Introducing the Chain Mail Cowl

Introducing my new pattern "Chain Mail Cowl".  This is a pattern that I have self-published and that is now available in both my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Store for $4.00.

This is an easy pattern, maybe just a small step up from "beginner" level.  You'll need to know how to make post stitches and how to join the end of your rounds with a slip stitch.

The recommended yarn is Berroco Comfort in #9713 Dusk, which is a dark pewter gray.  This is yarn is easy-care and very soft.  I worked double-stranded throughout.  The pattern calls for 3 skeins, but I like to use 4 so that I can work from the inside of 2 skeins, rather than pulling from both ends of my third skein.

The cowl is 12.5" x 34" when finished and uses an M/13 (9mm) hook.

I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas next week.  I know that I am very excited!  The biggest gift under the tree at our house is for me from Mr AC...and biggest means best, right?

Happy stitching!



Hurricane Sandy Donation

From now through Nov. 19th I will be donating 100% of the purchase price of every purchase in my Ravelry Store and my Etsy Shop.  On the 20th, I'll total up the amount and donate all of it to The Red Cross to help with the relief effort for the hurricane victims.  I hope you'll help me to help them.  To all those affected, I am so sorry for the difficulties in your life at this time!  I am hoping for a quick recovery for everyone involved!

Happy Stitching!

April :)


New Pictures and Family Time

I actually did my hair and make-up today, so I took some time to get some updated pictures of my "Roserock Ripple Scarf" and my "Sugar Plum Neckwarmer".  By the way, I also go my hair cut short again this week.  I just really prefer it short.  I have promised myself to keep it short by actually getting it trimmed regularly.

The "Roserock Ripple Scarf" has been a really successful design and I am so glad for that.  I really love this scarf.  It is beaded, with the beads strung onto the yarn before you begin stitching.  It is made in a sock-weight yarn, and is a perfect design for the awesome self-striping sock yarn that you have in your stash, or have been drooling over at your LYS.

The "Sugar Plum Neckwarmer" can be warn as a cowl or as a scarf.  It is made with a smooth worsted weight yarn and a ruffle yarn such as Red Heart Boutique Ribbons.  This is a sparkly, ruffly, dressy, fun accessory.  I've seen ruffle yarns used to make the basic ruffle scarf, and those are fun, but I've had fun exploring other uses for it, and this is the first idea that came to mind.

Both of these patterns are available for $4.00 each in my Ravelry Pattern Store, and in my Etsy Shop.

While I was trying to take these pictures in my back yard, this is what Mr. AC and the girls were up to. Mr. AC has been gone for 2 weeks for work, so it has been so nice to have a nice family day today.  I'm so glad for the beautiful weather and a wonderful family!  I am so blessed!

What are stitching today?  If you are working from one of my patterns, I'd love to see pictures on my Facebook page!

Happy stitching!

April :)

Off-topic: Happy Autumn!

This week I enjoyed taking my girls out trick-or-treating for Halloween.  I'm not big on Halloween...I don't care for all the gruesome, creepy stuff.  However, I help the girls get dressed up in cute and pretty costumes instead of scary, yucky costumes, and take them out to trick-or-treat.  So, clockwise from the back left are Princess (Merida, from Disney's Brave), Drama Queen (Cleopatra), Lady Hops-A-Lot (butterfly), and Baby (an unnamed, but very cute princess).

They had lots of fun and are enjoying a few pieces of candy each day since then.

Happy Stitching!

April :)


Seeing Stars

(C) Interweave Crochet
My latest pattern -- The Vega Cowl is in the soon-to-be-out Interweave Crochet Accessories 2012.  In the call for submissions, the editorial staff asked for pattern ideas that could use a small amount of luxury yarn.  I came up with this cowl and swatched it in a camel yarn from Classic Elite, called Blithe.  I found this yarn at the Knit & Crochet Show back in 2011 and really loved its squishy feel.

