Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Proof Through the Night

Ablaze over the lake.

Reminding me what brings my family together each 
4th of July holiday is the mesmerizing fireworks 
display over Keuka Lake. 

Here's one of my heroes, Utah Phillips,
telling the story of how our national anthem, 
The Star Bangled Banner, came to be.
Definitely worth eleven minutes. 
Happy Independence Day, America!

Meet me here again on Wednesday, July 6th.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

Introducing my first free Project Linus quilt design:

Sunny day pictures coming soon!
This overcast day can't dampen my love for 
this simple, airy, happy quilt!

 Fast! This design took one day to cut, piece, 
layer and pin, then another half day to quilt and bind. 

The entire time I worked on this quilt, I imagined 
a child wrapped in it, and my heart went a flutter. 
There's something about making for and 
giving to young people, especially those in need. 
For me, it's about feeling
So, give this quilt a whirl and feel happy!

The free quilt pattern & instructions will be posted 
in the next few weeks! You'll find it right next to the 
Project Linus link in the right side bar.

Home made sewing table review:
The table I fashioned on Friday from DOW styrofoam
boards works pretty well. I haven't added that top layer 
of clear vinyl, and I'm not sure I'll need to. I was able to 
manage the quilt: maneuvering the bulk, feeding the quilt 
toward the feed dogs, and remaining comfortable 
while sewing. I can recommend this for any sewer needing
a larger work surface and an easy fabrication. 

Here's another great use for DOW rigid styrofoam 
(blue) boards: tape a few sheets together for a custom,
lightweight design wall that you can then pin into and 
iron fabric against without ruining the styrofoam board.
Happy designing & sewing!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Finally Friday!

This hydrangea is right under my window.
I could look at it for hours.

I could, but I didn't. 

Instead, this morning I sewed the backing, 
then layered and pinned the Project Linus Quilt. Hooray!
Then, I hit the wall.

I've been at a crossroads: either invest in a 
long arm, or devise a sewing table that doesn't cause 
me quilting frustration and strain. I chose the latter. 
This afternoon, I had a few DOW rigid styrofoam 
boards delivered to my house
Fairly easily, with an X-Acto knife I cut the boards 
to the length of my table, and then cut out 
the spot for my sewing machine. To match the height 
of my sewing deck I layered a 2" thick piece over 
a 1" thick piece. Voila! A large, smooth sewing surface 
in under 45 minutes, and for less than $90.00.
I can't take credit for coming up with this solution 
on my own. I saw a YouTube video of a woman building her 
sewing table this way. I can't remember the link so I hope  
my photos and brief description suffice if you want to 
make one for yourself. 
The video's last step was covering the whole surface 
with clear vinyl. I imagine I'll do that tomorrow.

I'll test drive over the weekend, and I'll keep you 
posted on the overall handling and performance.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sound the Trumpets!

Meet the oh-so-talented Renee Hahnel of SpunRightRound!
What a blast it is to have her here!
Renee is the Wizard behind the curtain 
blending primo fibers in a dizzying array of
colors for our spinning & felting enjoyment. 
Take a moment to see her work here
then enjoy this candid interview. 
Full disclosure: Silver Trumpet and SpunRightRound are friends, 
and supporting Renee is a pure delight. Silver Trumpet 
has received nothing for posting this interview. 

How did SpunRightRound come about?
It all started in 2008 when I began spinning my own yarn. 
After falling in love with handspuns that were 
way out of budget I took a short class, bought a wheel 
and my love for fiber blossomed! Shortly thereafter, I began 
dyeing rovings & loose fibers and carding art batts.
What aspect of owning your business is most rewarding?
The freedom of owning your own business is amazing. 
You can guide it in any which way you please. 
You get back what you put into it, that is most rewarding!
What might we hear playing in your Fiber Room?
Oh! Music, I love music!
My favorites right now are Clutch, Jethro Tull, Phoenix, 
Bessie Smith and Joy Division. A variety indeed!
Favorite late night snack: 
Peanut butter & crackers, ginger snaps.
Favorite trend:
My favorite trend ever was the grunge scene explosion. 
I will never not love the baby doll dress and combat boot combo. 
Also, the beehive hairstyle is fantastic.
Favorite season:
Fall! I love the smell of apples, leaves, the wood burning stove,
and roasted veggies in the oven.

