Posts tagged [crochet]


  • Blog 3: I had a dry January

    Like many of us, I completely overdid it in December – I went from famine to feast because I could. I had the time, I was relaxed, and I was in the zone to completely over doing it.

    But it wasn’t a food and drink feast!

    No! It was a crocheting feast.

    crochet blocks 1

    In the space of five days, I crocheted 3 octopuses, 12 squares for my blanket and taught myself to do the star stitch. I was an addict. I could truly say “Hi my name is Briony and I am a crochet addict”. Crocheting had gone from being a meditative and soothing experience to being a somewhat frantic affair.

    crochet star stitch

    My addiction was hurting me – my hands were aching, my fingers went tingly and numb, my left wrist stiffened up, my elbow hurt and we won’t even talk about my shoulders and neck that were pretty much locked.  At some point holding my crochet work became impossible. But worse than that, I was struggling to hold a knife, pick up anything heavier than a mug, or make a fist.

    Yup, you guessed it… repetitive strain injury (and a flare-up of arthritis). (I hate that word – I am too young to be using that word!!).

    So January has been a dry month for me. I packed away my crochet projects and for a month my hands have rested. Sadly they spent most of January picking up food because they weren’t busy all the time… so February is now the reverse of January. My crochet work is back in hand, and I am having a carb-free February!

    When I chatted with Helène and did a little research on repetitive strain injuries, it became clear to me that most crocheters go through this at some point.

    So here is some wise advice from Helène and other crocheters on the internet:

    • Concentrate on your grip.  Whether it’s a knife grip or a pencil grip make sure that you place little to no pressure on your thumb. 
    • Invest in a soft grip hook (I already have one). Helène recommends investing in an ergonomic hook like the Ilaja Hook handmade by LJ Craft Creations.
    • Change your grip. Helène says that a few years ago she forced herself from a pencil grip to a knife grip because of sore hands.  Find a way that suits you.
    • Rest, stretch and focus on posture. Regular intervals of hand, arm, and shoulder stretching are very important (definitely something that I neglect, but have started being a lot more conscientious about).  The Crochet Project goes as far as recommending stretching every 20 minutes and even doing light weight-bearing exercises to strengthen your “crochet” muscles!
    • Try massaging Hilda Steyn’s specially formulated sore hand's remedy on to your hands, arms, and sometimes you can buy directly from Yarn at ZelLé. (Check out Hilda's patterns as well – I think her Wacky Weave Squares CAL might just be a project in my future!!)
    • The opposite of repetition is variety. Try having a number of different projects on the go to introduce variety in hook sizes, yarn types, tension, and figure out for yourself what types of projects are least straining for you.
    • Stop! If all else fails just stop crocheting for a while. If crocheting is causing fear rather than fun, then it’s time to stop. Read Sally Strawberry's blog for another account on RSI.

    After a month of no crocheting, my hands are all better and I am back to doing a bit of crocheting here and there when I have a half hour or so. My blanket may take longer to complete than I had hoped but rather than, than hands that don’t function.

    Have you ever had a repetitive strain injury?

    crochet blocks 2

     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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  • Blog 2: How a good cause started my crocheted octopus addiction!

    So this week (last week of December 2018) I am two months in to my crochet journey! I have 37 squares completed towards my blanket and am slowly starting to appreciate the beauty of repetition. My squares are getting better, the tension is more even and I can crochet and watch TV at the same time! I was so pleased to upgrade my project from my recycled shopping bag to this beautiful tropical Waterproof Zipper Tote Bag from Brilliantmommy which now perfectly holds all my squares and yarn for all the colours in my blanket.

    Brilliantmommy waterproof tote

     

    Brilliantmommy tote inside of bag

     

    stack of squares

    But something came along this month that has taken me away from my squares and into the world of amigurumi way earlier than I had planned (and has also been a perfect project for my Denim Marigold Zipper Pouch.

    octopus

    About a week before Christmas a friend forwarded me a Facebook plea for crocheted octopuses for premature babies. I am not a mother, but several friends have had premature babies and, along with my new found enjoyment of crocheting, this plea piqued my interest.

