Sunday, July 31, 2011

In the summertime, one day you can drive down the road and the lupine are wonderfully in bloom and then you can turn away, be very busy, and poof, the lupines are gone..

Gone, gone, gone... Missed them. Hardly picked more than one bouquet of them. And then one day, you notice a single fireweed in bloom, and then, in a blink of an eye, a field of fireweed have exploded and are as tall as the sky. Just like that. In that blink, they have become plentiful, bold and beautiful, and I am in awe of the absolutely striking massive magenta pink of them. From out of nowhere, the grass of parnassas appear in meadows out the road. Fragrant, graceful, lovely. In my garden bed, harebells nod their heads in the wind, lilies pop from their large Alaganik, the iris appear and the purple is glorious. But, we know well, now you see them, now you don't. If you put off seeing them, you will miss them. My one thought, they come and go so quickly.

For me, this summertime life is like that. One day there is a face that walks through the door. I have to take a good long hard look at this face, savor the sound of the voice, for like the blooming wildflowers, in a blink of eye, they will be gone, and so will I. Sometimes, I feel like if I don't take that moment and be with them, I will miss it. If I am not attentive, that friend, like that flower, will come and go without me hardly seeing it. They will be off on boats, or ferries or planes, or just occupied somewhere. That is how summertime is.

Today, this early Sunday morning, I had an old dear friend over for tea and conversation. I went to pick a little bouquet to put in a teacup for our table, and I went to pick a rose from my bush out front of the shop. When I went to cut it, the petals all fell to the ground. I was too late for that rose. I gathered up some other flowers, but the thought of that rose carried with me throughout the day. I have felt like this all summer. It reminded me of the importance and value of taking time out, because opportunities pass by so quickly. If I don't take the time, the flowers and friends will be gone, and I will have missed them.

I love to paint. I love wildflowers. I especially love painting wildflowers. I think that is because I get to spend time looking and appreciating them as I paint them. I look and I look and I love drinking in their color and beauty. I love looking so closely at them that I see things in them I never saw before. It is a different thing to paint them from memory, and a far better experience painting them face to face. I not only love painting them, but I also love stitching images of them in thread, felting their colors into wool or even just placing a bouquet of them into a vase. It takes time, you know, but it is one of those simple pleasures in life that brings me great joy, and so worth the time I take out.

And so, please know that I consider you to be the wildflowers that wander before me into my shop, and that I treasure and hope to savor these summertime moments as they arise. Hope you are having a wonderful summer. Still lots going on at the shop. We have several open studio times, as well as weaving, needlework and papercraft classes coming up. There's still time...and some good summer fun to be had. Let us know if there is a class or event you would like to see happen, and do soak in those friends and flowers that the rest of the summertime still has to come.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Three Irish Girl

I was trying to think of a way to describe it.

These past several weeks, from about April on, has been a steady spin of activity.

How do I describe it?

And then it came to me...

I envisioned a pinwheel caught in the current of the wind

Perpetual motion,

Colors and petals blurring into one, as the pinwheel spins in constant in motion

And then, the wind settles, and,

it stops

And in the same way, for just a brief moment, I now stop...

and, in this quiet and brief space in time of inactivity, I write you.

I had wanted to write you sooner, but the wheel was spinning so fast, it could not be stopped.

I really had wanted to write about our Three Irish Girls weekend right after it was over.

But now, three weeks have passed?

How could that be?

But no matter, I cannot wait to describe to you what it was like.

so I shall tell you...even if it is now instead of then.

There are spaces in March and April that are just sticks and mud and bare places, patches of snow, exposed rocks and gravel.

When you see it, it is hard to believe that at any other time there could be anything else but that.

Grey, brown, black, white.

And then the green begins to come, first buds and shoots, followed by leaves and blossoms.

And now, as the goats beard plumes and cow parsnip’s lacy edges frame the expanse of fading lupine and incoming fireweed, the iris arrives at Alaganik and the yellow buttercups are scattered on roadside edges and parking lots.

And so it was, three weeks ago, as I raced to the airport where lupine patches had replaced snow patches, I was met by Sharon of Three Irish Girls, and her husband, Chris, and MANY large suitcases bursting at the seams. What was in them were suitcases of yarn that, when unpacked, overflowed and filled the upstairs room with such an explosion of vibrant color, that it just felt to me like full on summertime in a mountain meadow of solid wildflowers…so much color, such variation, that it just plain took your breath away.

And then there was Sharon, funny, interesting, vibrant. After months of preparation, she was finally here, and we were delighted and excited to have her. It was quite nice, in my semi exhausted state, to just sit back, listen to her sweet stories, and simply smile.

We released four new colors inspired by four works of art and photography.

Bald Eagle with a photo by Milo Burcham

Chugach and a lovely pastel painting by Dorothy Hook

Scott Creek or Scott River, whichever you want to call it, inspired by a watercolor from the 80’s by Nancy Taylor Stonington, which I had purchased from her years ago when she was in town painting,
and Lupine

which I have hanging in the store beside a wood cut of Lupine and Miles Glacier by Mazie Van Den Broek. This release was accompanied by a trunk show array of yarns which Sharon had brought with her for especially for the weekend.

When it was all over, before we packed what little was left back into Sharon’s suitcases, I picked out a small selection for the shop to keep for those who were unable to make it to the program, as well as a little stash that made their way into my own little pile of yarn treasures for future knitting projects. And, after some wonderful workshops and a what felt like to me a speeding whirl of activity, she was gone.

The wind blows

The pinwheel keeps spinning around

The colors merge

I tried my very best to stop and savor those moments as they were happening.

The sound of her voice

The stories she told

The taste of the Net Loft punch

Diane’s cakes

The colors of yarn that emerged from the dips and brushes of the dyers workshop

The presence of surrounding friends whose presence was such an important part of the specialness of the weekend.

It goes so fast all of it.

I like the excitement of all kinds of things going on, but also I just like it when everything stops,

even for just a brief time.

It happened there at the glacier with Sharon.

After a heaped up plate of potluck dinner and a giant piece of Diane’s chocolate cake

Feeling the warmth of the fire

Standing there, eyes closed, listening to the voices and conversations

And then, Malani and Sam O’Toole began to sing a couple of the most gentle and beautiful harmonies

And I could see it plain as day

The pinwheel


The most beautifully painted, intricate pinwheel with elaborate detail

I saw it

All the beautifulness of it

In that moment

And then,

We packed up

Drove home


The wind began to blow

The colors merged

And once again I was swept into the racing rivers of summertime

Whose currents

Still hold me.

Sometimes my knitting traps in it these moments somehow.

When I am in the midst of it and I knit into that project the activity I am in the midst of

The lupine scarf I am finishing up from the new lupine yarn will be that for this time

It will take me back to these summer days

And especially when The Net Loft had this very special guest and new friends, Sharon McMahon, the Three Irish Girl who makes the colors sing, and her husband Chris, and all of you who came to join us.

We hope you enjoyed yourselves as well. We’ll have to do it again someday…don’t you think?

The wheel is still in motion… come knit, crochet, spin, weave, scrapbook, bead, cross stitch, embroider, punch needle, felt, needlepoint, paint, draw, craft with us….we love it all…especially surrounded by friends. Come join us…

With Love,

Net Loft Dotty