Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Plugging Along

What a week! (And it's only Wednesday!) I've been working on a (nightmare) editing project and have just done a few minutes of quilting here and there to reward myself for a few more pages finished. All that's left on the red confetti wall-hanging is to hand-sew down the binding. I quilted in the ditch around each block and then 1/4" outside each triangle.

As for 'Sing a Rainbow,' when almost everyone expressed their preference for the bottom (lighter) fabric choice (my original idea until I found the other one), I wondered if the colors were true in the photo on my blog, since I expected the top fabric to prevail. Thinking that the blocks looked a little washed out in the photo, I invited a friend with a good eye (she's a super-talented knitter) over to give me her verdict. The Color Purple was nearby and she said she liked the way the dark binding on that one framed the quilt, so the darker/brighter one it is! The binding is ready to go, but I'm having a dilemma about how to quilt this one.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Singing a Rainbow

Good work Lily, Anne, and Michelle, who identified the title of last Thursday's post! I sang 'I Can Sing a Rainbow' in 4th or 5th Grade Glee Club (at the lovely Tollgate Grammar School in Pennington, NJ) and haven't heard it since, but still get it stuck in my head (or have it as an earworm - this great German word seems to have made its way into English) whenever I start making a list of colors!

This photo was taken just moments before sunset tonight after a rain shower. I'd need a much better camera to do it justice - the sky was a deep grey lavender and the rainbow was just enormous - and complete - and with a shadow of a second one visible on one side! The brick buildings across from me looked like they were on fire!

Quilting the red confetti wall-hanging bit by bit - photos soon.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pot Tree

No, not that kind of pot.

Totally unquilt-related, but these recent photos from Starfishy and from Sew Catherine reminded me of the photo below.

I know it I took this somewhere in the Romanian region of Maramureş around Easter 2004 and I have a vague memory of it traditionally serving as a eligibility advertisement/dowry indicator of sorts.

Maramureş is really a beautiful place. While it's easy for me to idealize the pastoral life (often with 19th century technology), life is hard in Maramureş. Despite this, there is a real joie de vivre. The county capital, Baia Mare, has the coolest public library I visited in Romania (I am the daughter of a librarian). Even better evidence - the town of Săpânța is home to the Happy/Merry Cemetery. I've combined a few of my favorite 'headstones' in the collage below - they are all painted on carved wood. (With this collage, I ended up making this post a little quilty, right? There are several sewing and fiber-related images in there!)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Red and Yellow and Pink and Green, Purple and Orange and Blue

Anyone recognize the sequence of colors in the title of this post?

I tend to like making more monochromatic quilts (see here and here and here), but I think I have spring fever! I just love all these fabrics (mostly 30s repros and some Kaffe Fassetts, plus a few other things thrown in there) and this pattern really showcases them. I usually make such small blocks, but these are 10" finished.

Care to vote on the binding stripe (fabrics below)? I thought briefly of putting a row of striped sashing between the blocks, but I've decided against it. My baby quilts tend to get quite large - this one is just 30"x40" as it is. How big do other people make theirs? At a certain point, I might as well make the kids twin-sized quilts! I don't really intend these for cribs, but dream that these in-between crib/twin quilts will make good magic carpets, capes, picnic blankets, etc.

Below is another 1:30am photo from my window (exactly halfway between sunset and sunrise). No wonder I have spring fever! Notice there are leaves on the trees now. They even cut the grass yesterday at the university for the first time this year!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Flower Power

I just can't get myself to work on anything remotely traditional these days. I think it's a real longing for the energy of spring and summer. We've had some rain lately, so the leaves are finally on the birch trees outside my sewing room window, but not yet on the linden trees outside the kitchen. I really should be working on my cousin's medallion quilt (I already missed their first wedding anniversary), but instead I'm working on a baby quilt potentially for their firstborn - due in July. Possibly, it will end up with another baby - there are a lot of babies on the list these days!

I was inspired by this quilt on Sarah's blog a few months ago. (Seems the top was a gift from Susan.) I wasn't happy with my first attempt (top), but am much happier with the second (bottom). I'll make 12 10-inch blocks in all.

