Fall Designs Featuring Animals

This fall I’ve got a number of designs coming out, and several of them are children’s garments featuring animals.  I’ve noticed an uptick in my interest in designing children’s garments (I wonder why? *coughlittleturtlecough*).  There’s two children’s designs I wanted to highlight today.

Raynard Willow YarnsRaynard is a children’s dress featuring sweet little foxes on the front of the body and pockets.  Featuring a folded over hem at the base of the dress and on the pockets, this simple and sweet dress is an idea that came into my mind fully formed.  I blame the proliferation of forest animals featured in baby items lately – foxes just seemed to be everywhere.

The Foxes are worked with duplicate stitch before the dress is assembled, meaning this project is very approachable to beginners looking to stretch their skills.  And with the majority of the pattern worked in the round, this dress fairly flies off the needles!

It was a joy working with Willow Yarn’s Daily Worsted – this blend is washable while still being durable and soft.  And with such a range of colors, you can come up with some adorable color combinations.  Willow even offers the pattern at a kit – which takes the decision making out of the process.

You can purchase and download the pattern here!



lok-window-cat-1 I’m also excited to tell you about my first pattern in Love of Knitting magazine.  This pattern features some animals near and dear to my heart – my cats, Peake and Watson.  I’d originally envisioned this as an adult pattern, but the editor of Love of Knitting, Deborah Gerish, pointed out how perfectly it would work as a children’s sweater.

I think she was correct.

Inspired by the silhouette of Peake and Watson as they sit on the window watching the outdoors and birds, the pattern is titled Window Cat.  The cats are written as intarsia, but could also be added after the fact with duplicate stitch.  I have them on the pattern facing away from the viewer, but with a little ingenuity, you could add eyes and whiskers so that they’re facing out.

The sweater is worked in Classic Elite Yarn’s Liberty Wool, one of my favorite yarns.  Liberty Wool is sturdy and soft and long-wearing.  It’s washable and comes in SO MANY COLORS.  While the solid colors are stunning, I also think it would be fun to make the cats calico – by using one of their variegated yarns in browns and oranges and whites.  I have so many ideas for how to adapt the pattern!

I also love the finishing details on this pattern – the vintage buttons match the sweater perfectly.  They’re not too upscale.  Instead they match the quality of the sweater, casual and much-loved.

I love the brown of the trim, the garter stitch around the yoke, the crochet trim around the neck.  Simply put, I love the way this pattern turned out.

I have to admit, I have some plans for this motif in the future – I’d love to turn it into a matching hat and cowl pattern too!  So many potential options!

Do you have cats?  How would you customize this pattern?


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?


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!


Monthly Theme: Mysig

Sweetness, snuggled up against the cold in Silva Shawl

It’s a dreary rainy day out today.  I was supposed to meet up with a college student from Randolph Macon to photograph some knitwear.  We’re rescheduling for later in the week.

Days like today remind me of a word I learned while I was in Sweden: Mysig.  It means, roughly, an activity/place that is comfy, agreeable, snugly, brings comfort and has a relaxing vibe.  Most often I heard it used in contrast: that is, it’s nice to go home after a hard day of work and mysig; a place that has mysig might be warm and cushy after being out in the dark and the cold.  It’s a word that encapsulates that feeling of holing up and relaxing when it’s rainy/snowy and cold outside.

Mysig is particularly appropriate, I feel, for the month of December.  It’s been fall really winds down and winter sets in: it’s a time for handknits, truly.  I find I finished with a pair of socks only to launch into another pair: I feel a need to make things both warming and comforting.  I want my tried and true sock pattern, and none of that new-fangled stuff.

I was working on a design submission this week, and I found myself struggling to come up with transitional pieces like the call was asking for: all I wanted to work was warm and snuggly things in bulky and lofty yarns.  Meanwhile, my recovering cat Watson is a drugged and warm and oozy kitty in my lap (in that way only cats and small children can go boneless).

I am particularly enamored of this set of design submissions: if they don’t get chosen I’m afraid I’ll just have to make them all myself.

So in the tradition of Mysig, I’m going to try something a little bit different this month – all my posts will somehow tie back to that theme of cozy, comforting and warming.

Making things Ugly, and Yarny Crafting

Sleepy Sick Drugged Watson

I’ve been dealing with a sick cat for the last week and a half (Watson, who I love to photograph), and
everything I want to share on the blog pales in comparison to what’s been going on behind the scenes. Now that Watson’s starting to improve (knock on wood), I’m starting to get back in the groove of things, especially because I’m not visiting the Vet everyday.

I’ve got a little downtime in the space between the end of Fiber Festival Season where I’m doing a lot of behind-the scenes work for next year.  This involves a lot of computer work: writing proposals for classes, creating design proposals for magazines, and planning how the next year is going to go.

It’s given me some time to do some crafting that isn’t work related (well, at least not at the moment), and start reaching out into the Ashland community in a way I haven’t been able to do until now.  On Monday I went to a knitting group that meets at the town library.  They’re an older knitting group that recently decided to stop meeting in each other’s homes and instead open themselves to the public and meet at the library.

I’ve been to a few knitting groups since I moved, but most of them were much further away, closer to the heart of Richmond.  As the winter gets colder, I wasn’t keen on making the drive all the way there.  On Monday, I bundled up and biked the 5 minutes to the yarn store.  (It was much like when I used to bike from my home to the Yarn Spot, including the reminders to put on my bike light so I didn’t get run over on the way home.)

Oh, yarn friends, meeting up with the group was like coming home.  I haven’t really felt that sense of belonging since I moved, and I came home feeling not exhausted (which is often what I feel in group settings, being a borderline introvert), but creatively rejuvenated.  It drives home how much people rely on their sense of community, and mine is tightly connected with yarny things.

Speaking of yarny things, I’ve recently revived my interest in punch rug hooking.  About a year ago, I bought a punch from the Oxford Punch Needle Company, tried using it a few times, and then put it down.  Mostly because I couldn’t seem to get things to work in a way that kept me happy.  Recently my interest has revived, and I’ve been fooling around with my rather sophomore effort.  I often tell people that their first project should be a swatch, because the amount of mistakes you’ll make whenyou first start is incredible, and the improvement you see from the beginning to end is noticeable.  I followed my own advice, deciding to create something that was  Mighty Ugly, like Kim Werker (who I have a industry-crush on), suggests.

I started out with it ugly, in colors I didn’t really like , but somewhere along the way it turned into something I liked.  Oops.

I particularly love this section of pinks, greys, and blues.

The difference between the beginning and the end is very noticeable: I’m not showing you a picture of the back, but suffice to say that the back in the beginning isn’t pretty.  And that’s okay. I think I’ll shoot for my next project not being quite so ugly.

I’m also working on a beaded sock, which may or may not end up being a design.  A quick glimpse of it here:

What’ve you been working on lately?

Huntress Shawl by Jennifer Chase-Rappaport

A few housekeeping things: The Indie GAL is in full swing.  I’ve been enjoying watching the hubbub around the event.  Perhaps my favorite thing is all the new-to-me designers that I’ve been missing out on – there’s so many of them!  I love reading the interviews that designers have been doing of other designers.

Some of my favorites:
Nancy interviewing Jessica of Goosebear Knits
Stephannie Tallent interviewing Jenise Reid
Lily Go interviewing Marnie MacLean (which was just one gorgeous design after another)
Jen Lucas interviewing Jennifer Chase-Rappaport (heh, me, Jennifer, talking about two Jennifers)

I Lied, a Little

The other day I said my next post would be on the knits in Outlander, but I’m going to need a little more time than I thought.  Things are more complicated than they first seemed.


Watson Being Adorable

Watson Helping me with Paperwork

And Tea, because Fall is right around the corner!

Routine is Returning!

I’ve been finding it hard to write a blog post that isn’t one long tirade about the state of our house, the number of boxes I’ve unpacked, and how many I’ve yet to go.  I normally try to have a positive outlook on life, but this last week (and indeed, this last month) I’ve found it very hard.

But with the end of my week coming to an end, I’ve happily seemed to find that I’m carving out a routine.  I’ve been able to bike regularly, work productively, and it no longer seems like the world is coming to an end.  Well, as long as I keep the door shut to the upstairs guest bedroom, which still makes me want to weep incoherently.

So posts will be coming in a more regular manner, now.

Watson, in our new rocking chair, in my new workspace

Attack of the Yan Snatchers!

Yesterday a Michael was getting ready for work he told me that he had a dream about the cats getting into the yarn.  After he was finished telling me about the dream, I commented how long it had been since the cats had gotten into the yarn – I’d gotten good about making sure to put things away at the end of the evening.  He laughed and headed out of the bedroom as I began dragging myself out of bed, when suddenly I heard, “Sweetheart…” and the note in his voice made me very nervous.

“The cats got into your yarn.”
Michael must have heard the cats running around in his sleep and realized what it meant.  The cats had really gotten into my yarn this time.  500 plus yards of yarn were spread throughout the main room of our apartment, threading themselves through chairs and tables, around the couch and the rest of the room.
The cats had a really good time.  Somehow Peake (and I know it was Peake, as he looked entirely too smug) managed to push open the zipper of my backpack and get into my knitting bag from there.
The last two nights have been spent untangling their mess, but I’m happy to report that no yarn was lost to their play.
It’s a good thing these guys are so cute.  I’m nearly over being mad at them.

Snowday, again.

We got about 5 or 6 inches of snow today.  Needless to say, everything was pretty much shut down.  Mr. Turtle and I stayed holed up in our apartment.  Mr. Turtle was recovering from a cold, and every time he coughed the cats got startled.  For once in my life (shockingly!) I was the preferred human to cuddle, which was a little awkward as I was working on an upcoming pattern.

At one point both cats were poured into my lap, a rather startling feat.

Michael snapped a picture.

Me, lovely in my “Knitter” Sweatpants and Penguin Sweatshirt;
the cats, keeping my lap warm.

The pattern was giving me fits today.  It’s a new sock pattern, and the heel took three tries to get right.  It’s a perfect fit now, but I had to try out everything that didn’t work before I settled on a shape that worked.

Stay tuned – next week I’ll be announcing some exciting news!

Feline Friday.. on Sunday.

Mr. Turtle and I had been planning on going to the farm for a short weekend, but with the inclement weather on Thursday and Friday, decided against making the trip.  I have to say I’m relieved… it meant we had a much needed weekend resting at home with very few things that needed to be done, aside from the normal chores.  It also means we have been marathoning the second season of House of Cards.  The show, which I didn’t think I would like, has drawn me in – with characters that are morally ambiguous and endlessly fascinating.

It also meant that the kitties could spend a whole bunch of quality time snuggled up with us.

I love that these two are snuggled up, practically mirror images of each other.

I also love catching the cats yawning.
Cats yawns go from “cute cute cute” to “oh my.” to “I’m going to eat your head!”
And It happens very very quickly.