About living a creative life in a small commuity approximately 300 kilometres above the Arctic Circle

Monday, February 27, 2006

Quilting motif

I thought that some of you would maybe see the quilting border I'm working on. Here's a sneak peak. I've drawn it to three and a quarter sides of the quilt, so I hope to baste it tomorrow and start quilting tomorrow night. I did have to go to town to buy some batting today. My DH drove in and I bought some Warm and Natural batting together with some beige cotton thread for piecing (only batting available). It took 1.5 hours so I didn't have time to paint, but a girl gotta do the important stuff :-D. We did go on a skiing trip for an hour. The body needed exercise

The batting is now washed, dried and ready to be basted. I just have to finish the border drawing. I'm so excited how this will turn out.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Finished business

This small table topper was finished this weekend. It's a gift for my mother for her birthday in June. She's not in the cyber world, and I doubt that she ever will enter it, that's why I can present it now. She is also getting a table runner with three stars instead of one. This set is designed by a Norwegian quilter named Tove Fevang. She is a hand piecing guru and her work is excellent. So you probably guess that this is hand pieced and quilted. The only thing I do by machine is put the binding on. I handsew to the back though.

The decorating project moves forward. The roof has got three coatings and is finished and tomorrow I'm going to paint two of the walls with their second coating.But the quilting project which has got my full attention at the moment is the quilt with a rosemaling quilting motif (I wrote about it earlier). I'm maybe crazy, but I'm attempting to handquilt a 65 x 65 inch quilt in three and a half week. I want it ready for an exhibition the 25th of March. Has anyone done that? It's quite large blocks which I intend to outline quilt. That shouldn't take too long, but the rosemaling pattern in the border is quite complex. I'll keep you informed about the progress.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Handy

Ok, we're finally doing something reasonable with our house. You see, in the eighties, every Norwegian household of a certain standard had to but pinewood paneling on the walls. In the first appartment we bought together there was pinewood all over the ground floor and I swore to myself that in my new home I would never have pine paneling again. I don't judge people that choose to have it on on their walls, it's just that I'm really fed up by the look. We've lived here for nearly five years and we've done alot, but there are still pinewood on some of the walls. You have to remember that this is a 2336 sqm house, and I NEED to quilt also :-D

On the first picture you see my DH painting the roof in our dining room/ music room. It's quite high, nearly 4,5 feet on the highest. The house is divided in two vertically with half a storey shiftment between the floors (does that makes sence?) so the max difference between the roof and the floor is nearly 7 feet. The room will be almost totally white with lots of windows to let in the light and the accoustics are gorgeous. We've had a house concert here already and it sounds great. We like our surrondings to be white; then it's much easier to match furniture and textiles.

I'm doing the entrance area. It will look more spacious than before, and we can finally work out a nice welcoming area to our guests.

If anyone of you have been looking at my quilting stats lately, you've seen that I've completed one UFO. That is the red, white, gray and black quilt I was sewing on earlier. I will post pictures of it later, because I'm going to exhibit it in March, and I don't want to reveal it all until then. I'm posting a quilt picture anyhow. This was taken at an exhibition held at "Blaafarveverket" in southern Norway in 1999. Aasa Wettre is a Swedish quilter who has been collecting antique Scandinavian quilts for decades. She has even written a book about them. It's called "Gamla svenska lapptäcken" (ISBN 91-550-3913-8) if anyone's interested. The quilt in the picture is from a place called Lidköping and was made approx. 1880 - 1890.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Diamond Girl!

Finally I've reached a new step in the achiement list for Janiacs. Today I've finished my 75th block on the Arctic Jane I'm working on. I've struggled with this quilt since september 2001. 75 blocks make me a Diamond Jane, but there's a long way to go yet. I've still got 94 blocks left, and then there's also 51 triangles and 4 corners. Maybe I will finish it before I retire in 2024? ;-). In the picture you see how my Dear Jane looks in virtual. I've scanned all blocks and you can see them at my website. This gives a fairly good idea of how it will be when finished.

