Sunday, October 29, 2006

Too Many Choices (and a few more photos)

I'm feeling so overwhelmed by all the projects I could start - it's almost paralyzing! I debated starting out with a small project, but in the end decided to dive back into a UFO. I started these bear paws for one of a pair of twin blue and plaid quilts for my little brother in the summer of 2005. My plan includes sashing and three borders - so unusual for me!

Here are a few more photos from last week's travels with my mom. The first is Häme Castle in Hämeenlinna between Helsinki and Tampere. The next one is the wooden church in Kristinastad, followed by the little wooden carriage huts around the church in Narpes. The last is a mini princess cake in the shape of a monster from my local bakery (I became a big fan of these cakes at my host family's birthday parties as a student in Stockholm ten years ago and my mom even made one for my birthday once and also ordered one from here another year).

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Helsinki and Fabric Christmas

My mom is safely back in Maine today after a great week here with me in Finland. We spent last weekend in Helsinki and then spent the week in and around Vaasa. The weather was pretty rainy (and snowy upon my arrival back home last night), but we still had a great time. Maybe I can photoshop some blue skies into the pictures.... Here are just a few to get started, including the train station facade and Sibelius monument.

Just to get a little color into this post, here's a picture of the contents of one of my mom's suitcases. It really did feel like fabric Christmas! Most of the fabric came from my existing stash, but there were some surprises in there, too. She also brought extra needles and bobbins, as well as a few fun tools and some much needed batting. I have no idea what to start on first - the UFO plaid bear paws for my little brother? The wedding quilt for my cousin? A couple blue and white baby quilts? A Christmas table runner? A kalaedoscope wall hanging? Stay tuned. :)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

One More Post Today

I've been blogging for nearly two months now. It's been a great experience - I have started a quilt journal and have 'met' quilters around the world - my two reasons for starting. That second idea ('meeting') became much more real today. I complimented Nadine's hexagon tote bag a while back. Turns out she's also a foreign language teacher! She offered to send the pattern. I wrote back that I'd need to learn how to English paper piece hexagons first! She said she'd send me info on that, too.

This is what I found in my mailbox this evening! Not only did Nadine include plenty of examples and pages of instructions, but she sent me a little hedgehog button and pincushion!! Unbelievable. Thanks, Nadine!

My Fabric Pimp

Several people complimented the fabrics in my Sea Marquee blocks and I need to be honest. My mom chose almost all of them - the credit goes to her. We were shopping at our favorite discount fabric source (any Mainers will know exactly what I mean!) last summer and we found this 108" wide back. I have quite a few 30s fabrics from the same collection, but not in these colors, so I said it would be too hard to find fabrics to match (not that backs have to match fronts, mind you - I think it was just shopping fatigue). My mom took it as a challenge and ten minutes later several bolts were stacked up near the cutting table. As if I needed to buy anything more that day! The front is much more modern than the back, but like I said, it doesn't have to match!

My mom doesn't do much quilting (she claims to be working on a wall-hanging at the moment, but I'll believe it when I see it ;) ), but she does love shopping for fabric and cheering me on. What a great set-up for me!

Speaking of my mom, she's leaving tonight from Logan and arriving in Helsinki tomorrow afternoon for a one-week visit! I probably won't post until next weekend, but will have lots of fun pictures then.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sea Marquee

Not sure if this is the final title, but I finally started sewing these strips together this evening. This is the marquee pattern from FunQuilts Modern Quilt Workshop. It's going to be queen-sized and seems to be going together really quickly - nice and relaxing work for the end of a busy week!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Click Click

So, my camera is safe and sound. As promised, my chicken! Her name is Click (because of the camera trauma and because I saw the Adam Sandler movie of the same name on Sunday night). She's made of two twenty-five patch 3.75 inch squares, with scraps (from Love Beads, Citrus Zipper, my Leukemia blocks, and the (Roller) Coasters, and filled with rice. I don't really think I'm going to stick pins in her - she'll just keep me company while I sew.

A few photos of the day out in Tampere (the Finlayson textile mill and an Orthodox church - they have regular services in Finnish and Russian and once a month in Romanian!):

Jeanne asked me about the size of Finland after I posted a map on Sunday evening. I looked it up so I could compare it to a US state. Here's an interesting fact: if Finland were a US state, it would be the fifth largest state - between Montana and New Mexico in size!

