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Important Updates and News

Balloon LogoMuch has been going on behind the scenes of Tinking Turtle recently, but it’s left me with precious little time to update the blog!  I’m going to be endeavoring to fix this oversight in the next few days with a series of updates, since some exciting things are happening this fall.

But the biggest news that Mr. Turtle and I would like to share is that we will be adding another small member to our family in late February – a second girl.  We’re very excited to share this news with you!

How will this affect the running of Tinking Turtle?  Well, following the end of the year I’ll be starting to wind things down in anticipation of going on maternity leave.  What we discovered last time was that I didn’t give myself enough time to wrap things up before Little Turtle’s birth, and it left me having to tie up the ends of a few projects after she was born.  We’re trying to avoid that situation this year.  There’ll be the normal holiday pricing for finishing and repairs, and we’ll have a waiting list for people interested in my services after I finish my maternity leave.  Going into the New Year, I’ll be cutting back my teaching obligations too.  I’ll keep you posted with more updates as we get closer to February!

Thank you so much for supporting Tinking Turtle and our growing family.

Easing back into the Business

Hello All!27200594310_5a0974d315

I guess it’s been a while, and I thank you all for your patience as I’ve been easing back into the business.

First, a couple of business notes: if you’ve contacted me about finishing or repair work in the last while, you were put on a waiting list.  I’ll be contacting people in the order they were put on the list starting next week.  If you haven’t heard from me by the end of the month, please reach out, as something may have happened.

I’m trying to get back to all the emails by the end of next week, too.  If you haven’t heard from me by then, reach out again, please!


And now onto what everyone really wants to know about: Little Turtle.

Rebecca Belle Raymond was born in our home on June 1st.  We had a smooth, if long labor.  In the following weeks we had family descend upon the household, acting as pinch-hitters so Mr. Turtle and I could catch up on sleep.  God bless 27821484376_3bab44c23dgrandparents!

Now, five weeks later Little Turtle is two pounds heavier.  She’s gone from swimming in our newborn outfits and diapers to busting at the seams.  On a good night we’ll get a four hour stretch of sleep – pure bliss.

When home more often than not she hangs out in one of the many cloth diapers my mother has made for her. I’m so fortunate that I have a seamstress that wants to sew for my child!  I’m beginning to have fun playing with her outfits as she grows out of the few newborn pieces we have and into the plethora of 3-month clothes we have.

As Mr. Turtle will note, right now she’s just beginning to ease out of the boring-potato stage.  Now she’s beginning to smile in response to things around her, and beginning to stay awake for longer periods of time during the day.  She pees like a racehorse, though!

As for the projects I’m working on… I’ve been taking a step to the side to make progress on a number of sewing things.  I have a surprise quilt for someone I can’t talk about yet, and a number of scrappy quilts that I’m hoping to make for beds in the house.  I haven’t touched my yarn in just over a month, and it seems like it was a much-needed break.  Part of it was because Rebecca seemed to suck up all the energy I had for really thinking.  Sewing, especially sewing straight seems like I was doing, was so much more straightforward!

Still, I’ve got a few projects coming up in the next few months, so stay tuned!

Life Updates

 

Feeling Unwell

Feeling Unwell

This last month has been a slew of busy – Mr. Turtle and I moved into the new house, and immediately launched into a countdown culminating with this weekend.

 

Three weekends ago we were in Cleveland visiting good friends for a last hello/hurrah before Tiny Turtle arrives.

Two weekends ago we had a full house – 7 adults and one infant over for my baby shower.  It was a lovely, wonderful, fun filled time, and I have pictures to share!

And this last weekend was my birthday weekend, where we planned on heading to the farm to go strawberry picking and have a relaxing weekend.  Instead, Mr. Turtle and I contracted a plague and spent the entire weekend prostrate and miserable.  It was the type of the miserable where reading was too much effort, and the only thing to do was drink apple-juice and hover between dozing and sleep.

Today I’m thankful to be among the living.  I’m working my way through a mountain of laundry, dishes, and detritus that accumulated over the weekend.  I’m looking at my schedule for this week to choose what can wait and what really must be put first.  I’m allowing myself to take things a little gingerly, and reminding myself it’s perfectly

okay to do so.

A Collection of Life Notes

Today’s a bit of a mishmash of life-notes and thoughts, being that I’m still working through the laundry from Thanksgiving and have all my deadlines looming right at the same time, mid-month.

Not much personal knitting/crocheting has been happening in the Turtle household lately, which makes me a very boring person indeed.

I’ve been working in a sweater made in a size small.  Working a size small sample always makes me nervous: even though I know my math is correct, and the piece is measuring out correct, when I look at the knitted piece I have a hard time believing it would actually fit a real live adult person.  I keep going over to my size small dress form and holding it up, reassuring myself it really is the right size, and then working myself up into a tizzy again a few hours later.

For some reason it doesn’t happen when I work a size medium.

Anyone else ever have this problem?


Being away from home means the cats have been very needy the last two days.  I suppose this is a good thing, as I’m doing 3-5 hours of knitting each day to meet a mid-month deadline.  They can sit on my lap and I can work, work, work.

Watson and Peake helping with the knitting

Watson and Peake helping with the knitting – if you look close you can see my current project!

Still, it’s grey and rainy out, and due to be the same weather until Thursday, which seems like such a long way away.  That meant yesterday my knitting time became my nap time for entirely too long.  It also means my needy white cat, Watson, has been in my face saying “pet me! pet me!” … with his claws.

Still, it’s good to be home for a little stretch, even if it’s just shy of two weeks before we’re off again.


 

Crochet lace about to be repaired

Crochet lace about to be repaired

I’m tearing through the last of the finishing that’s due before Christmas, and hoping to get it off a little before the holiday.  I’ve had a number of rather challenging projects: a fisherman’s sweater that had seen better days, and a crochet bedspread made a difficult repair simply because it was so LARGE.  If you’ve been waiting on your finishing to arrive before Christmas, it should be going off sometime around the 18th.

Meanwhile I haven’t started on Christmas cards, nearly any shopping, or cleaning the house.  I’ve been vibrating a little with holiday tension. If I wasn’t knitting for work, I’d be knitting for stress relief.

Still, I get to listen to as much of the holiday music as I can stand, which is a huge plus.


duplicate stitch on knitting

Foxes being embroidered

When off shopping with my mother and sister over the holiday, I noticed no fewer than five different shirts on adults and children (in different stores) featuring foxes.  One of my current designs has a fox on it.

I’m so excited for it to be out in the world.  Foxes are soooo in right now.  And it’s great – I think they’re adorable!

 

Coming Home From Holiday

A quick update from the Turtle front…

Last week Mr. Turtle and I took a much needed trip with two of our close college friends, to a small island off of Puerto Rico, called Culebra.  It was wonderous.

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We went hiking along the coast, making our way along crystal clear beaches – some sandy and some rocky.

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We had the opportunity to to go snorkeling – one of my favorite activities!  We played games, got sun, caught up on sleep – I even managed to get some knitting in.

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Right now the inbox is full to overflowing, as I try to catch up on 5 days of missed work.  Please be patient with me as I attempt to catch up in the next few days!

Normal blog posts and updates will resume shortly.

Fun Times at the Farm

Fun Times at the Farm

Fun Times at the Farm

On Friday I wrapped up the last of my camps with Montgomery College, hastily packed up my belongings, said goodbye to my lovely hosts, and swung around the beltway in DC to pick up Sweetness and Light.

For those of you who have begun following me in the last year, the monikers Sweetness and Light have little meaning, as I haven’t written about them recently.  Sweetness and Light are the name of two girls that I was a nanny to for four years – from mid 2010 until mid 2014, when Mr. Turtle and I moved to Richmond.  I began working for the family when I moved to DC – underemployed and still with the shine of college.  Sweetness was three, Light, just over 10 months.

Now, Sweetness is a precocious eight and Light is going to be six at the end of this month.  In the time in between, their parents have become more than friends, their family has increased by one (a 20 month old boy, now), and my employment has deepened into a friendship.  About once every four months, Sweetness and Light come for a sleepover, and since I was “in town” anyway, it made sense to “borrow” the girls, and bring them home for a few days.

Light rocking a ball-cap.

So what might have been a relaxing weekend unpacking and decompressing from camp became a joyful visit (perhaps relaxing might not be the word I’d use, but invigorating might fit).

Well, perhaps it was relaxing for Sweetness.

This was a particularly special trip, as we got to take Sweetness and Light to the farm.  Sweetness got to drive the riding lawnmower, we took rides in the antique jeep (without seatbelts!), and went to the James River to “ride the rapids,” fish and swim.

On Monday we returned to Ashland, and I dug out the camp materials for one last reprise, and we did needle felting to make pillows in honor of Mr. Turtle’s birthday, in a week.

Now the girls are gone, and it’s time to get back to the grindstone.  There’s updates to the website, design subs to create, patterns in a backlog that need to be written and edited, and camp stuff to unpack and find homes for.

Come next week, I’ll be trying to get back into the grove of blog-posts that are more informative that update-ish.  I’ve also got a bunch of patterns that have come out in the last four weeks, so I’ll spend some time highlighting those!

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.

Safely into the New Home

Our new (rental) house, from the front.

As you might have been aware, the last three weeks have been a gradual transition, moving from busy Silver Spring, MD to the slower pace of Ashland, VA.  I’m just getting settled into the new home, my desk set up (roughly) in the new space.  I sit from the spareness of my makeshift desk, Watson in my lap, as I try to figure out what I need to get done.  I went to find a pen to make a list and it took 15 minutes.  Finding the paper to write on took 10 more.  It’s going to be a couple of pretty rough weeks for the business.

