Sunday, October 30, 2011

Recycling...DillyDally Style!

Friday was a gorgeous day here in my remote corner of the planet!  This was the view when I got home from work...about 4:30 in the afternoon!  Our days are getting happens very quickly up here!  Before long it will be nearly dark that time of the day!

The first dillydally project this weekend involved recycling. ;-)
Remember these bad boys?  Yep...I am still in love with my Crazy Jacks!  I had about 20 inches of the Candy Corn border left.  Hmmm...hate to leave piecing unused.
So I went to the linen closet and pulled out a couple of dishtowels.  I decided the gold one would work best.
Searched the stash and found some rick rack ... suddenly the gold is looking very dingy... blah... back to digging around in the linen closet! ;-)  Found this neutral gingham check ... loved it!
Here is the finished project ... hanging on the dishwasher ... already in use!  Gosh, repurposing a dishtowel and using leftover patchwork ... feels great!  Recycling is always win/win!

Do dillydally!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Great DillyDally Weekend!

My knee did Mother Nature... was a great weekend here in my remote corner of the planet!
I love pansies ... they are such happy and hearty flowers ... my friend QBee Diane loves pansies too!  I fell in love with this fabric when it came out years (too many to count) ago. ;-)  I bought 10 yards of it then ... used it multiple times over the years ... after this weekend, I have only a 1/2 yard left.  And you know ... I love this fabric just as much today as I did when I first purchased it!
I brought the fabric out of storage because Diane had a birthday this weekend, and I used it to make her gift.  In the summer of 2010, she traveled to Minnesota while I was visiting there and we created a little shop hop of our own!  She was with me on my first visit to Country Fabrics & Quilting in Brainerd.  You can read about our visit here.  While there again this year, I came across this pattern ... they had samples every where in the store ... it looked very useful ... not  to mention fun ... and one of the women working there explained that it was also a good way to use those random mugs that seem to accumulate in our homes.  Win/win in every way, don't you think?
Of course, I had to make her a thread catcher as well!  All the QBees have gotten one so far this year! ;-)
Both items should serve her well at our local retreats.  Yep ... I think these little tool kits are my new favorite gift to give QBees!  We were talking today about how they remind us of those tool aprons our husbands use with 5 gallon buckets.
We got together this afternoon to celebrate Diane's (second from left) big day!  Two QBees were out of town so it was the five of us.  I mention the number in attendance, because look at all the food we created ... ;-) ... for only five!  It just makes me giggle ... we sure know how to feed ourselves.  It was a feast that we washed down with hot mulled cider!
It felt so good to be back in the sewing room ... her majesty was very happy to be put to use again!  I even made some progress on my wool applique wall hanging.  When my hands are busy ... and I'm cocooned in my tiny little creative space ... all things feel right with the world.  Yep ... it is a healing experience!
I want to thank everyone again for the many gestures and comments of kindness over the past weeks.  I am overwhelmed and touched by your thoughtfulness.  When I began blogging, I never imagined what a blessing it would be ... I am grateful.

Do what you love ... do dillydally!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Good Medicine

Now that it is nearly over...I can let you know that life in dillydallydom has been a bit rough lately ...hence the reason why very little dillydallying has been going on.
Why is it that when life becomes challenging, a storm moves in to complicate things further?  As a family we suffered the loss of my father-in-law.  The loss of a parent is such a heavy hit.  Then we lost Teacup ... Mr. DillyDally was still in SD when she passed away.
We have no vet in town, and I had made arrangements to send her to Anchorage the next morning.  I just had a feeling that she may not make it, so I was getting up every couple of hours to check on her.  It was in the middle of the night ... I hadn't bothered to turn on the lights and took a horrible fall.  It wasn't pretty ... ;-) ... maybe it was a good  thing the lights were off!  By morning, Teacup had passed away and my knee was the size of a watermelon!  I stayed home from work that day to nurse my knee ...and my heart.

I have always dealt with stress by making myself extremely busy ... yep, it seems to work because then my mind is on something else.  But all that distraction wasn't helping my knee ... in fact it was getting worse.  When Mr. DillyDally came home, he couldn't believe how bad my knee was nor the stubborn behavior of his wife! ;-)  But ... I remained resolute and pushed through the pain ... my knee ... it kept getting worse.

Finally ... three weeks after my fall, I gave in and went to the doctor!  Yep ... all the health officials involved flipped out ... I was chastised ... given medication ... and instructions that included elevating my leg until all swelling was gone.  It took six days of living in a recliner ... using the stairs once a day to enter and leave our bedroom.  Yep, I didn't leave the house for six days!  Poor Mr. DillyDally!  I couldn't sew ... knitting and handwork were impossible with my legs elevated that high ... I was in pain ... I had to miss four days of work ...  spent too much time on the internet ... it made me "crazy crabby"!  Again ... poor Mr. DillyDally!

