Show Notes from the Last Few Weeks

Aboard a cruise ship, sailing with Mr. Turtle, my parents and his parents.  It’ll be our second (third? – depends on how you count it) vacation together.  It’s all part of Mr. Turtle’s and my project to integrate our families.  You see, Michael’s grandparents didn’t get along, and he can’t remember a time when they were both in the same room.  In contrast, my grandparents were good friends, and I can remember many holidays, visits and trips where my family and grandparents were all in tow.

It was a perfect arrangement, really.  With 4 Crowley grandchildren and 4 grandparents, it was glorious to get some really good one-on-one grandparent love.  I want that for my family, so Mr. Turtle and I have been trying to create situations where our parents, who live pretty far away, can spend time together.


Which actually wasn’t what I was planning on writing about.

I was planning on writing about my missing sock.  You see, about a month ago I finished a pair of socks, for myself, that I’ve been wanting to finish for a while.

This is a really poor picture of the sock, but I didn't even get to take a picture of them!

This is a really poor picture of the sock, but I didn’t even get to take a picture of them!

I was pretty excited about them, so I wore them nearly for three days straight, washed them, and wore them once more.

And now one of the socks are missing.

The kicker is, the sock is somewhere in my house.  I figured, when we had company over this 4th of July, and were cleaning things, it’d turn up.  I wasn’t really concerned.

But now it’s after the 4th, the sock still hasn’t shown up, and I’m disappointed: I wanted to take them on the cruise with me.  No such luck.  I can’t find them anywhere, darn-it!

Have you ever lost a knitting or crochet item?  Did you find it again? After how long?  I’m really starting to get bummed about this missing sock.

Now available: Make a Crochet Rug Using Piping Cord and Crochet Motifs!

Matryoshka Baskets from Crochet World

I’ve been really enjoying playing with padded crochet lately, if you haven’t noticed.  Last year with Crochet World I published the Matryoshka Baskets, and this past week my Rag-ety Rug came out.  Now, this week I have another wonderful piece of news to share with you!

Remember how a couple of months ago I talked about filming classes with Interweave?  Well, the first of them are out, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Let me tell you about the class.

Titled Make a Crochet Rug Using Piping Cord and Crochet Motifs with Jennifer Raymond, this class covers all you’d need to know in order to make Stained Glass Rug.  While the pattern by itself stands alone, you do need a basic understanding of padded crochet to make the project work.

With my online class, not only do I show you the basics of padded crochet, but I also show you all my tricks I developed and learned while making the rug.  You’ll learn the best ways of finishing off your cord, the easiest ways to join the motifs, and how to adapt the pattern for other purposes.

Make a Crochet Rug Using Piping Cord and Crochet Motifs

Make a Crochet Rug Using Piping Cord and Crochet Motifs

As I mentioned before, this class focuses around Stained Glass Rug, which was featured on KDTV’s episode 1409. I love this pattern.  It’s infinitely customizable, as you can make the rug as large or small as you want it.  The padded crochet makes the rug both cushy under the feet, durable, and the project works up really fast!  There’s plenty of room for color play, in the form of using up scraps, creating color blocks, or making magic balls to use.  And I love how, just worked in the yarn I used for the original project, each piece looks a little bit like the stained glass you see in churches.

Make a Crochet Rug Using Piping Cord and Crochet Motifs with Jennifer Raymond is available for pre-ordering as a DVD, or you can download it right now onto your computer.

You should checkout the preview:

Have you ever worked padded crochet? What do you think of the preview?

Finishing and Beginning

Tech edits on Trains

Right now I’m on the Acela heading from Washington, DC to Boston.  As per Mr. Turtle’s dream, we’re riding first class, and living the life for a long weekend.  We’re on vacation, and I couldn’t be happier.  It’s been much needed.

This has been the week of finishing, and I mean that in more than one way.

It’s been the week of finishing the last tasks for my new website: set to launch next Wednesday, right before TNNA.  I’ve been getting the Cultivar team the last of the copy, figuring out where testimonials will go, sorting through pictures, and making sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed (which, by the way, has become a saying that makes no sense to my brother, who grew-up in the land of typing but no cursive).

It’s been the week of wrapping up finishing and repair projects too: a pair of mittens with the thumbs worn out, a black sweater that needed the seams redone, a sweater & bootie combo that were adorable and needed to be seamed and blocked.  I wanted to get them all off, as my guest bedroom is being taken over by finishing projects.  Now, I just have three afghans in need of repair – which will be fun, as they are all quite of a size.  And then there’s one small and delicate christmas stocking, which is more holes than solid fabric, but much loved.