It seems the answer to every question is, “It’s packed, somewhere.”

But I can see, out of the shape of chaos, how things will be when they are done.  Just like knowing that tangled yarn will, eventually, become an orderly ball, I know that somewhere, there are the threads of a routine and habit.  I know that the boxes will vanish.  We’ll get more shelving, so I can see my yarn.  There will be a real desk instead of a temporary setup.  It will come.

Right now, I’m enjoying the bright light shining into my workspace, and a list of things that will get done and checked off.  I like that I’m no longer living in a bare-bones apartment.  I’m comforted by the familiarity of my things and my furniture, my cats and my tea.  It will be all right.

I shrunk my socks in the wash – now what?

I’ve been winding down from a mad sprint that began shortly after Thanksgiving and wrapped up this past week.  It’s been several months of multiple deadlines every week, and staying on top of all the personal and professional obligations has been difficult, to say in the least.

For the first time in what feels like forever Mr. Turtle and I got chores done on Saturday instead of Sunday. It’s our habit to do grocery shopping and laundry on the weekend, and over the last few months laundry has been done on Monday or Tuesday night (or even there’s been weeks skipped), and grocery shopping late on Sunday when we get home.  While it seems like a small thing, being able to get our chores done not at the last minute has been wonderful – once the chores are done I can relax into the weekend.

Since laundry had been skipped last week, there was a plethora of hand-knit socks that needed to get washed.  I like knitting my socks in superwash wool – they go into the washer with the rest of the clothes (cold or warm cycle) and then get pulled out to hang dry.  The rest of the clothes go in the dryer.

My highly technical way of drying socks – over the edge of the sock drawer.

Well, we missed a sock… which made it into the dryer.

Now, this is no great tragedy – I’ve had socks go into the dryer before, but I don’t particularly like it because in the dryer my row gauge shrinks. (I’m not sure why – perhaps because when they are hang drying the weight of the socks keeps the row gauge stretched out?)  Still, it was an interesting comparison between the line dry sock and the hand-dry sock.

Line dry sock left, dryer sock right.

This is a quick snapshot from the ipad – not particularly well exposed, but you can see the difference between the line dried sock (on the left) and the dryer sock (on the right).  The dryer sock is a good inch and a half shorter, and while the ribbing is pleasantly snug, the heel is nearly too small and if I put the sock on… my toes would be quite squished.

Luckily there’s an easy way of fixing the situation.  Now, let me make it clear – the sock on the right did not felt.  It just shrunk a bit – and got blocked in a particularly enthusiastic way.

So I dunked both of the socks in the sink filled with water, blotted them dry with a towel, and then hung them damp on my sock blockers – by tomorrow afternoon latest, they’ll be as good at new.

My socks, looking particularly nice on my sock blockers.

We Made out Like Bandits, I Tell ‘Ya

Michael and I belong to a CSA, Spiral Path, which we pick up once a week from the Silver Spring Farmer’s Market.  Every once and a while Spiral Path will have an open farm day for its members.  It’s a cross between a harvest festival and a good backyard party, and we’ve been wanting to go for a while.  The only drawback is that the farm is 3 hrs away in PA.

However, this last weekend Michael and I had Ray visiting (who has a car that gets double the miles to the gallon that our car does). Coincidentally, there was an open farm day.  We decided to make a day of it, and got up REALLY early (before the sun rose) and drove to Spiral Path.

The drive was well worth it.  There was a fabulous pot-luck, tours of the farm, heyrides and other wonderful events.  Michael and I hadn’t quite realized how big Spiral Path is – they service 2250 members.  Just for perspective, most CSA’s have around 200 members.  Spiral Path is huge, but still very down to earth.  All the growing they do is organic, and you can see the values they hold in every choice they made about how the food is grown and prepared for shipment.  Michael and I feel very passionately about supporting efforts like this, and it’s great to know that we not only are getting great value for our food, but that it is going to a solid business model.

The most lovely part of the open farm day is the goodies that you get for free.  Spiral Path has a chunk of produce that it grows that for whatever reason isn’t considered sell-able – either it has blemishes, is too small, or has something else wrong with it.  Normally they donate the “reject food” to the local food shelter, but when they have the open farm days, they make this extra produce available to the members for free.

Our bounty from Spiral Path (the veggies) and Rock Hill (the apples)

Take a look at our haul:

We took home: 2 pumpkins, 2 butternut squash, 2 spaghetti squash, yellow squash, green beans, eggplant, summer squash, and a whole bunch of peppers, of various sweet and spicy flavors.

Finally, Spiral Path also had a herb garden where members could cut their own herbs.  We brought home mint, sage, and lots and lots of basil (for making pesto).

The event ended at 3, and by that time I was pretty tuckered out.  But we weren’t done yet.  On the way home, we stopped by Rock Hill Orchard, and picked up some Empire and Jonathan apples.  Just because it’s the beginning of fall, and that’s what you got to do.  Go apple picking.