Sunday, June 26, 2011

We Knitters are a Twitter in Cordova!

The sun is setting on a ...
... wonderful weekend for knitters in our remote corner of the world!  Our local yarn shop, The Net Loft, hosted multiple workshops with the "Yarnista", Sharon of the Three Irish Girls yarn company.  Sharon is renowned for the hand dyed yarn she creates ... she is a "Rock Star" in the knitting world.  Dotty, owner of The Net Loft, has had Sharon dye specialty yarns reflecting our community the past couple of years.
Dotty (pictured above) had commissioned her again to create Cordova themed colorways.  Friday evening consisted of a "Meet & Greet" with Sharon and an unveiling of the new "Cordova" themed yarns.  
There was a large crowd of knitters in attendance ... several from other parts of Alaska and one who came all the way from Oregon!  Sharon lives in Duluth with her husband and three children.  It was inspiring to hear how her success grew from very humble beginnings!  

Oh My Gosh Good Golly!  The new yarn colorways ... depicting life in our remote corner of the planet ... were drop dead stunning!
Dotty had chosen artwork reflecting our community as the inspiration for each new line ... this one, called Chugach, reflects the properties of the Nat'l Forest and mountain range that borders our community.  It was hard to capture the essence in this very lightly colored yarn ... believe me, it was jaw-dropping beautiful!
This colorway reflects the creek that runs from the Scott Glacier and is part of the Copper River Delta.  Sharon's color really captures what that area looks like this time of the year!  Lovely!
Do you see how she has the skeins, titled Eagle, packaged to look like our Nat'l bird?  It is beautifully dyed and arranged!  The yarn colorway had a very masculine look when knitted ... wonderful!
Dotty has had Sharon do several yarns to represent many of our wild flowers.  This year it was lupines ... the yarn is stunning ... she really captured the many variations of color found in these flowers!  There were many vocalizations of wonder by the knitters as each colorway was unveiled!
Sharon also created bundles of eight small skeins of the yarns she has dyed to represent our Alaskan wildflowers!
 She did the same thing with yarn that reflects our commercial fishing industry.  What a great idea!  It was like getting a sampler ... like a box of chocolates for knitters! ;-)
Saturday morning, Sharon taught a workshop on how to knit with hand dyed yarns.  It was very useful and she shared many tips that will help us all have success with our projects.  In the evening she led a session on how to substitute yarns when using patterns.
Today was spent learning how to dye yarn.  Sharon is very generous with her talent ... we learned so much!
She was so personable and made everyone feel very comfortable.
It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to learn from Sharon.  We are so fortunate to have a yarn shop owner that provides us with the opportunity to learn from a professional artist like Sharon ... because of Dotty's efforts we all continue to grow and evolve as knitters. It is wonderful!
It was terrific to spend the weekend dillydallying with a "Knitting Rock Star"!  That certainly doesn't happen often in our remote corner of the planet!

Have a great week! dillydally! ;-)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Brother DillyDally!

Brother DillyDally - Kindergarten
Like all parents, the past 23 years have passed in a blink ... how we love this son of ours!  I have always favored this picture of him ... his expression personifies all that he was and continues to be ... curious, attentive to detail, hopeful, fearless, thoughtful ... all that and more!  Mixed in was/is an endearing amount of "all boy" behavior ... every moment precious!  

He isn't in town today ... work has him where he most loves to be ... in the wilds of Alaska, so we will celebrate next week upon his return!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mostly Maintenance...

We've spent most of our dillydally time over the past few days in the area of  home and cabin maintenance ... I agree ... not very interesting ... so I won't share pics of me washing down the kitchen cabinets. ;-) 
Yesterday the sun returned!  The DillyDally men decided to go to the cabin and continue making progress on the cabin's "To Do" list.  They did a bit of painting... 
...some work on the rain collection system...
... but their biggest accomplishment of the day was repositioning the stairs on the river bank.  Mr. DillyDally was sure happy Brother had the day off of work and was there to help!  Me too! ;-)
Now we can safely and easily transport ourselves and our gear from the skiff to the yard!  Ahhh ... don't you just appreciate those simple pleasures when you've been without them temporarily?  Believe me ... pics of us clawing our way up the bank with gear in tow ... would have been frightening! ;-)
In the early morning hours and at night I have been making progress on the sweater for Sister...
...and here is a peek of a recent 007 project I started.  No more hints ... but honestly ... I am loving it!
It had not occurred to me, but obviously ... supervising the DillyDally family is exhausting!  Sure am glad I don't have that responsibility! ;-)  Have a dillydally day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Seeking Seclusion from My Remote Lifestyle! ;-)

