8.30.2011

Sparkly Product Review


I recently had the opportunity to try out a new yarn -- and I loved it!  Introducing Caron Simply Soft Party!  This yarn is 99% Acrylic and 1% Polyester.  It currently comes in 6 lovely shades.  See Caron's website to view them all.  The color pictured above is called "Purple Sparkle".  This is a very pretty dark shade of purple.  All of these colors are really beautiful and have a very definite and pretty sparkle to them.  A number of sparkly yarns I've felt/tried are not very soft, but this one really is!  I really enjoyed trying it out.  If you are looking to make something that sparkles for yourself, or for a child, this would be an excellent choice!

In other news, things are hopping here!  I just got some more exciting crochet news yesterday!  I wanted to scream in excitement, but I didn't want to scare my kids.  The blog will be a very exciting place once I get to start showing off all of the things I am working on right now.  I can't wait!!!

Happy crocheting!

April :)

8.20.2011

One more thing from the Conference...

One more thing from the conference...now that I finally have a picture of it.


Do you remember the post about this cute bag that I made for the gift exchange?

Well, the beautiful sparkly pink cowl and mitts up there at the top were what I received at the gift exchange.  Great swap, huh?!  The bag was cute, but I LOVE the cowl and mitts.  Obviously, they don't work for this time of year.  I was pretty warm just taking that picture a few minutes ago.  However, they will be great for fall and winter.  I can't wait!  I will pretty likely wear the cowl to church a few times this winter, and the set I'll wear together outside.  I got this from Pam of Illinois.  Thanks Pam!

I mailed off a project this week to the buyer and got yarn for two more projects.  There should be another box of yarn or maybe two arriving next week as well.  So, it's super busy around here!  I was kind of stressed out this week.  It was the first full week of school for Drama Queen and Princess, so we have to get back into the school routine, and throw some new after-school activites for the the two of them into the mix.  Next week should be a little more mellow though. 

Well, back to designing!  Happy crocheting!

April :)

8.15.2011

Try #2 - Giveaway Winner

Hello everyone!  One week ago I chose a winner for the giveaway of this book, All About Crochet by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss.  The winner that was chosen never emailed me with her address.  So, this morning I chose a new winner.  And it is...........


LizzieK8!


So, please email me with your mailing address at bananamoonstudio @ att . net and I will get it mailed to you this week! 

Sometime this week I should be back with one more small post about something from the conference that I had overlooked.  See you in a few days....

Until then, happy crocheting!

April :)

8.10.2011

Funny kids and a Box of Yarn

 Here is Drama Queen chaining.  She has been pretty excited about chaining lately and has made 4 long chains.  One has been made into a necklace for me, and the others she has used to decorate the walls of her room.  I am so excited that she is excited about crocheting.  For a couple of years now since I tried showing her how to crochet she has not liked it and gotten frustrated with it.  But now, she loves to chain -- success!

The past two days she and Princess have been playing an extended game of Barbies together.  A couple fun(ny) things have come out of that, both happened yesterday.  At one point in the morning I heard Drama Queen say, "She's turned into a wolf with a mermaid tail that flies now....so she looks a little different."  My thought was, "A little different....?"  I had a hard time not laughing about that.  Drama Queen's imagination is quite something.  The other fun development is that the two of them have, as part of their game, been using paper to design clothing for the Barbies.  Drama Queen came to me with a dress she had created for the Ariel doll they have.  There were straps for the dress, but no sleeves.  She told me that she was bothered that she couldn't figure out how to make a good sleeve -- one that would cover the shoulder and actually touch the strap she had made.  She was wrapping a bit of paper around the arm, but noticed the gap between that and the strap.  I was excited that she asked that question.  I drew out a rough flat pattern for a tiny sleeve, with a sleeve cap -- the solution to her woes.  She still didn't get it until we cut it out, taped it around Barbie's arm, and then taped the sleeve cap to the strap.  She was very impressed at how that sleeve cap did the trick!  So glad that all it takes to be a "cool" mom in her eyes right now is knowledge about sleeve caps ;)
This very nice box arrived today via the UPS man.  When he rang the doorbell my girls got very excited about getting a package, as they always do.  As I accepted it they were all asking in chorus, "What is it, what is it?!"  I looked at the return address to be sure and then told them that it was yarn for me.  Princess responded with, "Yarn, yarn, yarn, that's all we ever get and it's not exciting!"  I laughed because obviously, I think it's exciting, and we're probably going to get a whole lot more of it within a very short time frame :)  When I opened up the package and showed it to her she was however very excited about it because she thought it was pretty and begged me to make her something.  I told her what it was for, which I can't tell you all until the pattern gets published.  This is the first box of yarn to show up as a result of my trip to Minneapolis.  It should be the first of many that result from that trip.  I opened this box up on the kitchen counter where this picture was taken.  I considered moving the box to a more tidy location in my home for the picture.  However, I really like being real with people.  So, I left it where it was.  You now know, that my house is not spotless.  Don't worry though, the whole house isn't like this, I do actually clean and pick-up, and "torture" my children by making them clean-up.  On the breakfast bar to the right of the box you may notice my felted bowl, which I haven't found a good place for yet.  It is sitting on top of the book from my giveaway.  I haven't heard from the winner yet, so Astrid, if you read this, you won the book and I need you to send your address to me at bananamoonstudio @ att . net.  The other crochet-related thing in this picture is the skein of yarn you see also on the bar that is dark blue.  It is actually a variegated skein of malabrigo sock yarn that I sat down to make a scarf with last night.  The pattern of the scarf was getting completely lost in the variegated colors, so I ripped it out and decided to make socks instead.  I've never made a pair of crochet socks, or knit socks for that matter.  However, my roommate at the Knit & Crochet Show, Patsy Harbor, has designed some socks that were published in Interweave Crochet, and so after meeting her I felt inspired to try a pair of socks.  So, I started the Adirondack Sock that she designed and it looks fantastic so far!  The colors of the yarn are working out fabulously with this pattern!  I'd go take a picture for you right now, but I don't think it would turn out so well since the house is pitch black.

Now, you very observant people may notice the time stamp on this post and realize that I was awake at a very unusual hour.  Well, that's frustrating.  I was very good and went to bed about 10:30, quite a bit earlier than usual for me.  However, we had a doosey of a thunderstorm that woke me up around 12:45 and I haven't been able to sleep since.  The getting up three times to comfort the kids and check the news didn't help either.  Despite the sleeplessness, I am so grateful for the rain!  We have been in an awful drought for quite awhile, so I'll take it!  Since waking up, my mind has been swimming with design details, lyrics to a song from the movie "Tangled", and blog post ideas.  So, at least, I've gotten one of those written down and out of my head.  Now maybe, I can sleep.

Happy crochet dreams everyone!

April :) 

8.08.2011

Skirts for my Girlies

 At the beginning of the summer I decided to begin a sewing project that I would have the girls help with so that they could learn about sewing how I learned from my mom.  So, we went to the fabric store and picked out a pattern and fabric.  There was some difficulty choosing the pattern because the girls thought that the picture you saw in the pattern catalog was exactly how your finished garment would turn out.  They didn't realize that it didn't have to be the same color or print.  Drama Queen is not into pink, and the skirt on the pattern was a pink plaid.  So, we had to straighten that issue out.  Then we had to choose fabric and that proved to be a little challenging as well because they kept wanting to choose fleece....yea, a fleece skirt....  I finally managed to steer them toward the cotton prints.  They each chose their own fabric and we managed to agree on a pattern.  I was economical (or cheap, however you prefer to say it) and only bought one pattern packet, which meant that Princess and Lady Hops-a-lot got theirs made in a size 6 even though they both wear a size 5.  The elastic waistband made it fit well enough, though they are a little on the long side.  So, the picture above is Lady Hops-a-lot in her royal blue skirt.
 And the next picture is Princess in her turquoise Strawberry Shortcake print skirt.  Then last, but not least, is Drama Queen in her turquoise and teal flower print skirt.  I am pleased with how they all turned out.  Very cute!
And for the sake of equal blog exposure, here is a picture of Baby in her dress-up finery, complete with an Ariel doll.  What this picture doesn't show, that I wish it did, was the colorful print socks and rainbow colored tennis shoes she was also wearing.  She looked fabulous ;)  Aren't my kiddos cute?!