I also wanted to make some room in my freezer this weekend, so I got out the last of last year's rhubarb and made a batch of Moominmamma's Ginger Rhubarb Jam from this great Estonian food blog. Nice and easy and it turned out quite well!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Letters on a String

There is a great choir festival going on in Vaasa at the moment and last night I went to hear The Real Group, a Swedish a cappella group. I particularly liked the song 'Words' including the line 'words, a letter and a letter on a string'.

Here are some 'words' created by stringing a letter and a letter on a thread. If it's hard to see, the letters read OANAMI. This will be on the back of the wedding gift walling hanging I've been working on this week: her name is Oana, his nickname is Nami (can't take credit for combining their names like this, though).

I did something similar on another small wedding gift last fall.

Thanks again to Tonya for the letter tutorial!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Can't Get Enough of Red These Days

Remember those hearts from earlier this month? I am working on another wall-hanging as a little wedding gift (unfortunately I wasn't able to go to a friend's wedding in Romania last weekend). I found the idea for a confetti quilt on Quilting Bebbs' blog and will combine it with a couple of the hearts and some lettering a la Tonya. My confetti squares are 4.5" unfinished.

I've never made blocks by cutting squares (below) and then swapping fabrics to make a variety of blocks, but thought it was about time to give it a try. I think I liked it enough to try it again.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Red Hots!

I'm back from my conference and after nearly 10 hours total on the train, I have quite a few more hexagons to show for it! Everyone asked me what I was making - felt a little silly saying, 'I don't know!' Still not sure - it all depends on how many I make. Making the little hexagons is totally addictive - they are like little jelly beans I put into a bag, instead of taking out of a bag and popping into my mouth! I'm not quite as crazy about sewing the little guys together, but some parts of the process are always more fun than others. Since I'm sewing these by hand, I really feel like the project will have to be hand-quilted. That's something I've been meaning to learn, but am quite afraid of. In the meantime, I will just keep making these little red jelly beans. Or maybe I should call them red hots!

Below is a photo I took from my window at 1:30am this morning. The light here is really unbelievable. I just wish that the spring would stop teasing us and really explode!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

On the Road Again

I'm leaving this evening for a short conference in Oulu, Finland and packed up some supplies for hand-sewing on the four hour train trips there and back. If only I'd discovered hexagons while I was clocking endless hours on Romanian trains nearly every week (2003-6), just imagine the number of bed-size quilt tops I would have created!! But alas, I didn't get hooked on them until this past fall with the help of Nadine. Here are a few coming together for something small - not sure exactly what yet. (The hexagons have sides measuring 2cm.)

Friday, May 11, 2007


I don't really have any interest in making a quilt this way (might be a good way to plan a watercolor quilt?), but I do appreciate the patchwork nature of mosaics (photo, ceramic, etc.) and had some fun playing with this site recently.

I tried it out with two photos from Christmas 2005 in France - I was thinking of that trip a lot as I worked on the mothers' day gift for my mom. The first photo is Chateau Villandry where we went on my 30th birthday (great gardens - many quilt inspiring photos stored away for someday); the second, a outside flower shop in the walled city of Dinan.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Almost all the quilts in our group's challenge with the theme 'mother or motherhood' included hearts, except mine. I'm happy with my little boats, but I think this fact inspired me to make a few hearts with another little project in mind. I used Tonya's wonky heart technique, although they aren't so wonky in the end. Well, they're wonky, but they're nearly identically wonky. These little hearts remind me of the cut-out hearts on the Danish royal guards' booths that I saw outside Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen in March.

Jane Ann over at the jettstream tagged me for '7 Wonders of Me'. Seven random things I want to share with the world on my blog?! Here goes:

1. I'm named for my two grandmothers - Genevieve (from whom I got the crafty gene) and Elisabeth (from whom I got the cocktail gene).
2. I'm allergic to raw shellfish (especially oysters), but I love to eat it cooked.
3. I refused to use paper napkins as a kid and would only use cloth ones.
4. When I was three or four, I got a pussy willow stuck up my nose. Somehow I still feel drawn to the plant.
5. I love beets.
6. I don't like to wear shoes or coats - difficult for someone who likes to live in cold places.
7. The furthest south I've ever been is the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa and after this summer the furthest north I will have been will be Nordkapp, Norway. (Born with travel genes from the grandfathers, too!)

