Posts tagged [brilliantmommy]

  • Q&A with the designer - Hilda Steyn (session 1 of 3)

    If I had R1 for every time that I sped past Yarn in a Barn's entrance I'd have a few Rands.  I'm telling you.  Every single time I went out to The Barn I would somehow miss the entrance and either have to break quite fast to turn in or turn around.  The last time I went out there I meticulously measured 4.4km from the turn and managed to not miss the entrance.  Success!

    Hilda Steyn equals Yarn in a Barn and Yarn in a Barn equals Hilda Steyn.  Recently we had to forget all that!  The Barn closed down but Ilona Slow Life Creations was born and, among others, brought us the Wacky Weave Interlocking Crochet-a-long (WW1 CAL).  Boy, oh boy.  Don't just read over those last few words.  Those words are heavy with meaning.  It was a whole new technique for me (maybe it was a good thing that I didn't know about it at the time that I signed up for the CAL and ordered my yarn kit - I was just like:  oooh!  new pattern!  new yarn purchase!).  But I can proudly say that I made it through to the end.

    Before I show you the final product, I want to share with you conversations that I had with Hilda about the her personal life, finding inspiration and the CAL (following in blog posts after this).

    Find Hilda on her website, Facebook group and Ravelry page.  


    Helène:  Earlier this year you, very generously, have shared your Asperger’s diagnoses with us.  My first thought was ‘yeah for mental health openness!’ Tell us more about your Aspergers.

    Hilda:  My Aspergers come a long way. I remember as a small pre-school toddler, my mother taught me to knit to keep my hands busy. I had the typical fidgeting that you find with many a child on the Autism spectrum. It was the biggest gift ever. Knitting and crochet kept my hands and my mind occupied my entire life. Whenever I can’t cope with circumstances, I run for yarn and knitting pins. My diagnosis was the best thing ever. Finally my weirdness had a name. So many things about myself suddenly made sense:

    • my ability to offend people without meaning to (oh hell I can write volumes on this);
    • my inability to judge distance, time and volume due to a lack of spatial awareness (my husband has touch up paint in the BMW as I cannot judge the distance to the curb if I cannot see it – oops);
    • my obsession with fibre and fibre arts;
    • the battle I have to make eye contact with people;
    • the absolute hate of anything social (I will most gladly become a hermit, no really!);
    • the total lack of tact and social grace I have…

    There are many more, but these are the most obvious. 

    My Aspergers are definitely getting worse as I get older. This has contributed hugely to our decision to close Yarn in a Barn. I really don’t need all that stress, and coping with it, became more and more of a challenge.

    Helène:  My second thought was ‘I wonder how that impact her craft?’.  You are an artist of many talents – especially when it involves yarn.  There are many bloggers that specifically write about crochet/knit as therapy for their mental health.  However I struggle to find a blog specifically mentioning how their mental health diagnosis as an adult has changed the way in which they approach their long time craft such as crochet/knitting.  Did you purposefully change the way in which you crochet/knit/weave/spin once you were diagnosed?

    Hilda: Since my diagnosis, I am striving to live slower. So my craft has changed a bit. I am no longer chasing deadlines. I am enjoying every moment, of every project. I have a project going in each craft; I do whatever I feel in the mood for, whether it is knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving or sewing (quilting too). Some days I just unpack and repack my stash. It makes me happy to just cuddle all my special yarns. I don’t only craft to design anymore either. Using another person’s pattern is something I have very seldom done in my life. I always chased the pictures in my head. Now, I actually have a few patterns lined up that I want to try, just to spend time on myself, making something for me. I have to gather the courage still. I have been looking at Stephen West’s Enchanted Mesa for months. The yarn is ready. I just need to get my big girl panties on! It’s scary working from another person’s pattern!


    Helène:  You advocate ‘slow living’ (you even took the time to show us how to diy handwash!).  In fact, your social media profile is now named Ilona Slow Life Creations.  Ilona is your beautiful middle name with the most delightful meaning but why ‘Slow Life’?  What brought that on and how are you living slower?

