3.21.2013

Daffodil Bag


I made the Daffodil Bag, by Marty Miller, from the March/April 2013 issue of Crochet Today!  I love it!  Such a beautiful design!  I took it's picture with our daffodils in the front yard.  I made mine with the yarn I had leftover from the Ring Around the Rosy Cozy from the same issue.


Here is Lady Hops-a-lot modeling it for me.  She's so cute!


Here is the lining job I did on the inside.  I'm glad that it won't get stretched out of shape.


And, just because I LOVE daffodils, and the way they signal the beginning of spring, here is one of our beautiful yellow-on-white varieties.

Happy Spring!

April

Tunisian Infinity Scarf


For Christmas this year I was given two drop spindles, one from my mom and one from my sister.  My mom also gifted me 4 oz. of Merino roving.  I spun all of it into what we will call a thick-and-thin yarn (since that sounds better than inconsistent-thickness).  Most of it is probably fingering weight, but there are sections here and there of bulky to laceweight, and everything in between.

I started out making a partial-motif stitch pattern cowl, but it was just not working in this yarn.  I think that a motif pattern really needs a consistent-thickness yarn to look sharp.  Also, I was trying to work it in an H hook, since most of the yarn is fingering weight, I didn't want to go too big.  That was just not working.  In the bulky sections, it was making the fabric hopelessly stiff and hard.

So, a couple of evenings ago, I ripped that all out.  I also blocked the last little bit of the yarn that I wound of the spindle after the rest of it.  This morning I finished this infinity scarf.  It is worked in tunisian simple stitch, 15 sts across until I ran out of yarn, with a really big hook I have that doesn't have a size marked on it.  It made this rough, quirky, light, soft fabric that I really love!  The width of the scarf varies a lot based on the thickness of the yarn at various points.  I could probably even it out with blocking, but don't think I will.  I love the roughness of it.

What do you think?

Last night I started lining a bag that I made.  Did you see the beautiful Daffodil Bag by Marty Miller on the cover of the March/April issue of Crochet Today!  I love it!  I made one in the same colors as the Ring Around the Rosy Cozy (by me) from the same issue.  I started a yellow lining last night.  The lining is all put together, I just need to finish hand stitching it into the bag.

I also started a design project a couple of days ago with a skein of Classic Elite Liberty Wool Light that my mom gave me.  I think it's a really cool project.  I had to order 3 more skeins to finish it, and I am waiting on those to arrive.

So, things are going great around here!

How is your Spring Break going?  The girls and I are on our 2nd week of Spring Break, and we will all be ready to get back to work next week.  Things seem to go more smoothly when we have lots to do.

Happy Stitching!

April

3.20.2013

Happy National Crochet Month!


Peacock Feather Afghan Square in Crochet, a free pattern by April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio

For today's stop on the Tour Through Crochet Country I am pleased to offer you a FREE pattern for this gorgeous afghan block -- "Peacock Feather Square".  The finished block, worked in Red Heart Super Saver with a K/10.5 (6.5mm) hook, is about 5 1/4" (13.3cm) square.

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.

This project is now on Ravelry, so I would love to see finished blocks or blankets there or on my Facebook page!  If you use this pattern to make a blanket for our charity, Project Night Night, I will be even more excited, since that was my motivation for offering this.


So, here it is:

Peacock Feather Square


What You'll Need
Red Heart Super Saver [364 yds(333 m)/7 oz(198g); 100% Acrylic; Weight category: 4/Medium]
  • #0528 Medium Purple (A): 1 skein
  • #0886 Blue (B): 1 skein
  • #0624 Tea Leaf (C): 1 skein
  • #0316 Soft White (D): 1 skein



  • K/10.5 (6.5mm)

Notions

Gauge
  • Completed square measures about 5 ¼ x 5 ¼ in. (13.3 x 13.3 cm), but gauge is not critical for this project.
Note
  • Square is worked in joined rounds with RS always facing. Do not turn between rnds.

