31 December 2013

Happy and Creative New Year 2014!

It's been all about slow stitching this Christmas, and mostly about Alabama Chanin. I've been working on the fabrics I stencilled earlier, and finished the cuffs fairly quickly.

I then moved on to another hat (in this country you can't have too many hats, cuffs, mitts and socks),

on which I'm also making good progress.

But it's not all about hand stitching. I also wanted to try machine stitching an Alabama Chanin project, and started with a sashiko-inspired pattern ('Seven treasures'). The image below isn't patricularly inspiring, but as you can see, I'm using tissue paper as a stitching guide in this case, instead of stencilling. The beige fabric is the backing fabric, which will be revealed when I cut through the top fabric, which is violet. More images later, when I've made more progress.

Thank you for visiting my blog! I  wish you a very Happy and Creative New Year 2014. May your life be filled with happiness, and your stash bursting with inspiring supplies!

- Annika

24 December 2013

'Tis the Season to Be Jolly (And to Stay Warm)

As soon as the autumn term reached its end and I no longer needed to focus on teaching, I had a craving for wool. Within a week I had started three different wool projects: one knitted, one crocheted and one felted. Last night I finished the knitted one, and I call it my Christmas elf hat. It's long, tapering and fun, and from the book Sticka mera småvarmt by Johanna Wallin. The author suggests the hat would be excellent for a garden gnome. I can see her point.

I put it on for the first time today for our Christmas stroll with Fia the Terri(fi)er, and felt like a regular Christmas elf-gnome.

Merry Christmas!
God jul!
Hyvää joulua!

- Annika

21 December 2013

'Tis the Season to Stencil, Part 2

My progress so far:

I used freezer paper and a well-used plastic stencil. The designs are 'Anna's Garden' from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design and 'Bloomers' from Alabama Stitch Book, both by Natalie Chanin. The project in the middle is my own design, but it's going to be a surprise for someone, so I can't reveal any details yet.

I felt that silver on black was a bit too much for what I had in mind, so I added black pigment to the silver paint and got a gorgeous hematite. The pink is a bit overwhelming, but part of it is going to be cut away, so I think it'll be ok.

Ready to stitch! The perfect Christmas project: easy, relaxing and meditative.

Thanks for visiting, and more news soon!

- Annika

20 December 2013

'Tis the Season to Be Stencilling

I'm back in the saddle again. Lots of creative stuff brewing around the house. Today I'm stencilling. I've been working on a freezer paper stencil for another Alabama Chanin-inspired project all morning. A lot of work, but it's going to be fantabulous when finished. At least if things go according to plan. A few more cuts and I'm ready to apply paint. I'm thinking silver on black.

The pattern is Anna´s Garden from the book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

More images soon. I'm pretty excited!

- Annika

20 November 2013

Mango & Raspberry Sorbet

It's a very dark and gloomy time of the year in this part of the world. The days are short and the trees are bare. "The sun is spent" (John Donne), "The sedge has wither'd from the lake, And no birds sing" (John Keats), and so on... We haven't had any snow yet to brighten things up, so I'm doing my best to brighten up my world with fabric and dye.

I've made some wonderful discoveries about the Emo dye that I often use, which have helped me get results that are similar to those I've had with Procion MX dye earlier. What a thrill it is to open up a fabric bundle and discover the glorious colour you were hoping for! I could hardly contain myself the other day, when I discovered a way of using Emo with ice cubes.

Below are a few images to feast your eyes upon.

If you want fractured patterns, you need to heat up your Emo dye, and not just leave it batching, as you can do with Procion MX dye. Two months ago I didn't know how to achieve this degree of texture with Emo:

And if you recall the unsuccessful shibori shrimp from two years back (I thought it was old dye, but it was really cold dye that was causing the problem), you'll be pleased to see that the shrimp is a lot spicier now. This is done with mokume shibori, and I've sewn the stitches in a spiralling shape.

And the pièce de résistance, as far as I'm concerned, is this successful attempt at ice cube dyeing with Emo. Emo isn't overly fond of cold, but by putting the fabric bundle in a hot water bath instead of batching it on top of the fridge as I usually do with Procion MX dye, I got a wonderful result:

I love the combination of golden yellow and dark pink. Perhaps I should try to make it into a dessert: mango-raspberry sorbet? Yum!

Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you again soon!
- Annika

20 October 2013

A Jarful of Fabric Candy

I recently discovered that my favourite key holder was well past its best, and decided to make myself a new one. And while I had my fabrics, iron and sewing machine out I figured I might as well make a whole batch for coming needs. I put them in a glass jar, to cheer myself up in the darkness of late October in Finland. It's like a jarful of fabric candy.

Here are some of them in close-up. I like to use my own hand-dyed and surface designed fabrics in combination with linen.

Now I just need to get enough key rings to finish them.

Thanks for dropping by, and see you again soon!
- Annika

5 October 2013

Fabric + Paper = Paper Fabric

I've been preparing a weekend course on how to make paper fabric and how to use it, and today I want to share some of the things I've been working on. Earlier examples of when I've played with paper fabric can be found here and here.

Here's a collection of "raw" paper fabric - that is paper fabric which hasn't been decorated with paint and stitch.

See the one in the middle, with a poppy shape? It's made with papers that I used to clean my stencils after printing poppies and fake script (for this project). Nothing goes to waste! :-)

I've made several kinds of purses, e.g.


The red paper fabric in the background later became a notebook cover:

By adding a bit of padding and a soft lining, you can make a cute eyeglass case:

And if you don't like sewing, cut it into strips and weave it into a little basket. The one in the background is made from birch bark, and the other one from paper fabric. Pretty neat, huh? They have a very similar feel to them.

There's just so much you can do with paper fabric! What a great way to recycle some of the paper that you have lying around the house.

Thanks for visiting my blog, and see you again soon!
- Annika

4 October 2013

C'est Parfait

My latest experiments with the Emo dyes have been parfait dyeing, but without ice cubes (which I blogged about here). The first version wasn't a great success (I will add images later after the fabrics have been dried and ironed), but the second version, which I whipped up tonight, looks more promising. Yum!

Thanks for dropping by! Stay tuned for the results!
- Annika

28 September 2013

I Can Dye Happy Now

One of the dyes that I frequently refer to on this blog is Procion MX dye. It's an easy and versatile dye that I enjoy using. There's just one problem: I can't find it in Finland. So I've looked at some of the dyes that are more easily available to me, and one that seemed well suited for the techniques that I have explored with Procion MX dye is a cold water reactive dye (based on Remazol) by the Finnish company Emo-tuotanto Oy. I have also mentioned this brand before on this blog.

To be honest, when I first started exploring the Emo dyes, I was rather disappointed. I did exactly what I did with the Procion MX dye, but I didn't get the effect I was looking for. What I got was something like what you see on the right, but what I really wanted is what you see on the left.

I assumed that the dye was so different from the Procion MX type that it just wouldn't work in the same way. However, after doing a bit of reasearch and making a few changes to the way I work, I have discovered that it is after all possible to achieve similar effects, and now I can dye happy.

First I did a 12-step gradation with the three primaries:

Then I did a 7-step gradation with a split complementary colour scheme:

And then I did a 5-step gradation with tints and shades:

And I love the results and the simplicity of my new method, which I'll get back to later. For now, I'll just let you feast your eyes on the rainbow that I have created. Looking at my stacks of ironed, neatly folded and colour co-ordinated hand dyes fills me with happiness and calm.

Yes, I was (am) one of those kids who will find great enjoyment and satisfaction in putting all the crayons and coloured pencils in the right order in the box.

The warm half of the rainbow

The cool half

Thanks for visiting!
- Annika

27 September 2013

For Some of Us It's Perfectly Normal...

... to look at the baby wipe we just used to clean up our work surface after painting some paper fabric and wonder...

Could I use this for something?

I bet I could. I'll put it aside to dry, and then we'll see.

I'm dyeing to bring you more news soon!
- Annika

20 August 2013

Teaching Schedule Autumn 2013

Please note that I've updated my teaching schedule, which you will find under the tabs above. My courses are at the moment held in different locations in Finland, and mainly in the Swedish language. However, I also welcome students who speak Finnish and English to my courses.

Undervisning hösten 2013

Observera att jag har uppdaterat schemat för min undervisning, och du hittar informationen under fliken uppe till vänster. Mina kurser hålls för närvarande på olika orter i Finland och främst på svenska. Deltagare som talar finska eller engelska är dock också varmt välkomna.

- Annika

18 August 2013

The Calling of the Harebell

After a week of artist’s block... well, to be honest, it’s felt more like a life block, I had enough. I wanted to do something creative and fun, but something that wouldn’t be too demanding on my uncooperative brain. So I picked out a favourite image by the fairy artist Brian Froud (from the book Faeries. Described and illustrated by Brian Froud and Alan Lee) and started  working on a pretty purse.

The original image, slightly cropped

Ingredients for a fun time: rayon embroidery thread, zipper, iced parfait hand dyed fabric, image cropped, enlarged, modified and drawn on tracing paper

 Free-motion quilting/embroidery through tracing paper

 Image sewn, removal of tracing paper (tweezers are a girl's best friend)

Tying off threads and painting in the silhoutte with a Zig brush tipped fabric marker

 Silhouette finished

Background quilting started. Let's see how this develops. These weird and wonderful flowers weren't planned. They just invited themselves in. I'm letting the magic of the fabric decide how I quilt.

I'll post more images as I progress on my little fairy purse.

Thanks for stopping by! - Annika

25 July 2013

Gammaldags torg 2013

This is an announcement mainly for my Finnish readers, but if you scroll down I'll provide an explanation in English too.

* * *

Mamma och jag kommer att delta i Jakobs dagar i Jakobstad genom att vara med på Gammaldags torg lördagen den 27.7 mellan 9 och 16. Observera att platsen har ändrats och att torget i år hålls mellan Stadskyrkan och Skolparken. Även om du inte ska handla av oss, så får du gärna komma förbi vårt bord och hälsa på! Vi kommer bland annat att sälja

Hemstickade pulsvärmare
(se mammas blogg för flera modeller)

t.ex. med pärlor och paljetter

eller volanger

Börsar i linne 
med mina egna färgade och trycka tyger som accent


Mobilfodral i linne
med mina egna färgade och trycka tyger som accent

Påsar för smarttelefoner
i linne och med mina egna färgade och trycka tyger som accent

Välkommen förbi!

 * * *

Mum and I are participating in a fair ("Olde Time Fair") during a yearly festival in Jakobstad called Jacob's Days. We'll mainly be selling beaded wrist warmers and the purses, pouches and cases I've made this summer. The last ones are all in linen and with my own dyed and printed fabrics as accents. It'll be fun, and I wish you could all come and meet us there!

Here's a link to Mum's blog, where you can see what she's been up to in front of the telly.

- Annika

24 July 2013

Iced Parfait on the Menu

Today was supposed to be a sunny day, but something obviously went wrong in the weather department. So I'll keep my fingers crossed for tomorrow instead. Meanwhile, I'm going to share with you a cool technique I tried a few weeks ago on a sunny day: ice cube dyeing.

I followed Carol Ludington's directions for iced parfait in issue 57 (June/July 2012) of Quilting Arts Magazine. What you need is soda soaked fabric, ice cubes, fiber reactive dye in powder form and a tall container with a lid. Scrunch, pleat, fold or twist the fabric, and place it in the container. Add a layer of ice cubes and sprinkle dye powder on top of the ice cubes. Then add another layer of fabric, ice and pigment. There was room for three layers of fabric, ice and pigment in my container. This is what it looked like with all three layers:

A close-up
One more close-up, just because of the yumminess

At this point, when all the ice had melted, and there was a lot of muddy water in the container, it was time to feel a bit worried:

But there was no need for worry (top layer):
Ok, admittedly the middle layer is pretty wild:

The bottom layer, to my surprise, wasn't mud coloured:

Iced parfaits will definitely be on the menu again. ;-)

Thanks for stopping by, and more fun stuff soon! - Annika