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Black Friday and Beyond

Black Friday and Beyond

There is so much that is happening in the next 10 days; surgery, Black Friday and beyond.  I really wanted to do the Christmas shopping season up big this year, however, surgery is looming for me and I am only offering sales in the Etsy shop. Thanksgiving weekend has different sales almost every day in the Etsy shop. Please come back frequently to shop for patterns. If it isn’t on sale the first day you look it probably will be the next day!

Ready to Wear and Afghans

Any ready to wear or afghans need to be bought this week. They need to be wrapped prior to surgery so that they get shipped out quickly.

Happy Thanksgiving

May you have a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. May your Christmas be merry and bright.

 

Black Friday and Beyond

We were driving past this sunset on our way to church Sunday night. The leaves and bright sunshine just called for a photograph. It is blurred and imperfect but that is so much like our lives these days. Beauty that is blurred and imperfect. I’ve been looking for the beauty in life everyday, as life has been a little tougher around the edges lately. This sunset just made me thankful for life and family. Beauty no matter how blurred is still beauty. It still brings a deep and abiding peace as it reminds me who is in charge of life.

 

Talk to you later,

Karen

P.S. The surgery is clean up work on a foot that doesn’t work properly and will leave me crutch bound for all of the Christmas season. I’ll pop in once in awhile closer to Christmas. See you then. You will see me more on Instagram as I crochet tons while I am recovering from surgery. Look for new patterns in the January and February.

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Fall Update

It is time for the Fall Update. I have been really slow writing these days and if you read down you will find out why. I started writing this in October and now it is November.

Truthfully, I haven’t been in the studio much this month as our time has been spent painting in our house. I have taken my time and painted slowly and steadily over the past two weeks. October is flying past, much as it has in past years. The time just seems to get away from me.

Pumpkin Patch
Fall Update

Things have been slower this month in the crochet world for the studio. We have been taking some much needed time off for family, house chores and simply recharging our batteries. The first time that time off has happened in October since 2007 when the Etsy shop first opened. Time off that was well spent and much needed. It is too easy to get on the treadmill of life and just never slow down or get off. We went with the grandkids to the pumpkin patch.Fall Update

House Painting

The painting is finished and while there are many other big chores around the house that need to be finished, I feel almost ready to tackle life again.

Fall Update

The awful 80’s grey is finally leaving the room.

Our youngest daughter helped with the painting during her Fall break from school.

Fall Update

New Patterns

Here it is almost November and I have just started crocheting again after almost three weeks. There are some patterns coming out in the next week that will be easy and quick for Christmas gifts. This will be hitting the shops this week!

Fall Update

 

Yarn Bowl Winner

The winner of the yarn bowl is Julie from Texas. Julie- your yarn bowl is on the way!

 

Health

I’ve had some health issues crop up so if I am gone more than normal don’t give up on the blog. Keep checking in and things will be running more normally later on this year (nothing serious, just really slowing me down.) I’ll be keeping in touch more via Instagram for the next little while. I will send out an email when I get back to the blog.

Talk to you later,

Karen

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Fall, Diamonds, and the Yarn bowls!

Today is full of Fall, Diamonds and the Yarn bowls, a little of everything today, plus 2 new patterns and an introduction to the newest afghan!

Fall

Here is it is, the beginning of the Fall season. The leaves are beginning to change here in Oklahoma. It seems early for Autumn, but I am not complaining to a few cooler days. Aren’t you ready for sweater weather after all the heat of summer? Fall always brings such changes. Retail shops are in full “Get ready for the Christmas Season” mode. Pumpkin spice everything is out in the shops. Chocolate Dog Studio is no exception. There are a couple of new patterns out in the shop.

The Denver Scarf and the Basket Weave Granny Square Blanket are both brand new this week.

