24 June 2012


Midsummer is here again, and in this part of the world that means that the sun is up more or less all night. It's fair to say that it's the second largest festival in Finland after Christmas, and people celebrate it for good reason. We spend so much time cooped up in darkness that it's no wonder this is such a big deal to us. This year we've been incredibly lucky with the weather: the sun has been shining almost non-stop and it's been nice and warm. Here you can see my dad hoisting the flag. The night between Midsummer Eve and Midsummer Day is the only time of the year when the rule says you can fly the flag all night.

Fia the Terri(fi)er enjoys the weather, as well as rolling around in the grass.

These sheep looked pretty happy too, but ran away when I tried to get a little bit nearer

My Midsummer project this year is this cute crocheted moth wings shrug (follow the link for an image of the whole shrug). It's portable and very easy to work with on the train as well as out on the sun-deck behind the house. I've finished the back piece and started with the front halves. I've made great progress on it this weekend.

It took me ages to get started, though, because I just couldn't figure out the gauge (Sw. masktäthet). It seemed to me that the recommended yarn was way too thin for the recommended hook. So I first did some research about possible errors in the pattern, but didn't find what I was looking for. I then made a sample with the recommended hook and yarn, and discovered that the way I crochet, the sample became way too small. I tried substituting the yarn, and got the right gauge, but then the fabric became too thick and stocky. So I finally ended up using the right yarn, but a hook that is two numbers bigger than what is recommended in the pattern (2.5 mm according to the pattern, but I use a 3.5 mm needle for a yarn which is designed for a 0.75 mm needle). It took me a while to get used to the combination of thin yarn and big hook, but I got there in the end. And I guess the point is that with bigger loops, you get a much softer fabric. It makes sense when you think about it, but it felt pretty strange to me at first.

It's been a really relaxing weekend with sunshine, fresh air, good food, good company, a good craft project, exercise, sauna, flowers in plenty and birdsong in the air. I don't think I've ever seen so much cow parsley (Sw. hundkäx) in bloom before. Here, they're mixed in with lupins.

Some of mum's flowers, with the house in the background.

Thanks for visiting! There's only one more week of office time for me now, and then my vacation and new life starts (pleaser refer to this blog entry if you haven't heard about my adventures next year)! I will keep you posted! - Annika

17 June 2012

New Patterns, Part II

Ok, I got lost in my tracks and it took me a while to get back to the second part of my blog entry about new patterns. There's been a lot going on chez Lund, and I've felt like I've been running two steps behind myself for the last couple of weeks. But; I only have two more weeks' worth of  office time now, before not only my summer vacation but also my new life begins. I think I'll start by vegetating for a while, which will include tidying up the chaos in my flat and reorganising my cupboads. I need to dig out all those ringbinders with notes and samples from when I was in teacher training. How exciting!

Now, what I originally wanted to blog about was an online course in stencil making that I've taken with Melanie Testa: Stencil Magic (check out her new teaching website The Clever Guild), but I will have to return to that in New Patterns, Part III, as I really haven't got as far with the course work as I had hoped. Instead, and as a warm-up, I will show you some of the cool graffiti stencil work that I came across on my trip to Tallinn, Estonia, last weekend. Thanks to Melly and her stencil magic, my eyes have opened up to a new art form I never took much notice of before. Aren't these graffiti images fun and inspiring? I should take a walk round Helsinki too, and see if I find some at closer quarters than across the Gulf of Finland. Until New Patterns, Part III, enjoy these Estonian stencil samples:

This funny-bunny popped up in several places

This one's for you Melly!

As well as this one

Does anyone remember these anymore?

This looks pretty yummy, don't you agree?

Thanks for visiting! - Annika

4 June 2012

New Patterns

I'm sorry that I've been away from this blog for some time. In one sense, not much has been going on to blog about. In another sense, everything has happened, and now I feel I'm ready to blog about it. Things are on the move. The patterns of my life are changing.

Everything is possible!

For the last seven and a half years I've been working full time as a legislative translator, but this spring I decided to take a break and do something completely different. Get out of the rut, gain a new perspective, try my wings, find my passion. A chance came my way and I grabbed it with both hands, and I'm on my way. A couple of weeks ago I handed in my resignation. I quit my job. And I'm swinging between ecstacy and panic. It's thrilling and terrifying. Writing this makes my heart race and my arms shake.

In an earlier life (i.e. before my career as a translator) I trained as a crafts teacher (I won't even try to explain the many a-winding turns of my life), but when I moved to Helsinki I left that career behind me, apart for when I occasionally held a short weekend class at an educational institution for adults that we have in Finland, called the workers' institute in direct translation ('arbetarinstitut' in Swedish and 'työväenopisto' in Finnish). It's basically open for anyone over 16, and for a relatively small fee you can attend classes in anything from ICT and navigation and languages to cookery and crafts and sports.

So, the incredible chance that popped up this spring is that I was offered to teach four craft classes for adults at one of the workers' institutes we have in Helsinki, plus two craft classes for children, for the autum and spring terms 2012-2013. The adult classes will deal with dyeing & printing, hand & machine embroidery, simple clothesmaking skills and surface textures in textiles. The classes for children will be a mix of different crafts such as e.g. papier maché, crochet, embroidery and fabric printing.

I won't pretend that it isn't pretty darn scary to leave a relatively safe and well-paid job and just throw myself into the unknown, but I feel I owe it to myself to give it a chance. They all say that it's not the things you do that you regret, but the things you didn't do. So I'll just do it. And next year I'll be wiser.

This song is my anthem. Follow the link and listen carefully to what she says: Madonna: Jump

I was going to write more about patterns, but I think I've said more than enough for one blog post. Many thanks for reading this far, and please return for Patterns Part 2, which will be more about crafts and less about me. - Annika