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New Classes at Dances With Wool

wwl-allIt’s always exciting when a new yarn store comes to the area – what yarns are they going to carry?  So it was super exciting when a few months ago Debbie Floyd, the owner of Dances with Wool, got in contact with me.  She was opening a new yarn store in Midlothian, VA.  And she wanted to talk to me about classes.

I’m so excited about this new yarn store to the Richmond VA area, especially as the Knitting Basket is closing.  While I haven’t been by the store since they had their opening, what I did see was a store focused on good quality yarn, beautiful patterns, community and classes.

Starting in November I’ll be teaching a Skill Building class focused around my pattern, Wild Wood Leaves.  It’s a crib blanket with options of three different sizes, and is currently only available if you take the class.  The wonder of this series of classes is you can take the entire series of eight (and get a discount on all of them) or pick and choose which ones you need the most.

The classes are as follows:

  • Week 1, Nov. 2, 6-7 pm – Reading Patterns, Knits and Purls (middle left panel)
  • Week 2, Nov. 9, 6-7 pm – Increases, Decreases and Yarn Overs, Beginning Lace (bottom left panel)
  • Week 3, Nov. 16, 6-7 pm – Color Work With Duplicate Stitch (bottom right panel)
  • Week 4, Nov. 30, 6-7 pm – Color Work With Intarsia (middle right panel)
  • Week 5, Dec. 7, 6-7 pm – Beginning Cables (top left panel)
  • Week 6, Dec. 14, 6-7 pm – Slip Stitches (top right panel)
  • Week 7, Jan. 4, 6-7 pm – Bringing It All Together with Seaming and Finishing (all)
  • Week 8, Jan. 11, 6-7 pm – Picking Up Stitches and Borders (all)

You can sign up for the classes here.

I can’t wait to begin teaching locally again!  I’ve missed being able to do it since Rebecca was born, and I’m so pleased to be able to spend time with students while establishing good foundational knitting skills.

You should also check out Dances with Wool!

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Fall Designs Featuring Animals

This fall I’ve got a number of designs coming out, and several of them are children’s garments featuring animals.  I’ve noticed an uptick in my interest in designing children’s garments (I wonder why? *coughlittleturtlecough*).  There’s two children’s designs I wanted to highlight today.

Raynard Willow YarnsRaynard is a children’s dress featuring sweet little foxes on the front of the body and pockets.  Featuring a folded over hem at the base of the dress and on the pockets, this simple and sweet dress is an idea that came into my mind fully formed.  I blame the proliferation of forest animals featured in baby items lately – foxes just seemed to be everywhere.

The Foxes are worked with duplicate stitch before the dress is assembled, meaning this project is very approachable to beginners looking to stretch their skills.  And with the majority of the pattern worked in the round, this dress fairly flies off the needles!

It was a joy working with Willow Yarn’s Daily Worsted – this blend is washable while still being durable and soft.  And with such a range of colors, you can come up with some adorable color combinations.  Willow even offers the pattern at a kit – which takes the decision making out of the process.

You can purchase and download the pattern here!

 


 

lok-window-cat-1 I’m also excited to tell you about my first pattern in Love of Knitting magazine.  This pattern features some animals near and dear to my heart – my cats, Peake and Watson.  I’d originally envisioned this as an adult pattern, but the editor of Love of Knitting, Deborah Gerish, pointed out how perfectly it would work as a children’s sweater.

I think she was correct.

Inspired by the silhouette of Peake and Watson as they sit on the window watching the outdoors and birds, the pattern is titled Window Cat.  The cats are written as intarsia, but could also be added after the fact with duplicate stitch.  I have them on the pattern facing away from the viewer, but with a little ingenuity, you could add eyes and whiskers so that they’re facing out.

The sweater is worked in Classic Elite Yarn’s Liberty Wool, one of my favorite yarns.  Liberty Wool is sturdy and soft and long-wearing.  It’s washable and comes in SO MANY COLORS.  While the solid colors are stunning, I also think it would be fun to make the cats calico – by using one of their variegated yarns in browns and oranges and whites.  I have so many ideas for how to adapt the pattern!

I also love the finishing details on this pattern – the vintage buttons match the sweater perfectly.  They’re not too upscale.  Instead they match the quality of the sweater, casual and much-loved.

I love the brown of the trim, the garter stitch around the yoke, the crochet trim around the neck.  Simply put, I love the way this pattern turned out.

I have to admit, I have some plans for this motif in the future – I’d love to turn it into a matching hat and cowl pattern too!  So many potential options!

Do you have cats?  How would you customize this pattern?

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Works in Progress.

