MENU

Make Do and Mend: Recent Repair Projects

I’ve been working and plugging away at a number of repair projects, and while I’ve been posting them to Instagram, I thought I’d highlight a few here.  We’ve got one crochet piece and one knit piece.

The knit piece features a stocking that was hung over the fireplace with care – but was hung a little too close to the flames!

a christmas stocking with a hole burned through it

a christmas stocking with a hole burned through it

Not only did the warmth of the fire burn through the stocking, but it melted one of the stocking stuffers to the fabric, causing the bottle to leak all over the fibers.  It was a mess!

A side note: this is a really good reason to use wool when making anything that will get anywhere near heat – wool does not melt or burn like acrylic or cotton.

repaired christmas stocking ready to go back to its owners

repaired christmas stocking ready to go back to its owners

This stocking needed an overhaul – I pulled things out at the ankle and re-knit the foot.  I’m pretty pleases with the color matching – not perfect, but pretty close!


 

The other project I wrapped up was a crochet afghan that had developed a hole.  It was a nice diversion, since the last few repairs I’ve done of crochet afghans have been plain single crochet.

IMG_20170518_125831237

The first step was isolating the crochet stitches that were in danger of unraveling.  Because this pattern is a gathered stitch, things are a little more tricky – there isn’t a one-to-one ratio of stitches.

IMG_20170518_130232107

Then there’s the process of re-crocheting the area. I had a choice here: I didn’t have any of the blanket yarn I could harvest, so I could either use a closely matching yarn (which is tough to find with cream colored things), or I could crochet the piece in a slightly tighter gauge so I would have enough yarn to do the repairs (and weave in ends).

IMG_20170518_131004860

This is a strategy that works well over a small area – in this case, this one pinwheel (marked by the teal thread). Over larger areas this would cause the area to pucker.


And that is most of what I’ve been working on!  What projects have you gotten off the needles/hook?

Restoring Harmony to a Household with a Crochet Repair

I had a client get in touch with me a couple of weeks ago.  In my client’s words the situation was this:

I got your name from the local yarn store.  I have a blanket my wife made for my daughter.  My daughter’s dog put a hole in it (see photos) and now I need a repair to restore peace and civility to my family.  Is this something you could do (I hope)?

Clearly I had to help!

IMG_20170427_151351804

The hole was oriented across two of the different colors in the blanket, spanning 5-6 rows, depending on how you want to count it.  On a big plus, the person who crocheted the blanket had kept all the yarn that was leftover, giving me plenty to work with when making the repairs – a true luxury! I was able to dive into the repairs right away.

IMG_20170427_162743653_HDR

In most cases it’s better to make the hole bigger to make the repair, as long as you have a good amount of yarn to work with.  This way you aren’t working into damaged yarn, and you have enough of the ends to weave in.  Here, I’ve already worked the first row of the repair.  I like to pin my ends out of the way using locking stitch markers.  Because this was worked in rows and turned, I flip the entire blanket each time I repair a row, to work it in the direction of the repairs.  Re-crocheting each row isn’t the tricky part.  The tricky part is the last row when you have to connect the old rows with the new.  You’ll see I’m using stitch markers to hold the base of each of the half-double crochets that have been worked.

 

IMG_20170502_151107808_HDR

After working a couple of rows normally, it’s time to close up the hole and reconnect the old stitches to the new.  This takes some real patience, as each row you need to crochet a stitch, then take a needle and sew together the newly created stitch through the one above it.  I’m finding that the final row sometimes takes as much time as the entire rest of the repair, depending on how big the hole is!

IMG_20170502_151910461

Getting to the end with all the tools I use in play.  A smaller crochet hook for maneuvering things right where I want them, and the larger crochet hook so I can match gauge.

At this point Mr. Turtle wanders through and asks what I’m doing.  “I’m restoring peace and civility to a client’s home,” was my response.

 

IMG_20170502_152906802

Finally finished weaving things together!  I was so pleased with how the repairs came out!

