4 Ways to Plan a Crochet Blanket

Planning a crochet blanket can be difficult but there are 4 ways to plan a crochet blanket that might make it easier.

The sketch method

Drawing out your afghan can be helpful if you are creating an afghan with complex color changes or designs. Pull out those colored pencils and start sketching it out. Like a road map it will help keep you on track. You can refer to this sketch when you aren’t quite sure what to do next and it might keep you from having to frog (take it all out) as much. If you are creating a pixelated or tapestry design then you will follow the chart much as a cross stitcher does.

Do the Math

I use the math method when I am working on a Granny square blanket to see how many squares I will need to crochet to create a specific size blanket. It is simple to use and very helpful. Simply create a square, measure it. You can then figure out how many squares per length and width. Multiply length and width together and the answer will tell you how many squares you need.

4 Ways to Plan a Crochet Blanket, crochet, ChocolateDogStudio

This should read 10 x 12 which is 120 squares. They are 6″ squares. I need twelve squares for the length and ten squares for the width and then if you multiply them together that means 120 squares total.

The Sample Method

Here is my sample method. I was playing with some new yarn and I wanted to see how it would look in stripes. People all over the crochet world use different types of sample colors to see how they will work in their blanket.  Wooden clothes pins or pegs and little cardboard spools are used to hold colors. These work great as it helps you play with the colors until you get just the right color combinations.


Here I layout the skeins to see how the colors work together. I have done this several times through the years. I usually lay them all out on the couch to get an idea of how they will work in a blanket. I use so many colors that it makes it easier to see the progression of colors without putting the skeins on the floor.

These are my 4 most favorite ways to plan an afghan. Do you have a favorite afghan planning method. Do you plan your projects or do the spontaneously happen? My favorite afghan are scrap afghans or blankets that just happen! They seem to have more life in them than the meticulously planned, but I am very spontaneous about crochet. Not everyone is spontaneous so planning has its place as well. It does help you know that you have enough yarn for the project you have planned. If you know of another method, let me know. I am always looking for new ways to stay organized!

talk to you later,



Checkerboard Crochet Afghan Pattern!

The Checkerboard Afghan pattern is now available! Do you remember this beautiful afghan?

Checkerboard Crochet Afghan Pattern, crochet pattern ChocolateDogStudio

It has such a simple yet beautiful border. There is not much to remember and it all just flows together so easily.

Checkerboard Crochet Afghan Pattern, crochet pattern ChocolateDogStudio

Lovely masculine squares and stripes with incredibly soft yarn.

Checkerboard Crochet Afghan Pattern, crochet pattern ChocolateDogStudio

There are several different color combinations of this easily found yarn. You can shop your local craft store to find the perfect colors for your checkerboard afghan.

Checkerboard Crochet Afghan Pattern, crochet pattern ChocolateDogStudio

Incredible visual texture and a soft, warm cuddly exterior.

Checkerboard Crochet Afghan Pattern, crochet pattern ChocolateDogStudio

I have ranked this afghan a beginner + 1. It is a little bit more complex than the other afghan patterns I have created. This is a perfect step up. One of the easier parts is the lovely border which is included in the pattern with step by step instructions.

Checkerboard Crochet Afghan Pattern, crochet pattern ChocolateDogStudio
Skills needed:
• Double crochet
• Slip stitch
• Weave ends in
• Change colors
• Single crochet

Supplies needed:
• Yarn
• Scissors
• Large eye needle
• Size g crochet hook or size needed for gauge

These instructions are written in U.S. crochet terminology.

You can find the pattern for sale on Craftsy


and Etsy



I also have links on this webpage to several shops that also sell the yarn. Should you purchase from any of the links on this page I will receive a small percentage of the sale, which will help fund my future yarn purchases!

It has been a full week. I have been crocheting on these flowers and I just can’t seem to crochet them fast enough. Here they are several days ago. The were taking over the coffee table and I finally popped them all in the basket lid to contain them. I am trying not to repeat any color combinations but it is difficult. I have been crocheting early in the morning and late into the night trying to get them all crocheted.

2016-03-29 10.19.34

I, also,  just found out that one of my favorite fabric shops is having a going out of business sale. I am headed over there after lunch with my daughter-in-law. I am going to try to teach her to sew a log cabin quilt. I think we will be purchasing fabric and goodness knows what else. I might stock up on craft staples like sewing machine needles, yarn, quilt batting and other sewing necessities. Now I know that yarn is not a sewing necessity but it is Necessary for happiness  in my house! I hope to find some great deals as thing are supposedly 50% off in some cases. You just never know if what you want is actually on sale or not.

Talk to you later,


P.S. ChocolatesBabyShop is now closed. I have been stretched too thin trying to keep two shops up. I was pleased with the results of the shop but all the crochet afghans can been shown in one shop! If you are looking for baby afghans you can now find them here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ChocolateDogStudio?section_id=11215540



Crochet Flowers

I have been working on crochet flowers the last week. Here is a sneak peak.