QBees Lila and Julie to the rescue!  Lila came by with books!  We spent a lovely couple of hours catching up and talking about everything but my knee.  It was wonderful ... good medicine!
 Julie came over and brought some show and tell!  It was sew inspiring to see her recent projects!  This wall quilt is the result of purchases she made on our MN Road Trip!  I love it!
She recently pieced this baby quilt made for a little girl who will be arriving soon! ;-)  Such sweet fabric!
This was a kit that Julie purchased on our road trip!  I loved the sample on display where she bought it ... it is a beautiful wall quilt with an empowering message.  Love it!
This is the "Six Pack" project that she also purchased on our MN Shop Hop trip.  Such buy a pack that includes 2/3's yard of six different fabrics and then choose a pattern from a selection designed especially for that amount of fabric!
I shared with her my six pack project that I had pieced a while back.  We are both donating them to our Guild's annual Tea & Auction.  Julie took mine with her so that they could both be delivered to a long arm quilter!  Celebrating her projects ... being inspired by a friend ... that is good medicine!

Remember earlier in this post, when I mentioned that I spent too much time on the internet?  Today a package arrived...
... from the Green Fairy.  Oh-oh ... you know what that means...
... new fabric to (someday soon I hope) dillydally with!
Yep ... retail therapy ... it is also good medicine!
The storm clouds have moved on.  Monday afternoon I finally got permission to go back to work!  I would have done a happy dance, but my knee still hurts! ;-)  Sooo ... the sun is setting on this most unhappy chapter!  Those who love me hope that I have learned something:

  • Denial when it comes to our health is not a good thing.  
  • Friends are great medicine!  
  • Shopping makes you feel better too!
  • Marry a very patient and loving man.(Like I did!)
Do what you love.  Do dillydally.  And take care of yourself!  
;-) Onward!

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Love Affair...with Wool! ;-)

This affair began early in my life...
Photo from Google images
... my great uncle and aunt, Harry and Clara Branigan, were the only sheep farmers in our small community in northern Minnesota.  I would find every excuse I could to ride my shetland pony over to their place.  They and their farm were such an important part of my childhood.
Photo from Google images
As a child, I dreamed of becoming a sheep farmer when I grew up.  I fantasied about my lifestyle of raising sheep, sheering them, spinning fleece, then knitting and weaving their wool into garments that I could sell and use.  What a wonderful lifestyle that would be! ;-)

While in junior and senior high school, I hung on to that dream...secretly.  I sewed most of my clothes all through high school.  My mother, 4-H and my home economics classes provided me with many opportunities to grow and develop my sewing skills.
 I was introduced to sewing with wool by the American Sheep Industry and their "Make it with Wool" contest.  I am thrilled that this competition still exists... ;-) ...good things "live" on!  Once you sew clothing with wool, you can't help but fall in love with it!  It is delightful to sew with ... sewing with wool is like baking with butter ... yep, a little slice of heaven here on earth!

My affair with wool was interrupted with college and beginning a teaching career.  My dreams of being a sheep farmer were filed away in the depths of my heart.  Then during the summer of 1980...
Photo from Google images
... I spent some time in Iceland ... and my love was reignited!

Mr. DillyDally and I were visiting with a cousin who was stationed in Keflavik.  While driving to Reykjavik, we would see Icelandic sheep all over ... it was wonderful.  Now you know where the sweaters in our engagement picture came from.  ;-)  Mr. DillyDally fell in love with me ... and wool!

I bought wool to knit with while there (read about it here) that began my many adventures in knitting with wool.  Most people who don't work with wool, remember it without fondness because it was "itchy".  Without going into a great deal of depth, let me just generalize ... high quality wool is not itchy.  I have sewn and knit with all quality levels of  wool ... believe me, you can feel the difference.

I eventually gave up the dream of having a sheep farm ... but that didn't change my love for wool!  I live in an climate (temperate rain forest) that allows us to wear wool nearly year round.  Wool really is the only fiber, natural or manmade, that keeps you warm even when wet.  In my remote corner of the planet, we are usually wet! ;-)
This was the view from my front deck this weekend ... yep, it was very rainy!  See what I mean ... doesn't it make you want to pull on a wool sweater? ;-)

One of the many blessings I enjoy in my remote corner of the planet, is the access I have to wool.  No ... we do not raise sheep here, but we do have an amazing yarn shop, The Net Loft.  When I travel, I always visit yarn and quilt shops along the way.  None have ever come close to this shop!   The shop and the owner inspire us to create knitted and woven projects ... wool ... it is just too much fun!  Here are a few wool knitting projects I've been working on recently...
  ... all that is left on this sweater is attaching the sleeves and blocking...
...I best finish this pair of mittens soon, it usually snows before Halloween...
...hand dyed yarn...future sweater for Brother DillyDally!

In the past year, I've been gradually entering the world of wool applique.  Those of you who have read this blog over the past year have seen my two projects.  While on the Minnesota Shop Hop this summer I started doing some collecting...
... I just love it all!  Especially the over dyed plaids!  I bought these with the intent ...
... of making this!  I bought this pattern way back in 2008 and have been dreaming about making it ever since!  It is a Simply Need'l Love pattern by Maggie Bonanomi.  This dillydally dream will eventually come true!

