Look for the Ducks

Yesterday was such a normal day. I always look for the ducks as I was driving to an early morning appointment.  Driving through our neighborhood is a bit of adventure between drivers that go too fast, tight curves and wandering wildlife. The ducks tend to walk around on the road from time to time. I have been having a rough couple of weeks with migraines and just not feeling good. Stress has been overwhelming the past several weeks.  I reverted back to a habit I have had for years when I am stressed, I was looking for beauty. Now ducks aren’t usually considered the most beautiful in the bird world, but these ducks always look peaceful swimming on their pond.

Look for the Ducks, ChocolateDogStudio, dealing with stress, getting out of your comfort zone

 

So, I was looking for beauty yesterday, as I get stressed driving in rush hour traffic. I was also looking for the ducks. There are ducks in a pond in a neighbor’s yard. The ducks always bring a smile as they go about being ducks in a pond. They do what ducks do, waddle, quack, swim and get in the road.

Yesterday, however I saw a duck doing something I have never seen before and I am sure I will never see again. There is a chain link fence surrounding this pond as it is in a neighborhood and ponds need fences to keep kids out of them. There was a duck standing on the top of the chain link fence. Just standing there. I fully expected to hear her quack “Aflack”. Mrs Mallard was standing there watching all the other ducks in the pond swimming around in a mass eating breakfast. I almost stopped to see if I could take a photo of her but I would have been late. I don’t know what made the duck decide to take the risk of standing on the top of the chain link fence. I do know that the duck seem extremely satisfied with attaining her goal. She was standing most carefully with her large orange webbed feet planted just so on top of that chain link fence.

She came to mind as I drove about my errands, met my Mom for her emergency visit for her eyes, talked with my husband on our date. I was able to share the fun of the duck on the fence with my Mom as she was stressed about her eye appointment. (It was good news.) It really made her laugh and decreased our stress immediately. I shared with my husband about the duck as we talked about our day. It also made him laugh.  There are several messages I found while pondering the duck on the fence all day.

Look for the Ducks, ChocolateDogStudio, dealing with stress, getting out of your comfort zone

  • Do not be afraid to get out of the water and do something different!
  • You can be a duck and still do something special!
  • Good things still happen when you are struggling. They are still there! Look for the ducks!

I may never see another duck on a chain link fence but I will never, ever forget this one!

Look for the Ducks, ChocolateDogStudio, dealing with stress, getting out of your comfort zone

Look for the Ducks, ChocolateDogStudio, dealing with stress, getting out of your comfort zone

Have you ever seen a duck perching on a fence or tree? Are you thinking about getting out of the water and doing something different?

Talk to you later,

Karen

P.S. The irises are from my front garden. I will be planting some other colors this week. I know it is the wrong time of year but I always forget to plant them at the right time of year.

Also these photos are not photos of the ducks at my neighbors. Also I am not a duck expert this might be a duck that actually does perch in trees!

 

 

Promising starts

It is a promising start to the day. It is pouring down rain and I might get a chance to get some crochet done today. Our small group at church has been watching a great video series on Greatness. One of the weeks we discussed reading great books. I am a voracious reader and am reading several fiction books a week. The past couple of weeks a part of my reading is non-fiction and I am really learning from it. These are the books I am reading right now.

Promising starts; ChocolateDogStudio, crochet flowers

  • Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington
  • Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine
  • The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus

Promising starts; ChocolateDogStudio, crochet flowers

The books waiting for me to read are

  • The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
  • Platform  by Michael Hyatt
  • Living Forward Michael Hyatt

Promising starts; ChocolateDogStudio, crochet flowers

I am reading these slowly over several weeks. Trying to savor them over time so that hopefully some of the information seeps down into my brain and stays longer. I have felt out of balance in my life for several years. It is time to work on balance! These books are  a promising start to creating more balance in my life.

The lovely photos in this post are of an involved project that I am currently working on and I can’t wait to show you soon! Though with all of the ends to tie off and weave in, it will be longer than I think!

Talk to you later,

Karen

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans

Today’s tutorial will teach you how to patch your jeans. My dear daughter and our dogs managed to put a 3 corner hole in her never been worn before skinny jeans. A 3 corner hole looks a lot like the letter L. Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

She is not into the ragged look and I was not thrilled with the thought of her needing a new pair of jeans immediately after buying these.  I thought that I would take this opportunity to write this tutorial. There is a trick to it and it isn’t hard.

Some facts about this hole.

It is on the side of her calf and is not at a stress point.  This method works great on hole around or below the knee. I wouldn’t try it  on really old jeans. You do want the patch to be from denim about the same age as what you are sewing on and about the same fiber content. Be careful not to stretch the denim when you are sewing that can make the patch area pucker.

There are several things you need to have before you get started.