The leaves are starting to change, the windows are open day and night, and it’s fall, fall fall!  It’s my favorite time of year.img_1557

Life has been busy in the Turtle Household.  Last month my sister, Rosemary, moved to Richmond.  She’s been settling into her apartment in Richmond, and it’s so wonderful to have another member of the family close by.  We’ve been getting together quite often, as she doesn’t know many other people right now.  It’s wonderful, as Auntie Rose is great with Little Turtle, and I’ve been able to take a bit of breathing room.

Last weekend I was over at Fibre Space, teaching a handful of classes.  It was my second time being away from Little Turtle for an entire day (the first being when I was hospitalized).  After teaching, Rosemary, my brother Matthew, and I got together for dinner, and it was a lovely hour getting to catch up all together.

Meanwhile, Little Turtle is growing so quickly, already able to sit up, with a little help from her boppy.  She loves sitting outside on the mat her grandmother sewed for her, looking at the trees and the cats and her mama knitting.  She’s quite vocal, frequently letting people know her thoughts with shrieking, humming, babbling and generally making noise.  She’s a smiley baby too, interested in the world and really not keen to view it on her stomach.

Little Turtle’s grandma has been furnishing her her with October and Halloween themed outfits, one of my favorites being this dress:

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But let’s be frank, you aren’t really checking here for adorable pictures of babies, right? *wink*

So what has Tinking Turtle been up to?  I’ve got a variety of designs that have released over the summer and into this fall – more on that next week.  I’ve got two crochet designs I’m working on, a tank top and a blanket.  I’ve also got a knitting project on the needles for a class I’ll be teaching later this fall.

This week my online class, All About Yarns is wrapping up.  I’m sad to see it finish.

Meanwhile, Watson has been helping with the guarding of yarn balls.

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And I’m hoping, rather futilely, to knit a wee sweater for Rebecca before she grows too big to fit into it.  That may be stretching things a bit.

What have you been up to?

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Looking to Interview & Hire Sample Crocheter

 

If you’re just here for the crafty goodness, this may be a post to skip.  If you’re based in the Richmond, VA area and you’re looking to earn some money with your crocheting skills, I’d love to talk to you.  Here’s the deal.  As you know, about 4 months ago I gave birth to my daughter, and I’m finding that my time for my business has shifted. I’m looking to hire a sample crocheter that would crochet some of my designs for me. These pieces would be featured in magazines such as Interweave Crochet and Annie’s Crochet World. I’d prefer someone in the Richmond area, as there would be times where in-person meetings would be necessary.Raymond_Foundation-Crochet_3

Compensation would be based on yardage used and complexity, to be negotiated on a project-by-project basis. Samples would be retained by either Tinking Turtle or the magazines.

If you’re interested in this collaboration, please contact me with the following information:

  • Examples of previous projects you’ve done and crochet techniques you are familiar with. I’m especially interested if you’ve worked broomstick lace, hairpin lace, Tunisian (AKA afghan) crochet, and other forms of lace.
  • You’d have to be able to meet deadlines with sometimes quick turnarounds. If you can, please give examples of projects you’ve worked on under a deadline, and the time it took you to complete them.
  • Please send me a link to your Ravelry profile or send me photographs of projects you’ve finished.
  • I’m looking for someone who follows directions exactly – this is not the time to take liberties with the pattern. If there’s a problem I’d prefer for you to contact me right away. Clear and prompt communication is key. Attention to detail is very important – mistakes need to be corrected, this is not a project where you can fudge the details.

For the most part, you’d be doing the body of the work and leaving the finishing details to me – I’d be weaving in ends, blocking, seaming and working edgings.

If this is an opportunity you’d be interested in, I’d love to hear from you!  Please email me at info@tinkingturtle.com with the subject line Sample Crocheter.

SVFF on Saturday

Little Turtle wakes us up around 5 in the morning, so for the first time the morning drive to SVFF I wasn’t drifting off to sleep.  The three of us left our house around 5:50 am, and began winding our way through Virginia to the Shenandoah Valley.  We watched the sun bleed through the trees, and fog linger over the fields with the mist thick enough to obscure your view barely six feet into the field.  We wound through farms and orchards, Little Turtle talking and gurgling in the back.  Pulling into the fairgrounds, the air was cool and I pulled on my sweater while we set up.

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Today I was teaching Helix Knitting, using my Circle Game pattern.  It was such a great group of ladies – interested in learning, willing to try, and determined in the face of mistakes.  I was a little nervous –  not about teaching the class, but having Little Turtle along.  It was my first time teaching in-person since becoming a mama.  Michael was a champ – helping with setup, wrangling Little Turtle, and driving us where we needed to go.

