3.12.2014

National Crochet Month Tour 2014


Happy National Crochet Month!

And, welcome to Banana Moon Studio!

This blog tour was organized by Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka of Crochetville, a wonderful crochet community with forums, free and for sale patterns sold by indie designers, and classes. All month long there will be crochet professionals blogging to celebrate crochet, and I am pleased to be a part of it, for the second year in a row. Please see Crochetville's blog for a full schedule of the participants.

We're doing a few things with this blog tour. First, is that we are supporting Halos of Hope, an organization that collects and donates hats to cancer centers and hospitals around the country for those who have undergone treatments. You can donate money to help them cover shipping costs (100% of your donation is used for postage, not admin costs), or you can make and donate hats to contribute to a Crochetville group donation. Please see Crochetville's website for details on how to contribute as part of the group effort.


The second thing we are doing with this blog tour is promoting the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). I joined the CGOA when I began designing in 2010, because I wanted to be a part of the mentor program so that I would have someone that I could ask when I had questions or needed a cheerleader. I got that and more! Jocelyn Sass was my mentor, and she is still my friend. I also got connected with all the professionals that are members of CGOA through a Yahoo! group forum, and by meeting them at the conferences. Getting to know those professionals and meet them face-to-face was the #1 biggest boost to my crochet career!


The third thing we are doing is celebrating the art of crochet with you by putting on this tour, and by offering something to our readers in honor of this craft we all love! I have written a pattern, "Gardens Galore Garland" to share with you here on the blog. This pattern will stay available for free on the blog. Please don't copy this to any other website or share it by email. If you know someone that would like the pattern, please direct them to my blog.


Gardens Galore Garland

By April Garwood

Yarn: Valley Yarns Longmeadow (60% Cotton, 40% Microfiber; 117 yd [107 m]/1 ¾ oz [50 g]; CYCA #3):
#05 Fuchsia
#14 Periwinkle
#08 Coral
#15 Dark Blue
#10 Lettuce
#01 White

Hook: Size G/6 [4.00 mm]

Gauge: 8-Petal Flower = 3” [7.5 cm] diameter. Gauge is not critical for this project.

Note: Use these colors as you desire, making as many of each piece as you like (I made 2 of each) in whichever colors you like. You can combine shapes as desired or leave some or all of them by themselves. Also, use whichever color you choose for the garland chain (I used #01 White).

Heart
Make an adjustable ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 1, 6 sc in ring, pull tail tight to close center, join to first sc with sl st – 6 sts.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, (sc, dc)in first st, 2 dc in next st, sl st in next st, 2 dc in next st, (dc, sc)in next st, (sc, ch 2, sc)in last st, join to first st with sl st – 11 sts. Fasten off.

Ring
Ch 8, join to first ch with sl st to form ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 2(does not count as a st), 20 dc in ring, join to first st with sl st – 20 sts. Fasten off.

Circle
Make an adjustable ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 2 (does not count as a st), 12 dc in ring, pull tail tight to close, join to first st with sl st – 12 sts. Fasten off.

6-Petal Flower
Make an adjustable ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 2 (does not count as a st), (dc, ch 2)6 times in ring, join to first st with sl st – 6 sts.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, (sc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc) in each ch sp around, join to first st with sl st – 30 sts. Fasten off.

8-Petal Flower
Make an adjustable ring
Rnd 1: Ch 1, 8 sc in ring, pull tail to tighten just enough to close, leaving a small hole in the middle, join to first st with sl st – 8 sts.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, (sc, ch 2)in each st around, join to first st with sl st.
Rnd 3: Sl st in first ch sp, ch 1, (sc, ch 3)in each ch sp around, join to first st with sl st.
Rnd 4: Ch 1, (sc, hdc, dc, ch 1, dc, hdc, sc)in each ch sp around, join to first st with sl st – 48 sts. Fasten off.

Garland
Ch 40, sc in top of first piece (all pieces should have RS facing when you st into them), *ch 20, sc in top of next piece, repeat from star until all pieces are attached, ch 40. Fasten off.

(C)2014 April Garwood. All rights reserved. For personal, non-commercial use only.

Great thing about this pattern is that it is giving you the tools to build something that is very individually yours. You can put these little motifs together however you like. You can make a garland with them; you can make hairclips or headbands with them. You could use them to applique to t-shirts, or to decorate bags, or even to decorate a hat -- that you could send to Halos of Hope!



Happy National Crochet Month! Enjoy the pattern! I will put a page on Ravelry for it, so if you make it, please share pictures there or on my Facebook page!

Happy stitching!
April


3.01.2014

Happy National Crochet Month!


March is National Crochet Month! How will you celebrate this wonderful craft? It should probably involve yarn shopping, right? 'Cause we all know it's impossible to have too much. (wink)

I will be crocheting this month...of course. Also, I will be participating in Crochetville's National Crochet Month blog tour, for the second year in a row. The tour consists of one or two crochet professionals blogging each day and offering something special for their readers on that day. My tour post will be on the 20th, and you'll want to come visit that day...trust me...

There should be a full schedule up on Crochetville's blog soon, but until then, today starts of with Shelby Allaho, and tomorrow's post is from Ellen Gormley.

I hope you'll visit their blogs, and follow along all month, because I know there are going to be some great posts and freebies that you won't want to miss!

Happy National Crochet Month!
April

2.13.2014

Eye Candy - My Handspun


I have been asked, and would like to make, more tutorials to put up here on the blog, but just haven't had the time lately. Those are time-intensive blog posts. Hopefully soon, I'll get some up on working across row ends, working through two thicknesses, and a few others.


