Saturday, August 23, 2014


Finnfest 2014


This is the second year that I have attended the national Finnish meeting. It was held in the hotel called  the Hyatt Regency on 1300 Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Hyatt decor is a contemporary Nordic style. It is  very light, modern, and contemporary in design.
Our first stop to Minneapolis was on Thursday to the Minneapolis Instititute of Art {} to view the Finnish Design room.  Finnish Design is known worldwide for form and function. Fiskers, Nokia, Ittalia glassware, the angry bird app game, and Marimekko clothing design. The museum is spectacular with a large catagory of ancient artifacts and art. A must see if you are in the Minneapolis area.

Opening ceremony was held at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, guest speakers where Ritva Koukku-Ronde, Jaana Palojarvi, Singing Stings, Olli Kortekangas, Sheila Packa, and the Hilja Gronfors musical group. Within the magestic soaring ceilings my sister, Sheila, read a Finnish poem along with all the distinguished speakers.
With a Chautauqua style conference at FinnfestUSA on Friday through Sunday, everyones experience will be different depending on the menu of topics on music, art and design, natural world, indigenous,Nordic, modern, or literature lectures that one selects. This is my view of Finnfest 2014.
On Friday my nephew, Stirling, and I attended " Heavy Metal Music in Finland." It is very popular genre, divided into many subdivisions such as Love Metal, Folk Metal, and the list goes on. Finland has a deep and wide interest in this music style and to this day, in Helsinki, one could catch a few live bands. The band
"HIM "opened the door for bands of Finnish decent to be more recognized.
Then it was on  to Sami knitting.seminar presented by Laura Ricketts. It is a type of fair isle knitting pattern style with white mittens, red trim, or a combination of primary colors in a pattern..Early on the snow tundra, The Nomatic reindeer Sami used reindeer hides for mitts and hats. Later on came the introduction of knitted wear.
 Then it was to view the film, "This Country's not Mine." A documentary on the Finnish gypsy population in the early century. Hilja Gronfors Trio represents their music. Often the Roma people,,, would live in caravans pulled by horses. Often times they were forgotten by the Finnish community so their births, deaths, were not always recorded by the churches, which were the record keepers of the day.

Mark Munger, attorney and District Court Judge and published author, spoke in a seminar "Using Finnish American History in Creative Writing"  in a Friday afternoon seminar .He finds the Finnish culture to be a rich resource for his fiction writing. Suomaiaiset: People of the Marsh, Sukulaiset: The Kindred, The Legacy, Esther's Race are some of his books.

 On Sat. I attended "Intro to the  Kalevala", the  Finnish national epic mythology based on the story of the Kalevala.  an oral epic passed down by song, and played on the kantala, a 5 string musical instrument. In the mid 1800's the oral tradition was translated into written form. The epic tale includes charms, chants, and tales of the birth of earth, strength, and courage. Today there are many interpretations and variations in many languages.

Next it was a question and answer  session highlighting Dr. Arne Vainio, a family physician on the Fond Du Lac reservation. Dr. Vino is part Finnish and part Native American. Dr. Vino  talking about personal identity and his life path before he got his medical degree.
In between lectures, I did some shopping in the Tori{marketplace)....

While shopping I heard talented musicians, Hilja Gronfors Trio, Two Tails, and Diane Jarvi.
Saturday evening I attended the social dance with the band Finnfolk and FinnHall playing.
Sunday I attended a panel discussion on making Finnish cardamom bread.  It included a recipe and a discussion  about Finnish food today in Finland . The panel included two Minnesota State Fair food judges, a food blogger, and a caterer from upper Michigan.
I learned a lot in the three days of Finnish culture. It was like a family reunion but I did meet some new friends, and the sights and sounds of Finland resonated deep in my soul. It is my past ,my present, and my future. Kiitos...Jeanne

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Forever Tailored Coat

Forever Tailored Coat

Back in the 1980's, fresh out of a tailored  clothing design class at the University of Minnesota Duluth, I had many ambitious projects planned. My first custom tailored project was a rust colored princess seamed jacket with a gathered sleeve and SIX fabric bound buttonholes{ a gasped from the instructor and fellow students} but I received an A on the project.  A few years later I grew out of that fitted coat, styles changed and I ended up tossing it in a goodwill bin.
The next project was a design in the 1980's which was labeled a Reefer coat.

I put a lot of custom tailoring into the coat. First I picked a heavyweight black wool. Preshrunk it by steaming and preparing the fabric. I added hand picked top stitching on the lapel. custom chevron  padded stitches sewn in horsehair interfacing,  The coat has roomy fitting ease,double breasted style,  an exaggerated extended shoulders line and calf length.
Welt angled pockets,keyhole stitched buttonholes,

I have used this  classic style coat through the years, in the coldest months of January.  In earlier 2000, I shortened it to above the knee, raised the shoulders, to get rid of the extended shoulder line of the reefer coat styling. This alteration now  shortened the sleeves to an unacceptable length. I used the fabric from the bottom to add 11/2 inch  length to the sleeve, and now incorporated the design element into the sleeve bottom.

 With quality 100% wool fabric, one can steam and shape  the lapel and upper shoulder area, quality  tailoring sewing details and heavy twill coat lining, I have a warm coat that can handle the subzero winter chill in Northern Minnesota.. I have a coat that is a classic and will last a lifetime!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bluifinn: Project Yellow

Bluifinn: Project Yellow: New Look Workroom Project Runway pattern I have always wanted a yellow dress.  This dress could be worn with black tights or accessorized ...

Project Yellow

New Look Workroom Project Runway pattern

I have always wanted a yellow dress.  This dress could be worn with black tights or accessorized with other colors, It is a neutral that could be a great base for accessories. The fabric was in my stash and  is a polyester knit  remnant  that I found on a clearance section at my local fabric store.
It has an embossed tone on tone  on the surface, I needed a pattern that would be simple in design that would complement the design of the fabric.
The pattern that I found is a New Look Workroom 6071 Project Runway . I have had great luck with New Look patterns in the past. The front has a v neck with a .overlay. The directions in the pattern guide inside the paper envelope  are easy to follow.

sleeves were shortened to just above the elbow.

I then discovered that the v neck was too low, so I added a v insert, with a piece of antique lace from my stash pile. The cowl is crocheted from a magazine called Simple Knits. I'll be blogging about it later....Happy Sewing!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bluifinn: Knitted cowls

Bluifinn: Knitted cowls:  Knitted Cowl Neck Warmers Its been a few years since this book has been published, I fell in love at first sight.and knew with certainly ...

Knitted cowls

 Knitted Cowl Neck Warmers

Its been a few years since this book has been published, I fell in love at first sight.and knew with certainly that I would be making more than two projects from this book. Last year I was not  creative with color mixing. and I tended to make the same color as the  models in the book. The graphic art layout show multi layering of colored and sequin t-shirts. The book is displayed in a casual fun and hip way.
I used a Lion brand pink wool ease for the pink wool cowl. The cowl sits nice on the frame, and is toasty warm.
The black and blue hat and cowl reminds me of the northern lights in Finland. It is a lion brand wool ease. The variegated green is also a Lion brand Home style yarn.