Well, I was delighted to get the news from the editor, Marcy Smith, that they wanted to publish this pattern in the Accessories issue.  I was excited to see what yarn they would send me because I was expecting it to be something really special.  I was not disappointed!  When I got the box and saw that it was from Lionbrand I was hoping that I would open it to find cashmere.  I was delighted to be correct!  They sent me three heavenly balls of their LB Collection 100% Cashmere!  This yarn was delicious!  It was like crocheting with butter almost, if butter could be formed into strings and yet still be melted.  It was so soft and drapey!
(C) Interweave Crochet
This cowl was delightful to stitch.  It is made from six-pointed star motifs joined together as you go.  The top and bottom edges are finished with partial motifs.  This takes exactly 3 balls of the cashmere, which is 82yd(75m) per ball.  The color shown here is #106 Cruise.

(C) Interweave Crochet
Like every special Accessories issue that Interweave has done, this one is awesome!  Jam-packed with outstanding projects that are small enough for that instant gratification that we all need, and perfect for holiday gift giving.  It isn't included in subscriptions though, so you'll have to order it online or find it where craft magazines are sold -- available on newsstands Nov. 6th.  You can order it from the Interweave Store in either print or digital format.

I'd love to see pictures of this or any other finished projects.  I'm sure to find them on Ravelry if you post them there, or you can post pics on my Facebook page.

Happy stitching!

April :)


Sugar Plum Neckwarmer

This is my newest self-publish pattern.  It's been a really long time since I've done any self-publishing, but I have others that I am hoping to get to before long.

This is made in Red Heart Boutique Treasure  #1913 Spectrum and Red Heart Boutique Ribbons #1930 Aurora.  The pattern is for sale in my Ravelry pattern store and in my Etsy Shop for $4.00.  This is an easy pattern that you can make in a weekend.  You know you'd love to have a new sparkly, dressy accessory!

I'd love to see your pictures of finished neckwarmers on Ravelry or on my Facebook page!

Happy stitching!

April :)


Goin' to a Party -- Finally!

This sweet jacket is available in the December issue of Crochet World magazine.  I designed this last fall for Caron yarns, just before it was sold to Spinrite (owner of Bernat and Patons).  Seeing this in print has been a L O N G wait!

This is made in Caron Simply Soft Party, which is a sparkle yarn that I LOVE!  It is by far the softest sparkle yarn I have felt -- no itchiness from the sparkle.

This is available in sizes 4, 6, 8, and 10 and uses 3 colors of Simply Soft Party.  I just know that there is a little girl in your life that would love this jacket!  You know it will become her fav accessory!

The creation of this pattern was a collaborative effort between myself and then creative director for Caron Yarns, Cari Clement.  I am so pleased with this pattern and was really excited about how it turned out.  I was determined to make this a top-down raglan sweater, and I accomplished that, and this is the first pattern that I wrote with that style of construction.

I'd love to hear you feedback on it!  If you make it, I'd be delighted to see pics of it on Ravelry, or on my Facebook page!

Happy stitching!

April :)


Halloween Crochet

I was asked to design three crochet patterns for Coats & Clark for Halloween.  These are all costume pieces.  This first one is "Cape For a Princess".  I made this a collared, lacy-edged cape.  I had Snow White's cape in mind as I was designing this, though I didn't make the collar stick up like hers did.  Neck circumference is 17" and length is 34".  It is made in Red Heart Super Saver.  This is a downloadable FREE pattern you can find on Red Heart's website.

This pattern, "Tiara for a Princess" is the second  costume design.  I made a beaded edging so that it could be a "jeweled" crown.  The crown will fit up to 20" head circumference.  It has velcro in the back so that it can grow with your child.  This is made in Red Heart Super Saver.  This is also a downloadable FREE pattern!

If you are going vampire this Halloween, or making a costume piece for someone else that is going vampire, this "Vampire Ascot" may be the perfect old-fashioned touch for your costume.  The ascot measures 7"x44" and is made in Red Heart Heart & Sole.  It is fairly easy, just many rows of the same lacy stitch pattern.  This is also a downloadable FREE pattern.