Did anyone else do any sewing projects this summer?  Tell me all about 'em!

Until next time, happy crocheting!

April :)

Giveaway Winner!

Hi everyone!  I received 7 entries into the giveaway.  Thank you all for visiting my blog and for entering!  I used a random number generator at Random.org to choose the winner.  And the winner is.......

ASTRID! 

If you could please email me at bananamoonstudio @ att . net with your address then I will mail this out to you asap!  Thank you again, and sorry to all those that didn't win.

I finished sewing some layered ruffle skirts for my three oldest girls this weekend.  I will probably post a pic later today of the 3 of them with their skirts on.  I have to do the dreaded business finances today (blah...) and I should be getting a box of yarn any day now for the first project to come out of the meet & greet at the conference.  Can't wait to get started! :)

Happy crocheting!

April :)

8.03.2011

Knit & Crochet Show Part 3

 As I mentioned, my first class during the Knit & Crochet show was double-ended tunisian crochet with Darla Fanton.  I was excited to try this out.  All 3 of these swatches are made using a double-ended tunisian hook, but with slightly different placement of the hook, or in the case of the ripple stitch, there are increases and decreases worked into the fabric to create the ripple.  Very cool technique!  It was very fun to try.

The next class I had was "Design Your Own Stitch Pattern" with Marty Miller.  She made us all raise our right hands and take an oath to not tell anyone how to alter stitch existing stitch patterns to make our own, so I can't tell you how to do it, but I will say that I cam up with a few new stitch patterns that I really like.  I will probably use them in future patterns.

My third class was "Fine Shaping in Stitch Patterning" with Lily Chin.  This class was really great and has already proven very helpful in designing.  Lily also taught a class on pattern draping during Professional Development Day that was very helpful and insightful.  I enjoyed getting to know Lily a little bit during these classes and during events.  She has a sarcastic sense of humor that I appreciate.  That sarcastic humor is definitely something that I grew up with in my family.

On Saturday there was a meet & greet between designers and editors.  I was VERY nervous about this.  It was, for me, the most anticipated part of the conference.  I was very hopeful that this would help me get my foot in the door to more publishing opportunities.  I can't share specific details, but I will say that I was very pleased with how the meet & greet went.  I look forward to sharing the details as I am able.

My last class was Tunisian Entrelac - also with Darla Fanton.  I really enjoyed learning this technique!  We made these little bowls.  I decided to felt mine, so I started off using a very large hook, an M, with my worsted weight wool yarn.  I tossed it in the washer today with some towels, soap, and nearly boiling water I heated up on the stove.  I've tried felting before and never had it turn out very well, but this time was different.  My previous failures are the reason that I heated some water on the stove to add to the washer.  It definitely worked this time, and I am very happy about my successful felting!
And now, finally, details on the giveaway!  I received two copies of this book All About Crochet written by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss.  They were donated by Rita Weiss.  You may remember from 2 posts back that I mentioned that Jean Leinhauser, who recently passed away, was just named as the first inductee to the CGOA Hall of Fame.  This is an encyclopedic (read, alphabetical) style guide book to crochet.  It would be pretty helpful to a beginner or intermediate-level crocheter.  I am very happy that I got 2 copies of it so that I can keep one, and share one.  So, to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this blog post.  You can get a second entry by tweeting an @ reply to me BananaMoonStdio with a link to this post.  I will conduct a random drawing on Monday August 8th and announce the winner.  Good luck!