    According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 15 million babies are born too early every year and are at risk for serious health issues including breathing problems, feeding difficulties and developmental delay. The soft tentacles of the crocheted octopuses apparently calm the babies (possibly reminding them of the umbilical cord in the womb) and often are less likely to pull out their monitors and tubes. https://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/27/health/premature-babies-crochet-octopus-nicu/index.html

    There are no shortage of videos and patterns for these crocheted octopuses on Youtube – the one that I found most useful was from Jacquis Preemie Pride https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOGB0IPfedM

    For my first octopus I used the pattern supplied on the facebook page – my interpretation of the pattern was that the tentacles were to be made separately and sewn on. It was only after watching the Jacquis Preemie Pride video that I realised the entire octopus can be made as one item with absolutely no separate parts! To say that blew my mind was an understatement – party because I tend to rebel against patterns and – but mostly because of the joy of not having to fiddle with sewing the legs on!!

    My favourite part of the pattern was watching the chain stitches curl into tentacles as a result of crocheting 2sc, 2sc, 3sc repeatedly along a chain of 35 stitches. My tentacles are a little wonky as I kept forgetting whether I had done 2sc or 3sc but personally I think it adds a little charm!

    Over the course of three days I made a family of three octopuses adorned with flowers and hats. The flower was loosely based on a poppy pattern from The Spruce Crafts https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/easy-crochet-flower-patterns-978611 and the hats were my own creation. (Crochet 7sc onto a magic loop, crochet 2sc into each stitch and then sc into each stitch for several rows to make a tube. I then added the rim of the hat by doing 2sc into each stitch and then a sc into each stitch to widen the brim.)

    briony and octopus

    3 octopus

    I have to say I am a little addicted to making these octopuses and am definitely on the lookout for another amigurumi project soon,  but in the meantime I am getting back to my blanket.

    If you want to make an octopus (or a whole family of them) for donation to preemie babies here are a few things to note:

    • These are for babies that are at the most vulnerable and at risk stage of their lives – please make sure you use 100% cotton (I used Nurturing Fibres Eco-Cotton).
    • Make sure to keep the tentacles short – less than 8 inches stretched out is the recommended length to avoid them becoming a hazard.
    • I am sending my Octopuses to the Vincent Pallotti Hospital in the Western Cape as that is where the Facebook plea came from but there are many hospitals closer to home that no doubt would be pleased to accept donations for their NICU babies. It’s probably worth finding out beforehand though.

     

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

    For me, the Crochet Guide to Greatness workshop was the moment when I finally decided to wean myself from acrylic yarn to natural fibres.  I'm still learning a lot though!  Hilda shared her process from using acrylic yarn to only natural fibres in the previous post.

    Now!  The reason why I wanted to interview Hilda:  The Wacky Weave Interlocking Crochet-a-long.  My blanket is finished and washed and blocked and very, very pretty!

     

    Helène:  You are running the Wacky Weave Interlocking crochet-a-long (CAL) at the moment.  We have been given a peak of the follow up Babette Interlocking CAL.  Before you announced the initial CAL I was completely unaware of the technique and yet last year you were already running workshops teaching on it.  How did you first become aware of the interlocking technique and why has it kept your attention?

    Hilda:  I saw interlocking by accident on Pinterest in 2014. Since then, it has kept my interest. There is just so much that can be done. It is different than other colour work in that you don’t end up with that many tails. I am still discovering the intricacies of this technique. I will be interlocking for a long time still. I have three CALs in my head, planned for 2019, all interlocking. Whether they will all see the light is another question. The moment I feel bored with something, I look for the next challenge. I am not yet there with Interlocking. She has some secrets I haven’t yet told the rest of the world, and some more, I haven’t yet figured out. I love math, and the math part of interlocking got me hooked.