I made these designs early this summer, and shipped them to Coats & Clark just before leaving for the Knit & Crochet Show in June.

Will you be crocheting for Halloween?  Tell me all about it here, or post comments and pics on my Facebook page!  I'd love to see your projects!

Happy Stitching!

April :)


Nightingale Set Revealed

(C) Crochet Today!

My newest pattern is now available in the Nov/Dec issue of Crochet Today!  This is called the Nightingale Set.  There is a cowl with a few layers of Red Heart Boutique Ribbons #1930 Aurora at the bottom to dress it up, and a matching set of mittens, with the ruffle around the cuff.  the base yarn is Boutique Treasure in #1913 Spectrum.  You can wear it as shown here, or you can fold down the top like a turtle-neck collar.

This was inspired by another great cowl idea that I have that will probably get self-published sometime.  I really like how this turned out.  I hope you all enjoy the new pattern!


Fan Patterns

Once upon a time, I went to a conference called The Knit and Crochet Show in Minneapolis, MN.  While there I met Bobbie Matela, the Design Production Manager for Coats and Clark.  I showed her some crochet design ideas that I had and she liked them!  Those ideas of mine have now been published in the Red Heart booklet, Winter Warmers.

I have three patterns in the booklet, though it contains thirteen patterns all together.  The last three designs in the booklet are mine.  They are:
My Fans Mitts
(C) Coats & Clark
Brimming With Fans Hat
(C) Coats & Clark

The Fan Dimension Scarf
(C) Coats & Clark

All three patterns are made in Red Heart Super Saver.  The mitts are worked from the center of the top of your hand around.  Pretty cool construction there if you ask me!  The hat, I love!  I haven't made one for myself yet, but believe me, I will!  It is a cloche hat with overlapping fans around the brim.  This took some trial and error to get the shape just right, but once I got it, I knew it was perfect!  The scarf is not done justice by pictures, thought these are nice pictures, it's a pattern that you have to see in person and touch to appreciate how it is textured and dimensional.  The fans overlap and the edges of them stick up.  It is a little like crocodile stitch in that regard, but it is not made the same.

I have not seen the booklet at stores near my home, though you may find it at a store near you, since there are many Red Heart booklets available in craft stores.  You can order it in hard copy or digital version from Red Heart.  If you get the patterns and make one, two, or all of them, I'd love to see pictures and feature them on the blog.  You can always email pictures of your FO's made from my patterns to bananamoonstudio @ att . net to have them featured on the blog, or you can post them on Ravelry and I'll see them there.

Happy Stitching Friends!

April :)


Kitschy Reveal

(C) Crochet Today!

Tada!  My newest patterns will be out the end of this month in Crochet Today! Sept/Oct 2012.  The top picture shows the "What's Cookin' Trivets".  They are made in SMC Cotton Time (100% Cotton).  This is a really nice, soft, fingering weight yarn.  These trivets are really thick!  There is a front piece, a back piece, and then the "petals" which are stitched to the surface of the front piece.  These color combinations are really fun, but Cotton Time comes in 26 colors, so you can come up with your own awesome color combo!

(C) Crochet Today!
These placemats are for you if you love retro style!  They are called "Diner Placemats"  They are like a motif, worked in the round.  These are made in Red Heart Super Saver, so they are super easy-care.  They are very retro-styled in these colors, but of course, Super Saver comes in a huge color selection, so you can make them to match your decor.

Check out the whole issue here.  If you LOVE it, then you can subscribe here.  If you like to frequent Facebook, then you can find Crochet Today! on FB here, and you should definitely check out the Facebook page because they are doing a sweepstakes there to give away two Nooks!  (They have digital subscriptions available, hence the Nook giveaway).

I'm swatching and beginning a new design project this week, and of course I'm busy schooling the kiddos.  I'd better go though, we're just about to have ice cream for "Family Home Evening" (our lingo for family night, which is Monday night for the Garwood family).

Happy Stitching!