Consider yourself tagged, if you'd like.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Finnish Finish!

After nearly four months with hardly a stitch sewn, I have been making up for lost time. I also finished this on Sunday, the recipient's first birthday. I hope little P.S.C. enjoys cuddling up with this quilt - he was so cuddly when I visited him in London last month. It's finally on its way to England now!

The quilt is 37.5"x52.5". The machine quilting is rather quick and dirty - there is a star where the horizontal and vertical darker rows cross, surrounded by concentric stars. The scraps in this quilt come from many projects, including: seven sets of coasters, a table runner, two chickens, an owl, and a turtle, an unfinished wedding quilt, three other baby quilts, several charity blocks, and one wall-hanging. These projects now live in at least seven countries and three US states! I wrote some of this down for little P.S.C.'s mom - I know she'll enjoy getting a little of this quilt's history - we once did a presentation together at a conference that connected quilts with rewriting in literature.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Slut med Små Båtarna

With thirty minutes to spare, I finished this little wall-hanging before the deadline this afternoon. I have never made a sleeve, didn't have time to figure that out this afternoon, and was also afraid that this wouldn't hang flat, so I gave this technique I found on Ami Simm's Alzheimers Project site a try. I'm not sure it really is best for a hexagon (or for the relatively stretchy fabric I used on the back of this), but I think it will work for now. The whole thing is 32" from point to point. This quilt, along with eight others, will be hanging in Vaasa's city library from May 7th - 25th. It's a fitting place since this quilt was part of a challenge around the theme 'mother or motherhood' and will be a gift for my own librarian mom. As I explained a couple posts back, my mom chose these fabrics when we were in Paris a year and a half ago. I like how the colorful border looks a bit like nautical signal flags. Someone also suggested this afternoon that it was a good pattern for the theme since the Atlantic lies between me and my mom.

I also whipped up something else over the weekend. This bathmat was an experiment (and is for me - it even matches my Marimekko curtain). I have enough of the terrycloth samples (from 1967/8!) for second one for a gift, too. It's a bit lumpy - maybe it needs a little more quilting. I used a thicker towel for the back (solid orange) and it was tricky to get under the foot on my machine, but otherwise, a good quick project!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Getting Somewhere!

I'm actually getting somewhere on both my projects! I've pinned the Finnish flag baby quilt and have a plan for quilting it and have finished the top for the 'petits bateaux' wall hanging for my mom! It still needs a name - maybe just 'små båtarna' (the little boats in Swedish). Having deadlines is always a good thing!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Sailing into Summer

Well, it's not summer here in Finland yet, but I'm being optimistic. I really enjoyed the explosion of spring in Scotland and England last week. It was a rather dreary May Day here in Vaasa, but the hours of darkness each day are certainly waning!

Lappvärk is organizing a challenge for Mother's Day (May 13th this year here in Finland, just like in the US) with the theme 'mor' (mother). I'm making a wall-hanging for my mom with fabrics we bought together at Le Rouvray in Paris in December 2005. So far, I have one block done! (Luckily, I'm only aiming for 7 blocks, so there's still hope I'll be finished by Sunday!) This seems to fit well with Judy's May Quilt for an Hour challenge, as well.

The pattern is called 'petits bateaux' (small boats) and I've been lurking on this French blog for a while with this project in mind. The finished block will be 7.5" wide. I thought about paper-piecing or foundation-piecing, but decided against it. It's really just an old-fashioned pineapple block in a hexagon shape.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Back in Finland!

Back in Finland, safe and sound. No foreign travel plans now until June 25th! Unfortunately, I was a terrible tourist in the UK (Aberdeen for a conference, London and environs for fun) and didn't take any pictures! Did have a great time, though!

I do have one exciting photo to post today, however. I am actually getting somewhere on a quilty project! I didn't get this finished in time to meet the little one last week, but I think I will actually finish by his first birthday next week! I posted about my inspiration for this quilt a while back - further inspiration from a certain flag for the dark/light layout.