 

IMG_20170502_155002822

Now it’s time to finish weaving in the ends and this piece can go back to its owner.

 

Plant Rooting Jars made with Crochet

I’ve set Rebecca’s sweater and sleeves aside until I have the space to give it more thought – hopefully this weekend when we’re going to be at the farm and have the inlaws around.  Instead I’ve embarked on another project that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while.  I’ve wanted a set of rooting jars to hang up in front of the window.  My sister has a model similar to this one from Vermont Nature Creations.  I’d intended to purchase one like it for a while, but always seem to have something better to spend my money on.  Meanwhile I don’t have anything to root my plants in that my cats can’t get to.

Well, that’s a lie. I have some winebottles held in socks that are hanging from a curtain rod, but they aren’t very sightly.

The beginnings of a crochet lace circleSo this weekend I’ve gotten busy with some crochet.

I started with a magic circle, size three crochet thread and a steel crochet hook (don’t ask me the size) and worked like this:

Round 1: 24 dc.

Round 2: V-stitch in every other stitch, 12 V stitches.

Round 3: 3 double crochets in each V stitch, with a chain in between each grouping.

Round 4, 5 and 6: Let’s rock the granny square pattern!

Round 7: Granny square pattern without the chains in between.  This is when i slip the bottle into the crochet piece, and the following rows are worked around the bottle… which is a pain, let me tell you.crochet lace around spice jar

Round 8: Only two double crochets in each of the spaces between the groups.

Round 9: a single crochet in each of the spaces between the clusters.

And then finally a chain to hang by: 60 chain stitches for the bottom two hanging, 100 chain stitches for the top one to hang off the railing.  Each of these little things takes me about 45 minutes – so they’re quite satisfying!

I decided that it was a good idea to only hang three in a row, since I don’t want them to hang too low… and I was concerned about how much weight a single row of chain stitches could take.  I mean, each of the jars doesn’t weigh that much… but I didn’t want to push my luck.

rooting jars before window

This is the final result – I love the way the sun streams through the stitches.  You can see in the background the original prototype of wine bottles in socks. The wine bottles in socks were nixed because the wine bottle with the water in it is quite heavy, and I’m not sure I want those hanging there long term.  I suppose I could have crocheted around a wine bottle, but that’s a lot of crocheting.

News about Upcoming Classes & a Sale

Hairpin lace against a table

Fibre Space Classes

This weekend on Saturday the 28th I’ll be at Fibre Space in Old Town Alexandria, VA to be teaching two different classes:

Ooops: Fixing Mistakes: If the sight of a dropped stitch, a mixed up cable, or a problem in your lace sends you scrambling for the LYS, this class if for you. Learn to fix your mistakes!

Hairpin Lace Scarf: This highlights a fun riff on Hairpin Lace by making a quick project that will teach you the basics of this stunning technique!

I also am trying out something a little new: I’m scheduling a few Private Lessons for students that miss the one-on-one attention or would like to discuss a topic outside of my normal class offerings!  I’d love to meet with you then!

 


Dances With Wool Classes

I’ve also been fostering a new relationship with Dances With Wool, in Midlothian, VA, just outside of Richmond.  I’ve got a number of classes coming up with them.sugar+maple+hat

Sugar Maple Hat is a great class for learning how to work in the round, working cables, and reading a knitting pattern with cables.  The class will run February 1, 8th and 15th.

If you want to learn how to work  socks, this next class is for you.  Toe-up socks: Time Traveler covers how to cast on for a toe-up sock, how to work a riverbed heel, a primer on intermediate lace (just enough to keep your interest!), and a folded over brim.  Classes are spaced out so that students have the time to work on the pattern before getting to the next place.  Dates are February 22, March 8th and March 22!

I’ve also got a new sort of class that I’m running at DWW, called Stitch Adventure.  Got a project that you want to work but want a bit of handholding along the way?  Need help on choosing yarns or tackling a new skill?  Want to be held accountable to get those projects done?  This is the type of class for you! And this week, we’re running a sale of the class – 25% off.  Signup here!

