Who can resist these projects?! Kajsa Wikman is one of the first authors I acquired for our Stash Books list because I had never seen anything similar to her work before. Exploring her blog is like entering another world full of the simple and the honest, yet amazingly colorful and vibrant. She sees the possibilities of a 1” square of fabric that many would toss, but for her, makes the perfect piece for a sweet dress, a balloon, or even a fish!
Her artful threadsketching brings life to her projects by creating layers of texture that are pure whimsy. But she is Scandinavian through and through: Nothing is unnecessary. When I fist approached her about writing a book, she was exceptionally reluctant. Like many of us who pursue our craft as our career, she debated the time it would take away from creating items she could sell at local craft fairs, like her signature Tomte.
But when we started discussing the possible structure of the book, everything seemed to fall into place. Kajsa explained to me how important the seasons were in Scandinavia where there is a vast change to the landscape from one season to the next. With the projects inspired by the seasons, she had a great source from which to draw. We were sure to include lots of her own photographs of her local area as well as some photos from the talented Sanna Peurakoski.
Living in the San Francisco Bay area now, where my heavy winter coats from London and New York have been relegated to long-term storage up in the attic, I forget how impactful and inspirational these shifts in the landscape can be. How different the lighting is with each season, too.
Once she found a structure, Kajsa realized that she has quite a lot to share! She’s packed her book with approachable and reassuring tutorials on free-motion quilting, raw-edge applique, and embroidery and includes words of advice about finding your artistic path, and trusting your own taste.
A lot of these projects will teach you to be more comfortable with your own creativity as she encourages personalization at every opportunity. In the quilt below, she has stitched the words of a Finnish nursery rhyme as the quilting, and suggests that you include a favorite of your own.
Kajsa always adds an element of the personal to her work which is one of the fabulous things that makes handmade so satisfying. Her work is so thoughtful that I feel as if I sat chatting in the seat next to her while she crafted it. Each project tells a story and each chapter records a journey. I hope that her projects inspire you to tell a story of your own.
Scandinavian Stitches will be available in October 2010.