3.29.2012

So what you REALLY want for your anniversary is yarn, right?

(C)Feza Yarns, Used with permission

Recently Mr. AC and I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary.  We had 2 1/2 days to be away from home and just be grown-ups and enjoy being together.  We did several fun things.  But the first place we went was, of course, the yarn store!  Not because I needed to, but just because I wanted to, and I could without having to keep my kids from grabbing everything.  So, of course I had to buy something, and I chose the yarn above which is Feza Alp Premier (colorway #023).  This is a high end novelty yarn and is just gorgeous!!!  It is 210 yds of "Mixed Content" lengths of interesting yarns tied together at the ends.  There is ribbon yarn, a fuzzy yarn a little like an eyelash yarn, and ladder yarn.  There are free patterns on the Feza website that look really neat!  I'm thinking of making a wrap with it.

Well, as we were perusing, I spoke briefly with one of the co-owners of the store (Gourmet Yarn Co. in Oklahoma City) and mentioned that we were celebrating our anniversary.  Shortly before we left he mentioned that he was "pretty sure" (with a wink) that the "official" gift for the 9th anniversary was yarn, as opposed to the schedule of gemstones that has been concocted by jewelers for nearly every anniversary there is.  I told him that I was "pretty sure" (with a wink) that there was some type of yarn associated with every anniversary -- not just the 9th one!

Well, this turned out to be self-fulfilling prophecy!  As Mr. AC and I drove around to our various activities that day we put together the now "official" list of yarn to gift for anniversaries.  Now you can show this to your spouse and reassure him/her that "yarn is after all cheaper than gemstones", with a nice big grin or some puppy-dog eyes, whichever is most effective in your relationship ;)

1  -  Plarn (p(lastic)yarn made from recycled grocery bags or VHS/cassette tapes)
2  -  Acrylic
3  -  Cotton
4  -  Eyelash
5  -  Pima Cotton
6  -  Bamboo
7  -  Wool
8  -  Superwash Wool
9  -  High End Novelty (of course, this choice is a nod to our anniversary)
10  -  Alpaca
11  -  Bulky weight
12  -  dk weight
13  -  sock/fingering weight
14  -  lace weight
15  -  Camel
20  -  Alpaca Silk
25  -  Silk
30  -  Yak
35  -  Mohair
40  -  Angora
45  -  Qiviut (from the hair of the musk ox)
50  -  Cashmere

I am enjoying a little breather from business crochet right now.  I just finished a magazine project last week, and a project for a yarn company the week before that.  I sent in a submission late last week and have a few others to do in the next couple of weeks.  I have a few projects on the hooks for myself and my family.  

I'd love to hear what you think about my yarn anniversary list!  Leave me a comment or post pictures of your anniversary yarn on my Facebook page!

Happy crocheting!

April :)



3.28.2012

Kool-aid dyeing with the kids






A few weeks ago, for fun, the girls and I dyed some yarn with kool-aid.  I thought the girls would enjoy this and I was right.  Yay me for being a cool mom!  I've included a close-up pic of each of my girls' work: 1)Drama Queen; 2)Baby; 3)Lady Hops-a-lot; 4)Princess.

We started with some pale pink Berroco Pure Merino dk, which has been discontinued.  Their Pure Merino was one of my very favorite yarns though, so that is disappointing.  Anyway, I took a full ball of this yarn and divided it into these 4 hanks.  I tied the hanks with acrylic yarn and put each hank into a glass 9x13 pan.  I mixed each Kool-aid packet (the unsweetened variety) with a few tablespoons of water.  We used Black Cherry, Pink Lemonade, Mixed Berry, Lemonade, and Lemon-Lime.  I think though that the Lemonade didn't show up at all, and the Pink Lemonade only made a very subtle difference.  I put a plastic spoon in each cup of Kool-aid and let them put the Kool-aid on their yarn as they liked.  We did this on the kitchen floor with trash bags under us.  After they were finished, I added just a bit of water to each dish and microwaved them for 2 minutes at a time with rest periods between until the water was clear.