 


Classes at the Ashland Library

And now, finally one last opportunity I want to call your way.  If you live in Ashland, VA, I’ll be teaching a Beginning Knitting and Beginning Crochet class this month.  Volunteering and making needlework accessible to everyone is an important cornerstone of my personal values.  At the same time, I don’t often give my instruction away for free, as it’s one of my primary methods of income.  Still, sometimes I feel it is important to give back to my community.

Thus, I’ll be teaching two different events at the Ashland Library this month:

Beginning Knitting Workshop
Wednesday, February 1, Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Jennifer Raymond, owner of Tinking Turtle Designs will show you how to get started with your first knitting project. No experience necessary. Supplies provided. Call or visit the library to sign up.

Beginning Crochet Workshop
Wednesday, February 15, Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Jennifer Raymond, owner of Tinking Turtle Designs will show you how to get started with your first crochet project. No experience necessary. Supplies provided. Call or visit the library to sign up.

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:

img_1507

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.

img_1569

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?

img_1565

Update from Chez Turtle

If I haven’t already mentioned, Mr. Turtle and I are closing on a house at the end of the month, and we’ve been up to our eyeballs in packing.  Have I mentioned how much stuff we have?  Because it’s a lot.  It seems like everything is in boxes.  So it seems to me like the perfect time for an update!

Single ply fingering weight handspun, natural rainbow colors.

Single ply fingering weight handspun, natural rainbow colors.

I’ve been working on a design for Spin Off that’s due in a couple of weeks.  I’m enjoying having a span of time without a whole bunch of tight deadlines, as it seems like it was one on top of another for a while.  This design involves handspun gradient yarn, hairpin lace crochet, and seashells.  Being somewhere between a lace and fingering weight yarn, it’s going slow, but I’m certain (certain, I tell you!) the results are going to be amazing.  This is one pattern I might make a version for myself.  It’s going to be just that stunning – a real marriage of technique and yarn.

Unfortunately, I gotta keep it under wraps, so while there’s pictures, I can’t share (most) of them.  Here’s a sneak peek. Shhhh.

Still!  I actually have a finished item, made for myself, that I can share.  So that’s a good part of the update.

A few weeks ago I got a hankering for a really simple knit.  I also was looking for another hat – my original Wurm was getting ratty (though still well-loved), and my secondary Wurm was with the heavy coat.  (If you’re looking for a great pattern, Wurm is it – great slouchy, a little interest, folded over brim.) While I had a lightweight hat for indoors, I really needed something DK weight for the lighter weight coat.

And I decided it needed to be a maximum of slouchy – for the hair, of course.

Mountain Colors Twizzle, slouchy hat, own pattern.

Mountain Colors Twizzle, slouchy hat, own pattern.

Enter in a skein of Mountain Colors Twizzle that had once been another project, since fogged.  Let the yarn shine, I decided.

This is a great hat.  I cast on just over 100 stitches in size 3 needles, and knit a folded-over brim that is just slightly too tight, which means it’ll stay on my head just fine.  After knitting the brim together, increased every 5th stitch while also going up to a size 5 needle.  Twizzle, in my experience, works up right around a DK (I could look up the weight of the yarn, but I’m feeling lazy… EDIT: Apparently it is a worsted.  Huh).  It was so freeing to work without having to worry about writing a pattern or re-creating the hat, though I could, given a little bit of reverse engineering.  Still, there’s plenty of slouchy hats out there, find a pattern for one of them.  This one is for me.

This is the hat, unblocked.  Ends still need to be woven in, but I’m not worrying about that now.  It looks lovely, it’s done, and I’ll be wearing it as soon as the weather warrants it.  Details, however scant, up on my Ravelry project page.

I have nearly an entire skein left over of the Twizzle (I had 2, and only just dipped into the new one), and I’ll be sharing later this week my plans for it.

Stay tuned!

