Hot Off the Hook!

I just finished this amigurumi elephant for a friend of mine.  I didn't design this.  I bought the pattern here.  It was a really great, clear pattern, with links to online tutorials to help you along.  I'm so happy with how it turned out!

I've never designed an amigurumi, and actually don't think I'd care to.  Not my kind of things, ya know.  I think they're adorable though!

What have you recently finished?

Happy stitching!


Shawl Love

I finished a knit shawl for myself!  I rarely make anything for myself, so this was a real treat.  This is the Quaking Aspen Shawl by Courtney Kelley and is a free pattern on Ravelry.  It was a great pattern and I really enjoyed making it!  I used Berroco Pure Pima, which I think may have been discontinued, since I can't find it on their webiste, but it was a delightful yarn to work with, so soft!  I love it!  Just wish the weather was better for shawl-wearing right now.

What do you think?


And the winner is.....Martha Rickard!

Martha you won Kristin Omdahl's book The Finer Edge.  Thank you to everyone who commented and tweeted!  If you didn't win, you can purchase the book here.

Martha, would you please send an email with your address to bananamoonstudio @ gmail . com and I will send that book to you asap.

Stay tuned, later today I'll have another brief post up about a project I finished for myself recently.  Congrats Martha!

Happy stitching!


Book Review and Giveaway -- The Finer Edge by Kristin Omdahl

Interweave/F+ W Media ; $22.95

Kristin Omdahl is one of my favorite crochet designers!  When I first got going with designing, she was one of the first designers I'd heard of, so she holds a special place in my designing history!

She has a new book out! It is called "The Finer Edge: Crocheted Trims, Motifs & Borders".  It is full of great ideas for edgings, which can be a nice way to dress up your crochet projects.  However, you can also use them for other things!  Think towels, fabric blankets, tablecloths, curtains...  What can you think of to do with them?

My favorite edgings are Textured Waves (p. 13), Tiered Offset Shells in Rows (p. 19), and Superior Flower (p. 24), which you can see on the cover.  It is the darker blue edging closest to the right side of the picture, between the purple and light green ones.  It is also the edging used in the "Persepolis Top", one of my favorite projects from the book.

Interweave/F+W Media
Isn't that beautiful?!  I could definitely wear this -- and maybe even in the summer time!  I'd love to have more crochet to wear in the warm months.

I love that Kristin came up with all these spectacular edgings, but I also love that she gives us these great ideas of what to do with them.  Who'd have thought to use an edging to decorate the front of a top?!

Another of my favorites is the "Petra Skirt".  This one actually uses one of the edgings to make the entire skirt.  This is so lovely!  I'd love to wear this over a pair of leggings.

Interweave/F+W Media
There are edgings worked from the outside-in, from the inside-out, and from side-to-side, so that you can find one that meets your needs.  There are also some edgings that use motifs.  Every edging includes a symbol chart and written instructions.  All of the projects include written instructions and most include symbol charts.  Those that don't have charts are based so much on the edgings that you can go back to the chart for the edging to go from.  There are schematics for the garments as well.  All very nicely done.

I love this book and I am so happy to have it in my crochet library.  Thanks to the publishers, Interweave/F+W Media, one lucky reader will get to add it to his/her library as well, because they sent me two of them!

Please leave a comment below or tweet a link to this blog post @BananaMoonStdio to enter.  You can get an entry for a comment, and one for a tweet, so you could have 2 entries if you do both.  I'll draw a winner on the morning of Thurs. June 20th and announce it here, on my Facebook page, and on Twitter.

Happy stitching!

P.S.- I was told by a few folks that wanted to comment that they were not able to do so without a Google+ account.  I hadn't realized that I had things set up that way, but I think that I have managed to fix it.  However, in doing so it erased the comments already made, but please do not worry.  I have already made a note of the names of those that commented before I changed it, and you WILL be included in the drawing!


Tornado Crochet Hook

Photo by Jim Price, used with permission.

Jimbo Price of Washington state has made a beautiful and very special crochet hook that is up for bids now.  This hook was made from a piece of a pecan tree that fell victim to the disastrous tornado that swept through Moore, OK on May 20, just last month.  The proceeds of this and a few other sales will be donated 100% to benefit the victims of the tornadoes in Oklahoma.  The hook pictured above, which is an I, is up for bids on his blog now.  Bidding ends on Friday morning.  Please share this far and wide!

I have a set of Jimbo's hooks from F all the way up through K, including a hard-to-find size 7.  I LOVE his hooks!  They are by far my favorites.  They are beautiful and comfortable to work with.  I use them for every project!  Go check out his blog to read more about this hook!

Happy bidding!


Going in Circles

How to crochet a circle, a tutorial by April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio

So, you've learned the very basics of crochet. 

How to chain. How to single crochet and double crochet. You want to make hats, round potholders, rugs, round blankets, shawls, and dishcloths. How do you do it?

There are four basic ways to begin a circle.

Crocheting into a Chain Loop:

The more you chain, the bigger the hole in the middle. Four Chains is typical for a minimal hole in the middle.  If you actually want a hole in the middle, then the sky's the limit.

Begin by chaining 4. Then, insert your hook in the first chain you made, yarn over, pull through the chain and the loop on your hook.

To work single crochet into your chain loop, ch 1 to start. If you plan to work double crochet into your loop, you can chain 2 or 3.

Crocheting into a slip knot:

Begin by making a slip knot and placing it on your hook. Loosen it up a little, yarn over, pull that yarnover through the slip knot. Chain 1 for single crochet, chain 2 or 3 for double crochet. Then you insert your hook back into the slip knot to work your stitches.  

When you have finished working all the stitches of your first round, you can pull your beginning tail tight to close up the hole in the middle. Technically you aren't supposed to tie knots in your crochet, but I always knot the beginning tail as close to the project as possible, so that the center doesn't loosen up.  (Shame on me!)

Crochet an Adjustable Ring:

This one is fairly popular lately. Begin by wrapping your yarn around the first one or two fingers of your hook hand, leaving at least a 6 in./15cm tail. Holding the ring closed with your other hand, slide it off your fingers.

Insert the hook through the ring where the tail and ring overlap. Wrap the yarn around your hook and pull up a loop through the adjustable ring. Chain 1 for single crochet, chain 2 or 3 for double crochet.

Work stitches by inserting hook into ring so that you work each stitch over both the ring and the tail. When you have finished all the stitches of your first round, pull the tail to close up the center. Again, I tie a "forbidden" knot here to hold it closed.

Crochet into your first chain:

You can chain 2 if you plan to work in single crochet, or chain 3 or 4 if you plan to work in double crochet. Then insert your hook into the first chain you made and work your stitches all into that chain. As with using a slip knot or an adjustable ring, you can pull your tail to tighten this up. (No video for this one, but maybe in the future).

If you want your circle to lay flat, as opposed to ruffling or making a cone shape, then work 6 single crochet or 12 double crochet in the first round, at the end you can insert your hook back into your first stitch, or your turning chain, and work a slip stitch to join them into a circle. You can work in spirals without joining by just putting the next stitch directly into the top of your first stitch. I recommend following a pattern on how many and how/if to join at the end of the round if you are not an intermediate to advanced crocheter. Or if you just want to play around, experiment, or otherwise walk on the wild side with your crochet, do whatever your fiber-loving heart desires!

Here are some simple circular crochet projects to get you started:

Basically Beanie - a simple crochet hat in any size, with any yarn.

Zinnia Cap and Slouch Hat - the motifs begin with circles!

Bloom Headband - small flowers to attach to a headband

Gardens Galore Garland - small motifs to attach to a garland

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Enjoy going in circles!