Sunday, January 31, 2010

Creating Our Own Fun!

Another busy weekend in this "anything but quiet" corner of the world!  We had another weekend of home basketball games...small school sporting events involve the whole community...I love it!  I was one of the class advisers that helped the Senior Class host their Winter Ball last night.  Remember this is a small community with limited facilities and resources compared to what most other high school students was the first semi-formal event this school year...they planned...decorated...created playlists...dressed up...and had a terrific time!  They are their own DJ...they have to make their own decorations...dress clothes are usually rotated amongst friends...they do each others hair and make-up...they literally have to create their own fun!  They don't realize it but that is a life skill that will serve them well their entire lives.  After all their efforts, it was a joy to watch them enjoy themselves...

Teacup likes to knit as well as all cats, she has to be in the middle of everything!  At least in this picture she is using her knitting manners...she can be a very naughty DillyDally!

With everything that was going on this week...I didn't get a lot of dillydallying done, but did make some progress on the cardigan for Sister DillyDally that I shared on the last post.  As you can see, it is knit from the top down...with the actual collar knitted last.  The pattern is well designed, I haven't hit any snags yet and the yarn is heaven to work with.  I'm loving it!

Watching the teens enjoy themselves last night...their ability to entertain themselves...reminded me of what an important skill that really is.  I remember as a child, when I would tell my mother I was bored...she would very pragmatically tell me to find something to do.  I learned that it wasn't anyone's obligation to entertain me, I needed to use what resources were available and take responsibility for my own feelings.  That lesson was so empowering...identifying one's feelings...addressing them proactively...the result is taking responsibility for those aspects of our life we can control. see...dillydallying is taking action that brings joy, content and entertainment into our lives...we're creating our own fun!  Now, proactive...DILLYDALLY


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Little Bits of Dillydallying...

Four years ago I made a scrap quilt for my in-laws to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary.  I was left with hundreds of 2.5X4.5 inch rectangles.  I just couldn't throw them out...but had no idea what to do with them.  Without really thinking about it, I started sewing them together.  Then I was left with over a hundred 4.5 inch squares.  Somewhere in my memory bank I remembered seeing quilts where they were put on point and that is what I did.  I found some yardage in my stash that blended in and used it for the setting triangles...and I honestly loved the results.  My next problem was what to do about a border...I was determined to keep it an authentic scrap quilt and auditioned several pieces of yardage (of multiple colors) from my stash, but nothing seemed to work.  So I folded it up...placed it in my unfinished basket...and forgot about it...until two weeks ago when I became infected with the urge to pull UFO's out and finish a few!

Teacup loves scrap quilting...because it is messy!  She loved rolling around in the scrappy strips!  Naughty Kitty!
We are huge Terry Atkinson fans here in Cordova and know her books and patterns inside and out!  QBee Valerie had the idea of using Terry's border from the Lasagna quilt that is published in her Spring Cleaning book.  It was a match made in heaven!  I was able to continue that scrappy feel and work in multiple colors!  I love the end result and will use it again to border other scrap quilts! 

I started a new knitting project this week!  Ya-Hoo!  I love starting new projects!  This is a cardigan pattern that Sister DillyDally picked out last summer while I was visiting her in Minnesota.  It is  designed by Bonne Marie Burns of Chic Knits.  It is called the "Mondo Cable Cardi".  When Sister was home in September, we found yarn she fell in love with at our local yarn shop, The Net Loft!  The yarn is absolutely heaven to work is 50% alpaca and 50% Three Irish Girls...completely yummy!  But it gets better!  What really makes it special is that it is hand painted to represent one of our local glaciers!   Yes...our shop owner made arrangements with them...she sent them pictures and they hand painted multiple colorways that represent our lives on the Copper River Delta!  This colorway is called "Sheridan Glacier".
 Picture of Sheridan Glacier

It doesn't get any better than this...our little Alaska girl...who grew up in the middle of the urban life in downtown Minneapolis...will be wrapped in the warmth of a hand knit sweater...the color of the glaciers found in the backyard of her childhood home.  Life is good...go dillydally!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Quilter's Anonymous - January Meeting!

