9 September 2014

Crochet Christmas tree angel, video tutorial

In the late 80's I decided to make a quick-t-crochet angel for Christmas tree. I was then working in Northern ireland as a craftsperson. I noticed how much people wanted to decorate their homes for Christmas. Over the years i have made hundreds of these, if not over a thousand. Many of the come put every Christmas time in Ireland, Finlad as well as many other countries. I have used these to send to friends instead of Christmas cards.

Now I decided to finally make instructions for crocheting the angel. This time the pattern is only on video. I want to see how many hits it will get. Making video tutorials is fun! Enjoy my accent that is a mix of Finnish and Northern Irish :)


1 September 2014

Crochet circles for staircase

My daughter has a yoga and dance hall with a boring staircase leading up to it. She wanted something bright, colourful and handmade for it. I decided to make crochet circles. Each circle is different.

Many more are needed because the staircase is high. But this is a good start!

Corner of the mirror:

A couple of photos of the room itself. My daughter loves just as bright colours as I do!

This project taught me also not to take anything for granted. The girls had glued some of the circles with the wrong side facing up. I had forgotten that if someone doesn't crochet, they don't know which side is right or wrong! But I didn't turn them, the paint would have come with them!

23 August 2014

Sock blockers using Ikea bendable chopping boards

I have long wanted to have sock blockers. Only I haven't wanted to buy them and have been too lazy to make them!  I always wet finished socks thoroughly, shape them on a towel and let them dry. But that way it is hard to get them exactly the same shape and size. 

I had considered making them out of hobby clay that hardens in the oven. But I got a better idea from a discussion in a Facebook craft group. Someone mentioned they had made them using bendable chopping boards from Ikea (Hippusia-blog, in Finnish only). I decided to drop in at Ikea (15 minutes drive from my home) and get those to try that.

The chopping boards come in packs of two. Price at the moment £1.40 in Britain, 1.99€ and the same in dollars.

You need the boards, a carpet knife (or scissors you use for heavier work) and a base to cut on. I used a thick wooden baking board that pulls out of my kitchen units.


I drew a shape using a finished sock of the right size. When cutting the second one I used the first one like a stencil. With the second one I noticed that I could have saved some of the board for making blocks for children's socks by drawing the shape closer to the edge!

I cut a hole to the top of the sock shape for hanging. Then I wrote the shoe size on the blocks. Make sure to use permanent felt tips!

Finished! Easier to take photos of new socks, too, rather than photographing them on my own feet.
These are hanging from my top closet door handles with Ikea hooks that are normally used to hang keys in my hall.

22 August 2014

Patchwork sweater

This sweater is not one I have just finished but I haven't potographed it here before. It was fun making it in between other, smaller projects. Geometric shapes are easy to knit. I have crocheted them together from the right side. The collar rolls up. The sleeves are shaped from the top of the arm by decreasing stitches.  I measured the sweater to an old one to get the right fit.

From the close-up photo you may see that some bits have been knitted on a knitting machine, not by hand. I used to have a Bond knitter type of a machine. I didn't really like the kind of finish you could get using it, so I don't have it anymore. Using a knitting machine feels too much like work to me! You need to stay sitting by the machine and you can't concentrate on a TV programme or talking with people at the same time.

But I love the colourful finish!

20 August 2014

Bridesmaid's and flowergirl's dress

Yesterday I posted about a wedding dress I made. I also made one of the bridesmaid's dresses, for my daughter, and a flowergirl's dress for her daughter. The bride had selected coral as a colour for her wedding, and that was used for the dresses.

The bridesmaids dresses are not at all what British or American ones would be! The bridesmaids wanted a print dress that would be wearable afterwards. They could not have had the same cut because the other bridesmaid was on her last month of pregnancy. She made her own dress. She also made a flowergirl's dress for her 2½-year-old daughter. But on the day the little grl wouldn't wear it because she said it was scratcy at the shoulders! Instead, she wore an ordinary cotton summer dress for the wedding.

Flowergirl's dress

We decided to make dresses of two different fabrics. The top one is transparent sheer fabric. The skirt part is a fairy dress style, with two squares set on top of each other.

Below a phone photo I sent to the other bridesmaid to show how the pieces of the bottom part of the dress were arranged.

The skirt part consists of a square of each fabric, with a round hole in the middle. The hole is 1/3 larger than the girl's measurement around the chest.

Excitement in throwing rose petals :)

Bridesmaid's dresses

The bridesmaid's dress is made of fabric that feels like a scarf. My daughter chose the shape to be copied from her sister's old evening dress.

The dress is bare back.

I loved the wedding because the bride and groom had managed to make everything show their own personalities!

19 August 2014


Years ago, when I used to be a fulltime craftsperson in Belfast, sewing wedding dresses was one of my favourite kinds of work. After a long break from it I was asked to make a dress for a daughter's friend.  She was very specific in what she wanted and couldn't find it ready-made: 50's style, knee length with accents in coral colour.

The wedding was on a hot weekend on a small island outside Turku.

The dress is thick ivory satin. The bodice is partly covered by lace. The bride bought it in Stockholm. There is 10 metres of tulle netting under the skirt.