I’ve been finishing up tidying the house: there’s so many things that aren’t in their proper places.  Yarn’s everywhere the cat’s can’t get to.  I’ve got “body parts” everywhere: my father gave me a whole bunch of display pieces and they were immediately conscripted into work.

I’ve finished with 14 patterns since the beginning of the year – that’s just about the same number of patterns I published last year, total.  We’re wrapping up on tech edits now on most of the patterns… thank goodness!  I’ve got the pleasure of working with some amazing minds to make patterns the best they can be, but it’s still hard bopping between one pattern and the next to make sure everything is as perfect as it can be.

After TNNA (next weekend, and I’m so excited!) I’ll be gearing up for the summer season: which means getting ready for the camps and for the fall.  If you have or know a kid in the DC area looking for some really great craft based camps, you should check out the listing of camps here.

Catching Up – and a little bit of Gardening

After threatening rain all day, it’s finally started.  This Monday’s been a slow one, as I’m getting my momentum moving after a week of being a little slow and lazy.

I’ve spoken before about how I’ve been going, going, going since January, and this last week I finally took a break.  Oh, I didn’t stop working, but I went nearly a week with only doing a minimum of crocheting or knitting.  It was necessary on a few different levels; creatively and physically I needed a break.

So I’ve been trying to tidy up the mess that has become our home, as I’m slowly sucking in the clutter that has taken over… well, any space that Mr. Turtle would let me.  It’s not done by a long shot, but I’ve been given a deadline: put it away before TNNA, or it won’t be there when I come back.  *grins* I think it’s more than fair.

I’ve also been working with Cultivar Designs on the new website.  Two weeks ago I was feeling very grim about the project: it felt like I’d been having meeting after meeting with the Cultivar team, and nothing was showing for the work.  Now, that has nothing to do with Cultivar, and everything to do with my mood two weeks ago. Now, this last week I got to the the beginnings of the developed site (dev site), and I can finally see where this whole project is going.

I’ve also been working on the garden this spring.

Columbine Seedlings, along with some other fun plants.

(You remember the garden?  The woefully neglected one?  And then my knitting friends gave me plants, and I moved things around, and it was a little better, but then then weeds took over?)

Well, a lot has happened since then.  I may have lost my head at one time and bought 150 bulbs from Costco.  And then I started about 50 Columbine plants from seed… because I could, and I was worried that they wouldn’t grow.

In order to facilitate getting the plants in the ground, Mr. Turtle and I had a “garden party” which involved getting our friends over, bullying them into helping get vegetable plants in the ground and the garden mulched, feeding everyone cookout food, and then sending them home with their own seedlings to plant.  It worked out rather well, and the veggie garden is coming along a lot nicer than last year, already.

The peas in particular are pretty happy.

I’m trying out sheet mulching – a method for reducing weeds in garden beds that have been long neglected (which could easily describe the gardens at the house we’re renting).  I’ve been putting down cardboard and then putting down wood mulch on top.  Since we’re on a budget, the wood mulch is coming from the local dump.  The locals I’ve talked to have different opinions on the much.  Some say that it’s pretty “dirty and seedy” – in that the much is made of a lot of different types of wood, and sometimes contains plastic and other bits.  Others said that if you dig into the pile (where the much heats up), you can get much that’s less contaminated.  We’re going to give it a try, seeing as I don’t think it can be very much worse than what I’ve got already.

This would be the flower bed last year (you can orient by that purple flower in the middle)
And this would be the same bed, with the same purple flower, this year, looking more happy.

Unfortunately, even with all the cardboard I saved up over the winter, I’m running out.  But… again, knitters come to the rescue – a call out to my knitting friends, and I’ve been picking up and finding cardboard on my front porch all weekend.  Two more trips, I think, and things will be good.

What have you been working on, outside of stitching?

Follow-ups and a few other details, including a new LYS I’ll be teaching at!

Wow, I’ve gotten a lot of responses to my previous post  – I appreciate the support, emails, and congrats!

I wanted to talk a little bit more about the process of filming with Interweave, since I’ve gotten a fair amount of questions about it.

One of the biggest questions I got was: how did you manage to film four classes in two days?

First, Interweave’s got a great team that make the filming process smooth and intuitive.  They were a huge help in making sure everything went smoothly.  Having worked backstage more than once, I have a little bit of an idea of what goes on to prepare for a shoot.  The second biggest thing that makes a difference when filming the classes is the preparation I did before we even began filming.

When I began packing for CO, all of my clothes went into my checked luggage.  The luggage I carried with me, and refused to surrender?  Was filled with something called “step-outs.”