My gosh...this week has been a busy one!  But then again...every week is busy!  We hosted a basketball tournament this weekend...yes I have a severe case of "bleacher bottom"...but I love watching the kids play!  It is so fun to have lived and taught in a community for 20+ years...some of the parents in the stands were once in my classroom...most of the kids I have known their entire lives...and in a small, isolated community every athlete plays with their is the best in what sports have to offer.  Love it!  Love it!  Love it!

It is difficult to dillydally while watching the games, but I do always have some knitting with me.  The games were too I didn't get much done...which is just fine by me!

Today, our local chapter of Quilter's Anonymous held their monthly meeting.  As always, they provided me with just the inspiration I needed!

Here is QBee Val with her latest table toppers.  Both of them are G.E. Designs and she commented on how enjoyable both patterns were.

You might recall in an earlier post, seeing us square up this applique block...she has since added the sawtooth border and spent this afternoon working on the many flower shaped yo-yos used to embellish this center medallion.  It has been a lot of work...but with stunning results!

Dixie arrived with a bucket load of these small curve pieced blocks!  They are left over from another project...we haven't seen the first project yet and here she is on the second!

Dixie used charm squares to make this top.

Above are two log cabin quilts that Dixie brought...both are quilted and bound...gosh this QBee is definitely an over achiever!  She inspires us all!

Local machine quilter, Linee was working on the binding of this quilt.  A customer brought it to her in pieces.  It was begun sometime ago by an unknown quilter.  Linee had very little information or directions to work from, but she enjoyed the challenge and said that it was like solving a puzzle.  After piecing the quilt, she machine quilted it and was putting on the binding today.  It ended up being 105 inches square!  We all felt like the pattern was somehow familiar, but none of us could come up with a name for the block.  Any of you out there in cyberland have any ideas?  If so...we'd all love to hear from you!

This log cabin was originally made by Dawn's sister...and it had to be completely ripped out and resewn...Dawn certainly is a great sister!  She took it completely apart and redid it...she finished it today!

This "Stack and Whack" quilt just returned from the machine quilter.  It was made by QBee Diane, who has made several quilts using this technique and has also taught many of us how to make them.  I wish I had taken some close up shots...this picture does not do the quilt is gorgeous!

This quilt is a Bonnie Hunter pattern that Diane got off her website!  It is called Oklahoma Backroads.  Diane used 5 inch charm squares she received every month from the Calico Basket in Edmonds, Washington from the late 80's to the mid 90's.  Last March, when she began this quilt, she brought in a huge tub filled with the envelopes...all post marked...each containing that months squares.  Gosh...we had so much fun looking through them...what memories!  And what a stunning quilt!

This is another Bonnie Hunter quilt...Christmas Lights...a mystery that was published this past year in QuiltMaker magazine.  QBee Julie made this one and it just came from the machine quilter.  Unfortunately the machine quilting doesn't show up in the photo, this quilt is just luscious when you see it live.  We are so excited about having Bonnie come here in September 2011!

What did I work on?  Well, I was busy sandwiching together several table runners and wall quilts that I have pieced.  You'll see them as I work away at quilting and binding them...I was so inspired by the work of the QBees at QA fortunate to have quilters like them in my life...dillydallying with them was a terrific way to begin a new week!  I hope you have friends to inspire the dillydally side of your very busy life too!   

Monday, January 18, 2010

Odds and Ends

I've noticed that I go through phases when it comes to my creative isn't apparent at the time...but when I look back it becomes obvious.  About 3-4 years ago, one of our local quilt shops started to carry Moda fabrics with all their precuts...and it was love at first sight!  My favorites are the charm and fat quarter packs!  This weekend I continued in my efforts to finish piecing quilt tops.  Both were made using fat quarter packs...the blocks were pieced...neither had I only had to sew the blocks together!