I'm used to doing most of my sewing by making big alterations to patterns or completely without patterns, just drawing the shape directly on the material. There was a pattern for the bodice but after alterations it ended up quite different. I drew the full circle skirt on the fabric with a pen, using a builder's measure. I don't sew much now so my tools aren't up to date!

There is boning at the back of the bodice. The plastic boning wasn't of great quality because bits started sticking at the bride just before the first dance! We had to get the ends cut off in a rush. Need to find out where to get boning that stays the way it should be!

A detail of the belt: 

 The bride's lovely shoes came from an American online store:

It was a great day, apart from being too hot!

18 August 2014

Yarnbombing in September

I have worked with yarnbombing projects in the past. The largest was in my hometown Turku last year. You can see photos of the Knit 'n' Tag-project here.

Now there is a new project I'm taking part in. It is tied to a charity project of getting people to knit hats for a prem baby unit. A petrol station + restaurant complex near Tampere, Finland will be covered with lots of graffiti inside and out. I'm involved in coordinating some of it through a Facebook group. There will also be school children taking part as part of their craft learning.

I have made a few pieces now, mainly crochet.

Hope to get many more made before it will all go up on the 15th of September!

17 August 2014

Baby blankets

In the spring I crocheted a blanket for my grandson before he was born.

When he was a few weeks old, the blanket fell off the pram. Even though the person walking the pram returned very soon to look for the blanket, somebody had already taken it :( So, I decided to make a new one. This one is the same colour but a bit heavier wool, with autumn and winter coming.

I wanted a square I hadn't made before.   By googling images for 'crochet square' I found this square: https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5129/5731174379_fb58b11a23_z.jpg. Later in a Facebook group someone told me that there is a free pattern on Ravelry for a very similar square. It includes a chart of the stitches, so I'm not drawing a chart of the square here. My square is not exactly the same, I made it on the basis of the photo in the first link.

The square is 12 x 12 cm (4 and 3/4 in square) The center is always white and the last row is turqoise, otherwise the colours vary.

My daughter wanted something in between each square in white. I showed her a few different ways of joining squares and she chose this:

It is 2 chain stitches and attached so that I skip 2 stitches, alternating between the squares to be attached.

I first made strips of 4 squares and then attached the strips together.

I have been making the blanket in a number of different places. Here it is in Rowallane Gardens near Belfast, Northern Ireland:

And here in the Samppalinna park in Turku. It was 30°C on the day I took that photo, so the woollen blanket felt quite warm!

And here the finished blanket:

I wonder what happened to the first blanket for baby Daniel. Does the present owner know where it came from?

28 July 2014

Craftspeople in metal pods!

What would it be like to have your workshop in a glass-fronted metal container by the sea?

WONDERFUL! But just that I came across in my evening walk in Bangor, Northern Ireland.

Each brightly coloured cubicle has two workshops. The occupants represent different kinds of arts and crafts, from paper craft to loom weaving and ceramics and fine art to sewing and working with yarn. Each one is in their own workshop in full view of the passers by!

Earlier, in the late 80s and early 90s I worked in crafts in Northern Ireland. Who knows what the future will bring!

Here is what you see opposite the site. Not a bad view from your work place :)

31 May 2014

Bamboo hat with pattern for newborn

One of my daughters just had her first child, a baby boy! Here in Finland each new mother get this pack full of baby clothes and items, from the social security. It includes a boring white hat that all mums seem to wear on their babies.  I thought of making a nicer one if you really think that a newborn should wear a hat, often even inside. I didn't but then I didn't bring my children up in Finland until they were much older!
(Here's a link to the hat in question: www.kela.fi/documents/10180/1525732/2014_Myssy/97eac646-59a9-4bc9-b722-82025f689aed?t=1392382842129 )

You can also download the pattern in PDF format from Ravelry

Edit: I had the pattern first for free but after about 1500  downloads I put a price of 3 € on it.

13 April 2014

Nappy cake for surprise baby shower

Daughter number 2 is 36 weeks pregnant. Surprising we managed to organise a baby shower for her without her guessing anything!

I only ever heard about nappy cakes (diaper cakes) a few months ago. Daughter number 3 wanted us to make one for the baby shower. We googled for ideas and instructions. It was fun! Surprising how many nappies it took, 2½ packets of size 2.

Started by rolling up the nappies and attaching with elastic bands.

There needs to be something in the middle that the nappies go around. We had seen photos of bottles being used for that. But I took a cardboard roll that had been in the centre of a roll of fabric. We attached baby grows around it. You could put all sorts of baby things in the middle of the cake.

Each row of nappies needs to be tied securely. We first put an elastic band and slipped the nappies inside it. When the row was finished, we tied it with a cord at two different places.

We ended up with 4 layers. The top layer only contains one row of nappies and there are no baby grows there anymore to pad it.

To finish we put a teddy bear at the top of the cake. The poor teddy didn't stay there until I stuck a metal knitting needle into him!

The tying cords are covered with ribbons and bows, whatever you come up with. The baby to be born is a boy so we had blue ribbons. We also used tiny socks and a pair of baby shoes to decorate the cake.

We wanted one of the layers have a different decoration. I sewed a pompom ribbon on white fabric.

The bottom part of the finished cake:

Part of the programme at the baby shower was a guessing game: when will the baby be born and what size will he be.  I just hope he won't be as late as his mum who was born 19 days late!