Classes with Tinking Turtle

Golly, we’ve got a lot going on at the Turtle-Wrangling Ranch!  It must be spring, as my class schedule is picking up as I teach at Fiber Festivals and local venues.  Check out some of the highlights:

wp-1489607241853.jpegDances With Wool is located southwest of Richmond, VA in Midlothian.  I’ve got a bunch of classes I’ll be teaching there in the next few weeks:

  • Ravelry 101 (March 18) – Learn how to use the ever popular Ravelry website!
  • Stripes Three Ways (March 18) – We’ll cover three different types of colorwork, with a fun little twist!
  • Finishing Essentials (March 18) – This class is a must-take if you’re looking to learn to put a crochet or knit object together.

wp-1489607231169.pngFibre Space is one of my all-time favorite stores to teach in (partially because I love all the places to eat lunch in Alexandria… shhh!).

  • Padded Crochet (March 19) – I don’t teach this skill or this class often, so take it while it’s available!
  • Bind Offs (March 19) – We had such a great response to our Cast-Ons class, this one covers finishing your projects with intentional bind offs!

wp-1489607224330.jpegNext weekend I’ll be in North Carolina for the Carolina Fiber Fest. This’ll be my second time teaching at this fiber festival, and it’s at a new location!  I’ll be teaching:

  • Duct Tape Dress Forms – The first time I’ll be teaching it since my maternity leave – it was too hard on my body while pregnant.
  • Hairpin Lace Scarf in a Day – this crochet technique is great for quick projects!
  • Stripes Three Ways – This class is popular, and you’ll see why – it teaches some great colorwork techniques.


Stitch Adventure Sale at Dances with Wool

jennifer+Raymond+teachingI’ve talked a little bit about my new partnership with Dances With Wool, a yarn store just outside of Richmond, VA.  I’m super excited to be able to teach at this wonderful, vibrant new store.  It’s been a while since I’ve been able to teach weekly classes, and to develop many of the relationships that I loved when I taught at Woolwinders.

This week we’re running a sale on a particular type of class – our inaugural Stitch Adventure class.  What is Stitch Adventure?  It’s a class that gives you the benefits of a private lesson – flexibility and ability to cover a variety of topics, with the community aspect of a class.

Stitch Adventure classes can be a great way to tackle a new project that you need a little help on.  If you want to be held accountable to finishing a project up, we can do that.  And if you need help picking a project and finding the right yarn, the instructor is right there for you.  Each class you can bring in a new project – it doesn’t matter if it is knitting or crochet, since I can help you with both!

Right now the Stitch Adventure class is discounted 25% off – so sign up before we start on February 1st.  The class with run Wednesdays, Feb 1, 8, 15, 22  7-8 PM.

I’ll see you there!

News & Updates from Tinking Turtle

On Monday Mr. Turtle and I closed on a house we’ve been in the process of buying.  It seems like we’ve been in negotiations for months now.  Monday afternoon we signed the last of the paperwork, a large sum of money exchanged hands, and we got the keys to the house.  It’s official.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be moving our household from the house we rent to the house we own – over a distance just shy of seven miles.  We get to stay in an area we love.  We couldn’t be more pleased with our decision!

Next week I’ll try to get some pictures of the house and the property, but right now we’re busy with a number of tasks we want to get done before we move in… namely, some repairs, some tidying, and packing up our current household.  Big changes are afoot!


mattress stitch

Finishing: working the mattress stitch

Over the past weekend I was at Fibre Space teaching a full roster of classes.  It was a blast – some weekends you just luck out with the most amazing student.  It was the case of me being in the right mind-frame, all the students ready and prepared for the classes and… I think the fact that the store had rearranged the classrooms so there was noticeably more space.  Sometimes, when there were a lot of classes running in the store before, the noise and the room could get a mite bit squished.  With the way the store has been rearranged, the classrooms have more room to “breathe.”  It made a big difference.

