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Finish Your Projects and Use Your Yarn Challenge

Do you remember the Use Your Stash Challenges? Earlier this summer I started the Finish Your Projects and Use Your Yarn Challenge all at the same time. Yarn and partially finished projects have been filling my Studio boxes and making it hard to work, find what I need and let’s not talk about the GUILT.

  • from not finishing that afghan.
  • from wasting money on yarn that I will never use.
  • from too many unfinished objects (UFOs) filling up my crochet space.
  • from ____________ you fill in the blank.

It is bad when the  guilt is so obvious that my friend noticed. She looked at the stuff. Heard my plea for help and said “You need another Challenge” and something that sounded like “you have already started the challenge by crocheting all those scarves this past week. Why not give do another?”

It’s good to have  an encourager in your life. She is one of mine and she is awesome.

Here is the Challenge. Ta Dah……

The Finish Your Projects and Use Your Yarn Challenge.

No acronym, no cool title, no rules- except just get started. The goal is to use your yarn,get things completed, out of storage and to get rid of the guilt. Here is what I have been working on during the challenge.  It is totally unplanned, fun and random. Crochet by the seat of the pants with some creative repurposing of crochet blanket starts and several”why did I Start this project”. There were also several “Oh I have tons of this yarn left…. what can I make out of it” – projects that look nicer than I could have dreamed. I have also been buying yarn to finish projects as I go. It is nice to finally have so many finished projects rather than the huge storage box of UFOs that I did have.

Finish Your Projects and Use Your Yarn Challenge

Finish Your Projects and Use Your Yarn ChallengeFinish Your Projects and Use Your Yarn ChallengeFinish Your Projects and Use Your Yarn Challenge

Finish Your Projects and Use Your Yarn Challenge

There are three of the black granny square scarves but one photo works for today. There are at least 4 more scarves in the works. They need everything from borders, blocking to photography and listings written. Several new patterns have developed that need writing and editing but the yarn backlog is finally getting smaller.

Life

Life is more chaotic than normal this summer and is wiping out the time spent on pretty much everything to do with the Studio. Just normal everyday things like water leaks, birthdays, going to lunch with your Mom, spending time with Grandkids and then an unusual one or two like Hubs had surgery. He is doing quite well but the recovery is going to take a longer time than we had planned. While crochet has been happening there just hasn’t been a bigger span of time to write a blog post, edit a pattern or photograph the scarves. I hope to get the chaos resolved in the coming weeks.

Talk to you later,

Karen

P.S. You can read one of the other challenge rules here if you like more structure: http://www.chocolatedogstudio.com/?s=Use+Your+Stash+Challenge

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How to Use Your Stash Inventory – The Sampler Afghan

Why waste all that work to crochet gauge squares if you aren’t going to do anything with them? The Sampler Afghan answers this question.

Why create the swatches you crochet to try out new stitches? The Sampler Afghan also answers this question.

Why save all those little odds and ends of skeins if you aren’t going to use them? The answers to these questions are ahead of us for the next several weeks.

Why waste all that work to crochet gauge squares if you aren’t going to do anything with them? What are you going to do with all those practice granny squares?

The Sampler Afghan

 

How to use your stash yarn inventory can be confusing. What to do with all those bits and pieces of yarn and odds and ends of granny squares and sample bits that you have crocheted. There are several different ways to solve this problem.

Today we’re discussing two of my favorite methods of using up both stash yarn and leftover samples and bits and pieces; Sampler Afghans. There are two ways to make a sampler afghan.

  1. Create one Afghan using all the bits and pieces of leftover yarn you have.
  2. Create one Afghan with all the gauge swatches you have leftover from crochet things.

project #2

This is the second of these granny sampler afghans that I have made. They are my favorites. The colors interplay with each other and make wonderful sampler afghans. 

Here is my current stash of odds and ends of yarn skeins, add in some other storage in another room and everything is full to overflowing. I take left over skeins and roll them into yarn cakes using my yarn winder. The yarn cakes then go in this little color coded drawer unit according to color. It makes storage a breeze as the little yarn cakes don’t roll around and get all tangled up into a mess. As you can tell the color coding has gotten out of hand. The colors are all mixed up, simply because there isn’t room in some of the drawers. (Don’t get the idea that everything else is this organized, it’s really not. Crocheting is more fun than untangling a mess of yarn)

These are usually the beginnings of a big granny square afghan or an afghan like the sampler above or little projects that don’t take much yarn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Sampler Afghan

 

Here is the second idea for creating a sampler afghan. It started with a simple idea. Create some washcloth patterns for free from Chocolate Dog Studio for you. It quickly evolved into this afghan. If you are going to create all these patterns for washcloths, then they need to be crocheted at least twice. Once out of cotton dishcloth yarn and once out of any yarn you choose. The sampler afghan started a year ago. You can find almost all of the patterns here on the blog and they will work for the afghan, but the idea is simple and adaptable for the many other gauge swatches we crochet.

