Stitch me a letter

I've always loved rich embroidery on garments but never had the patience to do it myself. I remember being completely uninspired when we were given an embroidery assignment at school, I was too eager to finish the actual garment and didn't really want any embroidery on it. All that changed recently, I was doing some research at work when I stumbled on the creations of Maricor/Maricar. I got really excited and within half an hour I had made a list of tools I needed in order to start embroidering. I even tried to remember where I had put my notes from school. I started with practising some basic stitches and getting used to the tools. Then I tried some some letters because I wanted to do something concrete. Being the impatient individual that I am when it comes to making things I began with my own name in a very embellished font. It did feel weird embroidering my name on a piece of fabric and I even thought of that Destiny's Child song a couple of times but you have to start somewhere, right? I'm glad I finished this little piece. It was just the right size project I needed to get started. It…

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Willing spring to arrive

Spring might not want to come to Helsinki just yet but I've already gotten started with spring cleaning. Last week I went through all my clothes, putting aside all the pieces that simply don't work for me anymore and man was I brutal! This wardrobe edition of the hunger games left me with little workwear which is daunting but I believe in the long run it will pay off. While going through my accessories I noticed that the scarves I've had the longest and that I use every year are the ones I've made myself. I have a couple of colourful scarves that have kept me warm in the coldest winters but they are quit thick and too warm spring and early autumn use. With my recent rediscovery of knitting, I decided to knit a thinner but textured scarf. I wear scarves pretty much all year round (except  for those few weeks in July when it gets really hot) so I need a few of those thin but warm ones in my wardrobe. I had originally planned to use the moss stitch for this scarf but I noticed it was hard to keep track of my rows while watching TV shows. So I…

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Oh brother, art thou cold?

Sometimes I'm not a very good big sister. On my middle brother's birthday I called him, congratulated him and told I hadn't been able to find a birthday present for him. I told him "if you possibly need a scarf, I can crochet you one". He's a quit easy going guy so he was like "mmmkay" and we started discussing colour options. We agreed on a dark wine red but once i was at the store I couldn't find a yarn in that colour or the right thickness. After another call we settled on a teal colour and in wool. What was more tricky was picking a crochet stitch for the scarf. My brother dresses in a quit classic style so I knew all the lace and flower like stitches were not his thing. Instead I tried to find a simple stitch that created a clean graphic pattern. I came across the Cable Stitch on Pinterest and after testing it decided to go with it. I found this great tutorial, which also shows a variation of the stitch where the diagonal lines are all in the same direction. The stitch is quit easy so I was able to finish the scarf before…

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The Handicraft Master plan

The end of last year was quit hectic, which you might have noticed in how late I've been about posting about trips and finished projects. The good thing is that I've been busy meeting friends, going to exhibitions and even doing a bit of travel. One thing I've decided that I'll do no matter how hectic my days get is handicrafts. Finishing my green basket weave crochet scarf took too long because I was constantly putting it aside for things that usually involved sitting infront of a computer. Once I started experimenting with embroidery and rediscovering how relaxing and therapeutic it was, I decided that I need to always have one crafty project going. But since I'm a very restless person and I easily get bored I'm gonna try to have several pieces in progress at once. So that's my master plan! Nothing revolutionary really, it's basically what I'm doing with my sewing but when I thought of it I got very excited. Unlike my sewing (which takes up almost half of my room with patterns, fabrics and machines) handicraft projects fit in my lap and I can also take them with me when I travel. So here's to a very crafty 2016! Random freestyle embroidery.…

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The shorts that knew too much

Ok, I couldn't help myself, I just love funny titles! The shorts in question are made from that pair of jeans I found earlier this summer. Before I made these I counted I had only 2 pairs of shorts so a third pair was needed. I had to dye the shorts 2 times before I got this colour. I did the mistake of not using enough hot water the first time and the result was not good. I was using a plastic bucket  that can't handle temperatures above 60ºC, bad idea on my part. I've now purchased a stainless steel bucket for future projects. Some time around the millennium I had a serious tie dye and print phase. I dyed and printed everything from clothes, bags and even sheets. Not knowing anything about printing techniques back then I found my own way by using book covering film. I cut each X separately in order to be able to align them better. Using book film is quit primitive way to print garments but it works quit well for big and very simple prints. Plus, book covering film is something I always have around as I insist on covering all my books. Voilà,…

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Superman to the rescue

I'm not gonna lie, November has been a nightmare. Between getting sick, the never ending darkness and my usual hectic schedule I've barely had any inspiration to create. While most people are counting down to Christmas, I'm also counting down the days to winter solstice. I find comfort in knowing that the days will slowly start to get longer. One D.I.Y. project that I managed to finish during this darkness is this fun canvas tote. I've made a few canvas totes for friends this year and now I finally made one for myself. I made it with double handles 'cause I can never decide on the right strap/handle length. If they're too short you can't get your arm through for shoulder carrying, if they're too long the tote hits the ground if it's hand held. Aaaah, the joy of making things to fit your own weird requirements! As for the fabric, I used this marvellous superman print I bought a while ago. It brought back memories of watching Lois & Clark with my brothers when we were kids. It's definitely going to cheer me up during this dark winter.

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Apple greens and basket weaves

Remember a while back when I crocheted all those swatches and vowed to get started on a scarf? Well, I finally got started but I didn't use any of the crochet stitches I had sampled. What happened was I went to the yarn store and bought a few skeins of yarn in this lovely apple green colour, but when I got home I realised that the yarn was too thick for what I had in mind. So after hours of googling, youtubing and testing crochet stitches I decided to go with a basket weave stitch. I really like the thickness and the texture of it but it consumes a lot of yarn so I might have to pay that yarn store another visit.I find crochet to be very meditative so I'm glad I have this project to keep me occupied through the dark winter months.

