Posts tagged [natural fibre yarn]


  • 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  

  • 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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  • 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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