Thursday, 3 June 2010

Green new world

Hmm... Green Challenge.
A pin cushion? I love pin cushions. And I would really need one for quilting needles. Quilting needles are so small that they get buried into larger cushions, and always the one that feels best in the hands has disappeared into the depths. It really is a mystery to me how one needle can feel just a tiny bit different from the rest of the same batch of needles.
A doll quilt? Miniatures are just charming and they transfer me into enchanting, happy childhood memories, either my own or my girls'.
A pot holder? Sometimes just a little bit of something new in the kitchen may spark up serious cabinet cleaning, or will bring that warm and cozy atmosphere for a cup of coffee in the early morning, or will be a nice farewell for the night while having the last cup of tea before retiring to bed.
Little summery bag? It could be just what I need when queuing in the line before cashier in the Friday afternoon with a bunch of other shoppers.
A sewing caddy? It would be very good to have one dedicated to quilting and one dedicated to appliqué and one dedicated to piecing with appropriate scissors, thimbles, needles and threads at hand at all times.
While I think about the challenge and gather my green fabrics, I will give you few postcards from here...

I was out in the woods earlier this week and took few pictures for you of the landscape. This area is close to us and it is well kept outdoor area with few different paths to hike. And there is green all over. If I was able to fly following this bearing over this country and across the big water, I would eventually land somewhere close to you...
I took a little trip down south last week and visited my two girls. They live in very different places, one in a small rural town and one in Helsinki. I travelled by train from this small town to Helsinki and this is how the railway station looked the morning I took the train. For a while I was alone on the platform but later one, one other person came and two of us hopped onto the train.
I love Helsinki, whenever I get a chance I gladly go there. I was in Helsinki for just one full day and so I did not have time to see much, I more or less just walked around the city and enjoyed people watching. It was a rainy day, dark clouds hanging low so it was not good for pictures, but I did take one or two of downtown.
One of my must-go-places is the Academic Bookstore right in the city and that particular day it was packed with people. John Irwing was there to talk about his newest book. I bought couple of quilting magazines and sat in the cafeteria reading and drinking coffee.

While away the landscape had totally changed back home and the yard is screaming for attention, cleaning and raking after the winter. Yesterday I was out in town and bought few rose bushes that will need to go to the ground today. I also bought peonies, I know I am pushing my luck, it probably is too cold to be successful with them up here, but I will try to find a warm spot for them today, a place where northerly winds cannot get to them and a place that gets plenty of sun.

The summer is just beginning, and while some of the trees have fully recovered and are celebrating the new summer with full sized leaves already, some are just slowly recovering and showing tiny beginnings. Yes, definitely, if ever there was a time for a green challenge, it is now.



PS. I took out the Yellow Flowers the other day and played with paper cuts (green paper). I look forward to the day when I can get back to that quilt again.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


Dear Lene,

It's been far, far too long. I'm enjoying spring here ... the weather has been (mostly) beautiful, occasional rain storms but those just seem to make everything more green by the day.

So, I've been thinking of a sort of challenge for us. Not a competition at all, just a little something to inspire us. With all the green around (I hope your spring weather is not too far behind ours!), maybe we could make something, each of us, with green as the theme.

It could be anything, really. Pieced, appliquéd, embroidered - whatever you want. And of course, whatever your interpretation of "green" is. There are so many ...

Also, because spring is so fleeting, it doesn't have to be anything big. A pincushion, a pillow cover, or anything at all.

I've been looking at my green fabrics a bit - these look so dull compared to the colours in nature! - but I'm not quite certain yet what my final choices will be.

Hoping you accept this little challenge for a happy spring project,


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Dear Cassie,

If I were able to get a glimpse at your life right this moment, I wonder what I would see... If I would spot you queuing in the grocery store or find you making preparations for
Christmas dinner or wrapping presents or maybe quietly sipping your tea feeling peaceful with the thought that everything is taken care of.

I just got home from shopping for the last bits in town and no matter how calm I find myself some commercial hysteria grabs me in the midst of the blinking lights and glittering stars and glazing decorations, not to talk about the long queues. I don't like driving at this time of the year, all the roads are full plus the driving conditions are quite bad right now. The temperature is way below freezing and there is new snow and this powder snow flies all around making the visibility poor at times, especially poor when it is dark. It is such a relief to finally turn to the quiet home way.

I have not been making Christmas presents this year but I have not had idle hands either. I think I have only knitted one scarf but I did manage to find a good balance between quilting and knitting this past month and have enjoyed the variety of projects.

Some time ago I saw this beautiful Civil War Bride Quilt
and immediately loved it. I don't remember where I saw it first but followed the link that brought to me to the blog that is dedicated to this quilt. And from there I found the site that sells this pattern.

Last week I received my copy and I could not resist but had to start right away. The blocks are not square and it bothered me a bit and I decided to draw it and spread the motifs to fill a square. I redrew the block but kept changing little bits here and there and in the end my block had changed a lot from the original.
I did the appliqué on my block and even though I like it, I am wondering if I should start from the beginning again and be true to the original. I think I will do the next block by re-drawing it also and then I will decide what to do. The original quilt has its own language or spirit and that is what I love about it.

I am looking forward for the holidays, for hours of quilting and knitting, listening to Christmas carols, watching old films on TV and eating chocolate and drinking hot glögg. (With occasional breaks for snow shovelling, the forecast for us is more snow.)
I wish You Merry Christmas, be well, enjoy your holidays, and when appropriate, thread the tiny needle and sew away few moments.


PS. I don't like red apples, I just had to make the apples yellow.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Spring frenzy

Dear Cassie,

So the spring - almost summer - has come into these furthest corners of the northern hemisphere. My lake was freed from the ice last weekend and since then I have had very hard time going to bed at nights. I have kept looking a
t the opposite shore being lit by the last rays of sun and its glorious reflection on the calm surface in windless nights; or kept listening to the lullaby of breaking waves in less quiet evenings. I have stayed up late to wake up by the alarm clock after so short sleep that my body would have loved to stay under the covers but have gotten up to catch the morning chorus of birds. I just love this season.

After the long and dark winter all of a sudden the world is full of noises and and the scenery is slowly changing from one color scheme into the other. It is almost like somebody has taken a box of crayons and is filling this canvas little by little.

Do you remember Quilter Anna Williams? (I know you do, but I could not think of any other sentence here...) Long time ago she and her work was featured in American Quilter and I was touched by her work.

It reminds me a lot of these rag rugs that were and still are woven in Finland, some of them, and the most beautiful ones, are made with whatever is at hand at home. Rags are collected
for years and then a long warp is set to a loom and rug after another is woven until the warp is used. Often a lot is left over as a seed for the next crop of rags.

When I saw the quilts of Anna Williams I was inspired to make this
blue log cabin called "The village is asleep". (This hangs on the wall in my house but it is very difficult to photograph in its place so I scanned it from a magazine. It was on the cover page of Finn Quilt, a Finnish magazine. It consists mostly of news inside Finnish quilting world.)
For some reason, maybe it is spring to blame here, but I have been overwhelmed by the possibilities of the fabric stash. As the spring proceeds and new colors appear in the nature, I keep introducing new colors into this quilt.This looks a bit wild but I do love these bits and pieces collected over the years. Some of the fabrics are new, some are very old, but not older than my marriage. I could tell my life's story by telling you about some of these fabrics and when and where they were bought and for what intention they were bought...I have been cutting these strips and have them stored in one big container and pick one - whatever happens to please my mood right at that second - and then carry on.

I just so love this spring!