Patchwork Blanket TAL – Introduction

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Tunisian Crochet Patchwork Blanket Tunisian Along TAL Btrix Dsigns front

Welcome to our first Tunisian Along – TAL!

I hope that you will enjoy it together with us!

Just to get you informed of what we will do and how it will happen, here is a break down of everything:

1. How will the TAL be approached?

2. What is the TAL all about?

How will the TAL be approached?

  • This website blog will be the ONLY place (click here) where the info regarding the TAL will be shared.
  • Each PART of the TAL will be posted here with all the relevant information and links.
  • Please make sure that you SIGN UP for the Newsletter (click here), so that you can be informed when a new PART gets released.
  • NO PHOTO TUTORIALS will be available.  We are using a different approach!!  YOUTUBE videos from BEATRIX SNYMAN channel! (Click here)  I have a youtube channel where you please have to SUBSCRIBE to.  All the links to relevant tutorials will be shared with you in each Part of the TAL.   Watch the videos and share with all your crochet-crazy friends.
  • On the blog, the PATTERN will be shared in sections (click here) relevant to the specific Part that gets released.   At the end of the TAL, the pattern will be available as a complete pdf on my Ravelry store.
  • On facebook there is a group for all Tunisian Crochet lovers to join and where you can interact with each other.  We Tunisian Crochet (click here).  Join the group as all the announcements will be shared there as well.  There are rules to this group though.  The important rule is that the administrators of the group and the TAL will not be able to answer obvious questions and complains that are addressed on the blog or the videos.  The group will solely be for the interaction between the TAL participants, for the administrators to share the relevant information and keep you updated.  Please read the rules.

What is the TAL all about?

Our main aim with the TAL’s is to grow the Tunisian Crochet community.  I found that there are so many that want to try this skill, but never get around to actually do it.  We want to motivate you to start if you are one of them.

Here are the basic info of the project:

We will make a blanket that consists of two panels that will be joined together.  The original blanket was made in my own hand dyed merino yarns, but for the purpose of the TAL it will be done in the Nurturing Fibres – Eco-fusion that will give it a soft, luxurious look and feel.

There are 6 Parts and will run from 15 February – 12 April.  Click here to see more about the schedule dates.  During each Part, the colours that are used will be announced as we go along.  This will make the project more of a mystery and a lot of fun.  (See more info on the yarn and yarn amounts below)

We will focus on the following techniques:

  • How to start with the Foundation Chain.
  • How to work the Foundation Row.
  • Learn the Tunisian Simple Stitch.
  • What to do with typical troubleshooting areas.
  • How to change colour on the sides.
  • How to bind-off.
  • Work the double crochet (US).
  • How to join with the reverse single crochet or crab stitch (US).

Difficulty

Beginner

Yarn

18x Nurturing Fibres (Eco-Fusion 50% Bamboo / 50% Cotton   4-ply  50g/125m – wpi 17)

  • 2 x 100g in 2 main colours + 14 x 50g in different colours.

A kit will be available at MandalaQueen’s website_click here to order.

Remember that the colours used in each Part will be announced as we go along.  This makes the TAL more of a mystery and more fun.   So make sure that you order your kit TODAY so that you have all the relevant colours available, otherwise you will have to wait on each Part for the colour announcement or have to select your own colours according to the Yarn info given above.  The photo below gives you an indication of the colours used.

Click on the photo to order your full kit.

Tunisian Crochet Along TAL Patchwork Blanket TAL_Kit_Btrix Dsigns

Kit Available
18 x Nurturing Fibers in 16 different colours (kit options can include hook)
10% discount will be available until 15 February 2019 (valid only on website purchases)
Available at mandalaqueen
 

Hook

5mm Tunisian Interchangeable hook with 40cm cable

Extra Materials

Tapestry Needle

Tension

21 Tss x 18 rows = 10cm x 10cm after blocking

Approximate Dimensions

After completed and blocked:

Width – 87cm / Length – 132cm  

Very Important!

Two very important things that you have to do so that you do not miss out on anything:

  1. Sign up for our newsletter!
  2. Subscribe and click on the “bell” button on my youtube videos!

To start off, here is the first video to get you hooked and prepared on Tunisian Crochet and for the kick-off on our first TAL – the PATCHWORK BLANKET TUNISIAN ALONG!

Enjoy this TAL with us!

Annamarie

&

Beatrix

Time for change

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Just a bit of background…

Our Twinnies

I’ve been doing this crochet thing since 2011.  Full time.  My twins were born 2010 and most of the time I juggled between raising them and building a crochet business.                                                                                                                                                                                           I started by making the cutest little shoes and socks for my premature babies.  Yes, they didn’t last long as they grew at a tremendous speed, weighing 1.8kg and 1.9kg respectively at birth (and lost 100g each right after birth) and grew out of preemie clothes within the first 3 weeks.

The day she was born

twin babies btrix dsigns

My twinnies at about 2 weeks old

Crochet gifts and props

Except for these two little blessings, my whole life involved around crochet the past, almost decade.  After friends saw all these cute little things I crocheted for my twinnies and for friends that also started getting babies around the same time, I started getting orders for crocheted baby items from all over.  And not long after that I found myself making photography props for my friends, family and also photographers building their baby prop repertoire.

btrix dsigns

Btrix Dsigns

Photography props and baby and children items

Teaching Crochet

Just to mention that I’ve been a dressmaker and -designer all my life and taught sewing classes for some time as well and therefor I didn’t just get orders for cute crochet baby stuff, but my friends started asking me to teach them to crochet as well.  As they said: “You teach sewing, why don’t you start teaching crochet too?”.  And that is how my classes and workshops started.  I love being a crochet designer and teacher and that is what I am born to do.

