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Christmas Chains, Yarn and Crochet

Christmas chains, yarn and crochet; there isn’t much painting this week. The studio is full of soft goods right now, quilts for small grandkids, yarn from Black Friday shopping, products to ship and projects to finish. Are you ready for a small breather in your hectic schedule? I know that we are. Some time off doing what we love, maybe a little home repair, a little deep cleaning, a ton of family time, church time and time to reflect. Like you, we live a rather normal life; well, as normal as it can get. Family time has been a little more intense the past several months. It is good to see that some crochet is starting to happen again. It fills a deep need to create and is more portable than painting and it keeps me balanced.

Yarn Shopping

Crochet has been filling my time more since Black Friday shopping. My crochet momentum is back, finally! The family knew when the soft squishy packages started arriving that Black Friday shopping had been a serious occupation for the Studio. Good thing that some of these projects have used up a little of the yarn. Hopefully, the projects planned for the yarn will work up quickly and fill the Etsy shop. A few photos of the beautiful colors soon to be coming your way with new patterns (hopefully) or remakes of older patterns in new colors.

Christmas Chains

Christmas Chains

Christmas Chains


Here is a little of what I have been working on these days.

Christmas Chains

The Baby Hexi which seemed to take all summer.

Christmas Chains

A new take on the Ruby Red with Lion Brand Landscapes “Twilight” just to give folks another viewpoint of the Ruby Red in colors other than pink/red.

I also worked on a cute crocheted paper chain style garland for the Christmas tree. Super simple to crochet. I used all of the silvery yarn on hand and created two separate chains. The instructions are included below.  Here they are in process. These chains were fairly quick and I crocheted a bunch in one color and then joined them with the other color. Super fast and easy, great for beginners or children for learning to crochet. Also great for using up small bits of scrap yarn!

Christmas Chains

Here they are on the tree.

Christmas Chains

A few more more links will be added when there is a little more time. They were crocheted out of silvery grey and red Stylecraft Special DK but they would be beautiful out of bright cotton yarns or all white, even tropical colors would be beautiful. Crochet them any color and it will still add a fun look to your Christmas tree.

Christmas Chains Garland Pattern


  • DK weight yarn in Red and silvery grey,
  • Size G crochet hook
  • Scissors
  • Large eye needle for sewing links.


Chain 25,

First row: HDC in the third chain from hook and HDC across the chain, keeping the chain untwisted.

Second row: chain 2 HDC in each stitch across the the previous row. Tie off and cut with a long tail.

Sew one end to the other using whip stitch.

Finished one chain. Continue creating links being sure when sewing to link the chains together to create a Christmas Garland.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year everyone. All online shops are open this year for the next several  weeks. We have family visiting and hubs in off work for weeks between December 17 and January 1st. Should you need any help on any crocheting or orders, please bear this in mind. I will be stopping by to check on things but not as often. The last day to order from Etsy and Amazon for Christmas delivery is Tuesday Dec. 11th.

Merry Christmas and Talk to you later,


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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.


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.


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



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,





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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,



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The Labor Day Sale

Today is the beginning of The Labor Day Sale!

The Labor Day Sale 2018

Why is there a Labor Day Sale? It’s time and there will be a slight increase in item costs in the Etsy shop after September 2.  Instead of just increasing the prices, here is a sale to let you take advantage of the lower prices.

There is a new pattern and new pattern bundles available in both the Etsy shop and the Chocolate Dog Studio shop.

  Blue Monday Scarf

New Pattern Bundles

There are new pattern bundles on the horizon. I love pattern bundles. They save money and allow you to really explore a stitch combination before you move on to another. These new pattern bundles are obvious pairings. Like the two eyelet scarves. Many of the same colors are used in both and the stitch is the same. Since neither scarf uses a whole skein of yarn, there is no reason not to crochet both!The Labor Day Sale 2018

The patchwork heart afghan and patchwork pillow are another pattern bundle that just makes sense and saves your $. Together they make a great statement for Valentine’s day or to show someone that you love them. Pick their favorite colors and your favorite yarn and get started.

These are two of my favorite new pattern bundles and I hope to put together many more.

Check out these patterns at the Etsy shop!


Talk to you later,