Posts tagged [cotton]


  • Blog 1: My first 30 days of crocheting

    Special note:  Briony started her crochet journey with our Hook Holder Starter Pack and Denim Marigold Zipper Pouch.  These products can be purchased from our online store.

    I have always wanted to learn to crochet. My gran taught me to knit and that was easy enough, but what my gran did with a crochet hook was just a complete mystery to me. That hooked moved like lightening, and the concept of making anything with one hook as opposed to two needles just made no sense to me.

    Earlier this year I was cleaning out the remnants of my late moms kist and found about 30 crochet hooks in all sizes and at least 40 pairs of knitting needles. I have a million unfinished projects and the look on my husband’s face was a gentle reminder to me that taking on another project might be ludicrous in a year when I was building my business. And so the majority of those hooks and needles made their way to charities and I am pretty sure are being used lovingly to create all manner of woolly goodies.

    Despite having given away all those hooks, I got sucked into the world of Amigurumi and crochet projects on Pinterest and have spent the year wanting to make tiny stuffed yarn creatures.

    So a couple weeks ago when Brilliantmommy held a beginner’s crochet workshop, I went along secretly hoping to master the granny square and hop straight on to making an amigurumi mouse within a week or two (I wonder if Crafter Granny would appreciate a mouse in her house?).

    Well I am a looooong way from making anything Amigurumi (so no need to worry Crafter Granny).

    In the workshop I learned to make something resembling a basic granny square. I also learned to unravel everything and remake it a few times before I finally got the hang of it. That morning was like learning a new language – ch3, sl st, sc, 2dc, hdc, tr, …… what??

    Nothing made sense to me. I must have unraveled my work at least three or four times that morning. But Helène patiently guided me through the stitches and under her wonderful guidance I got the hang of it.

    Helène teaching classHelène teaching class

    Everyone else walked away from the morning with what looked to me like perfectly tensioned granny squares – mine looked more like a wonky lacy doily.

    I might have given up there and then, but I have such fond memories of the granny blankets that my gran made for my brother and me. I wanted to make my own blanket.

    So every morning for three days after the workshop I sat for an hour or so practicing my crocheting, watching Youtube videos of beginner crocheting (I particularly am enjoying Melanie Ham’s https://youtu.be/w_B3YJHMgzM crochet channel) and slowly but surely getting to a point where I had what I considered to be the perfect granny square.

    Part of granny square

    full granny square

    While I was perfecting my granny square, I was bombarding Helène with photos of my progress which included the little heart I learned to make while following Crochet Lover’s Youtube  video https://youtu.be/cHqOBv5Wpos

    crochet heart

    After three days I ran out of wool. I also found myself bored with the colour I was using. But what was worse, were the appeals from my husband not to cover our house in crocheted doilies. (I am a bit tempted now to crochet one for the back of his chair just to freak him out LOL).

    But I agreed that if I was going to crochet then I better find some modern crochet patterns for my granny blanket. And the one I found is this one from Purl Soho  - how gorgeous is this!!! https://www.purlsoho.com/create/2012/11/15/whits-knits-bears-rainbow-blanket/

    I have decided to use a mix of colours from the Nurturing Fibres Eco-cotton range https://nurturingfibres.com/yarn/eco-cotton/. I am aiming to make a king size blanket…. (hopefully by winter next year). I suspect I have no idea what I am taking on but watch my journey with this and other projects over the next year and find out.

    I am now three squares in, despite having crocheted 7 squares (and that tale of unravelry (or frogging) will be the subject of my next blog).

    I am thrilled to be a “new hooker” ambassador for Brilliantmommy. My Brilliantmommy Soft Grip Hook Holder and Marigold Zipper Pouch are helping to keep my work organized and my tools at the ready.

    Brilliantmommy Hook Holder

    Brilliantmommy Marigold Zipper Pouch

     * Briony Parsons (Liber) is the owner and founder at Briony Liber Coaching (www.brionyliber.com).  She provides coaching to young professionals that want to explore and develop their behavioral competencies and broader personal and interpersonal business skills, to complement and support their technical capabilities.

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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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  • Q&A with the designer - Bren Grobler (session 2 of 3)

    Not only did I finish the crochet top in the Your Family Magazine of February 2018 in Nurturing Fibres Eco-Fusion Seashell, I have been wearing it!  The colour suits my skin tone and the cotton/bamboo mix is light and soft and such a pleasure to wear.

    Last time we spoke I was telling you about the great time Bren Grobler, the talented SA designer of this crochet top, and I had during the interview she so graciously granted me.  If you weren't here you better read it before reading the rest or you'll not know what I'm on about!  Now, where were we?  O, yes.

    Set the scene:  cue the instrumental music in the background, glasses are clinking against each other in the distance, Bren and I sitting at a table in a quaint restaurant overlooking the sea and the waiter brings our wine order...

    Me:  It is evident from many crochet- and knitting-related gatherings that most crafters are very jovial and welcoming.  It’s almost as if you are by default part of the club when you can crochet or knit.  Does that resonate with you too?

    Bren:  It certainly does. I don’t really do the social crochet gathering thing, but have made many friends in the design and yarn industry. What amazes me time and time again, is when we meet for the first time. It is almost as if we’ve know each other for a long time (in person). There is this common thread that binds us together.

    Me:  On crochet-related Facebook groups it is astounding to see how many crafters truly detest the copyright law on patterns.  It is very obvious that they dislike intensely the fact that a copyrighted pattern may not be shared freely.  Why do you think some crafters feel so entitled and regard themselves ‘above the law’?

    Bren:  Years ago, patterns were only available in print (magazines, books, leaflets). Crafters would photocopy and share these amongst each other. Now, with everything happening on social media, they (especially the older generation) want to continue doing it. They literally don’t understand the ramifications of a shared document on social media and how intensely fast it can spread. A lot of education still needs to happen. I also think, because most people crochet or knit for a hobby, they don’t grasp the concept that designers do it for income, so they literally don’t understand the damage they’re doing. It just breaks my heart that people are ok with buying expensive yarn, but aren’t prepared to pay a decent amount for a pattern. It is an ongoing struggle, but I have decided to not let it affect me anymore. If someone want to steal my work, they must have at it. I firmly believe in Karma. What you give out in the world, will come back to you. Steal from me today and tomorrow you too, might lose something dear to you.

    Me:  On some Facebook groups the penalty for not adhering to pattern copyright law is to ban that individual from the group.  It almost feels as if the banning of the individual just makes some more determined to continue the infringement practice by joining secret Facebook groups where patterns are shared illegally.  Do you believe there is a another way to ‘rehabilitate’ these ‘offenders’?

    Bren:  Banning people won’t change a thing. These offenders simply join other illegal pattern sharing groups. We need to continuously educate, educate, educate. And it doesn’t help when the admin of a group leaves a rude, obnoxious message. As painful as it is to continuously having to repeat yourself, rather educate. You might convert someone from a pattern thief to a copyright protector.

    I stop the recorder here. Bren and I feel like a decadent and gooey dark chocolate baked dessert with thick whipped cream and a splash of strong hot coffee over it.  We call the waiter over.  Surprisingly he hasn't bothered us once during our conversation.  Even more surprisingly they have exactly what we want on the menu.  While he scurried off to prepare our order I switch the recorder back on...  

    Make sure to subscribe to get the third and final installment straight to your inbox where Bren shares her tips for the Mompreneur / Solopreneur who crochet for an income.  

    Cheers!

    x Helène

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

     

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  • I played yarn chicken and won... sort of

    I've gotten into some type of routine where I leave my crochet for a Sunday.  Sunday's are family days in our house where we go to church and when we return my daughter and I bake something for tea.  Once that's done and I've put lunch in the oven I can sit down and crochet and social with the family.  I have to on purpose walk past my sewing room / laptop / facebook page etc.  This past Sunday was no different.

    Rewind back to Thursday before I go on.  I was able to release the first glimpses of the craft bag collection for March '18.  Every month I prepare a new collection to feature for the next month.  It keeps Brilliantmommy fresh and creates a new challenge for me.  I was also able to open a Facebook shop on the Brilliantmommy Facebook page!  I've had so many requests from fellow crafters that wanted to buy directly from me that it would've been cruel to not do it at some stage.  So, in addition to shopping at the finest yarn shops in SA you can also view and purchase some of the Brilliantmommy products directly from Brilliantmommy hq.

    Fast forward to Sunday.  I enjoyed a wonderful game of yarn chicken with the alluring Nurturing Fibres Eco-Fusion until 11pm that night!  I literally had scrap pieces of yarn that I knotted together to finish the last row.  And when I showed it to a friend the next day she had some of the same yarn in her bag and let me roll some of it down to sew up the side seams!  *insert face palm emoji here*.  But it's done!

    Next week I'll show you how it looks when washed and blocked.  I also hope to have made a matching skirt.

    Cheers!

    x Helène

     

     

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  • Crochet the perfect washcloth (according to me!)

    I crochet washcloths when I want to make something that will give me instant gratification.  They are great to master a new stitch or work away left-over yarn.  They make great gifts as well!

    For me the perfect washcloth should:

    • not smell after a few uses,
    • lather well,
    • dry quickly, and
    • not stretch out too much.

    Click HERE to find out which yarn (surprisingly!) gave me all of the above and which stitch I mastered with the latest washcloth I made.

    crochet perfect washcloth

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  • Go, go, go... frog

    My mom taught me most of what I know today about sewing.  But there is one thing that her mom taught me that still ring in my ears today:  "Nee, mens knoei nie.  Trek los."  No, don't fudge it.  Unpick it.  It would annoy me greatly!  Now, how many years later, I don't mind to unpick because I've learned the value of having a completed project that you can be proud of.  I also don't mind to frog a crochet project.  And boy, did I frog this project - multiple times!  Here's why.  (insert the Law and Order dun-dun sound here)

    Firstly, it's my first real garment-from-a-pattern on the hook.  I feel uncomfortable with taking my own measurements.  Don't laugh.  I do.  I'd rather go to a store and fit tops from the largest size downwards and see how low I can go until it gets stuck going over the twins or until I have to pull in the tube to a point where I can't breathe normally.  I've now forced myself to look at my measurements - albeit in a scientific manner - and figure out where I fit in.  Get it?  "Figure out" and "fit in"?

    Secondly, I up-sized the garment.  I took my measurements and immediately went to the larger sizing.  Why.  Don't answer me, it's intended as a rhetorical question because of, you know, point number one above.  Once I've crocheted a few rows on both panels I fitted it around my waist (which coincidentally is the exact same measurement as my chest...) and realised the top is way too big.  After much deliberation (a few tears might or might not have been involved) I frogged the project back to the second row and started on the smaller size.  The chainless foundation row will be frogged to the correct size when I feel up to it.  P.S. my standing double crochet stitches look like a perfect Pinterest pin!                          

    Thirdly, kids, kid-friendly activities, mealtimes, laundry, dog and husband (although not so much as the aforementioned).  Interruptions can wreak havoc on your newly started project.  Girlfriend (or boyfriend - this is a no-discrimination zone)!  I should have done a bloopers real.  And as luck would have it you'll only realise you made a silly mistake when you are one or two rows on.  So... you frog!

    Amidst all of the frogging I'm still cautiously optimistic with the outcome of this project.  The yarn is glorious, the pattern is comfortable and my craft bag makes me happy!

    Catch you on the flip side.

    x Helène

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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