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Interview with Jennifer Raymond from Tinking Turtle Designs

Underground Crafter Crochet Specialty of the Month 2015
Welcome to my themed blog series, Crochet Specialty of the Month! Each month in 2015, I’ll feature a specialized crochet technique, stitch pattern, or project type through several posts.

As part of this month’s focus on broomstick lace, I’m sharing an interview today with Jennifer Raymond (formerly Jennifer Crowley) from Tinking Turtle Designs. Jennifer is Virginia-based crochet and knitting designer and teacher, and she happens to have a great fondness for the broomstick lace technique!

You can find Jennifer online on the Tinking Turtle Designs website, and on Facebook, Pinterest, Ravelry, and Twitter. I’m also sharing a roundup of my seven favorite crochet patterns (and one free knitting pattern) from Jennifer’s collection. All photos are used with permission, and are copyright Jennifer Raymond/Tinking Turtle Designs unless otherwise noted.

This post contains affiliate links.

Jennifer Raymond.

Jennifer Raymond.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?

Jennifer: I first learned to crochet when I was 6 or 7, from a babysitter that used to help my mother.  She taught me.  It wasn’t until I was in high school that I learned about things like gauge and patterns.  I just looked at what I wanted to make and then made things.

Witchlace by Jennifer Raymond Knit Picks

Witchlace, a crochet sweater design by Jennifer Raymond featuring a broomstick lace yoke. Photo (c) Knit Picks.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Jennifer: My husband (then boyfriend) started encouraging me after college to look into how I could take my passion and make it my career.  I’d just finished working for an office job that didn’t quite work, and I began to start researching how I could make it work.  You see, I’ve always been the sort of person to deviate from the directions, even when I don’t know what I’m doing.

Creative Video Workshops on Creativebug.com

About the same time I was lucky to stumble across someone who had been in the industry in the late 80’s and early 90’s, who was willing to help guide me and help me present myself as a professional.

Points of Interest, a crochet pattern by Jennifer Raymond available in Quick & Easy Crochet Accessories. Photo (c) Annie's.

Points of Interest, a crochet pattern by Jennifer Raymond available in Quick & Easy Crochet Accessories. Photo (c) Annie’s.

Quick & Easy Crochet AccessoriesUC: Several of your patterns include broomstick lace. How were you introduced to broomstick lace, and what do you enjoy about designing with it?

Jennifer: I first learned to work broomstick lace in college.  I’ve always been hungry to learn new things, and I was reading up on obscure crochet techniques.  I came across it, and taught myself.  Later I availed myself of others who knew more about broomstick.

I love the way broomstick is so approachable to beginners: truly, if you know how to chain and single crochet, you can learn how to work broomstick.  I also love how it makes it look like you know how to do more difficult techniques than what it actually is.  I also simply love the look of the lace.  Hence my two patterns, Horn of the Moon and Sunburst Shawl.  I have several other patterns with broomstick I’m working on!

Horn of the Moon, crochet pattern featuring broomstick lace by Jennifer Raymond.

Horn of the Moon, crochet pattern featuring broomstick lace by Jennifer Raymond.

UC: You’re multi-craftual. Do you have a favorite craft or does that depend on the project or season?

Jennifer: I love knitting and crochet for different reasons: they both do different things well.  They also speak to different parts of my designing brain.  My crochet designs tend to play with color and simple shapes, in addition to fun riffs on older techniques.  Meanwhile, my knit designs tend to be playing more with stitches and how they relate to each other.

As a businesswoman, knowing how to knit and crochet means I’m able to work between two markets, and be able to function and speak to both knitters and crocheters.  Instructors who are very strong in both crafts are rare, and designers even more-so.  I think it gives me an edge.  I also get bored easily, so being able to do both means I can follow where my curiosity leads.

One Salt Sea, a hairpin lace crochet pattern by Jennifer Raymond.

One Salt Sea, a hairpin lace crochet pattern by Jennifer Raymond.

UC: You teach knitting and crochet, as well as a class on making a duct tape dress form! Tell us what inspired you to create that class and where we might see it this year?

Jennifer: The duct tape dress form class is a skill that is more common in the sewing world.  I often find there are great things to learn from other crafts to bring back to knitting and crochet – this is one of them.  Using a dress form for your knitting or crochet work can open up a bunch of opportunities.  It also helps a lot of people “get real” with their measurements – which only means that people are able to make garments that look better on them!

Crocheting in Circles

I’ll be teaching the Duct Tape Dress Form class this spring in a variety of places: Fibre Space, in Old Town Alexandria, VA as well as at the Carolina Fiber Fest.  If you’re interested in it, or any of my other classes, you should check out my calendar… I’m currently filling in my spring dates!

Stained Glass Rug, free crochet pattern by Jennifer Raymond.

Stained Glass Rug, free crochet pattern by Jennifer Raymond.

UC: What are your favorite crochet and knitting books in your collection?

Jennifer: I love Barbara Walker’s stitch dictionaries.

