Friday, December 25, 2009

A Merry Maine Christmas!

Merry Christmas Greetings to all from snowy Maine!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been very absent here of late - just working, also working on Christmas gifts! I hope that over the holidays I'll have a chance to catch up. In the meantime, I'd like to wish everyone out there a very Happy Thanksgiving. It's my very favorite holiday and I'll be celebrating here on Saturday. Here's a poem to celebrate the day!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Nothing Like Snow!

There's nothing like snow to get me started thinking more seriously about the upcoming holidays! I have a lot of November birthdays amongst my friends and family, so I always have the feeling that I'm ahead, only to realize at Thanksgiving that I've given most of my gifts away already! I'm determined avoid this realization this year. For today, here are some glances at some knitting that's underway (more information on Ravelry). Quilting shots to come tomorrow!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Before and After

October was a bit of a bust in the crafty department. With Christmas fast approaching, I hope there'll be more posts here in the coming weeks! In the meantime, here's something I've wanted to share for a while.

I've been eying these rather retro telephone tables for a while at flea markets and finally gave in a couple of month ago. Several rounds of sanding and painting later, I'm happy with the result! The new fabric is from Marimekko (sorry, I don't know the name of the pattern). It took a while to find the perfect pulls for the drawers, but a friend finally found some for me at a little shop here in Vaasa. I'd also love to find an old green rotary phone to top it off - I miss rotary phones! I don't even have a land line anymore.

Now I want to recover my IKEA poäng chair...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Online Quilt Festival

I hope everyone enjoyed the slideshow from my quilt group's current exhibit. For those of us who live far away from the big shows, the Bloggers' Quilt Festival organized by Park City Girl is a great alternative! I participated in the first one last April, but soon after, I finished this quilt, which might be my favorite quilt that I've made to date! It's made with Finnish Marimekko fabrics and white Kona cotton. Here's the original post. Don't forget to visit all the other bloggers participating in this great event and enjoy!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Utställning - Exhibition

My quilt group here in Vaasa has an exhibit going on this month. If you're in the area, you can visit it at the Seniorpunkten in Smedsby (Monday-Friday 9am-4pm). If not, I hope you enjoy the slideshow! You can see photos of an earlier exhibit here, as well.

Unfortunately Kajsa's workshop at Loftet tomorrow was cancelled, but I'm hoping to spend the whole day sewing anyway.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I've Been Abducted by that Monster Called Work

There's been very little sewing, etc. going on here of late; the semester is in full swing.

The building where I work was recently renovated, and we've all decided it's pretty sterile and definitely not inspiring or intellectually stimulating. A colleague has come to the rescue with an idea of some subversive textile art. Thus far we've displayed some summer knitting/crochet projects, including dozens of hats made by her hung against a black wall that 'welcomes' people to our floor.

There is also an installation piece in the works, inspired by students' study paths. Here are some of the raw ingredients for that project.

My quilt group is having an exhibit in October, so I hope to have some photos to share from that soon, and there will certainly be photos after Kajsa's workshop here in Vaasa on Saturday!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Projects

I start teaching again this week, so I suppose it's natural that my summer push to finish up lingering UFOs has lost steam. Instead, I started not one, but two new projects this weekend. The first will be made up almost entirely of pink, red, and white scraps and thrifted fabrics, built around a fussy-cut pillowcase covered with hearts and flowers. It's a little 'girly' for me, but I hope that it will be just right for the intended recipient. I have 37 11.5" blocks and have run out of steam to make any more. I'm planning on some white sashing between the blocks, but I was completely stalled in terms of ideas of how to make it a little larger, especially considering that I almost never put borders on my quilts, until I went to my quilt group this evening. We're getting ready for an October exhibit and one member brought in her first quilt (made 15 years ago), a gorgeous blue and pink full/queen size log cabin with a piano key border. That border was just the solution I was looking for! Unfortunately she doesn't have a blog (and I didn't have my camera with me). Two other members do of the group do have blogs, though, and you can check them out here and here! For the back of this quilt, I'm thinking of using this technique to use up some smaller red and pink scraps.

For the second new project I just made a single 12" block. I'll need to make 55 more. Can you guess the pattern?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Great Mail!

I got a wonderful package in the mail on Wednesday from a friend who's done a lot of traveling recently. The Obama print is a kanga from Tanzania celebrating the election of Barack Obama (obviously!). I posted about some kanga this same friend sent me a while ago, and you can read more about kanga here.

