Punch Pillow

Here today to blog about one of my newest crochet patterns, "Punch Pillow". This new pattern is available in a special issue by Annie's called, From Scraps to Sensational.

This is a pillow sham design that you put over a pillow form. I used Berroco Weekend DK to make this one and that would make an excellent yarn for the base. The colorful design on the front is made using a technique called surface crochet. This is the part that can be done using scraps from your stash. You can do every stripe in a different yarn or do a repeating pattern as I did here. To make one exactly like this you'll need:

  3 hanks in #2902 Vanilla
  1 hank in #2904 Pebble
  1 hank in #2966 Turquoise
  1 hank in #2981 Seedling
  1 hank in #2982 Coast
  Size G/6/4 mm crochet hook, or size needed to obtain gauge
  Tapestry needle
  Locking stitch markers
  14" pillow form

I had fun considering submissions for this issue. The thought of surface crochet came to me pretty quickly because you can use just a little yarn for a big impact. I just had to decide where to apply it. I settled on a pillow, and started swatching.

Here was my submitted swatch:

My sketch suggested 2 different ways of arranging the stripes:

You see, you could arrange stripes of surface slip stitching any way you want to make interesting shapes and patterns on the surface of your pillow cover. Editor Jackie Daugherty selected the bottom sketch.

I really enjoyed working on this pillow cover. I like surface crochet. It's fun to do. Here are some pictures of mine taken in process:

My last photo is how I envisioned it, so I was surprised by the magazine photo...it seemed sideways. It's grown on me though, and I like it both ways.

I am excited at the possibilities with this project! I can imagine some really awesome, colorful projects! I look forward to seeing finished projects on Ravelry and on my Facebook page!

Happy Stitching!


Book Review: Warm Days, Cool Knits

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Warm Days, Cool Knits: Lighter Designs for Every Season
By Corrina Ferguson
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

Today I am reviewing this wonderful knitting book, Warm Days, Cool Knits, for you dear readers! I was fortunate to win this book by listening to The Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird. She interviewed the designer, Corrina Ferguson of Picnic Knits. I left a comment on her show notes and won the book and a skein of yarn to make one of the projects. More on that in a bit.

As I listened to the podcast I was perusing photos of the included patterns on Ravelry. I was very impressed with the lovely projects in this book, so it really was very exciting to win the book!

Here are some of my favorites:

(C) Joe Hancock

(C) Joe Hancock

(C) Joe Hancock

Lovely, aren't they?! There are 20 patterns in the book, and really there are only a couple that I wouldn't love to make and wear!

The yarn that I won was a skein of Hazel Knits Divine (fingering weight Merino/Cashmere/Silk). It is aptly named. It is really lovely, soft yarn! This is the exact yarn and colorway for the Emmylou shawl. It is a crescent shaped shawl with an interesting cable-type pattern. It doesn't look like your typical cable pattern, but utilizes cable techniques and a cable needle.

(C) Joe Hancock

Truthfully, the first 3 or 4 cable rows had me fuming. My hands were really struggling to manage the extra cable needle. I found that, in particular, the parts that required my cable needle to hold one stitch to the front were frustrating because that one stitch was too loose to hold onto the cable needle. If I used a larger cable needle, the 2 stitches held to the back were too tight to fit on the needle. This is probably the result of my own quirkiness. I was determined and persevered, and I am glad that I did. After those first 3 or 4 cable rows, they gradually got easier because my hands were getting more used to managing it all. I am nearing completion of the main body of the shawl, almost time to begin the edging. It is looking very lovely.

This is a good thing. Not only will I have a lovely, soft shawl when I'm done, I will have learned something and improved my knitting skills, and that is worth a little frustration to me.

This particular pattern that I am working on relies heavily on charts. I think it's likely that the other patterns will as well, but I haven't looked carefully at the others to determine if this is so. If you're looking for a great knitting pattern book with lovely wearables, and you love using charts, this one should definitely be on your list!

Happy stitching!


Drop Spindle Tip

I just finished using my Ashford spinning wheel to ply this yarn. I spun the singles on this Schacht drop spindle. This yarn is special among my skeins of handspun because it is the first that I have dyed myself. It's not my most favorite yarn ever, color-wise, but good enough that I am undeterred, and will dye again. 

I stayed up rather late last night trying to get it all plied and off my spindle so that I could show you this tip, and not just tell you about it. 

Do you see the slanted stripes of clear "stuff" on the shaft of my spindle, on the end nearest the whorl? Those are SO helpful!

When I spin, I find that the cop of yarn I am building up will eventually start sliding around the shaft. This causes two really aggravating problems. First, the cop doesn't stay firmly lodged against the whorl, so as I am winding on, sometimes my strand of yarn gets between the cop and the whorl and makes for a messy and tangled cop of yarn. The other problem is even worse. As I am spinning, the cop gets pulled on and unwinds, meaning that my spun yarn gets longer from the bottom, and I can't spin very much in each length before winding on. Is that making sense? It's difficult to describe. 

