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How to crochet the Diagonal Stitch

I was playing around with different yarns and different stitches, trying to inspire myself to design a shawl. My daughter calls that ‘doodling with a crochet hook’. So while I was doodling, the Diagonal Stitch happened. By accident. I haven’t seen it anywhere before, but in the world of crochet you never know. I hope though, that this will be as special to you, as it is to me!

This is a corner to corner stitch, but calling it anything remotely that like, is going to cause huge confusion, so I decided to call it the Diagonal Stitch. Simple and straight forward.

Let me show you how it’s done! Remember, I use US terminology.

To start with this stitch pattern, do a slip-knot, and chain 2.

In the 2nd chain from the hook, (sc1, hdc1, dc1) all in the same stitch.

We will call this a cluster. Remember, cluster = (sc1, hdc1, dc1) all in the same stitch.

Chain two to turn.

Crochet a cluster in the 2nd chain from the hook.

Skip two stitches (the double crochet and half double crochet of the previous row), crochet a cluster in the third stitch (the single crochet of the previous row). Chain 2 to turn.

We are now going to repeat the process. Crochet a cluster in the second chain from the hook.

Skip the next two stitches and crochet a cluster in the third stitch.

And again….. you can now see your triangle!

Repeat the row as many times as you need.

When you have done enough increase rows, we you can start decreasing. Decrease rows also start with a chain two.

Skip the two chains and two stitches and do a cluster in the third stitch. Place a stitch marker in the single crochet of the cluster. Skip two stitches and cluster in the third stitch. Repeat this across the row just like the you did with the increase rows. When you reach the very last stitch, instead of a cluster, crochet only one single crochet.

Chain two to turn. Skip the two chains and THREE stitches, and crochet a cluster in the fourth stitch. Place a stitch marker in the sc of the cluster you just made. You will immediately see the new corner. Complete your row in the normal fashion.

Be careful of the last stitch of this row – it will fall slightly over to the back of the work; simply tilt your project towards you to get the complete V of the stitch. For this row, it is the stitch with the stitch marker. Keep placing the stitch marker in the 1st sc of each decrease row, so that you can easily see the last stitch when you do the next row.

Continue in this fashion, until you can only crochet 1 single crochet in the very last row. All you need now is a nice little border and off you go!

This stitch pattern is perfect for face cloths, dish cloths, place mats and blankets. It is especially excellent for baby blankets as it is nice and sturdy, with no holes for little fingers to be caught in.

I made a facecloth with this stitch and it works perfectly! Here is the pattern for you to try.

Face Cloth Pattern


  • 50g MoYa DK
  • 3.5mm crochet hook


  • st – stitch
  • ch – chain
  • sc – single crochet
  • hdc – half double crochet
  • dc – double crochet
  • sk – skip
  • cl – cluster (sc1, hdc1, dc1) all into the same stitch
  • tdc – twisted double crochet (SEE VIDEO)


The increase section

  • Row 1 – Chain 2, start in the 2nd chain from the hook, cl into the 2nd ch, ch2 to turn
  • Row 2 – Start in the 2nd chain from the hook, cl, sk2, cl, ch2 to turn
  • Row 3 – Start in the 2nd chain from the hook, cl, (sk2, cl) across the row, ch2 to turn
  • Repeat row 3 17x times more – 20 rows, 20 clusters across the last row

The decrease section

  • Row 21 – sk4 (2 ch & 2 sts), cl, (sk2, cl) across the row until 3 sts remain, sk2, sc in the last st, ch2 to turn
  • Row 22 – sk5 (2 ch & 3 sts), cl, (sk2, cl) across the row until 3 sts remain, sk2, sc in the last st, ch2 to turn
  • Repeat row 22 18x more – 40 rows in total

The border

  • Turn your project to work down the side.
  • [(ch3, sk over two clusters, sc between the clusters) x10 times, ch3, sc in the same space last used to create a corner loop] x4 times, ss to close the round
  • ss into the next 3-ch-space, (tdc1, dc3) in the 3-ch-space, (dc4 in the next 3-ch-space) x9 times, [(dc2, ch2, dc2) in the corner 3-ch-space, (dc4 in the next 3-ch-space) x10 times] x3 times, (dc2, ch2, dc2) in the corner 3-ch-space, close the round with a ss to the tdc
  • ch1, (sc in each sts across the side, sc3 in the corner 2-ch-space) x4 times, sc2, cut off your working yarn, close the round with an invisible join, weave in all your tails.

Block your face cloth.

