Mango Moon Chakra Review

Today I have a yarn review for you readers. When I went to the Marly Bird Designer Dinner I received a skein of Mango Moon Chakra in my swag bag. I was intrigued by this variegated yarn with two different kinds of beads tied into it. A skein is 75 yds/69 m of yarn, hand spun in Indonesia. The tag says "Provides Safe Shelter, Health Care, & Education to Families in Nepal & Indonesia." Mango Moon's website further explains that the spinners of this yarn use their earnings to provide these benefits to their families. This is especially wonderful right now, given the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal. I love that you can do good and buy yarn at the same time! The fiber content is 30% recycled viscose, 66% cotton, 3% spandex, 1% beads/stones. The colorway is 9212 White.

I started by making a crochet swatch. I first tried it with an I/9/5.5 mm hook. The yarn doesn't seem to be quite worsted weight to me, just looking at it, so I thought this was a good choice. However, this hook didn't seem to make the yarn happy. It was compact and stiff when I crocheted with that hook. I ripped it out and began again with a K/10.5/6.5 mm hook. This was better, but still made a pretty firm fabric. I think that this hook would work for some projects, but a larger hook would have provided better drape, so you could easily go up to an L or M with this yarn.

Next I made a knit swatch, in stockinette stitch. This time I started with size 11/8 mm needles. This made a swatch that would have been very open and floppy, almost shapeless. I debated between trying a 10/6 mm or a 10.5/6.5 mm. I went with the 10.5, since the difference between that and the 11 was actually fairly big. Anyhow, size 10.5 needles made a good swatch if you want drape. The stitches are still pretty open on this size of needle. Interestingly, the yarn definitely didn't want to make a square. It made a trapezoid. I photographed my swatch before blocking, just so you could see that. I have since blocked it though, and it made a very nice rectangle after that, so no need to worry about your rectangles looking like trapezoids.

Before blocking

After blocking

I noticed, as I hand-wound this yarn into a center-pull ball, that the yarn had a tendency to twist up on itself. I couldn't tell for sure if this yarn was a single ply. I wondered, because single-ply yarns tend to be overtwisted. Anyhow, the twist may have been what caused this trapezoid shape. That's just my guess. I don't know for sure. I don't find this tendency irritating, just interesting. I was able to use my leg as a swift and wind by hand without too much difficulty, but a swift would have made this even easier. I have a swift, but wasn't at home when I was doing this.

I could see making a scarf or cowl with this yarn. It would also make for a nice edging on a scarf, cowl, sweater, blanket, or home decor item. I began by trying to hold all the beads to one side of the fabric, but this was not really possible, so I had a pretty even smattering of beads on both sides.

I hope this review is helpful to you as you make decisions on how to spend your yarn budget. It was a fun yarn for me to work with. Have you used Chakra for a project? I'd love to see your thoughts in the comments. Not sure what to make with it? Click HERE to see the 195 projects on Ravelry that have used this yarn.

Now, one more thing to take care of. Last week I posted about Eucalan Delicate Wash and took comments for a giveaway. Today, I get to announce that LisaC is the winner! Thank you to all those that read the post and left their comments! LisaC, would you please send an email to bananamoonstudio @ gmail . com (take out the spaces) with your address? I will forward it to Eucalan, and they will send you your prize. Congrats!

Happy stitching everyone!



Eucalan Delicate Wash

The scarf pictured here is my knit Coral Current Cowl. Pattern is available for $3
on Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy.

Go with me back in time to the end of May. I traveled to Columbus, and stayed for less than 24 hours. I attended my first ever Marly Bird Designer Dinner during the weekend of the TNNA show. It was fun, I met new and wonderful designers and publishers, and I got a BIG. BAG. OF SWAG.

One of the goodies in that bag was a small bottle of Wrapture by Kristin Omdahl and Eucalan, as well as a sample of the grapefruit scented Eucalan. Lucky for me, this was not my first opportunity to try Eucalan. I have a big bottle of it that I use for my handmades.

I want to tell you about the awesomeness that is Eucalan. First, so easy to wash your handmades with Eucalan, it really does not take any longer than loading up your washing machine, seriously. Fill a wash basin with cool water, and add the Eucalan. Believe it or not the small bottle they gave me will last through several washes. In fact the large bottle I have is not even half empty and I bought it 2 or 3 years ago. This is because you only need 1 teaspoon, or 5 mL, of Eucalan per gallon of water.

Place your handmade item into the water, press it down a little to make sure it all gets wet, and let it soak for at least 15 minutes.

When it is finished soaking...here is the really fantastic part...don't rinse. Just gently press out some of the extra water. Then roll it in a towel and press out some more extra water, and lay it flat to dry. So easy.