In the meantime though, you'll have to be content to see some pictures of my handspun yarn. Mr AC got me an antique spinning wheel for Christmas. Sadly, we tried getting replacement parts, but it just was not going to work. We thought about trying to find someone that could repair it, but I concluded, that even if we could get it repaired, it was not going to have the options available that I wanted. It doesn't have the adjustment capability that a new one would.


So, we ordered an Ashford Traveller from Paradise Fibers. I LOVE it! As you can see from the above pictures...it works! I watched a youtube video about how to use a spinning wheel. I already kinda got how spinning worked from using a spindle, so it was not hard to figure out. It took me at least an hour to put together.


It is SO much faster than using a spindle. The 4 skeins in the top two pictures -- that is the result of 4 oz of Blue-faced Leicester that my sweetheart also got me for Christmas. It took me less than 2 days to make all 4 of those skeins, and I obviously did not spend 48 hrs straight at my wheel. Amazing how much faster that is than trying to work through 4 oz of fiber on a spindle! Honestly, I may never go back once I finish the project that is on my spindle right now. And believe me, I will ply that project with my wheel, not with a spindle.

I probably should have varnished it before putting it together and using it, but I've never been very patient when I am excited about something, and I really wanted to start spinning. I should probably at least varnish the pedals. It is a great wheel. It doesn't take up as much space as the antique one. It works great, isn't noisy, and it has an on board lazy kate -- so glad I got one with that feature! I love working with it! My favorite part of the process is plying the yarn. Something about the colors coming together and seeing the finished product. I don't know. Also, there is no drafting involved, so it is quick and easy to ply. I am in love!

And, on that note, Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow! I'm going out with my sweetheart tonight. And, believe it or not, I do still love him more than my spinning wheel. After all, he bought it for me! We'll give each other, and the girls, some gifts tomorrow, and spend the evening together. Hope you all have a special day with the ones you love!

Happy crafting!
April

2.06.2014

Off-Topic: My Other Hobby


I actually have another hobby besides knit and crochet. Gasp! This is the perfect time to blog about it because I will be heading on a trip to RootsTech this week, a very large Genealogy conference in Salt Lake City, UT.

I have been researching my family for years now, but I also serve at church by helping others research their families. In fact, this year I was also asked to be the chairperson for a genealogy conference put on by our church here in Oklahoma. It is usually attended by around 150 people. I'm nervous about it, and thankful for others who have volunteered to help.

I am excited about the classes at RootsTech! There are going to be more great classes than I could possibly attend -- it's difficult to choose which ones I want to see. I hear the vendor floor is pretty exciting too.

Now, lest you think I have forgotten about my love of yarn and yarn craft, I have looked up the closest yarn store to where I'll be staying, and I plan to make a visit.

Happy stitching and ancestor-finding everyone!
April

2.01.2014

Banana Moon Studio Goes Knit!


Introducing my first EVER knit design -- "Coral Current Cowl". This is an infinity scarf with 3 wide cables separated by columns of garter stitch. I like the wild feel of it with this messy texture of the cables in the thick-and-thin yarn Universal Yarn Bamboo Bloom Handpaints.


This is an easy pattern, and a great introduction to cables.


The Bamboo Bloom yarn comes in some stunning colorways! It is also very soft and enjoyable to knit with.


The infinity scarf is long enough to double for great warmth!


This is going to be a lovely accessory to wear in the cold weather! You'll want to get started right away so that you can finish off the winter months with this wonderful scarf available to complete your outfit for an outdoor adventure!

You can find it on Ravelry so far, but it will soon be available in my Etsy shop, on Craftsy, and on my website. And, bonus, for the first 24 hrs the pattern will be FREE on Ravelry with code NEWFREESCARF24. After that it goes up to a modest $3.00.

I'm so excited to be releasing my first knit pattern. This should be the first of many! What do you think? What colorway will you make it in? I hope you love it!

Happy stitching!
April

1.30.2014

Tub o' Wool


My good friend, and fellow designer, Renee Rodgers send me a bag of wool recently. She used to have a few sheep and this fleece was one she had left and did not have plans to use. It is a dark brown fleece.

Why is it in my bathtub? I washed it last night in my tub. She suggested that I soak it in warm water with some dish soap, then change the water several times to rinse it, until the rinse water was clear. I probably should have rinsed it another time or two, but I called it good enough when the water was mostly clear. I'm sure I'll get more dirt out when I card it. It will be be easier to wash after it's spun and I can soak it in a small wash tub in smaller quantities.

This was a lot of work! I had to gently turn and pick up the fleece while draining out the rinse water in order to let all of the dirty water behind and underneath escape. It is still drying in my tub with the window open, exhaust fan on, and box fan blowing on it.

I am so excited to spin this and make something lovely with it! What would you make with it if it were yours? Have you ever washed a fleece? Any suggestions or good ideas on making it easier?


Happy stitching and spinning!

April

1.23.2014

Knit Shawl Finished (after Crochet rescued it)


Here is my Framework shawl all finished! This design is by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark and is available in Free-Spirit Shawls which I reviewed here.

I also blogged recently about how I made an awful mistake while knitting this shawl a few weeks ago. You can find that post here.

I love the shape of this shawl! It is long enough that I can wrap it all the way around my shoulders and have it stay put without a shawl pin (unless my kids are climbing on me or I am outside in the Oklahoma wind).

I really enjoyed using this yarn! It is Cascade Ultra Pima Fine. It is nice and soft. I was given this yarn as a Valentine's gift a few years ago from my wonderful husband, who picked it out himself. Every time he goes into the yarn store to get me something they ask him if he wants a gift certificate. He doesn't though. He wants to pick it out, and he does a great job! I blogged about the gift here.


Happy stitching!
April