It’s as easy as that! If you enjoy this stitch pattern, post some photos of your projects on the Yarn in a Barn Facebook Page. I would love to see!



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Copyright Made Simple

Many people constantly commit copyright infringement, simply because they do not understand the principles of copyright. Allow me to elaborate on this sensitive issue.

In order to understand copyright, you have to understand the differences between a trademark, a patent, and copyright.


A trademark is the name given to a product, or a range of products, by the manufacturer thereof. A trademark must be registered. Examples of trademarks are Levi, Guess and Billabong.

Counterfeit goods are goods that are sold with the trademark, but the trademark holder did not manufacture the goods.


A patent is registered with the government. If the patent license is given, the patent owner will have the sole production and selling rights, for a pre-determined time.  Examples of patents are the ambidextrous scissor, the retractable tape measure, the piercing crochet hook and the steel crochet hook with thumb rest.


What is copyright

Copyright is the exclusive legal right that the creator of the artwork has, pertaining to his/her work of art/intellectual property. This means that the copyright holder, has the exclusive right:

  • To publish
  • To copy
  • To sell
  • To perform
  • To display
  • To distribute
  • Etc….

Copyright applies to all works of art. Included in this list are the following:

  • Books
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Paintings
  • Photographs
  • Presentations
  • Manuals
  • Craft Patterns
  • And more…

There is no registration for copyright, only declaration, e.g. © Hilda Steyn 2016.

Copyright Infringement

Here are some examples of copyright infringement:

  • Pirate music / movies;
  • Posting photos online without written consent from the copyright holder;
  • Sharing patterns online without written consent of the copyright holder;
  • Using art characters in your crafts without written consent of the copyright holder;
  • Copying a pattern for a friend;
  • Selling a pattern you did not design; and
  • Changing an existing pattern slightly, to sell it as your own.

What are the consequences of copyright infringement? The copyright holder could take you to court. Should you be found guilty, you could face the following for a first offense:

  • Confiscation of infringing material;
  • Interdict to prevent further infringement ;
  • Damages determined by the court, to be paid to the copyright holder;
  • A fine of up to R5,000; and
  • Imprisonment of up to three years.

Should you continue, and be found guilty again, you could face the following:

  • Confiscation of infringing material;
  • Interdict to prevent further infringement ;
  • Damages determined by the court, to be paid to the copyright holder;
  • A fine of up to R10,000; and
  • Imprisonment of up to five years.

Copyright on Patterns

Regardless of whether you received a pattern for free, or paid for it, you are entitled to:

  • Print the pattern for your own use;
  • Sell the items you have made from the pattern;
  • Keep the pattern for future use; and
  • Share the LINK to the pattern online.

In both cases, you may not:

  • Print a pattern to give to somebody else;
  • Sell the pattern;
  • Share it in any form whatsoever;
  • Publish pattern photos online; and
  • Recreate the pattern and claim it as your own design.

You are probably wondering why designers then make patterns available for free. We do it for the following reasons:

  • To build social media following;
  • Exposure to the crafting community;
  • To increase website traffic; and
  • To promote yarn sales (if the designer has a yarn shop too).

Remember: All aspects of the Copyright law, apply to both free and paid patterns. There is no difference whatsoever!

Techniques and Stitch Patterns

There is no copyright on techniques or stitch patterns. If I create a new stitch pattern today and call it raised stitch, somebody else can use that same stitch pattern and call it something else.

Expiry of Copyright

Copyright expires several years after the death of the copyright holder. In most countries, it is 50 years.

Please consider the effort designers put into designing patterns. Designing patterns, and facilitating workshops are our sources of income. Copyright infringement, robs us of an income.



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The Crazy Coat Designer’s CAL – June

If you move fast, you can still join The Crazy Coat Designer’s CAL starting in June. I have extended bookings until Monday, the 5th.

The Crazy Coat is not a CAL, nor a workshop. In a way, it is both. It is a three-month designer’s, online workshop. In the three months, you will learn everything you need to know, to start designing, and crochet your own garments. During the three months, you will design, and crochet, a coat or a jacket – what it will look like is entirely up to you! It will be just as unique as you are. Afterwards, you will be able to apply the same principles and make many more garments. And yes, if you want, you can publish the patterns!

The following topics are covered:

  • All about copyright (you have to understand what is allowed and what not);
  • Choosing colours to match your project;
  • Choosing fibre and yarn to match your project;
  • The project tug-of-war;
  • Body types and clothing types;
  • Creating or finding a template;
  • Special crochet techniques to add the wow-factor;
  • Finishing techniques to add the wow-factor;
  • Resizing garment patterns; and finally
  • Pattern writing and publishing on Ravelry.

