Wednesday, March 23, 2011

walking in Helsinki

This weekend we had guests from Germany and a great time! I'd like to show you some pics I took on our walks we took in Helsinki. Having guests and showing them around makes you appreciate the place where you live in a new way. So now I was able to see the beauty in our wintry spring once again.

boat in winter

We took a walk through Eira and then arrived at the shore where there were some boats waiting for the ice to melt.

boat and snow

Here is where people come to wash their carpets in the sea in summer.

ice and snow

carpet washing station

Here's a view out of the tram in the centre of Helsinki. It was snowing all of Saturday.

out of the tram window

On Sunday we went to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress by ferry. Here's a ferry waiting to go to Stockholm.

ferry and ice

A view from the small ferry we took. There's an exclusive boating club on that island.

from the ferry

There's still quite a bit of ice on the sea.


Arriving to Suomenlinna.

Suomenlinna in winter

Suomenlinna colours

Church on Suomenlinna island

There's a lighthouse on top of the church.

Café on Suomenlinna island

Suomenlinna porch

Don't you think using these colours and white would make a stunning quilt?

frozen rain

Nature-made ice sculpture.

flower pot made of ice

ice pot, closeup

Man-made icy flower pot.

icy bay, Suomenlinna

the sea viewed from Suomenlinna

Views from Suomenlinna.

Suomenlinna wall

Suomenlinna building

Suomenlinna path

Fortress structures.

view from King's Port, Suomenlinna

View from King's Port.

So, now you know I haven't just whined on a high level here when it comes to the long winter ... ;-) But these pics and the great walks we took make me appreciate it again. So now I'm waiting for spring a bit more patiently ...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Slow Table Runner

table runner

This was planned as "the quickest project ever". Game plan: Buy a length of fabric with printed borders, cut it in half horizontally (equals two runners), tidy edges & hem them by machine, finished ...!

print border

But then somehow I got it into my head to try my hand at hand-sewn mitered corners and slipstitched hemming ...

mitered corner

Well, two days later I've finished one of the two, but I have to say I'm quite happy with my decision. The fabric (Ecrulat Lycéenne, bought here last year, but apparently it's out of stock ...) is so pretty and the linen/cotton blend really lends itself to this kind of project. The fabric wasn't cheap, either, so I guess I'm doing it some more justice by hand-stitching. Also, I wanted to make the most of the fabric I had and with hand-sewing it's easier to achieve tidy narrow borders.

a perfect match

The fabric goes really well with the little plates my grandmother gave me last summer. In the spirit of not-keeping-it-real, I staged a little tea party for you ... ;-)

Have a good end of the week and a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I heart quilting

This title is not completely true. I enjoy the sewing part more than the quilting part, but this is my first attempt at quilting with perle cotton embroidery thread and I really like this method. I like how the quilting is so visible and the thread is really vibrant and pretty. Plus, there's no pressure about the quilting having to be tiny and perfect. Some imperfection and "chunkier" stitches only add character with this method.

Candy Store quilting

So, you have guessed that finally my batting and backing fabric arrived. I ordered some Innocent Crush Woodcut, the same red print I used in the front, for the back. This fabric is so pretty and large enough in scale to make for an interesting quilt back. The batting is Vilene 275 Cotton and I really like the drape of it and have had no problems quilting so far. I'm not completely sure that I'm using the right needle, though ... What kind of needle are you using for hand-quilting?

As for other projects, I was so inspired by this, that I had to have a try with a version of it and made four place-mats (individual sized ones) from Central Park oilcloth. Central Park may well be my favourite fabric collection right now. It's so pretty and so versatile! I love this print especially.

Central Park placemat

I failed when it came to the binding, though ... I tried to make a natural linen binding, because I loved the look and the contrast of the plastic oilcloth with the rough texture of the linen, but I completely botched it up.

binding fails

I had a hard time getting it to go through the binding maker the first time, but when it came to the first seam all was lost ... Also, look how uneven the binding turned out ... So, linen binding discarded ... :-P

Now I'm thinking about other options, for now I really like this one:

binding alternative?

My issues with this fabric are that it would make the place-mats very summery and bright as opposed to relatively neutral. Another point to consider is that they're going to get stained for sure, and white binding on an oilcloth place-mat you can't wash?! J. says the place-mats are fine as they are, without binding. Dunno ... I guess I'll have to think about it some more. What do you think?