So, my solution, plug in my hot glue gun and apply a corkscrew of hot glue around the shaft of my spindle, beginning at the whorl end. As you can see, I didn't do this along the whole shaft, just the part that I would begin winding around. It's such a simple thing, but it gives enough grip to the shaft to keep the cop still. Problem solved. It works perfectly. 


Chain Mail Cowl Free Pattern

Chain Mail Cowl, free crochet pattern by April Garwood of Banana Moon Studio


Today I am sharing a free pattern with you! I designed this pattern years ago and have decided to place it on the blog as a free pattern. This will make a great gift for anyone on your list! The pattern is easy and quick and the yarn is easy-care, so you can make one for just about anyone.

This post contains affiliate links. You can help my bottom line by clicking one and loading up your shopping cart, so thanks in advance!

Decide how many you want to make and get your yarn and hook ready. 

You can purchase Berroco Comfort online from Annie's (affiliate link).

350 X 200 banner 

Chain Mail Cowl
Design by April Garwood 

Berroco Comfort, 3.5oz/100g skeins, each approx 210yds/193m (50% Nylon, 50% Acrylic): 3 skeins #9713 Dusk

N/15 (10mm) or size needed to obtain correct gauge. 


Finished Measurements
13 in/33 cm tall x 39 1/4 in/99.5 cm circumference

9 sts x 6 rows = about 4.5in/11.4cm in dc with double stranded yarn
Stitch Guide
Front Post Treble (Fptr): Yarn over 2 times, insert hook from right to left, from front, to back, to front, around post of designated st, yarn over and pull up a loop, [yarn over and pull through 2 loops]3 times.
Back Post Treble (Bptr): Yarn over 2 times, insert hook from right to left, from back, to front, to back, around post of designated st, yarn over and pull up a loop, [yarn over and pull through 2 loops]3 times.

See my post stitch tutorial for help with these stitches!

    Cowl is worked in rnds from bottom to top.

Holding 2 strands together, ch 77, taking care not to twist ch, join to first ch with sl st.
Rnd 1(WS): Elongate loop on hook to height of dc, ch 1 (does not count as a st), dc in each ch around, join to first dc with sl st, turn – 77 dc.
Rnd 2: Elongate loop on hook to height of dc, ch 1, *dc in 6 dc, Fptr in next dc, repeat from * around, join to first dc with sl st, turn – 66 dc, 11 Fptr.
Rnd 3: Elongate loop on hook to height of dc, ch 1, *Bptr in next Fptr, dc in 6 dc, repeat from * around, join to first Bptr with sl st, turn – 66 dc, 11 Bptr.
Rnd 4: Elongate loop on hook to height of dc, ch 1, *dc in 6 dc, Fptr in next Bptr, repeat from * around, join to first dc with sl st, turn – 66 dc, 11 Fptr.
Rnds 5-18: Alternate repeating Rnds 3 and 4 for pattern, ending with a Rnd 4 repeat.  Fasten off.


Using a yarn needle and beg tail, join ends of foundation ch together.  With a yarn needle, weave in ends.

Looking for other free crochet patterns? Try these!

Gardens Galore Garland - a colorful floral garland

Flyover Scarf - an infinity scarf that makes a great stashbusting project!

Berry Scarf - a striped infinity scarf

Vinita Mitts - v-stitch fingerless mitts with big bows that I love!

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

Happy Stitching!

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Puff Shrug

(C) Interweave Crochet
Photo by Harper Point Photography

I have a new pattern out! This pattern, called "Puff Shrug" can be found in Crochetscene 2015 Digital Edition(affiliate link), by Interweave Crochet. The yarn is Cascade Heritage Paints #9883 Wild Roses (the main color) and Cascade Heritage #5616 Fuschia (the edging color).

The model shrug was made with just 1 skein of each color. The instructions are written to fit someone with a size 34" bust, but also give suggestions of how to adjust the size to fit larger or smaller folks. Those adjustments are really very easy. If you go much larger, you may need a second skein of the main color. I doubt anyone will need more than that. Made with a size F/5 (3.75 mm) hook, or size needed to achieve gauge.

(C) Interweave Crochet
Photo by Harper Point Photography

I loved how this shrug turned out! The fabric is made all in puff stitches, so it is super easy to make -- just a rectangle sewn a bit to make sleeves. The fabric is also smooshy and soft. The lace edging is lovely and feminine. I was so enamored with the finished sample! I wish it would fit me. I will probably give it to one of my girls. They'll grow into it.

(C) Interweave Crochet
Photo by Harper Point Photography

I hope you'll make this and love it! Share your photos on Ravelry or on my Facebook page, and sign up for my newsletter! I look forward to seeing your finished shrugs!

Happy stitching!