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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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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!

All the Handknits!

I’ve had a number of people asking me if I’ve knit a lot of things for Little Turtle, or if I was planning to.  Truth is, other than my Shamrock Dress, there hasn’t been much knitting on my behalf for the baby.

I’m fortunate, though, in that I have a community around me of crafty people who do knit and crochet, and have made our future child some lovely gifts.  I thought I’d share a few of them!

The first one has a bit of a story – I’m part of a stitching group that meets in Ashland every Monday night.  They’re a great group of ladies, and it’s always one of the highlights of my week getting to meet and catch up with them.  On Monday evening I walked into the room, running slightly late, to a big surprise.

There was cake and decorations, and , much to my unexpected joy, was a gift beyond words.  The ladies of the group had made Little Turtle a blanket – squares filled with elephants and bunnies, trains and boats, flowers and butterflies.  It was an amazing show of joy and anticipation and love.

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I’m finding that it is more than a little humbling to have someone craft for you.  When someone makes you a blanket or a community makes you an object, I know how much it means.  I know how much time goes into working on something, I know how much thought and work goes into each motion.  The person carries that item around with them for weeks, snatching time between other tasks, in the evening before bed or while waiting in the car.  There’s a message that you’re worth that time to them – you’re worth the effort of setting aside those minutes to make something for you.

I have another friend, who’ll I just call L (since I don’t have permission to use her full name), who I’ve known for the last 5 years.  We struggle with some of the same faults in our personalities – we can both sometimes have trouble with boundaries and we’ve struggled with our weight.  She’s a big spinner and knitter, and when we get together it’s like we’re both 5 years old again.  She also knit a blanket for Little Turtle.

Her blanket is different than the first blanket as night and day.  For one, this is made by one knitter’s hands.  It’s a wool and cashmere blend, as light as a feather and softer than my cats.  I’ve picked it up and held it to my face multiple times.  It’s knit in fine, fine yarn.  It’s also one of the reasons I tell people not to discount garter as being elegant.  Many people associate garter stitch as being more rustic, and perhaps even a little basic.  I can understand why as it’s often used in sturdy garments and in baby wear.

But here the lace is as fine as the yarn, subtle and stunning.  The yarn actually shares a name with L’s dog, Gracie.  The colors are subtle and more mature.  This blanket isn’t in a yarn that’s superwash, that’s meant to be thrown in the laundry when it has spit-up on it.  This is a christening blanket, that then becomes the nursing blanket you bring to church or synagog.  Later it may become a shawl or a treasured heirloom for the child.  Still, the message is the same: I thought of you and your child.  Here are my prayers and well wishes, my hope for the new life to come.

Again, so humbling.

The next two blankets are also from close friends.

This blanket was made by my workout buddy and altogether closest friend in the Richmond area, Krista.  It’s made as a nod to Little Turtle’s nickname before we decided on her real name.  Mr. Turtle and I called the babe Kiwi, after one of the fruits she was the size of in the first trimester, and somehow it stuck. (It may well also be because of how many kiwi’s I’ve eaten over the course of this pregnancy).  This is a rough-and-tumble blanket, made from a sturdy knit stitch with a fun little border.  It’s cotton, easily washable and it holds up to wear and tear.  This is the blanket for taking outside (grass stains will blend in!) and throwing into the car.  Krista, working with kids, knows the type of blanket needed for an active child, which is what I’m sure Little Turtle will be!

The last one is from my high-school friend Jess, who is also expecting a baby.  Her knit ripple blanket seems like the end of a perfect quintet – this is a blanket meant for snuggling under on cold winter day, the ripples and texture providing extra warmth.  Almost the same size as the blanket from my knitting group, it’s knitted in a worsted yarn, so is a little thicker and sturdier – the difference between spring and true winter.  I love the vibrant purples!

 

Project Updates

I’ve been struggling with all the rain we’ve been getting in Virginia the last week.  It’s made me want to hole up inside, forget my work, and knit/crochet to a good series of audiobooks.  Ever have those weeks?

This weekend ended up being like a breath of fresh air – the weather was warm and favorable, and we were able to tackle some projects we’d been wanting to get to before Little Turtle arrived.  Little Turtle, thankfully, was accommodating.

As I’m wrapping up projects left and right before Little Turtle comes, it’s given me some breathing room to tackle some personal knitting projects that had stalled.  It’s also given me a bit of breathing room to begin dreaming again – projects and ideas I’ve been wanting to tackle, yarn that needs to be used, and things that have been resting in the back of my mind that needed to come out.

Rosemary and Bay

I finally finished the small touches on my own, personal Rosemary & Bay.  I started it shortly after St. Patrick’s day, so it has a bit of an Irish theme.  Which is OK with me – my father’s family being Boston Irish, I figure I’m entitled to dressing Little Turtle in Shamrocks on more than just the holiday.  The small Shamrock was duplicate stitched after finishing the dress.