Surene Palvie from YarnatZelle in her early crochet learning days with Btrix Dsigns

Surene Palvie from Yarn@Zelle in her early crochet learning days…

A growing little business

My hubby and I made the decision for me to be full time mommy and eventually take part in the homeschooling journey, whenever we would’ve start with a family.  I am committed to that decision, as it is what I always wanted to do and I believe it is my God-given responsibility.  So that means hubby is the sole breadwinner, taking care of our family financially while I take care of the kids. The thing is, that is not always easy to have one income and having an entrepreneurial streak I knew that I will build a business of some kind so that there could be another stream of income for whatever our needs are.  None the less, I built my little crochet business, while raising my little ones and doing both are not always easy.  There came numerous times that I had to slow down, give up on certain things, scale down as running a one-woman-business takes up a lot of your time.   I could never “build a dream”, but only sustain and maintain what I could manage while being full time mommy.  I think many momtrepreneurs can relate.

Time for change

This year there are many changes going to happen.  And due to these changes, I am making changes in my business.  I came to that famous fork in the road where, once again, I have to make decisions that is good for me and everyone else.  I made crochet baby items, started to design and teach classes, I compiled my own manuals for the latter from which my first published crochet book was born, I had a little home-based yarn shop which I had to “close down” when we moved from city-to-city just to start another one on smaller scale as soon as I settled in my new environment.  I started to dye my own yarn brand which also went through a few ups and downs as well.  I just published my second crochet book that focuses on Tunisian Crochet.  I moved my focus from conventional crochet to Tunisian crochet.

From everything I’ve done and been involved in, in the yarn industry, I am going into a total different direction of what I’ve been doing.  This is something I wanted to do for years now, but the book writing, the move, the kids and so many other things, took up soo much of my time to really explore this avenue.

What is changing…?

If you want know what is happening, then you better hang out here often.  Subcribe to my newsletter, so I can keep you up to date with all the changes and new things happening here.

Until the next time!

Enjoy this new journey with me!

xxx

 

 

 

My 2019 Crochet & Knit Journal and Planner_for projects and small business

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70+ pages of Crochet & Knit planner for your projects and your small business

My 2019 Crochet & Knit Journal and Planner_for projects and small business_Btrix Dsigns

Call me a Homeschooling Momtrepreneur.

Yes, you are right by asking me: “How do you manage all the responsibilities of being full time mom, teacher, domestic, business woman and everything else that goes with the title?”

My answer: “Just do it.”

But my honest answer: “I have no idea, as most days I am loosing it, I forget most of my plans for the day, I don’t get to half of my priorities in a day and some days none, one day we are up to date with our home school planning and the next we just don’t get through it all, today I get some good business planning done and the next day I don’t get to answer any emails, so to be honest, I have no idea what I am doing or how I am doing it.”

Last year, I started to use some planning sheets to help me with our homeschooling.  I like to plan, but I am not very good at sticking to plans. I buy a diary every year and after the first week it starts to collect dust.  My reason…a diary do not provide in my needs.  I want a planning sheet for everything I need to pen down and the daily planning pages in a diary is just not doing it for me.  And…the space for all my writing is not enough.

So I started to use notebooks.  Still not working 100%.  As I need different sections for different things I need to plan.

My answer…DOWNLOADABLE Planner slash Journal.  So I can print as many of the pages I want and arrange them in the sequence I want, when I want, how I want it.

Print it in any size you like.  Stick them into a notebook, a ring binder, a file or any other way that suits you best.

So, here is a list of all the pages that I created for this planner.

Calendars

– This Planner Belongs To:
– Monthly calendars for each month January to December 2019 including South African Public Holidays.
– Year Planner 2019

Monthly Planners

– Monthly Calendar Blank_with important events, priorities, notes and calendar to fill in own dates.
– This Month’s Plans_with checklist, priorities, events and reminders.

Weekly Planners

– This Week’s Plans_for each day, priorities, to-do and notes.
– Weekly Planner_for each day of the week.

Daily Planners

– Today’s Plans_with to-do, notes, priorities, today I want to…, meal tracker, water intake tracker, purchase.
– Daily Planner_without times
– Daily Planner_with times

My 2019 Crochet & Knit Journal and Planner_for projects and small business_Btrix Dsigns

Project Planner

– Crochet Hook Conversion Chart
– Knitting Needle Conversion Chart
– Yarn Weight Chart
– General Crochet Terminology and Abbreviations
– General Kitting Terminology and Abbreviations
– Hook & Needle Inventory_keep track of your hooks & needles.
– Yarn Stash Inventory 1_track all the info regarding the yarns in your stash plus adding a sample of each.
– Yarn Stash Inventory 2_keep these cards close to your stash.
– Pattern Inventory_keep track of your favorite patterns.
– Project Card_Keep track of the pattern, yarn, project and picture of your project.
– Work In Progress Cards_keep a card with each WIP to track the hook size, pattern location, date started and a sample of the yarn.
– Track My Projects_make a list of your projects that you want to start, that you are busy with, finished or canceled.
– Row/Round Tracker_keep track my row or round count.
– CAL/KAL/TAL Tracker_pattern info, yarn info, location, what did you learn and when each part starts and finish.
– Road trip Project_don’t forget to pack that project and keep goal to finish it in time.
– Graph Sheet_draw a new pattern, ideas or just doodle.
– Pattern Notes_you always want to write something down.