What would you still like to learn?
Too much! On the top of my list are large scale printing,
weaving, home brewing and making my own essential oils.
Please introduce us to your many furry, playful friends.
We have two fuzzy Angora Bunnies: 
Harry Houdini & Angus Almighty
Harry Houdini
Angus Almighty
And we have four cats:
Wolfgang Amadeus Woodgrain, The Artful Dodger,
Cliff (A.K.A. C-Note) and Three.
Three...just look at that face!
How do you blow off steam?
A good conversation at the end of a long day is awesome!
The Artist at work

What's most meaningful to you?
Love and photographs.
I hope you've enjoyed meeting Renee and 
peeking inside the genius mind behind the 
hugely successful SpunRightRound.
Stay tuned for updates on SpunRightRound's 
next chapter:
a brick and mortar store in Cortland, NY!
Renee is working hard at stocking the shelves 
with colorful yarns, a rainbow of fibers 
for card-your-own batts and felting. 
She'll offer embroidery kits, felting kits, 
spinning wheels, drop spindles, 
gorgeous needles galore, 
vintage buttons, and tons of other 
cool stuff we all just need to have!
Renee will have a full roster of workshops 
demos led by dynamic, talented instructors, 
helping us make excellent use of all those 
cool tools and toys.
Stay tuned - you won't want to miss Renee's 
hip, fun & funky shop decorating and 
our Open House coverage! 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

On a day like this,

nothing hits the spot like this:
Crunchy Berry Summer Crisp from 
Abby Dodge's book, The Weekend Baker.

And not much makes me happier 
than working on my newest quilt design!
Stay tuned for more about this quilt because 
it's coming to you for FREE with my favorite 
organization in mind, Project Linus. 

My hope is that you'll want to make this quilt 
over and over for kids in need because it's fast, 
easy and versatile. It's perfect for boys or girls 
of all ages. The design easily handles scraps, 
batiks, novelties, or holiday themed fabrics. 
I'm so excited about how it's coming together! 
I'll soon share it in an upcoming post, 
as well as place the free sewing instructions 
 next to the Project Linus link. 

Wishing Dads every where a happy & fun Father's Day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Finally Friday!

The sun is out just in time to set on a most perfect day.

 In need of a little break, I slated today just for myself. 
I scheduled a massage and a visit with a friend.
Time to breathe.
As it turns out, my day is ending with an unanticipated
 heap of gratitude and appreciation.
 Over the course of the day, I had stellar encounters 
with four of my amazing friends. Each in her own way, 
in her own time, added to my personal cause.

Thank you Carol, Vickie, Renee and Tracy 
for your gifts that made today 
worthy of a new moniker: Fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Big things come in small packages.
This one is right outside my front door.
I hope a critter doesn't beat me to it.

Good things take time.
Cheryl Niamath of fetchingknits offers this 
free pattern. A small group of knitting friends in town 
are knitting several of these cute mini sweaters 
to help our Very Special Friend with a 
Very Special Project. 
Come back to meet SpunRightRound's very own 
Renee Hahnel next Wednesday.
You're in for a treat with this talented, humorous, 
energetic and lovely artist and friend.
(Oh, I can hardly wait!)

  Good things come to those who wait.
Well truth be told, I couldn't wait to begin 
Bonnie Sennott's Restless scarf pattern.
What an enjoyable project with crystal clear, 
easy to follow directions. I'm using Ella Rae
Lace Merino, color 109, purchased from 
my friend Beth's shop, Sheep Thrills! Yarn Company.

For many of us, knitting and nature go hand in hand
We feel grounded when we're knitting or 
spinning outdoors. It's wonderful.
Except for today when I risked life & limb for these photos. 
My entire front walk is covered in flowering thyme. 
The thyme is in full bloom. Did someone say bees? 
No joke, they were swarming around my entire body 
while I gingerly laid on patches of thyme to photograph 
the strawberry. Then, with buzzing high and low 
(mostly low) around me, I thoroughly scoped every inch 
of thyme before my next foot step as I quickly laid out and 
shot of the scarf. No time to fuss!
Perhaps a little too much grounding.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Open Studio Sunday

Bluebird, poppies, vintage buttons and lace.
A quiet Sunday full of simple pleasures.
The gentle rhythm of handwork, the feel of old lace,
a moving needle and plenty of color.

This is the piece I began in Rebecca Ringquist's 
embroidery workshop at Squam. I'm hooked.
For the workshop, we were asked to bring a piece of 
found embroidery that we were willing to work back into. 
Here's a look at the work of another's capable hand 
on the piece I brought, which also became the  
inspiration for the work I've added

This picture was taken last week.  
As of today, the embroidery is finished, 
buttons secured, and lace trim tacked down 
(close up in first picture.) The piece is layered & quilted.
The binding is next.
It's feminine, tactile and unlike anything I'd have ever done 
without Rebecca's introduction and inspiration.

Gosh, this kind of work is good for my soul.
Stretching, challenging and considering new combinations 
always gives me a thrill. And while I'm still unsure of
exactly how this particular piece will be finished, 
the process has been positively addicting
and I have a feeling this is the beginning of 
a new facet of my work.

