Sunday, January 20, 2008

Belated Gifts

In my last post I said I wouldn't have much time for stitching in the next month or so, but I have a backlog of a few little homemade birthday gifts and swap items, so I did manage to steal a little time in the sewing room today. Six friends in Vaasa and I have been celebrating our belated holidays birthdays - two gifts down, four to go!

I saw this apron idea on a quilt blog last year (I can't seem to find the link, but I know I have it saved somewhere, so I'll add it later because I know I'm going to make a few more of these this year!) The apron is reversible and about 27" square. (Please excuse the unvacuumed floor in the background!)
Below is a microwavable heating pad filled with rice (2kg!) and lavender made with IKEA fabric a friend gave me last summer. I rarely miss having a microwave - just at Thanksgiving, when I have a craving for microwave popcorn, and when I'm in need of a rice-filled wool sock for a sore muscle!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Red Hot Reprise

Very little time for stitching here - and unfortunately for the foreseeable future. I did find a little time this week for my red hots and I was inspired to post by recent posts by Be*Mused and The Jetstream. I think I'm going to sew them together as is, without a border between them. I have no idea when that will be or how large it will become. The little section in the lower left corner is for a little bag.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Winter Four Seasons Swap

Yesterday I had a surprise in my mailbox - I received my four seasons swap quilt from Margy in Belgium! There are four redwork snowmen, surrounded by little handquilted squares and a cute snowflake border. Thanks!! (And thanks to Supermom for organizing the swap.) I will hang it on the wall in my sewing room with a couple other little quilts, including the one from last summer's swap.

It was a good reminder that I need to get my out in the mail in the next two weeks - ack!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Northern Lights and Maybe the World's Worst Craft Attempt

Not much sewing to report here - recovering from a cold/flu and the new semester is already in full gear, but I have a few small gifts to make this week, so hopefully there will be something to post about soon! In the meantime, here's a picture of the finished log cabin quilt that was truly a group project by Lappvärk here in Vaasa. I posted a little more about it here.

Now for the world's worst craft attempt... Lappvärk's fearless leader (who reads this blog - hej Lilian!) got us started on some little trolls this evening. Somehow I think my attempt was a waste of pantyhose, wool, and thread. I'd better stick to the quilting for now. I can live with this failure. I have other talents (or at least that's what I tell myself.) At least this made me laugh! (Excuse the photo - the background is just a corner of the chaos of my desk at the moment! Believe me, it makes the potato troll head look a little better because it distracts the eye.)

Tonight I saw the northern lights for the first time! A friend (and the world's best neighbor) knocked on my door, just back from a run, to let me know. I threw on some warm clothes and went out in search of a dark place to see them from. I felt like such a silly tourist just standing there with my jaw hanging open while people walked by about their normal Sunday night business, but I didn't care! Hopefully I won't have to wait another 32 years to see them again.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Cat Quilts

While I was home I did do a little stitching on my mom's old Viking machine. I made little Christmas cat quilts for my cousin's two cats, Monty and Mango (the banana fabric is for him). I can't believe I forgot to take a photo of the second one altogether! It was a free-pieced M surrounded by blue and white strips. I added some catnip in with the batting and the quilts were well tested by my cat, Flicka (who lives in Maine now with my mom), and my mom's cat, Lily, before they finally found their way to the Post Office.

Flicka is the one in the photo - a gorgeous ten-year-old calico who is part Maine Coon - and she received a pretty serious diagnosis while I was home, so I'm afraid it might have been the last time I will see her. I'm going to whip up a little catnip-filled quilt for her as soon as I can.

Supermom, email me and I'll give you my Auburn environs shopping tips.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy 2008 and Holiday Gifts

Hello from Finland! Long time, no post. I think I spent half of my time in Maine last month shoveling my mother's driveway, but the snow was beautiful and it was very nice to be there for Christmas for the first time since 2004.

I tried very hard to resist the knitting bug while I was with my mom (who's newly hooked), but a few supplies and ideas did find their way into my three very heavy suitcases that Lufthansa reluctantly transported over the Atlantic for me. Here are the beautiful knitted gifts I received for Christmas: a potholder made from gorgeous silky cotton and from the Domino Knitting book (see December 11 post) and a scarf and mittens made from wonderful Noro wool. I'm so amazed at how quickly my mom taught herself how to do these seamed two-needle mittens. She's on to to four-needles and socks next!

I was able to finish the Bear Paws while I was in Maine, too, although on Christmas morning my brother opened an almost finished quilt. I finished it during the week after Christmas thanks to being able to use a lovely Pfaff at my friendly local quilt (and knitting) shop.

Sorry the pictures aren't so great - I used an antique digital camera (no optical zoom, as large as a brick) since I left my battery charger in Finland and my brother was out of town for New Year's Eve with his fancy new camera by the time I actually sewed the label on. The second photo shows the borders, the backing, and a little of the quilting close up. This is the largest project I've quilted myself (it's a wide twin) and although I thought I'd never finish, I did and now I'm feeling brave enough to tackle a few more large projects myself, too! I brought back one queen-sized cotton/bamboo batting to try out with a red and white top that's been languishing in a box since 2003. Has anyone tried bamboo batting? Any feedback?

And finally, here are a few pictures of a project I started back in October as a Christmas gift - a little Trip Around the World wall-hanging for a traveling friend (who is also a fan of olives) who visited me here in Finland with her sister last summer.

Hope everyone had a safe and peaceful holiday season. If I'm going to be more crafty for next Christmas, I'd better start sewing now!