My 2019 Crochet & Knit Journal and Planner_for projects and small business_Btrix Dsigns

Business Planners

– Small Business Vocabulary_do you know what these mean?
– Business Plan_helps you plan to start or improve your business.
– I Have an Idea_gives you an idea of the questions you need to ask when you want to start something new.
– Brainstorming _write down ideas, concepts, plans.
– Product Pricing Worksheet_correctly keep track of everything needed to calculate your prices.
– Calculate the Selling Price of Item_keep track of quick calculation of each item.
– Price List_for your shop, at the craft show, make a list…
– Product Inventory_keep track of your products.
– Supplies Inventory_keep track of your supplies.
– Suppliers_where do you buy what?
– Customer Contact List_keep this list close, you need them.
– Join our Newsletter_marketing is important in your business.
– Craft Show To-do List_keep track and check the list.
– Craft Market Sales Log_note down all your sales.
– Order Sheet_you will get orders, keep good track records.
– Monthly Sales Log_track your monthly sales income – as you make a sale track – date, order #, item, price, shipping, and total price
– Monthly Expense Log_track all of your business spending for the month
– Monthly Totals_use this page to pull together all your numbers for the month
– Password Tracker_can’t remember the usernames and logins?

My 2019 Crochet & Knit Journal and Planner_for projects and small business_Btrix Dsigns

Patterns

– Making Hats_formulas to determine custom sizes or use the chart for quick sizing.
– Crochet a Beanie_this pattern will get you on track to make a basic beanie.
– Handmade Cards_personalize your product or gifts.
– Index Tags_quick reference to all these awesome downloadable pages that you can stick to an A4 or A notebook, depending on the size you print these pages.
Terms & Conditions_remember to respect the designer, I will appreciate it!

Find the complete Journal/Planner here.

My 2019 Crochet & Knit Journal and Planner_for projects and small business

Please share with me how you will use it.

Enjoy

 

The story behind the Book

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Beatrix-sê_RaakHEKELslim_voorblad_low-res

The story is born out of pages and pages of printed class manuals.

  • How to choose yarn for a project.
  • What are the characteristics of different fibres and how does it influence my final product.
  • What are stitches made up from; it has an anatomy?
  • Are there better ways to do the basic techniques to make my project appear better or make the crochet experience easier, faster, or more interesting?

These are some of the things that I approach during my many, many years of crochet classes.  All this information I compiled into fully illustrated, text heavy manuals.

These manuals found their fame and popularity among crocheters all over the country and even abroad, and the request to get hold of these informative guides streamed in.  I became a primitive printing business and soon it smothered all my crochet-, design and class teaching time.  I stopped it just as fast as it started.  And then the pressure came…

“B, you should publish your manuals!”

“B, why don’t you write a crochet book with your manual content.”

“B, we want a book!”

And like all of us will feel (I know everyone will feel modest and not have an ego boost thinking of your own book appearing on the shelves of book stores and in every home of every single crocheter…wink-wink) I felt doubtful if any publisher would even consider helping me.  I had no idea what it involves to write a book!

I decided to take up the challenge.

What publishers will I approach?  How do I contact them?  What will I tell them?

But I made the move and contacted a few.

A “Specific Publisher” (I will refer to them in this way as I don’t want to mention their name to prevent any “naming and shaming”) was very keen on my proposal, but they preferred a single compiled book for beginners.

“What?”  “Reeeally?”  “That was not my idea!”

I wanted to publish the manuals as separate booklets that can be used as learning material for the crocheter that wants to learn on her own time or for the crocheter that wants to teach classes.  Now they want ONE book!

Oh well, then I give them ONE book, but NO WAY I AM GOING TO GIVE THEM JUST ANOTHER BEGINNERS CROCHET BOOK!!!
I am of the opinion that there are waaay too many beginner books on the market and nothing that can challenge the intermediate and more advance crocheter.  And that is the need I wanted to fill.

Many of my “students” referred to these manuals they received during classes as their “Crochet Bibles”, as that was the one thing they used to refer back to when they needed information.

That was what I wanted to achieve from this book.  Your number one reference guide.

In a few months time I compiled text, took photos, designed projects, write patterns and submit it in time so the publisher could start doing their part.  We were well in the process getting the book ready; me doing proofreading of the publisher’s editing work then I got the NEWS:

“Dear Mrs Snyman,

I don’t know if your are aware that Leisure Books are closing down and we mainly rely on them for our marketing purposes.  For that reason we have to withdraw some of our leisure publications for this year and we regretfully have to inform you that your book is one of them!”

Do you really want to know how I felt???

Can you imagine?

weeping-smiley
Devastation in over gear!

Months, days, nights without sleep’s work all for nothing!!!  And it is not only all the time wasted, but expenses were involved in preparation, dearly beloved crochet friends that gave their time and support to help me with this project.  All for nothing!!  I felt totally and utterly devastated!

During the time I received this news, I was in the middle of a big move from city to city that took up all my time.  My husband worked overseas and wasn’t even around to give a hug and say that everything is fine and it will all go away and that it is only a dream and that i will wake up any minute….