It’s Never too Early to Think about Summer Camp

Learning to spin at summer camp

Learning to spin at summer camp

It’s getting to be the time to think about summer camp, and for me, that means I’m talking about the summer camps I’ve been running the past few years!  However, Tinking Turtle has a couple of changes happening this year (spurred on, in a large part, because of our impending tiny turtle).

As I’ve talked about many times before, some of my most formative years were spent going to a summer camp in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, Camp Chimney Corners.  Summer camps are a great way to foster independence, expose children to new experiences or hobbies, and foster a different type of learning than what school offers.  And I’ve been proud, the past two years, to work with Montgomery College to bring fiberarts summer camps to the DC/Rockville area.

So it’s with sorrow that I say that I will not be running camps with Montgomery College this year.  The amount of traveling I’d do to teach the camps in Rockville, MD would be a little too much for our small family.  But it is with joy that I’m announcing that this year, I’ll be bringing fiber arts camps to my hometown, Ashland, by pairing with the Hanover Arts and Activities Center!

I’ll be hosting two camps this summer:

  • String Theory, happening August 8-12th, is a high-energy introduction to the fiberarts suitable for ages 8 & up.  It features spinning, knitting, basic sewing, weaving and dying.  Students will be working the week through on two different projects, with opportunities to customize and tailor their interests.
  • Next Step Needlecraft, happening August, offers a glimpse into some of the lesser-known handcrafts.  Suitable for ages 10 & up, this summer camp features spinning, punch-rug needlework, needle felting, crochet and dying.  Students have the option of planning and creating a variety of projects, which they will work on throughout the week.

If you live in the Ashland/Richmond area and know kids who would be interested, I’d love for you to pass my information along!  You can find out more at the Hanover Arts and Activities Website.

Snowstorm Projects

It’s grey and overcast.  Every once and awhile I see a stray flake drift down from the sky, and there’s a hushed breath feeling to the air when I stepped outside this morning.  Like any good snow-day or snowstorm, I have on a ratty sweater with penguins on it, and my favorite pair of pajama pants.  Unlike my childhood snow-days, my list is full.  Self-employment (especially when you work from home), means you get to keep working until the power goes out – and sometimes you don’t stop then.

Still, I’m planning on knocking out all my internet things this morning, and curling up with a blanket and my projects this afternoon.  Just in the time I’ve been typing this, the snow’s started to come down harder, and is starting to show up on the walkways.

So what will I be working on as the snow comes down?

Hairpin lace against a table

hairpin lace, looking like some strange creature’s spine

I’ve got a hairpin lace project I’m working on for Piecework – I have to get it off by next week.  I’ve created a lovely swatch, and now need to get cracking on the real piece.  One of the things I love about Hairpin is how it comes together so quickly, once you get the strips done.  I’ll put on an audiobook, and get a good chunk of it done this weekend.

still working on the puppy-chewed blanket

still working on the puppy-chewed blanket

This blanket is turning into the project I can really only work on for two-hours at a time – before my brain needs a rest and my back needs to stop hunching over it.  This too has to be done by the end of next week.  I’ve got one more big hole to fix, one smaller hole, and a bunch of worn places to reinforce.  I’m really happy with how this is working out, and hoping to get a good picture of it when it’s done.  This is logistically a little difficult right now, as our downstairs guest bedroom has become a staging ground for a larger home project, and the upstairs really doesn’t have a good spot.  I’ll figure something out, though.

The final project I don’t have a picture of, but it’s my near full-to-the-top meding bag.  It’s one of the larger bags by erin.lane (seriously good project bags – she doesn’t do anything revolutionary, other than having really cute fabrics, a well-lined bag, and sturdy reinforcing at stress points… but really, isn’t that all you need?), and it’s filled with hand-knit socks that need darning or reinforcing.  I made a dent in them this week, and I’m hoping to make a bigger dent in them, as I’m down to two pairs of handknit socks, and that really isn’t enough.