I taught Finishing, and had a great group of students learn how to work the mattress stitch, weave in ends, and block like masters.  I also taught Ravelry 101 and Intarsia.

irish crochet motifs

Irish Crochet Motifs

But the class I’d been looking forward to teaching the most?  Irish Crochet.  A number of years ago I ran an Irish Crochet class that did well, but interest lagged and I wasn’t able to get another class off the ground.  Still, I pitched the class to Danielle and she thought it’d be a good idea to run it right before St. Patrick’s day.  It was a good decision.  I completely revamped the class, taking the best bits from the last time I did it and contextualizing it in a different manner.  This was definitely an unusual class: one part piratical hands-on reading charts and learning about Irish Crochet, one part how to read historical patterns, and one part planning and making Irish Crochet in the future.  the students were great, and the result was a class that blew me out of the water.

the Best Notions Box

the Best Notions Box

Meanwhile, one of my students brought to class the most epic notions box I’d ever had a pleasure to encounter.  Made by her husband from a fly fishing tackle box, it was amazing.  Above is the first side of the box, and below is the second side of the box.  Talk about a well-planned tool.

The other side of the best notions box

The other side of the best notions box

Mitts and Crochet: New Classes at Untangled Purls

Starting next week I’ve got a great lineup of Fall classes at Untangled Purls, in Fredericksburg, VA.  I’m looking forward to the opportunity to teach at Untangled Purls: Most of my classes for the last year (with the exception of my camps) have been workshop based – that is, one and done.

I’ve missed the camaraderie and relationship that builds with a class when you teach week after week: you get to know your students better, and you get to watch students progress in a way that is different than workshops.  I wanted to highlight two of the classes I’ll be teaching at Untangled Purls.

Photocredit: © Ambah O'Brien

Photocredit: © Ambah O’Brien

Beginning Stranded Knitting is based of of a wonderful pattern called Maroo Mitts by Ambah.  This is a great introductory project to stranded knitting, and I hope you might be able to join me!  Learn more about the class here.


Photocredit: Freshstitches

Photocredit: Freshstitches

Crochet Softies is based around four of Stacey Trock’s FreshStitches patterns: Kepler the Lion, Nelson the Owl, Flavia the Unicorn and Cliff the Brontosaurus.  I love these patterns because they’re a great next step for students who have learned how to crochet, but haven’t quite mastered reading a pattern or working in the round.  I have so much fun helping students create these fun stuffed animals: and they make perfect gifts!  You can find out more about the class here!

This Fall: Teaching at Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival

This will be my second year at this lovely and fun location, located in Central Virginia!  If you’ve never been to this fiber festival, it’s small and personable and has some great vendors, as well as classes.  I’ll be offering:Duct Tape Dress Form

Finishing Knitted Garments
Ooops! Repairing Your Knits
Make a Duct Tape Dress Form
Beginning Knit Repair
Crocheting with Beads

Click through to see more about the classes, as well as signup at the website.  Or just check out my new calendar – it’s a lot more spiffy, and it makes it easier to see classes!

New Classes Posted to the Calendar!

As I’m getting my schedule firmed up for the fall, I’m starting to slot dates in for my new classes!  I thought I’d highlight my classes at Fibre Space, this Fall.

Fibre Space

I love teaching at Fibre Space (which is located in Old Town Alexandria, VA), and I’ve got a few really great classes I’ll be teaching this fall.  Highlights include: Stained Glass Rug

Darn Those Knits
Stranded Crochet Cowl
Finishing Essentials
Intarsia Wrap
Ooops! Fixing Mistakes
Padded Crochet Rug

Tinking Turtle’s Summer Camps: Knitting, Crochet, Sewing and More!

young child learning to sew

Sewing with Next Step Needlecraft from Tinking Turtle Designs

It’s that time of year again: the weather is warming (despite all the rain we’ve had this week), and on my walk this morning, I found the first delicious blackberries.  It’s summertime – and it won’t be long now until school wraps up and those hot days will be around the corner.  It won’t be long until Tinking Turtle’s Craft Summer Camps start!

For me, this means a shift in Tinking Turtle’s focus: I’m beginning to get ready for the summer camps that I’ll be running.  They’re one of my favorite parts of the year.

You see, way back before Tinking Turtle was a name written on a piece of paper, before I’d even dreamed up my first pair of socks, I was a camp counselor at Chimney Corners Camp.  I’ve talked about CCC (as it’s known to campers and alumni alike) before: it’s the place where I met my longtime friend Becca, and where Mr. Turtle proposed to me.  CCC’s been a huge part of my development as a person – not only personally, but professionally as well.  CCC was the place I taught my first students: figuring out how to break down knitting, crochet, embroidery and cross stitch to campers aged eight to fourteen.  I was only about seventeen myself, and I had very little clue what I was doing, but I figured out.