Square
With A, make an adjustable ring
Rnd 1: Ch 2(does not count as a st now and throughout), 12 dc in ring, join to first dc with sl st – 12 dc. Pull beg end to tighten ring. Fasten off A.
Rnd 2: With B, join to first dc with sl st, ch 2, [hdc, sc]in first dc, (2 sc in next dc, sc in next dc)2 times, 2 sc in next dc, hdc in next dc, 2 hdc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc, [2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr]in next dc, 2 dc in next dc, 2 hdc in next dc, join to first hdc with sl st – 23 sts. Fasten off B.
Rnd 3: With C, join to first hdc with sl st, ch 1, 2 sc in first hdc, (sc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in next st)3 times, sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, hdc in next st,
2 hdc in next st, dc in next 2 sts, 2 dc in next st, [2 tr, ch 1, 2 tr]in ch sp, 2 dc in next st, dc in next 2 sts, 2 hdc in next st, hdc in next st, sc in last st, join to first sc with sl st – 36 sts. Fasten off C.
Rnd 4: With D, join to first sc with sl st, ch 2, hdc in first st, sc in next 5 sts, hdc in next st, dc in next st, [2 dc, ch 2, dc, hdc]in next st, sc in next 2 sts, sl st in next st, sc in next 2 sts, hdc in next st, dc in next 2 sts, [2 tr, ch 2, 2 tr]in next st, tr in next st, dc in next 2 sts, hdc in next st, sc in next 4 sts, [2 hdc, ch 2, 2 hdc]in ch sp, sc in next 4 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, dc in next st, tr in next 2 sts, [dtr, ch 2, tr, dc]in next st, join to first hdc with sl st – 48 sts; 4 ch sps. Fasten off D.
Rnd 5: With A, join to first hdc with sl st, ch 1, *sc in each st to ch-2 sp, [2 sc, ch 1, 2 sc]in ch sp, repeat from * 3 times, sc in each remaining st, join to first sc with sl st – 64 sc; 4 ch sps. Fasten off.



Finishing
With RS facing, and working through back loops only, whipstitch squares together. Edge blanket as desired. Weave in all ends.

(C)2013 April Garwood, 
You may make hard copies for your own personal use, not for commercial use.  You may not copy and paste this pattern onto other websites.  If you know others that would like to have this pattern, please direct them to my blog, rather than making copies for them.


I hope that you enjoy making this square.  I think it turned out so cute!  Incidentally, if you want to make an avocado blanket square, you could do the first round in brown and rounds 2 and 3 in green, LOL.

Also on the blog tour today will be Mary Colucci of the CGOA Board.  Don't forget to visit tomorrow's stop on the blog tour: Alaina Klug

Many thanks to Amy and Donna of Crochetville for organizing the blog tour, and to the CGOA for the many helpful resources, and to the other professionals and associate professionals for making this a wonderful NatCroMo!

Want to hang out more? Sign up for my newsletter or visit me on Facebook!

Happy stitching, and Happy National Crochet Month!

April :)


Adult Coloring Book Value Pack

3.12.2013

Pattern-Grading

Spring Creek Jumper
Interweave Crochet, Winter 2010
(C) Interweave/F+W Media

Pattern-grading.  Every designer's NOT favorite part of the job (I suppose that maybe some designers enjoy this more than the other parts, I find it to be the most challenging part of the design process).


What is it?  It is the process of taking a garment design in one size, and manipulating the numbers to write it in multiple sizes.

You begin with the standard body measurements found the website for the Craft Yarn Council of America. These are the measurements you will need to go by in order to create a properly sized design. Some measurements may need a little added ease (bust circumference, waist circumference, hip circumference, the armhole, sleeve circumference. Most the other measurements will need to match the body measurements).

Make a gauge swatch and block it. Measure and count to acquire a gauge.

Then, get your math on. Use your gauge to determine the numbers of stitch and rows for each part of each size. An excel spreadsheet is a good place to keep track of all these numbers. A tip: Keep all of your row counts either even or odd. Keep all of your stitch counts either even or odd.

If you have some sizes with an even number of rows, and some sizes with an odd number of rows, then you'll begin the next section on opposite sides of the piece. All the sizes with an even number of rows might start the next section on a right side row, but any size with an odd number of rows, would begin the next section on a wrong side row. When writing a pattern in multiple sizes, you have to keep the instructions as simple as possible. So, stick with all even, or all odd!

Choose stitch patterns carefully. If your stitch pattern has a wide pattern repeat, you may find it difficult to write your pattern in multiple sizes that are still reasonably close together. As an example, if you have a sweater back that you are working with, and one size as 20 pattern repeats, the next size up has to have at least 21. You can't add only half a pattern repeat without really complicating your pattern. An even 22 repeats would be even better so that you can add the difference into the sections that will go over the shoulders, since neckline sizes don't vary that much between sizes.