 

Wooden Buttons

It still needs a good ribbon for the center – debating if I want to do a shade of green, white, or something completely different.  I added two little wooden buttons for the back closure.  I actually turned the buttons around so the backside is facing outwards: I like this side better!

 

Coming off of Unwind I’d had a number of samples I’d started for classes.  I normally try and have something to use to demonstrate on (even if I’m just as prone to “stealing” student’s projects).  That way, if someone needs to practice a skill before working on their own piece, there’s one available.  Still, after the weekend I had a yen to finish the pieces, rather than just ripping them out and returning the yarn to the pile.  A week later, and I find I’m richer two sets of pulsvarmers and a half-finished cowl – pictures to come!

What have you been working on?

 

Ravelry 101: Tomorrow!

Tomorrow afternoon at 1pm EST I’ll be teaching Ravelry 101 thru Interweave’s Craft U platform.  I’m very excited!  It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to teach this class, and I love being able to use Interweave’s electronic teaching to reach students I normally don’t get to teach.

You might wonder how this class fits into my normal lineup, as most of my classes are knitting and crochet related.  Ravelry is a knitting and crochet-focused website with more than 6 million users.  While it isn’t a technique that will make your knitting shine, or challenge your crochet skills, it will teach you how to make the most out of this valuable website.  I use Ravelry daily – to find patterns, connect with other crafters, answer questions about my patterns, and learn more about yarn.  When I have a question about nearly anything, I can go to Ravelry to get my answers.

You might also wonder how this class is different than the one I taught a few years ago thru Interweave.  Well, to be frank, technology is changing all the time, and the class that I taught before isn’t completely up-to-date.  I found that I had new tips, new perspectives, and new techniques to share.  Ravelry had rolled out new functionality, and I thought it was valuable enough to update!

Want to sign up for the course?  I’d love to have you!  Enroll now: https://www.craftonlineuniversity.com/courses/ravelry-101.

Unwind Recap

This past weekend a number of wonderful coincidences coalesced into the amazing experience of teaching at Unwind Retreat, 20160430_7695in Blowing Rock, NC.  Friday morning Mr. Turtle and I packed up the car and made our way (leisurely) to Blowing Rock.  We took back roads, ate at a hole-in-the-wall barbeque place (much to Michael’s delight), and pulled into the hotel around 4 in the afternoon.

The trip was not made without nervousness.  I had scheduled the retreat long before we knew that Little Turtle was coming.  One of my first questions to my Midwife was her feeling about us traveling 4-ish weeks before due date: was it feasible, smart, and physically okay?  About a month later I contacted the organizers of Unwind, asking if it’d be OK if I brought Michael with me, and informing them about the situation.  But really, there wasn’t much that we could do – as first-time parents, we had no clue how I’d handle the ending of pregnancy – if I’d have the energy or ability.  But I SO wanted to teach at Unwind – the retreat had an excellent reputation, the location was supposed to be amazing, and I love working with students.

So we made it work.  I prepped as much as I could beforehand.  Michael was coming to take many of the stressors off of me – I could focus on teaching, and not worrying about getting my materials from car to hotel room to classroom.  Having him drive would take much of the physical pressure off.

The weekend itself was amazing.  There’s that moment when you enter a large group of people you don’t know, where you get nervous.  But then I remembered why I love events like this – I may not know every person there, but we had something in common: a deep and abiding love of yarn.  Where the question “What are you working on?” always has an interesting answer.  Where everyone had a “knitting story.”

Nancy and Sue, the organizers of Unwind do an amazing job making the weekend feel intimate and open.  Events are booked with room to “breathe.”  There’s a two-hour break for lunch, another break after the last classes before dinner.  Everyone, even the instructors, have one period where they aren’t teaching/taking a class.  It allows people the time and space to truly Unwind – be that hanging out on the porch knitting, going shopping in town, or taking a nap.

While there are many highlights from the weekend, I thought I’d share just one:

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On Saturday night, Michael and I got to set up a table after dinner to show off projects being done at the classes, sell kits, and give people a sneak peek at some upcoming patterns.  I got to show off a giant replica of my logo that my mother and sister sewed for Little Turtle.

Unwind in Blowing Rock, NC

A little later this morning Mr. Turtle and I are jumping into the Subaru and heading to his birth state, North Carolina.  There we’ll be turning and heading west, across the state to the town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina.  There, a number of other knitters will converge for Unwind Getaway, run by the amazing Nancy Schroyer.  I’m one of four instructors who will be running a stellar lineup of classes, and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ve spent the last two days unpacking and re-packing my teaching supplies.  Unpacking, because my office has been one of the last bastions of the move, and there were a bunch of boxes I hadn’t even opened yet.  Repacking, as I pulled together my supplies, materials, swatches and samples for the classes.

There was a run to the library to print off copies of patterns and worksheets, since our printer is only printing black ink, and then only badly.  There was the evening scramble and I tripled-checked: yes I really do have everything. Sleeping the night before I travel for classes is always interesting!

Peake decided we really, really didn’t need to leave. And if we insisted, then he was coming with us.

I’m so excited to head out!