I also am currently in love with Rena Crocket’s Flawless Knit Repair, which my father recently got me.  It represents both a book I desperately wanted and some that only my father could find – I’d been looking for it for nearly six months.

I also love historical knitting patterns, and have a huge collection.  It’s great inspiration to look at the old patterns and then create interesting riffs on them – like I did with Mary’s Rose Camisole.

Sunburst Shawl, crochet pattern by Jennifer Raymond. Photo (c) Brittany Tyler.

Sunburst Shawl, crochet pattern featuring broomstick lace by Jennifer Raymond. Photo (c) Brittany Tyler.

UC: Do you have any crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Jennifer: Ravelry is the big one.  I love Ravelry so much for both the community and also for information.  I love it so much, I taught an electronic class on Interweave titled Ravelry 101.  I’ll be teaching a second class, also on Ravelry.  The best part?  They both are accessible to watch whenever you want.

I also find a variety of blogs particularly helpful, though it’s hard to pick out just one.

Newport, a crochet sweater pattern by Jennifer Raymond. Photo (c) Classic Elite Yarn.

Newport, a crochet sweater pattern by Jennifer Raymond. Photo (c) Classic Elite Yarn.

UC: What’s the tool you use the most when crocheting or knitting?

Jennifer: I love locking stitch markers, and I’ve talked about it on my blog quite a bit.  I find them immeasurably helpful for a variety of tasks both related to knitting and crochet, and those outside of the craft zone.  Pinning things together, holding your crochet stitch so it doesn’t unravel, holding a dropped stitch in knitting, using them as a cable needle… I just think they’re a perfect little tool that makes your life so much easier.

Octopodes, a free knitting pattern by Jennifer Raymond, available on Knitty.

Octopodes, a free knitting pattern by Jennifer Raymond, available on Knitty.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Jennifer, and for sharing your story and your love of broomstick lace!

Interview with Tanis Galik, intermeshing crochet designer

Underground Crafter's Crochet Specialty of the Month: January 2015 intermeshing crochet

 

Welcome to my themed blog series, Crochet Specialty of the Month! Each month in 2015, I’ll feature a specialized crochet technique, stitch pattern, or project type through several posts.

This post contains affiliate links.

Tanis Galik is probably the crochet designer most associated with contemporary intermeshing crochet, so I’m thrilled to share an interview with her today as part of my January focus on this crochet technique. I first was introduced to Tanis’s work through her book, Interlocking Crochet, which I reviewed here (along with 20+ other crochet stitch guides). 

You can find Tanis online on her website, Interlocking Crochet, on Pinterest, YouTube, and Ravelry (as tanisgalik, in the Interlocking Crochet group, and on her designer page). She has a wide collection of video tutorials on the intermeshing technique if you are excited to dive in! You can find links to her 3 starter videos in this roundup of 4 free online resources to learn intermeshing.

Interview with intermeshing crochet designer Tanis Galik on Underground Crafter

Tanis Galik.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?

Tanis: My paternal grandmother taught me. It seems there is a long line of crocheters on my father’s side of the family. (My father remembered his grandmother crocheting all the time.) Of course, back then it was mostly doilies my grandmother made. Her house was covered with them. Each had tiny colorful fruits incorporated into the doily. They also had delicate ruffled edges starched with sugar water to make the ruffles stand up. The most amazing thing (which I did not realize until much later) was the yarn she used. It was like fine thread. How did she see it? Or work with that tiny metal hook? Unfortunately, I never thought to ask for a doily.

I stopped crocheting; however, in high school crochet fashions started becoming popular so I picked up a pattern and began re-teaching myself. I think grandma’s training and my family “crochet gene” helped me to pick it up easily. Once I started, I never stopped.

Interview with intermeshing crochet designer Tanis Galik on Underground Crafter

Watermelon Parfait Baby Blanket by Tanis Galik. Published in Crochet! Image (c) Annie’s.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Tanis: I’ve often taken a crochet pattern and adjusted it for my preference or taken a basic crochet stitch pattern and used it for something else so I guess that was the beginning. However, it was really learning the basic Interlocking or intermeshing crochet technique that started me designing and submitting to publishers.

Interview with intermeshing crochet designer Tanis Galik on Underground Crafter

Diamond Baby Blanket, free intermeshing crochet pattern by Tanis Galik.

UC: Since your book, Interlocking Crochet: 80 Original Stitch Patterns Plus Techniques and Projects, was published, you’ve been strongly associated with that technique (also known as intermeshing crochet). How did you begin working with this method and what do you enjoy about designing with it?

Tanis: Several decades ago I took a CGOA class from Sylvia Cosh and James Walters. They had been crochet innovators for decades when I met them. At the time they were just beginning to experiment with intermeshing crochet. I learned the basics and a few designs. They said they were going to publish a book. I went home and experimented myself, continuing to come up with various designs. I waited for a book to be published. When the Internet became popular, I searched for a book and never found one. I decided even though I had never been published, I had better try so this technique could be shared with others before it was lost.

I enjoy coming up with new designs, especially those that have a different pattern and dominate color on each side. I used to go to baby showers and watch the seasoned crocheters turn the blanket (usually with three or four panels of double-sided designs) over and over again, trying to figure out how I had done it.

