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!

Progress Report: Tinking Turtle Post Baby

32195098356_fa3b4980bf_bI was once told by a friend that was proficient in email market that you should never acknowledge when you’ve been away from your blog for a while… merely you should continue as you mean to go on, and pick up blogging/tweeting/social networking as if you’d never been away.  But in this case, I think it’s worth a little note.

First a quick general life update: the Turtle household has been moving along at a fairly good clip.  We’ve managed to keep ourselves and our new child fed and alive, and got through the holidays with a minimum of drama.  But everything non-essential has been shunted to the side.

The state of things now looks like this: I’ve been wrapping up the last of my designs that I’ve had under contract, and contemplating how my business is going to pivot with Little Turtle’s needs growing and changing.  I knew, conceptually, that this business was going to change after a child, but the plan was rather vague.  We kept the plan vague on purpose.  I didn’t know what parts of the business I’d be able to work in and which parts I wouldn’t be able to.  Now, with nearly 8 months under our belts, I’ve come to some conclusions.

  1. I want to keep teaching. I love teaching students, and it is much more manageable to work teaching into post-baby life.  I can plan to have a weekend where I teach and Mr. Turtle takes Little Turtle.  I can plan to have every Wednesday night off so I can teach at local venues.  I can plan for fiber festivals and retreats and traveling to other locations.  I have a repertoire of classes, samples and worksheets, and can lean on all the work I’ve done the last couple of years to deliver classes that are great.
  2. I’ll keep up the repair and finishing. I like the challenge of working on different projects, and the repair and finishing provides a steady income, which helps.  I can also work on these projects around Little Turtle.
  3. I’ll be dialing back designing for magazines. I’m discovering that designing, for me, is really really difficult around Little Turtle.  Designing was always one of the things I did better when I had long stretches of times to work – to think out the math of a piece, to draw and sketch out proposals.  I need time to dream and think ahead, and that’s really really difficult to do these days.  My last two designs that I had due after Rebecca were born were really stressful, and I don’t think it’s the best return on investment right now.
  4. Instead, I’ll be working on some designs to support my teaching. I’ve found there are techniques I want to teach where I’ve had a hard time finding a design to teach off of that meets my needs.  Instead of making things work, I’m going to be working on self-publishing some pieces that will support the classes I want to teach.

… And meanwhile, Mr. Turtle will be making sure I blog more.

Ravelry 101: Tomorrow!

Tomorrow afternoon at 1pm EST I’ll be teaching Ravelry 101 thru Interweave’s Craft U platform.  I’m very excited!  It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to teach this class, and I love being able to use Interweave’s electronic teaching to reach students I normally don’t get to teach.

You might wonder how this class fits into my normal lineup, as most of my classes are knitting and crochet related.  Ravelry is a knitting and crochet-focused website with more than 6 million users.  While it isn’t a technique that will make your knitting shine, or challenge your crochet skills, it will teach you how to make the most out of this valuable website.  I use Ravelry daily – to find patterns, connect with other crafters, answer questions about my patterns, and learn more about yarn.  When I have a question about nearly anything, I can go to Ravelry to get my answers.

You might also wonder how this class is different than the one I taught a few years ago thru Interweave.  Well, to be frank, technology is changing all the time, and the class that I taught before isn’t completely up-to-date.  I found that I had new tips, new perspectives, and new techniques to share.  Ravelry had rolled out new functionality, and I thought it was valuable enough to update!

Want to sign up for the course?  I’d love to have you!  Enroll now:

Unwind Recap

This past weekend a number of wonderful coincidences coalesced into the amazing experience of teaching at Unwind Retreat, 20160430_7695in Blowing Rock, NC.  Friday morning Mr. Turtle and I packed up the car and made our way (leisurely) to Blowing Rock.  We took back roads, ate at a hole-in-the-wall barbeque place (much to Michael’s delight), and pulled into the hotel around 4 in the afternoon.