April :)


Knit & Crochet Show Summer 2012: Part 3

 On Saturday night the banquet and fashion show was held.  This has really become more of an awards gala.  This picture is off the reviewers and junior reviewers for the CGOA Master of Crochet Stitches program.  I think this is a really neat program, and one that I would like to participate in.  It's that time thing again, always getting in my way.  Thanks to all the wonderful folks that have helped make this program work!

 This is a picture from the fashion show.  Susan Lowman is modeling the Tunisian Lace Cardigan designed by my good friend and roommate Patsy Harbor.  In the picture below Patsy is wearing a short-sleeved rendition of the same cardigan in red.  I got the chance to look at it up close and it is really beautiful.  If you like the look of knit, it really does look knitted, but it is made with Tunisian crochet.  It was also very soft, made in Naturally Caron Spa.

 This is a picture of Patsy and I at the end of the dinner.  I should tell a funny story that actually happened the first night, before the conference started.  My plane got in around midnight the night before Professional Development Day.  The hotel shuttle came to pick me up, and when I got to the hotel, the power was out.  The poor girl at the front desk was pretty flustered, trying to check people in with no computers.  She couldn't even make room keys.  I was supposed to be rooming with Patsy, but of course she didn't know that, and it didn't occur to me that she didn't know that until later.  She asked the security guard to take me up to a room that she knew was empty.  I assumed I was being taken to the room that my roommate was in.  We got up to a room on the 9th floor, and Patsy was obviously not in there.  I called her on her cell and that woke her up.  She was rather disoriented because she was woken up and also because the lights had been on when she went to sleep.  I asked her what room she was in and she told me #261.  I hung up and told the security guard the room #.  He thought for a moment and looked confused and said, there is no room #261.  I called Patsy back and she straightened out the room # and told me it was #621.  So, I found Patsy.  We of course stayed up until 4am talking.  So we were exhausted the next day.  It's like a slumber party when we are together though.  It's difficult to stop talking and go to bed when you so rarely get to see each other!

 At the dinner on Saturday night crochet designer extraordinaire Margaret Hubert was given the honor of being the 2nd inductee into the CGOA Jean Leinhauser Hall of Fame.  She is pictured here with Bobbie Matela and Kathleen Sams of Coats & Clark.

This is a picture of all my goodies (except one) from the conference.  Some of these I bought, others were won or given.  The first hank on the left was a raffle prize that I got on Professional Development Day.  They always have a raffle to benefit a charitable organization on PDD.  Sadly, I don't remember what this year's benefiting organization was.  Many companies and designers donate their yarns, patterns, hooks, books, etc. as prizes for this raffle.  This yarn is Louet Euroflax -- Weight Category #2, 270 yds of 100% Wet Spun Linen.  I have never used this yarn, so I am interested to play with it.  It came with a pattern for a market bag, but I am more likely to use it to design something of my own.  Thanks very much to Pam Van Stralen of Louet yarns!  The next hank of yarn (the blue one) is a hank of 150 yds of 100% Baby Alpaca from North Light Fibers in Rhode Island.  This is a worsted weight yarn and it is very soft but has an interesting texture that I really love.  I met the very nice owners, Laura and Sven Risom at the market.  They gave me this yarn to design with, and I'm hoping to get to work with them on producing a pattern in their lovely yarn. The spool of thread there at the top is a spool of very soft Nazli Gelin Garden 5, a #2 weight category thread.  There are 174 yds of 100% Egyptian Giza Mercerized Cotton.  This was a gift that I was given in a class I took with Joan Davis about crocheting cables from the center outward.  Thanks to Universal Yarn for donating that!  The hank in the middle is one that I bought at the market from Close Knit Sisters out of North Conway, NH.  It is a variegated sparkle sock yarn, 438 yds, from Hidden Brook Fibers -- 75% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon, and 5% Stellina.  I am envisioning a tunisian wrap with that yarn using some of the skills I learned in the tunisian class taught by Vashti Braha.  The two hanks of matching yarn were a door prize I got at the banquet on Saturday night.  They are Lorna's Laces Solemate sock yarn, 425 yds each, 55% Superwash Merino, 15% Nylon, 30% Outlast(R) Viscose.  They are so soft and beautiful!  I can't wait to make something with these!  I also bought a shawl stick from Purdy Thangz at the market, and 2 cabled Ciaogoo tunisian hooks.  I was given a size G Ciaogoo Tunisian hook as a gift in the Tunisian Lace class, along with a skein of South West Trading Company's Soy Silk (which I gave to my mom as a thank you for helping watch our girls while I was gone).

