12.25.2014

Merry Christmas SALE!


Merry Christmas dear readers! My gift to you today is a 75% off sale in my Ravelry store! Did you get yarn or new tools for Christmas? Lucky you!!! Now I'll help you put your goodies to use! No coupon code needed. Link below:






12.18.2014

Don't Lean Too Far Over Your Spinning




Just a short post for you dear readers today. Ever wondered what would happen if you got your own hair caught in your spinning?

Right here, right now, bringing you answers to life's greatest questions! This is Drama Queen learning to spin. She was pretty tense, and leaning so far over her work that her hair got caught in her spinning. (Princess is in the background).

Hope you are all having a fantastic week! The girls and I are finishing up our last week of school work before taking two weeks off for Christmas and New Year's. We are all looking forward to the break!

I'm working hard on a design for a magazine, and when I'm avoiding taking a break from that I'm either knitting a design with my handspun from last week's post, or spinning wool from a brown fleece gifted to me by my friend and fellow designer Renee Rodgers.

I am also prepping for my first TNNA trade show. That will be in Phoenix, AZ in mid-January. I'm so excited (and nervous!) to be going! I ordered new business cards a couple weeks ago, and those arrived today (Wed. the 17th, the day I wrote this). I am so pleased with how they turned out! I went with a stylized logo this time instead of my painted one, and had a picture printed on the back of one of my designs so that those I meet will have a little more by which to remember me. I got all the new contact info on it, and even included the URL for my Ravelry designer page. Thank you Ravelry for the awesome tools you have given to designers!

Stylized logo I created using MS Paint, included on my new biz cards


What do you think of the stylized logo? Like it, I hope! Anyhow, hope you all have a fantastic day!

Happy crafting!
April

12.11.2014

Not What I Thought


More handspun to show you!!! I love spinning. I do it when I don't have an urgent project...or when I feel like avoiding my work.

So, I have this Malabrigo Nube in colorway #866 Arco Iris. It is very colorful. When I got this roving I expected that it would produce very loud, bright yarn.


Then when I began to spin it, I worried that the yarn would be really ugly, because I was getting lots of yellowish-brown. I am not really a big fan of brown.


All the way through spinning the singles of the first batt I really was not sure if the yarn would turn out nice. Even though some sections were much prettier than the yellowish-brown, I felt very unsure about how it would look once all the colors were mixed together in plying.

I am pleased to say that this yarn turned out to be beautiful, but not at all what I thought it would look like! It reminds me of the pattern on my mom's china, and of heirloom quilts that my husband and I have from our great-grandmothers. I think if I were going to name this colorway I would call it "Antique Rose" or "Antique Treasure".

Then, I spun up the second batt of roving and got interesting results again. This time the yarn was a little more like what I thought it would be, but markedly different from the skeins of the first batt, even though they are the same colorway and dye lot.


These skeins had a lot more purple and green in them than the first batt.


Here are all the finished skeins. The 3 on the left are from the first batt, and the 3 on the right are from the second batt. I love them all. The pictures don't do them justice. I am excited to make something with these to see how the color story continues to unfold in the stitching. I'm leaning towards an infinity scarf/cowl.

What do you think? Do you like it? Does it seem like a surprising result based on the look of the roving? What would you name it? What would you make with it?

Happy spinning!
April

12.04.2014

A Tour of the Studio


Today I bring you more pics of the studio. No photos of the closet this time, but you can see the rest of it. I have two desks, one for my sewing machine and one for my computer. I have a pile of things to be mended next to the sewing machine, and my spinning wheel handy so that I can easily turn around in my chair and do some spinning when I feel like avoiding work.

See my spifty light fixture? That is especially exciting because this loft was not designed with a permanent light fixture, and for the first 2 1/2 months here, I didn't have one, so my office was not very usable. I really don't understand why one would design a house and leave a room with no light fixture. It does not make sense to me at all. I ordered this hanging lamp and now I can work in here! Really exciting!