Since then, I’ve continued to love working and crafting with children.  I worked as a nanny for many, many years, and last year I ran the camp String Theory through Montgomery College.  It was a hit and a blast, and this year I’m adding to the lineup with two new classes: Next Step Needlecraft and Knockout Punch Rug Needlework.  Let me tell you a bit about the classes:

String Theory is my flagship class, now in it’s second year.  It’s a variety introduction to needlework

young girls showing off their finished knit mitts

Finished knitted mitts from String Theory!

and crafting for both boys and girls ages 8-12.  Campers learn how to knit a fingerless mitts (or two!), sew and decorate a project bag, learn to process, card and spin fiber, and the basics of how to dye wool.  This year we’re offering three sessions: 7/20 – 7/24 from 1-4 pm, 7/27 – 7/31 from 1-4 pm, and 8/3 – 8/7 from 9 – 12 pm.  You can click on the links to find out more and signup!

Because we received such a great response to String Theory, we’ve added Next Step Needlecraft.  Intended for campers who loved String Theory and want to learn more, or for older students looking to learn some more interesting crafts, it’s a great next step.  Students learn how to crochet, how to spin yarn, the basics of needle felting, and how to create stunning punch rug pieces.  This class is meant to sink students’ teeth into needlecrafts you don’t get exposed to nearly anywhere else.  This year I’m offering two sessions: 7/20 – 7/24 from 9-12 pm, and 8/3 – 8/7 from 1-4 pm.


My last class: Knockout Punch Rug Needlework is a very focused class.  Unlike the other two camps which focus on variety, this one dials down into the art of rug making.  In this class students will have a lot more independence to learn, plan and execute one, if not two projects.  This class focuses on giving students the independence to decide and plan their own projects, and my help to make them a reality.  We’ve got just one session of this camp, so if it sounds like something your child would enjoy, make sure to sign up as soon as possible. Knockout Punch Rugs will run 7/27 – 7/31 from 9 – 12 pm.

Child learning to knit with multicolored yarn

Learning to Knit in String Theory

If you’re looking for a great crafting camp for the summer, these camps are for you.  Don’t have children of your own?  Tell your friends about these camps.  Teaching kids crafts improves dexterity, problem solving and creativity – and preserves these traditions for the next generation.

Let me know what you think about the camps – and what other crafts I should look at adding to the repertoire!

Hairpin Crochet Brainstorming, Fiber Festival Recap, News

I’ve got a cat on my lap and cannot move.  He is warm and purring up a storm.  This is one of the reasons I love the Fall –  my not-so-cuddly-cat (Peake) turns into a snugglebug come cold weather.  And unlike Watson, who will sit on your lap but demand you pet him the whole time until it gets REALLY annoying, Peake will just fall asleep on your lap, purr, and share his warmth.

I made a mistake on my last post – which wasn’t supposed to go live until later this month.  Three Square won’t be available until October 15th.  Sorry.  I’m going to leave the post up (because I imagine it’d be more confusing if I withdrew it and then put it back up), but if you’d like to be notified when it will be available, you can signup for the email newsletter here, and I’ll send out an email when the Knitting Boutique has it ready.

This last weekend I was all over teaching.  On Saturday I was teaching at Woolwinders and then speaking at the Kensington Creative Knitter’s Guild.  On Sunday I was at the Montpelier Sheepdog Trials and Fiber Festival, where I was teaching my wonderful Hairpin Lace Class.  To my shame, I got no pictures of the entire weekend.

I love teaching, and I love how I can teach the same class and have it be entirely different each time.  Sometimes I’ll have a class where everyone is REALLY motivated to learn the skill.  The energy is electric as people are concentrating and thinking. Sometimes I’ll have a class where the students will just click.  Life stories will be shared. By the end of the class everyone is good friends, trading contact information, and resolving to see each other again.  Sometimes I’ll have a class that’s really struggling with a concept, and then suddenly the lightbulb goes off for one person, and that person’s understanding will spread, until there’s a turn in the class and everyone suddenly “gets” it.

My last two Hairpin Lace classes have been amazing.  I make no bones about the fact that one of the reasons I teach hairpin lace is because I want to design more lace, and the only way I can do that is if I have a market for it.  In my last two classes I’ve had students walk away really motivated to do more hairpin, which I love.  Two weekends ago at SVFF, I had a student who came back the day after the class to show me the scarf nearly half done she was so excited.