Well, that was a lot to tell you about.  I realize that many of you may not care to read all of that, but I wanted to put all the details in just in case someone is interested.

Thanks to all the companies and designers that donated and sponsored, and thanks to all those that volunteered their time to make this event wonderful!  I had a great time!

Happy stitching!

April :)


Knit & Crochet Show Summer 2012: Part 2

 Today's post is Part 2 of a series of posts about my trip to the Knit & Crochet Show in Manchester, NH a couple of weeks ago.  You can see Part 1 here.  The first picture here was taken at the CGOA Member meeting.  I didn't go to this meeting last year, so this was a first for me.  It was pretty basic, and focuses on the business and finances of the Crochet Guild.  It was interesting, and there were door prizes at this meeting and just about every other meeting.  I'll get around to showing you my haul after I post about everything else to do with the conference.

Amy Shelton is the President of CGOA.  Board members are Cari Clement (not pictured), Karen Whooley, Jane Rimmer, Jack Blumenthal, Mary Colucci, Tammy Hildebrand, and Susan Lowman.

 At the market on the showroom floor the CGOA had volunteers winding yarn for donations to a charitable organization.  I wish I could say that I remembered which organization it was.  Pretty sad that I don't, considering that I was one of the winders on Saturday.

I bought some Chiaogoo tunisian hooks at this booth called Glory-ous Knits at the market.  They had a nice variety of sizes of cable tunisian hooks as well as knitting needles and standard hooks.

 The Crochetville booth was also selling RedHeart yarns and they had lots of the new Boutique yarns as well as some of their classic yarns in new colors.  It was a hopping place what with the beautiful samples and the energetic Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka of Crochetville, and Bobbie Matela and Kathleen Sams of Coats & Clark.

 I found this booth for North Light Fibers out of Rhode Island and really loved their yarn.  They had a really nice feel to them that is hard to describe.  It was very soft, but not overly fuzzy.  The owners, Sven & Laura Risom, make the yarn on Block Island, RI.  I met them and will hopefully get to help them provide some pattern support for their beautiful yarn.

 This and the next four pictures are many of the beautiful entries in the CGOA design contest.  So many talented crocheters out there!  The 2nd and 3rd place afghans there (center, and right) were made by my two talented friends Nancy Smith and Brenda Bourg.

 This beautiful blouse was my personal favorite!

The green shrug just left of center in this picture (with the red ribbon) was made by a new friend I met at the conference named Jennifer Ryan.  She has been published a couple of times in Crochet Today.

 The little top here is a newborn size tunic made by yours truly.  This design hasn't been published anywhere, but maybe someday...

In other news, I've been swatching for a future design project the last few days, and knitting (I know, I'm sorry!)

The girls and I started our 2012-13 school year today.  We are using a year-round schedule so that we can have more frequent breaks -- we get to take off every 5th week.  It's going pretty well.  It is 3:15pm here and we just have a little science reading left to do.  Not bad for starting around 9am.

I'd love to hear what you see that you like in the design contest entries!  (Nothing negative please). There are close-ups of all the winners on Doris Chan's blog.  Did you attend the conference?  What was your favorite part?

Happy stitching!



Knit & Crochet Show Summer 2012: Part 1

The conference always begins with the Crochet Guild's Professional Development Day (PDD) and the Knitting Guild's Masters' Day.  I only participated in the Crochet Guild events though, so I'll just focus on those.  On PDD several very successful professional crocheters from various roles within the industry spoke on their areas of expertise from editing, to designing, to publishing, to tech editing.  In the picture above, Marty Miller -- designer and tech editor -- shared her knowledge on pattern-writing.