We use a secret Facebook group for the interaction between all the members. All study material, videos etc, are published on the Facebook group only. Although the course runs for three months officially, you have my guarantee that I will not close the group until every person is done.

The next workshop is due to start on the 1st of June. Book your place now. I can only accommodate 100 people in each workshop series.

Soon I will have a photo gallery with the Crazy Coats from the previous rounds! In the meantime, here are some feedback from the members of group 1:

Samantha Ndada: If you want to know all the inside info designers use to create beautiful clothes… THIS course is for you! This is an amazing designing journey and nothing is impossible!

Angela Brown: In the Google age that we live in there is so much information out there, but on this course I have learnt so much more…all those little secrets…you watch the video and go…oh of course! Why didnt I think of that. Thank you Hilda for such an informative course that I have already started using in my every day crochet. Love and gratitude.

Riana Pretorius: Thank you for a very informative workshop. I have learned so much, that I feel confident to make more garments after this coat. What I like most about your way of teaching this is that I can make my own coat the way I like it, with my own colours, pattern and stitch choice. And I know there will not be 20 ladies with the same coat. You are a star!

Gwen Brits: Ek leer so baie met die kursus wat ek nooit op my eie sou kon leer nie. Ons wat op plekke bly waar daar nie iemand of ‘n kursus is wat mens meer kan leer van die fynere geheime van hekel nie is die kursus nodig om voor in te skryf. Dankie Hilda.

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Just News: A new addition to the Ilona Wooden Range

I am so excited! Our Ilona Wooden Range now includes a shawl pin!

This cute must-have-accessory is hand-turned from Rhodesian Teak, and finished off to be smooth as can be! No snagging or hooking your precious shawls.

I tested the efficiency of this shawl pin, with the big, fat and heavy Under the Sea Shawl, our shawl for June. Pleasantly surprised is a major understatement!

It sits! My shawl was kept in place regardless of my movements around the house. I am super pleased!

Order yours HERE.

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The Crazy Coat Designer’s CAL: Margie Pascoe

We have another coat that is finished! Whoop-whoop!

Here is what Margie Pascoe has to say.

Thanks to social media and all the available online crafting groups, many of you would have seen Hilda Steyn’s current CAL, The Crazy Coat. I read the blurb, watched the video, and had to give this unique CAL a go! 

As Hilda says, her Crazy Coat CAL is a new concept – in just three months you learn everything you need to know to design and create your own coat. Run via a secret Facebook group, there are reading assignments, lots of videos, sharing of opinions, ideas and photos, and constant help and support from Hilda, who, by the way, is an awesome teacher, always patient, and extremely knowledgeable about all things crochet, yarn and design. 

I have completed many CALs over the past couple of years, and this is one of the best! The creativity and camaraderie between group members and Hilda is wonderful, and everyone is positive and helpful. I encourage all aspiring designers or anyone who wants to lift their crochet skills to a new level to sign up here for the next Crazy Coat CAL.

From a design….

To a motif…

To a beautiful little jacket!

Margie Pascoe

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The Crazy Coat Designer’s CAL: Melanie Hartley

Slowly but surely, those that joined the first round of The Crazy Coat Designer’s CAL, are making progress.

Melanie Hartley was the first one to finish her coat that she designed herself. Here is what she has to say about this course:

When  I started The Crazy Coat Course I wasn’t  at all sure what I would learn and what direction it would take. I really fancied the idea of doing it in the comfort of my home. Designing  seemed a mountain but this course proved it to be a molehill. 

I class myself as an advanced knitter but mediocre  crocheter. All the skills so far collected in my life have been brought together by what I have learnt. I now have a plan and direction when making a garment.

I loved being alerted to the wonderful story about wool colour design shape and size.

I have more confidence in picking up the hook and so many ideas for future  projects.

It is a new adventure, a complete new look that makes the conventional way look sad!

It has been so interesting to see peoples ideas all over the world too. Wonderful that there are so many people so passionate about crochet.

No more poorly fitted jerseys in my cupboard!

Melanie Hartley

Melanie started off with a beautiful stitch pattern that was simply perfect for the yarn she chose. First the back panel was designed.

And then the front followed. Note the change on the front – the stitch pattern was only used on the bottom of the front panels.

The sleeves were done brilliantly – look at the cuff!

