Sunday, April 18, 2010

Friends, Fiber and Food

One of the very best parts of being creative is that you become surrounded by other very creative people. And I do mean very creative. One of the dearest creative women ever happens to live near me and I count myself so very fortunate to claim her as my friend.

Karen Eckmeier, in her studio located high above common ground on a quiet road in the quiet northwest corner of Connecticut, creates LOUD explosions of color! She has quilting fans all over the world and they just can't get enough of her or her loving encouragement. Why? Because her nature is peaceful and patient while her work pushes the simplistic to the limit through quilting techniques that are completely within reach of even a rank beginner yet offer a galaxy of possibility.

Layered Waves: A Fresh New Way to Quilt is her latest book and within its covers you will find delightful projects. I love the classic Log Cabin done in Layered Waves which amuse and seduce! You will also find a design from yours truly in the form of a garden hat which Karen pieced and constructed from my pattern.
The photo above was taken of Karen in her hilltop garden by her dear husband, Walter.  Sorry, the flowers were added on as a birthday treat but new from Ambrosia Cottage is the kit for Raggedy Ribbonry Roses, below.

On the drawing board in my studio are kits for my floral embellishments as seen here.  Available now are the Raggedy Ribbonry Rose kits with other designs soon to follow.  The price for the Raggedy Ribbonry Rose kit is $12 plus $3 shipping or slightly more for sending kits abroad.  Easy stitching and lots of room for play, these floral embellishments are simply fun to create, gorgeous to behold, and make adorable accents on hats, bags, lapels, scarves, gifts, and household items such as lampshades or curtain tie backs. Handmade elegance!

Felted Jewelry: 20 Stylish Designs (Lark Jewelry Book)
Have not totally abandoned the felting front as warmer weather approaches but would like to mention a new release by Candie Cooper.  Her book  Felted Jewelry: 20 Stylish Designs (Lark Jewelry Book) is now available in paperback.  Candie was co-editor with Terry Taylor who featured five of my designs in Designer Needle Felting: Contemporary Styles, Easy Techniques which also came out in paperback this spring.  A little more affordable and easier to tote!

And now, what to listen to while kicking back and creating?  Try checking out some of the audio books from Knitting Out Loud.  Kathy says:

South Wind Through the Kitchen: The Best of Elizabeth David"I only record books I love, so it is hard to pick a favorite. Our new releases are Knitting Yarns and Spinning Tales which has Meg Swansen reading her own essay (the narrator is knitter and Minn. Public Radio announcer Greta Cunningham), Wild Fibers Magazine: Five Years of Favorites Linda Cortright travels the world to find interesting fiber animals: Himalayas, New Zealand, etc, and a new South Wind Through the Kitchen: The Best of Elizabeth David a food memoir of Europe by Elizabeth David."
Inspired?  I hope so.  Nothing better than fine friends, fine fiber and fine food!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Not-So-Quiet Valentine's Day

VALENTINE'S DAY was looking to be rather quiet until I learned of a benefit concert taking place at the Hotchkiss School. Donations cheerfully collected to benefit the Haiti Relief efforts and as a special incentive Haitian dancers from the Alvin Ailey dance company of New York performed to a Haitian drum to start and end the concert. In between we were treated to the enormous talent represented by our local private high schools and their vocal groups and the combined efforts of all as the gospel group of Michael Brown. When that effervescing personality sits at the piano and starts pounding it out on the old 88 and mouthing direction to those vocal artists, whatever could keep anyone sitting still? And just how does he get so much sound out of those seemingly small students? My, my...

So I give to you a belated Valentine of my Cheerful Cherries Ornament upon one of my favorite fabrics, cherries again on robin's egg blue background from Lakehouse Drygoods Doll Dresses, Holly Holderman. I love this fabric in all its innocence and purchased this piece a couple of years ago on Bainbridge Island in the Puget Sound. I've not yet cut it for anything and still just love to sit and look at it.

My Cheerful Cherries Ornament is featured in the Lark book of Designer Needle Felting by Terry Taylor and Candie Cooper which first came out in Oct of 2007. Coming March 2 is the paperback version of the same. Thanks to dear people like you who have supported the book the printing continues its success around the world. I have already ordered a copy so I can take a look. Very exciting!

And as far as tools go, I mentioned the Clover Felting Tool in a post on Ravelry. This tool is the perfect piece for making such ornaments as you can use the three needles to work the background and continue felting through the details.

Meanwhile, I find myself humming the tunes from Michael Brown's tribute to the music of the late Michael Jackson. Now and then I burst out with a slice of "I'LL TAKE YOU THERE" and the not-so-quiet continues into the week.

Countdown to the UK: 6.5 weeks!


Monday, February 1, 2010

Scheming not Dreaming...

LIFE IS FULL of things without which we cannot live. Beyond the obvious needs, it is a blessing to know what your passion happens to be... and a curse when that passion is inaccessible to you.

For me, travel has always been a top priority. Not that I like rumpled clothing and bouts of dysentery along with bumpy flights but the lure of distant lands, fresh faces, discovery, the sunset from another vantage point. Just mention the word "passport" and I'm there!

However, the busy-ness of life gets in the way of living. Work schedules, relationships, a challenged wallet seem to demand our attention and resources until depletion is what we have left at the end of every month, only to begin again for the next go 'round on another date label "1" on the calendar. Tiresome. And then...

Every now and then there is a break in the gray clouds and the sun comes gloriously shining through to bless with an opportunity. An opportunity, for me, means dusting off the old passport and finding a ride to the airport. In this case my passport is stiff and new and waiting for stamps to be applied. Application of that ink on a virginal page is a gleeful prospect and I have officially begun the countdown toward an adventure of the most delectable kind, which combines many passions of mine into one tingling anticipatory thrill.

Travel, knitting, friendship, more travel, more friendship, food and laughter and more knitting. What more needs be mentioned? Aaaaah.
Destination: Fuzzpot Lane, which on the world atlas looks to be vaguely west of that little town called London and very much east of Connecticut.

Countdown: 8 weeks



Monday, January 11, 2010

Another New Year...

THE HOLIDAYS are a blur and were rather uneventful for me other than drama of an unhappy sort through jobs and expectations from the world at large. Finally on the first day of this new year I was able to connect with my young ones and hug and be hugged which is always a blessing.

This year has had a rocky start but is full of promise in many ways. Travel figures in for me and plans are percolating now for a bit of excitement dangling as a carrot in front of me and leading me through the frigidity of winter. Early spring is promising air travel to points distant and I've renewed my passport with glee. It has been too long between trips as I think I've started growing moss over my feet.

Next, we are adding to the family by expecting! My second son and his wife are having a dear little one at the end of May and this will be the first to call me grandma! Also a first for my parents as a great-grandchild. Ultrasounds suggest this wee one is of the male sort and his parents are proud and beaming. The mama-to-be has that firm little belly started and everything seems to be moving along as desired. Naturally I have already knitted a few baby things but now that we have an idea of who our little one will be, more knitting is transpiring in the appropriate colors and designs.

In June we gain another family member, by marriage this time. Darling Daughter will be reciting vows with her young man in a simple ceremony. The girl is going no-frills and has no patience for all the endless details most brides demand. (Whew!) We plan a relaxed atmosphere in a cozy and unpretensious setting. Nice meal, there will be dancing and plenty of room for joy. And then? More dancing!

My hopes for all are that dreams will come true, homes will be happy, many blessings will be counted and that the year of 2010 will bring us closer to peace, love and true compassion one for another.