    Hilda:  Ilona is actually not my official middle name. I was born as Hilda Maud Hodgkinson. Yeah. My father was English. The name Ilona has a very special story to it. Back in 1997, I used to play piano in church. One Sunday the preacher stopped in the middle of his sermon, and asked where I was. I stood up thinking he wanted me to go play again. But instead, he gave me a scripture. Isaiah 60:1. He didn’t know what was in the passage, he just knew that it was for me. The scripture says: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you”. At the time, I didn’t understand it, but I wrote it down in my journal. Shortly after that, I lost my hearing due to Ménière's disease. Both my ears were operated and I was deaf for a couple of weeks. In that time, I read the scripture in Revelation 22:17 “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” I was wondering about the new name. Hilda means battle, or war. Maud means battle maid. Believe me, I was tired of getting into trouble and always fighting (aspie always offending…. Bleh). So I thought a name change will be marvellous! I prayed and asked God for a new name. One Sunday afternoon shortly after, I took a nap, while still deaf. I woke up from a voice calling ‘Ilona’. I was shocked. When I went to sleep I couldn’t hear. I wondered if my hearing came back. I jumped out of bed, and heard it again. And then the voice said: “You have a new name”. I was shocked into total standstill for a while. When I finally got myself together, I realised I was still deaf. This had to be a supernatural experience. I wanted to know what Ilona means – Bearer of Light. That was confirmation of the scripture given to me by the preacher. Since then, I have been trying to take the light of God’s unconditional love, wherever I go. The big change in my life, gave me the courage, to at least use the name on my Facebook profile. I won’t go and change it at Home Affairs; my family will be extremely offended (again – pffffft).

    When I decided to close Yarn in a Barn down, I decided at the same time, to really live out my calling. I wanted to slow down, get other woman to slow down, get them to appreciate themselves, and spread the light of Christ.

    Over the next few weeks we'll explore how Hilda finds inspiration and what she wants to leave as her legacy.  Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter (click here so that we can drop you a mail when the new posts are up on the blog.

    Until next time.

    x Helène

    Make sure to buy from me in the online store and follow me on Facebook and Instagram

    But wait!  There's more!

    We have a wonderful giveaway for the yarn obsessed!

    This giveaway is sponsored by Hilda SteynLJ Craft Creations and Brilliantmommy.

    The giveaway includes:

    *12 50g balls of 4ply 100% Merino Wool Superwash dk (4 Lemon, 4 Peach, 4 Dusky Pink),

    *1 LJ Craft Creations wooden hand crafted shawl pin,

    *1 Brilliantmommy tote bag, and

    *Free delivery to an ordinary address in South Africa

    Total value of this giveaway is R1 260!

    This giveaway are open for entries from the publication of this post and will close for entries on the 30th of June 2018.

    How to enter:  To be eligible for this giveaway you need to be subscribed to Brilliantmommy's newsletter.  If you are not already subscribed please click here:

    hilda steyn giveaway

    Terms and conditions:

    * Only valid email addresses will be eligible to win.

    * An email address will be randomly chosen from the entire Brilliantmommy email list that exists at the time that the giveaway closes.

    * A confirmation email will be sent to the randomly drawn email address to ascertain the validity.

    * If an email address is already on the Brilliantmommy email list that email address is already eligible to win.

    * An email address may only win once every 12 months.

    * Only 1 winner will be drawn, at random by the close of the giveaway.

    * Prize is not transferable.

    * This competition is in no way endorsed or run by Facebook or Instagram.

    * Judges decision is final.

    * Valid for delivery in SA only.

    * Valid for over 18's only.

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  • Why I signed up for the Wacky Weave CAL

    There were 3 reasons why I signed up for the Wacky Weave Interlocking Crochet-a-long.

    One. I've never Interlocked before.  This technique was totally new to me when I saw it.  It intrigued me that I couldn't figure out how it's done by staring at the pattern and trying to count stitches.  I'm on a mission to learn everything there is to know in crochet and the day I mastered the Jasmine Stitch AND could apply it in a design I thought I'm pretty close to knowing it all.  Apparently not... (insert *meh* emoji here).

    crochet jasmine stitch cotton rug

    The cotton rug I made my daughter using the Jasmine Stitch.