The fabric is "Kashmir IV" designed by Sentimental Studios for Moda.  I wanted a pattern that would allow the beauty of the prints to be visible so I chose this one by Terry Atkinson.  Those of you who have been following my blog since I began in August, know that I am Terry Atkinson's biggest fan!  Her patterns never disappoint...ever.  This pattern is called Triple Treat and was published in her 2007 book, Happy Hour.  The squares are 14 1/2 it is a quick and easy pattern to put together...but most importantly it really showcases the fabric!  It felt good to pull out the blocks on Saturday afternoon and have the top pieced by the end of the day!  It is an over-sized twin and its purpose has not been determined yet...the dillydally lifestyle allows me to make whatever whenever...I'm loving it!

This pattern comes from Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. and is called "Radio Flyer".  I used a fabric line called Summers Basket of Flowers by Terry Clothier for Moda.  When this fabric arrived at the store, before I even looked at the card...I fell in love with it and renamed it "Farm Fabric"...why?...because it reminded me of my childhood on the farm...the colors and print designs brought back all those wonderful memories.  What's great is that now all my QBees also refer to it as Farm Fabric!  Aren't they the greatest!    The 6 inch blocks were really fun to create, Carrie's technique alone is worth purchasing the is much easier than it looks...gotta love those kind of patterns!  It took me yesterday and today to piece the 120 blocks together.  I chose not to put on the border...I like heavily pieced patterns to just end with the piecing sometimes.  This quilt does have a will be my snuggle quilt that stays on my favorite chair...I'll use this "Farm" quilt to wrap myself up in comfort!

We have all had heavy hearts this past week for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.  The suffering has and continues to be more than any of us can imagine.  Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us multiple times that, "We are all God's children".  The people of Haiti are our brothers and sisters.  When I witness such tragedy, I am at first overwhelmed with emotion, next I turn to prayer, and eventually I become proactive.  Even though I realize that my individual efforts seem small, when added to the efforts of many they can make a difference.  If you are able to donate finances please share what you can.  If you're a quilter check out Bonnie Hunter's blog dated Friday, January 15th.  If you're a knitter, read the January 14th post of Allison Haas.  Both bloggers have great suggestions for how we can help by using materials that we have on hand.  I'm sure there are many other ways to help out...these are the ones that I came across in my very isolated corner of this world.  I continue praying for the people and country of Haiti...and doing what little I can.

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
Sir Winston Churchill
Thanks for visiting my humble blog...and for listening...Mrs. DillyDally

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cobblestone Travels Brighten A Very Gray Day!

January is a month where the days are gray and the dull-drums can really dampen the dillydally spirit, so we decided to brighten today's adventure down Cobblestone Lane with a luncheon featuring comfort food!  Creamy chicken & rice casserole, dinner rolls, date swirl cookies and homemade apple pie served in the company of QBees (quilt buddies) that is an afternoon saturated with comfort.

Here we are proudly showing off block 4...only two blocks left to go!  Kay, of Heavenly Patchwork Quilt Shop, included in the shipment of our kits for block 5 her newsletter.  We had fun reading about all the classes her shop offers...the shop hop trips available...but our favorite was the "3rd Annual PJ Party"!  It sounded like such fun!  It starts at 7:00 am til 10:00 am the next day...if you wear sleepwear and no make-up you get 20% off your purchases...25% off if you wear curlers...30% off if you don't wear a bra!  What a HOOT!!!  We got such a laugh over that and wished we could all fly down and join the fun!  Those Minnesota QBees sure know how to have fun...they are our kind of gals!

Gosh, this BOM is going by quickly...but then it always does when you're spending time with friends.  After bathing in all that comfort, we decided to take a field trip to a local quilt shop.  You know what?  Good food...good company...lots of giggles...fabric shopping...spending an afternoon dillydallying with your QBees...where are the dull-drums now?  They're long gone!  We all need to it!  You won't even notice the gray days of January! 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Where did the week go?