One thing I love about Eucalan that I didn't even know until receiving this sample is that the wonderful scent of Eucalan is not achieved with any artificial perfumes. The smell comes from natural essential oils. Well, this just makes me super happy. I love essential oils!

Eucalan isn't just for your handmade items. It is really for anything that you wash by hand, so you can use it for many things. It comes in eucalyptus, lavender, grapefruit, unscented, and jasmine (that's the Wrapture variety that is jasmine scented). It comes in single use 5mL sizes, as well as 100 mL, 500 mL, and 1 gal. sizes.

Lucky for you, Eucalan is offering you some goodies too! You can win a "Getaway Gang", pictured below, by leaving a comment on this blog post. I will choose a random winner in 1 week, announce it here, and pass along your address to Eucalan so that you can receive your prize!

(C) Eucalan
This package includes 10 single use sample packets of Eucalan, two in each scent, 6 Eucalan wipes for touching up drips or spots on your clothing, a small sewing kit, and a nail file. This makes a great travel kit in case you need to wash or repair clothes, or fingernails, while traveling.

I'm excited for our winner who will get to try every scent of Eucalan and decide on his/her favorite!

Happy stitching!



Shianne Hoodie

Introducing the Shianne Hoodie! You can find this fab pattern in Crochet! Autumn 2015. This cute cardigan comes in sizes 2, 4, 6, and 8. The yarn is Berroco Maya which is a cotton/alpaca blend with a chainette construction. You need 3(4, 5, 6) skeins of the main color and 2(2, 3, 3) skeins of the second color. This yarn is machine washable. Of course, who wants to make something for children if it isn't machine washable, right? The yarn was soft and nice to work with. I have a little left and I may design in it again. FYI, it is a worsted weight yarn.

You'll need an I/9/5.5 mm crochet hook and a separating zipper to complete this jacket.

First of all, isn't the model adorable?

This hoodie was something that I originally envisioned in tween and teen sizes and all in one color, the blue, actually. My oldest daughter, Drama Queen, helped me dream up this design. I named if for my oldest niece, who is 16, since I was thinking of it in larger sizes.

The yoke detail is, of course, my favorite part of this design. If you click on the picture and zoom in you can see it a little better. The stitch pattern at the top is more open, and it is also textured. My choice to open up the stitch pattern around the shoulders was inspired by all the fashionable tops we see today that have crochet lace around the shoulders with a more solid fabric covering the rest of the torso. Obviously, we don't want a jacket to be too open around the shoulders. We want warmth there. So, it is just a little open.

You can see that the texture extends down into the purple section a little. This isn't some super-complicated thing of using 2 colors in the same row. Those are just really long post stitches. So, no worries, that part will be easy.

Customizing length will be easy if that's something you need. Just work extra rows before beginning the armhole. Just remember that you'll need a longer zipper than the pattern suggests if you do this. Another possible customization is in the depth of the hood. There is not some magic number of stitches that you need around the neckline in order to make the hood instructions work. If you want the hood to provide more coverage, just begin with more stitches around the neckline, or work some increases in the first few rows of the hood to make it larger. If you want the hood to provide less coverage, you can begin with fewer stitches around the neckline, or work some decreases into the first few rows. Don't want a hood at all? No problem, just edge the neckline with single crochet and leave it.

Which size will you be making? Who will it be for? What colors will you use? Could you see this jacket for little boys? I think it could work for boys or girls. What do you think? If you make this hoodie, please share pictures on Ravelry or on my Facebook page! It makes my day to see pictures of FOs from my patterns!

Happy stitching!



Tide Wrap Reveal

I've got a new crochet pattern out for you! I'm so excited about this one! This pattern makes me so happy. Start to finish, it was a wonderful project. This is Tide Wrap, available from Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts.

In January I traveled to Phoenix, AZ for my first TNNA show. I met Caroline Sommerfeld of Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts. The first day I was there, she and her team gave me a small sample skein. I swatched with it that night, and drew up an idea. I took it to her on the last day of the show and she was very happy with it. However, that swatch and sketch were not for this design, so, more to come...

Not long after returning home from TNNA, Ancient Arts Design Director Barb Brown asked me about the possibility of designing a 2-skein crochet pattern to be released with the June Yarnbox Classic, since Ancient Arts would be the featured yarn company. The only requirement was that I had to finish the pattern quickly. 

