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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

Crochet

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

Supplies

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

Link:

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,

Karen

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Life

 

Life

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.

Life

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.

Life

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

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

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

Life

Life

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,

Karen

 

 

 

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Crochet Planning Worksheets

The past several weeks have passed in a blur of activity. I really feel this Lord of the Rings meme is accurate because I want to say…

LOTR meme

This is really how I usually feel around this time of year. Christmas is looming, and those of us who have small retail businesses are run right off our feet.

Thanksgiving means family gatherings and creating good food–tons of good food. The past four years have seen an influx of people to my home as my brother and his family come down to visit, and my college-age daughter’s friends come to stay for the weekend (they are too far away to go home for the weekend). Toss in Black Friday, managing an Etsy shop with after-Thanksgiving sales, cold weather, house cleaning, and cooking for everyone and life just gets really busy and really interesting.

Who am I kidding? It’s not just me — we are all run off our feet with time commitments: school, church, family, friends, decorating, grocery shopping, gift buying. I have to work hard at staying organized; I have forgotten about people during Christmas: family, small children in my home, {gasp!} my dear daughter. It was awful! I stayed up until after 3 AM sewing and beading a small denim dress for her “Santa gift” and scrounging through my stash of cool mini-gifts that I kept at the time. I decided then-and-there that I will never again forget anyone — and then I did it again. Twice. So now I work really hard to make lists, and I make sure my family sends me emails with their gift lists.

This year is no different. I am procrastinating instead of getting the housework  (or anything) done. Instead, I’m thinking of post-Thanksgiving when I will get to sit around and crochet. I’m also thinking about how some of you may be just like me. So, I created a couple of organizers to help you keep your crochet organized. These worksheets are my Christmas gift to you. They are yours free when you join my email list. If you are already a member don’t worry about it, they are coming to you in the next newsletter!

Crochet Planning Worksheets for you

The first one helps you figure out if you have enough yarn in your stash for your next project. The second one helps you create a shopping list for what you still need to buy after shopping your stash.

I finally put down on paper what I do when I plan an afghan using my stash yarn! I wish I had started doing this years ago. This worksheet will be an incredible help as you plan out your future projects.

Talk to you later,

Karen

 

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New to Crochet: Picking Colors for a Project

Picking colors should not scare you.

Many beginning crocheters lack confidence about picking colors for their projects. The time-honored and traditional method that they often use: start with their favorite colors.

Picking Colors

What is an easy way to pick colors for an afghan? How can you know if the colors go well together? This video is a simple answer to these questions. and it will walk you through the process of picking colors for a project.

Color Theory

I hope this video helped you understand about which colors are more likely to go together. When you are new to crochet, it can be difficult to pick good color schemes. When you find a pattern you like but want to try different colors, you may need to crochet, take it out and pick new colors, crochet again, take it out and pick new colors, crochet and take it out again… until you reach something that resembles the color scheme you envisioned in the first place.

Color theory can be extremely complicated; this is just a quick refresher course. When in doubt, ask a friend or even the sales clerk at the yarn store for their opinion on your color choices.

What I’ve Been Up To

Remember that argyle swatch I made a few weeks ago? I am determined to make it bigger. I’ve enlisted the math lover at our house to help with the figuring. Although I’m pretty good at eye-balling it, it helps to get some math involved. So, I’m off to crochet more color pooling swatches today!

What about you? I’d love to know what you’re up to today. Start a conversation by leaving a comment!

Talk to you later,

Karen

PS: The November Pattern Giveaway is coming up fast, so keep checking back! Better yet, sign up for our newsletter and get notified whenever new posts are up! (On a computer, scroll to the top of the left column to sign up. On a mobile device or tablet, scroll down to below the comments to sign up.)