I was naughty yesterday. I started a new project before I finished one of my UFO's, which was my original plan. But I was inspired by Lucy's story. She chose to make tiny hexagons while sitting at the hospital with her father. I've been cutting very tiny hexagons (7/16 inch) when cleaning up my stash box. Yesterday I basted the most colourful hexagons and laid them out on the table. They formed a cheerful triangle which made me think of love, faith and hope, which is what Lucy have to cling to for her father. I'm planning to applique the triangle onto black fabric to underline the seriousness of the disease Lucy's father suffers from, and then I plan to make a deep red border to underline the love aspect. I'll post pictures of the result. I will name this miniature "Hope".


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Pre concert thoughts

Today is concert day, and for the first time after Christmas we have a very demanding program. The concert is a collaboration between us and the Norwegian State Academy of Music. The conductors (2) are Master students of conducting and our windband is one of two professional wind bands the Academy has chosen to work together with. The first part of the concert is lead by a talented girl. It was actually a strange feeling the first time we had a female conductor, because we're not used to it, but she is VERY talented and I think she has a great carreer in front of her. She has chosen some really difficult music to play, but fantastic to listen to. (It's fantastic to play it also, even if it's difficult). We open with an ouverture by the Danish composer Carl Nielsen. It's called "Helios" if you're interested. And then there is a song cycle by the French composer Hector Berlioz, "Les Nuits d'été". Imagine 25 quilters hitting the needle's eye at the exact same moment. I think that may describe how difficult this music is. It's all about precision, hitting the notes at the correct moment and making perfect sounds at the exact milliseconds. Do I need to say that perfectionism is an occupational hazard for musicians? :-D

I try to not let this occupational hazard take control over my life, but I admit it's difficult to let it go and relax. I guess I've avoided to do things because I worried it wouldn't be "good enough", especially when I was younger. Hopefully I've taken steps in the right direction since I've accepted an invitation to exhibit some of my pictures and quilts in a local gallery in the end of March. I'm also going to play solo and be in charge of a student concert with my own and my DH's students. I'm frightened by the thought but I'm really looking forward to it.

Because of the work strain this week, not much quilting has been done, but next week will give more time to do fun stuff again. Hopefully I'll complete the quilt from the last post and start handquilting another large project. Maybe I'll also make some pot holders like the one's to the left. The strip bag with 2 inch strips is pretty full.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Touring Norwegian outskirts

I've been away for a couple of days. Our wind band does some touring, but not as much as we really want to. Our trip now was a three hour busdrive to a place called Heggelia. It's in Maalselv community and the picture is showing how the community centre, Andselv, looks like on a Saturday morning. The wind band I work in is a military band, but it's not a marching band. We play mainly concerts for the civilllian people up North, and our main purpose is to be a link between the Army and the people outside. On this trip we played 3 concerts. One with a rock singer that sings Deep Purple songs and the two others where opening concerts of a new sports- and leisure centre for both the Army people and the civillians of Maalselv community.

The other picture is taken inside one of the shopping malls up there. Not big but you can find some nice stuff there. I bought a skirt on sale. It costed only 15 dollars. Didn't find any quilting stuff, but I bought a Mc Call's magazine with interviews and patterns from ten distiguished quilters.

I managed to do some quilting anyhow. Yesterday we had to wait for two hours to play 15 minutes, and then there was new two hours of waiting before we couldplay our last fifteen minutes. We where one of many participants, hence the waiting. I found a nice couch and did some handquilting


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A gift of Love

Patty from Morning Ramble wrote earlier about her husband giving her flowers. My DH doesn't buy flowers, he buys books. Last year I got "A Peanut's Valentine" for Valentine's Day and yesterday I got the lovely book in the picture. It's original title is "The way we live", maybe some of you have the original version. I've only looked on it briefly, but the photos are gorgeous! I'm saving it for a moment when I can have a nice glass of red wine and a lovely CD in the CD-player. On the inside my DH has written "To Inga from Tom because you are who you are". Isn't that sweet? By the way, I got new skis from him yesterday also. We bought no-wax skis before Christmas, but he wanted me to have wax skis also. Isn't he a darling?