The package also included some buttons made from coconut shell and bone made by participants in a vocational education program in Tanzania, as well as fabric scraps from a Hawaiian shirt producer and an eyeglass case made with traditional Hawaiian applique. Wow - what a great package - thanks!! I can't wait to use the shirt scraps; I've already decided to mix them with some white Kona cotton. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

HDW Fabric Inspiration

Let's be honest. A trip to Helsinki is not complete without a trip to the Marimekko Factory Store. I limited myself to some purchases from the 6€/meter fabric table. Here's a sampling:

I also visited the Finlayson Store in Helsinki and bought a little of this gorgeous fall fabric to make a few aprons for holiday gifts, as well as a small piece with these cute monkeys on it!

On Saturday I found Kajsa of Syko fame at the Design Market held at the Cable Factory (Kaapelitehdas) - always a treat! I bought a couple of Christmas gifts that I can't post here, but also picked up something for the wall of my newly organized sewing room!

Kajsa's teaching her first class "Lekfulla Applikationer på Nytt Sätt" (Playful Applique in a New Way) at Loftet in Vaasa on Saturday October 3, if you're in the area!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

HDW Yarn Inspiration

While at the Design Museum in Helsinki last weekend, I spotted another piece of knit-ffiti on the banister to the ryijy rug exhibit upstairs! What a great location! The exhibit itself was really gorgeous. I'd like to try this traditional way of making rugs someday. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed. There was one quilt-like design that I sketched and filed away for someday. There was another ENORMOUS rug in shades of green and brown that looked so much like a lush field that I was just dying to walk across it barefoot and then to lie down for a much needed rest. Here's a great website where you can learn more about ryijy.

I did some limited yarn-shopping damage at the Titityy booth at the Handicraft Fair, discovering Fleece Artist yarn from Nova Scotia. I also visited a new (to me) yarn shop on the outskirts of Helsinki. A rather unassuming suburban mall setting, but well-worth the trek on the commuter rail! I mostly picked up some (mostly Norwegian) sock yarn for 1 or 2€ a skein. Considering the deals, I think I was rather restrained!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Helsinki Design Week!

A meeting brought me to Helsinki on Friday, and I decided to stay the weekend to take in some of the Helsinki Design Week events.

There was fabric shopping and yarn shopping, but those will follow in separate posts. (There was also a little Christmas shopping that I can't post here for fear of ruining some surprises!)

There were lots of students around, exhibiting, explaining, and selling their wares. Some that caught my eye were Kauniste Textiles (at the Design Market) (photo above) and Kaamosgroup (on the Esplanade). I was also really impressed with two more seasoned exhibitors, Dutch artist Piet Hein Eek (at Artek) and Finnish furniture makers Punkalive (in front of the Design Museum) (photos below).

Unfortuantely, I wasn't too good about snapping photos. Someday I need to take a trip to Helsinki just to do that - and to follow the Art Nouveau walking tour and tram route with camera in hand.

One building caught my eye as I was leaving the Architecture Museum. It caught my eye at first because it was ugly, at least in comparison to the more ornate (much older and better maintained) structure next to it. But at second glance, I realized this rather sad looking structure could come alive as a quilt! One more idea to file away...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Two Great Tutorials

My aunt has started sending me care packages. Lots of care packages. Full of crafty things like fat quarters, buttons, and sock yarn. Why she has started this now - and not while I was at summer camp or boarding school or living in a country where lots of things were hard to find - is a mystery. Not that I'm complaining, mind you!! Keep 'em coming! A while ago (maybe at Christmas?) she sent me quite a few yard-ish pieces of decorator weight fabric. I've been thinking they'd make good bags, but that hasn't happened yet. One larger piece might be destined to recover my IKEA poäng chair one of these days.

In the meantime, I whipped up a pillow for a friend who's moved into a new apartment. I used two great tutorials: zippers (this is the most useful tutorial I've found online to date - I've used it several times - with and without the pocket) and this one for pillow covers, which I modified a bit. I thought 1/2" was too narrow for the floppy edges, but my 3" is too wide. Next time I'll get it right! Like AmyLouWho, I used an IKEA feather pillow form. They are really the best!!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Something Else in Green and Orange

I like to think I don't have a favorite color.