I didn’t want to make immediate decisions regarding this book.  I wanted to give it all up.  I thought of the lost time I could’ve spend with my little girls instead of sitting in front of the laptop, thinking up words to write down, taking photos and editing it, making projects and writing the patterns and re-read and re-consider information over and over again.  I could rather spend that time with them!  I could’ve rather have sleep, instead of having nights that I worked right through to get everything done in time for the due date that was set.   This motivated me to try again…

I wrote an email to Tania from LAPA publishers.  Explaining this whole story you just read.

lapa logo

I got immediate feedback.  You see, when I first approached publishers, LAPA was one of them and knew about me and the book, but unfortunately at that stage they already had their planning done for the year and then the “Specific Publisher” responded with interest instead.

And that is where my relationship with LAPA started.

Today I can announce that my tears of sadness turned into tears of joy!  With the dedicated help and assistance of such skillful people, LAPA have this book available from mid July!!

So keep your eyes open for:

Beatrix-sê_RaakHEKELslim_voorblad_low-res

And you can start ordering yours at LAPA

Because the LAPA is mainly an Afikaans publisher, the book will be published in Afrikaans, but if you prefer English, please send them an email at EMAIL LAPA or phone them, so that they can record the interest in an English version!!

Happy Crochet Fellow Hookies!!

Lots of Love

Beatrix Naam

xxx

Fancy Dye: What’s in the Name?

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I am a very bad blogger.  This is something that I just can’t keep up in doing on a regular base.  There are too many things taking up my time in a day….
Yes I knoooowww!!  Plannnn!!  Do a little bit at a time!
I am one of those people that have to focus on one thing at a time.  The minute I get distracted I just can’t get my focus back and then I move on.  With 2 six year old young ladies, distractions happen every 5 seconds….like just now! “Mamma, I want prestic!”  And that sentence was not even finish then it was: “Mamma, can I have one of your stickers?”  And then, 2 seconds, “Mamma, can I go to my friend next door?”  Sigh…..

And that is what life is all about, isn’t it??  Our families!
The Fancy Dye yarns are exactly what this is all about.  Family and life events.

Fancy Dyed Yarns page 1

The Self striping yarn.  We just started with Grade 1 and we are homeschooling!  I know, crazy!!  But I’m a very determined person and it is something that I decided to do even before I had children.  It is a personal conviction and hey! we survived our first few weeks!!  So, with all the craziness of sounds, words, writing and reading, I thought of bringing some of the fun into my yarns.  The names for the self striping yarns are mainly homophones that I use with the “wrong” meaning like: Lazy Daze instead of Lazy Days and Sow Easy instead of So Easy.
Isn’t that fun?

Lazy Daze - Selfstriping

The Variegated yarn.  This is all about family and life.  I chose important life events to name these yarns like: Mom’s Birthday….which is obvious!! (wink-wink), Road Trip….which is always a good idea to have as a family, Make Me Proud…for those moments when you feel proud of a child’s accomplishment or your husband’s promotion (don’t we all???) or when you yourself mastered that pattern that was written for the Bachelors Degree student.

 

Click on the photos to see more Fancy Dyed yarns!

 

Variegated_Grandmas Wisdom Variegated_Me Time Variegated_Road Trip Variegated_Her First Word

 

Life is short!  Enjoy it!

But enjoy it with the ones you love!!

B

xxx

Btrix Yarns: Emanating Happiness!

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Oh my!   I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so nervous and excited all at the same time!

I’ve been working under the radar for almost two years now.  I was busy writing the book last year (of which I will post about soon as well), we were moving from city to city, hubby working overseas with a few challenges during the year with that as well, and then….Then something amazing, Inspiring and Delightful came across my path of creativity.

Colour!! And lots and lots of it!!

Crochet Class #7 Colour Wheel_2.1

I love colour!  I love playing with colour! I love putting colours together!  I love analyzing people’s colour palette (I did that for many years when I was a dress designer), I love the psychology of colour, the symbolism of colour, I purely just love colour!

So, my dear friend, Carlé from Nurturing Fibres introduced me to the art of hand dyeing yarn!

I was hooked immediately!  I considered natural dyeing for a long time now, but I never thought that I would ever get the opportunity to play around with this fabulous art as I do now.  Deep inside I admired it and wished for it! Then Carlé partook in making this dream come true!

And today, I can announce the release of my own yarn label, Btrix Yarns!

btrix-yarns

Okay, let’s get to the obvious matters.  Btrix Yarns???  Why the name?  Isn’t that just too obvious?

Well, I thought so too when I just started to think about a name for the yarn.  I wanted the name to mean something inspiring, get people excited, joyous, happy, ecstatic!  These are the feelings I want to spread!  I tried a few names, but nothing quite did it for me.  Then, it hit me!  Whether I liked it or not, my own name was the perfect denotation for what I wanted to accomplish.