This week at Montpelier, the last half hour of the class turned into a brainstorming session, with students imagining different uses for hairpin lace.  They were brainstorming ways to integrate it with knitting, talking about ways to shape it or connect it, and generally getting fired up about the technique.  It was wonderful.  It was amazing.  And I came home completely motivated and wanting to play with the hairpin lace more.

The center of the scrumble, an 8 pointed star.

Let me show you.

The last few evenings last week, instead of knitting or crocheting for work, I was fooling around with a cone of cotton & rayon thread I’d gotten several years ago.  It’s basically my version of scumbling/sketching, and I was crocheting just for the fun of the action, not to make anything in particular.  Oftentimes when I do this, my brain will disgorge something I didn’t even realize I was thinking about, and it will eventually become some sort of design idea.  But for now, I was just playing.  I decided I was going to try and add a little bit if everything I knew how to do, kinda like a sampler.

So last night I added a “row” of broomstick crochet.  And then I decided I was going to play around with a way of connecting hairpin lace strips to work that I hadn’t seen before.  I did the math, and I need to make a strip of 264 loops (that is, 264 loops on each side), and it’s in thread weight
cotton.  I don’t know what I was thinking (as in, it’s going to take a couple of nights).  BUT!  It’s going to be interesting.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

The 8-pointed star, with a round of broomstick crochet worked.  the hairpin lace loom, with the loops.  Each of the bunches is 50 loops on each side.  Still got another evening’s worth of work before it’s done.

Last night we opened up the house and turned off the air conditioning.  I left the fan on, and halfway through the night I awoke to turn the fan off; the air circulating through the house was cool enough.  In the wee hours of the morning I woke up again to pull the fleece blanket out over the sheet.  This morning, as I climbed on my bike, I wore long workout pants and a sweatshirt.

Tomorrow the morning will be warmer, and I doubt I’ll need the sweatshirt.  By Wednesday we’ll probably close up the house as the humidity and heat climbs.  But it’s happened – I’ve seen my first glimpse of Fall through the haze of summer.

I’ve talked before how I’ve always been an Autumn Girl.  The smell of hot cider and the curve of a pumpkin reside someplace to the left of my heart.  Halloween is anticipated with the same excitement of a birthday.

Maybe it has something to do with the weather cooling and the hand-knits coming out.  Maybe it has something to do with the start of school, the crisp feel of unlined paper, new school supplies, and a potential for learning.

This upcoming Fall has a special highlight – I’m teaching at Rhinebeck.  There’s so much to do before the date!  I’m working on class samples, and trying to squeeze in the time to make a Rhinebeck Sweater (
which, unfortunately is looking less and less likely).

Finish This: One of the Classes I’m teaching at Rhinebeck

I’m really excited because I’ve been dreaming of teaching at Rhinebeck for several years.  This is where you come in – if you’ve been thinking about taking a class, and haven’t decided yet – you really should!  Many of the classes I teach need to meet minimum enrollments – so if you wait unti
l the last minute you might miss out.  New York in the fall is simply beautiful, and many people I know are making a trip out of going to Rhinebeck, and taking some time to enjoy the Fall foliage!

You can signup here!

Some Small Notes and Housekeeping

I was speaking with my grandmother (who follows my blog, Hi Grandma!), and she told me I needed to put the dates with my post about The New England Fiber Festival.  She has a point.  The two classes I’m teaching, “Hairpin Lace Scarf in a Day” and “Crazy Mixed Up Slipped Stitches,” happen on November 2nd.  I hope to see you there!  More information about the classes is on The Big E Website.

A month or two ago, Sockupied returned my samples of Totem to me.  I put them away, thinking it would be good to keep the three socks nice, but today, in impulse, I had to get them out for something else, and I decided to wear them.  They feel amazing, though they were made for the model’s foot and not mine, so are a little roomy.  I’m hoping the first time I wash them they’ll tighten up a little.

I’ve a personal pattern that’s days away from being ready to be released.  If you are clever, you might be able to find some sneak peeks of it.  But because I’m nice, I’ll give you a little glimpse:

I’ve been engaged in a lively and enlightening chat on the Designers Forum of Ravelry.  You can find it here.  I’m thinking of writing a blog post to articulate some of my thoughts a little better.