The quilted placemat underneath the book was made when we lived in Harstad. We got visitors one Easter and I wanted to make something that suited our appartment, which had a very special architecture. I also made the tablecloth back then. It was my gift to my DH. He offered to change workroom with me. I got a newly decorated room with a view, and he took the more dull room on the backside. I thought the Friendship Star was appropriate since he's also my very best friend.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Have you been Jane-ing lately?

I'm one of several thousand people working on a wonderful, yet challenging quilt. Jane Blakeley Stickle finished in 1863 a large quilt that today is known as Dear Jane. It consists of 225 different blocks, none of them are equal to another and their complexity is a challenge for even the most skilled quilter. For instance the block you see at the left in the picture (the 8-point star within the 5-point star). The 8-point star is 1 squareinch! It took me years to get the courage to start on that. I didn't handpiece when I started to work on it four and a half years ago, but I do now. My appliqueing skills have also improved by doing these blocks. Today I have 71 blocks and 1 triangle and the total amount of pieces I've used so far is 1234.

A lot of the "Janiacs" make the quilt with reproduction fabrics similar to the original. I'm no repro-girl, so I chose to make an "Arctic Jane". I took some photos on our skiing trip yesterday so you can see where I got the inspiration from. The blues we see around us now are incredible, especially right before the sun rises or right after it sets.


Friday, February 03, 2006

The Sun is here!

And what's the deal? Isn't the sun here always? Not when you live above the Arctic Circle. Our last encounter with the "gas-lump" was in mid november. After that it doesn't rise above the horizon. It's not totally dark, as it is on Svalbard, the islands in the Arctic Sea, but it is never really daylight for two months. I "cheated" and went south for Christmas and New Year's eve, so I've had a glimpse of it, but today was the first time I saw it in 2006. It should have been here in mid January, but because of the weather, we haven't been able to see it before. I'm not a fan of the polar nights, but the reward comes in summer, when we have Midnight Sun for two months. Then it's almost impossible to go to bed.

Now I'm off to do some handquilting with this fabulous thread. It's pure silk, strong yet soft and slides easily through the fabric. And it looks gorgeous.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Living off centre

"So you're moving to Kvaefjord" said a woman I know five years ago, when we moved from Harstad to Kvaefjord. "But then your commute will be timeconsuming". She didn't think about that her husband does the exact opposite of us; they live in Harstad and he works in Kvaefjord. That's typical, it's always longer to go from a centre to the outskirts than the opposite. I have to tell that this is not central parts of Norway. We live 1500 kilometres from the capital, Oslo and Harstad isn't a metropol, just a small town with 23000 inhabitants. In Kvaefjord Community there are 3000 inhabitants, and the community centre (Borkenes) has 1600 residents.

There are several advantages living up in the North. The houses cost less (our appraiser said we saved $75 000 compared to Harstad-prices, in Oslo we could only get a small studio for the same amount that we paid for our large house). The air is the cleanest in all Norway (too North for European pollution, too South and West for Russian). The is no noise (only an occasional magpie or two :-D).No queues (not even in the skiing tracks). And being a musician here lets you do all the fun stuff. In Oslo there are dozens of musicians that fight over the fun jobs, here we can decide what we want to play and make things happen ourself. If we don't do it, no one else does.

I'm born and raised in Trondheim, a quite large city in Norway (135 000 inhabitants). I thought that I was a city girl, but now I know better. I love living off centre, where I can have a nice quiet life, looking at an incredibly beautiful scenery just outside my window and get to work in the city in only 20 minutes.

Todays picture is for la tea dah. I've read her blog where she shares some of her delicate porcelaine cups. I found this in the shop that sells my mittens. You can't drink of it but it's incredibly cute.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Another UFO

The UFO's keep popping out of the boxes. This one I started when I was attending a Kaffe Fassett-class here in Northen Norway. I've taken two classes with him, and he's a sweet man and an inspiring teacher. The attic windows are from my black, grey and white stash, and the hat boxes are from my Bali stash.

Now I'm off to see Norway (hopefully) beats Denmark in the European championship in handball for men. Wish us luck!