The name “Beatrix” in Latin, means “she who brings happiness”.  Isn’t that just amazing?!  So, with the variation I use for writing my name for my business, I use the same way to name the yarn.  And with that, I hope to emanate the happiness I want to bring, every time you see, hold, feel, work with Btrix Yarns!

merino_mended-jeans     merino_cosmos

merino_sable-brown     merino_oyster-shell

Peach Basket_100% Alpaca     Tree Moss_100% Alpaca

Ruby Cabernet_100% Alpaca

 

Currently, I play with two animal fibers and blends thereof; alpaca (which is my main focus) and merino. And to extend that feel of inspiration and delight, I respectively call the two fiber ranges INSPIRED by Alpaca and DELIGHTED with Merino.

inspired-by-alpaca   delighted-with-merino

The yarn will be available in my online shop, but first, I will have the privilege of showing it to you at the local HobbyX that takes place this coming weekend, 7-9 October 2016 at the Cape Town ICC.  The yarns will be available at Nurturing Fibres’ stand on Saturday and Sunday and if you are around, come and get Inspired and Delighted with all the yarns and colours!

launch-2

 

After this creative event, the yarn will be available in my online shop, for you to indulge yourself in.

I hope to have it in your LYS (local yarn shop) soon as well, so if you are interested in stocking Btrix Yarns, please feel free to contact me.

Do you understand my nervousness and excitement all at the same time, now?  Nervous, because I hope that you will find happiness, inspiration and delight in the product I give to you and excited, because this is the start of a new beginning for me, emanating happiness!!

Keep your eye on this space for much more colour inspirations and yarn delight!!

Blessings

B

xx

How to determine yarn amounts for an item

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I did a blog post on “How do I calculate costing on my crochet items?”, as so many ask me that question.

The other most frequent question I get asked:

“How much yarn will I need for making X,Y,Z?”

And my answer always, just to make the ladies frown is:

“I have noo idea!”

 

And really, I don’t know!

There are so many things that influence the amount of yarn you will use for an item.

The fibre content, the yarn twist, your tension, and the pattern you use, all this influence the amount of yarn you will need to make your item.

Colours of Grace

How does it all influence the yarn amounts then?

1. Fibre?

Some fibres are heavier than others.

For example, you will use way more cotton or bamboo than merino wool when making the exact same pattern, as cotton and bamboo are your heaviest fibers.

2. The twist?

Higher twist yarns are shorter than lower twist yarns of the same weight.

Example; Locally we have the Elle Premier Cotton brand, which have a high twist and comparing to our local Vinnis Collours Nikkim Cotton, which have a low twist, you will use MORE Elle Premier Cotton than Vinnis Colours Nikkim when making the exact same pattern.  When you read the yarn labels, you will also see that the Elle Premier Cotton is shorter that the Vinnis Colour Nikkim on 50g balls, to confirm this theory.

3. Tension?

Firm tension will use less yarn than loose tension.

4. The Pattern?

Different stitch patterns will use different amounts of yarn.

Example; Solid stitch patterns, firm textured patterns like popcorn stitches, puff stitch, bullion knot, cables, even the granny square, etc, will use more yarn that a lacy pattern or patterns with larger spaces between cluster stitches.  Your way of joining an item, will add to the amount of yarn used.

These are only the basic factors that will influence the amount of yarn used for a specific item.

Can you see how difficult it actually is to thumb suck yarn amounts for projects?

To estimate can put you way of track.  How can you purchase your yarn if I will tell you that you MIGHT need somewhere between 8 and 12 50g balls of yarn to crochet that baby blanket for your niece…(not knowing the EXACT VARIABLES in the pattern, your tension, etc that will influence the yarn amounts).  When you work in a solid colour, you have to consider the lot number, as you will have to buy ALL the yarn at once, to make sure you get the CORRECT amount of yarn for from the same batch.  Especially when you want to use the hand dyed yarns!

Let me give you some guidance in determining your yarn amount, BEFORE you purchase your yarn for your project(s).

What I need:

  1. A digital scale. (Seems like this becomes one of the important crochet tools?)
  2. Measuring tape
  3. Note book
  4. Pencil

Calculate Yarn Needs

I’m very sorry to say, that you will have to do the ONE thing all crocheters hate to do!!

1. Crochet a gauge swatch from the pattern you are going to use!!!

Yes, I know!!  I hate it too!! But if you want to be accurate, you HAVE to do it!!

This swatch will help you to get yourself familiar with your pattern, see where you are having trouble with the pattern, if it is a block blanket you want to make it will give you a better decision on your method of joining as this should be determined BEFORE you start your blanket!

2. Determine the finish measurements of your item.

If it is a blanket you want to make, decide before hand how big you want this blanket to be.  Length x Width

For garment pieces, the safest will be to draft the panels of the garment piece with its finished measurements.  You can do a square with the finished length and the bust or hip circumference so you can have the surface in Length x Width.

3. Measure your swatch.

Length x Width

4. Determine how many of the swatch blocks will cover the surface of your item.

5. Weight your swatch block.

6. Determine the weight of your final product by

The amount of swatch blocks that will cover the surface of the item MULTIPLIED BY the weight of the swatch block.

The answer will be the amount of yarn in weight that you will need to buy to finish your item.

Example:

  1. I want to make a granny square blanket for my double bed, so I will crochet a granny square in the size I want it.
  2. The double bed is 190cm(width) x 150cm(length) if I measure the mattress. Adding 20cm over hang on sides and the feet end.

(190cm + 20cm) x (150cm + 20cm + 20cm) = 210cm x 190cm

  1. Swatch measures 15cm x 15cm (using the yarn of my choice, having my average tension, not caring much about the twist of the yarn)
  2. Now I have to calculate, how many 15cm x15cm squares will fill up the surface of 210cm x 190cm.