Oh my gosh...I have no idea where this past week went!  Some times I feel like Rip Van Winkle...I wake up and find life passed me by!  However, in my case...I do remember living just went by too quickly!  I was very busy at work but was able to get some dillydallying done...

Now you know where my little mittens are going...decisions, I have to decide what direction to have the mittens's always something, isn't it?  I'll keep you posted on my progress.

As you may recall, living the dillydally lifestyle means that I can work on any project I want when I want...last weekend at the guild sewing event, I pulled out the blocks for the "Entwined" quilt on the left and pieced them together.  It was a class taught by Pam Ventgen from Anchorage.  Our guild invited her to teach a class at our annual spring retreat last April, she was not only a great teacher but became a dear friend.  She is so generous with her talent...she even donated a substantial item for our guilds annual auction...she also visited us during the summer just for fun!  And that explains the quilt on the right...we held a sewing party in Pam's honor and I taught everyone how to make "The Fastest Jelly Roll Quilt Ever"!  I got the instructions from Katie's blog of Bay Window Quilts in Perham, Minnesota.  My dillydally time this week was spent putting borders on both quilts.  I plan to get backing this weekend and off to the machine quilter they go!  Yipeeeee!
This morning was spent teaching the first lesson in my Knitting 101 class.  You will probably recognize a few faces...yes...three QBees (Quilt Buddies) are on their way to becoming KBees (Knitting Buddies)!  Love it!  It was wonderful having a mother/daughter team there also!  About five years ago, the owner of The Net Loft asked me to develop a knitting curriculum that would teach the basic fundamental skills of knitting.  I actually love developing and writing curriculum (good thing, since I teach public school!) so I didn't have to even think before I said, "I'd love it!"  Since then I've taught several sessions...passed on my love of knitting...even converted some to the dillydally doesn't get any better than that!

I hope you all find some time to dillydally this weekend...enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dillydallying with the local guild!

Our local guild, Cordova Northwind Quilters, held an open sew weekend Friday night and all day Saturday.  I was busy with basketball games on Friday, so didn't attend until Saturday.  We have invited national quilt teacher, Peggy Gelbrich to teach two classes at our annual spring retreat.  We have asked her to lead us in two of her one day workshops, Hunter's Star and Montana Cartwheel.  In preparation for the Montana Cartwheel,  QBee (Quilt Buddie) Valerie, gave a workshop on curved piecing.  She shared with us three different techniques...the three pin...the one pin...and the no pin.  A year and a half ago she taught a Crazy Curves class...I had to use the 7-12 pin method! ;-) 

Valerie has made several curved pieced quilts, each very different and all of them beautiful.  And because of her, many of us have made them as well.  You can see part of the one I made hangs on the wall of Sister DillyDally's apartment.

We spent the rest of the day working on individual projects.  I got so busy working on my project that I didn't take as many photos as I had intended...bummer...but I did get this one...
This is what Tammy accomplished after the workshop that's gorgeous and did she ever master the skill quickly!  She is more than ready for the Montana Cartwheel!

QBees Terry, Valerie, Barb and I...yes that is how many quilter's it takes to cut a 24 1/2 inch square!  Hee-hee!

Valerie is making a beautiful Patchwork Party quilt and had just finished the hand appliqued center medallion.  I mentioned in an earlier post that each rose is made from eleven separate pieces!  I know...YIKES!  And the vase is created with scant 1/4 inch bias strips woven together...I know...I probably would have resorted to using a "magic marker"!  Anyway...the reason it took four of us is that we had to center the applique inside that 24 1/2 inch square!  There was no measure twice, cut was more like this...
...find the center, measure to sides
...several deep breaths and seek out "our centers"
...mark the sides, measure again
...several yoga exercises (you don't want to see pictures of that!)
...mark the corners, measure again
...use child birth breathing techniques
...measure the diagonals in every direction possible
...lay on the floor until heart rate returns to normal
...remove markings and measure everything again
...praying and sweating
...performed the surgery...

