Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Boogie Boogie Hedgehog

Anyone out there know how to get more hours in the day or more days in the week? Any help very much appreciated. ;) This is going to be a long post, as I'm not sure when I'll have a chance to post again this month! I'm sure most people are in the same state of chaos preparing for the holidays. My family's homemade/thrifted/recycled pledge means that many of my gifts will be going out in time for Valentine's Day, but in addition to last minute sewing and knitting and all that pesky grading, I'm trying to enjoy the seasons with friends and family, cookie baking, birthday parties, and favorite films, as well. My family arrives this week from the US and France to celebrate with me here in Finland!

My brother sent me this link and I just had to share:

I received a very cute winter quilt from the Doll Quilt 5 swap this week from Sandi in the US. She visited Finland several years ago and said thought about her trip while making the quilt. I especially love the striped binding! Thanks so much!! Sandi generously included some goodies, too, and wrapped the quilt in this gorgeous tree fabric that I promptly added to my own Doll Quilt as a border before sending it on its way!

If you're waiting to receive a swap quilt from me and want to be surprise, DON'T scroll down any further! Here's what I've been up to:

For the November WORDS themed 6-12" mini quilt swap, sent to Kim in the US. I was inspired by the song "Words" by the Swedish a cappella group The REAL Group.

For Doll Quilt 5, sent to Imagingermonkey in England. When I started, I didn't intend for it to be so wintry. (Inspired by Marimekko's Mökki (cottage/cabin) fabric.)

For Barbara's angel swap, sent to Weronica in Sweden.

There has also been a lot of knitting going on. Here's a pair of socks for a friend one time zone east of here... (Pattern available here - thanks to Barbara for the tip!)

Happy Holidays everyone! (The photo is from a dark, but beautifully lit Helsinki this week; I was there for work, but found time for a little Christmas market browsing and yarn shopping, too!)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Grün, grün, grün ist alles, was ich hab!

I just closed my December 3rd Give-Away day post to comments a few hours after the promised time of 8pm Finnish time with 292 comments! Holy cow! I can't believe how many comments this Sew, Mama, Sew event inspired, not only on my blog, but around the blogosphere! One thing I noticed that was strange, though, is that several comments didn't show up in my inbox. Did this happen to anyone else?

I'm going to wait until the morning to wade through all the comments, but one thing I noticed was that the most common favorite color mentioned was green. If you ask me my favorite color, I'll say I don't have one. If you push me, or if you've visited my living room, I'd have to say green. It's been a theme lately. (No favoritism to the green-lovers in the drawing, though!)

Here are the two minis I made for the 6-12" swap in October:

The one with the buttons will be my inspiration for the give-away quilt I hope to make in the next day or two. The second was for the 'out of the box' category for non-rectangular minis.

Speaking of green, here's the simple hat (a k3p3 rib) I recently finished for my brother as an early Christmas gift. I had to rip out the whole thing and start again with fewer stitches cast-on during my 36 hour odyssey from Köln to Vaasa last week and by the time the ripping happened, I'd met up with a friend at Arlanda and we were so tired and giddy that the yarn started talking to us and he gave the project its name: the Feed-Me-Seymour hat. I hope it doesn't get hungry and eat my brother. (The yarn is Phildar Giboulées, chosen by my brother and purchased last month in Paris.) Along with the hat, you can see my all-time favorite book, which just happens to have a holiday theme. The English title is Of Course Polly Can Do Almost Everything. I love the Ilon Wikland illustrations.

And sticking with the green theme, here's a sneak peek at my quilt for the Doll Quilt 5 swap - on its way Saturday (a few days late, but I hope the recipient will be understanding) to a European destination. This quilt also includes red, yellow, and brown - it's not easy being green all the time!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Give-Away Day!

I've decided to participate in the Sew, Mama, Sew December 3rd Give-Away day, despite the million other projects I should be working on for the holidays. You can check out the master list of participants here. Hope I can find time to make the rounds later today!

I'll be giving away a mini quilt (about 6"x6"), along with some Finnish holiday chocolate.

Just comment on this post by tomorrow (Thursday December 4th) 8pm Finnish time (GMT+2) and I'll choose a name randomly. Be sure to include your favorite color in your comment!

I have some crafty things to post, but will save those for tomorrow. In the meantime, here are just a few photos from my recent trip to France!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's been a week of adventures for me. I spent last week in France, celebrating my brother's 21st birthday, exploring his world there, meeting up with two online quilting friends, and enjoying a good deal of cheese, bread, and carotte rappée. After a short visit to Bonn on the way home, the real adventure began! There was snow everywhere and after circling Helsinki, we were diverted to Düsseldorf (also stormy). After an unscheduled night there, I found myself stranded in Stockholm the next day, but I finally made it home to Vaasa, followed later by my luggage. Now I just need to get caught up with life here again! Whew! I swear I'm never traveling again (but don't hold me to that...).

This evening, the adventures continued when a friend and I ventured into the wilds of snowy Österbotten in search of Solbergs Kalkongård for a turkey for Saturday's Thanksgiving celebration at my place. After some searching (and some nearly incomprehensible dialect spoken by the helpful folks we found along the way), we eventually realized we were on the right road, but in the wrong town! Luckily, the right Långmossavägen was not too far away and there is now a large, dead bird living in my usually vegetarian fridge!

I'll post more soon about my French adventures, but here are just a few crafty images to leave with you for now: my mom's birthday socks, finished while standing in a four-hour line at the Lufthansa desk in Düsseldorf (I really cut it close with that darker purple yarn!) and my November 6-12" mini from QuiltinKimmie in Oregon. I love how the colors of the socks and the mini are so similar!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Ja, det kan vi!

Watching/listening to all the US election coverage has given me some good knitting time this week (my poor students are still waiting for feedback, but I hope they'll understand). I've finished three socks since I got back from Germany two weeks ago. The skinny one was my first attempt at a toe-up sock and I think I like doing it that way, although today I'm casting on another pair cuff-down. I have a lot of November birthdays in my life - makes it tough to get started early with Christmas gifts!

I got a treat in the post this week - my October mini swap quilt from 1/4 of an inch. The hand stitched flowers are adorable! Thanks (and for the extra treats, too)!!

I'm finishing up my two October mini swap quilts today, too, and really hope to have them and one pair of socks in the mail tomorrow. I have some ideas for my November one, but I'm not sure my stitchery skills are up to it!

Ruth nominated me for an award this week and I thought I'd play along.

Here are the 'rules':

1. The winner can put the logo on their website/blog.
2. Add a link to the person who gave you the award.
3. Nominate at least five other websites/blogs.
4. Provide links to the nominated websites/blogs.
5. Leave a message at each blog/website telling them they’ve been given the award.

Wow, as Ruth said, choosing just 5 is hard… Here are five of my favorite quilting blogs (by no way a comprehensive list), in no particular order:

Syko's blog is fabulous - she's a Finnish crafter/artist with roots here in Vaasa. I had the pleasure of meeting her in September. You might want to do a little holiday shopping in her etsy store!
Be*mused is another one of my favorite reads for both quilting and knitting content. I'm totally smitten with her latest robot creation.
Taniwa is another one of my favorite reads, because of the insights she provides into life in Japan, a part of the world I know very little about. She's also such a very prolific poster!
The Jettstream is another blog read regularly. Jane Ann is really a talented writer and I especially enjoy it when she writes about her childhood memories.
and I'll round out my five with
Dordogne Quilter, whose Quilts 4 Leukemia Project I truly admire, and whom I'm going to meet for the first time next week!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

November 4, 2008

In keeping with the apolitical nature of this blog, here is my political statement for the day:

I made this back in September 2007 and Oh Fransson's post (and give-away) inspired me to post a photo of it again today. It hangs on the wall of my office. It's going to be a sleepless night here seven hours ahead of East Coast time!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Quick Update

Here's a quick update on some current knitting and quilting exploits:

Socks in progress (a pattern I bought in Germany, windowpanes with yarn purchased at Stundars, and my first attempt at a toe-up sock - notice the cool wooden needle holders I got from my neighbor's mom last week!)

A finished scarf using this great pattern, I think it would look great in a self-striping yarn.

The September 6-12" mini received from Eggmoney for the mushroom/owl theme, complete with adorable homemade notecards! Thanks, Eggmoney!!

And finally a sneak peek at one of my (somewhat late) October 6-12" mini (out-of-the-box theme).

I'll leave you with a few more photos from my recent visit to Freiburg, nestled in the southwest corner of Germany, between the Black Forest, Switzerland, and France.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Münchener Freizeit

Hello! I've been very spotty in my blogging lately. Mostly it's just been work getting in the way, but I also spent a week in Freiburg and Munich. I did quite a bit of knitting while traveling (and shopping) and I'll post some photos of those works in progress soon, but in the meantime, here are some photos from the trip.

The cobblestones in Freiburg are so cool!

We went on a very cool walking tour of Art Nouveau sights in the München district of Schwabing.

Window display in Munich.

Carnival/flea market in Munich.

Finally, most of the shopping (except two 1/2 yards of fabric): sock patterns, lots of yarn, and some beautiful ribbon.

Having the week off to spend with friends in Germany (with another trip coming up soon) makes the hectic teaching schedule I have right now completely doable!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Patchwork Drawstring Bags

I made these three 8" reversible drawstring bags this week using this great tutorial from Pink Penguin. I can definitely recommend this as a great quick project. I think I'd like to make a 2" square quilt for an upcoming swap, too.

Here's a photo of the lining fabrics I used for the bags.

Last weekend I also finished up two more of my Mansikka mini series started last summer. I still have three more of these basted and waiting to be quilted. It seems like the wrong season to be doing these now, but the colors are Christmassy, so maybe I'll get back in the mood soon!

I also added a couple of buttons to my Melanzane mini before sending it off.

Monday, October 06, 2008


I've had Italian food on the brain lately - in part because I've been reading a lot of Donna Leon's mysteries set in Venice. So, yesterday, I did a bit of stitching (finally) and also made some homemade "finger" pasta with some friends. This little mini is for the 6-12" trading swap. I definitely need to practice my free-motion handwriting, but it was fun working with solids! Here's a photo of a another great deconstructed 'melanzane'.

There has also been knitting! The bumble bee socks are finished - a little wide in the foot, but otherwise, I'm pleased. I've started my first pair of fair isle style socks, too - windowpane socks, based on photos I've seen on Ravelry (don't have the pattern, but I'm winging it).

It's good crafting weather in these parts!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

It's Not Like Riding a Bicycle

Another confession... It's been so long since I've done any quilting, that when I sewed the binding on my mini this week, I sewed it to the back, so that I had to do the hand sewing on the front side of the quilt. It looks ok, but still - what was I thinking?! It's for the 6-12" mini swap mushroom/owl theme (with owl fabric on the back). The second September one will be on its way soon (I've been a little under the weather). Inspired by Tonya and friends, I'm pulling out the solids in my stash (there aren't many of them).

Here's another little 'doll' quilt I whipped up about a year ago with scraps from this baby quilt. I finally sent it off to Hong Kong for the now one-year-old's first birthday, along with Herra Hakkarainen (called Mr. Clutterbuck in English!).

I received this little mini in the mail this week, to tide me over for a late swap quilt. I won't post the quilters name/link (for fear of shaming her for the delay!), but will do so when the swap quilt arrives. The quilting on this simple piece is terrific - sorry it doesn't show up better in the photo (apologies for the blurry photo). It reminds me of something from Geometry class.

There has also been knitting. Happy Socktober!

I'll end with a sunrise photo from my window in Vaasa this week (about 7:30am).