What are step-outs, you might ask?  Think of nearly any cooking show you’ve ever seen.  That moment, when the host puts an uncooked cake in the oven, and the next moment pulls out the finished product?  I bet you wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the entire filming crew isn’t waiting around for the cake to bake.  The host, team, or someone has baked a cake beforehand, to enable the host to go onto the next step.

When preparing for the filming, I did something similar.

The last two weeks have been a flurry of working the same project over and over, each time working one “step” further.  When we’re filming, I simply grab the project that’s on the next step, allowing me to skip ahead.  Each of these unfinished projects is called a step-out, and they’re an important part of making a film class run smoothly.

Different people manage their step outs different ways.  Each of mine went into a separate plastic bag, labeled with it’s order, and with a few different “hints” to remind me why I created the step out, and what it was supposed to be used for.  They then all went on a tray, where I could grab them in between takes.

These were the ones for the barber pole cowl, along with my notes.
Using step-outs for class isn’t anything new: I often create similar things for my workshops.  Still, having to have all the step outs for for classes has consumed most of my time for the last two weeks.  And I have to admit it wasn’t even very absorbing work: basically, I did the same project over and over, each time going onto the next step.
Even if I love a design, the process became boring.
Still, it meant on filming day, I could grab and go, use the step-out, and move onto the next step.  It also means that now that I’m back, I’m having to sort through everything that I tossed into my luggage at the end of the day.
Which kind of is a metaphor for how I’ve been conducting my life for the last two months.
I’m taking some time now to step back.  In a month I leave for TNNA, and there’s some larger-picture goals I have for the show this year.  Meanwhile, I have two guest bedrooms, and office, and other spaces around the house that have become a disaster.  I’ve went two steps beyond “I can’t find anything,” and have launched myself into “I must leap over the piles to get to anything.”
As Mr. Turtle has reminded me, the floor should not be used for a shelf.
So the next two weeks are going to be devoted unpacking, organizing and getting back into the normal Tinking Turtle grove.  If you haven’t heard from me, chances are your email is lurking in the bottom of my inbox – please be patient.

In other news, I’m adding a LYS to my teaching roster: Untangled Purls, in Fredericksburg, VA.  I’ve added the class offerings to my calendar – take a look.

Finally, I’ve been working the last few months with the Cultivar Design team to create a new Tinking Turtle website.  It was time, and I’ve been saving up for this endeavor for a while.  In the next couple of weeks you’ll be hearing and seeing some changes – and hopefully the result being a website where you can find out what you need a little bit faster.

One of the things I’m looking forward to is an updated calendar, which I’m absolutely excited and thrilled to have… since the google calendar I use now does the job, but not elegantly, and it’s really hard to add pictures.  You should, with the new calendar, be able to be able to see where classes are located a little bit better.

Adventures in Colorado: Filming with Interweave

Today I’m in Fort Collins, CO, and the looming sight of the Rockies dominates the skyline every-time I go outside.  The air is dryer than I’m used to, and I’m sucking back more water than I expected, and I actually used moisturizer on my face and hands – something I nearly never do.

Some of you may be wondering why I’m hanging at the base of the Rockies instead of tucked away in my home in Ashland, and you’d be right in wondering why I’m here – it has been a while since I wrote.  These two days, today and tomorrow, are the culmination of a crazy two three four months of work – 15 patterns designed and a full roster of teaching in the Spring Fiber Festival circuit.  That’s all capped off this week, where I’m filming four different classes for Interweave’s Online store.

Some of the classes I’m teaching are based around patterns you may be familiar with –  Stained Glass Rug, or Barberpole Cowl.  Some of the classes are based around projects that are due to come out this Fall.  They’re all about crochet.  All of them are on techniques I’m super passionate about: padded crochet, stranded crochet, crochet through the back loop, crochet short rows, and broomstick crochet.  Interweave’s crew has been awesome, and working with them has been such fun.  I’ve always loved the people who are drawn to “backstage” work, and the group at Interweave are great at putting people at ease and making the whole process fun.

Which isn’t to say I got back to my room and promptly zoned out for an hour.  Teaching in front of a camera is hard.  When you teach to a classroom at a fiber festival or shop, there’s an energy and flow that feeds back upon you.  When you get a great class, it’s energizing to teach them.

There’s none of that in film, but you still have to put out the same amount of energy.

Tomorrow we have two more classes to film, and I can’t be more excited!  I promise I’ll update you with more, but drop me a note – it’s been awhile since I’ve heard from people, and I’d love to hear your questions or have you tell me what’s going on!