After class we got to visit with a good friend from the Washington, DC area who was taking Patty Z‘s blending class.  I’m so envious!  If I didn’t have a baby, I’d be all over Patty’s classes on spinning cellulose fibers.  Ah, well.  Another time.  Once we wrapped up and said goodbye to our friend, it was for a walk around the fairgrounds, where we could see vendors setting up and preview some of the wares.  The vendors don’t start selling until tomorrow, but it’s fun to see how various vendors have gotten their booth transportation down to a science – slotting in every piece into the back of a car or trailer.

This evening we’ll get a special treat.  The hotel room has a TV, and we’ll watch all the television we don’t at home (since we don’t have at TV).  I’ll work on a pattern that’ll be in Crochet World next year, and we’ll get to bed early.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s Duct Tape Dress Forms, and getting to see a bit more of the festival.

Have you been to any Fiber Festivals this fall?  Are you planning on going to any?

 

Fall is the Season For Fiber Festivals

Last week I was up visiting my parents and sharing Little Turtle with the family.  We had a couple of days that were like the fall of my childhood: cool mornings warming up to afternoons just this side of too warm.  Days where you want your sweater in the morning and shorts in the afternoon.  It was perfect – getting me in the mood for Fall and one of my favorite fall activities: Fiber Festivals!

SVFFThis weekend I’ll be at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival.  I’ll be teaching two classes: Helix Knitting and Duct Tape Dress Forms.  Registration is open until the day of.  I love teaching at SVFF.  It’s an intimate venue run by a great group of volunteers, and I have such a good time.  Catch me on Friday or lunchtime on Saturday.  And keep an eye out – Mr. Turtle and Little Turtle will be wandering the event while I teach!

Yarn Properties: the Low-Down on Plies, Twist, and Fiber

Yarn Properties: the Low-Down on Plies, Twist, and Fiber

The following weekend I’ll be teaching at Fall Fiber Festival & Montpelier Sheep Dog Trials at James Madison’s Montpelier.  Last year I couldn’t teach at the venue because I was attending a wedding, but this year I’ll be back, teaching Yarns 101.  This is the perfect class to pair with a Fiber Festival – it covers what yarns are best for which projects, how fiber, ply and weight affect your final projects.  If yarn substitutions ever stumped you, this is a class to give you good foundational knowledge.  Signups close on Friday, so check out the classes!


 

Later this Fall I’ll be returning to one of my favorite venues, Fibre Space.  If you aren’t able to get to the fiber festivals, I’d love to have you join me in Old Town Alexandria!  Check out the classes I’ll be teaching on October 15th: Intarsia Crash Course, Finishing Essentials and Darn Those Knits!

All About Yarns in October!

All About Yarns with Jennifer Raymond

If you follow my blog, you know that one of my favorite classes to teach is Yarns 101.  Yarns 101 is normally a 3-hour class on why yarns behave the way they do: why some yarn substitutions work, why your alpaca sweater is super saggy, and how we can make more informed decisions about pairing yarns with projects.  I love teaching the class, and often one of the responses I get back on my evals is… “When will you teach a Yarns 201?”

So many people enjoy the class, and would love to delve even further into the material.

I’ve been thinking for a while about how to go about doing that, and in the spring I pitched a class to Interweave that was my answer.

All About Yarns is an online seminar I’ll be teaching with Interweave’s online learning platform, Craft University.  From October 3rd to October 21st, we’ll explore and learn the different factors that influence how yarn behaves: ply, weight & fiber.

How does this differ from Yarns 101?  Yarns 101 is 3 hours.  All About Yarns is 3 weeks.  We’ll be able to do things I wouldn’t be able to do in a workshop.  There will be further learning assignments, swatching and sampling, and the creating of yarn cards.

Take a look at some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • How to determine the weight and size of your yarn.
  • Discover how ply and yarn weight influence the final presentation of your colorwork or lace.
  • How to look at yarns to determine which ones is suited for which project.
  • Determine which yarns will be suited for high-wear items, and which yarns would be better for next-to-skin wearing.
  • Understand how fibers in yarns influence the final look, drape and sturdiness of your garment.
  • How to figure out what your “mystery yarns” are made of, and how best to use them in your projects.

I’d love to have you.  If you’re interested in the course, you can sign up for it here.  Come join me!

Bang out a Baby Sweater

Three months into becoming a mama, and I’m just starting to rediscover life outside of our immediate family.  I was talking to a close girlfriend the other day, and I was marveling at how everything changes and nothing changes.  It seems like each day the changes are so gradual that I don’t notice a difference, and then I look at pictures from a month or two months ago, and I realize just how far we’ve come.

The last time I talked about Little Turtle she was 5 weeks old and just growing out of the newborn clothing.  Now she’s solidly filling out 3 month old clothing, and a few of the smaller onesies are starting to get tight.  Her head control is pretty good now – she likes to follow people’s faces as they move around a room, and her eyes will flick back and forth as she listens to her parents speaking.

