Dishing up the “Comfort Slouchy”, with a side of apology.

Ok, I know.  It’s been a long time.  I’m SO sorry, dear readers!  Just when you thought I might actually have one or two good ideas, I disappear.  I really have no excuse.  It just all happened so fast.  August 23rd dawned, and before I could duck, school up and hit me like a mac truck.  And sadly, the blog got tossed to the back burner.  The beginning of the school year is always such a rough time for me.  I’m exhausted when I get home because I’ve lost my teaching stamina over the summer and I have little free time because I’m starting with a whole batch of fresh, un-molded minds.  But, I’m happy to announce that things have now settled down and I’m back in the saddle again.

Image

My sad, “won’t you please forgive me” face.

You’re probably thinking that for this, my grand re-entrance, I have something really special for you.  You know, to make up for the last two months in which I completely and selfishly ignored you.  Well, you’d be wrong.  If I were a better, more organized, and less sleep-dependent person, It would be a totally different story.  Instead, today, I’m re-testing the crafting waters with only my metaphorical big toe.  And while I cannot deliver you silver bells and golden whistles today, I can assure you that as the holidays draw near, I am again amassing my crafty strength.  I made myself a new lab coat for the start of school, several new skirts, and two leather bags.  Posts forthcoming!  I also have a lot of DIY ideas for the holidays that I’m going to blog about in my “12 Crafty Days of Christmas” (throughout December) series to help motivate me to get everything done on time and to hopefully give you some ideas for wonderful, homemade presents for your loved ones.  So, please stay tuned!

So what do I have for you today, you ask?  Well, while it’s not Mt. Craftmore, I am pretty proud of it.  I would like to present the first thing that I have EVER knitted out of my own handspun angora yarn (50% Merino, 50% angora — from my rabbit Sweet Pea to be exact).

Image

Comfort Slouchy, in effect!

Image

Image

I call this hat my “Comfort Slouchy” because I plan to wear it….well, everyday.  It’s warm, comfortable, and wonderfully soft.  I feel like a have a cloud on my head.  And, It’s just starting to develop the fantastic halo that is characteristic of angora yarn.  I’m sure as time goes on it will get even more fuzzy.

Image

Angora “halo” is blooming.

I made it using the beginnings of the pattern It All Comes Together on Ravelry.  But, there was a slight error in the chart for the crown decreases, so I just did my own thing when I got to that point.  (Note:  the wonderful author of the pattern sent me the updated chart soon after.  So nice!)  Overall, I’m wonderfully happy with it.  With my next handspun skein, I plan to make a (somewhat) matching cowl.  I’m trying to decide between the Stockholm Scarf, Big Herringbone Cowl, and A Noble Cowl patterns on Ravelry.  I’m so undecided.  Do you think I have to match my hat with a lacey-type pattern?  What are your thoughts?

Ok, thanks again for hanging in there with me.  I know that I have a lot to make up for.  And, I’m going to make you proud.  Really, I am.  And speaking of slacking….I’m not the only one who’s been absent around here.  I want you to make a note of which one of us came back to you first.   It was me.  I came back for you.  Not Jaryn.  Remember that.  Clearly, I love you more……and I win.

See, you really can’t trust Jaryn. Clearly, she consorts with rodents.

I hope everyone’s been having a fantastically, wonderful Fall.  Here’s to a craftastic holiday season!

Jen

Advertisements

Music City, Baby!

This week, I was fortunate to attend an Alternative Education conference in Nashville, TN with my good friend, Deb.  (Side note:  We are known collectively as the “Beefy Broads” by our friends and family due to the large number of DIY projects we have undertaken together.)  We knew we were off to a great start when the rental car company showed us our ride.  Apparently, they’d been trying to give this baby away all day.  But, the businessmen to whom it was offered turned it down from some reason.  Being the forward thinkers that we are, we jumped all over this opportunity.

Beefy Broads Sweet Ride.

To our delight, it got better when we actually got into the car — it came with shag!

"Shaggy", our mascot

We immediately realized that we could not be apart from Shaggy from this point forward.  Thus began a series of pictures that we call “Shag, the forbidden love.”  Here are some of those gems:

Shag, the better State Seal of Tennessee

Yes, I am placing Shaggy somewhere inappropriate. But, it's a rug....how could I resist?

Shag. It makes you want to jump.

Don't have a cute baby? Shag.

We felt sure that others surely shared our fondness for the Nissan Cube’s Shag.  We felt that surely others had captured their own unique memories with shag.  We looked on Facebook.  We searched on Loogle.  To no avail.  Apparently, once again, your Beefy Broads are trendsetters, dear readers.  And, you’re welcome.

We ended up driving to Knoxville Friday night and staying with our friend, Jessica.  You know someone is a good friend when they agree to put you up on a moment’s notice and stay up until 12:30 am to greet you.  You know that someone is a great friend when they have a warm, onesie waiting for you.

Beefy Broads, the epitome of runway fashion

While we didn’t get to visit with Jessica for as long as we would have liked, it was fantastic to catch up with our famous artist friend.  We said goodbye to her after a stellar breakfast, in which she too, began to understand our fascination with shag.

Shaggy begins to take over the world.

Now, as you may know, the Beefy Broads love a good road trip.  We seek out adventure around every turn.  So, of course, on our drive between Knoxville and Nashville, we were on the lookout.  What we noticed is that almost every exit in TN boasts a flea market or an antique store.  We felt that the universe was giving us a hint, and so we obliged accordingly by trying to stop at all of them.  Our first stop was Rockville, TN.  The town felt like stepping back into the 1920’s.  There was a soda fountain and a downtown (a block long) that had a cute row of downtown antique stores.  Alas, while we found no old-time goodies, we did get a spectacular view as we climbed some backroad out of Rockville to get back to I-40.  I think this is where we got onto the Cumberland Plateau?

Our next antique stop was Crossville, TN.  Here the stars aligned, the heavens opened and we found an antique store with a vendor dedicated solely to old sewing machines and notions.  Hallelujah.  We parked ourselves on the floor of that booth and probably sorted through bias, lace, buttons, and ribbon for over an hour.  We were like fat kids in a candy store.  We took so long that the owner kept coming by to check on us.  We ended up with a ton of good loot!  This is only about a 1/4 of what I purchased.  What can I say, I’m a sucker for $0.25 notions.

Antique Sewing Treasures

I came to this conference fully prepared to craft.  I brought bags of crafting material (much to the amusement of Deb).  What I didn’t realize was how much schmoozing goes on at conferences.  So much of my precious time has been spent drinking wine (not complaining) and mingling (complaining) that I haven’t gotten to work on my Katrine sweater yet.  😦  I have, however, worked on my Party Lace scarf (more of a mindless knit).

Party Lace Scarf

And right before leaving for the conference, I gave Bunbun (my newest angora) her first real haircut.  Her fiber is fantastic!  She may be the best one yet!  So while we drove up, I spun up a bunch of her fiber.

Bunbun after haircut

Bunbun's fiber

 

We have learned that there is an Antique and Garden show at the Nashville Convention Center on Friday.  So exciting!  So, we plan to hit that up on our way out of town.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to find some more treasures and provide you with some great pictures!