The trip was not made without nervousness.  I had scheduled the retreat long before we knew that Little Turtle was coming.  One of my first questions to my Midwife was her feeling about us traveling 4-ish weeks before due date: was it feasible, smart, and physically okay?  About a month later I contacted the organizers of Unwind, asking if it’d be OK if I brought Michael with me, and informing them about the situation.  But really, there wasn’t much that we could do – as first-time parents, we had no clue how I’d handle the ending of pregnancy – if I’d have the energy or ability.  But I SO wanted to teach at Unwind – the retreat had an excellent reputation, the location was supposed to be amazing, and I love working with students.

So we made it work.  I prepped as much as I could beforehand.  Michael was coming to take many of the stressors off of me – I could focus on teaching, and not worrying about getting my materials from car to hotel room to classroom.  Having him drive would take much of the physical pressure off.

The weekend itself was amazing.  There’s that moment when you enter a large group of people you don’t know, where you get nervous.  But then I remembered why I love events like this – I may not know every person there, but we had something in common: a deep and abiding love of yarn.  Where the question “What are you working on?” always has an interesting answer.  Where everyone had a “knitting story.”

Nancy and Sue, the organizers of Unwind do an amazing job making the weekend feel intimate and open.  Events are booked with room to “breathe.”  There’s a two-hour break for lunch, another break after the last classes before dinner.  Everyone, even the instructors, have one period where they aren’t teaching/taking a class.  It allows people the time and space to truly Unwind – be that hanging out on the porch knitting, going shopping in town, or taking a nap.

While there are many highlights from the weekend, I thought I’d share just one:


On Saturday night, Michael and I got to set up a table after dinner to show off projects being done at the classes, sell kits, and give people a sneak peek at some upcoming patterns.  I got to show off a giant replica of my logo that my mother and sister sewed for Little Turtle.

Unwind in Blowing Rock, NC

A little later this morning Mr. Turtle and I are jumping into the Subaru and heading to his birth state, North Carolina.  There we’ll be turning and heading west, across the state to the town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina.  There, a number of other knitters will converge for Unwind Getaway, run by the amazing Nancy Schroyer.  I’m one of four instructors who will be running a stellar lineup of classes, and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ve spent the last two days unpacking and re-packing my teaching supplies.  Unpacking, because my office has been one of the last bastions of the move, and there were a bunch of boxes I hadn’t even opened yet.  Repacking, as I pulled together my supplies, materials, swatches and samples for the classes.

There was a run to the library to print off copies of patterns and worksheets, since our printer is only printing black ink, and then only badly.  There was the evening scramble and I tripled-checked: yes I really do have everything. Sleeping the night before I travel for classes is always interesting!

Peake decided we really, really didn’t need to leave. And if we insisted, then he was coming with us.

I’m so excited to head out!

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!

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!
20140827 8647 1
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?

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!

Catching Up

We’re on the second, and final, week of the String Theory camp.  Two days ago was our messy day, again, and it’s interesting to see how the class ran last time vs. this time.  While the age range of the last camp and this camp are the same, the average age of the kids is wildly different.  It might also help this time I’m more comfortable in the space.

I also can’t believe it’s our last day!

One of the campers in the class yesterday proudly came in showing off her fingerless glove.  For a moment, I thought she’d snuck her project home to work on.  Apparently she had went to the craft store and bought a needle and yarn so she could practice
at home – and had been making more progress at home after she left for the camp.  She was so proud and excited to show me.  Take a look!

Most students are also done with their project bags… I’m a little bit nervous about filling the time on our last day.  Oh, well.  It’s great that they got so much done.

These next five weeks are going to be doozies.  I’m leaving in just over a week for a cruise with my family (a sort of last-hurrah before my younger siblings are all sucked into their respective graduate and undergraduate studies).  It will be a little bit of a working vacation for me – in addition to getting ready for Rhinebeck in October, I  have 4 (count them), 4! designs due by mid-September.  It’s a good problem to have, but I’m going to be working my hands off.  Luckily, two of them are knit, and the other two are crochet, so I’m hoping to save my hands.

Speaking of Rhinebeck – are you planning on going?  I’ve got a variety of classes I’m offering: everything from my very favorite Ooops class to much more advanced classes.  You should check them out!