Stay tuned for the finished piece!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Squam, The Journey Continues

Thanks for indulging me in a second post about my 
Squam experience. This one's for my cabin mates!
Meet my Everest cabin mates, including two mother-
daughter pairs: Mary & Madi and Madeleine & Christine, 
and Bonnie, Beth, Shirley and Vickie. 
Back left: Madi, Vickie,  Mary, Beth and Bonnie
Friday night we rolled with laughter by the fire. 
Below is the "Tarantula" yarn ball. It took three bright, 
patient women to untangle the beast.
Madeleine, Madi and Christine
Safe by the fire, Mary enjoys the tangled tarantula spectacle
This same evening, Christine taught Madi how to purl. 
What a moment! Christine was so patient, clear and helpful - 
a wonderful teacher.
Madi's young eyes & capable hands at work. Great design, right?
I had the pleasure of taking Rebecca Ringquist's 
Copy Cat Embroidery class with Madi & Mary. 
Madi accomplished a huge amount of work 
that day, and she's an extremely talented, fun-loving 
young lady who left an indelible impression on us all.
Mother-Daughter Dynamic Duo: Mary & Madi 
I apologize to Shirley & Beth for not having photos 
of your lovely faces!
So much of the Squam experience is bonding with the diverse
group in your cabin, and I had the pleasure of rooming 
with 8 fantastic, interesting, beautiful women. 
Thank you all for a memorable, special time.
Bonnie Sennott

You must see Bonnie's sketchbook here!
 If you're on Ravelry, check out Bonnie's patterns: 
You're in for a treat! I know I was surprised to discover 
one of my favorite patterns, Kernel, is Bonnie's own design. 
Her talents are many, her spirit is warm and sincere.
She's a wealth of knowledge and is ready & willing to share.
Do have a look at her blog, shop, sketchbook and knit patterns.

Meet my new friend: 
Anne B. Weil
Have you ever seen a face shine quite like this?
I assure you, Anne is every bit as warm and kind as 
this snap shot suggests. Visit her blog. You'll be glad you did. 
Don't forget that tomorrow, Saturday June 11th is 
World Wide Knit In Public Day. Tell me where you're knitting!

I hope you have a fun, creative, happy weekend,
 as I leave you with The Wailin' Jennys. 
(They make me feel all Squamy!)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Squam, Sweet Squam

Those first deep breaths -
pine needles, fresh mountain air and the lake. 
Despite the wild weather changes, 
Squam was as enchanting & luminous as ever.

Let's get right to it: 
the WORKSHOPS that I took were phenomenal.
If you ever have an opportunity to attend 
workshops by any of these 3 women, you must.
Shirt & Dress Pattern Making
Cal Patch delivered excellent technical information 
without going over our heads. She certainly made me feel 
confident and excited to go forth and draft more patterns, 
to make modifications, and to even draft patterns for 
my daughter. My entire day with Cal Patch was delightful, 
informative and empowering. If you haven't seen her book
Design-It-Yourself Clothes, and sewing your own 
clothing interests you, it's a must-have in your sewing library.
I'm completely embarrassed to admit that I have 
no photos of Cal. She's beautiful inside and out, and is 
always wearing her own garments. Honestly, I was so busy 
in her class that I didn't even think to stop and take pictures.
To meet her fabulous self in person, take one of her classes....
Measurements, plotting, connecting dots, then "poof," a pattern!

Copy Cat Embroidery
Prepare for an adventure with Rebecca Ringquist 
and your needle & thread. With her years of fiber experience, 
pure talent, and knowledge of the history of needle arts, 
Rebecca proves there are no stitch & fiber limits 
in this day and age. To get our own creative 
wheels turningRebecca took us through some fun steps 
and before we knew it, we were all stitching our own 
designs on found fabric that we brought from home.
I'm still 4" off the ground from this innovative workshop, 
let alone a day in Rebecca's easy, relaxed company.
Have a peek at her current show in Chicago.
A few of the talented women in the class, with Rebecca center back.
My own embroidery under way.

Botanical Printmaking
Maya Donenfeld's cup of compassion & encouragement 
runneth over. Her creative process in the classroom 
is always fun & interesting, but to simply be in her 
presence is the best part of all.
She is a wealth of knowledge and has a simple, 
straightforward approach, using as much of 
what's on hand as possible. Maya celebrates nature
and infuses beauty into even the most humble materials.
Thank goodness she has a book coming out this summer -
Look for it! I know it will knock our socks off. 
In the mean time here are publications featuring 
some of Maya's fun-filled projects
My stencil work under way.
Ta-da! Inspired by Lupine leaves.
Maya, herself.

Four days in a woodsy embrace, 
among loving hearts and creative spirits.
What's not to love?

My first Lady Slipper, thanks to Madi & Mary.
Come back Friday for more Squam goodness.
Try as I might, I just couldn't fit it all in one post!