Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Scandinavian Stitches...You're Gonna Love This!

I can't even say how thrilled I am to introduce Scandinavian Stitches to you. Kajsa Wikman's book is brought to you by Stash Books and this book has it all, great projects, beautiful, inspiring pictures, a bit of whimsy and Kajsa's voice and style. I've admired Kajsa and her art for years and I'm so proud and happy that through this book she has the opportunity to spread her artistic vision and happy voice to a new audience.
The book and projects are organized around the seasons in Finland and how they inspire Kajsa's work.
Kajsa shares the inspirations for her designs and at the same time inspires us. I've always loved her signature birds and I'm so happy they are part of the book.
There are quilts to make....
...and smaller projects. Look closely at that you see the nest? The details in the designs are extraordinary.
And then there are the tomte. I happen to have some made by Kajsa. In Finland they're like Christmas elves, but Algot, Lars, and Olaf make wonderful sentries to guard my sewing machine! I've always wanted to make them myself and now I can! The book has so many great projects for the holidays and gift giving!
Kajsa graciously answered some last minute questions from me so we all could get to know her a little better.
Tell us a little about Finland that we wouldn't read in our geography books. Is there a Finnish word or two that you think we should all learn?
Well, the most important thing to know must be that there are no icebears here, only wolves; and that we have moose warning signs along the roads. Visitors from abroad usually find that very exotic. I belong to a Swedish speaking minority in Finland (6% of the population). Finland used to be a part of Sweden and then Russia, but has been independent since 1917. Women got the right to vote in 1906 and we have a female president today, a lovely lady named Tarja Halonen. The Sauna is Finnish, so is Nokia, the mobile phones. Finland has a lot of lakes and forests where you can pick wild berries and mushrooms. Many people have a summerhouse by a lake or by the sea.

Sisu (perseverance) is a useful Finnish word that is usually used to describe Finns. So you need a lot of sisu to write a book! Ruska is another useful word. It means the beautiful autumn colors in nature. The ruska is especially beautiful up north in Lapland (where Santa lives) and many tourists travel to experience this every autumn, and even more people fly in to see Santa in December.

Favorite author: Tove Jansson
Finnish design icons: Alvar Aalto, Marimekko, Littala

You describe art for you as "playful and happy." What advice would you give other quilters to help them find their inner artist?
1. Allow yourself to be you!
2. Give it time!
It takes time to develop a style of your own and all artists explore different techniques and styles before they find their own (stitched) path! I used to think that art had to be serious and deep, although I am quite happy and have an optimistic nature. When my daughter was born I felt free to be childish in my expression and allowed myself to dig into my favorite picture books to get inspired. First I used a more muted country palette, but the braver I got the more colour I dared to use! The on-line community of crafters and quilters has been very valuable to me, especially all the positive feedback I got on flickr when I first started posting pictures of my projects. I was encouraged and inspired to go on developing my style.

How much time do you spend sewing every day? How do you balance work and family life?
I try to get all work and sewing done while my daughter is at school and my son at Kindergarten and spend the evenings and weekends with the family. Sewing used to be a hobby, but now I can do it during working hours. How cool is that! This time of year I always end up sewing on the couch late at night, though, but I love my work so much. I can honestly say that I love my work every day!

Kajsa and Stash books are giving away a copy of Scandinavian Stitches and a set of Kajsa's holiday cards to one lucky reader. Leave a comment and tell me what's inspiring you this holiday season. Comments will close Friday morning at 8 a.m. central time. I'll announce the winner on Friday. Good luck!
I wouldn't risk not winning. I'd simply order this book right away. I'm going to snag an autographed copy from Kajsa's etsy store! Thank you, my friend for your inspiration! I wish you happiness and success!

Be sure to continue on the tour for more chances to add this book to your crafty library.
Comments are now closed. Back with the winner soon!


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janie said...

THE BEAUTIFUL FABRICS we have to choose from are my biggest inspiration. That and all the wonderful bloggers i visit !!!

Lyn said...

cute things inspire me! anything that makes me smile is always inspiring :)

jacqueline said...

This is awesome and i adore the interview!! Kajsa is just so inspiring and i really want a copy of this book. :) Thinking of christmas holiday gifts making is inspiring me these days! Love to you!

Jocelyn said...

This book looks fabulous. I am inspired by the many generous and creative bloggers out there. So many wonderful ideas and eye candy.

Herta said...

Blogs and flickr are always inspiring...

Anonymous said...

I think those little tomte are very inspiring. Cute little Christmas elves !!!

Luciana Kajiura said...

Eu não vejo a hora de ter um livro desses nas minhas mãos! O livro é inspirador para todas as artes. Parabéns! Luciana.

Karen said...

I thought I had left a comment, but I don't see it here. But I would love to win this book. I decided that next year I'm doing the house in Scanddinavian woven hearts. I'm of Danish descent and it really makes me think of my grandmother when I see these designs. Thanks for your great blog, it's very inspiring!

Cynthia said...

Iam always inspired by all the blogs including yours. The change of seasons always makes my colors change. I love purple for Christmas.

Thanks for a chance to win. Cynthia

Kelli said...

I am so in love with this new book and wonder how I never heard of her before!! I would love for this book to find it's way to my house, so if I don't win, it's definitely going on the Christmas wish list...

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