 ...Whew!...prayers of thanksgiving and smiles we can't wipe off our faces!  It took four of us...but what a team!
I worked on piecing a top together, but forgot to take a photo of it.  I got the blocks sewn together and the border cut I felt good about what I accomplished.  The important thing we accomplished was dillydallying together...sharing projects...sharing lives...a wonderful way to spend a Saturday.

Today I did a bit of dillydallying...Peanut helped me...

Can you guess where these little mittens may be going?  I hope you found time to dillydally this weekend!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Problems? One Solved!

In my last post, I shared a photo of a project I had you might recall I was embroidering the faces of snowmen.  It is another kit I purchased at Emily's Country Cottage in Bemidji, Minnesota.  It is another one of the owner's personal designs...very similar to the blue snowmen candle mats I made last week.

Oh-oh...I neglected to trace the designs on point within the squares!  This just won't work...and I really do not want to stitch a whole other set...but I am also unwilling to waste these...what is a dillydallier to do?  Serious problem solving skills are I decide to seek inspiration among my stash of patterns and books...

I came across this table topper pattern by This n' caught my eye because it contained four squares and I had eight snowmen blocks.  So I got busy and sketched it out...liked it... and resized the pieces to work with my 3 1/2 inch square snowmen.

I'm liking it...

I'm loving it!!!  Look what happens when you meld together two wonderful designers!  Without them even knowing it! Thanks gals for sharing your talent!  Plus...all the materials came from my stash...I just feel good about it all the way around!  Ya-Hoo!
Now...another problem to solve...

Teacup and I have begun to ponder...what will we turn this into...stay tuned...

I love it when dillydallying stretches my creative abilities...there are no mistakes when dillydallying, just new possibilities!  

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Losing my mind...maybe...

Seriously...I think I'm losing my mind...I cannot intellectually explain my behavior over the past three days.  Is it the new year?  The new decade?  Did someone put something in my morning coffee?  I cannot for the life of me figure it out!  Let me describe my behavior...

First...I said yes to mending!  I sewed patches on SIX pairs of Brother DillyDally's jeans!  And each pair required multiple patches!  Remember when denim was considered a strong sturdy fabric?  Yes...I know that question ages me!  This task was a serious challenge...the legs are so skinny it was difficult to get in and sew around holes...let alone keeping the patch under it flat.  What's abnormal about all this?  Well...I didn't refuse to start with...I didn't offer to buy him new jeans...after spending, literally, hours at this task I didn't give up...and when it got soooo difficult, I didn't just throw them out!  On top of all that...Her Majesty thinks this type of work is beneath her, so I had to work at getting her to cooperate! 

Second...without coercion of any kind...not even a hint of suggestion...I decided to do hemming!  See how scary this is getting...YIKES!  It is true that both Mr. DillyDally and I are short in stature (we make up for it in personality) and every time we buy pants, they require hemming.  So...I always have a stack of "to be hemmed" pants hidden in my sewing room.  I only resort to hemming them when what we are currently wearing becomes so threadbare that people start talking to us about the great items to be had at our local goodwill store.  I hemmed one pair of casual pants and two pairs of dress slacks for Mr. DillyDally!  Completed a pair of jeans and am in process of three pairs of dress pants for myself!

See why this is so frightening?  Mending and hemming are not an integral part of the dillydally lifestyle!  So in an effort to maintain some stability...

...I started a new project!  Will share more as I progress.

Sooo...after all this do I feel?  Well, I feel efforts saved money...made unusable things usable...and now (at least for today) I can tell myself what a great wife and mother I am!  Hmmm...wonder what Mr. DillyDally is making for dinner tonight? Hee-hee! ;-)  Later dear ones!

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year!

Of all the ornaments I've made over the years (yes...too many to count) this knitting angel is my favorite.  Her simplicity and the fact that she is dillydallying just makes me smile.  Her skeins of yarn say KNIT and PEACE...dillydallying brings me peace of mind and quiets my heart in an often complicated world...may it do the same for you.
Happy New Year!
My wish is that 2010 will be filled with an abundance of time for you to dillydally!