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Path to Yarn – Learning to Knit

This week I’m celebrating the launching into my new life by sharing the path that led me here. Follow along all week!

Yesterday the crafty-ness started at home. Today, I got to college and learn to knit!

I went to a beautiful little University, 8 hours away from home, deep in southeast Tennessee. After a freshman year filled with what-should-I-major-in? torture, I decided on French Literature.

I absolutely loved books and I love language, and I had taken 4 years of French in High School, so it just made sense.  I imagined myself as a French professor, at a small college (perhaps the one I attended), spending my days teaching a few dedicated students the joys of Prevert's poetry, while reading and writing and always learning.

And it wasn't until I was a Teacher's Assistant my senior year, that I ever doubted the plan. During my first day to teach the class, I stood up….and was blank. All those faces staring at me! I started shaking and blushing and stammering (in English!)

While I denied it at first, I knew: I was terrified of standing in front of people – how did I think I was going to be a professor? I didn't really acknowledge that teaching WASN'T for me until a year after graduation, when I started to apply to grad schools.

By this time, I was deep into knitting and dyeing and business-stuff, so moving on from French Lit was a little easier.

But wait, let's go back to college!

All along, I did little crafty things. Making dinners for my roomates, scrapbooking, handwriting letters to my best friend.

But my senior year, I stumbled into the craft section of the bookstore. This was in 2004, when big, gorgeous knitting books were just starting to hit the shelves.

I bought Knitting Pretty, got really hideous mauve acrylic yarn and some metal needles. When I got home, me and my roomate Lindsay sat on my bed and tried to decipher the instructions.

We would read slowly, look at the pictures, look at the yarn in our hands.

Casting on was a breeze (backwards loop cast-on) but the knitting, not so much.

We were completely stuck at the “pull loop on right needle through loop on left needle”. What? Pull what through what? The pictures showed the yarn wrapping around the right needle and in the next picture – bam! The new stitch is made!

Eventually we got it and I knit maybe 50 rows on that scarf before it went in a bag and I focused on gradutation, moving back to Ohio, and planning my wedding.

Tomorrow, I get married (to Jay) & get obsessed (with yarn)!

PS. Don’t forget: I’m answering any and all questions on Twitter, today at pm EST. Just put #AskTheChicken in your tweet (at any time) and I’ll answer at 3! You can follow along and see all the questions and answers here.

PPS. The sale! Don’t forget there’s a yarn sale with discounts for both new and returning customers! Grab your yarn right here: http://blondechicken.etsy.com

The Path to Yarn – It starts at home

This week I'm celebrating the launching into my new life by sharing the path that led me here. Follow along all week!

My earliest memories involve crafty-ness. When I think back, I can only picture vignettes of a crafty life, although certainly the signs were around me everyday. Here are my favorite crafty memories.

5 yrs old – My mom & I are hunched over a coloring book. She is beautifully coloring in her page, while I'm scribbling on mine, stopping often to admire her page. She teaches me to outline the sections before coloring them in, while all the while gushing over my “art”.

7 yrs old – My Grams sewed bridesmaids dresses for anyone in our church who got married. She kept all the shiny scraps and I fashioned  clothes for the tiny dolls in my dollhouse. I made a “footstool” for the dolls out of a spool, cotton batting and fabric. Grams gushed over my creativity.

10 yrs old – Mom is graduating from Nursing School. There'll be a big ceremony in December, right before Christmas. This warrants a Very Special Dress. Grams takes me to the little Jo-ann's and tells me to pick ANY fabric and pattern I want. We get a princess-cut dress with a BIG bow in the back and a full skirt. The top is dark green velvet and the bottom is red/green gingham taffeta. I really hate velvet (still do) but Grams insists I can't have a cotton top with the taffeta skirt. She's right, of course, and the dress makes me feel like a princess. I tell EVERYone that Grams made it. They don't seem impressed.

This experience cements my belief that having something made just for you is luxury and decadence and fabulousness. I forgot this for a few years (high school & college), but now I believe it with all my heart. True fabulousness is a taffeta skirt.

