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.


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:


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.


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?


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

Tutorial: How to Unwind a Skein

20160212-0 Title Post

About a week ago I got a great question from Mary, one of my students and customers.  She wrote, “How do you unravel a twist of yarn? Made a mess and I am sure there is a correct way but I’m not privy it and I have three more to go….Mary.”  When Mary was talking about a twist of yarn, she was talking about a skein.  And this can be quite puzzling if you’ve never dealt with yarn stored this way.

I thought it was a great question, so I’ve put together a tutorial about it.  Since it’s a fairly picture-heavy post, I’ve put the rest of the post behind a cut so the photographs won’t slow down the loading time on the website.

But first, why is yarn stored in skeins, and not pre-wound for customers?  There are a couple of different reasons.  First, it’s generally agreed that keeping your yarn wound into balls for long periods of time can stretch out the yarn, especially if the yarn is wound up tightly. Keeping it in a skein allows the yarn to breathe a bit more.  Second, it’s easier for yarn companies to ship their yarn in skeins: they take up less space, squish better, and lie flatter in boxes.  Yarn that is in balls tends to be hard for LYS’s to store – I used to call a couple of different balled yarns “tribbles,” as they seemed to jump off the shelves whenever my back was turned.  Finally, for hand-dyed yarns, gradients and a few other yarns, skeins allow customers to see all the colors in the skein better, so they’re not surprised by a “mystery color.”

So that’s why you often may get your yarn in skeins from a Local Yarn Store.  Most stores offer balling services if you buy the yarn in the store or if you pay a small fee.  But do expect to wait – often sales clerks have to fit in the winding of yarn around their other duties!

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Techniques: Picking Up Stitches

Over the weekend I had a full schedule, teaching classes at Fibre Space in Alexandria.  One of the things I love about teaching classes is how it puts me in touch with my customer base: both for teaching and for designing.  I also love all the great questions that students shoot my way!  On Sunday I got to teach a class I haven’t taught in a while: Picking Up Stitches.

It’s a great class for showing students how many different ways there are to approach the same thing.  I love “peeling back the curtain” and showing students where designers get their numbers; and how they can “tweak” their own knitting.

Valley Log Cabin blanket by Dena Childs

As the class was ending, several of the students asked if there were patterns I’d recommend to practice picking up stitches, and I couldn’t resist putting together a Ravelry Bundle of some of my favorite patterns featuring picking up stitches that I’ve come across over the years.  You can see the entire bundle here, but I thought I’d share some of my highlights.

One of the first Patterns that came to mind was a Log Cabin blanket.  I’ve got one I work on in my (nonexistent) spare time out of sock yarn scraps.

There’s hundreds of variants of the log Cabin motif.  Essentially, you work your way from the center out, most often in garter stitch.  I’ve rapidly become a fan of Web’s Valley Yarns, and I love the color palette they offer.

I like this particular pattern for it’s simplicity: no need to mess up a good thing!

Albers Cowl by Ann Weaver

The Albers Cowl by Ann Weaver is a rather crafty variant of the log cabin concept.  This cowl features a center motif that’s slightly off-of-center, and I love the more modern feel it gives the piece.

Fibre Space carries the pattern, and both Sweet Georgia yarns and Neighborhood Fiber Company are great options to make this pattern shine.

Jewel Dragon by Svetlana Gordon

The Aranami Shawl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian is a simply stunning example of what can be done with picked up stitches.  I love
the way the colors create optical illusions with the knitting.  While done in a similar manner to entrelac, the effect is quite a bit more flowing than basket-weave.

If you like a slightly more robust challenge, Jewel Dragon by Svetlana Gordon takes a similar construction concept and turns it on its head.  I think the color choices really make this project, and several Ravelers have used rainbow yarns to great effect!

Personally, I’d love to use a long, color changing gradient, so you could see the colors shift from scale to scale.


Karner Butterfly by Jennifer Raymond

Karner Butterfly by Jennifer Raymond

My own Pattern, Karner Butterfly Socks features picked up stitches, too.

Made by working the leg of the sock first, the top cuff and the bottom sock are both worked afterwards by picking up stitches.  I love the color play in this pattern: so many of the ones I picked out to feature have similar color play, vying between two or more colors.

Do you have any favorite patterns that feature picking up stitches?  What are they?  Don’t forget to take a look at my entire bundle on Ravelry here!


Stained Glass Rug, Out in the World

Woman working on padded crochet motif.

Woman working on padded crochet motif.

Two weekends ago I had a really fun class I taught at Fibre Space on one of my favorite patterns I’ve designed: Stained Glass Rug.  The class which focused on padded crochet was dynamic and fun – and the students walked away with a good grasp of where to go next.  I’m looking forward to seeing some of their finished projects!

Stained Glass Rug has been getting a lot of attention lately: it continues to show on Knitting Daily TV and public television.  Students continue to love learning how to work it in the video I produced with Interweave.  It’s no surprise – working up quickly, it’s a great way to make a holiday gift, use up scraps, or try out different color combinations.

And best of all?  It’s free if you sign up for the Knitting Daily Website!

I’ve been loving seeing the color choices, variations and interpretations students make to the pattern as they make it their own.

Nearly finished Stained Glass Rug Motif!

Nearly finished Stained Glass Rug Motif!

