Recently, I was given the chance to review Scandinavian Stitches by Finnish designer Kajsa Wikman. I met Kajsa four years ago through Flickr when her whimsical appliqués caught my eye and have been following her blog Syko ever since. I am surrounded by her handmade goodness every day. She has been a huge inspiration to me so I was very excited to talk about her first book!
I was pleasantly surprised to find more than just projects inside Kajsa's book. There are sections about inspiration, organization, choosing fabrics, designing your own appliqués, embellishing, appliqué techniques, and free-motion quilting. My favourite section in the book was "I just don't get it!" which lists problems and solutions to ease our frustration when things go awry! Thank you for reminding us that we're not the only ones who have quilting disasters! I was thrilled to find that the book reflects Kajsa's design style and her creations to the "tea"!!
The simple & playful projects encourage creative freedom making it easy for the quilter to add their own flair. Each pattern is easy to follow and accompanied by clear diagrams paired with full-size templates! I was so excited that I immediately whipped up a few of Kajsa's projects that I have been eyeing on flickr and her blog for years!
The first project that I absolutely had to make was the Syko Teapot pillow of course!!! The colours I used reminded me of the taste of Earl Grey tea so I decided to add some free-motion writing at the top. It looks great on my wicker chair in the tea room! I think the result is a very happy blend of Kajsa and Laurraine!
I have also had my eye on the Tomte Stuffies since last Christmas! A tomte is described in the book as "the Scandinavian relative of Santa’s little helper". My tomte is made using non-traditional Autumn colours! I added a flower to her hat and she happily helps me in my craftroom (an army of these little helpers could come in handy all year round)!
Kajsa's description of Autumn in Finland is also my experience of Autumn here in British Columbia. This quilt will remind me each day that my friend is not so far away! I had a few extra leaves so I added them under the tree. My smaller version of the Ruska quilt now decorates my kitchen table :o)
Here are a few things I asked Kajsa...
What is the proper pronunciation of your first name (for all of us foreigners)?
For all of you English-speakers - if you say Kysa I think you will get it right! (I can hear everyone saying AHA! now) It is a long "i" sound as in KITE!
What was the first thing you ever designed?
I was 15 and it was a sweater. I asked my mum to knit me something and she told me to do it myself! So I learned how to knit! It was very wide and colourful, a one of a kind piece for sure, a pity I didn't save it! I do have pictures of my fist appliqué designs, I did my first appliqué on clothes for my daughter, some 7 years ago now, luckily I now have a digital camera!
Do you belong to any quilting or craft groups?
No quilting groups, but I would love it, I might start my own when the kids are a little older! I do belong to a local craft organization. We are having a show this December.
When did you realize that you wanted to make a business out of your crafts?
I think the seed was planted when I participated in my first Christmas market, but it was Etsy that made me think about my options seriously. Etsy gave me an affordable sales channel for my first creations. All the positive feedback I got on the pictures I posted on flickr was very valuable and also helped me with the decision.
Have you taken any craft business courses and were they helpful?
I took a course for starting businesses when I was starting up and I wouldn't have managed without the things I learned about taxes, book-keeping etc. Right now, I am participating in a project for craft businesses. We meet about once a month to learn about things like pricing and product display. I spoke about social media (blogging) and Etsy for my fellow students last month! It felt great to be able to share my experience and it made me realize how much I have learned along the way!
Have you ever thought about hiring someone to help you sew? (I know I have!)
YES! And it will probably happen soon, I need someone to help me with the sewing. I can't keep up with the demand anymore and with so many different projects the time dedicated to sewing is shrinking all the time!
GIVEAWAY TIME! (now closed)
Stash Books is giving away one copy of Scandinavian Stitches per blog and Kajsa is giving away one set of Syko Design cards per blog. Simply leave a comment on my blog for your chance to win! Giveaway closes on Saturday, November 27 at 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time.
Thank you for choosing me to be part of your amazing online book tour! The blog tour will end off tomorrow at Allsorts. Please see the previous post for the complete list of participating blogs.
If you don't win or can't wait to purchase some of Kajsa's work, please visit the Syko Shop.