    Helène:  Anyone who have been crocheting a while can reasonably easy alter a pattern to suit their needs.  For example the Granny Square stitch pattern can easily be manipulated into a rectangle or a circle by any confident crocheter.  The Interlocking technique is not difficult.  But I can imagine the design of an interlocking block is tricky.  Is it?

    Hilda:  Designing an interlocking square is a bit of a challenge. It is tricky for sure. I have grown to the point where I know what the front will look like after it has been crocheted, but I have no idea of the back; it is a surprise every time. I draw what I want to see on the front, then I crochet a row, type a row, crochet a row, and type a row. I actually realised that although I am not dyslexic, I do have a tendency. My poor testers. There has been a few occurrences where I wrote the entire pattern back to front. We couldn’t understand why their squares were different from mine. Alet Scott finally figured it out. Now I try to be a lot more careful, and all my patterns go to Alet first for a quick check, before the other testers get it. I sure had a lot of fun laughing at myself with the two Wacky Weave CALs.

    Helène:  Everybody wants to leave a legacy when they are no longer on this earth.  What is the one thing you would like to leave as a legacy – specifically to the crafting community?

    Hilda:  I wonder how many times I have blogged on this topic. My legacy. It’s difficult isn’t it?

    https://broomformybrain.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/the-epitaph/

    https://broomformybrain.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/eternity-value-finally/

    I want to do things in my everyday life, that has eternity value. I want to inspire people, encourage people, and pick up the one who doesn’t have strength to stand anymore. I want to spread the light of unconditional love, regardless of race, culture, or religion. I have many friends who are not Christian; I don’t mind that. If I don’t show them unconditional love and acceptance, who will? Yarn in a Barn was just a way to connect with people. It was a way for me to befriend those who God felt, needed something from me. As an Aspie, I don’t pick up social cues. If you don’t tell me how you feel, I won’t know. That was a revelation for me with my diagnosis too. If I suddenly become aware of a person on that level, I know God is speaking to me. In myself, I don’t have the tools to pick it up. What a blessing. God can use me because I have Aspergers. Isn’t that amazing? When I am gone, I hope people will remember me for the positives I brought into their lives.

    Helène:  How does your ultimate project bag look like?

    Hilda:  My favourite project bag was a gift from Monika Snyman. It is a Brilliantmommy tote bag with little colourful sheep on it. I absolutely love it. It hangs from my warping frame, above the fire place in the lounge. Whenever I am heading out the door, my project bag takes whatever I feel like working on.

    While you are pondering over whether Hilda just performed a paid promotion for us or not make sure to subscribe to our newsletter (click here http://eepurl.com/cWsYwn) so that we can drop you a mail now and then.

    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:  http://eepurl.com/cWsYwn.

    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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  • Q&A with the designer - Hilda Steyn (session 2 of 3)

    Have you read the first part of the interview?  Hilda allowed us a glimpse into her world living with Asperger's.  You can catch up here.

    Hilda Steyn needs no introduction - whether you came across her (now retired) Yarn in a Barn store or crossed swords over the sharing of patterns without crediting the designer!  In her Ravelry store her shawl designs are easy to master and her Ready, Steady, Ripple blanket design is still on my to-do list - all free of charge!

    In this part of the interview I ask Hilda more about her decision to republish her patterns without copyright.  Without copyright?!  Without copyright.

    Helène:  You have zero tolerance for copyright infringers.  You even went so far as to put it into writing on your blog (http://www.ilonaslowlifecreations.co.za/tutorial/copyright-made-simple/).  Recently, you re-published all your patterns copyright free.  For me it was a sad day and somehow I felt that evil managed to overcome good.  Did you feel the same?  What motivated this decision and what are you hoping to achieve by this?