I have these three stacking baskets where I keep the things that I am currently working with or are in my queue. On the bottom there are blanket squares I'm making for a donation to Project Night Night. The middle basket has some balls of single-ply handspun that are waiting to be plied. The top basket has...an idea in it.


I have this cabinet for storing my girls' sheets and pillowcases, but on top of it I have my blocking board and rotary cutting mat stored....and there's the vacuum, and a couple of Home Depot bags with towel rings in them...waiting to be hung up in the girls' bathroom.


There is my guest chair (which was made by my mom years ago when she took a woodworking class), and Juliet, sporting a project in progress.


This is one of the drawers in my computer desk with all of my sewing thread on a pegged rack designed for thread spools. I have my color grid by Gail Callahan, and resume paper which I use to print tags for Etsy purchases and design swatches.

This space is still a work in progress, and I'm sure it will change over time, but it's finally a functional work space. The closet in particular still needs a lot of organization.

I don't have anything on the walls yet, besides the clock, but I have plans to hang up crosstitch pictures that my grandma made, and one that I made years ago. I have a painting that I did in college and doilies that my great-grandma made. I plan to hang up all of those things in here so that I will be surrounded by my crafty heritage as I work.

I am SO excited to finally have a space set up just for my business! Do you have any great ideas for how I can improve my studio? Organize the closet? I'd love to hear about them!

Happy crafting!
April

11.27.2014

Thankful for Family

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am thankful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who blessed me with the gifts of yarn-love and creativity.

I am thankful for my family:


Mr. AC who supports me in my crafting obsession.


Drama Queen who likes to dream and imagine too.


Princess who is a fun girl that loves to play outside.


Lady Hops-a-lot who is sweet and generous.


Baby, my sweet little girl, whose dress needs as a baby started it all.

I am so blessed! I'd love to hear about your blessings today! Please share!

Happy Thanksgiving!
April

11.25.2014

DIY Holiday from Interweave

DIY Holiday 2014: The Crafting Life
Interweave/F+W; $9.99


I was given the opportunity to review this fun magazine called "DIY Holiday: The Crafting Life" by Interweave/F+W. They say this is the "premier" issue, so hopefully there will be more to come, because this is really a great magazine!

I'm going to tell you all about it, but I'll tell you now to stay tuned for a giveaway at the end...

The neat thing about this magazine is that it is not just one craft. It's not just yarn-craft either. This includes quilting, sewing, beading, knitting, crocheting, weaving, and mixed media. This really is a crafter's paradise. All the projects are fairly small, but with enough variation for you to find something for close friends, family members, teachers, etc. Something for everyone! Enjoy crafting for the holidays!


First up, a surprise to all of us. One of the crochet designs in this magazine, is one of mine! I had no idea it was going to be in here, so I was surprised to see it. This is Vega Cowl that was originally printed in Interweave Crochet Accessories 2012. The cowl is made with star-shaped motifs, joined together as-you-go. It is made with 3 balls of Lionbrand LB Collection Cashmere. This is truly a luxurious yarn! So amazingly soft! I highly recommend using it.


My first time glancing through the magazine I had daughter #2 sitting in my lap. She has recently wanted to learn to sew, and we have been working together on a chiffon blouse. All of the stitching involved is pretty simple -- just straight lines, but chiffon...why did she have to choose that first? It's actually going fairly well though.

Anyhow, my budding seamstress was immediately drawn to the project above, "Envelope Clutch", by Erin Harris. She is determined to have one of her grammies help her sew it. I hope she makes one for me!


There are some really great jewelry projects in the magazine. My girls liked the earrings best, but this one was my fav. It would actually go really well with a greyish-blue dress I have that has an ivory colored belt with a gold-colored belt buckle. This is called "Olympic Medals Necklace" by Chloe Chatenever.

Strange how I'm thinking of these projects for me... These are supposed to be gift ideas, right?


Now, this project I really did think of as a gift. Aren't these awesome?! This project is called "Resin Bangles" by Heidi Boyd. In my extended family each family buys a stocking stuffer for each of the 19 members of the family (my parents, 4 sisters, their spouses, my 5 nieces and nephews, and my family of 6). These would be a perfect stocking stuffer for the girls in the family!