Sometimes our community in this remote corner of the planet gets hectic ... suddenly it isn't remote enough...
... that is when we head to a more secluded spot ... our cabin at the mouth of the Eyak River.  Here we are at the boat landing getting ready to travel down river.
The ride takes about 20 minutes by jet river skiff.  This part of the river is where we leave the forested area and are entering the wetland/delta part of the river.  Do you see the fisherman on the bank?  He is trying to catch those famous Copper River Sockeye salmon!  To give you a point of reference ... the mountains on the right are called the Heney Range, the city of Cordova is on the other side of them.
These mountains, that we are leaving behind ... and are on the left in this bend of the river ... are part of the Chugach Range.  The glacier on the  far right of this photo is the Sheridan ... where we went hiking on Memorial Day, you can read about it here.
This isn't the greatest photo, but wanted to show that Kysa insists on serving as the hood ornament.  We don't know why, but every dog we've had ... there have been five, has insisted in riding on the hood.  At one time there were three of them who rode on the hood together!  Believe it or not, none of them have ever fallen off during the 21 years we've had the cabin!
I really enjoy the abundance of wild flowers out on the delta.  The Chocolate Lilies are just about to end their cycle.  We have a large crop of them that grow and bloom in our yard.
The Chocolate Lily is beautiful, not very fragrant and the blossoms are about the size of a 50 cent piece.  Their roots are edible ... once when the kids were young, we cooked some with our neighbors ... they were pretty flavorless ... but if you were out in the wilds and were hungry you might find them especially tasty! ;-)
When you look closely, you can see flowers everywhere.  Those tiny white blossoms are Snow Stars, they are smaller than a dime in size.  The pink blossoms will become Nagoon berries in August.  Nagoon berries are small, but are powerful in flavor.  They are highly prized here in Alaska.  My Alaska wildflower reference book is at the cabin, so I am unable to give you official names at this time.
The Wild Iris are just beginning to blossom ... in a week the delta will take on a purple hue.  They are just thick ... you cannot walk without stepping on them ... it is lovely!  
Yesterday was our first visit to the cabin this season.  Ability to travel here for our boat, is dependent on the water level of the river.  With our unusually cold and low snow levels this winter, the river required all that rain we've been having to get high enough.  There have been years when we were able to come in April, but that is unusual.  We refer to our cabin as a "stationary camper"... it is one room ... no plumbing ... no electricity ... and we have to use an outhouse.  Our intent for the day was to tame the yard, cut back some brush, sweep out the cobwebs and check to see if any wildlife had chosen to spend the winter.  This is the before picture. ;-)
Here she is all gussied up ... ;-) ... just like us, what a difference a little TLC makes!  We refer to her as the Uff Da, she is our version of a Norwegian stugga.  
The view behind the cabin ... wetlands and Chugach Range ... Scott and Sheridan glaciers...
... this is the view from the outhouse ... ;-) ... yes, we've been known to use the facility with the door open!
After the chores were done ... and the "To Do" list had been finished ... Mr. DillyDally, Kysa and I did a bit of relaxing in the sun ... after all, this secluded cabin is designed to help us escape the hectic lifestyle we live in our remote corner of the planet!  Hee-hee ... what a wonderful way to dillydally!
Do escape ... do dillydally!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Second "Sew to Go" Project!

It is a beautiful morning in my remote corner of the planet ... this was taken from the front deck at 5:30 this morning ... and yes...
... I was still in my nightgown ... am just hoping everyone else in town was still sleeping!  ;-)  But don't let those clear skies and sun fool you ...
... we have been living with refrigerator temperatures!  It has been so cold down here on the beach that ...
... I've had to bring in my flower baskets at night!  The plants look like they do in September!  We have lived in this house for 24 years and I've never had to do this in June!  Crazy!

I spent most of yesterday dillydallying over this...
... yep ... our big quilt adventure is only 6 weeks away!  I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to share this with my friends!  It is becoming hard to fit everything I want to do with them into the 10 days we'll be traveling together!