    Hilda:  Evil didn’t win. Good decided to make evil work for a change. When my patterns had copyright on, I got extremely angry whenever I saw an infringement of my copyright. I was policing various Facebook groups, notoriously known for their copyright infringement. To tell the truth, it stole my joy. Designing wasn’t fun anymore. I prayed about it and God said I received freely, and I should give freely. So I removed the copyright. Now, those who love to steal, can do my marketing for me, and take my name into all the groups I don’t want to belong to. 

    Helène:  Inspiration is all around us.  We spend countless hours on Facebook groups, Instagram and Pinterest and look at what other makers are doing and those images are filed in our memories.  Then one day you design and subsequently publish a pattern that for all intents and purposes are your original work but actually, unintentionally, originated from something you saw/read months or years ago.  How do you as a designer safeguard yourself from infringing copyright?

    Hilda:  What you described, actually happened to me. I designed a shawl, and I got a very angry email from another designer whom I didn’t know existed. Somebody saw my design, and saw that in a way, it was similar to hers. She insisted that I withdrew my design, which I did. I would rather forfeit a design than being accused of pattern theft. I used to go to Ravelry, to search and make sure there isn’t a similar item to the picture in my head, but lately, I don’t do it anymore. I design from a picture in my head. Knowing that, is enough for me. As long as my conscience is clean, I am happy. If the same thing happens again, I will just ditch the pattern again. No big deal really.

    Helène:  Up to a few months or so ago you owned a yarn store that only stocked natural fibres.  There exist very divided opinions on the use of acrylic yarn verses natural fibre yarn.  Apart from the negative environmental impact, acrylic yarn do have a number of plus points (cost effective, easy to launder, no lot number colour differences, moth resistant and widely available).  Can you remember the exact moment when you made up your mind to never again work with acrylic yarn?

    It wasn’t a moment. I think it was a process. The more I read and researched, the less I wanted to touch acrylic. The last straw was when I broke out in a rash all over my forearms while working with one of the local acrylic brands. I made my mind up to never touch it again. With the knowledge I have now, after four years in the yarn industry, I won’t ever go back on that decision either. I am so much in love with natural fibres. And I am a spoiled brat. I love fibres that isn’t readily available in South Africa. I have a special stash that contains mink, cashmere, possum, pure mulberry silk, camel and then some more. How can I ever go back to scratchy acrylic that causes cancer? Nope. Not me.  

    Helène:  Natural fibre yarn is expensive.  Not only is it human labour intensive, the source of it is finite.  The water crisis in South Africa has forced many of us to cut back on our water use and be creative in ways to reuse it.  As a casual dyer yourself, do you think this will impact the South African Indie dyers in the long run?

    I don’t see myself as a casual dyer. I did the colour workshops just for the fun of it. I hate getting my hands dirty. I can’t stand it. The dying drove me nuts! I ended up with ‘variegated hands’ after each one, regardless of how hard I tried to keep my hands clean! I hope our current water crisis will be resolved before it starts to seriously impact the yarn industry. That would really be a bummer. But I also think it is time that each crafter seriously considers how he/she is impacting the environment through craft. I became very mindful of my yarn waste. I no longer throw it away – birds get their feet tangled in it. I now mix it with a little bit of oil or paraffin in; we use it for fire lighters. I don’t have to buy Blitz anymore. Unfortunately, many yarn snobs like me, scream about the effect of acrylic on the environment, yet they don’t change their own ways to improve life on our planet. If you don’t want to crochet or knit with acrylic yarn due to it being plastic, you can’t keep buying plastic bottles and use plastic straws. If you want to stick your head out and say something, you have to walk the walk and talk the talk. It is in the best interest of the entire world, that ALL of us, should take inventory of our actions and decide on a better way forward.

    As far as the price of natural fibres go – yes, it is expensive. But I would rather have one, classic, high quality, natural fibre cardigan in my closet, than 5 cheap acrylic cardigans. Slow living is also mindful living. I don’t have much clothes. Heck, you can only wear one set at a time! We tend to buy too much, and live as if life is infinite. It isn’t. All of us should slow down and think about our actions.

