"Attention: Craft" Exhibit

I love exploring all the crafty things that Stockholm has to offer! My mom and her husband came to visit recently, and we took the opportunity to go and see the "Attention:Craft" exhibit at Liljevalchs art gallery. It was a pretty small exhibit, but there were several fantastic pieces which I thought I would share with you.

I think this one is my favorite - it's a waterfall (hard to tell in the photo but it's massive, several meters high) made entirely of old recycled denim! Isn't it amazing? The artist's name is Hanne Friis, she makes really thought-provoking textile art.

My mom's husband is into woodworking, so of course we spent a while looking at this fantastic sculpture. It's entirely made of wood, no metal nails or screws. I could barely stop looking at it, it's so fascinating!

This fabric piece is meant to resemble an autopsy - it was quite disturbing! 

Lots and lots of beautiful metal bowls - I was so tempted to try and steal them all home with me! I especially love the turquoise designs in the forefront, they would look so perfect on our living room table... Oh well, maybe I'll be a millionaire one day and able to buy all art that catches my eye.

We spent maybe an hour going through the exhibits, and combined that with a lunch at the excellent museum restaurant and (of course) a look through the gift shop. If you are in Stockholm and have an hour or so to spare, I would definitely recomment a trip to Liljevalchs. The "Attention:Craft" is on for another couple of weeks, so there's still time!


Instagram wall collage

I'll start by saying this; I like Instagram as much as the next person, but I still think there is something to be said for old fashioned printed photos. Yes I love my Instax instant camera and yes, I still order prints from my point-n-shoot. But over the past couple of years, most of my on-the-go photography has been done using Instagram, and I've found myself missing the tactile experience of printed photos. 

Luckily for me, more and more companies are now offering fun ways to print your Instagram photos. I am a big fan of Origrami, and have ordered their retro polaroid-style prints several times. When I got my latest batch in the mail a few days ago, I thought it would be fun to show them off in some way.

Our apartment has these super hard concrete walls, so hanging pictures is always a huge undertaking. Not exactly ideal for putting up a bunch of tiny 4" x 5" frames. Enter my washi tape collection! This project is so simple that I hesitate to even call it DIY - but I think it came out rather well. I just picked out a few favorites, and stuck them up in a heart pattern using MT solid color washi tape.

I even found an excuse to use my new mini-sized level, to ensure that the photos were hung (reasonably) straight. Oh, and sorry about the poor lighting in these photos. The weather has been really dull and overcast this past week!

A quick and easy project for a rainy afternoon! And just for fun, here's a photo I snapped of my washi collection - yeah, I'm not addicted...

Wedding weekend

We have had a busy weekend! We left for Gothenburg on Friday afternoon, and on Saturday we had the joy of attending a wonderful wedding on a friend's estate north of the city. The beech forest was such a magical setting for a wedding - my pictures don't do it justice... Many congratulations to Jonas and Camilla!

Hexagon alphabet quilt: Pattern tutorial

I promised that I would share the pattern for my Hexagon alphabet quilt, so here goes! Keep in mind that I’m by no means a professional quilter, I’m just sharing my own process hoping it might be useful for someone.

I first found the inspiration for this design on a blog called The Inklingo Sampler, but the patterns there were not meant for traditional English paper piecing. They use a method called Inklingo, which I had never heard of before but which apparently involves printing patterns onto fabric using an inkjet printer to make individual square blocks (if you’re curious, check out this website for more info!). Now I loved the look of the hexagon letters themselves, but that method just wasn’t for me. I’ve been thinking about starting a traditional EPP quilt for a while, so I decided to make my own pattern in a similar style.

Here's the rundown: I printed off some hexagon graph paper and started to mark out my letters. Working with hexagons rather than squares was a bit challenging at first, especially spacing and fitting the hexagon designs onto a square quilt. This is the result, after much tweaking:

If you want to make an alphabet quilt like mine, feel free to use the above pattern (just right click on the image and click "save"). But of course you could also use the individual letters to make your own design, like a name or a favorite quote. Just print some graph paper and start brainstorming – the possibilities are endless!

The next step was to decide on a size for the individual hexagons. I wanted a lap sized quilt, but figuring out what size hexies I would need to reach that end result was tricky! In the end I decided to use hexies that are slightly larger than 1 inch (2,86 cm to be exact) on each side, which given my pattern will make a quilt that is roughly 53 x 63 inches (134 x 160 cm) when completed. You can choose any size hexie for this project, but keep in mind that hexagons are not square (duh) so calculating the size of the finished quilt is a little finicky. If you have a specific end measurement in mind, break out your calculator! 

That’s your pattern completed – next you need your templates! If you’ve chosen a common hexagon size like 1” or 2”, you can buy ready-made templates at your local quilting shop or online. But if you’re like me and you ended up with an oddly specific number, this is a great site that lets you input the size of your hexagon and makes a PDF graph paper based on hexies that exact size. Perfect! I  printed the templates onto a sturdy cardstock and cut the templates out using scissors. 

Keep in mind that this quilt is comprised of 978 individual hexagons, so if you want to prep all your pieces before you start sewing them together you will need A LOT of paper templates. I started a sort of printing-and-cutting assembly line in my living room and made about half of the templates in one go, but of course if you start to assemble your hexies right away that will free up some templates to use several times over. Whichever way works for you!

That’s it, you’re ready to start your own Hexagon alphabet quilt! Now, I haven’t made a tutorial for the actual EPP piecing and sewing because there are so many of those already floating around the internet – if you are new to English Paper Piecing, these are a couple of good examples:

I hope you found this tutorial useful! I will continue to post my progress on my own hexagon quilt as I go. If you decide to make one, I would love to see! Just drop a note in the comments. Thanks and good luck!

Hexagon alphabet quilt: My new project

One of the biggest projects I’ve taken on so far this year is starting a hexagon alphabet quilt – hand sewn from nearly a thousand individual hexies! For now I wanted to share some progress pics and tips, but I am working on a complete pattern how-to for next week, so stay tuned!

I worked out a design for the quilt inspired by the images in this blog post but with several changes.  I’ll be making the entire quilt top by hand in traditional English Paper Piecing – that means a LOT of hand sewing! I’m fully expecting to spend several years working on this project, and to me that’s part of the charm of EPP – that it’s not meant for fast-results, spur-of-the-moment type projects. To me, hand sewing is a way to slow down in a fast-paced world. It’s really quite meditative, prepping and sewing all those tiny pieces of fabric.So far, I'm working on a bunch of neutrals for the background color.

I did make one concession in the name of modernity, however: I invested in a Sewline Glue Pen. It’s such a life saver, allowing me to prep my paper pieces so much faster than normal and leaving all that hand sewing for when it really matters – joining the pieces. I’m sure that some quilters cringe at the thought of gluing on fabric, but I have tested the method on several smaller projects and found that most of the glue stays on the paper piece rather than on the fabric itself. And it’s water soluble, so whatever small residue is still on the fabric disappears when you wash the finished quilt. If you’re curious, this is an excellent YouTube video describing the process in detail.

Great, isn’t it? I’ve prepped about half of my hexagons so far, and it has been a breeze – the perfect craft for an evening in front of the TV! I’m looking forward to showing you the progress as I go along – I can’t wait to start sewing the pieces together!

Patchwork balls again

I have made a ton of patchwork balls over the years (see this old post for one example), they are my go-to gift for new babies. I make them quite small and put a couple of bells inside, and they are usually a very appreciated gift! When I made my first ones I used this great tutorial by blogger iHanna - but of course by now I could probably make one in my sleep... They are a breeze to sew!

This one I actually made as a gift for Keith - he has been bugging me to make one for him for a couple of years now, lol. We had a few family members over today and the ball was quite a hit with the "grown-ups" too - it works great as a stress ball, perfect for tossing around. I snapped a quick photo with a regular tin can to give an idea of the size:

Now I'm considering making a whole bunch of balls in different sizes - they are just so fun and relaxing to make! I might try to find some Stockholm based kids' charities who could use some extra toys - always a good excuse to get crafting!

Summer reading: Embroidery Magazine

The past week has been unseasonably hot for Sweden - around 30 C / 90 F and super sunny. It's fantastic! But it does sap your energy a bit, so I've been trying to slow down and take it easy. Lucky for me, I received a treat in the mail which kept me busy for a while!

I love summer reading! I recently bought a couple of back issues of Embroidery Magazine, published by the Embroiderers' Guild in the UK. I have been thinking a lot about embroidery lately, and I thought some reading could help jump-start my creativity. And this is not your grandma's embroidery either, every page is a work of art!

I especially loved this piece about artist Louise Gardiner, who makes impossibly intricate thread paintings using both hand and machine embroidery. The article totally made me want to dig out the free-motion foot for my own machine and get going!

Along with the magazines I'm spending a lot of time browsing and reading e-books on our tablet. I'm half-way through Countrymen by Bo Lidegaard - a great read if you are a history buff like me - and then I'll be starting on I am Malala which I am reading for my women's rights book club.

My head is shock full of inspiration! What are you reading these days?

Reviving a craft blog

This blog has been dormant for over two years now, but over the past few of months I've really started to miss blogging. I'm not crafting as much as I did when I was at university (working full time and all) but I do try to do something creative - whether it's sewing, drawing, smash booking, baking or playing around with my Instax - on a regular basis.

Over the summer I'm hoping to revive nordic craft and get back to posting regularly. As can be expected my tastes have changed slightly over the past couple of years, so I've opted for a new and more neutral look for the blog. Hopefully the content itself will be colorful enough to spark your interest!

I debated with myself about whether to unpublish the previous posts on this blog, seeing as most of them are over four years old and they don't really reflect my current crafting tastes and skills. But in the end I decided to leave the old content up  - so if anyone is interested in ancient history they can still browse through the blog archives. But fresh content will be coming soon!