I've never done anything like this, so it seems a little intimidating, but the instructions are very good. I actually feel pretty confident about it now that I've read through them. They are made with resin, so you need resin mix and a mold as well as some other supplies. This could be a fun project to do with my girls. So maybe we'll get the supplies and make one each day until we get them all finished. Which of the 3 bracelets pictured is your favorite? I think I really like the bottom one with the paperclips.


This project is knit and is called "Walker Scarf". The designer is Andrea Babb. Isn't the detail on the scarf ends gorgeous?! That's what really caught my eye on this one. I think this could be a great scarf for a man or a woman. I could see making this for my dad, my husband, or maybe a close friend. What do you think? Who would you make this for? The yarn is Madelintosh Pashmina Worsted, 3 skeins.

So, the awesome thing is that Interweave/F+W sent me 3 extra copies of the magazine to give away! Awesome, right?! Three of you get to win this time! Please leave a comment to tell me which of the above projects you would make as a gift, and who you would make it for (just for fun). You'll be entered in the drawing. I will draw 3 random winners and announce them on Thurs. December 4th here on the blog and elsewhere (Twitter, FB, you know the drill). If you win I'll need to get your address so that I can mail you your copy.

Such a great magazine, and I'm so happy to have a copy for myself! Happy crafting!

April

11.20.2014

On Fire


Introducing my newest pattern, "On Fire Wrap". This pattern is self-published, and is available on Ravelry and Etsy for $4.00. I will eventually have it available on Craftsy, but haven't gotten to it yet. It is also available in hard copy at my LYS, Gourmet Yarn Co. in Oklahoma City on the NW corner of May & Britton.

I will be teaching a project class on this wrap in January at my LYS. Hope lots of you can come! You can find out date, time, and cost, as well as sign up, by calling them at 405.286.3737.

This is the same technique that I used for the Rosalie Wrap that was published in Interweave Crochet. It is Tunisian crochet entrelac with some of the squares left empty to create a square-shaped hole. It reminds me of filet crochet, but with larger squares turned on their points.

The shape of this wrap is quite a bit different than my previous projects though. Here is a diagram that shows the flat shape of it:


I used Lang Yarns Mille Colori, a worsted weight 50/50 Wool & Acrylic blend. It is a striping yarn, so there are not color changes involved. This is a nice soft yarn that is machine washable (but lay flat to dry).



I am so happy with this wrap and look forward to seeing FOs on Ravelry and on my Facebook page!

Now, to announce the winner of last week's giveaway! Four of you fabulous friends left a comment, and my winner is Daphne! Daphne, please send me an email at bananamoonstudio @ gmail . com (leave out the spaces). If you will give me your email address, I will forward it to Interweave/F+W so that they can get you your digital copy of "Twigg Stitch." Enjoy!

Happy stitching!
April

PS - I am on Instagram now! Find me here. Username bananamoonstudio.



11.13.2014

Twigg Stitch: A Review

Twigg Stitch: A New Twist On Reversible Knitting
By Vicki Twigg
Interweave/F+W; $27.99

I am pleased to share a new knitting book with you all today. So, maybe some of you are experienced knitters and have previously tried knitting a two-color rib. I had never done this until last week. If you have done so, you've seen that unused colors are carried across the back of the fabric (not that I know this from my own experience, but it's what I hear through the grapevine) and therefore, the fabric is not reversible. So, it works fine for sweaters, which you aren't going to wear wrong-side out, but not so great for scarves and cowls, where people will inevitably see the wrong side, unless of course you'd like to glue it to your shirt.

Author Vicki Twigg, spent some time tinkering with this stitch because she was driven to find a way to produce a two-color rib that would look nice on both sides. She succeeded! Not finding anything else like it "out there" she named the stitch after herself -- Twigg stitch.

I was intimidated by the idea, given my lack of experience with colorful knitting. However, I did it! I made a swatch in Twigg stitch!


One side...


and the other. My swatch is a little bigger since taking this, but this is where I captured a picture of it.