One final photo from Tampere:

I certainly haven't seen this Bernina poster before!

Monday, October 09, 2006


I had a little fever today and since I had rescheduled my only class for other reasons, I stayed home. So, I didn't pick up my camera - with the pictures of Tampere and my little chicken! I promise those tomorrow.

Nines has asked people to share a picture of their laundry room/space. Here's mine complete with the little Marimekko curtain I made in August. My washer is actually in my bathroom - and I hang my laundry (and quilting fabric) to dry in the sauna - also in my bathroom. I haven't had my own washer for several years, so this is very exciting. This little washer is only 16 inches wide - the larger front-load models wouldn't fit in the space!

The few non-quilting friends who sometimes check out my blog will probably shake their heads at the need to post about laundry rooms!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Cluck Cluck

Yesterday I took a little day trip to Tampere with a friend. It's about halfway between Vaasa and Helsinki and reminded me a lot of Lowell, Massachusetts in terms of its textile mill history and architecture. In my rush on the way to the station I left my camera on the table in a cafe. Fortunately I was able to call the cafe and it was still there. A colleague is picking it up for me tomorrow. Phew! My biggest worry was 'how will I blog without a digital camera?!' There are a few photos on the camera that I'll have to post tomorrow night.

I have a lot of work to do today, including listening to audio journals my students have been creating for their speaking classes, but am rewarding myself every once in a while with some time in the quilting room. I'm determined to make myself a little Norwegian chicken (thanks to Hanne for explaining why these chickens are Norwegian and thanks to Darcie for the tips about how to make one).

My brain was about the size of a chicken's yesterday when I lost my camera.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Vaasan Tilkkupatteristo

That's the name of the local Finnish-speaking quilting group. I went to their meeting on Tuesday night and enjoyed myself. Even if I understood little of what was said (I'm still learning my numbers and foods), we all speak quilt (and many of the women speak English, too).

After chocolate cake and coffee, there was some business to discuss. Fortunately people bring books and magazines to share, so I just looked through those at this point! One member demonstrated how she makes baskets and bags from woven and stitched plastic coffee bags. A good choice since I've recently learned that Finns drink more coffee per capita than anyone else in the world! There was some discussion of what to do with a collection of redwork squares on tea-dyed linen that will eventually become a raffle quilt, as well as when and where to hold the Christmas party. (Is it that time already?!) It's being held here.

A highlight was a visiting suitcase exhibition from the European Quilt Association. The page hasn't been updated forever, but the links to the individual organizations are good, as is the description of the suitcase gallery project (link on the left side of the page). The theme was something like Fire & Ice and the quilts (wall hangings of about 20 inches) were very diverse and very cool!

I brought along The Color Purple and Love Beads to introduce myself.

I didn't have a camera with me, but here is one more photo of the leaves here in Vaasa (this one is outside the university library).

Monday, October 02, 2006

Cranberry Red!

Sometimes I check these things out, but I have never been moved to post the results. Until now. I really like cranberries. I'm not sure how well this describes me, but I'm cranberry red - that's the important thing!
You Are Cranberry Red

Peaceful and philosophical, you are almost always at harmony with the world.
You're not very social, but you always enjoy a deep, complex conversation with a friend.
It's possible that you've been disappointed a lot in your life, but you've gotten over those disappointments quickly.
For you, each day is new and glorious. You wake up refreshed and happy, even when things aren't going your way.

Clare at Dordogne Quilter has created a new blog just for the Quilts for Leukemia Project! She's up to 33 blocks and counting! Just wanted to post about it again in hopes that I can help to spread the word. Happy quilting!

(Roller) Coasters

I have no idea where this weekend went! I guess that means I was having fun. :)

Here is one of the two little gift projects I mentioned I was working on. (I won't be able to show the other until after the winter holidays!) These little coasters were a birthday gift for a new friend here in Finland. I hadn't been to her home before, so I decided I'd just use every color I had! The back of each is a solid square of the little fish fabric. I made eight coasters in all and they measure approximately four inches square. Another friend helped me with some of the pinning and the layout. She said with some surprise, "this is actually fun!" Maybe a new recruit to quilting?! Who knows. :) Here are a few more of our finished coasters: