Posts tagged [craftbag]


  • 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!

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  • Christa van Wyk - crochet for a cause

    "Hier is my 314ste kombers vir liefdadigheid." 

    What was your first thought when you read that?  

    1.  That sounds familiar.  Where did I see that?

    2.  What the...!  314 blankets?  For charity?

    3.  Where's the translate button?

    Initially, when I started seeing these posts pop up in my Facebook feed I was definitely thinking the second thought.  I know how cumbersome a crochet blanket can be.  Then I started noticing this kind of post popping up in my feed round about every second week with the number of blankets increasing.

    This lady intrigued me immensely.  I wondered what her 'why' is.  And you'll be surprised.

    Christa van Wyk is a pensioner, like many.  But unlike many, she devotes her free time and own funds to crocheting blankets for 'Cause We Can' in the Western Cape.  Although she is not part of the charity she donates all her blankets to them.  She does it from the heart and, in a way, as a stress relieving activity.

    She was born in Namibia and went to school in Gogabis.  During 1976 she moved to Windhoek and stayed there for 20 years.  Thereafter she spent ten years in Walvis Bay and returned to Windhoek for the final nine years in Namibia.  During 2015 she moved to the Western Cape to be near her two daughters.  Her only granddaughter is now three years old.

    Christa says she has always been a very patient person.  This truly is evident from her responses to all the questions on these Facebook posts of her.  She patiently answers every question - sometimes the same question gets asked twice!  That, to me, already says a lot about this very generous lady.

    Here are some of the frequently asked questions (starting with the most frequent!) with answers:

    1.  Which crochet pattern do you use?  Mostly the Corner-to-corner stitch but also the Slanted Shell stitch.

    2.  Which yarn do you use?  Mostly Charity dk Pullskein or Chick dk from Checkers.

    3.  How big is a blanket? All of them are 120 x 130cm.

    4.  How much yarn is needed per blanket?  About 9 100g skeins.

    5.  Who gets the blankets?  It is donated to 'Cause We Can'.  Christa also sells the blankets and price is available on request.

    6.  Do you get yarn donations?  Sometimes, but mostly she pays for it herself.

    While typing this I suddenly wondered why number six is not number one?  Why are we more interested in the yarn type than whether this lady has enough yarn to carry on her charitable work?  We should rather ask 'Do you need more yarn? in stead of 'Which stitch pattern is that?'  

    As it turns out Christa can indeed do with yarn donations and will gladly accept any support.  If you would like to support Christa please get in touch with me so that I can give you her email address.

    Of course, my last question to Christa was how her ideal craft bag will look like.  Her answer can be expected:  it should hold up to 10 skeins of yarn with space for her hooks!   

    Until next time.  

    Cheers!

    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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  • How much is that gauge swatch in the window? (woof! woof!)

    How much is that gauge swatch in the window?

    The one that's perfectly made

    How much is that gauge swatch in the window?

    I do hope that gauge swatch's for sale

    I hate hate hate hate hate hate doing gauge swatches.  *insert some childish foot-stamping .gif here*  It feels like such a waste of time.  You start something and the object of it is to frog it and redo it until it's perfect.

    Why does it feel like such a grudge job?  I'll tell you why.  Instant gratification.  A gauge swatch is where instant gratification goes to die.  When you're done with a gauge swatch it serves no purpose other than to congratulate you that you successfully copied the pattern designer by figuring out how to get a block the same size and shape with your own choice of yarn and hook size.  I've read about some crafters collecting all their gauge swatches and eventually making a wonderful and colourful textured blanket with it.  Really? 

    That was the old me.  I've been converted and am now a proud member of the we-are-serious-about-our-garments club.  I will proudly hold up my gauge swatches for the world to see.  I will collect them in a special craft bag for show-and-tell gatherings.

    Imagine:

    "This gauge swatch I redid 6 times to get it absolutely perfect..."  (proud smiley face)

    "Oh, and this gauge swatch required me to wait until the weekend so I could go to 4 shops to look for a very elusive hook number..."  (very determined look on face)

    My gauge swatch for the cover top of the Your Family February 2018 edition screamed that I'm going to need more yarn to get the required length.  Did I listen?  Of course not.  Another trip to the yarn shop for me.

    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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  • Ready, steady, gauge swatch!

    In all the 20 years that I have been crocheting I've never made a proper crochet garment for myself.  I've always been too scared that after I've put in so much effort the garment will not fit me.  Although I have a healthy body image I know that I am on the - let's call it - voluptuous side.  Thank goodness that I have large bust otherwise my large tummy would have been the focal point.  Now it's the large bust that are the focal point!  Then, I have a high waist.  So, in essence, I'm a typical apple shape and the apple gets juicier and juicier over time.  

    Clothes shopping is such a headache for me.  I never feel comfortable in form fitting clothes.  I want something that's loose over my muffin top but it mustn't make me look pregnant.  I want a blouse that can button over my bust but the shoulders should still fit like they're supposed to.  Aaaah, the joys.

    What drew my attention to the top design on the cover of the Your Family mag of February 2018 was the symmetry and simplicity of the design.  It's loose fitting in all the right places without looking like a flour bag.  And surely when I wear it I will look exactly like Reinette Potgieter who is the beautiful (and skinny) model wearing it.  Right?!  Right.

    Off I went to Surene at Yarn at ZelLé in Centurion to pick up my 6 balls of Nurturing Fibres Eco-Fusion in Seashell (like the pattern suggests).  The yarn looks absolutely magnificent.  The 50% Bamboo Viscose and 50% Cotton blend is silky soft.  The bamboo strand weaved with the cotton strand gives it such a luscious shine.

    At home I, of course, had to find a craft bag for my latest project!  The Dark Chocolate colourway of the Brilliantmommy Valentine's Collection matches perfectly with the soft pink yarn.  Ready, steady, gauge swatch!

    Brilliantmommy Craft Bag Valentine's Collection

    Because I'm so hesitant to crochet a garment I thought I'd be a good hooker and really, like in really, do a gauge swatch.  I was very relieved to have figured out in the end that I can continue my project with my brand new 4mm Clover Amour hook that I bought from Be Inspired.  It would have been a travesty if I had to use my aluminium hook which - to me - is so last year...

    When you hear from me again I would hopefully have started on my front panel!

    x Helène

     

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