Interview with intermeshing crochet designer Tanis Galik on Underground Crafter

Irish Blossoms Baby Blanket by Tanis Galik. Published in Crochet World. Image (c) Annie’s.

UC: What are your favorite projects to design?

Tanis: I tend to do accessories – scarves, hats, bags, ponchos and comforting items – baby blankets, afghans, lap throws, dog mats. Since I donate most of my crochet to charities, these items are the ones they usually want.

UC: What are your favorite crochet books (besides yours, of course) in your collection?

Tanis:  Needless to say, I have a large library of crochet books since I have been collecting them for decades.

I tend to like books that have a large selection of crochet stitch designs, including granny squares. Many of them are older books from England that have 200 – 300 stitch patterns. These give me ideas of some different stitches to use in my designs.

I’m beginning to collect Tunisian Crochet books and Irish Crochet books since I want to work more with both of these techniques.

I’m also the first to buy any “new” crochet technique book for my library. I love looking at and trying these different crochet approaches.

3-in-1 Double Crochet Woven Scarf, free crochet pattern by Tanis Galik.

3-in-1 Double Crochet Woven Scarf, free crochet pattern by Tanis Galik.

UC: Do you have any crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Tanis:  I do have a place on Pinterest and Ravelry. I’m one of the moderators on a Ravelry group called Interlocking Crochet.

Interlocking Crochet Reversible Placemat, free crochet pattern by Tanis Galik. Published in Knit and Crochet Now! Season 5. Image (c) Annie's.

Interlocking Crochet Reversible Placemat, free intermeshing crochet pattern by Tanis Galik. Published in Knit and Crochet Now! Season 5. Image (c) Annie’s.

UC: What are some recent designs you’re excited about?

Tanis: I was very happy to have two projects included on Knit & Crochet Now! Season 5. One of them was an Interlocking Crochet placemat. This month (January 2015) I have Irish Blossoms Baby Blanket in the current Crochet World magazine.

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story with us, Tanis!

Knit and Crochet Now! Season 6 giveaway

I’m excited to share an announcement and giveaway with you today! Knit and Crochet Now! is entering it’s sixth season this month, and the folks at Annie’s are sponsoring a giveaway for a complete set of DVDs for the season to one lucky U.S. winner, so read on for details!

Knit and Crochet Now! airs through local public broadcasting stations. You can find your local schedule here by entering your zip code or state. My local station plays two episodes a week, and each episode is also repeated in a different time slot.

Season 6 includes 13 episodes and 43 new patterns, including 14 scarf and cowl patterns (perfect for the bitter cold!) in the “Scarf of the Week” segment.

Some of my favorite sneak peeks from Season 6!

Some of my favorite sneak peeks from Season 6! At left: Butterfly Tee. At right, top: Stripes and Short Rows, and bottom: Star Stitch Long Cowl.

This season, a new designer, Lena Skvagerson, joins the existing team of host Brett Bara and designers Robyn Chachula, Ellen Gormley, and Kristin Nicholas. Jenny King and Drew Emborsky (the Crochet Dude) will also make guest appearances.

You can find all kinds of fun projects and tutorials on the show, and each 30 minute episode is commercial free! And, all of the patterns can be downloaded for free here once you create a free account.

Giveaway

As I mentioned, Annie’s is providing one lucky winner with a full set of Knit and Crochet Now! Season 6 DVDs! To enter, leave a comment letting me know when your local station airs Knit and Crochet Now! and whether you’ve seen it before. You can earn extra points by sharing on social media. But remember, I only count entries logged into the Rafflecopter widget below, so be sure to let me know how you’ve entered!

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Giveaway: Doilies with Symbol Crochet

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Welcome to the final giveaway celebrating my blog’s relaunch! Today’s giveaway is for Doilies With Symbol Crochet, courtesy of Annie’s.

This book includes doily patterns written with U.S. pattern abbreviations along with international stitch symbol charts for the pattern repeats. Since doily patterns are often very long, this format may help you keep track of where you are in your pattern.

This giveaway is open to anyone with an email address. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, August 25, 2014. One winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!

Updated, 8/20/2014 at 8:20 p.m. Eastern – Thank you to Sarah for pointing out that I had attached the WRONG giveaway link to this post. It is now updated.

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Giveaway: Learn Drop Stitch Crochet

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To celebrate my blog relaunch, I’m continuing my week of giveaways with your chance to win Learn Drop Stitch Crochet by Kim Guzman, courtesy of Annie’s.

Learn Drop Stitch Crochet

Learn Drop Stitch Crochet includes 8 patterns using a variation of crocheted broomstick lace to create a look similar to dropped knitted stitches. Kim (interviewed here) has shared another technique twist to keep crocheters engaged. At the same time, she has created some fun and flirty designs that will be perfect for early fall. You can see all of the designs here on Ravelry.

This giveaway is open to anyone with an email address. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Friday, August 22, 2014 for your chance to win Learn Drop Stitch Crochet! One winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!

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