    Two. I wanted another handmade natural fibre heirloom quality blanket.  When the Wacky Weave Interlocking CAL was announced I was in the final stages of my Granny Square blanket done entirely in Vinnis Colours Tori (chunky cotton and bamboo mix).  In the past I've only made blankets for charity projects.  In all that time I've kept only one blanket for myself - and it's acrylic.  As part of my legacy I want to leave my children blankets that they can keep as a remembrance of my passion and a reminder to all those times when they called me and I answered "Mamma kom nou-nou" and never showed up.

    Three.  I needed something to blog about.  Why do people blog?  Some bloggers blog (say that a few times in quick succession and it will sound like you want to throw up - which may or may not be the way I feel about this specific group of bloggers) because they have an over-exaggerated sense of self-importance and think the inhabitants of the world wide web will find it interesting on how they live their lives.  That's not me.  Really.  No!  Really!  Promise!  I blog for my website's SEO (search engine optimisation - basically when someone google the word 'crochet' my website will turn up on page 18 of the search results because I've on purpose used the word 42 times on the blog).  But I cannot blog about anything randomly.  In order for the blog to be even more effective it has to drive traffic to my website.  The higher the click rate on my website and the longer you stay on a page will indicate to google that my site fulfills the need of person who initially searched a keyword.  So, I have to add value to my target market (that's you).

    Halfway into the CAL I realise that I should've added a fourth reason.  Four.  To teach me perseverance.  This is the first time I joined a CAL.  How could I have known that the CAL will move forward with or with out me!  It's hard to not let your hook wonder onto another project!  It's hard to not pack up the completed squares and let it become just another work in progress!  Although I'm a week (OK, maybe 2) behind the other crochet-a-longers I will persevere until the last stitch is stitched and the last yarn tail is tailed.

    wacky weave cal halfway

    Until next time.

    x Helène

    Make sure to buy from me in the online store and follow me on Facebook and Instagram

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  • Go, go, go... frog (again)

    And while the word 'frog' can easily be substituted by another f-word that I may or may not have said when I discovered my mistake - this question remains unanswered:  to frog or not to frog (funnily enough (and not like funny ha-ha) I was faced with the same question two months ago and you can read about it here).  Will I undo a whole hour's worth of crochet?  Will I convince myself that it's not that bad?  I agonised over this question for a whole night and I've decided to...


    One hour earlier

    While still staring in agony at my project with it's mistake I'm wondering why I'm always so indecisive when faced with this scenario.  I came up with a few reasons:

    • I'm hoping the mistake will go away.
    • I'm hoping the mistake is not that bad.
    • I'm hoping that by stepping one step back and looking at the mistake it will morph into the project and not be visible.
    • I'm hoping that by squinting at my mistake it will be less obvious.
    • I'm hoping that by fixing a pompom there will make the mistake less obvious.
    • I'm hoping my daughter has a matching colour pencil so I can colour in (colour out) my mistake and make it less visible.

    Then, by prolonging my agony with a fancy delaying tactic, I decided to construct a rule for when I need to frog and when not to.  After all, I'm a rule-type person.  I need rules frog-it!  Rules make for an orderly society.  Rules make me feel safe.  Rules have exceptions...

    • When a mistake is spotted in my crochet project I will frog it back and do it over.  Except when:
      • The mistake will go away.
      • The mistake is not that bad.
      • By stepping one step back the mistake morph into the project and is not visible any longer.
      • When squinting at the mistake it is less obvious.
      • By fixing a pompom over it the mistake is less obvious.
      • My daughter has a matching colour pencil and I can colour in (colour out) the mistake.


    Present time

    The mistake didn't go away.  It was that bad - for me.  It was all I could see.  I will forever look at the completed blanket and search for the block with the mistake.  I will not ever be free to take pics of my project without rearranging it so that the mistake doesn't show.  I will feel like a phony brilliant mommy at show-and-tell crochet gatherings.  So, I just did it.

    Wacky Weave Ilona Slow Life Creations CAL

    Now hand me my chocolate and slowly back away...

    Until next time.

    x Helène

    Make sure to buy from me in the online store and your project can look like this too!

    Follow me on Facebook and Instagram


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