12.13.2011

Scarves by Sue

Sue from Washington recently emailed me this picture of scarves she has made from my pattern "Roserock Ripple Scarf".  She bought the pattern from me on Etsy and tells me she is now on her fifth one!  They look great!  I was so glad she sent me this picture!  Nothing makes me feel as good as seeing that people actually make things from my patterns -- and beautiful things at that!

Here is my original scarf:
It is worked in Jojoland Melody, a fingering weight wool. 

This scarf has an interesting history, so I'll share it.  A few years ago, when I was just beginning to design, I had the idea of making a little girls' swimsuit cover-up in this same stitch pattern.  The rows would be vertical when it was worn.  I submitted this idea to one magazine and it was not accepted.  I was dissappointed because I thought it was a really cute idea!  Anyway I went to meet and talk to one of the co-owners of my LYS.  We talked about my working on a design for which they would sell the pattern in their store.  I showed her the swatch and sketch for that swimsuit cover-up.  She didn't have an interest in that pattern, but she really liked the stitch pattern and said, "That would make a great beaded scarf."  So, thanks go to Margaret of Gourmet Yarn Co. for the great idea!  I didn't do anything else with the idea for quite awhile.  But, the next Christmas...2009 I think, my mom gave me two skeins of this Jojoland yarn.  Their yarns always surprise me.  The skein looked pink and green from the outside.  I didn't realize that it would be more red than anything with varying degrees of pink, purple, and brown in it.  June of 2010, as Mr. AC and I drove to Tulsa for a Michael Buble concert, I made the beaded scarf and LOVED it!  Coincidentally, it was while we were in Tulsa that I checked my email to find that Interweave Crochet wanted to publish my "Spring Creek Jumper".  So, back to the scarf -- I submitted the idea to a magazine and for 6 months waited patiently and never got any response.  I finally emailed them and withdrew the submission and self-published this pattern.  So, all's well that ends well. 

Happy crocheting today, and Merry Christmas!

April :)

11.29.2011

Lei Crochet

Crochet Lei, blog post by April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio

 My very fortunate parents just returned from a cruise to Hawaii and back.  They had lots of fun, went snorkling, and brought back souvenirs for their only slightly less-fortunate children and grand-children.  My parents brought back a silk flower lei for each of my girls and two cans of macadamia nuts for us.  My parents each took a class or two while on the ship.  My mom took one on crocheting leis!  Now, my mom knows the basics of crochet, but she is primarily a knitter and quilter, so this was pretty big for her to take a crochet class.  She made one of these beautiful leis for myself and each of my 3 sisters.  Aren't they beautiful?!  I was very impressed!

This post contains affiliate links. It helps my bottom line when you click on one and load up your cart, so thanks in advance!


500 X 100 


The "flowers" are a variegated nylon cord worked in a string of popcorn stitches.  Here are a couple of options I found to order it online, but maybe not in this exact colorway:

Omega thread from Annie's

Various brands from Amazon

The "grass" is green eyelash yarn worked into the backs of the popcorns. I found green eyelash yarn on Amazon:

Various brands from Amazon

Isn't that clever?  I'll have to find a way to use this idea in my designing somewhere...maybe as a unique edging???  She showed me another one that she bought rather than made in which the popcorn/grass combo was worked around an inner cord of somekind in a spiral so that it wrapped around it.  This made a thicker lei.  The one my mom made for me has 2 strands to it that she twisted together a little.  I think she said it is actually one long strand, but you skip a few chains in there to make a spot to tie on the closures.  The "beads" used in the closure are some variety of nut that she informed me is also used as a natural laxative in Hawaii....nice....

Crochet Lei, blog post by April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio
A little more close-up pic

I am glad that my parents got to enjoy their cruise together.  I wanted to share this interesting use of crochet with you.

I hope you'd like to hang out again soon! Please SUBSCRIBE to my newsletter, VISIT me on Facebook, or find me on Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter!

Here are some other recent posts that have been popular:

How to Make a Mini Center-pull Skein

Intarsia Crochet Tutorial

Sparkly Product Review

Reveal! T-rex Hat and Mitts

Aloha, and happy crocheting!