Vicki states in her book that a slippery yarn is best for Twigg stitch, because it "settles into the stitches" better, and I was using cotton here, I think too that an animal fiber would be more elastic and pull the columns of the same color together, which will give each side a more uniform color than my swatch does. I think if I were trying out one of the projects, I'd go with a different yarn, but this worked to figure it out.

Vicki gives lots of instructions and pictures to explain how to hold everything, how to maneuver your yarn, how to cast-on, etc. The instructions were great! She shows you how to hold your yarns in separate hands, or both colors in your right hand, or both colors in your left hand. I usually hold my yarn in my left hand, so I tried that way first, but really struggled to hold two different colors tightly enough and still keep them separate this way. I had much better results by holding the colors in separate hands. I've always struggled with keeping enough tension on my yarn when purling...not sure why, just one of my weirdnesses, I guess. That was even harder with Twigg stitch. It will take more practice to get comfortable with it.

There are several lovely projects in the book. My two favorites are...

Fan Shawl (swoon!)


and Brooke Beret (love the color combination!)


Gorgeous, aren't they?! I have some yarn that I think will be perfect for the Fan Shawl.

Now, for the really exciting part! Interweave/F+W has graciously agreed to provide a digital copy to one lucky reader! Awesome, isn't it?!

Please comment below, and leave me your email address, to be entered in the drawing. I'll select a random winner in one week, and announce the winner on my blog!

Hope you win!

April

11.06.2014

Garland Dress


I'm so happy to share with you a pattern of mine that was recently published in the Winter 2014 issue of Crochet! This is actually also my first pattern ever in this magazine. Notably, this is also the first magazine or yarn company project that I have ever gotten to choose the final name for! Every other project I've done for a publisher, they have changed the name I gave it. Many thanks to Ellen Gormley, editor of Crochet! magazine, for being so awesome!

This is a girl's dress in sizes 12 mo, 2, 4, and 6. The yarn is Universal's Uptown DK, so it is easy care and so reasonably-priced! Have ever used Uptown DK? It is so soft! I have some left here at home from making this and will probably use it to make myself a cardigan. Really, a nice yarn. I used colors #104 Bashful (2, 3, 3, 4 skeins) and #102 Lily.

The cable detail on the wearer's left is really a pretty simple cable pattern, but I've set it up so that there are three cables at the bottom, and only one at the top. The two outside cables only go partway up the dress. This took some pondering to decide how to write the instructions for this cable into the shaping instructions for the dress. I actually decided to keep them separate, so the shaping instructions say something like, "work the next row of the cable instructions" instead of including them in the shaping. Would have been much too complicated for anyone to follow!

I hope you all love this sweet dress! I want to see bunches of projects on Ravelry, y'all, so get stitching!

April

10.30.2014

Introducing...


Introducing Juliet.

I actually got this dress form back in the spring. However, she was the straw that broke the camel's back. Until recently, my "studio" was a corner of my not-very-large master bedroom. My business was growing and taking up more, and more, and more space. When I brought Juliet home, it was finally too much. We prepared to put the house on the market with the intention of buying a house with a studio space, among other things.

So, I had only had Juliet for a few weeks, and not even used her, when I packed her into a storage unit so that my bedroom would not look so crowded, lest I discourage some other would-be designer from buying my house by showing how a business would not fit nicely into that space.

We finally moved about a month ago into a home with a studio space! I'm sure there will be more pictures of the studio to come in the future, but you can probably tell that it is upstairs and overlooks the bottom floor (the living room to be exact).

Our new (to us) home is really nice. We all have more bedroom space, and I don't even have to fit a business into that extra space! We also have 2 acres, about half of which is woods. We can see the stars better at night, and have so many dead branches lying around that we start a fire in our fire pit a couple times every week and sit around the fire at night.

It might now be obvious why the blog has been SO quiet for several months now...because my life was crazy. I'm hoping that as it settles down now, I can blog more regularly.