I set to work thinking of ideas and sketching. This was the result -- a buttoned wrap with panels of filet lace separated by rows of texture. The filet panels have cresting waves in them. The texture is created by post stitches. As I was nearly finished stitching I went looking for just the right buttons for this wrap. I found real stone buttons on Etsy by Lake House Beach Glass. They were such PERFECT buttons for this wrap! I'm super excited to have 2 of them left to use for something for myself.

The yarn for this design is the fingering weight Merino/Bamboo/Nylon by Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts. This yarn is very soft and delightful to work with! You'll need 2 skeins of the yarn, a size F crochet hook, and 2 buttons (about 1" diameter).

I was able to go to the TNNA show in Columbus just a few weeks ago, but my trip was very short. I was happy to get to visit the Ancient Arts booth and see that they used this photo in a new banner that was hanging around the top edge of their booth. I was so excited to see that my design was pictured there! 

If you make this wrap I sure hope you'll add photos to Ravelry and/or share them on my Facebook page. It makes my day when I see that someone loved one of my patterns enough to make it!

Happy stitching!


Bloom Headband Class

This is my latest indie pattern, Bloom Headband. This pattern uses small amounts of two colors of Cascade Ultra Pima Fine, a fingering weight 100% cotton. It is a soft, smooth cotton with a nice amount of shine.

The pattern gives instructions for the flowers you see, four of them. The center flower in the picture is actually two flowers layered together. You stitch these to an elastic headband of any size, so you can make this for a baby, child, teen, or adult.

I will be teaching a class on this project at Gourmet Yarn Co. here in Oklahoma City on the northwest corner of May Ave. and Britton Rd. The class is on Saturday Aug. 15 from 2:00 to 4:00. The class costs $15, plus materials. Call 405.286.3737 to sign up for the class.

Class members will learn to work in the round, construct small motifs, and what it means to work in back loops of stitches. This class is suitable for those that are confident at the basic stitches and want to learn a little more.

I hope to see you there!



Inside the Yarn Closet

I have a few random thoughts and happenings to share today.

First, the photo is of my Madelinetosh and Malabrigo drawer in my yarn closet. I don't have a huge selection of yarns from those companies, but some very pretty ones. In the front are fine weight yarns from Madelinetosh. In the back are super bulky colors of Rasta by Malabrigo.

Second, I'll be doing something really exciting later this week, but I'll share after the fact. Can you feel the suspense?!

Third, I started some super simple knit ribbed legwarmers for Princess. I was going to work them in the round, and began to cast on with circulars using the Magic Loop method. I decided that I really don't like using circulars for Magic Loop. I still LOVE my set of circulars and use them for large items in the round as well as in place of straight needles, but I don't like having all those loopy sections of cable hanging out when doing Magic Loop. They bug me! So, I've been looking at dpn sets online and debating buying a set of the little ones, plus some individuals in larger sizes. Do you have dpns that you LOVE? Which ones?

I've actually been taking a breather lately. Once I finished 2 solid months of design work my soul needed a break. Then, when I felt ready to get back to work, my hands decided that they needed a rest. I haven't crocheted much the past couple weeks so that my hands can relax. I'm hoping that they feel ready to get back to work soon, because I am anxious to get lots done!

Any day now I should have 2 new designs to share with you. I can't wait! I really love both of these!

I hope things are going great for all of you!

Happy crafting!



Kewpie Beret

(C)2015 F+W Media
Photo by Harper Point Photography
It's high time for a blog post, don't you think? I finally have the time to blog about the Kewpie Beret. This is in the Spring 2015 issue of Interweave Crochet.

The call for submissions asked for projects with a flash of color on a neutral field. So, this is my take on that idea. This project begins with a two-color spiral in the top center of the beret. It increases as it spirals to make the top of the hat. Once you get the top finished you decrease again and then make the band.

From Crochetme.com:

FINISHED SIZE About 17 1/2 (19 1/2, 21 1/2)" band circumference to fit 18 (20, 22)" head circumference. Hat will stretch to fit bet sizes. Hat shown measures 19 1/2" band circumference.

YARN Premier Yarns Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Weight (50% superwash merino; 25% rayon made from bamboo, 25% nylon; 230 yd [210 m]/1 3/4 oz [50 g]): #5001 soft white (MC), #0406 indigo (CC), 1 skein each.

HOOK Size F/5 (3.75 mm). Adjust hook size if necessary to obtain correct gauge.

NOTIONS 3 locking st markers (m); yarn needle.

GAUGE 5 rnds in patt = 4." diameter at widest point.

This is a pretty quick and easy pattern. What colors will you use for it? As always, please post your finished photos to Ravelry or to my Facebook page! Seeing finished projects from my patterns really makes my day!

Happy crocheting!

(C)2015 F+W Media
Photo by Harper Point Photography