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!