We have been preparing for the trip with our "Sew to Go" events.  You can read about the first one here.  Last night we held our second event ... we went out for dinner first ... the rest of the evening was spent creating a very useful travel item ... one designed specifically for a trip like this ... 
The pattern was published in this 2009 publication ...
... it is a Shop Hopper's Bag!  And it was designed by Minnesotan, Sherri Falls of This and That Patterns!  I'm telling you ... it was destiny!  ;-)  These two are finished except for the buttons on the front!
We were so busy ... cutting ... sewing ... visiting ... and giggling that I neglected to take any pictures of us in action!  Here is Valerie with her bag.
Terry made her bag using fabric by Minnesota designers "Holly Taylor".  I told her not to be surprised if her bag turns up missing and finds itself on my shoulder! ;-)
Here is Barb with her red floral bag ... it is beautiful!
Lila made her bag with floral batiks.  Gosh it was so much fun to spend time together ... sewing ... and an opportunity to catch up with one another.  I love everything about group sewing activities ... one being ... even though we are making the same project, it is always fun to see how each person's personality is expressed in the end result!  I absolutely love that!

I have one remaining "Sew to Go" event in the works ... I am having so much fun getting ready to go on this trip ... I can only imagine the funsense we'll have on the roads of Minnesota!  Gosh I love my dillydally life and my dillydally friends!

Do dillydally ... with friends!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Let the Silliness...Opps, I mean the Dillydalliness Begin!

Look who greeted me on this very cold, wet and gray day...
... yep ... while I was making my coffee, Mr. Blue Heron was looking for his breakfast.  Today is my first day as a full-time dillydallier ... at least until school starts again next fall.  ;-)  I don't know about you, but sometimes it seems that the more free time I have, the less I accomplish.  I can't let that happen ... I spent most of the past month dillydally day dreaming ... so I'm glad I already have a few things on my list.

One of the exciting things I'm working on this summer is the visit from Quilt Rock Star Bonnie Hunter!  Yes, Quiltville is coming to Cordova!  Our local guild, Cordova Northwind Quilter's, is hosting her this fall and I am chairwoman of the committee.  We booked her visit two years ago ... time has passed quickly ... and now we're busy preparing for her visit.  Bonnie will be giving a lecture/trunk show and teaching two classes.  This quilt will be one of the classes ...
 ... Blue Ridge Beauty!  It is published in her book ...
... Leaders and Enders.  I have only pieced one of her quilts patterns before, it was a Christmas mystery quilt  published in Quiltmaker magazine a few years ago.  I love Bonnie's concept of creating leaders and enders, if you're unfamiliar with it, check her website ... it really works!

Last weekend, the guild had a Time to Sew event, and I decided to use our Accuquilter to cut the strips I would need for my Blue Ridge Beauty.  That meant that I had to choose the color I was going to use, then press and organize the fabrics.  Last March, I was so amazed by the quilt show held in New York, Infinite Variety:  Three Centuries of Red & White Quilts, that I decided to make my Blue Ridge Beauty ... red!
This is my stash of light and dark reds.  Taming this mess took several evenings at the ironing board.  Digging through my stash (only the red section, I might add) was quite a trip down memory lane.  I found many treasures ...
including this one I bought as a newlywed ... I worked part-time at the only fabric store in town (Juneau, AK) and quilting cottons were just becoming widely available.  I bought (yes, I ended up owing more than I made every pay period) yards and yards of this print.  I made placemats, a tablecloth, pot holders and small appliance covers with it ... I loved this fabric!
And you know what?  I still love it!  Mr. DillyDally and I are approaching our 30th Wedding Anniversary ... it just seemed appropriate to come across this fabric.  I called him into the sewing room, and before I could ask, he said... "I remember that!"  OMGosh ... could he have said anything better?  Yep ... we may make it another 30 years! ;-) As mentioned on another post, the DillyDally offspring think anything from that time period is vintage ... so I saved a piece of it for the future ... the next time I dig it out, it will be antique! ;-)
After all the ironing, trimming and the Accuquilter ... I ended up with...
... a large box of 2 inch and 3.5 inch strips for my "Red Ridge Beauty"!
I have already cut a variety of 2 inch strips ... both light and dark ... into squares and began piecing the leaders and enders.  I plan to keep this little tote of them near "Her Majesty" and every time I sit to sew, piece a few.  They add up faster than you think!  Really!  Would Bonnie "lead" (yes, pun intended) us in the wrong direction?  Never!
Hope you have a lovely dillydally day!

P.S.  I just have to show you what my stash looks like now!
;-)  I think I'll be "seeing lots of red" during the Minnesota Shop Hop later this summer!  Gosh...I just giggle with glee thinking about it!