13 yrs old – On one of our (many many) trips to the craft store, my mom goes down the bead aisle. She shows me jewelry-making supplies, like thoset she used as a kid. We get a few kinds of hemp and some beads, but she promises me we have lots at home. When we get home, she pulls out a tin that she had at my age, filled with beads and other jewelry stuff. Jackpot!

I become obsessed with braiding jewelry and attempt to sell friendship bracelets at church camp. A few people buy them but my bracelets are soon confiscated. Undeterred, I make more & try to sell them on the school bus. I'm not so great at the “sales” part, but I love the making.

14 yrs old – I drown myself in books. I barely lift my nose out of one for the next 6 years. When I do, there is a huge barrel of legos (for building!), crayons and colored pencils (for drawing!) and piles of construction paper (for collages!) on hand. But anything other than reading is simply an interruption.

While I spend Saturday afternoons reading, my mom ( while working full-time) & Grams slipcover every pillow in their homes, alter old clothes, bake gorgeous cakes, grow amazing gardens and spend a lot of time on crafts I don't understand (covering cardboard boxes with floral fabric?).  It's just part of life, this making.

With a start like this, how could I have done anything BUT became a full-time crafter?

Tomorrow, I learn to knit (or rather, I share the story of learning to knit!)

bcbrelaunch

PS. Don't forget: I'm answering any and all questions on Twitter, today at 2pm EST. Just put #AskTheChicken in your tweet (at any time) and I'll answer at 2! You can follow along and see all the questions and answers here.

PPS. The sale! Don't forget there's a yarn sale with discounts for both new and returning customers! Grab your yarn right here: http://blondechicken.etsy.com

Launching a Life

Since quitting my day job on July 1st, I've received a lot of questions about how it feels, what it's like.

Most of the questions relate to the quitting and the dayjob: What's it like to not go to work? Is it hard to stay motivated without a boss? Do you miss having coworkers?

But  these questions are hard to answer. My life is so different now, I find it impossible to compare dayjob to yarn-job.

This whole big scary experiment doesn't feel like a quitting as much as a launching.

A launching into a new way of thinking about work.
A launching into a new way of connecting, of being a part of my community.
A launching into more responsibility, more discipline than ever.
A launching into a  very unknown future.
A launching into doing what I love, without excuses, without somedays, without anything (but myself) to stop me.

Like a big space rocket launch, it's exhilarating and terrifying and filled a thousand movable parts that look like they might fall apart at any time.

I realized this week that although I told everyone I quit my dayjob and I immediately devoted myself full-time to Blonde Chicken Boutique, I didn't take the to celebrate. Or to ask you to celebrate with me.

This is a big momentous thing that needs proper yarny revelry.  I've pondered the best way to make it a real celebration and I've come up with a  Grand Launching Week-long Extravaganza!

bcbrelaunch

Launching Party Fun-ness

Everyday next week, I'll share my story, from French Major to Yarn Wrangler, here on the blog. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss any of it.

I'll also be answering your questions, everyday at 3 pm on Twitter (starting today!). We can talk about any little thing (quitting the job, wrangling yarn, studying French Lit, ANYthing!).  Just put #askthechicken in your tweet to ask me.

Launch Party Yarny Discounts

For the next week, any NEW customer of the Boutique will get $10 off orders of  $30 or more and returning customers will be get $5 off orders of $25 or more.

Really want to party? Buy more than $100 worth of yarn or fiber and I'll send you a skein of yarn (or bump of fiber – your choice!) and a pattern for FREE in August. Think of it as investing in your future!

Not a yarn-y person? This sale ALSO extends to the Gift Certificates!

Thanks for celebrating with me.

I wouldn't be launching into this new life if weren't for you. Whether you buy yarn or not, whether you comment or not, whether we've met or not, everyone who shows up here has helped bring me closer to this goal, has helped encourage me and teach me and inspire me.

Thanks!

(PS. Special sparkly rainbow of thanks to Leonie for the gorgeous graphic!)

Summer Manifesto #2

Each season I make a little list of the pleasures I want to soak in. I call them manifestos, but they’re really just love letters to the season. These seasonal lists are my own little things-to-do-before-the-moment-passes.
I hope to keep listing these, every Thursday, as a reminder to soak it in over the weekend (and as a mid-week cheer-up).

This last week has been hectic with moving and quitting my job and starting a whole new life. This week I'm looking foward to soaking in the summer and settling into my new house and new job.
I'm especially excited to:

How are you soaking in the season?

One Week

In one week, I'll be self-employed.

In one week, I'll be responsible for my own health insurance.

In one week, I'll set my own schedule.

In one week, I'll live in a new house.

Next Wednesday is not only my first day of full-time Blonde Chicken Boutique shenanigans, it's also Moving Day!

The whole family + the whole Boutique is moving (just across town).

To say I'm overwhelmed in as understatement.

Excited and nervous and scrambly and full of oh-my-goodness-what-did-I-forget sort of thoughts!

Last night I couldn't sleep and started thinking about ALL the yarn and fiber I need to pack before moving. And the unpacking! The new place will have a dedicated fiber studio (yay!) but I hate to be apart from my fiber for even a day or two.

So instead, instead of moving all that yarn across town,  what if I just send it to you?

How about free (domestic) shipping on any order over $50?

You'll be cheering up both of our weeks by heading over to the Boutique and stocking up handspun yarn, organic cotton and Spinnables.

(to get the free shipping, just place your Etsy order (of over $50) and wait for a CORRECT Paypal invoice)

This little moving sale will be on for just ONE WEEK and on July 1st, I'm going to close the Boutique until I'm all settled in my new studio.

When it reopens, it'll be filled with new and different yarns, so if you like what you see, snatch it up now!

Summer Manifesto

Each season I make a little list of the pleasures I want to soak in. I call them manifestos, but they’re really just love letters to the season. These seasonal lists are my own little things-to-do-before-the-moment-passes.
I hope to keep listing these, every Thursday, as a reminder to soak it in over the weekend (and as a mid-week cheer-up).

This past week has been less-than-fun. With my wheel breaking and just the general blah-ness of re-entry to the real world after a lovely vacation, I need a little cheering up.

And what could be cheery-er than reminding myself of all the  summer-ish activities left to be delighted in?

(and yes, I know it's technically not Summer, but I can't believe it's still Spring when the temperatures top 80 everyday)

Summer Fun that awaits me this week:

  • Rekindling my weekly date with the local farmer's markets
  • Checking out the newish  farmer's market in Jonesborough (perhaps applying to be a vendor there?)
  • Visiting my best-est friend and her husband. First time I'll see their home!
  • Begging my best-est friend for one of her life-changing massages
  • Enjoying the last of the local strawberries and making some more jam.
  • Getting some of these local blueberries!

Summer Vacation – Day 6

This week I’m on vacation on the lovely shore of Emerald Isle. But because I love my work, the Boutique is still open with new yarns everyday and I’m still talking to customers via email. So I’m away but still checking in. Each day I’ll be posting a few pictures from the vacation, especially the yarny inspiration.

Today I recovered from a super-mild case of sun poisoning (ugh) by laying around inside: Marathon Scrabble games and piecing a quilt.

Scrabble
Cut & ready fabric

Sewing strips

Summer Vacation – Day 3

This week I'm on vacation on the lovely shore of Emerald Isle. But because I love my work, the Boutique is still open with new yarns everyday and I'm still talking to customers via email. So I'm away but still checking in. Each day I'll be posting a few pictures from the vacation, especially the yarny inspiration.

Today we wandered the length of our island, just to see where it led. Then we checked out the local towns – Morehead City and Beaufort.  Beaufort's full of antique stores and marinas and the small but interesting North Carolina Maritime Museum. Threads & BUttons Hand-hewn boat whale bones (whale bones – as big as my head!)

Summer Vacation – Day 2

This week I'm on vacation on the lovely shore of Emerald Isle. But because I love my work, the Boutique is still open with new yarns everyday and I'm still talking to customers via email. So I'm away but still checking in. Each day I'll be posting a few pictures from the vacation, especially the yarny inspiration.

Today was a beach all-day sort of day. Lounging, soaking, and strolling.
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beach walk

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