April :)


11.21.2011

A Mini Center-pull Skein

 In my last post about intarsia crochet I mentioned winding off separate "bobbins" for your work.  One way to do that is by making a mini center-pull skein.  You can also just wind off a ball if you like, but then it rolls around all over the place.  The nice think about a center-pull skein is that it doesn't do that.  So here's how to make one.  Pulling from your large skein, ball, yarn-cake, etc.   Lay your yarn across your hand.  Keep track of your end and don't let it get tangled up.
 Wrap the yarn around your thumb, and then begin to wrap it around your pinky.
 You are going to make a "figure 8" with your yarn around your thumb and pinky.
 And do it over and over and over.
 Then pinch the middle of the fugre 8 where the yarn strands cross about half-way between your thumb and pinky, and pull it off your fingers.
 Then begin wrapping the working end around the center...
Wrap several times, and you're done!  To the right there you see the yarn end I started with sticking out of the center, and several wraps (maybe even too many, I should have done more "8's" with this one) around the center.  You can pull from that beginning end that is coming out of the center and thus you have a mini center-pull skein to use as a separate bobbin for your intarsia crochet!

Happy Thanksgiving this week!  We'll be heading north about an hour and a half drive to spend Thursday and Friday with my in-laws.  I'll probably be making baby mittens and hats while there.  I'll be participating in a small holiday craft market at my husband's employer very soon, so I need lots of finished items!  This will be my first "craft fair", and I'm excited!  I'm glad it's small though.

Happy crocheting!

11.11.2011

Intarsia Crochet Photo Tutorial



Welcome to the Intarsia Crochet Photo Tutorial, courtesy of April Garwood at Banana Moon Studio!  Okay, that was cheesy...anyway.  In honor of my latest published pattern, T. Rex Hat and Mitts, found in Interweave Crochet Accessories 2011. I have made this photo tutorial about working intarsia crochet.  In the picture above I have a simple intarsia chart of a letter 'H'.

This post contains affiliate links. It helps my bottom line when you click on one and load up your shopping cart, so thanks in advance.


Baby's Buddy Amigurumi


The chart for the T. Rex pattern is in the mag for those who plan to make it.  I didn't think it would fly too well with the editor for me to post that here for all to see ;)  So we will work with this one as an example.  Intarsia is a technique that involves using 2 or more colors of yarn to stitch a picture into the fabric.  It isn't stitched on top, it is a part of the fabric.  If you scroll to the end of this tutorial, you can see my finished 'H' swatch to see how that looks.  The chart above shows you visually how to use the 2 colors.  The white boxes represent the background color (green in this case) and the green filled boxes, represent the color of the picture I am making (which in this case is pink).  So for each white box I work a stitch in the green, and for each green box I work a stitch in the pink (sorry, I realize that's kind counter-intuitive).


I start with a couple of beginning rows of single crochet that are wide enough for my chart to fit (10 sts wide), plus an extra stitch on each side.  When working from a pattern, this set-up part will be written into the pattern.  I have placed stitch markers in the first and last stitches that will encompass my chart so that I don't have to think much about where to begin and end my chart work.


 This row begins the first row of my chart.  I worked the st(s) before my chart section in the green, then I began the first st of my chart, which is green.  I inserted my hook into the st as usual, yarn over, pull up a loop and that's where I am in the picture above.  I am NOT going to yarn over with the green here.
  

I drop my working green strand to the WRONG SIDE of my fabric and place the end of the pink over the end of my hook.  I do NOT make a slip knot, and I leave 4 to 6 inches of "end" or "tail" that will be woven in later.



I pull that loop of pink through the 2 loops of my green sc to finish it off.  The top of that green sc will be green because it's top is formed by the loop pulled through the sc before it.  By pulling through this sc with pink, I have provided a pink top for the stitch that I am just about to work.


Here I have almost finished working the 2 pink sts from the chart.  I have pulled up a loop with the pink, and now I am going to switch colors again.  At this point you can either 1)carry the green yarn you were already using behind your 2 pink sts and use it across the rest of the row, or 2)use a separate bobbin (length of yarn that you either draw from the other end of the same skein, or wind off into it's own ball or mini-skein) to work the green section between the 2 legs of the 'H'.


 As before, I placed a loop of green yarn over my hook and pulled it through the pink sc to finish it.


Cute and Cozy Crochet



Now I work the sts between the 2 legs of the 'H' and will switch colors again when I have almost finished the 4th one.  Again, I will have to decide whether to carry my yarn across the back or use a separate bobbin.  If you decide to carry your yarn across the back, keep in mind that this will be likley to snag fingers or toes if you are making mittens, gloves, or socks.  Also, you should be sure to carry it loosely.  If you make it too tight your fabric will not be very stretchy and it will probably pucker where you don't want it too.  Be loose!


Now I have finished the first row and you can see the pink stitches sitting very neatly in their places with green stitches all around them.