Everyone who's met me here in Finland, however, would disagree. My living room and kitchen have an awful lot of green in them! A kind of granny smith apple green. (recovered sofa here, new chair fabric here...) Green is a neutral, right?! My mom might say orange, if you asked her about my favorite color. So might a friend who's bought me some very cool things on her travels in recent years. (evidence here) Orange is a great accent color!

Sometime in high school I might have said blue (our school color - and mascot - yes, just a color - not sure if there's a connection). A few years earlier, I would have said aqua. I remember the Christmas when I was turning 10, we traveled to stay with relatives who I'd only met once before. The one thing my grandmother told everyone was that I liked purple. A lot. I got a lot of purple gifts that year, including a crocheted ripple afghan that I should blog about some time!

All this to say, here's another green and orange project hanging out on the line. (Other green and orange/yellow quilts here, here, here, and here!) I pieced the top four years ago in Maine and finally quilted it and put the binding on last week. The logs are 1" finished, and the whole thing is 40"x50". Another summer UFO finish! Yippee!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away!

The weather is not cooperating with my plans to photograph my two latest finishes outdoors, so here's another recently finished project in the meantime. I've been trying not to sign up for any new swaps so that I can finish some of my UFOs - particularly a few larger projects I want to bring with me to the US in December. But I couldn't resist the seventh round of DQS! A month ago I posted a photo of the back and my inspiration for the colors. It's on its way over the Atlantic now!

I'm amazed at how my little flying geese tutorial brings so much traffic to my blog. I really should use it more often myself!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Since I was in Finland most of the summer this year, I planted some tomatoes on my balcony. Slowly, but surely, they're ripening. Unfortunately, there's no room for cucumber plants, but I did buy some and gave pickle-making a try for the first time. I tried two different recipes for Claussen-like pickles (they are one thing I really miss here) and tried an Estonian friend's mom's recipe, too. In a month or two I'm going to have a little pickle party to see how my experiments turned out!

I'll have some quilt content tomorrow, especially if the weather cooperates for an outdoor photo!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I really admire Kristin La Flamme's creative work and blog, and now her husband has organized a terrific project to provide various sewing/knitting/etc. items for people in Iraq.

I was especially motivated to participate once I saw that it's possible to mail a bundle to a friend of his in the Netherlands, so I finally got a few things together today, including some fabric, yarn, ribbon, thread, straight pins, and zippers. I hope that they will be useful to someone there!

The deadline for participating in this effort is September 7 and you can find out more information on the Iraqi Bundles of Love blog. If you don't have a stash that includes crafty things you can bear to part with, it's possible to purchase a bundle through Sew, Mama, Sew for only $15US!!


I'm really glad I decided to have a third anniversary give-away, because I've won three give-aways in the past couple of weeks and it just seems right to repay Lady Luck! Here is one that arrived yesterday from Helen in Australia! Look at that cool label she made! Thanks!!

And now for the winners of my give-away: Karen in DC, Gina in South Wales, Vicki in Virginia, and my sock-knitting neighbor! Congratulations and thanks so much to everyone who commented!

PJS in Romania: You're set to "no-reply" so I can't email you directly, but would like to. Could you send me an email? Thanks!

Friday, August 21, 2009


It seems to be the season for give-aways! I was very lucky to win one celebrating four years of blogging at Knit One Quilt Too. It's one of my favorite blogs. Thanks, Kristin! I love the way the little house is smiling at me. :)

Speaking of give-aways, don't forget to leave a comment on Wednesday's post below before tomorrow morning Finland time to win one of my three small third anniversary prizes!

In terms of sewing, I've just managed to do a lot of loops this week - on a UFO and on the Zoo Animals. That sore throat from last weekend has lingered, but I'm determined that it won't ruin another weekend/week! Photos of the flip side of this quilt soon!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Zoo Animals

I promised to share the sources of inspiration for my newest project, so here they are: (1) Ashley of Film in the Fridge recently posted photos of a new quilt she's made using Marimekko's Karkuteillä fabric. I was reminded that I'd bought a remnant of this fabric in another colorway (and with the boots cut off) during my discount Marimekko shopping spree back in February, so I dug it out and got to work. (2) I love this brown polka dot fabric (the zebra is brown) even though the green isn't quite right, and I found some solids that matched the Marimekko fabric quite well. I wanted a simple back (or front) for this quilt and found my inspiration on the backs of these little quilts by Helen of Patchy Work of Mini Grey. Now I just need to find some ideas for quilting it! Any suggestions?

