Tag Archives: Scandinavian Stitches

Scandinavian Stitches Pixies

Just like those who leave up their Christmas tree, I find it hard to put away Christmas.

I have several Gooseberry Patch books with Christmas crafts and recipes that I like to take down from the shelf and browse during the holiday season. This past December, I shelved my sewing machine for the month. In the New Year, after I put away my decorations, I looked at my Christmas fabric and what I most wanted to sew was Christmas related.

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I enjoy the calm and quiet of January. Christmas sewing in January seemed like a lovely idea.

Ten years ago, I made apple coasters from the book by Kajsa Wikman, Scandinavian Stitches, published in 2010 by Stash Books. At the time, I wanted to make the project named Tomte Stuffy before Christmas, but never found the time.

A tomte is a kind of Scandinavian elf or gnome. Kajsa’s version are cuter than the faceless, bearded gnomes that have become so popular. I’m going to refer to them as Christmas pixies.

I sewed one, but couldn’t stop at just one! I knitted a scarf for the pixie dressed in corduroy. I used felt for two of the caps, which were hard to get the tips out when turning. I used linen for the faces and hands, and powder blush for their cheeks. I didn’t change anything about the pattern; I even liked their minimal faces which I embroidered.

I enjoyed pixie production! I already had a bag of fiberfill, so was glad to use some of it. The stuffing of body parts takes time and patience. I found it was best done away from the machine while watching TV.

They were a little tricky to sew. Long legs!

I sewed a felt pocket on the corduroy dress. The shape is halfway between a heart and an apple.

My pixies spent the rest of the month and half of February looking adorable sitting on a chair, giving me some post-Christmas cheer.

Initially, I checked out the book Scandinavian Stitches from the library, but I recently bought it. I especially like the way the projects are organized into seasons. I have a few ideas for more projects, maybe with some changes. I think it will be sooner than ten years. I might like working on a winter project in the summer.

Apples Inspired by Kajsa

I have read and enjoyed the blog written by Kajsa Wikman of Finland , so when I saw her book “Scandinavian Stitches” in the library I checked it out.

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It features cheerful little projects with with a whimsical appeal.  I love two of the motifs she uses in her books: leaves and apples.

Inspired by her “Sweet and Sour Apple Coasters”, I looked through my fabric for bits of red and green material.   Kajsa’s method of applique uses paper backed fusible web, and machine stitching an outline on the shape in a straight line with black thread.  I’ve done traditional applique with turned edges which is hand sewn with invisible, tiny stitches.  The end result is beautiful but it is slow going.  I’ve also seen applique machine stitched on the raw edges with a close zig-zag stitch.

I like handwork but I decided to try Kajsa’s method and use my machine to make a folk art look to my apples.

Paper backed fusible web is easy to use.  I used a brand called Heat N Bond Lite. First you press the fusible web with the paper side up on the wrong side of the fabric.  You draw your applique pieces backwards and cut them out on the lines since the edges won’t be turned under.  Then you peel off the paper, place them on your background fabric, and press to fuse.  You press down with a dry iron in one place for 6 seconds  similar to bonding an iron-on patch.

I wanted to make a mug rug and two coasters.  As most everybody knows, a mug rug is shaped like a rectangle and it large enough to hold a cup and a snack.  For the coasters I used the sew and turn right side out method as shown in the book; for the mug rug I preferred to use binding.

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The apples look plain and uninteresting without any stitching.  I notice that fused applique looks flatter and less three dimensional than turned applique.

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Looking better! I’ve only sewed straight lines before so it was hard for me to stitch the circle shapes, but the object was not to be perfect so I left my shaky lines.  The stems are machine sewn with a wide, close zig-zag.  I used the same fabric for both the strips in my mug rug and the apples in the coasters.  Then I gathered my backing fabric and my batting.  I used cotton batting for the coasters and Thermolam Plus, a polyester, for the mug rug.

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After quilting the outlines, I wasn’t sure what additional quilting to make.  I was using a regular foot and not a quilting foot and I don’t think my vine lines with leaves came out too well, but decided to leave them.  I used bias tape for the binding because I didn’t have any black fabric on hand.

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I inserted twill tape for hanging before stitching the sides of the coasters.  My apples are more rustic Americana apples than Scandinavian.

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Thanks  to Kajsa for a fun project.  I think I will make her Tomte (elves with a long red cap) when it gets closer to Christmas.