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Business Boutique and Chocolate Dog Studio

Business Boutique

If you have ever wanted a little behind the scenes look at the how and why I started Chocolate Dog Studio, today is your chance. A couple of years ago I attended a Business Boutique seminar in Nashville Tennessee. Business Boutique is a wonderful conference for women  that have ever thought about starting, wanted to start, or are entrepreneurs. There were women there from all walks of business from the Multi Level Marketing groups to women starting businesses in everything from gluten free crackers (that were delicious), to physical therapists. Everyone is so encouraging and nice. Just plain nice and interested in why you are there and you business idea. It was amazing.

There was an opportunity for a podcast interview and I seized the opportunity.  I was so very nervous during this interview. It was really way outside my comfort zone. Now two years later hearing it for the first time this morning, I was totally overwhelmed. I sound so confident and in charge and I must admit that many times as a creative person; I am more of a mess than organized but there is a method in my madness.  If  you only want to hear my bit of the interview it starts about the 39 minute mark and last for about 4-5 minutes, not long at all.

https://www.businessboutique.com/podcast/how-to-use-storytelling-in-your-business/

This podcast interview was recorded by Christy Wright at a Nashville Tennessee Business Boutique conference. If you are a woman starting a business then go and soak up as much information as you can. I highly recommend the conferences and her book. It is uniquely tailored to fit women and their needs in running and starting a business.

Yarn

I intend to spend it crocheting and patterrn writing, so I’ll leave you with an inspirational photo or two of  yarn! I have to confess that I did buy yarn at the post Holiday sales and drastically increased my stash, but that means that I can crochet more!

Business Boutique and Chocolate Dog Studio

 

 

Some new stash that came in after Christmas

 

Business Boutique and Chocolate Dog Studio

 

And then there is the old stuff that keeps hanging around no matter how much I use it, it never seems to decrease in mass. It never ever goes away, the more you use it up the more you have left over.  I think a scrap afghan is in my not so distant future.

 

 

Business Boutique and Chocolate Dog Studio

 

talk to you later,

Karen

P.S. I have to say that I am not paid by Business Boutique either for the interview or this blog post today.

 

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Temperature Afghan

Temperature afghans-if you have crocheted any length of time at all, then you have seen them all over the internet, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram at the first of the new year for the last several years. If you do a search for Temperature Afghan you will probably come across a variation of this photo.  This afghan wasn’t created primarily to be a temperature afghan, though someone on the internet did use this photo to portray one.

Temperature Afghan Tips

 

Temperature Afghan Tips

What is a temperature afghan?

It is an afghan crocheted one row a day with the color related to the temperature of that day. Blues and Purples for cold weather and yellows/oranges/reds for warmer temps. Greens for the middle temps. When completed there is a visual representation of the year’s daily temperature and 365 rows of beautiful afghan.

Problems with a temperature afghan?

  • They can be huge! 365 rows of huge crochet blanket.
  • It is a long commitment. You must know that you will stick with a project for every day of the year (not my thing.)
  • They can be ugly if your regional temperatures zoom up and down like ours in Oklahoma where it can be 80 degrees F one day and below zero the next.
  • It can be boring.

The answer to fixing the boring part and huge commitment is to crochet last year’s temperatures. Find the temperatures for last year on the internet. Print them out and then you can sit down and crochet the whole thing in several weeks! Which is what I would do if I were going to crochet one.

How can you adjust the temperature afghan to fit your crocheting style?

There are so many ways that you can use to crochet a smaller version.

  • It could be the temperatures for the month a baby was born or your birthday month.
  • A scarf illustrating the temperatures for 3 winter months.
  • It could be a granny square blanket with 2 or 3 daily temperatures.
  • Crochet a special year to memorialize someone’s life.

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Life is Fun

Right now, life is fun. I am figuring out how to get around and do daily living activities while not putting any weight on my right foot. Which means that I am not getting around much at all.

 

Before Christmas

I spent my time crocheting these dino hats for the Grandkids and then also finishing up their sequined Christmas Stockings. Which did need me to be down and immobile for several weeks to get them finished. Sometimes I go without the boot when I am sitting around but it doesn’t mean that I am walking on it yet! I am still following the Doctor’s orders

  Temperature Afghan Tips                             Temperature Afghan Tips

 

Temperature Afghan Tips                          Temperature Afghan Tips                     Temperature Afghan Tips

The looked cute on the grandkids with the dino tails to match. The dyno hats crocheted up quickly and are fun to make.

Temperature Afghan Tips

The tails are wonderful and were created by www.etsy.com/shop/kidhub. She did a great job and I was able to custom order the colors to match yarn that I already had on hand.

Beautiful Moments

There have been (what deceptively looks like) beautiful moments like this.

Temperature Afghan Tips

Where it looks like I spent all day snuggled under a crochet afghan drinking yummy hot drinks. When I got about 3 micro seconds of this bliss before I spilled the coffee in my lap. Which goes to show that photos do not often tell the whole story.

    Temperature Afghan Tips

The second photo above makes it look like I am incredibly organized, and  getting some work done. I am not sure about the quality of my work due to the pain meds I was taking at the time. It is time to go back and review my work. We have had a downturn in the weather this week and we went from shorts weather to a dusting of snow before Christmas and it is now brrr cold with a bit of ice due on Saturday.

Temperature Afghan Tips

It was beautiful, and I bribed a child to go out and take some snow photos for me.

Temperature Afghan Tips I also got in my pre-Christmas yarn order that I forced myself not to open until the hats and stockings were finished. Sometimes I need a big carrot to get the job finished. This is always fun and if the colors seem odd, I was filling in some missing colors from Yarntopia. I did miss some vital colors that will have to go in another order.

 

After Christmas

Since Christmas, I have been doing a ton of organizing paperwork, thinking, planning and talking with friends. I haven’t had this much sit down or chat time in months.  I just move too fast and jump from one thing to another without stopping to force myself to slow down and do nothing. It is good to be able to sit and think but it also means a certain amount of boredom has set in. Binge watching tv is now done and over, I have seen all I want to see on Netflix or Amazon.  So, I have moved on to business planning and thinking about coming new year.

Temperature Afghan Tips

So now you are caught up with where I am and what is going on at Chocolate Dog Studio. Things are good, and the foot is healing as quickly as can be expected. I am thrilled at the thought of a New Year and the new crochet projects ahead of me.

 

Talk to you later,

Karen

P.S. I hope that your Holidays have been wonderful and relaxing. I would love to know what is going to be on your list of crochet projects to do this year?

 

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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.