Saturday, July 19, 2014

Impressions of Sweden: They Like Their Statues

Maybe this goes along with being an older, European city. But there were lots of statues in Stockholm.

Also sculptural details on buildings, as well as more more modern-type public art. What's represented here is not everything that I saw — there were a number of pieces that I, regrettably, did not photograph.

I also didn't do the best job of documenting the names, locations, and other details. Some I did take a picture of the plaque detailing such information; others, not. Some I was able to locate relevant web pages; others, not, such as this one.

If I ever go back to Stockholm, I'd like to visit the sculpture garden for this artist, Carl Milles.

Orpheus Group by Carl Milles

This next one, I saw during a boat tour of Stockholm.

At The Opera House

At the Nordiska Museet.

In honor of Astrid Lindgren, author of the "Pippi Longstocking" books.

Two different fountains.

How to strangle a fish

How to kill a dragon

Seen as we were leaving the Royal Palace after our tour.

Also at the Royal Palace, near the front promenade.

In a more modern vein, there was La Mano.

And "Sjaan" (1987) by Sigurdur Gudmundsson (b. 1942).

And in a lighter vein . . . Bananas in Trees . . .

 . . . and Plastic Balls in Trees.

Little Dancing Man by the Water.

In Växjö, "Durus och Mollis" (2008)  by Monika Gora.

And last, but certainly not least . . . because it's all about the yarn . . .

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Impressions of Stockholm: Architecture

One of the first things I noticed about Stockholm was that none of the buildings were more than 6 or 7 stories, at least in the downtown core.

A Google search turned up this, but it is located several miles from downtown.

In the area of the city we were in — Gamla Stan (literally "Old Town") Sodermalm, Ostermalm, Norrmalm, Djurgarden — the tallest buildings, by and large, were the churches.

Tyska Kyrkan (German Church)
Stora Kyrkan (Stockholm Cathedral)
Not much in the way of modern architecture. In the course of visiting several museums, it was mentioned several times that Stockholm's history goes back about 1000 years. Gamla Stan, the oldest part of the city, had a particularly medieval quality to its narrow streets and alleys.

As seen in the above photo, many of Gamla Stan's streets and paths are paved in brick, often in an appealing, fan-like pattern.

There was also this star in the middle of the central courtyard at the Royal Palace.

Sweden is known for its runestones, several of which we saw at the Historiska Museet (History Museum). I spotted this one at a corner in Gamla Stan.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

New Quilting Project

I'm done enough of the hand-quilting on the quilt I made from this fat quarter pack, that I should soon be able to bind it, photograph it, write up the instructions, and post it on my Craftsy page.

That got me started thinking about what my next hand-quilting project would be.

I went out to the studio and retrieved this small quilt top that I sewed together a little over two years ago. Right away, I knew I wanted to do a large-scale, feathered motif. A heart perhaps? Possibly, but then there were still the corner areas to fill in. I wanted a design that would fill up more of the area by itself.

Because the quilt is as nearly square (maybe one-quarter inch or so larger on one axis), a feathered circle seemed like a good candidate.

I took this 8 by 8 inch template, draw the design onto paper, scanned it into the computer, and starting playing with it.

I made it as big as possible, tried a few variations, and soon arrived at this arrangement.

Rather than printing out the whole design on tiled pages and piecing it together, I am starting out with just the center, which measures about 13 inches in diameter. It printed out using just four sheets of paper. For the middle and outer parts of the design, I plan to redraw them so that there are four identical quadrants. As it is, the design is not radially symmetric, there being 23 feathers on the outside of the circle.

To be evenly divisible into 360, there need to be 24. That way, I only have to make a template for one-quarter of the pattern. That matters because of the way I make my quilting templates.

I print them out on paper, and then run the paper through my sewing machine (unthreaded) so the needle punches the design into the paper.

I use a Quilt Pounce to transfer the design to the quilt top, and then draw over it with a chalk pencil, since the chalk from the Quilt Pounce rubs off too quickly as I'm quilting.

I think I will use dark brown quilting thread.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bees and Lavender

One of the benefits of digital photography is how it frees me to take as many pictures as I want to, without concern for spending money to get prints of many mediocre photos in the quest for the really good one.

A couple years ago, I was taking picture of the wild sunflowers that I had grown from seeds my sister had sent me from Nebraska, where they grow along the roads and highways. There were bees flying around — large, round, black ones that are pretty mild-tempered. I was working from a low angle, trying to use the bright blue sky as a backdrop.

It wasn't until I was reviewing the photos on my computer that I saw this.

I loved the fortuitous capture of the bee staring straight at the camera.

Yesterday, I took a number of photos of the bees in the lavender. None of them are quite as fun an quirky as the sunflower photo, but with the Close-up setting on the camera, I got a decent picture of a bee and some interesting effects with the focus.

This one is a little different in that the flowers in the foreground are out of focus. Usually, it's the background that's fuzzy.

I like the way the flower in the foreground here is backlit. It gives the flower a bit of a posterized effect.