Now, when I work the next row, I am working a wrong side row.  This is messy-looking, as you can see!  I used separate bobbins for this just as I did when making the T. Rex Hat and Mitts.  So there are lots of yarn ends hanging off the back.  You will change colors the same way when working from the wrong side, but there are 2 important things to remember.  First, you need to read the intarsia chart backwards.  When you work a right side row, you read across the chart in the same direction as your work -- from right to left.  But when you are working a wrong side row you must read it from left to right.  With my example here it doesn't make much difference because this design is symmetrical, but if the design is not symmetrical, as with the T. Rex, this makes all the difference.  Another important thing to remember is that when you lay down one color and pick up another, all your strands need to hang to the WRONG SIDE of the fabric, which you are now looking at.  On the right side rows, they still go to the wrong side, but you aren't looking at the wrong side.  Just be sure you put your yarn ends in the correct place!  In the picture above, you can see, though it is hard to find among all that yarn, that I have the 2 loops of a green stitch on my hook and I am just about to change colors.  The working end of my green is coming out from under my hook and hanging down the wrong side.  I have picked up the working strand of the pink and have it going around the back of my hook, just about to finish the stitch with it.


This picture isn't really necessary, but it shows you one of the commone difficulties of working intarsia -- tangled yarn.  I was working on this little swatch standing up and that made it much harder to keep my yarn untangled.  If you are sitting down it will be easier to move your skeings/bobbins/balls around to keep the yarn untangled.  Every few rows, stop and untwist everything.


Switching colors again on a wrong side row.  I have the green strand held against the wrong side of the fabric with my thumb and am just about to pull through both loops with the pink.  Right after changing colors, you may want to pull both your ends to tighten up the last stitch just a little bit.


Now I am working the crossbar of the 'H'.  When I change over to the pink, I am just going to keep right on working all the way across it with the same bobbin.  I will leave the bobbins for the middle section of green and the other pink bobin right where they are.  In some designs it might be more appropriate to cut them off leaving 4 to 6 inches of "end" to be woven in later.  In this case I left them there and will ust them in just a couple of rows as I work the top of the 'H'.  I plan to carry them up the back, but if the distance were very long, I would probably cut them and restart them later to avoid having a long floater across the back.


Here I am looking at the wrong side.  I have finished working all of the pink.  You can see my floaters in both pink and green going over the section where I worked the crossbar.  Once you are to this point, and all the remaining stitches will be worked in the background color, you can cut off all the unnecessary bobbins leaving a 4 to 6 inch "end".  DO NOT cut off the one that you still need to finish with!


As I work the top row that doesn't have any color changes I will jut use the same strand of yarn to stitch all the way across the top in all the stitches no mattern their color.


In the above picture I wanted to show you what it means to "weave in ends as-you-go".  This is ideal!  You can weave in your ends as you stitch, leaving less work to do afterward.  Do you see how I have that green end laying on top of the next stitch that I am going to work into?  I can lay that along the tops of the row of stitches I am going to work into and then stitch over it as I work.  That way, I have one less end to weave in later!


Ta-da!  I have stitched a letter 'H' into my crochet fabric just like the one shown on my intarsia chart...except the color difference of course.

By the way, the yarn I used for this demo is called Queensland Collection Super Aussie 100% Merino.  it is a VERY soft worsted weight superwash wool that I LOVE!  I ordered mine from http://yarn.com/.

I hope this was helpful to you!  Was there anything you would like me to clarify? explain in more detail?  Leave a comment and let me know!  I'd also love to hear about it if this was ver helpful!  I plan to put up a second blog post today or tomorrow about winding off a separate bobbin or "mini-skein" to complement this post.  Until then, happy crocheting!

April :)

Super Scarves

10.29.2011

Reveal! T. Rex Hat and Mitts

T-rex hat and mittens, crochet pattern by April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio for Interweave Crochet Accessories 2011
(C) Interweave/F+W Media

Hooray!  I finally get to reveal a new pattern! This new crochet pattern is a matching hat and mittens set for kids with an intarsia T-rex on the hat, and split in half for the mittens.

This post contains affiliate links. It helps my bottom line when you click on one and load up your cart, so thanks in advance!

This pattern "T. Rex Hat and Mitts" will be available shortly in the new Interweave Crochet Accessories 2011.  This is the BIGGEST issue of IC ever!  It has 59+ patterns in it.  That's just awesome!  The preview for the issue is up here.  The preview with all the pics and details for my pattern is here.  The yarn for these is Patons Decor (75% Acrylic/25% Wool) in New Teal and Mandarin.  The size shown here is for a child around age 8, but it looks like their model is a bit younger than that, so they fit loosely.  Measure the child and go by your measurements for best results.