    During the third and final part of the interview Hilda and I talk about the successful Wacky Weave Interlocking Crochet-a-long that she hosted and that recently came to an end.  Hopefully I will be able to show you my completed Wacky Weave blanket!

    Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter (click here http://eepurl.com/cWsYwn) 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:  http://eepurl.com/cWsYwn.

    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.

    Read More  

  • 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 http://www.ilonaslowlifecreations.co.za/slow-life-tips/slow-life-living-making-your-own-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 http://eepurl.com/cWsYwn) 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:  http://eepurl.com/cWsYwn.

    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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  • 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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  • Q&A with the designer - Bren Grobler (session 1 of 3)

    Done, done and done!  I'm elated with the outcome of the crochet top that I made over the last few weeks!  And I'm not just saying that because the designer and I spent a lovely morning in a beautiful coffee shop at the seaside with the waves crashing to shore and laughing at my incredibly funny and witty conversation with our own handmade shawls cascading from our shoulders...  Insert a bucket-load of eye-rolling GIFs here and read on.

     Brilliantmommy Bren Grobler crochet top Your Family Mag

    Maybe Bren Grobler sat at the beach while she answered my questions on email but I certainly was not!  The gifted and accomplished designer of the cover crochet top from the Your Family Magazine of February 2018 (that I'm showing off in the pic above) took the time to answer a lot of my questions that I had about the crochet industry.  In this first session of three she shares what characteristic your handmade garment lacks that makes it look old-fashioned rather than on-trend.

    In sessions two and three Bren shares her view on pattern copyright infringement and her tips for Mompreneurs / Solopreneurs who crochet for income.   Don't miss it and get it straight to your inbox every Wednesday by clicking here: Brilliantmommy email.

    Set the scene:  Bren and I (wearing the top I made from her pattern with full smokey eye makeup and hair sprayed to a stiff yet modern style) are sitting at the seaside coffee shop, cue the waves crashing sound in the background, Bren laughs at my funny joke...  and go:

    Me:  Recently you’ve been appointed as the Brand Ambassador and Head Designer at Nurturing Fibres – a natural fibre yarn brand.  During your pattern designing career, was it ever a title that you aspired to or worked towards?

    Bren:  To be quite honest, that wasn’t even something I ever gave a thought to. I always thought I’d end up as a rep for a yarn company!

    Me:  Now that you hold the title, has it in any way influenced your designing process?  Do you perhaps now feel obligated to design patterns where in the past you may have designed something new when a pattern developed in your thoughts?

    Bren: It hasn’t influenced my designing process at all. Carlé is a terrific boss and I’m very fortunate to work for her. She gives me tons of leeway to do my own thing, in the yarn I like and my preferred colours. So yes, the yarns continue to talk to me and tell me what they want to become. As with any job, though, there will always be the ‘must-do’s’ so from time to time she would ask me to design a specific item. I don’t mind at all though, because our aesthetic in terms of colour and design is very much aligned.

    Me:  Most of the designs in your Ravelry store are for ladies clothing.  In your opinion, what design characteristic in a handmade garment – specifically such a historic craft as crochet – transforms it from old-fashioned to on-trend.

    Bren: Simplicity. Older garment patterns were very bright (lots of colours) and had either intricate patterns with severe set-in sleeves or were very boxy in design. Using classic, softer colours and softening the lines transforms clothing garments from a 1970’s vibe to something modern women (and teenagers!) want to wear.

    I switch off the recorder, Bren shares something off the record with me whereby I nod appreciatively and say something like "I understand, I can so relate...", we signal the waiter to bring our wine order and I switch the recorder back on... and go.

    Make sure to subscribe to hear what Bren said next about that dreaded words gauge swatch.  O no!  Sorry!  The other dreaded words!  Copyright infringement.  Insert Law and Order dun-dun sound here.

    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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