Housekeeping: Teaching and Patterns!

In a note that will surprise nobody, I’ve been rather busy lately.  Some great things are in the works, but I’ve had to be very careful budgeting my time, and (as normal) the blog is one of the first things to go.  But I wanted to share a few updates:

Teaching this Spring
I’m teaching at a variety of venues this spring, and wanted to highlight a few.  Click on the links for more details.
3/28 Fixing Knitting Mistakes at Woolwinders in Rockville, MD
3/29 Finishing Essentials at Fibre Space in Alexandria, VA
3/29 Padded Crochet Baskets at Fibre Space in Alexandria, VA
3/29 Duplicate Stitch Cup Cozy at Fibre Space in Alexandria, VA
4/10 Duct Tape Dress Forms at Carolina FiberFest in Sanford, NC
4/10 Crochet with Beads at Carolina FiberFest in Sanford, NC
4/11 Heels, Heels and more Heels at Carolina FiberFest in Sanford, NC
4/25 Oops! at Powhatan’s Festival of Fiber Powhatan, VA

If you’re thinking of attending these classes, signup as soon as you can!  As you know, teaching is one of the big ways that I’m able to do this fulltime, so if you love my classes and want to see more of them, having you signup and take my classes is a great way for both of us to benefit!  I also love to see repeat students – it always makes my day!

New Patterns
I’ve got two new patterns that came out with the April issue of Crochet!.  I know it’s not April: Annie’s magazines are released well before their “official” date, so they can get to stores in time.  The two designs are:

A fun and flirty cloche style hat, this is a project you could work up in a weekend.  And accessible to beginners, the main stitches are chains and single crochets.  If you can count, you can make this hat.
Worked in the same style as the hat, this bag is also accessible to beginners!  A cute and fun clutch, suitable for spring, it gets its shaping for the short row wedges worked in contrasting colors.  This pattern was also featured as an insert in the cover!
Both Points of Interest and City Girl can be bought at almost any of the big box craft stores: Michael’s, JoAnne’s, etc, as well as bookstores and online.  I’d love to hear about what you think of these patterns!

Guess what I saw while watching Muppet Treasure Island?

I have a habit of watching movies with an eye for knitting or crochet.  Each time the ladies in Orange is the New Black talk about crochet, I’m all over it.  And when we were watching Muppet Treasure Island the other night, I couldn’t help but notice this:

Scene from Muppet treasure island has one of the muppets knitting a pirate flag: the skull and crossbones

Do you see that, to the left?

Yes, one of the muppets on the ship is knitting their pirate flag, and to all appearances, it looks like Intarsia!  Not only that, but it looks like those needles have to be at least 18″ long: that’s a huge flag.  Imagine having to knit that prop for the scene.  I wonder who made it.

I happen to love all the visual gags that are in the muppet movies, but I’ve never seen a knitting one before.

Crocheted Tea Cozy: a quick personal project.

Nance last week in her interview made an interesting point about drinking tea.  She said, “Tea is also essential for knitting/my design process.”  I’ve been thinking about the connection between hot beverages and yarn-work: Kate also mentioned that she drinks a lot of coffee.  The Yarn Harlot’s blog is rife with pictures of tea and coffee.

Which shouldn’t surprise me.  Three out of five mornings from early fall to late spring, I have a pot of tea on my desk next to me.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a computer morning, or a stitching morning, chances are it’s there.  My husband knows on mornings when I’m particularly slow to get going that a hot cup of strong Assam will get me going; in the evenings it’s a smooth Rooibos to finish off a meal.

Which is why last week I buckled down and I made myself a new tea cozy.  A few years ago, I had the perfect teapot: one my husband had gotten from his grandmother.  It had a lovely infuser, and held a lot of tea.  It was a very pleasing shape, and best of all, it had a copper insulated tea cozy that went over it, and it’d keep the tea hot for hours.  Practically the entire morning.

And then then cats broke it.  Knocked the pot off the table, and it smashed to pieces.  The copper insulated tea cozy didn’t break, but it was useless – unable to fit over any other pot.  Only now, three years later, was I able to say goodbye to it, at heavy pressure from Michael.

So it was time for a new tea cozy, something to pick up the slack.  I have a perfectly lovely tea cozy for the pot at the farm, and I love how long my tea lasts inside it (now if I could only find an infuser that fits a non-standard pot).  It was time to make a tea cozy for my favorite pot at home.

