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Life is Weird

Life is just weird, fun but weird. Who knows when I will finally be comfortable in my business as an artist and crocheter. Things keep changing and I keep hoping that a 9-5 will be in my future. It would after all be much easier. This does not seem to be the plan right now so here we are.

Me- a rather reluctant artist doing fun things all the time with paint, fabric and yarn. Who wouldn’t love to have the opportunity to do what I am currently doing.

You- reading this blog and wondering what on earth is going on. Is this a painting blog or a crochet blog? Why can’t she make up her mind?

The siren call of a regular paycheck and regular hours calls to me frequently. Enough about this drama that unfolds when frustrations run high. That is all that it is frustration with the job. We all have it.

Bear with me and keep reading. Normal life and crochet should be happening at some point in the very near future. I hope!

Painting

Painting has been happening more than crochet. I must admit that right now getting up and around with painting seems to be easier on the body than sitting and crocheting. Netflix is letting me down lately and staying at home for large blocks of time just isn’t appealing. The kids art table is quickly getting finished  and will be up for sale on Facebook marketplace. Shipping is an issue but if you are interested-contact me and we can work something out.

 

The Sea glass stool is ready for it’s protective finish and the legs are staying unpatterned and simply painted.

 

Two chairs were dropped off to (hopefully) find new homes earlier this month.

Crochet

Patterns are being posted on Craftsy that have already been listed up in the studio shop and also Etsy. If you prefer to shop from a well known platform then Craftsy is the place right now as the patterns cost less than the Etsy shop.  New ideas are floating through my mind as I am working hard to clear the studio so that the Christmas quilts can be finished and the crochet can find its rightful place again. The urge to create a big scrap blanket or start some fiddley squares with lots of color changes is starting to grow again. I’ve been crocheting pretty constantly for 5 years and it’s easy to get burned out. Sometimes you need to recharge your creativity by doing other things. This time the burn out has lasted and lasted. I haven’t picked up a crochet hook in almost 3 months now, except to answer customer questions.

Studio Update

Moving the studio was hard and organizing it has been difficult. There isn’t as much room as I hoped. The (three crafts/art/hobbies/work) whatever you want to call it, all take an unreasonable amount of space and don’t work well all together at the same time. Paint doesn’t mix well with anything else and just takes time to dry. Fabric and yarn work well together but both are space hogs. It’s coming around but still not organized the way I need it to be. The handyman at my house is still recovering from shoulder surgery. I’m driving Mom to dr’s appointments, and playing with the grandkids from time to time, so studio time just isn’t happening frequently. Life, though fun, is just getting in the way of studio time.

 

There is now a table, in the small empty spot in the middle of the room.  The cutting table is here where the grey table is in the lower right hand corner. It is hard to get the studio up and running just right when it is trying to fill so many different needs.

 

What can I say? Life is just weird, really weird right now. Life is just blazing past like cars on the highway and I just standing there. Hang in there if you want to hear about crochet. There is the feeling in the air of some crochet happening really, really soon. The paint just needs to stop first as paint and yarn don’t  mix!

 

Talk to you later,

Karen

 

 

 

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Life

 

Life

Do you ever feel that your life is one frustration after or another or that the frustrations are all stacked up like so many building blocks. Life has been rather that way here in Oklahoma. Looking out the studio window has been really rare these days. First one thing and then another pulling me away from what “I think” is more important-only to find out it isn’t that important after all.

The continuing saga of the water leak is over. The last little bits done have been done for several weeks now and they don’t seem like that big a deal.  Which is good! We have another construction issue starting this week.

Learning Applied

There have been some learning experiences from all the construction taking place in the house. Painters- have you ever seen professionals at work preparing to do their job. Here is what I am learning from their work and why I am even telling you about all the work we have had done.

  • Clear out the old
  • Plan
  • Prepare for the work
  • Make sure you have the right tools
  • Lay the groundwork or frame work to the best of your ability
  • Be careful and neat while you are working
  • Finish the job
  • Clean up and put your tools away when you are done.

This seems to be a lesson I learn over and over. I tend to dash in and get started without counting the cost, having the yarn or finishing other projects first. This creates a huge backlog of projects in my WIP stack and projects get forgotten.

Life

How to Crochet like a Professional

If we apply all the lessons listed above we can come up with a short list of how to apply this to crocheting.

  1. Clean your yarn bags and baskets out of the old work and yarn from previous projects first
  2. Plan your work, play with the color pegs or yarn to find good color combinations or determine your color range.
  3. Write down or photograph the combinations you want to use.
  4. Practice any new stitches until you are more confident.
  5. Gather all of the tools you need and put them all together in your project bag.
  6. Read through the instructions at least twice to make sure that you have everything.
  7. Check your gauge and crochet
  8. Weave in your stitches as you go. It does make it less tedious at the end and makes it easier to work.
  9. Finish your work completely.  Ask for any help you need before you reach the point of no return on the frustration.
  10. Clean up your tools when you are finished working.

