11.23.2016

Stribet Scarf

Today I am happy to tell you about my design, "Stribet". This is a design that I did for Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts, a delightful yarn company out of Canada.


The yarn for this design is Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts Merino/Cashmere/Nylon fingering weight. Let me tell you, this yarn is so nice to work with and wear! The colors are Lapis Lazuli (the blue) and Vancouver (the variegate).


This pattern is easy, but uses an interesting stitch, which you can see fairly well in the close-up below. These are shell stitches that sit on top of each other, instead of sitting down in the "valleys" of the row below.


This long and wide scarf doubles as a wrap, so you can style it either way and it looks really great!


 It is shaped like a trapezoid, so when you have it wrapped around you, the ends come to a point.


You can purchase this pattern through Ravelry, or on Ancient Arts' website.

Happy stitching!

April

11.17.2016

Plaza Shrug

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


(C) Annie's
This is Plaza Shrug, one of my all-time favorite designs! It can be found in Crochet!, Autumn 2016. I love how such a simple design can be so beautiful! Also, I have this thing for lines...I love when there are interesting lines in a design. This pattern, because it uses a mitered square and a striping yarn, has square-shaped stripes on the back, and a diagonal line from one shoulder to the opposite hip that is formed by the increases.


Even a beginning crocheter could make this once they have even tension and maybe a little guidance on seaming. You intermediate and advanced crocheters can make this while you binge watch your favorite TV show on Netflix or listen to an audio book.

The yarn used is Plymouth Yarns Gina Chunky #0102 Calm Brights. You'll need 3 or 4 skeins, depending on the size you make. It uses a 10 mm hook (my 10 mm hook is an N, but sometimes they are called a P hook). Because of the chunky yarn and large hook, this pattern will work up pretty quickly, which we all love, of course!

(C) Annie's
When I make a design for a magazine, the yarn manufacturer typically provides the yarn. I have to estimate ahead of time how much yarn I will need to finish a design. Well, designers tend to estimate generously, because it is much better to have too much, than too little. If you don't have enough, they have to pay to ship more, and you have to match dye lots...really a mess. 

I overestimated by quite a lot when I designed this shrug, so you, dear readers, are going to benefit. I will gift 4 skeins of Gina Chunky in the colorway shown here to one lucky crocheter so that you can make this shrug for yourself! You can enter this giveaway by signing up for my monthly newsletter. You can click this link to sign up. In one week, I'll choose a winner from all those subscribed to my newsletter (that's right, if you're already signed up, you are entered as well). This is open only to those in the US (sorry, but shipping anywhere else is too pricey for me right now).

Happy stitching!
April

11.10.2016

Lime Breeze Scarf



Lime Breeze Scarf is one of my newer magazine patterns. This was published in I Like Crochet, June 2016. (Yes, I'm a little behind).

This scarf is crochet in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, color Celery Leaves. This is a worsted weight, cotton/wool blend. Even if you don't want to use the Cotton Fleece, I'd recommend using a natural fiber yarn so that the lace pattern will block nicely.

This is a simple "spider lace" stitch pattern that really has a pleasing look. This is not a difficult pattern, so even if you are a newbie, look it up, and enjoy!

Happy stitching!
April

11.03.2016

Book Review: Top-Down Crochet Sweaters


Excerpted from Top-Down Crochet Sweater © 2016 by Dora Ohrenstein. Photography © Melinda DiMauro. Used with permission by Storey Publishing.
$13.89 on Amazon
This post contains affiliate links. It helps my bottom line when you click on one and load up your cart, so thanks in advance!

Today I am happy to review for you, Top-Down Crochet Sweaters, by Dora Ohrenstein. So let's begin with the question, why make a top-down sweater? Why is that better than making a sweater bottom-up? From Dora's Introduction in the book:

"In my travels as a teacher and designer, I've heard many crocheters
 voice one burning desire: to make beautiful garments that really fit. 
This book aims to provide the tools and knowledge to make that 
dream come true, with a focus on top-down, one-piece construction, a 
method that many favor."

I would also add, because top-down sweaters require very little seaming. So, if you enjoy a project with very little finishing, and fantastic drape, this technique is for you!


Dora begins with a discussion about the right yarns to use for top-down sweaters with good drape. Imperative to a successful sweater project, is good yarn choice.

Next she covers techniques such as construction and shaping, measuring gauge and blocking, and of course fit.

Then come the patterns (we all know this is really the exciting part, but if you're not familiar with sweater-making, the aforementioned sections will help you feel confident before taking hook to yarn). There are 14 sweater patterns in this book, but they are arranged in pairs that have very similar characteristics. All are pretty classic sweaters. When you finish your sweater, you'll get to enjoy wearing it for years and years without being out of style, a big plus if you're going to put the time and money into making it!

Here are some of my favorites:


"Bettina"
Excerpted from Top-Down Crochet Sweater © 2016 by Dora Ohrenstein. Photography © Melinda DiMauro. Used with permission by Storey Publishing.
 Bettina looks comfy. I think this will be the first one that I make from this book. This looks like the kind of sweater I could enjoy having in multiple colors and wearing often. It's made in Patons Lace, an acrylic/mohair/wool blend, with an F/5/3.75 mm crochet hook. Available sizes include 35, 40, 45, and 49 inch bust circumferences.

"Isola"
Excerpted from Top-Down Crochet Sweater © 2016 by Dora Ohrenstein. Photography © Melinda DiMauro. Used with permission by Storey Publishing.
 Isola strikes me as a nice dressy top. I could love wearing this over a camisole when going out on a date with my sweetheart! This one is written in sizes 34, 37, 42 1/2, and 48 inch bust circumferences. The yarn is Designing Vashti Lotus, a cotton/rayon blend yarn, and uses an E/4/3.5 mm crochet hook.