She likes to play the “reach and grab” game when you hold a toy in her arm range.  After she grabs things she hasn’t quite managed to figure out how to let go, so she’ll look pretty confused as she waves her prize around.  Last week she rolled over for the first, second, and third time from belly to back.  She hasn’t repeated the feat again.


My stitching mojo is slowly starting to come back.  Last month I taught two camps fiberarts camps, each a week long.  As the campers were working on their projects, I began to just work some simple garter stitch.  Didn’t do anything with it – just working on a swatch to demonstrate to my students.

Then, I was pulling together classes for Fibre Space this fall, and was looking for a new pattern to teach intarsia.  I found one I liked, bought the pattern, and began working a sample.  And all of a sudden, things came back to me.  Before I knew it, I was motoring away on a second version of the project, and I’m contemplating a third.  It’s a simple project that probably works up in about 4-5 hours… perfect for my attention span!  The pattern, titled Totally, his here.

Still, I had no interest in working on anything of my own.

 

Then, over the weekend we were at the farm. It was one of the first times I had some real downtime.  While both of the grandparents had come and visited before, I was running camps, completing errands I couldn’t do with Rebecca, and going to doctor’s appointments.  At the farm someone else was holding Rebecca, and I didn’t have any work, and I decided I was going to “bang out a baby sweater.”  I wasn’t going to worry about math, or a pattern, or being able to replicate things.  I just went for it.  I used a shirt that was just a little big on her for a template.

Little Turtle's Sweater

It doesn’t have a button yet for the neck.  And I think it’ll fit her for all of two weeks (well, maybe a bit more than two weeks, she is wearing it over a shirt and overalls right now).  The sleeves are a smidge snug.  But it was done in just over 24 hours.

It’s yoked, with random yarnovers in the yoke to provide shaping.  Short sleeves because I just wanted it done, and I didn’t want to calculate sleeve length.

Sometimes you just have to go for things.

Also, see those overalls?  Notice the turtles?  My mama made those, G-ma Turtle.  I think they’re amazing.

What have you been just going for lately?

Tink recognized as a word by the Oxford Online Dictionary

to undo a row of knitting one stitch at a time

to undo a row of knitting one stitch at a time

Particularly relevant to my business name comes a little bit of news: The Oxford Online Dictionary has added the word Tink.  Cited as a verb describing the action of “Undo[ing] a row of knitting one stitch at a time, in order to correct a mistake,” most knitters will be familiar with the word.

Tinking Turtle, my own business name, came about as Mr. Turtle and I were having fun with puns at a restaurant years before I was thinking of a business name.

It’s nice to see a knitting term make it into common usage!

Easing back into the Business

Hello All!27200594310_5a0974d315

I guess it’s been a while, and I thank you all for your patience as I’ve been easing back into the business.

First, a couple of business notes: if you’ve contacted me about finishing or repair work in the last while, you were put on a waiting list.  I’ll be contacting people in the order they were put on the list starting next week.  If you haven’t heard from me by the end of the month, please reach out, as something may have happened.

I’m trying to get back to all the emails by the end of next week, too.  If you haven’t heard from me by then, reach out again, please!


And now onto what everyone really wants to know about: Little Turtle.

Rebecca Belle Raymond was born in our home on June 1st.  We had a smooth, if long labor.  In the following weeks we had family descend upon the household, acting as pinch-hitters so Mr. Turtle and I could catch up on sleep.  God bless 27821484376_3bab44c23dgrandparents!

Now, five weeks later Little Turtle is two pounds heavier.  She’s gone from swimming in our newborn outfits and diapers to busting at the seams.  On a good night we’ll get a four hour stretch of sleep – pure bliss.

When home more often than not she hangs out in one of the many cloth diapers my mother has made for her. I’m so fortunate that I have a seamstress that wants to sew for my child!  I’m beginning to have fun playing with her outfits as she grows out of the few newborn pieces we have and into the plethora of 3-month clothes we have.

As Mr. Turtle will note, right now she’s just beginning to ease out of the boring-potato stage.  Now she’s beginning to smile in response to things around her, and beginning to stay awake for longer periods of time during the day.  She pees like a racehorse, though!

As for the projects I’m working on… I’ve been taking a step to the side to make progress on a number of sewing things.  I have a surprise quilt for someone I can’t talk about yet, and a number of scrappy quilts that I’m hoping to make for beds in the house.  I haven’t touched my yarn in just over a month, and it seems like it was a much-needed break.  Part of it was because Rebecca seemed to suck up all the energy I had for really thinking.  Sewing, especially sewing straight seems like I was doing, was so much more straightforward!

Still, I’ve got a few projects coming up in the next few months, so stay tuned!