No ... I did not become a sheep farmer ... but my love affair with wool continues!  I do everything I can to support sheep farmers ... everyday involves the use of wool in one form or another.  Even our couch quilt is made with a wool batt!

After my great uncle and aunt passed on, my small community was without a sheep farm for many years.  However, in the past 10-15 years, a young couple bought a homestead farm in the area and are raising sheep.  Guess what kind of sheep they raise on Reedbird Farm?  Icelandic!  Can you believe it?

Our dreams don't always materialize in the way we envision them ... there is often a far bigger plan.

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.  Proberbs 31:13 KJV

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More Odds & Ends

Mother Nature provided us with wonderful weather this weekend...
...most of our leaves have fallen...
...and Jack Frost is making his presence known!  Mr. DillyDally and I went on a was so cold we decided to eat in the car!  Yep...Jack Frost is here!  It is time to pull our mittens out of storage!
OMGosh Good Golly!  I have over half of my Blue (Red) Ridge Beauty blocks pieced ... a total of 144! Yep ... I'm doing the happy dance!  Only 100 more to go!

I did put it aside for a while ... I have a few 007 projects that I can't put off any longer and there are a couple of "want to" projects as well.  I will continue to do the 4 patches and right triangles as leaders and enders.  They add up so much faster than I would have ever imagined!  Thanks Bonnie!

While traveling in Minnesota this summer, I picked up this kit.  ;-)  I fell in love with the fabric!  Halloween is fast approaching, so I thought I had better get busy!  I cut it out on Saturday, and spent Sunday morning piecing it while listening to NPR.
The fabrics were so fun!  I love this one with candy corn and pumpkins!  Why is it that candy corn only taste good during the month of October?  Years ago...I purchased some "Easter corn" which was candy corn in pastel colors.  The entire DillyDally family decided that it just didn't taste right!  Too funny!  Mr. DillyDally likes his candy corn refrigerated ... what a hoot!
The border fabric was just too cute!  I wish I had had yardage of it ... while working with the small piece that was part of the kit, I could think of many possibilities ... lots of fussy cut ideas were swimming around in my head!
This fabric ... it just sings to my heart!  I love it ... it makes me happy!  I wish I had yards and yards of it! I am strange that way ... when a fabric appeals to me ... it has a very loud voice!  OK...OK... I am strange in many ways, but you already knew that!
So ... I made a design decision ... I chose not to add the Jack O' Lantern facial features.  They just muddied up the fabric designs ... and my affection for the fabric won out! ;-)  The fabric makes it very clear that it is a Halloween themed table runner!  Pumpkin faces were not necessary!

Piecing is my favorite part of the quilting process ... it was a wonderful way to dillydally on a Sunday morning!
Our days are becoming shorter in my remote corner of the planet.  This sunset photo was taken about 7:00 pm ... and yesterday, while walking to work at 8:00 am, the street lights were still on.  Yep ... winter is fast approaching ... indoor dillydallying will prevail!

Do what you dillydally!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Some Odds & Ends

The week passed quickly here in my remote corner of the planet.  An old acquaintance has begun his return to the neighborhood...
...yep...Jack Frost is working his way down the mountainside. ;-)
In all honesty, I have been having a difficult time dillydallying without my supervisor.  She always made sure to be in the middle of my quilting and knitting journeys.  Dillydallying is my form of therapy ... it has been hard to find it therapeutic without Teacup.  Adjusting to a new "normal" is challenging.

To deal with the loss ... I have been obsessed with 4 patches and right triangles ... again, spending a few minutes here and there have added up to ...
 ... yep ... I'm nearly half way there!  It is so nice having it all cut out ... I can just sit down at the machine and sew full speed!  Bonnie Hunter Rocks!  I love living the Quiltville lifestyle? 

I want to share with you how I spend my Monday nights ... no, I do not spend them watching Monday Night Football!  I want to show you how I avoid that!  I go into the sewing room ...
...bring my laptop and listen to Pat Sloan's Quilt Radio program that she does for American Patchwork & Quilting magazine!  Roseann Kermes, one of my favorite Quilt Rock Stars was featured last week, and that is what made me think of sharing one of my football season survival skills with you!
While Pat and Roseann were discussing quilt vacations (one of my favorite topics)...I worked away on my 4 patches!  If you haven't listened to Pat's radio program, I would highly recommend it!  Because I am unable to listen to it live, I subscribe to the podcast through itunes.  It is free and they are automatically downloaded by the time I get home from work!  Pat always links the information to do that on her blog every broadcast.  I love it when technology connects me to the "real" world, it allows me to enjoy my remote lifestyle and stay in "touch" with what's happening!

I want to thank everyone who left kind comments both here on the blog and facebook ... life has been a bit difficult for the DillyDally family lately.  Your gestures of kindness have touched my heart in so many ways ... you have been a blessing.  Thank you.