  Fall, Diamonds, and Yarn bowlsFall, Diamonds, and the Yarn bowls

The Diamond Afghan

 

This is the newest afghan! You have been seeing glimpses of it all August. The Diamond Afghan is beautiful. Crochet this blanket in any color you want, or combinations of colors. I chose white and warm grey, as I just love the neutral combination. It would work well in any home.  Pay attention when you crochet and “You must keep your wits about you” as Bilbo Baggins says. It is easy to get off count and find the diamonds crawling all over the blanket. Counting on certain rows will certainly help. This is another front post/ back post double crochet afghan. It is nice large size; perfect for two. The classic diamonds will be beautiful in any color combinations.

Fall, Diamonds and the Yarn Bowls

It seemed to take awhile to get past the scarf stage of afghan crocheting.

Fall, Diamonds and the Yarn bowls

The diamonds are crocheted into the afghan and not on top of the afghan or added later as some cable crochet is.

     Fall, Diamonds and the yarn bowls

A wonderful Christmas gift, perfect for receiving and giving. The afghan and pattern will be available soon in the shop.

YARN BOWL GIVEAWAY

Fall, Diamonds and the yarn bowls

There is an overabundance of beautiful yarn bowls in the studio. My father in law is a woodworker and he has been creating these for me quite regularly. There are 7 yarn bowls in the studio and more to come before the end of the year! I want to share the beauty of these beautiful bowls. Please post a comment here on the blog and you will receive one of these beautiful yarn bowls. Free for leaving a comment, it can’t be any easier than this. This is for new email subscribers and returning. You must post a comment here on the blog with your newsletter email. Just tell me what you want to see more of on the blog; free patterns posted on the blog itself, or free downloads or both, afghan patterns, kids patterns, step by step instructions, baby afghans, YouTube videos, whatever you want to see more of! That is the only requirement to enter this little drawing.  New readers are always 1welcome to join in!

I am sorry but I can’t ship these bowls out of the U.S., the postage is just too expensive. Wherever you live, I will still love to hear your opinion. Comment at the bottom and then list where in the world you are reading this blog. – i.e. Karen – London, crochet baby sweaters, or something like this.

Note: The end date of this giveaway is the 12th of October!  I will announce the winner in the newsletter!

 

Talk to you later,

Karen

P.S. I’ve been busy sprucing up the house for the holidays. It is involving tons of paint and furniture moving. It is an exciting start as we peel off the border that has been up since 2000.

 

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How to Multi-Strand Crochet and the Table Runner

How to Multi-Strand Crochet!

I love multi-strand crochet. The projects work up quickly and is a great stash buster. You can crochet everything from a pillow cover to an afghan or a rug. It just depends on how many strands of yarn you use at one time and how big a hook you use. The most difficult part of Multi-Strand crochet is keeping the yarns from tangling, but if you pull the skeins from the center and use a bowl for all little balls of yarn, the tangling can be kept manageable.

The Fall Table Runner

The pattern for this table runner is more like a list of guidelines. It uses some of my stash and scrap yarns that I NEEDED to use up as they are taking up valuable storage space. They are also colors that I do not use all the time and were not going to be used, unless I made a special effort. When you take multi-strands + creating it to fit your table + picking through your own yarns = a multi-step process. Not hard but more complicated than I usually write.

Motivation 

 This is a perfect project to use up some yarns in your stash and also all those little tiny scrap balls of yarn.

This is also a great home decor project as you can match the colors in your home. You will need at least three skeins of yarn and a large plastic or wooden hook. The large hook is the key to the whole thing! It will make the project quicker than you can imagine and also grab all those strands of yarns. Pick colors that you will want to have in your house, or to give as a hostess or Christmas gift. It can even be a mix of fiber content, but be sure to tell your gift recipient how to care for the table runner.

What follows is more of an outline rather than a pattern. Feel free to adapt these guidelines to create anything from mug mats to rugs for your home. 