Don't forget to scroll down a bit and enter to win of my give-aways celebrating my third blogging anniversary!

Three Years Ago Today...

Three years ago today, I started this blog! I had no idea what I was getting into, but I'm glad I did, and I hope to keep it going! I've met some very cool, creative, and generous people and have collected more inspiration from the whole quilt/knit/craft blogging world than I could hope to use in a very long lifetime.

To celebrate reaching this three-year milestone, I've decided to have a GIVE-AWAY! Please comment on this post before Saturday morning Finnish time to be entered to win one of three small prizes. Please mention where you're from (just because I'm curious - I'm willing to mail anywhere) and mention which one of the three prizes you'd most like to win (or would least like to win - for example: I don't knit, please don't send me yarn!):

A. One of my stawberry miniquilts
B. Sock yarn from Finland
C. A small scrap bag of Marimekko fabrics

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Start of Something New

A sore throat got me down this weekend, but I did manage to start something simple. More photos and info on my inspiration coming soon!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lite Textil Gör Stor Skillnad!

A little fabric makes a big difference! No sewing, but a lot of stapling involved in this project. The new fabric from Pentik is on the left. Behind the chairs are my new Billy shelves from IKEA. I love being able to hide my mess behind the doors! It feels like I have a whole new apartment! Yes, that's snow in the IKEA photo above. No, it's not snowing here. Yet. The photo is from my last trip to IKEA in Haparanda in February.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

9 in 2oo9

My neighbor and I have officially reached our goal of knitting 9 pairs of socks each in 2oo9 - and it's only August! Next year we're planning 10 pairs of mittens in 2o10!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Oldie But Goodie

As the nights are getting darker here and the start of school looms, I'm trying hard to organize my sewing space so that it's easier to just sit down and work whenever I can squeeze in a little time. Part of this effort includes finishing up some lingering projects, so here's another Oldie-but-Goodie that I've finished up this week. I started these last summer and would love to do more with this idea in the future - pillows, a larger quilt... But at least now I've finished up the ones that had been pinned and waiting to be quilted (with pearl cotton), freeing up some more safety pins for the upcoming basting of this!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

My Round Robin Arrived!

Here's the gorgeous Round Robin quilt that finally found its way to me!

Center: me
First border: Sharon
Second border: Julie
Quilting and binding: Jeanne

Thanks to everyone!!

I have been redecorating my living room this week (after a trip to IKEA to buy new shelves, meaning the old shelves have moved into the quilting room!) and this is now hanging above my Tikka sewing machine and next to this triptych!

Friday, July 31, 2009


Thanks for everyone's nice comments about the medallion quilt photo yesterday. I realized as I took it that the background (and evening light) matched the quilt top really well! I really do live in a beautiful part of the world and am appreciating having a relaxing summer this year to enjoy it.

I've been trying not to participate in too many swaps so that I can concentrate on some larger projects (and UFOs) during the summer break, but I just couldn't resist this one. Here's a peek at the back of my quilt. I just need to put a label on it, but am going to hold off a bit on mailing it - it's not due to be mailed until the first week of September!

Dear Swap Partner,

First, I will be happy with anything that you have fun making! But if you'd like to know more about my tastes, you can check out my Flickr favorites here. I was just thinking that the super traditional piecing and more muted colors I showed this week on my blog might be misleading. :)

I'll sign off with a photo from my balcony that inspired the color scheme of my DQS7 quilt!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Does Anyone Remember This?

I started this medallion quilt (as a wedding gift, I'm embarrassed to say) back in November 2006 and last posted about it here. I've been trying to wrap up some UFOs this month, so I thought I'd add a few more rounds to this. I'm going to put it aside again and work on a few smaller and more modern-looking projects, but I really intend to get back to it again sooner, rather than later! It's up to 66"x66" now - still aiming for 90"x90".

Leafy Rosy Hanging Out to Dry

Here's Leafy Rosy for my mom, finished and hanging out to dry. I'm a bit concerned that the bamboo batting is bearding a bit, but hopefully it won't do it any more! The finished size is about 82"x82", the pattern is a modified version of Leafy Rosy published in a few of Kaffe Fassett's books.