Thursday, August 30, 2007

Progress or Procrastination?

Can you tell that I'm not ready for the semester to begin? Or for summer to end? Trying to only quilt once I've accomplish something, but it's tough. Trying to get braver about free-motion quilting by stippling a bit. My success with the doll quilt in July is motivating me. Not totally satisfied yet, but I can see improvement. This is the back of the Finland/Scotland/USA quilt.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Little Finlands and Little Scotlands for a Little American

I made some progress on the baby quilt for my cousin's new baby today - 16 12" blocks. Hopefully I can get it in the post by Monday! I tried not to plan much in terms of lights, darks, etc. and not to measure much (but did stick to 2" strips) and didn't use any pins. All a good warm up for Tonya's class, I hope!

My visiting engineer friend really liked how crooked things were - nice way to buck stereotypes - the engineer trying to get the language teacher to break the quilt police rules! As soon as she looked at my blocks, she said they looked like little Finnish flags. (Born in Glasgow, I had to point out that there were also little Scottish flags in the mix!) Flags are a theme for me these days - photos of a secret project to come soon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Before I'm Disowned

I need to make a baby quilt quick for my cousin's little baby born in July while I was wandering around northern Scandinavia for weeks without email or phone contact before I'm disowned by my family! (I'm also missing my other cousin's wedding this month - that reminds me, two wedding quilts are in the queue, too!)

Inspired by this quilt while trying to catch up on some blogs as a reward for getting some actual work done today, I whipped up just two blocks this evening. My late night quilting time is limited at the moment because I have a friend here staying in the quilting room while she does an internship here in Vaasa. She heads out the door before 7am, so for some crazy reason, she wants to go to sleep at a reasonable hour!

In the corner of the photo, you can see that I've been trying to figure out the crazy schedule for three new courses in the spring semester. I think I will need to color code my life to get through this academic year - the building where my office is (and where many of my classes meet) is under renovation, so everything is a bit more chaotic than usual. Of course, it doesn't help that the schedule is in Finnish. Might as well be in Greek.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Work?!? What's That?!

I actually went back to work yesterday. What a shock to the system. It's actually not so bad to be back - we had a little mini-conference here in Vaasa today - good for getting the juices going again. Thanks to IKEA in Haparanda, Sweden, I have a nice photo here of all the flags of the places I visited this summer! I'll try to post a few more photos before the darkness (and the school year) settle in again here.

Not much happening on the quilting front - still unpacking from the summer's adventures and working on a top secret project. Just wanted to check in, but I can report on a little red hot progress - 16 new flowers, so I'm up to 53. Hope they're not getting too dull. The cute little hedgehog bag was a purchase in a craft shop in Turku this summer - made from old hospital curtains. Two months later, it's now a very well-traveled sewing bag!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Quilting Above the Arctic Circle

Catchy title, huh? I'm sure some people who read my blog have also visited Inga Helene's blog. I don't mean to steal her name, but I was actually quilting above the Arctic Circle yesterday! My Swedish course (I'm taking it, not teaching it!) took a trip to Kiruna and I made a lot of red hot hexagons on the way. No photo of those, but a few other photos instead.

We visited the site of the Ice Hotel (the original, there are now others). Of course, there's not hotel now in summer, but we learned about how the hotel is built and saw an ice sculpture exhibit. In Kiruna we visited an iron ore mine. The entire city of Kiruna is going to be moved because the ground has become unstable due to the mine. You can read more about it here.

We saw a lot of reindeer along the way, as well!

And to end on a crafty note, a couple of evenings here in Kalix, we've had several activities to choose from. Unsurprisingly, I chose 'handverk' and tried felting for the first time. I made a small wall-hanging and the grey thing is going to become some sort of bag/box. It was fun, but I'm not sure I need another hobby!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Doll Quilt

Hello from Sweden! I'm here taking a language course. Very challenging, but lots of fun, too.

Not sure if my doll quilt has arrived at its destination in South Dakota, but I couldn't wait any longer to post a couple of pictures of it now.

I tried a few new things with this little project. 1. a pieced batting - many thanks to Amy and Tazzie for their tips on this, I will definitely do it again 2. churn dash blocks - my partner requested 30s prints for a quilt for her antique dolls, so I wanted to use a traditional block that I hadn't used before 3. stippling - I have tried before with little success, but I just sat down and gave it a try and I was pretty satisfied with the results! I think I've just been psyching myself out in terms of free-motion quilting. 4. a proper label (as required) (I'm embarrassed to say I don't usually do so.) Again, I must thank Amy for this adorable hedgehog fabric!

The light print that dominates the front is a reproduction that's very similar to a fabric my grandmother used to make a dress for a doll of mine when I was small (I'm not sure where the doll and the dress are today, unfortunately). Unfortunately I didn't have a stripe to use for the binding, but the yellow is cheery and frames it nicely, I think.

I hope that this keeps one of Becky's dolls warm this winter! My adorable little quilt from Lene is keeping a big white wall in my guest room/quilting room warm already.