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?