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The lazy crochetter makes a comeback

Remember that bracelet I crocheted a while back? I decided to make a white one as well. I never wear white but lately I've been coveting white accessories and jewellery. I used a much finer cotton yarn than last time and used triple treble stitches for the grid. I also learned that there is a difference in interpretation of stitch names between the UK and US, very confusing! I have to learn more about that. Now I need to find more crochet patterns and maybe make a necklace. All tips are welcome!

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I love polka dots!

Last winter a friend of mine hosted a clothing swap event, what a brilliant idea! I came home with a few garments, among which; a pair of jeans I planned to wear this summer as shorts. So I cut off the legs but then put the project on hold since I couldn't decide which colour to dye them. Then last week (a very hot week) I realised that I only own 2 pairs of shorts and they were both in the laundry basket. So to save time and quickly make these shorts wearable, I decided to print rather than dye them. I had an idea of tuxedo like stripes on the sides but ended up doing polka dots instead. I think It was because of all the lovely polka dot fabrics I saw at the local fabric store (need to buy some and sew a full A -line skirt). Back to the shorts, I wanted big and more irregular polka dots so I opted for self made stencils and a brush. I'm sure there's an easier and more accurate way to do it but the improvised stencils worked for me. Now I just need to find another pair of jeans…

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Starting small

Not long ago I shared my big crochet experiment and vowed to get started on some scarves. Well, I decided to start with something even smaller, a bracelet to more exact. I saw a picture of this technique a while back and immediately decided to use it for a bracelet. I'm very happy with the result, so much so I think I'll crochet another one in a different colour. This pastel pink (not my favourite shade of pink)  was the only thin cotton yarn my mother had when I got a sudden urge to crochet. I had packed my crochet needles but not any yarn, typical me!I'm not yet an expert on crochet diagrams so instead here are some step by step pictures. I started with crocheting a base chain the length of the bracelet. Then I crocheted a "grid" using a double treble stitch. Once the grid was finished, I crocheted treble stitches along the grid in a wave like pattern. Waves in the making. The finished waves. How it looks like from behind. I sewed a button on one end.

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Learning something new

I learned to crochet as a kid but for a long time I only had a few stitches in my repertoire.  I've long wanted to learn new stitches so I can crochet something other that endless rows of treble stitches. Instead of getting lost in a new project that would end up in the "waiting to be finished" box, I chose to make small "swatches" with different stitches (see gallery below). I found a great book at the library for instructions. The book is very clear and organised with a lot of step by step images to guide you. With the help of this book I was able to even learn how to read stitch symbol diagrams. I'm no expert yet but I've started to understand the basics. I think I'm going to buy this book as it has an equally informative section on knitting, something I'm not good at. Now that I've tried these stitches my next project is to choose one and crochet a scarf. I also have a idea for a small cross body bag with flower/leaf decorations on the front. Now I just have to get started!

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Check your tote

I started making canvas totes in the 7th or 8th grade. I had given up on backpacks (until recently, but that's another story) 'cause I felt they were too sporty and I was desperately trying to look grown up and feminine. Since then I've made them in a variety of colours and prints, for myself and friends. I usually prefer short straps and a proper gusset but after receiving a "flat" Marimekko canvas tote I'm starting to reconsider my gusset obsession. There's something about how the corners look when the tote is filled that annoys me. Anywho, I was thinking about a gift for a friend of mine who helped me move (and recently celebrated her birthday) and decided on a canvas tote. I remembered that her favourite one had been stolen a while back. Seriously, who steals a canvas tote? Unlike me, my friend prefers subtle colours and prints so it felt safest to go for a black and white colour scheme. After an hour of fruitless hunting for a wide striped fabric, I turned to the checked fabrics and found one in black and white. However, the checks were quit small so I decided to buy some plain…

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Button up

The Helsinki City theatre had a flea market recently where they sold costumes they didn't need any more. The theatre is going to be renovated next year so I guess a thorough spring cleaning was needed. A friend of mine told me about the event and we decided to go check it out. Pure curiosity was what dragged us out of bed that Saturday morning! The first thing that surprised us was the long queue outside the theatre. Then we saw people coming out with big black plastic bags full of stuff! What on earth are they buying we wondered. Once inside though, we could understand the hysteria. There were a lot of items being sold for 2-10€. Though I had decided not to buy anything, I came home with a silk blouse and two wool scarves for the total sum of 1,20€ ! I thought I'd change the buttons and resew the sleeve hems and the blouse would be as good an new. But when I got home I noticed that the sleeves were more damaged than I had initially noticed. So, note to self always double check the quality of the garment before a purchase! The damage on…

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Masking tape magic

What do you do when you realise that you've forgotten to buy a birthday card 2 hours before the birthday party? Well, you make one of course! I could have run to a store nearby but there was dinner to be made and a hair disaster to deal with. My first thought was to make the card with collage numbers but there wasn't enough time. Then I wanted to somehow stamp the number 30 on the card but I didn't have the correct tools. The technique I finally used came to me when I found blank postcards make from watercolour paper.I tore masking tape into smaller pieces and taped them on to the card in the shape of the number 30. I purposely made the number with irregular edges as I wanted it to have a more hand made feel to it. Once I had painted around the masking tape, I let the card dry and then carefully removed the tape.Though this card was made in haste (hence the blurry images), I'm quit happy with the result. I was reminded of my love of working with paper and stationery. I definitely plan on making more cards in the near future!

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