One student I had chose this lovely greenish brown color to be her neutral, and had a yarn the color of bricks to be her “pop” color.

Back in August, Ravelry User BarbR made this lovely interpretation of Stained Glass Rug.

rug in teal, blue and cream

BarbR’s Stained Glass Rug, used with permission

Barb said of the project,

“I wanted to find something for some old wool that I had in my stash for a long time. It is a sturdy wool that is perfect for a mat. Your mat was something different and it really caught my eye.
The yarn was much thicker than what you had in the pattern, so I had to adjust the stitch count to get it to lay flat. The new stitch count doesn’t quite cover the cord as well as in your pattern, but does the job.
When I do it again, I will have to be careful to not pull the cord so tight, the circles don’t lay perfectly flat.

Stained Glass Rug Motifs, all stacked up with a padded crochet basket on top!

Stained Glass Rug Motifs, all stacked up with a padded crochet basket on top!

As for myself, I’ve been contemplating a rainbow Stained Glass Rug – still figuring out the details!

Upcoming classes at Fibre Space

This weekend I’m teaching four different classes at Fibre Space (in Old Town Alexandria), and I wanted to share them with you.  There’s still spaces available; and I’d love to have you join us! Crochet Cowl is based off of one of my favorite patterns for a quick gift: Barberpole Cowl.  Featuring Stranded Crochet, it’s a fun technique that creates and warm and durable fabric.  It’s also accessible for students that are still new to crochet: all you need to know is how to chain and single crochet – I’ll take care of the rest!






Finishing Essentials is one of my most in-demand classes, and covers skills such as:

  • weaving in ends
  • seaming
  • preventing or solving problems like curled hems or uneven seams
  • and dozens of tips to make the finishing process easier.

I do a lot of finishing, and I love to give you all my tips and tricks!


Intarsia Wrap is based off Frances Wrap, and features a unique way of working intarsia!  We learn:

  • a tubular cast on
  • tubular stockinette stitch
  • and Intarsia Colorwork

The result is a wonderfully modern wrap!


Oops! Fixing Mistakes is another one of my foundational classes. If the sight of a dropped stitch, a mixed up cable, or a problem in your lace sends you scrambling for outside help, this class if for you. Learn to fix your mistakes!


I’d love to see you in one of my classes!

A Week ago Saturday Morning

Tea, fruit, morning reading, knitting, and sitting on the porch.

Baked goods at the Farmer’s Market

The Farmer’s Market, and it was still cool out.

This all contrasted with today, where I’m spending my morning driving down to DC to teach at Fibre Space, and tomorrow, the Knitting Boutique.  Very different, but both good.

Tuesday Mash: Classes, Reading, and Halloween Ideas

First, a reminder I’m teaching a variety of classes this weekend in and around DC.  If you’ve been missing my smiling face, this is a good opportunity to get your Tinking Turtle Fix!  A quick rundown, excerpted from my newsletter:

Darn Those Knits is happening at Fibre Space on Saturday the 6th.
While this class is wonderful for teaching you the practical skills of learning how to repair your handknits, it also has a great side benefit: you’ll have a greater understanding of know knit and purl stitches interact. You’ll go home with a better understanding of the Duplicate Stitch, and even learn a great way to “hack” doing the Kitchener stitch. This class isn’t only about repairing things, it’s also about understanding your knitting.
Crazy Simple Lace: Hairpin Crochet is one of my favorite classes to teach for a couple of reasons. I don’t get to teach crochet classes as often as I do knitting. I love how fast this scarf works up, which makes it a great gift for the holidays (which are fast approaching!). And if you’ve never worked hairpin lace before, you’ll be shocked at how versatile it is.
This class is also happening at Fibre Space on the 6th, and would be a great way to spend your Saturday afternoon!
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Colorwork Backwards, Forwards and Sideways is my inaugural class I’ll be teaching at the Knitting Boutique. I’m so excited to teach this killer class! This class features a fun pattern (exclusive to the class) to demonstrate how to do jogless stripes, work with stranded knitting, and how to use slipped stitches in stunning results!
I decided to work my sample in traditional fall colors, since cool weather is right around the corner. And this quick cowl simply flies by!

I’ve been gobbling up Seanan McGuire’s The Winter Long, which is the 8th book in her Toby Daye Series.  I’ve talked about how much I enjoy Seanan’s writing; so much so that the scarf I’m using to teach this weekend, One Salt Sea, is a nod to one of her books.  A mix of urban fantasy, folklore and mystery, I’ve been waiting the last year to read this book.  While the genre might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I love the book for the strong plotted elements.  Like the Harry Potter series, or even the Outlander series, there are strong threads seeded in the first book that come to fruit in this book.  It’s amazing to behold.

Now that I’ve read the book, I’m thinking I might just have to get the books on tape and marathon the entire series, just so I can take my time and appreciate what McGuire has been building for the last few years.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of other things on audio.  I’ve talked before about my love of RadioLab, but I’ve also been marathoning Welcome to Night Vale.  Night Vale is a fake radio show highlighting a rather strange town out in the middle of a desert.  Both strange and hopeful, frightening and contemplative, it’s not the sort of thing I’d normally enjoy, and yet I do.

I’m actually thinking that I want to decorate my house as a tribute to Night Vale for Halloween.  As if I don’t have enough to keep me busy.

What’ve you been up to?