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I recently had the chance to review a pre-publication copy of Scandinavian Stitches by Kajsa Wikman. Kajsa's book covers 21 projects with a seasonal flair. The photography in the book is one of the first thing that caught my attention, because not only does she capture the finished product but she took the extra effort to create beautiful settings to display them in. All the projects include simple step by step instructions and most of them require 10 steps or less to complete. Anyone of any skill level should be able to walk away from this book having learned something new. Beginners are not likely to be intimidated by overly complex projects. Its a wonder that Kajsa has the time to produce such a beautiful guide as she is also an artist, blogger, and antiquer. She has previously contributed to three other crafty publications, this book is her first solo project. Hats off to her photographer Sanna Peurakoski whose excellent photography really adds to the quality of presentation. I chose the Ruska Quilt to recreate, it scales down perfectly for a miniature quilt(I made my version of the quilt at about 12inches square), and found the instructions easy to follow and completed it in less then an hour. If you are looking for a book on stitchy craft projects, this is certainly the one to pick up. Within the pages of the book you'll find projects for a baby quilt, pillows, ornaments, a quilted bowl, mini art quilt,an adorable fish themed quilt,wall hangings,coasters, a darling fairy angel doll, and more. (10/30/10)
I've been following Kasja Wikman's blog, Syko, for some time. Her sewing work is full of creative charm and whimsy. Her book, Scandinavian Stitches from Stash Books is a delight.This book is full of charming projects inspired by the dramatic seasonal changes in her native Finland. I happen to love the dramatic seasonal changes here in my part of midwest USA, so her inspiration does really speak to me. Spring and summer projects include Easter bird ornaments, a bird mini art quilt, a gardening angel, a silakka fish pillow, and more. Most of her design elements are top stitched applique cutouts. You'll need to have a colorful selection of fabrics and some fusible webbing to make them.She irons down cut-out fusible backed fabric pieces and then top stitches them with high contrasting dark thread. Although I have often used fusible applique, I have never tried straight stitching the edges in this way. I could not wait to try to make the Autumn Tree Linen Scarf, even though we were already experiencing the waning days of autumn when I received this book. I ironed on the fusible web to the back of a selection of scrap fabrics As directed in the book, I made a chalk outline of a tree and arranged my leaves on each branch Ironing them down onto the black linen was super easy, but now I have to get my courage up and do that straight stitching with a bright green thread. I took a deep breath and just got started. I did not use the free motion foot on my sewing machine. I machine stitched with my regular foot and a regular sewing needle. Kasja's tree is done with one simple line, but when I stitched it, my single line was quite uneven in places. I did get more confident as I went, but I decided to add an extra line of stitches and I like the result. With projects like this, you have to embrace the wonkiness. It is part of the charm. I finished this scarf in one evening and I totally love it!—Susie Ziegler, CraftCritique.com (1/7/11)
We've been seeing this trend growing quietly on the blogosphere for the last couple years, and apparently we aren't the only ones paying attention. The editors at C&T Publishing hit up hot new designer and eloquent blogger, Kajsa, and came out with this small prjects book loaded with simple, mod-style sewn things that will just make you happy. When you grow up in a cold Northern climate, where darkness renders daytime night too many weeks of the year, you crave color and joy. Kajsa 's simple, childlike projects get you to the heart of what makes life fun...and fast! Scraps of bright prints, solid humble backgrounds and tons of thread sketching cover pincushions, fabric baskets, quilts, pillows, ornaments and toys. You'll be excavating those stick-figure drawings your kids made for you in no time and decorating your own versions of these projects.—Quilter's Home (2/1/11)
Scandinavian Stitches: 21 Playful Projects with Seasonal Flair offers keys to projects ranging from quilts and pillows to ornaments, with easy materials listings and instructions accompanying full-page patterns, color photos, and keys to adding Scandinavian-influenced designs to needlework projects. The result is an excellent addition to needlework libraries looking for ethnic flair.— James A. Cox, California Bookwatch (2/1/11)