Craftsy Free Cake Decorating Class

"Janelle"
Excerpted from Top-Down Crochet Sweater © 2016 by Dora Ohrenstein. Photography © Melinda DiMauro. Used with permission by Storey Publishing.
Janelle is another comfy sweater like Bettina. I would love having this in my wardrobe! I am always chilly when I go out to eat, or at church, or lots of other places, so this would be my sweater to take everywhere for when I need an extra layer. It is written in sizes 37 1/2, 41, 45, and 51 inch bust circumferences. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Juliet, a cotton/acrylic blend, and uses an I/9/5.5 mm crochet hook.

Also, in this book, you're going to find stitch charts sprinkled throughout to show you visually how the stitches fit together. In the back you'll find an abbreviation key and an index. There's really lots to love in this book, especially if you're looking to expand your crochet skills into garment making. These sweaters would make great options for your first sweater!

Now, many thanks to Storey Publishing, I have the opportunity to offer a free book as a prize to one lucky reader in the US! You can receive an entry to win a free copy of this book by leaving a comment on this post, or by sharing the link to this post on Twitter (be sure to tag me @BananaMoonStdio, so that I'll see it). I'll choose a winner in one week! Good luck!

Happy stitching!
April



11.01.2016

Free Crochet Pattern: Vinita Mitts

New FREE pattern for your crocheting pleasure: Vinita Mitts!


Today I have a new crochet pattern for you, and it's free! I'm calling this pattern Vinita Mitts. The fingerless gloves are a simple crochet project worked in v-stitch with a dk or light worsted weight yarn. You can, of course, make them without the bows and they will work just as well for someone that isn't a fan of bows...but, the bows! <3 <3 <3



I have written the pattern in four sizes, so you have options for those with larger or smaller hands. You'll need about 83 [99, 115, 132] yds of your chosen yarn, some 1 1/2 inch gross-grain ribbon, a size H/8/5 mm crochet hook, or the size you need to obtain gauge. 

I was already in love with the picture of these in my mind as I was finishing them up. I was looking forward to wearing them myself. Then, as I put on the bows, Drama Queen came out of her room and fell in love. She begged me to let her have them. Seeing as her hands always look so much prettier than mine, I planned on having her model them, and well, I guess the mitts will be her payment. Baby heard her delight and came out of her room as well. She wanted to try them on, although they don't fit her, and has asked for a pair of her own in light purple yarn with a sparkly purple ribbon. So, if I get around to it, there may be a child size pattern to match in the future.


Without further ado, here is the pattern:

Vinita Mitts
Design by April Garwood

Difficulty Level: Easy

Finished Measurements: 6 ½ [7 ¾, 9, 10 ¼] in. or 16.5 [19.5, 23, 26] cm circumference, 6 ¾” or 17 cm long.

Yarn: About 83 [99, 115, 132] yds of DK or light-worsted weight yarn. I used just over 1 skein Jojoland Rhythm #M04 (100% wool; 50 g/1 ¾ oz/110 yds/100.5 m per skein; DK weight).

Crochet hook: H/8/5 mm, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Notions: About 36-48” of 1 ½” wide (or 91.5-122 cm of 4 cm wide) gross-grain ribbon in contrasting color, yarn needle.

Gauge: 14 sts x 11 rows = about 4 ½” or 11.5 cm.

Notes:
-            Ch 3 at beg of rnd counts as dc.
-            Ch 7 at beg of rnd 15 does not count as a st. This large ch sp forms the thumbhole.

Mitt (Make 2)
Ch 20 [24, 28, 32], join to first ch with sl st.
Rnd 1: Ch 3, dc in first ch, *skip next ch, 2 dc in next ch, repeat from * around, skip last ch, join to tch with sl st – 20 [24, 28, 32] sts.
Rnd 2: (Sl st, ch 3, dc) in sp between tch and first st, *skip next st, 2 dc in between next 2 sts, repeat from * around, skip last st, join to tch with sl st.
Rnds 3-8: Repeat Rnd 2.
Rnd 9:  (Sl st, ch 3, 2 dc) in sp between tch and first st, *skip next st, 2 dc in between next 2 sts, repeat from * around, skip last st, join to tch with sl st – 21 [25, 29, 33] sts.
Rnd 10: (Sl st, ch 3, dc) in sp between tch and first st, 2 dc in sp between 1st and 2nd sts, *skip next st, 2 dc in between next 2 sts, repeat from * around, skip last st, join to tch with sl st – 22 [26, 30, 34] sts.
Rnds 11-12: Repeat Rnd 2.
Rnd 13: Ch 7, skip first 4 sts, dc in between next 2 sts, *skip next st, 2 dc in between next 2 sts, repeat form * around, skip last st, join to 3rd ch of tch with sl st – 18 [22, 26, 30] sts.
Rnd 14: Sl st in next ch, (sl st, ch 3, dc) in next ch, skip rem chs, *2 dc in between next 2 sts, skip next st, repeat from * around, join to tch with sl st – 20 [24, 28, 32] sts.
Rnds 15-16: Repeat Rnd 2. Fasten off.

Finishing:
Weave in ends. 

Cut ribbon into 2 equal pieces about 18-24” long. Trim (and secure edge with glue) or sew ribbon ends into points. Mine are sewn. Try on mitts to find the best location for the ribbon, or fold them in half with the thumbhole slightly more to the palm side of the mitt. On the side that will be on the back of the hand, 7 rows from the top of the mitt, thread the ribbon underneath 2 v-sts to center the bows on the top of the wrist. Tie them into bows and secure with a few dabs of fabric glue inside the knots. All done!

Now, please go on Ravelry or my Facebook page and share a picture of you finished mitts, because I want to see them!


Happy stitching!
April