Saturday, September 9, 2017

Magic from Skeins in the Stacks

There are people in our lives who believe in and find magic in the simplest of things.  Anna shares the magic she finds in literature and expresses it through color and fiber.  She is the artist and creativity behind Skeins in the Stacks!
Locally, Anna is a treasured librarian by day ... when not at our public library she turns yarn into literature inspired treasure ... yep, magic!  I've shared her talent before ... her Peter Rabbit Yarn (found here) as well as Peter Pan (found here)!  The Net Loft hosted both of those events, so local knitters were thrilled when it was announced that they were hosting Anna and her new yarns again this past week!
The evening began with Tasha Tudor's book, A Time to Keep: A Book of Holidays!  Anna chose to celebrate the months of August and October with her yarns.
August involves a birthday celebration ... "And best of all -- the birthday cake came floating down the river."  A magical image for both our eyes and mind!
Anna took that magic and transferred it to fingering and DK weight yarn ... introducing us to her colorway ... "The Birthday Cake"!  Yep ... it is yummy ... and calorie free!
Anna even frosted her cakes ... with the most adorable stitch markers!  She special ordered them from The Nome Knitter.  They literally are little birthday cakes on a raft ... just like the illustration in the book!  Honestly ... they make me squeal with delight ... yep, more magic!
"October was the time to make cider and pumpkin moonshines."  I wish we could magically jump into the book and join the fun!
Anna captured the magic by creating bundles of color that shine!  The fingering weight includes sparkles!  Be still my heart!
Every bundle comes with a Moonshine stitch marker ... custom made just for Anna!  Too magical for words!
Next, we visited Neverland!  More Peter Pan inspired magic!
This beautiful yarn is titled, "Peter Pan"!  Gorgeous as a skein ... even more beautiful knit!  Anna used her magic and knit the child's sweater!
Also from Neverland ... these amazing London Knitting Bags! Anna ordered the bags custom made from Sarah Fletcher of Sarah Sews It ... who lives in Great Britain!  Squeal!  Omgosh good golly ... look at the treasure found inside!  Two skeins of Anna's yarn ... one of each colorway "Mermaid's Lagoon" and "If You Believe, Clap Your Hands"!  And knitter's hand balm ... custom made by a knitter here in Alaska ... Wild Fern Medicinals!    
They don't fit in the bag, but the purchase of the bag also includes two patterns designed specifically for the yarn inside!  Over the top ... they are by Jessica Anderson Designs.  How is it possible for a little bag to contain so much ... magic!
Next stop ... Peter in Blueberry Land!
This colorway is "Into the Forest" and each skein comes with a spruce cone stitch marker!  So sweet!
Our final destination is Brambly Hedge!  We're visiting during Autumn, the harvest season ... "The blackberries were ripe."
Yep ... they are delicious enough to eat and magic to touch!  The mice of Brambly Hedge enjoy their tea ... each skein comes with a teapot stitch marker!  So very sweet!  I came home from this event inspired and with a shopping bag full of magic!  There is still inventory available at The Net Loft and Anna will have it available in her etsy shop on Monday, September 11th.
Life is real ... practical ... and driven by necessity.  Often ... if we look beyond the obvious, magic will reveal itself.  The authors represented here found magic and shared it through their writing.  Anna adds to their magic with her hand dyed yarns.  Knitters take that yarn and create even more magic with the work of their hands.  Finding the magic armors us with additional resiliency when faced with the practicalities of life.

Do what you love.  Seek magic!  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Send Off!

Thirty-plus years ago Valerie's husband was transfered to Cordova ... a year or two later my husband was as well!  That is how she and I arrived in this remote corner of the planet ... that common experience is a large reason why our friendship began.
Fall 1987 - Our guild's first anniversary - Valerie second from the right
Before long we found that we had a lot in common ... initially it was primarily quilting and knitting!
Many years of quilting ...
... and knitting adventures have taken place over the past 30+ years!  Add to that, raising children, community responsibilities, building careers, and all the other things that make up our lives as women.  The result is a relationship filled with many challenges and celebrations faced together as friends!
During the past six months both Valerie and her husband have retired and made the decision to move to the Lower 48.  They have found a great location to forge a new life after retirement!   In June I began making her a farewell gift, something that would be practical yet reflect some of the fun we've shared!
A quilted knitting bag seemed perfect!  Val and I are both big Kim Diehl fans, so I pulled out my collection of her fabrics and used the Improv Bag pattern by Sandy Workman of Pine Mountain Designs.
I know that Val will put the bag to good use ... and I hope it reminds her of our many years of friendship and fun!
A few of us had a quiet get together to wish her well on Sunday!  Yesterday, she and her husband boarded the ferry and began the move to their new home.  She will be returning to Cordova often, so that made our goodbyes a bit easier!
She will be missed, but I wish her every happiness in this new stage of her life!

Do what you love ... with friends!  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Summer's End!