When shaping necklines and armholes, tapered sleeves, and sleeve caps, wherever possible use the same rate of increase/decrease! This will significantly simplify this section of your pattern.

A couple things to remember when writing a good pattern, you will need to simplify your shaping in order to have as much similarity between sizes as possible. What I mean is, you may find that the perfect number of stitches to make the right measurement for a neckline is 20 stitches. For the next size, the sweet spot is 23 stitches. Round that 23 up or down, make it an even number. One stitch will make a negligible difference in the sweater, but will make a humongous difference in the simplicity of your instructions! So, simplify the shaping! You don't have to be incredibly exact.

My other rule of thumb is: repetition! Repeat things as much as possible. This simplifies and shortens your instructions. That shortening part will be really important if you want to publish in hard copy either yourself or with a publisher, because every page adds to the cost of publication.

A couple things you can do to help yourself learn to grade patterns well. These are two things I did that did me SO much good! I write patterns better today than I did when I started because of them:
1) Take a pattern-grading class by Kim Guzman. She teaches these online through Crochetville. Kim is rockstar when it comes to grading and using Excel spreadsheets to do it.
2) Write a pattern the best you can. Find and hire a tech editor to edit it for you. They charge around $20-$30 an hour for their time. This can cost a lot. Consider it an investment. Think of it like you are paying for one-on-one tutoring. A good tech editor will help you see where you can improve.

Grading is undoubtedly the hardest part of writing a pattern. However, when I get it done, and get it right, it is very satisfying. Makes me feel pretty smart.

I hope you'll visit my Facebook page, or sign up for my monthly newsletter so that we can keep in touch. See you later!

Happy Stitching!
April


3.01.2013

Kicking off National Crochet Month!

Blocking the flowered portion of the Fiesta Blouse from Crochet Today! May/June 2012.  Shown here just for crochet eye candy.

Happy National Crochet Month!  What will you do to promote the art of crochet this month?  Please share in the comments or on my Facebook page.  I am participating in a Crochet Blog Tour organized by Owner of Crochetville and CGOA President Amy Shelton.  I'll also be teaching a beginning crochet class this month and in general, doing lots of crocheting and designing.

As part of the crochet tour we are supporting the charity organization Project Night Night.  You can donate $$, or new purchased or handmade blankets 50" x 60" or smaller, children's books, and new purchased or handmade stuffed animals 18" or smaller.  See their website for details on what they need and how to help.  I think it would be awesome to have lots of crocheters make blankets or amigurumi  to donate this month.

The blog tour will make a stop at the blog of one or two Professional, or Associate Professional,  Crocheters every day this month.  Here is the schedule:

March 1 Jenny King and Shelby Allaho
March 2 Ellen Gormley and Nancy Nehring
March 3 Phyllis Serbes and Mona Muhammad
March 4 Amy O’Neill Houck and Akua Hope
March 5 Mary Jane Hall and Lindsey Stephens
March 6 Edie Eckman and Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby
March 7 Jennifer Cirka and Annette Stewart
March 8 Andrea Graciarena and LeAnna Lyons
March 9 Dawn Cogger and Angela Whisnant
March 10 Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten and Renee Rodgers
March 11 Joy Prescott and Donna Childs
March 12 Pam Daley and Deb Burger
March 13 Tammy Hildebrand and Marty Miller
March 14 Jocelyn Sass
March 15 Andee Graves
March 16 Laurinda Reddig
March 17 Brenda Bourg
March 18 Rhonda Davis
March 19 Julie Oparka
March 20 April Garwood
March 21 Alaina Klug
March 22 Erin Boland
March 23 Margaret Hubert
March 24 Bonnie Barker
March 25 Kim Guzman and Susan Huxley
March 26 Susan Lowman
March 27 Marie Segares
March 28 Kathy White
March 29 Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka
March 30 Linda Dean
March 31 Karen C K Ballard and Gwen Blakley-Kinsler

I hope that you all enjoy the trip through crochet country this month.  I look forward to seeing you all back here on March 20th when yours truly will host the blog tour for a day.  Until then...

Happy stitching!
April :)