The T. Rex worked into the hat and mitts is done with crochet intarsia.  Soon I'll have an instructional blog post on intarsia to go along with this.  I can't say that there was anything in particular that inspired this idea.  I was thinking of ideas for hat, mitten, and scarf sets for all ages and genders with the idea of proposing ideas for the whole family.  This was my idea for a young boy.  It struck me as kind of funny that the pattern they chose was the one for little boys, when clearly little boys are not my area of expertise ;)  Not long after the proposal was accepted, a few members of the editorial staff told me how excited they were to make these for little boys in their families.  There is nothing that makes a designer's day like hearing that someone wants to make your pattern!  It made me very happy.  I hope that many of my readers will want to make it as well.  This Accessories issue is a special issue, which means that it does not get included in subscriptions.  If you want this issue you can order it from Amazon (with my affiliate link).

I've added the project to Ravelry, so be sure to post pics if you decide to make it.  It would make me seriously happy to see them!

Interested in crocheting for kids? You'll love these:

Spring Creek Jumper - Available from Interweave

Sweet Little Hat - $4 on Ravelry

Sweet Little Mittens - $4 on Ravelry

Gracie Lacy Capris - $5 on Ravelry

Snuggly Crochet Quilt - Free pattern on my blog


I hope you'd like to hang out again soon! Please visit me on Facebook, sign up for my newsletter, or follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram! See you soon!

Happy crocheting everyone!

April :)

10.26.2011

Finished Christmas Stocking (slightly off-topic)

I finally finished Baby's Christmas stocking!  This is obviously not crocheted.  It is a kit that I bought with felt pieces and thread.  This has been my "Sunday Project" for quite some time.  What I mean by that is that I don't do business on Sunday, I adhere to the Biblical commandment to "remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy".  While sewing isn't really a "holy" task.  It gave my hands something to do while we were driving to and from church or visiting with family on Sunday evenings, and it was making something nice for my Baby.  It is pretty typical for me to start on each child's stocking just after their first Christmas and finish it in time for their third Christmas, when they are 2 years old.  But now they are all done.  This one turned out so cute, just perfect for her personality.  You might wonder why her name isn't on it.  It actually is, but it is embroidered on a fancy felt tag that hangs off the top, which I have hidden since I only use my kids' secret code names on the blog.  Do you have handmade Christmas stockings for your family?  What kind?  Tell me about them!

I am busy on a design project this week, but close to finishing that.  I have some yarn on the way for submission swatches.

Happy crocheting everyone!

April :)

10.17.2011

Cowl for my sister & a box!

 This is me wearing a cowl that I made.  I made it for my sister, but she wasn't around when I finished it to snap a picture.  I gave it to her yesterday.  I really like how it turned out!  The yarn is Noro Furisode which is a silk/cotton/wool blend.  It is a bulky weight.  I didn't realize this at first.  It looked like a worsted weight to me, but I found that it really needed at least an M hook, which is what I used.  It probably could have worked equally well on a size or two larger hook.  It is a hand wash/dry flat yarn.  It doesn't feel especially soft in the hank but felt quite a bit softer once I had stitched it.  Still though, I'm hoping that it will soften even more after washing.  The colors turned out really pretty.  It striped just perfectly!  Almost one complete round per color.  This is simply a shell stitch, nothing fancy.  What do you think, would someone be interested in paying for a pattern for this?

The box pictured below contains what has kept me busy and quiet for the last few weeks.  I can't tell you much about what's in it, except that I will be so thrilled to show you pictures of it once the pattern is published!  I shipped it off last week.  I have a short breather so that I can blog, do last month's biz finance, and maybe even crank out a simple self-publish pattern today. 
Have a lovely day and happy stitching everyone!

April :)

9.24.2011

Woohoo! I finished something for myself!

I finished making myself a pair of socks.  The pattern is Adirondack Socks by my good friend Patsy Harbor.  This pattern was published in Interweave Crochet, Fall 2009.



They turned out so pretty and comfy!  I LOVE them!  The yarn I used is Malabrigo Sock #474 Caribeno.  This is a superwash merino wool that is nice and soft.  1 Skein makes a pair of socks.  I'm so happy to have made something for myself!  I hardly ever do that.