Happy crocheting!

April :)

Knit and Crochet Show (Part 2)

 Well, I'm back for Part 2 of The Knit and Crochet Show posts on my blog.  I took 4 classes, not including professional development day.  My first class was double-ended tunisian with Darla Fanton.  I've seen this technique in magazines, but never tried it until last week.  I may take some pics of my swatches to show you later. 

I was surprised to get some unexpected goodies in my classes.  I got a double ended aluminum hook that I think was donated by the Susan Bates company.  We also each got a double-ended tunisian cable hook from ChiaoGoo.  We also got a skein of this yarn from Red Heart called Buttercup that is deliciously soft.  Thanks to those great companies for the goodies!
 This is a picture taken out in front of the host hotel, the Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis.  I was very impressed with the area.  You can see the two large planters overflowing with magenta petunias and some sort of bright green-leafed plant.  There were some beautiful fountains along this road, a farmer's market and an open-air mall.  There were these bike racks in various places that had rentable bikes parked at them.  Very cool!
 This is Ellen Gormley of GoCrochet and I during a tunisian entrelac class on Saturday.  I had been pretty nervous all week about the meet and greet with the editors that took place Saturday morning, and that was already over when this picture was taken.  So by this point I was feeling pretty relieved.  Ellen had just finished a book-signing down at the market.  We sat next to each other during this class and enjoyed visiting.  I just felted my entrelac bowl today.  I'll get a picture when it's dry to show you.  It turned out great!  Ellen was very nice.  I've followed her blog for over two years, so it was really a highlight for me to get to meet her in person.
 This is CGOA president Amy Shelton, also the owner of Chrochetville, during the dinner and fashion show on Saturday night.  That was a lot of fun!  The food was good and the fashion show was lots of fun.  I also met Amy and she was also very nice.  I could imagine that she had a lot on her plate during the conference, but she still seemed pretty relaxed.
 Several CGOA members participated in the Master's program that was started by the CGOA and "graduated" during the dinner.  One of them was my "buddy" Mary Nolfi.  Congratulations to Mary and all the other graduates!  Way to go!
From left to right this is my "buddy" Mary Nolfi, me, Mary's other newbie, Christine Donnely, and my roommate Patsy Harbor.  If you subscribe to Crochet! magazine, you may notice that Patsy's cardigan looks familiar.  She designed it for Crochet! magazine and it was offered as a web bonus with the March 2011 issue.  It is called Broomstick Lace Cardigan.  Patsy and I really hit it off!  We didn't meet until the conference, but we spent the first night staying up way too late talking.  We have become great friends!  We sure had a great time together this week! 

In front of us on the table you may notice a pile of green yarn.  I got lucky at the dinner as well as PDD and won 7 skeins of Caron Simply Soft in pistachio.  There was also a free skein of yarn and spool of thread on the table for each person that attended the dinner.  I got a LOT of yarn during the conference!
 This is Kate Steinke and I after the dinner.  She is also a designer whose first published design was in the most recent issue of Crochet! magazine.  It is called Victorian Ornaments afghan.  It is really beautiful!  Kate is very nice, fun, determined, and a go-getter.  I really like her.  You'll be seeing more of her work in the future!
After the dinner on Saturday night I began packing my suitcase.  This was very challenging because I had gotten so much yarn during the conference.  I brought some with me to use in my classes, got 3 free skeins on PDD, got yarn in both of my classes on Thursday, including 7 skeins in one class, bought 3 hanks of yarn at the market, was given the yarn and thread on the table during the dinner and then won 7 skeins as a door prize.  I managed to get my suitcase shut, but barely.  I was really worried that the zipper would warp before I made it home.  I look forward to putting it all to use.