I got my instructions from knitty.com.  You can see them here.  It was easy and fun!  I even bought more kool-aid so that I can do my own sometime.  I haven't done it yet though...but one of these days...

Have you dyed yarn with kool-aid?  Will you now that you've read this?  Share your pics on my Facebook Page!

Happy Crocheting!

April :)

3.19.2012

Milky Way Blankie

(C) Crochet Today!

Here it is (later than promised) a blog post about the Milky Way Blankie found in the newest issue of Crochet Today! magazine.  This blanket is made in Red Heart Super Saver yarn in White and Shaded Dusk.  The stars are made with Red Heart Shimmer in Snow.  The two shades of Super Saver are used to make a large spiral, and the stars are made separately, then attached as-you-go on the last round.  You can place them randomly as I did, or use some kind of pattern, like maybe a favorite constellation of your's.  

The call for submissions for this issue asked for space-themed children's items.  The only thing I can really claim as inspiration for this pattern was that I recently saw a pattern that utilized a small spiral  as part of a freeform pattern.  Other than that bit of inspiration, this just came out of my brain.  I was really excited about the idea though, and I'm glad that the editorial staff was excited as well!

As always, I would LOVE to see finished projects!  You can post pictures on Ravelry, and I'll see them there, or you can share them on my Facebook page.  

I have to get back to work now on a design project, and do last month's biz finance.  Have a lovely week everyone!  I'll hopefully get to blog again this week about some other fun things.  Until then....

Happy crocheting!

April :)

3.12.2012

Fiesta Blouse

(C) Crochet Today!

Get your size E hooks ready to stitch up a fabulous blouse for your Cinco de Mayo celebrations!  This beautiful blouse called "Fiesta Blouse" is in Crochet Today! May/June 2012.  The preview is up on their website, and the issue will be available to purchase on April 3rd.  I have two designs in this issue, but I'll blog about the other one tomorrow.

This is made in SMC Catania in Dark Coral.  This is a freeform "pattern".  I say it that way because the pattern for the flowers is given.  Then you are given the dimensions for the floral piece and are encouraged to make the flowers and fit them into that piece.  Then the ribbing is added.  I really love how this turned out!  I am so happy with the finished garment!  I submitted this design idea as a wrap or shawl, but the editor, Theresa Gonzalez, asked me if I could do a blouse instead.  This added complications because it is a freeform design.  A freeform garment pattern, that needs writing in multiple sizes, does not follow your standard written pattern format.  The tech editor, KJ Hay, did most of the work to tweak it into a more freeform approach.

This blouse was inspired by the beautiful and intricate embroidered blouses and dresses of Mexico.  In the call for submissions the editor asked for crocheted items inspired by the colors and styles of Mexico in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  I googled "traditional Mexican clothing" and found scores of examples of these beautiful embroidered items.  My grandpa lived in South Texas until a few years ago when he had to come live with my parents, but I remember visiting him as a kid and traveling across the border to eat dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  I had more than one of these embroidered blouses and dresses as a kid that came from trips across the border.  When my parents went on a Caribbean cruise a few years ago they brought back embroidered dresses for all the granddaughters.  So, that is what led me to the idea of a wrap or shawl made of lots of little flowers.  And, as I mentioned, Theresa Gonzalez, the editor, morphed the idea into a blouse. 

I hope to see pictures of finished blouses.  If you post them on Ravlery I'll see them there, or you can email them to me at bananamoonstudio @ att . net (take out the spaces).

Happy crocheting!

April :)

3.03.2012

Latest Pattern: Plaid Skirt

(C) Interweave Crochet
Hooray!  I finally get to reveal a pattern that I've done!  I did so many during the second half of last year, but it is usually 9 months or longer from the beginning of the publishing process to the end of it.  So, I made this last fall I think, and here it is!