PDD is the place to meet the editors, designers, tech editors, etc. that you've heard of.  Here I met Susan Lowman, designer and tech editor, for the first time.  Later in the week I wore a beautiful wrap that she designed.  She has tech edited a pattern or two of mine.

Throughout the week there are numerous classes on crochet techniques new and old, and various aspects of designing and using fiber.  I took a class taught by designer Lily Chin called "Color, Composition, Scale, and Stitch".  This was like arts and crafts class.  We played with shapes and looked at pictures to inspire us.  The picture above is my abstract creation during this class.  I had fun with this!

Here is a picture of Lily as she is observing our work, along with other class members playing with shapes and ideas.

This is a picture of the table when we went on break -- because the classes are 3 hrs. long.  I was amused at the mess.  This resembles my desk or table when I am working on a project -- proof of which statement you can see in the picture below:

I made myself right at home in our hotel room.  This is the desk in there piled up with paper, yarn, pencils, and various crochet tools.  I was busy working on design projects during my spare time.

It was a fun time.  One of my favorite things about going to conferences is that you can talk about crochet all day long and no one looks at you like you must be crazy to be so passionate about something they couldn't care less about.

I had a great time, but I was glad to be home.  Since getting home, I've been busy finishing up a magazine project before today's deadline, and planning upcoming design work that got assigned at the conference.

I'll post more later about the conference!

Happy stitching!

April :)


Guest blogger

I got to be a guest blogger on the Crochet Today blog!  You can find the blog post here.  This post is about my trip to the Knit & Crochet Show.  I'm busy finishing a design project right now that is getting down to the wire, but once that is finished I'll write another blog post here on my own blog about some other details of the trip.  Enjoy!


Family Trip to Florida

Greetings to you from Florida!  I'm not actually in Florida right now, but I was a few weeks ago.  This is my family visiting Daytona Beach, FL.  We drove 2 1/2 days to Tampa, FL and visited my good friend and fellow designer, Patsy Harbor.  We met at The Knit & Crochet Show last summer, where we were roommates.  We'll be rooming together again in just a few weeks for this year's show in Manchester, NH.  After spending the afternoon and night there, we drove to Orlando the next morning and spent the day at Disney World's Magic Kingdom, hence the mickey ears on Baby.  The next day we drove to Daytona and spend 3 days visiting Mr. AC's grandma and great-aunt, and going to the beach.  We had a really great time!

While on our trip I tried to find a yarn store.  I could not find one in Daytona Beach!  There was a Michael's, which, sometimes is what you want, but I wanted a specialty shop.  I'm kind of a fiber snob, and Mr. AC has become something of a fiber snob too.  He really loves BBQ, and made this analogy, as I was complaining about only finding craft and sewing stores instead of a yarn shop: "That's like asking for good BBQ and being told to go to McDonald's for a McRib!"  Ha!  That was funny!  I was really hoping to find some yarn from a local spinner or dyer.  I finally found a yarn store that was open as we were driving home through Memphis, TN.  It was called Yarniverse, and everyone was very nice.  They didn't have any locally made or dyed yarns though.  However, I had fun picking out this Malabrigo Rasta (above) and the Prism Athena (cotton/nylon) below.  I'm thinking of maybe a stole with the Rasta.  The Athena seemed to be a really nice yarn for a warm weather garment, and I got a call for submissions for next Spring while we were on our trip.  Maybe I'll find the time to swatch with it in time for the deadline???

A week before our family vacation, Mr. AC was on a business trip in Santa Fe, NM and found a yarn store to buy the yarn below for me.  He went to Oodles Yarn & Bead Gallery and got this Dyelot Yarn Tango (100% bamboo) for me.  I'm thinking of a shawlette or bandit scarf for this.  Mr. AC was at a conference for the petroleum industry and got to present a paper there.  I am so proud of him!

What fun vacation plans do you have for the summer?  What would you make with these yarns?  I'd love to hear about it!

Happy stitching!

April :)