 

Making it simple:

The length will be 210cm/15cm = 14 blocks to make up the length of the blanket.

The width will be 190cm/15cm = 12 block but 10cm short to 190cm.  12 block will give me a width of only 180cm.  Now I can decide it I am happy with a 180cm wide blanket, or would I like to add 15cm to make it 195cm rather?  Well, the latter is closest to my original measurement, so I would add another 15cm block to give me a 195cm wide blanket.  So I will use 13 blocks to make up the width of the blanket.

13 blocks for width x 14 blocks for length = 182 blocks that I will need to cover the surface of a 195cm x 210cm blanket.

  1. The 15cm x 15cm swatch block weighs 20g.
  2. 20g x 182 blocks = 3640g of yarn.

To determine the amount of 50g balls for instant: 3640g/50g = 72.8 50g balls (rounded off to 73 balls)

 

You will see that I did not make provision for the amount of yarn I will use to join the squares.

Granny JoinWhip Stitch

This is a separate calculation when you determined your method of joining.  Remember, some joining techniques will add to the measurements of your blanket, like the granny join, the flat braid, simulated braid or chain joining techniques.

The whipstitch, single crochet, slip stich crochet or crab stitch join, will keep the original finished measurements, as these are joining techniques that do not necessarily add to the measurements of your final item.

Calculating the amount of yarn using to join will expect very similar method of calculation.

Very simplified: Weigh about 4 of your blocks, join them in the method you chose, weigh them again and the difference between the two readings will be the amount of yarn you used to join 4 squares.

I’m sure you will be able to calculate the rest J

 

I hope this guideline will help you to make more accurate calculations of yarn needs, so you don’t buy too much or too less yarn for your products in the future.

This will also help you on budgeting for that special blanket you wanted to make for a very long time now.  When you know approximate how many grams of yarn you will need, you can determine how much it will cost.

Happy Hooking!

Love

B

xx

 

 

The Liebster Award!

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Huh?

That was my question too when I saw one of my fellow crochet/blogging/yarn shop friends, Hilda Steyn, nominated me for the Liebster Award.

So I was off to her blog, reading all about it, but still I sat with the questions…

What is the Liebster Award, where does it come from, why is there such an award and how does it exactly work?

Well, I came across these same questions asked all over the internet when I googled “Liebster Award”.  But if you are as curious as I am about everything new; the why’s, the how’s, the what’s, then I can suggest more about it here: Liebster Award.

Liebster Award

Thanks to Hilda Steyn from Yarn in a Barn, for nominating me for this award!

Hilda is one of my bestest hooky friends.  She has a yarn shop in Hartebeestpoortdam and just like me, prefer to work only with natural fiber yarns.  She is an awesome woman and we share so many passions and I think that is why she is so dear to me.  Thanks again Hilda!

Liebster Award 2

The Questions and the Anwers:

1. What is the name of your favourite yarn and why is it your favourite?

Vinnis Colours!!!  Ever since I start working with this yarn, I just couldn’t get enough of it!  The feel, the look, the colours, the smell!!!  It is a 100%, low twist, hand dyed cotton.  You can make almost anything with it and I do “almost” all of my designs in this yarn.

2. What is your favourite type of project (clothing, rugs, afghans, etc)?

Shoes!  It was one of the first items I made for my girls (Mary Jane Shoes) and ever since I got hooked on making shoes.

3. Is your yarn stash well organised or all over the place?

Both!  I consider my little yarn shop in our porch as part of my yarn stash.  When I stand in front of the shelves and have to straighten each ball, turning the label the correct way and place the front ball at the front edge of the shelve.  And when a customer came in and all are messed up again, it will bother me until I correct it the why I like it. Why?  Because of the colours of the yarn.  I love looking at the rainbow of colours in my home!  But then I have a loft as well, with yarn…..all over the place!!!

4. Is there enough yarn in your stash to make an entire blanket from?

I think I will make enough blankets for a whole army!

5. What is your favourite crochet hook brand and why?

Well, this week it is a question that Hilda asks a lot, so I’m not surprised that she is asking it here as well.  She is planning to get the Rolls Royce of hooks for us local hooky addicts.  Up to know I worked only with soft grip hooks and prefer the rounded handles instead of the flat ones, but I’m sure it is going to change soon…..

6. What is your happy colour?

Colour is my happy colour!  I love colours!  Especially looking at nature where I get most of my colour inspiration from.  But if I have to make an exception, I would say aqua.

7. How many WIPs do you have right now?

Mmm…all the new designs I’m busy with, together with the gifts the new baby on the way in the family, plus the WIP’s I’m busy with for my girls, plus….I would say around 18 🙂

8. Where is your favourite hooky place?

When I imagine myself sitting somewhere in nature, far away from the noise and rat race of the city, next to a cool river, my back leaning against an old tree, surrounded with greens, and freshness, and quietness, without a cellphone, laptop or people.  That’s my favorite hooky place….

9. What two words best describe you?

Innovative, Tenacious

10. What do you think will be remembered about you when you are gone?

My love for needle-crafts, definitely!  I was making doll clothes and could knit before I could write my name.

Liebster Award 3

My Nominations are:

Cornell Strydom

Anisa du Plessis

Elsbeth Eksteen

from Hellohart, because these are 3 awesome, talented ladies that do the most interesting interviews with other fiber artists and I was thinking this is a good way to interview them as well 😉

Heidi

from HeidiBears, as Heidi’s African Flower Animal designs just fascinates.  The talent of this lady is endless!