Happy crafting!
April

10.23.2014

Spinzilla


I recently participated in Spinzilla, a spinning event hosted by The National Needlearts Association (TNNA). It took place October 6-12. Beginning just after midnight on the 6th spinners across the globe began spinning. The goal, to spin as much as you possibly can in one week. I spun just a little over a mile of yarn myself. These two skeins of laceweight singles make up the bulk of it. There was another 60 yards or so on my spindle. These two skeins were spun on my Ashford Traveler wheel. By the way, the dimes are there as a reference for the thickness of the yarn.

The amount of yarn spun in that one week was astronomical! All together the Spinzilla participants spun almost 4,000,000 yards of yarn! Enough yarn to go from Chicago to Eureka, CA!

The entry fee was a mere $10 and the money raised is going to fund programs that teach others to spin -- thereby enriching and enlarging our fiber arts community.

The prizes have yet to be announced, but of course that's the exciting part that we are all waiting for. Many companies have sponsored various prizes and awards!

I participated as a member of team WEBS. I've never had the opportunity to visit WEBS, but I have ordered from them, designed in their yarns, and maybe will someday design for them. Our team came in 14th out of more than 55 teams! Our team spun over 88,000 yards of yarn.

What do I plan to do with this yarn? Well, I don't know yet what it's final, beautiful destiny will be, but I plan to make a 3-ply yarn with all my singles when I finish spinning the rest of the same batch of red wool.

Did you participate? I'd love to see pics of your yarn! You can share them on my Facebook page.

Happy spinning!
April

9.03.2014

Introducing the Bitterbrush Bandit

(C) 2014 Interweave
Better late, than never, they say. So, here I am to introduce the "Bitterbrush Bandit" shawl from Interweave Crochet's special issue, Crochetscene.

This is a traditionally-shaped triangular shawl, but is designed to be worn as a bandit scarf. It really makes a fun accessory to complete your outfit. The yarn is called Way Out Wonderful Treasures by Universal Yarn. This is a metallic yarn with attached charms throughout. I enjoyed the finished effect of the shawl with this yarn, but the yarn can be a little tricky to work with. It comes in a hank, and with good reason. I tried to wind it into a ball, but it just would not stay put. The strands would slip off each other. I eventually decided to just work with it straight from my swift. No swift? Utilize the back of a chair.

I hope that if you make one you'll add photos to Ravelry or share them on my Facebook page! I love to see photos of FOs from my patterns! Makes my day!

(C) 2014 Interweave
Now, you may be wondering, where on earth have you been???

Well, mostly, my energy has just been zippo. We've had our house on the market, and I've used up my available energy with cleaning for showings and signing a billion pieces of paper. We've finally sold it, and we move in a few weeks. We're not going far, just the city "nextdoor" to get more room inside and out. I have also been busy with work -- not completely ignoring it. The most exciting piece of news is that I am hoping to get a book deal, and have been working toward that end. I've had a few patterns come out this summer, and I think I've (now) finished blogging about all of those. There will be more in the coming months.

Don't forget you can find me on Facebook and Twitter as well. You can hear from me more often via my Facebook page, as I check in there much more frequently.

Happy stitching!
April

6.21.2014

Scamp Bandana Reveal


Introducing the Scamp Bandana! This is the second of two patterns of mine in the Summer issue of Interweave Crochet! That's right! I got TWO patterns in one issue!

So, when I read the call for submissions for this issue, this is what I cam up with. I knew it was perfect because it had that kind of retro feel and was perfect for the road-trip/camping theme they were going for. This is going to be the perfect accessory for a road trip in a convertible -- to keep your hair under control and out of your face. Also in this issue, the editor was looking for projects in all different types of lace. This project is done in Bruges laces, and this is my first pattern in the technique.

I love it! I've already seen one finished project on Ravelry, and I hope to see many more.

It is made in Schulana Merino-Cotton 135 (distributed by Skacel) and an F/5 (3.75mm) hook.