 

Multi-Strand Crochet

Yarn Choices 

  1. Pull out all the yarns you never use. Hunt out the little bitty balls of leftover yarn from previous projects. Pick a color range. Since this is a Fall table runner. I was looking for browns, beige, oatmeal,  creams, orange, yellows, and any yarns with mostly those colors in them
  2. Sort the yarn into weight groups; worsted, bulky, fingering, laceweight, dk, home dec. t shirt yarn.
  3. Then I weighed it to see how much of each type of yarn I had.  I had more than 20 oz of yarn.

You can see that I have

  • tiny balls of yarn
  • some t shirt type yarn
  • almost three full skeins of lion brand yarn
  • some really Bulky brown yarn
  • the yellow granny square
  • camo look yarn
  • enough creams/ beige yarns to use these as the base yarn to keep it harmonized. (These didn’t make it to the photos  and I didn’t end up using the really thick brown yarn.)

 

The Rules

  • Use off white, cream or oatmeal yarns throughout the crocheting.
  • The overall gauge (or thickness) of the yarn group is more of a concern than the number of strands-try to keep this gauge consistent.
  • Try to crochet roughly half of each accent (orange, yellow and camo) yarn and then use in the 2nd half of the table runner. This adds continuity in the overall color of the crocheted item.
  • finish one tiny yarn ball then just tie on the next yarn ball
  • try to stagger tying on new yarns to help hide knots
  • only add one new yarn at a time. Which also helps to hide the knots.
  • crochet about 2 rows of accent color before changing to another accent color
  • Use a plastic hook large enough to easily hold all the different strands at one time. (I used a large plastic P hook with this project.)

Note: These are my rules – but you can change them to fit your yarns.

The Colors

 

  • Primary color: beige, off white, cream- used throughout the table runner.
  • Accent colors: yellow, camo, dark brown, cranberry, orange,
  • 2nd accent colors: variegated yarns, variegated string yarns
  • Put the yarns in your lap or a bowl and get started.

(Adding in a very small fingering gauge or crochet cotton doesn’t add much to the gauge of the yarn group and I was trying to use those up as they have been in the stash for far too long and I don’t use them often enough to warrant keeping them.)

 

 

Multi-Strand Crochet

 

Instructions

Using three or more yarns and your large crochet hook crochet a chain the length needed to fit your table minus 6 inches (3 inches each side for the fringe).When our family gathers for meals we have two leaves in our table which makes our table is 84″ long. The table runner is 62″ long. The table runner uses 14.1 oz of yarn.

Single crochet with all three or more yarns across the chain. Adding or changing yarn as necessary. Chain one and turn at each end of the table runner continue in SC the length of the table runner.

Continue adding rows until your table runner is the width you want. You will want to reserve roughly half of each accent color of yarn for the other half of the table runner. (This keeps the table runner color balanced.)

Crochet an odd number of rows to achieve the width that looks best on your table. My table runner is seven rows wide but would look good with 9-11 rows. Tie off and cut the yarns.

Fringe

Cut six inch lengths of the leftover yarns and using the larks head knot attach one group of five yarns each to each stitch at the end of each row on both ends of the table runner. Mix up colors and textures of the yarns to get a similar look to the table runner. Trim the fringe level across the ends to get a straight edge if needed.

Multi-Strand Crochet Inspiration

Just to inspire you, I found a couple of photos of my favorite multi strand crocheting using yarns of different weights. This poncho was crocheted using an Etsy friend’s scrap and stash yarns. She was selling them and I fell in love with all of the colors and textures. I added more of the yarns I had on hand  + the Basketweave stitch and this was the result.

Multi-Strand Crochet

Multi-Strand Crochet

The blue afghan shown here uses three strands of the same weight yarn to create an ombre effect. You do have to be careful not to create an item with such heavy fabric that it is not useable.

 

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We are nearing the end of September and Fall is really here! I am excited about the next few months as the Holidays are coming up and life gets busier. Take time out to enjoy the beauty of the season and the yarn in your basket. I am also getting ready to put this table runner and Autumn decorations out.

 

Talk to you later,

Karen

P.S. I think Multi-strand crochet would be wonderful for the pet beds people make for the animal shelters- just be sure to use washable yarns.