And now, in the simple 40 minutes I’ve been working on this, the snow has really started to pick up.  We’ve got accumulation on most of the concrete surfaces, and Mr. Turtle’s chomping at the bit to walk into town, get our snowstorm wine and cheese, and take a romantic walk in the snow.  So, I must be off!

What’s your snowstorm project?

Atlantic Beach

birds in the sky over the beachIt seems like every year that I’ve know Mr. Turtle, his family goes to Atlantic Beach over Martin Luther King Weekend.  I am told, that once upon a time, the family also went in the summer time, but with adult schedules being what they are, it seems that the off-season is the time we all make it work.

textures in the sand

patterns in the sand at Atlantic Beach

I like Atlantic Beach in the off season. The pace is slow: there is time to spend hours on a puzzle, a book, or a piece of handwork.  The tone has some things in common with the farm: we unplug, play games, and rest.  But there are things about the beach that are different than the farm: most notably, there’s always something to fix or do at the farm.  At the beach it is quiet and lazy.  There is time to bundle up and take long, multiple mile walks along the shoreline.  Most of the time you don’t have to share your space with anyone else; there might be a native with her dog, or a couple walking hand-and-hand, but these events are few and far between.

There’s time to sit on the balcony with binoculars and look for dolphins, fishing vessels, and “german u-boats.”  We look for shells, take artsy beach photographs, and spend time with family.  In the evening we cook in, or go to the Channel Marker, where we eat delicious, delicious seafood.  Seriously, if you’re ever in Emerald Isle, this is the place to go.

swatching in hairpin crochet

swatching in hairpin crochet

I made the choice not to bring anything with a pressing deadline with me, and managed to carve out some time for play – fooling around with shapes and textures and swatching for future things.  Since the pregnancy seems to make me always tired, I’d fall asleep on the couch to the sounds of the family working through a puzzle or playing a game.

I made a small hat as a class sample that’ll be for Kiwi afterward.  I caught up (a little) on my darning, and plotted for my next piece in Piecework.  It was lovely, and quiet and fun.

Me with all my tools, taking over the couch. My big crafting bag at my feet, my tin of stitch markers, my pile of scraps, and my scissors.

Me with all my tools, taking over the couch. My big crafting bag at my feet, my tin of stitch markers, my pile of scraps, and my scissors.

Is there an Atlantic Beach in your life?  A place to unwind and take the time for things you normally don’t get to do?

Boston Ivy Sweater, in Interweave Crochet Winter 2016

black and white drawing of young man in sweater with hat on.

Original idea for Boston Ivy.

I’ve been checking Ravelry and Interweave’s Crochet website for the last two weeks, waiting for the most recent issue of Interweave Crochet to come out.  And now, I’m pleased to announce that Interweave Crochet Winter 2016 is on the shelves (or will be in the next few days), and available to purchase.  In this issue is my design, Boston Ivy.  Boston Ivy is a design that’s near and dear to my heart, as it started out as a request for a sweater from my brother, Matthew.

Boston Ivy was originally pitched as an idea based off of my brother, Matthew, and his descriptors for a perfect sweater for him.

He wanted it to be warm.  Not necessarily sweater warm, but more like rugged sweater/jacket to wear outside.  Decoration and cables should be kept to a minimum.  It had to had to have a collar that would go around his neck, and it had to be something he could move and be active in.

At the same time I’d been playing around with a crochet or knitting technique involving using long strips of fabric.  I’d braid the fabric, and then pick up stitches on either side of the braid, making it look like a particularly interesting cable. Boston_Ivy_Sweater_medium While I’d seen the technique done, a little, in crochet lacework, I’d never seen it done on larger pieces.  I also hadn’t seen it done all that much.

I thought this was a great pity that I needed to remedy.

I began pitching the idea to a variety of magazines, with little interest.  Until Interweave Crochet.

Boston Ivy is a sweater for men and women.  It’s sturdy and comfortable, with drop shoulders and a distinctive braided pattern down sleeves and front.

Worked in single crochet thru the back loop, it creates a ribbing that’s warm and stretchy.

And I love it.

23320268220_2e96918903_z