If you've ever done Bruges lace, this should be easy. It's a small, beginner project in the technique, however a few people are having trouble with it (I've heard this via Ravelry and Crochetme.com). Part of the difficulty is probably just that this is a new technique to them, but there are a few errors in the pattern as well, that I'm sure aren't helping. In the "Last turning" at the end of Row 4 it says "Work Row 2 of Turning". That shouldn't be there. Don't work Row 2 of the Turning there. Just pretend those words aren't there. Also Row 4 of "Last Turning" and Row 2 of "Last column" are both missing a "turn" after you sl st to the hair band or to another ch-5 sp.

Well, I hope you enjoy and love this project as much as I do, despite the errors! My oldest, Drama Queen, is the happy owner of the original design that I submitted for my "swatch". We got it back, and she is enjoying it. The full-size one works well on her (she is 10). I may make some smaller ones for my younger kids -- fewer rows per column, and fewer columns.

Happy stitching!
April



5.29.2014

Rosalie Wrap Reveal, a Tunisian Entrelac Crochet Pattern

(C)Interweave/F+W Media

Introducing my one of my two latest patterns, Rosalie Wrap! This wrap is stitched in Tunisian entrelac. I am very excited about this design for a couple of reasons. One of those is that this is my first ever design in Tunisian crochet, and therefore, my first published design in Tunisian crochet!

What was your first Tunisian crochet project? It is really fun, isn't it?!

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


Tunisian entrelac is a technique that involves making each of those squares that you see one at a time, but there's no joining of motifs, you connect the squares as you go. Each "tier" of squares is worked all in a row. Then you fasten off at the end of each tier, since you can't turn the piece and work on the wrong side. Tunisian doesn't get turned like traditional crochet, to work across the wrong side to go the other way.


Rosalie Wrap Tunisian entrelac crochet pattern by April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio
(C) Interweave/F+W Media

Sound like a lot of ends to weave in? There are quite a few, but once you get the hang of it, you can weave in the beginning ends as you stitch, so that you just have to weave in the fasten-off end for each tier. Actually, I was even able to weave in some of the fasten-off ends as I worked the tier above, once I was comfortable with the technique. This wrap is made in Crystal Palace Yarns Mini Mochi #327 Georgia Peach (6 skeins). The colors in this yarn are really lovely -- subtle differences in shades of peach that make for a very beautiful wrap!


Prototype for the Rosalie Wrap Tunisian entrelac crochet pattern by April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio

I don't think I blogged about this design when I was first excited about it. I made this version of the wrap as my entry for the 2013 CGOA Design Competition, and won 2nd place in the Accessories category! I called it "Windowpane Wrap" and made it in Jojoland Melody.

Prototype for the Rosalie Wrap Tunisian entrelac crochet pattern by April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio

In 2012 I went to the CGOA conference in Manchester, NH. I took a class, taught by Vashti Braha about how to incorporate holes, or negative space, into Tunisian crochet. Now, she didn't teach us to make those holes the way I made them, she wasn't even using Tunisian entrelac. She taught us another fascinating way to make holes in Tunisian crochet. But, as those ideas swam around through my head, I had a vision in mind of something I wanted to make. It looked a lot like this wrap, but I had planned on using Vashti's method of creating the negative space. However, when I tried it that way, it didn't look how I wanted it to look.


I continued tinkering with the idea until I came up with a very simple way to make empty squares in Tunisian entrelac so that you could have empty and filled squares a lot like filet crochet. I even made a chart for this design that looks a lot like a filet chart. The difference of course, is that the squares are all set on their points in this method, rather than on their sides, like in filet crochet.

After my wrap won a prize at the design competition, I sent some pictures of it to Interweave Crochet Editor, Marcy Smith and asked if she'd be interested in publishing the pattern. Fortunately, she was very happy to be offered the pattern! Now, it is available in the Summer issue of Interweave Crochet as "Rosalie Wrap".

Interested in Tunisian Crochet? Here are some other posts about the technique:

Book Review: Fair Isle Tunisian Crochet

On Fire

Book Review: The New Tunisian Crochet

Stay tuned for a post about my other design in this issue, Scamp Bandana! In the mean time, please visit me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, or sign up for my Newsletter for free patterns, news, and good deals!

Happy stitching!
April