Friday, May 18, 2012

Meet the People at Mountain Colors-- Patty

Our May employee is our gentle friend Patty Baker Connolly.  Patty grew up in Alexandria, VA and attended the New England Conservatory of Music where she studied piano.  After graduating she visited her sister who had recently moved to Montana.  She immediately felt at home in the “Big Sky” state.  She made more and more trips to Montana until she finally moved here in 1978.  

Patty’s passions in life include her husband Jeff and their family of 4 grown children, a daughter-in-law, a soon to be son-in-law and 2 delightful grandchildren.  Patty has created a peaceful corner of the world that she shares with Jeff, frequent dinners with the kids, a flock of sheep, treasured chickens, 3 cats, a goofy Great Dane and a funny little Boston terrier.  Anyone who visits her home is immediately welcomed in and put at ease.  Whether you are sitting in her house enjoying a cup of tea and the smell of homemade bread or walking in her beautiful garden looking for ripe tomatoes and fresh lettuce you will notice you have found a happy place.  Patty is a wonderful musician and craftsman but her true talent is making the simple and every day a work of great art.  

Patty started working at Mountain Colors almost from the beginning.  Since she is Diana’s neighbor she sometimes was roped into helping while Mountain Colors was still in the McKay’s kitchen.  We would phone and say “please help us” and she would be over in a shot.  During the last 20 years she has done pattern typing, skeining when the kids were still at home and now working in the dye studio.  She is currently a dye mixer and dyer.  Patty likes mixing dye because she said it’s like a little puzzle every day.  “What colors we need to mix, what ratios to figure out, what each color is made of and the little idiosyncrasies that come from the dye.  Finally, does it look right?” Her favorite part of the day: “At the end of the day when all the yarn is dyed and drying I love the happy satisfaction that comes from a day of producing beautiful yarn.”   

Patty says her favorite times at Mountain Colors are working as a team each day, special silly moments in the dye room when everyone laughs until they cry and knitting at lunch.  She also loves the office birthday parties.  Patty has been known to request a nap after an especially rich cake.  She says she never gets tired of working with the colors but she loves Mountain Colors because “it’s like working with a community of friends - anyone here would say that”.  

Patty loves to weave, spin, work in the garden, knit, run, bake, play the piano and sing – often joined by her musical family.  Her daughter, Allison, will be married this June and Patty is weaving a beautiful white silk shawl for the lucky bride.   Her son Mark will return home from a tour in Afghanistan in time for the wedding.  The family is very grateful, proud and so anxious to see him. 

Patty’s favorite colorways are Red Willow, Northern Lights, Springtime and Wilderness.