A few years ago when I had just begun designing crochet patterns I was constantly looking at clothing that people were wearing and thinking, "now how can I translate that into crochet?"  A friend of mine happened to be wearing a wool plaid skirt that was grey, pink, and white one day at church.  I contemplated plaid crochet and then a few days later, made a plaid swatch.  That swatch was done with an intarsia approach instead of with the surface crochet.  The surface crochet idea came when making the swatch for this skirt.  I knew then that someday I wanted to do a crocheted plaid skirt.  So, when the call for submissions came out for this issue and asked for skirts, I knew that one of my submissions would be plaid!

This skirt is made in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece -- a cotton/wool blend.  It is made from the top-down, so you can customize the length to your liking.  The horizontal stripes are worked into the fabric as you stitch it; the vertical stripes are made with surface crochet after the skirt is made.  It is difficult to tell from this picture, but the stripes are both pink and orange.  

This is the first of all my magazine patterns that is actually made in the colors that I chose for it.  When I get a call for submissions from a magazine I come up with ideas and make swatches to show them a bit of what that idea would look like when finished.  If they decide to use it, they choose the yarn and colors they want me to use and send it to me.  It is usually pretty exciting to wait for that yarn to arrive, because I never know what I will be getting.  I remember being very surprised the first time I published with Interweave Crochet and got the yarn in the mail.  I opened the box, fully expecting bright pink yarn, because that was the color of my swatch.  I was very surprised to open the box and find a medium, subdued blue.  Well, all of my other yarn shipments have surprised me as well, but none as much as this one.  This time, the surprise was to open the box and find roughly the same colors that I had made my swatch in!  It wasn't the same yarn, so the colors were not exactly the same shade, but still, the same basic colors.  I guess that was an occasion on which my inner funkiness jived perfectly with that of the editorial staff.  I was pretty excited to have accomplished such harmony!  I love the way they styled this skirt.  Of course, with those colors, you have to go for spunky and colorful.

Despite my being pleased with the colors, you can easily customize the colors of your skirt.  This yarn comes in a LOT of colors.  Try neutrals for a classic plaid skirt, or pastels for an Easter outfit.  You can make it funky, fun, flirty, classic, mellow -- you name it!  I'd love to see pictures of finished skirts.  Post them on Ravelry and I'll see them there, or email them too me at bananamoonstudio @ att . net (take out the spaces).

This skirt is in the forthcoming Spring 2012 issue of Interweave Crochet.  It is available to order either by mail or digital copy at the Interweave Store.  You can preview the other projects in the issue HERE.  It looks like a really great issue!  I also really like the Enigma Tunic by Jennifer Hansen, shown below:
(C) Crochet Today!
Gorgeous, isn't it?!  It is made with hairpin lace, something I have never done.  I might just have to try it for this!

Go check out the preview and tell me which pattern(s) are you favorites!

Happy crocheting!

April :)

3.02.2012

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! (Belated)


I hope that everyone had a wonderful and happy Valentines Day a couple of weeks ago.  This post is obviously, not very timely.  I should have written this weeks ago, but you know, life gets busy.  The picture there is what my sweetheart gave me for the big day.  Can't ask for a better gift than that -- 5 hanks of the new Cascade Yarns UltraPima Fine, and an Addi crochet hook.  I haven't used either of them yet, but I'm really looking forward to it!  The yarn is so new that they don't even have free patterns up their website yet.  I may design something with them, or I may just use someone else's pattern for the sake of having a relaxing project.  I also learn things from other designers when I work from their patterns.

Did you get a fibery Valentines gift?  I'd love to hear about it if you did!

I am busy working on a design project for a yarn company right now, and I should have yarn arriving any day for a magazine project.  I also just got a call for submissions to think about, and those submissions are due the same day that my mag project is due, so, it's business as usual around here -- busy!

I should have a bunch of new patterns to show you within the next month, and I can hardly wait for it to get started!  The only question is, which one will I get to show you first?!  Stay tuned for those...

Happy crocheting!

April :)