I'll have a few more pictures, and that giveaway I mentioned, later this week.  Have a great day everyone!

Happy crocheting!

April :)

8.01.2011

Knit & Crochet Show (Part One)

 I had a great time at the Knit & Crochet Show in Minneapolis last week!  I met so many great people!  It was so fun to meet many of the designers whose names I've seen in magazines and on blogs.  It is fun to have a face, voice, and personality to put with it now.  I learned many great things!  This first picture was taken on Professional Development Day(PDD).  The first speaker that morning was Ellen Gormley.  She spoke about the difference between showstopping designs and what she called "project makers", the ones that get made many times over.  Her comments were very helpful.  The things she said helped me focus on specific things I can do to improve my designs.  Thanks Ellen!  I met Ellen as well and she is very nice and fun!  I hope I'll get to see her again the next time I attend the conference.  You may see to the right of this picture the Lionbrand sign.  PDD was sponsered by Lionbrand who donated yarn for us to stitch hats for charity during the classes that day.  Thank you Lionbrand!  There were also loads of prizes given out by raffle.  The proceeds of the raffle were donated to the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer research.  I got super lucky -- I bought 4 tickets and 3 of them won something.  I got 2 copies of a book that I'll include in a later post.  Since I got 2 of them, look for a giveaway, coming soon.  I also won a 1 year subscription to Crohet Today.  I was really happy about that.  I had just recently decided to let my subscription lapse because I know that I am not likely to make anything out of it since I am busy designing my own things.  I wanted to have it, but couldn't justify it as a business expense.  The issue they gave me at PDD was the first one I had missed -- Perfect!
 This is a picture of all the PDD attendees listening to the speakers and stitching up hats.  I wish I could remember the charity we made them for, but...a lot has happened since then, so I've forgotten.  On the left of the picture are two ladies from Texas I met named Jan and Molly.  They, like just about everyone I met, were super nice.
 On Wednesday night of the conference there was a special reception at the Textile Center there in Minneapolis.  The first inductee to the new CGOA Hall of Fame was named.  The winner of this honor was voted on a few months ago.  The winner was Jean Leinhauser, who very sadly, passed away before the conference.  In honor of her, the Hall of Fame is being named for her.  Her long time friend and co-worker Rita Weiss is speaking in this picture about Jean.  It was very nice and, not having known Jean more than a couple months, and only over email, I learned a lot about her inspiring life and love of crochet.  This was a very nice reception.
 Because this was my first time to attned the conference I signed up for the "Buddy Program" and was assigned a buddy that had attended the conference before.  This is my "buddy" and new found friend, Mary Nolfi.  She designed and made hats to wear every day of the conference and had a matching shawl and bag for most of them.  I especially loved the crochet fedora she designed and wore one day we were there.  We've become great friends and will keep in touch.
This was taken at the Textile Museum after the Hall of Fame induction.  Many of us were visiting and waiting for a bus to arrive to take us back to the hotel.  Front and center with her back facing the camera is Kimberly McAlindin who is a fantastic designer with a beautiful smile and happy personality.  Talking to her on the right is Margaret Hubert who has been designing crochet patterns for a long time.  The cardigan she is wearing was on the front page of Crochet! magazine a few issues back.  She is very nice and spunky - I really enjoyed getting to know her.  We also sat next to each other as we rode the shuttle to the airport yesterday on our way home.  Just behind her and to the right is Ellen Gormley who I already mentioned.  Talking to her is Nancy Smith who I understand is a contract crocheter for some other designers and who is breaking into getting her own designs published.  I can also see Karen Whooley (designer), Cari Clement (Creative Director for Caron Yarns), and Tammy Hildebrand (also a designer) in this picture, but they would be difficult to point out.  I met all 3 of them and they are also very nice, great people.

I'll share more pictures and begin a giveaway later this week.  My girls are begging for my attention, and so is my yarn, so the rest will have to wait.  Until next time...

Happy crocheting!

April :)