Supplies:

  • A Sewing machine that sews through multiple thicknesses of denim and that does a zig zag stitch or the stitch shown below.  A serger would simplify the sewing at the end of the repair. A free arm sewing machine will make it easier but it isn’t necessary.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

  • seam ripper or small pointy scissors
  • thread to match all stitching and also the denim color on the outside. There is a thread color called denim. It does work but in this case I just used navy thread I had on hand.
  • Piece of fabric 3 x’s the size of the hole and about the same weight and age. I generally keep one pair of old jeans around to do this repair with.
  • sewing scissors, because your kid’s paper scissors aren’t going to cut the denim.
  • Pins

Here are the jeans with the hole repaired. It isn’t beautiful but they do look much better.
Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Here is the hole before we fixed them. You do want to repair them before you wash them. Unless they are truly nasty dirty. Washing them will fray the edges and make the patch more visible.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Turn the jeans leg inside out with the hole side showing.

 

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Take your seam ripper or very fine tip embroidery scissors and cut the threads just about 4 inches on either side of the hole. Being sure to cut the side that does not have top stitching which is that fancy white stitching on the outside. Be very careful that you don’t cut the jeans as you are doing this.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

So you have cut the overcast or serger stitching on the edge of the jean seam. Then you also want to cut the chain stitch beside it and take it out. It looks like a crochet chain.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Here is my patch. It is larger on all sides than the tear in her jeans. Turn the jeans right side out again and pin the patch so that it covers all of the hole. Put the patch with the right side facing out.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Since you cut the leg open it is easy to see what you are doing at this point. You will want to check both sides to make sure that the patch is centered over the hole. There should be extra fabric all around the hole.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

My sewing machine has a free arm so that I can sew small things. This is perfect for doing this repair. If you don’t have a free arm sewing machine you can just create a larger opening in the seam so that you can sew all around the patch easily.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Pull the leg with the patch over the free arm and center the hole under your needle.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Using the straight stitch sew around the hole as close to the edges of the tear as you can get.  This will help hold the patch when we use the zig zag stitch.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Here I am using the zig zag stitch over the edges of the tear. The stitch size is as small as I can get and still see that I am stitching over the edge of the tear. I also back stitched instead of tieing a knot.Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Here is the stitching after I finished the sewing.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Here is the inside. Now with your sharp scissors carefully cut the left over patch fabric away. It should look like this.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

No heavy patch to rub. Yay!! We are done sewing the patch on. Now we just have to sew the leg back up. Turn the leg inside out again.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Pin the edges being sure that you don’t stretch the jean out and sew the straight seam. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your sewing to anchor it. Also sew down into the uncut stitching at the top and bottom of the hole you made. If you have a serger then at this point you would simply sew the overcast and straight stitch and be done. You will want to be careful to tie off all threads and trim them so that the sewing doesn’t ravel.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Now use the stitch that looks like a straight stitch and a zig zag combined. and do the overcast stitching on the edge of the seam. This will keep your jeans from ravelling. You can just use a straight stitch and a zig zag stitch if you machine doesn’t do this stitch. Just be sure that one edge of the zig zag is over that second straight stitch.

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

Tutorial: How to Patch Your Jeans; ChocolateDogStudio, sewing jeans, patch a 3 corner hole in your jeans

This patching method won’t work so well on holes in the seat of your jeans but it has stood the test of time. We have washed and dried these jeans every week for months and it is holding up great. You can hardly see the patch as she usually wears her boots with this pair.

I hope this helps you out! Let me know if you patch any jeans.

Talk to you later,

Karen

 

4 Ways to Plan a Crochet Blanket

Planning a crochet blanket can be difficult but there are 4 ways to plan a crochet blanket that might make it easier.

The sketch method

Drawing out your afghan can be helpful if you are creating an afghan with complex color changes or designs. Pull out those colored pencils and start sketching it out. Like a road map it will help keep you on track. You can refer to this sketch when you aren’t quite sure what to do next and it might keep you from having to frog (take it all out) as much. If you are creating a pixelated or tapestry design then you will follow the chart much as a cross stitcher does.

Do the Math

I use the math method when I am working on a Granny square blanket to see how many squares I will need to crochet to create a specific size blanket. It is simple to use and very helpful. Simply create a square, measure it. You can then figure out how many squares per length and width. Multiply length and width together and the answer will tell you how many squares you need.

4 Ways to Plan a Crochet Blanket, crochet, ChocolateDogStudio

This should read 10 x 12 which is 120 squares. They are 6″ squares. I need twelve squares for the length and ten squares for the width and then if you multiply them together that means 120 squares total.

The Sample Method

Here is my sample method. I was playing with some new yarn and I wanted to see how it would look in stripes. People all over the crochet world use different types of sample colors to see how they will work in their blanket.  Wooden clothes pins or pegs and little cardboard spools are used to hold colors. These work great as it helps you play with the colors until you get just the right color combinations.

 

Here I layout the skeins to see how the colors work together. I have done this several times through the years. I usually lay them all out on the couch to get an idea of how they will work in a blanket. I use so many colors that it makes it easier to see the progression of colors without putting the skeins on the floor.

These are my 4 most favorite ways to plan an afghan. Do you have a favorite afghan planning method. Do you plan your projects or do the spontaneously happen? My favorite afghan are scrap afghans or blankets that just happen! They seem to have more life in them than the meticulously planned, but I am very spontaneous about crochet. Not everyone is spontaneous so planning has its place as well. It does help you know that you have enough yarn for the project you have planned. If you know of another method, let me know. I am always looking for new ways to stay organized!

talk to you later,

Karen