I am currently working on a magazine project that was going really well...but I have suffered a major set back.  Apparently my gauge changed between my swatch and my project....So, I hae a lot of ripping and re-working to do.  Atleast I still have plenty of time until my deadline.  Trust me though, when this is done, and I can show it to you, you'll LOVE it!

Also, this week I took a very brief break to make a couple of super-hero masks to donate for my daughter's school class's basket for their upcoming silent auction fundraiser.  I'd have rather made these from someone else's pattern just so that it would be quick.  I searched Ravelry to see if there were any free patterns available, and I only found one crochet super-hero mask pattern that was part of a downloadable booklet that cost $4.50 or so.  So, I charted it out myself, instead of paying for one.  It took me three or four tries before I got it just right.  I'm thinking that I'm going to have to self-publish this pattern, but I'll show you a pic of Lady Hops-s-lot wearing one.

Cute huh?!  This will be a quick fun one to publish. 

I hope you all have a great weekend!  Happy crocheting!

April :)

9.10.2011

Opening the mailbox doesn't get better than this!

This is what came in the mail for me today!  It just doesn't get better than that!  And to make it even better, there wasn't anything else in there -- not a single bill or piece of junk mail!  Pure crochet bliss!

I was so awed by that really cool hat and cowl on the cover of Crochet Today!  It is beautfiul!  The designer is Cristina Mershon, who I've never heard of, but way to go Cristina -- fantastic! (Edited - I looked up Cristina Mershon and found her on Ravelry.  Come to find out, she is a fellow Oklahoman.  Yay!)

The yarn that arrived was ordered from WEBS for making hats and mittens for the Etsy shop, and then another variety of yarn for swatching.  Bet you can't guess what I'll be doing today... :)

Now, in non-crochet news, look what Baby did yesterday:

She really likes yogurt, and I was busy watching an episode of Nova (the PBS show) that my dad brought over a DVD of for me to watch about fractal geometry.  (He's hoping I can find ways to use it in my crochet design.  I'll have to ponder on that for awhile...)  Anyway, Baby got hungry and went after one of her favorite snacks.  I went out the kitchen awhile later to see what she was in to, and this is what I found.  I know it encourages these kind of shenanigans to take pictures, but I just think that I have to document these kinds of things so they can see how they drove me crazy when they were little.  I carried her to the tub from here and cleaned her up.  Kids!...

I also wanted to tell everyone how wonderful my sweetheart is.  He brought these home a couple days ago

These are my all time favorite flowers!  Gerbera Daisies.  I had the same variety of flowers as my wedding flowers.  I LOVE them!  And, they weren't for a special occasion, they were "just because".

Anyway, we're having a good week, and a nice weekend.  I got that wonderful mail today, and I get to go to knit-in at my LYS tonight, where I will be a rebel and crochet.  I'm in the process of preparing submission swatches and they are going really well so far!

Happy crocheting!

April :)

9.07.2011

Interweave Store

Hi blog readers!  It has been wonderful to see and feel Fall arrive here in Oklahoma!  We have had a very unpleasantly hot and dry summer.  But, on to business.  The Interweave Store is having a big "Stash Buster Sale" right now on all kinds of great things, including my patterns!
This is "Avery's Wavy Scarf" that begins with crocheted rings that are then amplified into these long waves -- truly a unique and fun scarf!  The pattern is available in the Interweave Store and is currently on sale!

This is "Bella Dress" a baby dress abvailable in sizes 3 months to 3T.  This was the design that started it all for me -- my first published design.  This pattern is available in the Interweave Store and is currently on sale.

This is "Spring Creek Jumper" in sizes 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.  I LOVE this jumper.  I was so happy with how it turned out, and I adore the pictures of it!  It's really a nice jumper and pattern.  (It's seamless!  Love that!).  It is also available in the Interweave Store and is currently on sale.

All 3 projects are normally $5.50, but are on sale for $3.85.  So, if you've been wanting one, this is the perfect time to get the pattern!  It's also a perfect time to get any other Interweave Press patterns or books!  What Interweave book or pattern are you just dying to get?  I personally would love to have Kristin Omdahl's book Crochet So Fine, and the download of the Chain Reaction Afghan Project Crochet-Along.

In other news around here, I've mailed out some more projects and finished stitching another.  I'll be blocking and writing the pattern for that one today...along with grocery shopping, taking care of my girlies, and going up to church to teach the Young Women about something called indexing -- a Genealogy-related project.  It will be a busy day as usual.

Well, happy crocheting!

April :)