In my remote corner of the planet, Mother Nature begins her transition to autumn early.
In Alaska, her signal that fall has arrived is when only the Fireweed tops (I call them bonnets) are in bloom.
Yep ... autumn has arrived!
My Alaskan summer was especially short this year because I was in the Lower 48 for six weeks.  I returned in August with a sense of urgency ... summer was coming to a close and there were preparations for winter that needed to get done!  Once September arrives ...  the pace towards winter increases and the landscape changes quickly.  On our walks, I observe changes every day.
Berry picking is one of my favorite ways to dillydally!  I refer to our wild berries as Mother Nature's jewels ... her bling!  These are High-Bush Cranberries.  The leaves on this bush are usually the first to change color, long before the berries are ready to be picked.  I usually pick them sometime in September after the first frost.
A friend offered to let Barb and I pick her domestic red currants this year!  They were plentiful and oh so very beautiful!
I had never used currants before, so Barb shared her favorite recipes!
Red Currant Jelly and Chipotle Catsup!  They both turned out delicious and I have plenty to share with family and friends!  My berry picking buddy is a true treasure ... thanks Barb!
Barb and I also picked wild blue and nagoon berries! I freeze them and they are used in baked goods!  So nice to enjoy the taste of summer during dark and cold winter days!
Winter is coming ... but fall arrives first!  Time to finish up some mittens and wristers!
Flicka, my ever-present Snoopervisor always involves herself in my knitting!
I am ready for fall!  I love calling these "Half-Mitts knit by a Half-Whit" ... yep, my dillydally humor remains as corny as always!
August has been a very wet month for us!  The ponds, lakes, and streams are swollen with fresh rainfall ... a welcome site for the northern birds that are busy migrating south for the winter!
Of course, Nissa, my ever-present sidekick, loves the water and the rain!
School has started ... it has been three years since I retired from teaching in our local public school.  Recently I began teaching another session of Knitting 101 at our local yarn shop, The Net Loft!  I love to teach ... and especially love assisting others on their knitting journey!
Every season Mother Nature inspires me with her change of wardrobe!  Sometimes her color choices cause me to have a dillydally brainstorm!
A quick visit to The Net Loft ... colored pencils ... and graph paper ... let those dillydally winds blow!  This is the easy part of the process!
Next comes the hard work ... hours of knitting and ripping ... three swatches later I'm finally satisfied that I have created something that will work!  Casting on ... ribbing ... and then the fun begins!
Tis the season ... time to pull out the autumn themed table linens and acquire fall colored yarn!  One of my KBees (knitting buddies), Anna introduced me to The Woolen Homestead.  Her hand dyed yarn is lovely, and I need a new pair of socks from this colorway called "October"!
Our days are getting shorter ... another signal that fall has arrived in Alaska.
As the sun sets on August ...
... and the tides recede ... summer has transitioned into autumn. My dillydally heart is full!

Do what you love.  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally 

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Belated Birthday Bash!

The truth is ... my birthday was back in July ... I considered it a done deal ... it was over as far as I was concerned!
2017 - The Year of the Bundt Cake
My Birthday Cake by Barb
But ...  a couple of my dillydally playmates are stubborn, hard headed, tenacious, independent thinking ...
... and absolutely wonderful in every possible way! I describe them this way with all forms of affection ... I love that about them!
The three of us try to schedule a dillydally playdate every week!  This is Sue's current project!  Beautiful!
Barb began creating this stunning piece just this past week!
Barb & Sue
Yep ... this dangerously dynamic dillydally duo insisted on hosting a b-day party for me.  I did everything I could think of to talk them out of it ... but like me, they also have a bit of a deviant disorder!  Apparently that is a common affliction for us retired teachers!  Who knew?
I know you can't see the sweet banner, but enjoy the view! 

A beautiful birthday banner was made ...
... and then the table ... OMGOSH GOOD GOLLY!!!!! Sue had made multiple coasters (candle mats) for everyone as a party favor!  I was blown over!  I had to take of picture of them individually ... enjoy!









Each one a treasure ... they made my heart jump with joy!
Sue's birthday was in June, and Barb and I had gifted her a copy of Roseann's book, A Little Something.
Sue was inspired by the coasters and used this pattern!  Just sew wonderful ... on sew many levels!
I was overwhelmed!  Then ... just when you think the day can't get any better ... the table is filled with fabulous women that I get to call friends!  We shared a luncheon lovingly prepared by Sue and Barb, enjoyed great conversation, and built new memories that we can treasure.  I am so very blessed to have these amazing women on my journey in life!  I am so very grateful!
Like many of you, I have been horrified by the domestic terrorism and hateful actions currently prevailing in our country.  But this belated birthday bash on Friday was about so much more than my birthday ... in fact this post isn't really about me at all!  I hope this post will serve as a reminder that most people in our country are like Sue and Barb ... thoughtfully working at making the world a better place on the behalf of others.  Gestures of kindness IS normal behavior for most citizens in our (already) great country!  As we are surrounded by all that needs to be improved in our culture, let's find hope in all those who quietly show the kindness that our world so desperately needs.  Let's make sure that our actions create hope and reflects the values we have built our lives on.

Do what you love!  Be kind! Be the light!  Do dillydally!
Mrs. DillyDally