So two weeks ago, when we were at the farm, I set out to crochet myself one.  I had a few criteria: that it be quick, that it work well with the style of pot I had, and that I could spend no more than 2 hours on it.  The time limit was because I had a lot of other knitting/crocheting to get done that weekend, and I couldn’t afford to be indulgent in time.

I’m pleased with the results.

The cover opens so I can put my infuser in and take the top off without removing the cover.
I can keep the top open while the tea is steeping.
And because I’m terrible at pouring tea, I can take the whole thing off easily to wash it. (I used machine washable wool.)  I’m not exactly pleased with how the top comes to a trident shape – I’d intended for it to be smoother, but since it was quick and a prototype, I didn’t allow myself much ripping back.  The only thing I might change is to do a trim along the bottom – right now the bottom doesn’t fit quite a closely to the pot as I’d like.
Still, it does it’s job keeping the tea warm – which was the intention!

5 Questions for Rachel Coopey

Welcome to the last day of or week of 5: 5 designers, 5 interviews, 5 designs, all to celebrate the newest issue of Sockupied, now out in an easy-to-download PDF.  If you’ve missed the previous days, let me catch you up: Monday was Amy Palmer, Tuesday Kate Atherley, Wednesday M.K. Nance, and Thursday Mone Drager.  A point of housekeeping: the contest will run through the weekend, with winners announced next week.

© Sockupied/Harper Point

Today we have Rachel Coopey, author of three books: Toasty, Socks, Socks Vol. 2, and A Knitted Sock Society.  If you think Kate Atherley designed a lot of socks, think again: of Rachel’s 195 published designs, 148 of them are sock patterns – a whopping 75%.  Rachel’s socks are serious business: she favors the Heel Flap over any other heel style.  This isn’t the first time Rachel and I have been in Sockupied together – we were in last year’s Spring Sockupied too!  I interviewed her then – almost exactly a year ago!  This year in Sockupied, Rachel’s Laith Socks feature a stitch pattern that moves from one foot to the other – creating a fun set of fraternal twin socks.

If you were to describe your socks as an animal, what would it be? Why?
Rachel: Something warm, maybe a bear? Something that symbolises how much we need hand-knitted socks in the current freezing weather!

You’ve created a lot of sock patterns.  Do you ever come up with an idea, or sketch out a theme just to realize that you’ve already created something similar?  How do you keep your designs fresh?
Rachel: No, I don’t think so. I mean socks are similar in that they are mostly the same shape but there’s an endless combination of stitches and fabric techniques. When I do think I can’t design anything new I suppose I’ll stop but I don’t think that will be soon!

All of the designers were working on socks during the Summer of 2014.  What else were you working on or thinking of as you created your pattern?
Rachel: I was pretty busy working on my new book, Coop Knits Socks Volume 2, I was knitting samples and writing patterns, we had lovely weather this summer so I mostly worked in the garden, it was pretty nice! I also attend a lot of Fibre events and shows and last summer was particularly hectic, I was at Woolfest, Unwind Brighton and Fibre East in the space of 4 weeks so that was fun but exhausting!

Did you run into any problems or challenges when you were working on designing the socks or writing the pattern?  What was your favorite part of creating Laith?
Rachel: They flew off the needles with no problems, I love working with Opal yarn, it’s one of my absolute all-time favourite sock yarns and the colour was great. I love designing non-identcal socks, ones that don’t exactly match across the pair but are strongly related – sometimes called fraternal socks. I think it really helps with second-sock-syndrome and keeps things interesting.

What are 3-5 things you are loving lately?
Rachel: The Robert Galbrath books – I love a good mystery and these didn’t disappoint me.

The new Bjork album and TV series Fortitude – are intensifying my already intense desire to visit Iceland. (Fortitude is set in Svalbard but filmed in Iceland). I have a husband who is all but allergic to the cold weather so I suspect my adventure there may be alone.

The new Arne & Carlos Regia sock yarns – these are great self patterning yarns in interesting colours, they are selling out everywhere though so if you see them you should snap them up before they disappear!

© Sockupied/Harper Point

This week’s just a week of interviews for Rachel – in addition to Laith Socks, Rachel has an interview in Sockupied by Rachel Atkinson!  Learn Rachel’s favorite shoes, her favorite knitting drinks,
knitting tips and more!

Rachel’s socks are done in Zwerger Garn’s Opal Uni Solid.  As part of the contest, Opal’s distributor in the US, Unicorn Books & Crafts has generously offered up a skein of Opal Uni to go with our issue of Sockupied!

To enter the contest, use the Rafflecopter widget below!  You can enter the contest multiple times by doing different things – so have fun with it.  We will have three winners to the drawing, be sure to scroll through and see all the great prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway