Thursday, April 24, 2008

Something (New?) Under the Sun

Sun, we have. Something new? Yes! My friend's quilt is finished in time for her departure tomorrow! Cute backing, huh? It's all washed and labeled and ready to go!

But is anything really new? We were inspired by Kaffe Fassett's Leafy Rosy (which my mom has 'ordered' from me - even sent me fabrics!), but the cool thing is that the same pattern was in a trilingual book about quilting in western Finland I picked up on sale at Loftet last weekend! (final photo below)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Flower Pots

A quick pause from the Pinky Fairy Rosy updates (although it looks very good for an on-time finish tomorrow) to share the progress on my Doll Quilt III Swap quilt. I was inspired by Mary Lou Weidman's It's a Riot pattern in the April 2008 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting (below). I didn't pay any attention to value, just to color, but I'm happy with it so far. It's completely free-pieced. That's what I like about these swaps - just trying out new things!

Pinky Fairy Rosy Update II

The top is finished and the quilting has begun! Thanks for all the encouragement!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pinky Fairy Rosy Update

Just a quick post about my visiting friend's progress on her second quilt. The nine-patches are nearly together - here's the one we both like best (on the new ironing board cover). She keeps telling me to be a better task-master, but I am too willing to linger over the dinner table and chat, rather than sending her back into the sweatshop. She does have a deadline of Friday, though, so I though posting a little more progress might bring some online cheerleading! Here are the remaining nine-patches waiting patiently for morning. Dare I promise a photo of a top by tomorrow evening? No promises, but I am optimistic!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Un-Me Fabrics and Another Gift

Not the fabrics you might expect to find on my blog, eh? These are the fabrics my friend is using to make a baby quilt. We have adapted Kaffe Fassett's Leafy Rosy pattern - basically nine patches alternating with large squares. Hopefully you'll see the finish product here before she leaves in a week! I paid up my debt at the library (bad daughter of a librarian!) so that we could take out a bunch of his books and see the design in various colors - it's in almost every one of his books. I think it's always hard when you're starting out quilting to imagine quilt patterns in other colors and fabrics.

I promised to share the beautiful textile gift from Damascus today - it's a gorgeous brick red shawl made of woven camel hair and embroidered from a women's co-operative called ANAT, dedicated to providing job opportunities for women, to preserve textile and handicraft traditions, and to promote mutual understanding of cultures. Cool!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Small Finishes, Big Gifts

I promised to show the wonderful gifts my visitor brought, but first, a finish! I've been putting off re-covering my ironing board cover for months. I wish I'd taken a before picture, but on the other hand, I'm not sure I could have brought myself to post the photo here, so here's the after photo:

I've used this blue and white fabric for at least one baby quilt backing and there's still plenty left. It was a steal at $0.50 a yard! I had another small finish today, too, but I'll post a photo of that after it arrives on the other side of the Atlantic.

OK, on to the goodies! My friend who's visiting lived in Ghana for two years and is now living in Syria. She's been lugging around this gorgeous fabric gift from Ghana for a while now and it was SO worth the wait!! I love the elephants and monkey and the graduated colors of some of the prints. They are made with wax stamps in a batik-like process. I can't wait to make something of them, but am feeling a bit paralyzed because they're so precious. I might start out with something tiny.

My visitor's here for some general R&R and the weather has really been cooperating so far! She's also here for a quilting retreat - she was my first quilting "student" (I've had two) back when we were both living in Romania and her goal is to finish her second quilt (a baby quilt) during her stay in Vaasa. I'll post photos of her gorgeous (very un-me) fabrics and the gift she brought me from Syria tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Green and Purple (and Home Sweet Home)

My trip to England last week was great: a little work, a little play; old friends and new ones, too; and green, green grass and a big-city-fix (do wish one were a little closer at times).

I'll start out with the new friends bit. While in Exeter, I was able to get up to Taunton to meet Anne. We had a nice afternoon at her place (without axes - see her post for more on this) and she gave me this adorable mini to take home with me. It already has a place of honor on the sewing/guest room wall. (More on the guest room below.) Thanks, Anne!

I was also able to meet up with Kate while in London. We had a lovely afternoon out with her kids at the V&A. Kate and I both participated in Barbara's bag swap and she had a surprise for me when we met - she was the one who made me a bag! As you can see below, she tucked in a few treats, as well. Thanks, Kate! Her DD2 also drew me an adorable smiling hedgehog, now hanging on my fridge. Purple seems to be my color this season! Hope I might be able to see both Kate and Anne again next year when I'm in the neighborhood!

A little of the touristy bits (although I was terrible at remembering to get my camera out). Here's the catherdral in Exeter (location of the work bit - the university, not the cathedral itself).

We stayed outside Exeter in the village of Broadclyst. These were our neighbors.

Another stop on my quick London itinerary, the From Russia exhibit at the Royal Academy. Definitely worth the queues. So much so, that I bought the exhibit catalog. I was really lucky with timing, as it closes this weekend!

Now, about my guest room... A friend just arrived this evening for a visit and she came with a suitcase full of treasures. Many of the fabric variety. But they deserve a post (or more) of their very own, so that will have to wait for another day.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Four Seasons Spring Quilt

Blogging from England today. More on my trip when I get back to (snowy?!) Finland, but I just wanted to check in and to post this:

My Four Seasons Spring quilt has arrived in Washington State, so here's a photo of the whole thing. This is the first needle-turn applique I've done and I have to admit, I liked it. I think there will be more applique in my future. It's quilted really densely and the free-motion in the circles is far from perfect, but I hope that Alicia likes it! (This photo is pre-washing, the post-washing photo is kinder to my quilting.)

When I asked for UK travel tips, I offered a little give-away. It's a mini version of the quilt above, about 6"x10". I did a little stitching with pearl cotton on the center 'flower'. It has found a home with Karol-Ann in England Thanks to everyone who commented - it was my first give-away. I think I'll do another one for my two year blogiversary in August.

I finished both the swap quilt and the mini with Terry Chilko's fast finish triangles. I've mentioned these before - found them on Ami Simms' site.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Yesterday I forgot to mention that I was given an award by my real-life and blogging friend at Lappeklipp. She just started blogging (in Swedish) last month and does beautiful hand embroidery/stitchery and can coax a sewing machine to do almost anything. I hope some you will check out her new blog! (Jag hoppas att några av er ska kolla på hennes nya blogg!) I'll post a links to a few of my favorite (and more 'purposeful') blogs when I'm back in Vaasa. "See" you when I'm back from England!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Nalle's Quilt

This is a little doll quilt I finished up today - actually, a teddy bear quilt. I'm bringing it (and Nalle the bear) with me to England as a second birthday gift for a friend's son. He's the same little boy who received this quilt for his first birthday last year. (I used the same backing for this quilt as for that one.) The Chinese coins are straight out of the scrap bag, which seems to be multiplying despite my lack of sewing since Christmas (other than the bags, of course), the blue sashing is leftover from the Bear Paws I made my brother, and the binding is from one of the pillow cases I found last weekend at a thrift shop. I haven't done any free-motion quilting for months, so I felt a bit rusty. Can't wait to have some more time with my machine next month.

I finished up my Four Seasons Swap quilt today, too, but will wait to post the final photos until it's arrived at its destination. I posted a couple sneak peeks here and here. I also have a tiny version of this same quilt to give away (see my post below soliciting England travel tips - you can either comment on that post with or without tips or you can email me with tips by 7pm Finland time tomorrow and I'll throw your name in the hat). Thanks to everyone who's already given me some good quilty tips - now I just need to squeeze some time out of my schedule for a little exploring!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

UK Bound

Hi! Getting ready for a combo work/pleasure trip to England next week and have a question for any UK-familiar readers. Any tips for quilt shops in/around Exeter, Hemel Hempstead, and/or London? Tips for charity shop gems where I might find some interesting/inexpensive textiles while there? I should say, I did live in London 2001-2, but was on a quilting hiatus back then (and on a student's budget), but any kinds of London/Exeter tips are also welcome!

I have a little give-away I'll send one respondent chosen at random (deadline Sunday evening Finnish time - comments on this post or emails re London/Exeter tips). Thanks!