How to Use Your Stash Inventory

Try to crochet them in the same size, gauge and yarn weight. Then when you have enough squares you can assemble them into an afghan, table runner, or scarf. If you use the same colors over and over then you have a coordinating look. If they don’t coordinate then you have a scrap look afghan. This idea works best if you work in one type of fiber, wool or acrylic. It is hard to mix the two since the care for both is different.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope that this helps you create one of your own.

Talk to you later,

Karen

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Using Your Scrap Yarns Part 2

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Using your scrap yarns can be so much fun. Cleaning out yarn and creating new things all at the same time. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

There are a number of scarves that are great scrap yarn users. Here are is one of my time honored favorites. The Granny Square Scarf

Using Your Scrap Yarns

It doesn’t take much yarn and the squares themselves can be all different colors and yarn skeins as they are here. There are also granny square scarves that use a variety of different yarns in each square. The photo below is from an afghan, but you get the general idea. Simply tie all the colors together with one color and skein of yarn. Add a fringe or tassels as a finishing touch. Keep in mind that the longer the scarf, the more yarn you may need. The denser the stitching takes more yarn, too. Striped scarves work great to use scraps as well. Side to side stripes work for smaller amounts and long stripes for bigger amounts.Using Your Scrap Yarns

Using Your Scrap YarnsThe Newest Pattern

Here is the newest pattern. This pattern wrote itself after I challenged myself not to create another pattern this summer. I am pleased to introduce The Brown Ombre Stripe Scarf. The truth was that it was going to be an afghan but when it took 21 colors I decided that enough was enough! It requires 21 skeins of different colors but it is so lovely I couldn’t resist making a pattern for you.

Using Your Scrap Yarns

Studio News

The month has been busy. I’ve been busy taking not quite finished objects and giving them new life. About 6 scarves will hit the Etsy shop in the next couple of weeks. IF you follow Chocolate Dog Studio on Instagram then you have seen the progress happening on several scarves. It has been fun to finally move some of these WIPs out of storage and into the shop. Wool is fun to crochet but not usually my fiber of choice and these granny squares have been sitting for a couple of years looking for the right project to finish them out. Scarves work well, finish quickly and fit most everyone’s budget. I have started a Finish Your Projects and Use Your Yarn challenge but there are no rules and no timeline. It is really similar to the USE YOUR STASH challenge from previous years. I will keep going until I run out of steam, projects, time or inspiration.

Using Your Scrap Yarns

Here are three of them being blocked and almost ready for their shop photos.

Two acrylic scarves have also made it to the shop. I’m thrilled. The colors are bright and cheerful. The Brown Ombre Scarf and then this one. The white scarf makes great use of scrap yarn. There will never be a pattern for this but I am pleased that it is finished. Feel free to imitate this scarf all you want. There are no plans to write a pattern for it. If my memory is right, there are 20-30 stitches between each dash of color. Each dash of color has 15 stitches in it. Thankfully, it has moved out of the WIPs stack to the FP or finished projects stack and is ready to go home with someone soon.

Using Your Scrap Yarns

 

Talk to you later,

Karen

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Little Things Matter and the Ombre Granny Stripe Revisited.

Little things matter; like the button on this tea cozy. It looks perfect and brings a touch of whimsy to just another granny square tea cozy.  The little touches that make life great. Little things matter like a wave and a hello from a neighbor. Like the use of your right hand. Not being able to use your right hand really brings this home to you. As my hubs found out last week. His arm is in a sling but it’s not broken and not sprained. He doesn’t appear to need surgery, just rest- so all is well.

 

Little Things Matter

 

 

The Ombre Granny Stripe

The Ombre Granny Stripe afghan has been updated to reflect improved yarn quantity and an additional border option. I have never been that fond of the black and yellow in the original pattern so I crocheted another with a lovely brown border and it looks so much better  in my eyes. This pattern is newly released, (everywhere we sell the pattern) and the shop has 1 beautiful Ombre Granny Stripe for sale. If it has been calling to you then now is the time to buy. It might not be there again for a long, long time. The new photos show the beauty of this afghan in a much better light.  Whether you want to make your own with the Ombre Granny Stripe pattern or buy the one afghan in the Etsy shop.

Studio News

Here is the latest news from the studio. My motivation and creativity has settled back down after almost a years worth of stagnation. Do you ever have stagnant times? I hit a road bump and a well meaning  and loving detail person said “you have too much going on. You need to simplify and work on one thing at a time.” Bad idea, I tried it and it doesn’t work well for me. At this current time. There are 4 or is it 5 current crochet projects all in a partially completed state plus one chair and two paintings also in progress.  There will be another one starting soon, when we hit the road to a family reunion. Three new patterns are also in process and two revisions are also in the works. Just a few shots of the wips:

All of these make me happy to work on and the frustration level is very low.

Keep your frustration levels low and work the way that suits you best. Listen to your heart and follow the pattern that works for you!

Take care and have a good summer.

Talk to you later,

Karen

P.S. I’ve been praying for God to give us rest. We both have been feeling stretched very thin. I’m not driving right now while some medication things get sorted out and he is not driving until his shoulder gets a bit better. The kids are pitching in a bit more while their parents are recovering.