Magda de Lange

from Pigstails, for Magda’s is to me, like a “wise old soul”, though she is not that old :-D.  Her life experiences; especially her living in the Middle-East; reflects through her photography and crochet creations.

Bridget Henderson

from Cowgirlblues, as Bridget is a very talented Merino yarn dyer and few really know about her product.  I do stock her yarns and you can find some in the shop here on my website, but you have to look at her work on her blog.

Liebster Award 4

The Questions for my Nominees:

1.  Why did you start a blog and what do you mainly blog about?

2.  Did you realize that crochet is becoming the new black?  Why do you think it is becoming so popular?

3.  What is your biggest reason for crocheting/knitting?

4.  Do you prefer working from a pattern or do you make up your own pattern as you go? Why?

5.  Who is your favorite crochet/knitting designer.  Why?

6.  What is your favorite fiber to work with?  Why?

7.  Which is your favorite yarn brand and why?

8.  I short, give an overview of your craft journey since it started.

9.  I assume you have a few WIP’s.  Who doesn’t?  So what inspired your current WIP’s?  Yes, name all of them!

10.  Where is the most unexpected place you ever crochet/knitted?

11.  Which project/design/pattern was your biggest challenge up to now and why?

Liebster Award 5

I hope that all my nominees will participate, as this was actually so much fun to me.  I think that this is a brilliant idea!

Love!

B

xxx

How do I calculate costing for my crochet items?

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This is the most frequent and most difficult question asked by crafters, especially crocheters.

During my crochet classes, facebook or email messages, this is a question I get asked very often.

I’m a dress designer and -maker for 20 years and I still struggle with that one myself.

The business and financial gurus got all their own formulas that they are working on, but none of them are really working practically for crocheters or even knitters.

Hand crafts are time consuming and different crafts have different time frames within the craft for each item produced.

For example, as a crocheter, I crochet a beanie and an ear-flap hat, both are hats, but they take a different amount of material AND time.

Material costing is the easy part, but the labour costing; now there is the sticky part!

Especially for us crocheters!!!

How do I calculate my labour, as I don’t work on an item from start to finish in one go without interruptions?  Won’t it help me to do more accurate calculations if I could work continuously on an item?

Yes sure, but who got the time to work for 5 days non-stop, without sleeping, eating, drinking and…the other necessary stuff, until the granny square super king size blanket is finish???

No one!!!

So how the heck can I determine how many hours I spent making such a blanket?

Well, the formula going around is:

The cost of the blanket (that is: amount of yarn, the ribbon for embellishing, etc) times 2 or times 3.

Ah, that’s so easy!!  Problem solved!!

No, certainly not for me!!

I realized that I will make more money if I work using really expensive yarn, making the same blanket that will take me the same amount of time.  So there!  My first problem!!

If I use R100 worth of yarn and I times it by 3, then my labour and profit will be R200?

But, if I use R200 worth of yarn and I times it by 3, my labour and profit will be R400!!

See the problem?

Now I tried for years finding a formula that is more applicable to calculate my labour (which of course is my salary).

If I work for a company, they decide that I will cost them X amount every month and that is what I will earn per month.

So as a crafter or crocheter, I also want to earn a salary from the items I make.

Costing Crochet Items

Let’s ask a few questions…

(NOTE: THE AMOUNTS I USE IN THE FORMULA IS JUST TO SHOW AS EXAMPLE.  I TRIED TO SIMPLIFY IT)

 Question 1:

How much do I want to earn per month?

(I’m working these numbers only on actual time worked)

Example:

R9600 per month will be my salary

Now break it down to an hourly rate:

Per week it is: R9600/4 = R2400pw (assuming a month consists of 4 weeks)

Per day it is: R2400/5 = R480pd (assuming you work 5 days a week)

Per hour it is: R480/8 = R60ph (assuming you work 8 hours a day)

 Question 2:

How will I work out my labour for the item I make?

Now here comes the tricky part.

My method is a little more intense, but it is more accurate than the “cost x2 or x3” method.

The only thing that might influence accuracy in my method is the fibre I use, which is comparable to the error made due to the price of different yarns in the case of the “cost times X”  method.  Some fibres are heavier than others that might influence your calculations, but the difference is not as significant as the above mentioned formula.  See how I compensate for this difference at the end!

To do this calculation, you will need a few things:

  1. You will need a digital scale.
  2. You will need a stopwatch; or an extra eye watching the time.
  3. You will need some uninterrupted time (I will work on 10min intervals at a time) for the construction period of your crochet item. (I’m a mom of twins, I know uninterrupted time is a luxury, but you do get some if you really think creatively.)
  4.  You will need a note book and pencil to note your data.
  5.  You will need some mathematical skill – just for the bonus:-D (we all know it is mathematical geniuses that crochet…2dc, dc1,…mmmm.. that is 3 in total, I have to repeat, that will give me 6….)

The great thing about this method is that you can do it any time, not necessary to do it consistently during the construction period or your item, but whenever you have some time to focus, for the rest you can continue working on the item without data notation.

 A. COLLECT DATA

  1. Crochet until you are getting familiar with the pattern. (doing this when you do a pattern for the first time is definitely influencing your time, so get the hang of the pattern and then continue.)
  2. Weigh your item.
  3. Start timing your 10min and crochet as you would have without letting the time chasing you now 🙂
  4. After 10min, weight your item.
  5. Calculate the difference between the 1st value and the 2nd value.