Life

When you take a break in the middle make notes on  the pattern where to begin next if the work is complex,  or at least finish the row or color you are using before you set it aside. Tie off any ends firmly if the color is done so you can continue work later. Tie it off loosely or use a stitch marker (or safety pin) so it doesn’t get frogged if someone picks up your work to Ooh and Ahh over. (Forgive them, they just don’t know any better.) 

Crochet

Crochet HAS been happening here in the studio, though I have spent a ton of computer time the past few months getting things set up. Though I have to admit that it hasn’t been at the top of the list. There has been a ton of painting happening. While I love crochet sometimes I need a vacation from it and we lost the remote to the television for a week or two. Living a healthier lifestyle has also been a huge contributing factor.

Painting

Painting has been happening and it is going extremely well.  Here are a few photos of finished projects.

Life

Life

The armchair is for sale at an art store in town and the stool has already made a customer very happy.

 

Talk to you later,

Karen

 

 

 

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A few Tools and the Blue Monday Scarf

Today we will learn a few tips and tricks that help me with my crocheting. They are in my tool bag. It has been awhile since you have seen my tool bag.  There are a few new ones since then.

My Newest Crochet tools

The Handy Dandy fringe board

This is quite simply a floor laminate sample from my neighborhood flooring store. I bought mine at Lowes. Originally, we bought it to check out new flooring for one of our rooms but it was hijacked into the tool bag.

Here it is in all its humble glory. It replaces the paperback book that was being used.

A few Tools and the Blue Monday ScarfA few Tools and the Blue Monday Scarf

See the grooves at either end. You can cut a long 8″ fringe or a cut it at both ends and have a shorter 4″ fringe. The scissors fit in the grooves at either end. It makes fringe making so easy.A few Tools and the Blue Monday Scarf

 

The  Clover Pom pom  makers

These tools are bought and are available online or in the craft shops. I purchased mine at Michael’s. They are the Clover pom-pom makers in two different sizes.

These are great and so easy to use. If you are going to make several pom poms then they are worth your money. They come two to the package. The smallest size pom pom maker is in the crochet tool bag and not in the photo. (FYI I am not being paid for this endorsement of Clover products. There are other pom pom makers out there that may be better, study up and get the best for you.).A few Tools and the Blue Monday Scarf A few Tools and the Blue Monday Scarf There are instructions on the back and then you wind the yarn around the little

wings, fold it all together and then cut the yarn and tie off the pom pom so that it doesn’t come apart.
A few Tools and the Blue Monday Scarf

The tool bag

The tool bag is essential to keep all these little bits and pieces corralled. A zipper pouch works great, a pencil bag would also work. Here is my tool bag. It has grown over the years but it helps keep the crochet hooks, a pen, my large eye needle and everything else altogether in one place. A few Tools and the Blue Monday Scarf A few Tools and the Blue Monday Scarf

The Blue Monday Scarf

Here is the Blue Monday scarf. Why is it named blue Monday? It was started on one of “those” Mondays, when nothing was going right. Crocheting this scarf was such a joy. The rows added up quickly. Yarn was being used that would some day make someone very happy as opposed to it sitting in my yarn stash gathering dust and adding guilt. Looking at the changes in the colors and how it was so bright and beautiful that I just couldn’t helping smiling and it just changed the whole day. This is why it is named Blue Monday, it can help you overcome the Monday blues!


A few Tips and Tricks and the Blue Monday Scarf

The luscious fringe and rich vibrant colors just make a beautiful scarf. The best part is that it doesn’t take that much yarn if you choose to buy yarn just for this project. Though, there are plenty of beautiful yarns out there that would also crochet into your own version of Blue Monday. It is ready to go and in the  Etsy shop and the Studio Shop.

The background

While there doesn’t seem to be much happening here on the blog these days. Quite a bit has been happening in the background and under the surface. I took an online course or two. I’ve been busy uploading all of the photos from the beginning of Chocolate Dog Studio to a new photo manager, sorting and attempting to make them more manageable.A new computer just made this necessary and I couldn’t put it off any more. Home repairs have been huge in the past 6 weeks. A water leak has morphed into this huge now we have to fix this and then that. Also another repair has shown that some major home repairs are on our plate for the coming weeks. Life has been running fast around here.

This has also been a time of planning and thinking about the future and what it holds. Hopefully, there will be some new crochet coming up soon if I get a chance to sit down.

Take care,

 

Karen