be donated to various charities after the event.