Example:

Item weighed 10g before I start timing.

Item weighs 20g after timing.

Difference is 20g (last value) – 10g (1st value) = 10g worked for 10min.

Now I get interrupted, and tonight when I pick up my crochet work I’m too tired to time and just want to unwind with my hook and yarn.  Tomorrow I am ready for some timing again!!

Then you just repeat 1-5 of the example above.

BGET AN AVERAGE

When your item is done, you have lot of data that you collected during the construction period.  (Note: You can stop noting data at any time during the construction period.  You can note twice of thrice at the start and then again at the end to include hand sewing.  Especially when you have to quote a customer, you will do this to get just an estimate on your labour IF you have the correct amount of yarn.)

From all the weight differences calculated during the 10min periods, I will find an average as follows:

Example:

10g + 12g + 6g + 10g + 8g + 10g + 14g + 9g + 10g + 11g = 100 divide by the amount of differences which in this case is 10 times I noted my information.

Thus: Average per 10min = 10g

C. WORK OUT YOUR LABOUR ON THE ITEM

I want R60ph.

Thus R10 for each 10min interval I work.

Example:

The finish item weighs 500g.

500g/10g (as that is the average weight I worked every 10min) = 50 intervals

There are 50 X 10g intervals during the total construction period of the item.

Every 10g cost R10 as previously determined.

So 50 x R10 = R500 for the total period I spend making the item.

D. THE TOTAL COST

* Now you can determine the yarn.

Add the yarn cost to your labour = total price for finished item

 

And that is how I make my crochet experience even more exciting!!

Yes, there are some errors in this method!

You crochet faster than me, so I make more money that you!

Don’t dismay, I’ve got a solution for you.

The more experienced crocheter obviously will have to earn a bigger salary that the beginner, isn’t it?

That will make a beginner’s earnings per 10g less than the experienced crocheter, but the longer time period she works on the item, her earnings will level out comparing to what the more experienced crocheter will earn.

But what the heck, as crochet are so intertwinely (is that an English word?) related to mathematics, why not make it even more mathematical??!!!

I love maths and I looooove crochet even more!!!

So I hope this motivate you to reconsider the method you use for costing your items!

Your time is of high value, especially in today’s time and age.

Don’t under cost yourself; you are worth a lot more!!!

Happy crocheting!!

Love

B

xx

African Flowers & Buntings

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I looove the African Flower motif.  If I see anything done in the African Flower, it draws my attention immediately.

When the T-shirt yarn became a popular medium to crochet with last year; thanks to ladies like Anneke Wiese from Crochet in Paternoster with her beatiful doily patterned rugs from t-shirt yarn, Hilda Steyn from Yarn in a Barn that became the biggest t-shirt yarn supplier in South Africa, together with Selma & Anthea Seyfert from 50Something that was the actual trend setters; I had to play around with it as well.  And what was the first thing to come to mind…an African Flower rug.

So I played around and made a rug for my girl’s room.  I loved it and had to write a proper pattern for it, but never took the time to do it.  Recently I realized that it got time for this rug to see the light…and I took time to work on it and here it is.  My African Flower T-Rug.  The pattern is available on Ravelry and I will soon load it up here on the website as well.

African Flower T-Rug in T-shirt Yarn

 

While I was busy with this rug, I was thinking of my girl’s room.  I have a rug, I’m busy with their African Flower blanket (currently a WIP for the past year), so I need some more decor..in African Flowers!

The patterns I found was either a pentagon, hexagon or octagon…and I wanted hearts, stars, and someting different.

So again I start playing…

And here are my shapes:

A Heart, a Star and a Triangle!!

African Flower Shapes

 

The pattern is in the Ravelry store as well 🙂

And what jumped to mind first with these shapes?  Bunting!!!

I made a simple triangle flag and…

Bunting with traingles

 

combined it into a bunting with the African Flower shapes.

Bunting with African Flower Shapes

 

Here is how I made the Triangle Flags

Traingle Flag Pattern

Materials

Vinnis Colours Nikkim

3.5mm hook

Instructions

This pattern is worked from bottom up.

Row1: Ch2, 2sc in 2nd ch from hook, turn – 2sc

Row2: Ch1, 2sc in 1st st, sc in each remaining st to end of row, turn – 3sc

Row3-21: Repeat row 2. Each row will increase by 1 sc until your stitch count is – 20sc

Row22: Ch3, dc in next st, *ch1, sk 1, dc in next 2 st*, repeat from *to* across the row.

Row23-24: Repeat row 2 again until stitch count is – 22sc

Do not turn or fasten off.  Crochet an edging right around the triagle as follows:

Ch1, sl st into sc on side of triangle, (ch1, sl st) all around the traingle until you reach the start of the edging again.

Fasten off.

Sew away yarn tails

Make as many triangles as you like.  You can add them all throught the holes formed by the ch1, at the dc row.  Or put a ribbon through these holes and make up a bunting by sewing them onto a ribbon, or crochet them together with row of sc on the top edging and a few chains before you add the next flag.

Triangles Bunting

 

Hope you enjoy making some bunting for the baby’s room, girl’s or boy’s room or some decoration for a specific event or celebration!

Love

B

 

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