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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,




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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 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,


P.S. You can read one of the other challenge rules here if you like more structure:

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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,