Tuesday, July 5, 2016

10 Question - Meet Jennifer Raymond

Jennifer Raymond is one of our newest members and our youngest! Her daughter, Rebecca Belle Raymond, turned 1 month on July 1! Peg "found" Jennifer and brought her to meet us. She's a relatively new quilter so we have a responsibility to get her totally hooked on quilting!

1. If you live in Hanover (or the area), how many generations of your family have lived here and how did they come to settle here? If you moved here, where are you from and what brought you here?

Where I'm from is a particularly knotty question, as I grew up moving around for my father's job (he works for GE).  I was born in Vermont, spent my early childhood in the suburbs outside of Boston, MA, did a stint in Parkersburg, WV and Vincent, OH, before my family settled outside of Albany, NY from 1999 onwards.  My mother's family is from the Deerfield, MA area, and my father grew up in in suburbs of Boston.  I identify most strongly with upstate NY and Western Massachusetts, as that's where I spent many of my summers.

As for how I came to this area, I met my husband, Michael, while going to school in Davidson, NC.  While he grew up in North Carolina, much of his father's extended family lives in and around Richmond.  After we both graduated, we lived in the Metro Washington, DC area for about four years.  While it was a great place to live while we were both getting started with our careers, we knew we wanted to live someplace a little less urban.  About two years ago, Michael applied for and got a job working for Capitol One - partially because it'd be closer to family, and because we liked the Richmond area.  We decided to move to Ashland, and rented a house.  A few months ago we bought a property in Doswell, and we've been settling in since.

2. When you were young what did you plan to be when you grew up and what happened with those plans?   
When I was very young I wanted to grow up to be a grandma. I thought they had the best job... I just didn't realize that being a grandma wasn't a career.

When I was a little older (a teenager) I knew I wanted to become a writer.  I loved using the written word to communicate ideas.  I thought I'd want to go into fiction, because reading fiction was how I got through middle and part of highschool.  I loved escaping into stories!  When I got to college, I majored in English Language and Literature.  I loved every moment of study, but by the time I graduated I was a little burnt out on academic writing, and had lost some of my confidence in being able to make a career of writing fiction.  While I was working for my Alma-Mater for a year, my now-husband-then-boyfriend Michael began encouraging me to begin making a career of designing knitting and crochet patterns.

Nearly seven years later, I design knitting and crochet patterns full-time.  My job still involves a lot of writing: writing for my blog, pitching ideas to editors, instructional writing and technical writing.  Meanwhile, I get to engage a part of myself I didn't realize was marketable: my love of teaching, and my ability to take ideas out of thin air and make them a reality.  Each day of my job is different, and I love being able to work for myself.  And many of the skills that grandma's get to use (like crafting!) I use everyday!

You can check out my website at www.tinkingturtle.com.  I'd love new visitors!

3. What are your favorite things to do in the area?
I'm still discovering all the things to do in the area!  Directions not being one of my strong-suits, it'll probably take me another 3-5 years to really feel comfortable around here.  Still, some of the things I like to do:
  • Every Friday we're in town my husband and I (and now our new daughter, Rebecca) head over to the Caboose in Ashland for their wine tasting.  More often than not we get a bottle of wine, and bunch of small cuts of cheese, and then head home to have a dinner of wine, cheese, leftovers and a movie.
  • Speaking of wine, every once and a while we'll head out and explore some of the great wineries in the VA area.  We'll make a day of it, take backroads, and stop at anything we find interesting.  I love poking around antique shops, checking out local yarn and fabric stores, and stopping at historic battlefields and landmarks.
  • Both my husband and I love to bike.  When I lived in the DC area, I didn't have a car, and I got around the city with public transportation and my bike.  Many times I was logging more than a hundred miles biked in a week.  Here, we like to take bikerides around the countryside, noodle around the city on our bikes, or plan out a daylong bike trip.  We're eagerly awaiting when Rebecca can sit up, as then we can put her in a bike trailer and take her along with us!
  • I'm also really fond of touristy local attractions.  Our last trip we went to Luray Caverns.  Now that we have Rebecca, I'm looking for day trips that we could take a baby along.  I'd love for some suggestions!

4. Tell us a little about your family
My intimidate family consists of my husband, Michael, and our new daughter, Rebecca.  She was born on June 1st, and we're still getting to know her!

5. What hobbies or activities do you do other than quilting? Where do you do them? How did you get involved with them?
My primary hobbies are also my career: knitting and crochet.  I learned to crochet when I was seven, and knit about a year later.  I crochet and knit all throughout school, never once following a pattern: I'm particularly bad at following directions. (I always think I know better than the designer!)  As a result, I find it much more intuitive to create my own patterns than to follow directions.  I'm a part of the Ashland Stitching Group that meets at the library on Monday nights.  It's actually how I found out about CSQ!

I also love to read fiction - particularly fantasy, science fiction, historical novels and romance novels.  Some of my favorite authors are Seanan McGuire, Illona Andrews, and Nalini Singh, among others.  I love listening to books on tape for nonfiction.  I love to listen to Bill Bryson, especially because he's got a great narrative voice.  The last book I listened to was on the periodic table, titled The Disappearing Spoon.  It was great.

6. What’s your favorite vacation spot? Where do you want to go next?
My husband's family owns a property in rural Scottsville, VA.  It's a rustic old farmhouse, with no internet access and spotty cell-phone coverage.  I love being able to unplug for a long weekend and spend time with family at "the Farm."

As to where I'd like to go next - I wouldn't mind a trip to the beach, but only in the off-season.  I burn too easily to enjoy the beach during the summer!

7. What saying best describes how you like to live your life?
"All who joy would win must share it. Happiness was born a twin." Lord Byron.

8. Show us a photo (or photos) of where you create.

Where I do most of the creating, writing, and planning is in my office.  On the right is my sewing machine chair and table (the table is out of view).  On the left is my work station: my computer and (right now) a lot of clutter that needs to be cleaned up!  This room is also where I run my business, so it gets a lot of use!

9. Show us a photo of the quilt that’s on your bed right now.

So funny story: I'm a rank beginner quilter.  I have two quilts to my name - the first a 9-block star quilt I hand stitched in highschool (back before I even knew what the bias to a fabric meant), and the quilt that is on my husband's and my bed right now, known affectionately as "the Train Quilt."

Yous see, my husband loves modes of transportation, and in particular loves ships and trains.  Back before we were married, I came across some vintage train fabric, and snapped it right up.  I knew right then I wanted to make a quilt for him, although I didn't even have access to a sewing machine at the time!  I found some other train-themed fabric - I was certain I wanted no cartoony childlike fabrics.  It was hard to find fabrics I was happy with.

While I was working on a the quilt, and knitting friend happened to mention she had about a yard of train-track fabric, and offered it to me.  That fabric became the border, and my first mitered corners.  I'm proud of how I got the tracks to line up at the corners.  I only had a 6 x 2" piece of fabric left of the train track when I was finished - it was meant to be.

Not knowing much about quilting techniques, and knowing I didn't want to tie the quilt like I did my star one, I ended up nearly killing my sewing machine by stitching random lines (like train tracks through a countryside) all around the quilt until I thought I'd hit a good density.  It worked remarkably well, considering.

My mother-in-law, a quilter also, did the binding for me, because by that point, I was nearly burnt out on the task of making the quilt.

Michael loves the train quilt, and it stays permanently on our bed.

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