Crochet Flowers, Chocolate Dog Studio, #crochetaddiction #crochet

I made 100 flower centers and then had to take them all apart as I had create them wrong. Some of the yellow flowers above need to be frogged as well. It seems that I keep making mistakes and then having to take out yarn.

The arm of my chair looked like this…Crochet Flowers, Chocolate Dog Studio, #crochetaddiction #crochet

There was so many ends just about 1 yard long. I finally pulled out the baggies and started organizing the flowers more. I think it is helping and now I am putting the next round on the two round circles above. I hope to get this project finished up pretty quick as the photographer is coming this weekend and I really want to have him take the photos of this blanket then. Crochet is pretty  much all I have on my mind as I take this project from the bare bones idea to a finished project in about a month. I am writing the pattern as I go so progress seems really slow, but I am pretty sure that I can finish this blanket by next week at the latest.
I’m off to crochet some more.

Talk to you later,


5 Ways to Challenge your Crocheting!

Be brave and challenge your crocheting skills! Try something new, expand your horizons and jump out there into the crochet world. The worst thing that can happen is that you take it all out or get some help to finish a pattern!

Here are five ways to Challenge your crocheting!

  1. Try new colors:

We generally choose the same color pallet every time we create. It does make sense financially. That way we can use yarn we already have and actually be a bit more frugal with this passion of ours. My advice is to start small and add colors that are slightly different to the current pallet you use. Use brighter or more somber tones, add black or white as the background. Stretch your crochet a bit.

5 Ways to Challenge your Crocheting!

This isn’t my usual color choice. I prefer the bright crayon colors better, but this works great and was a stretch for me.

2. Use different yarns. If you normally use solid color yarns try some variegated yarns. Boucle yarns or soft pom pom yarns can challenge you while adding some interest to the same pattern you have used in the past. Using yarns that have a different feel will help you learn to tension your yarns better. Pick a small item to make not a huge 10 skein afghan out of expensive yarn. See if you really like working with the expensive new yarn first before you invest your yarn budget in some strange new yarn. 5 Ways to Challenge your Crocheting!

These are little pumpkins crocheted out of a variety of yarns. I used variegated, eyelash and some soft fluffy yarn for these. It was a fairly quick project and gave me a taste of using them without a huge time or money commitment.

3.Try a slightly harder pattern.

If you feel ready then jump up in technical difficulty. Try new stitches in small projects like potholders or granny squares. These are quick to finish and will keep you from getting frustrated with the difficulty of working with the new. The good thing with granny squares is that eventually you have enough for a scarf, purse or afghan. 5 Ways to Challenge your Crocheting!

This little bowl required a new technique for me. I was crocheting over a clothesline. It adds the rounded shape to the stitches. It was a small project but still a challenge.

4. Try a different hook size.

A great way to learn more about crochet is to work with a different sized hook. The different hooks really affect the stiffness of the crochet. Trying the same yarn with different sized hooks can really affect the finished look of your project. It will really solidify why pattern designers insist that you create a gauge sample first.

5 Ways to Challenge your Crocheting!

This is one of the few times I used a steel crochet hook and did some thread crochet. I am not that great at it but I liked the result.

5 Ways to Challenge your Crocheting!

This is the giant hook that I used to create the giant blanket. These are 7 inch sewing scissors so you can see how huge that hook really is. That crochet hook is bigger than a broom handle.

5. Giving yourself a deadline.

Setting a deadline will force you to finish what you start. If you decide to crochet a gift for friends or family, that deadline will keep you working at it when you are just ready to quit. The craft fair was a huge deadline for me as it forced me to work quickly to make as many things as I could. I wouldn’t suggest a craft show as a deadline if you are a beginner crocheter. I would pick making something for a Birthday or Christmas gift. Possibly choose to crochet some red white and blue bunting for Memorial day or the 4th of July. Then also pick a smaller project if you are new at crocheting under a time deadline. The purpose is to grow not beat yourself over the head with some huge project that is too challenging or difficult.

It is better not to pick all five of these challenges to do at one time. I am not saying you should crochet your wedding dress out of fine thread with a steel needle for your wedding in a month, when you have only crocheted potholders. Crocheting the edging on a handkerchief that you can carry would be more likely to be finished, and more than enough of a challenge if you are beginner! Change one aspect of your crocheting at a time. Change up your yarn weight, or hook size or the pattern you keep making; not everything at one time. Changing everything at once can make you frustrated. Struggling to hold the right tension, use the smaller or larger hook, deal with slippery yarn or thread, while reading a more complex pattern is a recipe for frustration and possibly failure.

How are you going to challenge your crochet skills? Let me know.

Talk to you later,