And then Melanie’s project took a wild turn that I wasn’t expecting at all! She wanted a collar and border, that would remind her of fur, and this is what she came up with.

Her first coat is finished and she is already working on number 2!

Round no.2 of The Crazy Coat Designer’s CAL started yesterday, but you still have until Friday, the 5th, to join. Hurry up!

If you are wondering whether you would be able to do this, watch this VIDEO and then decide. Remember, your coat will be as unique as you are. No two will look even remotely the same!

Join me on this journey, and take your crochet skills to a whole new level. Book your place HERE.

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It’s Shawl You Ever Wanted

I asked for a name, you made suggestions, and so our new project was born. It’s Shawl You Ever Wanted. A shawl-a-month-box!

Our first shawl is The Sweetheart Shawl. It is made in MoYa Bamboo in a modular, join-as-you-go fashion. This is our shawl for May, and the boxes will be sent out on the 1st of May.

There are seven different kits available, each with the name of a love song. Along with the yarn and the pattern, you will also receive a quality, branded ring binder in which you can collect all 12 patterns. The ring binder is free of charge with The Sweetheart Shawl only. It can however be bought separately.

A short story is part of the pattern; a story that relates to the symbolism of the shawl and to the women who will wear it. Obviously, there will be nice to have surprises in there as well!

Order The Sweetheart Shawl here.

The second shawl in the series in the Under The Sea Shawl. This shawl was inspired by shells and coral reefs, and of course, The Little Mermaid. Again you have seven kits to choose from, each named after a daughter of King Triton.

This shawl is crocheted in one piece, with beautiful colour migrations.

Do you believe in faery tales? Maybe you should. Order this kit to receive a short story as part of the pattern. And yes, there will be nice surprises in the box as well.

You can order your kit for Under The Sea here.

I cannot wait for the rest of the shawl in the series! Join me on this memorable journey.

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The end of the beginning…

Yarn in a Barn was born in a moment of boredom, while reading through my Facebook newsfeed, somewhere in 2013. My husband and I were in bed already, each scrolling through our Facebook feeds. At that stage, the t-yarn craze just started and everybody was looking for t-yarn. A fleeting thought came out of my mouth: “maybe I should open an online shop and sell t-yarn”. My husband’s response was quick. “Go big”. I chewed on the thought for about 5 minutes, thinking what I was capable of doing myself, and what platforms and/or software I would need to make it happen. When I finally decided to get serious about it, I asked him what I should call the online shop. Without looking up from his tablet, and without a moment’s hesitation, he said: “Yarn in a Barn. It sounds nice”. Right then, Yarn in a Barn was born.

I had no plans to resign from my job. I had a wonderful career as a Business Analyst that I worked very hard on. But God’s plans were different from mine, and at the end of 2013, I walked out of the corporate world to become a full time business owner.

I made so many mistakes on the journey up til now. I had no mentor and no one I could ask for advice. I met human angels on this journey, and unfortunately, I met a few human demons as well. Luckily they are far in the minority. Crafters are generally nice people.

My approach is different. My designs are different. My focus is different. And for that, I have received my fair share of criticism over the last four years. Other yarn shop owners and designers keep their lips sealed when they make a mistake, I don’t. I am transparent and I will remain transparent. That is my choice.

Yesterday, I archived both the Yarn in a Barn Crochet Along Group, and the Yarn in a Barn Knit Along Group. The groups consumed an enormous amount of time, and they didn’t add any business value whatsoever. It was a hard decision to make, but hey, that is what life is all about. What is the good of having a mind, if you can’t change it? We fall down, we get up….

I have reached a point in my life, where I finally understand enough about myself, to go forward in determination and confidence.

I am not here to become a wonderful book author. I had the chance and I turned it down. I was approached by one of the biggest publishers in South Africa to write and publish a crochet book. It wasn’t for me. It is not who I am. That gift belongs to people like Karen Adendorff, somebody I admire immensely.

I am not here to become a world renowned blogger and CAL designer. I have a blog, but I only blog when I feel I have something to share. I don’t stick to a regular schedule, I know it is my downfall, but I am not going to stress too much about it. I would rather blog once in a blue moon when I have something worthwhile to say, than blog weekly and not actually add any value to the life of those who read it. I have done CALs and I will do it again, but I will do it very differently next time. With each failure, we learn. I have learned a lot in the last four years.

Each person is born with certain gifts and talents. It took me a very long time and lots of failures to finally reach a point in my life, where I know what I have to do. And that is what I will focus on from here on forward. Obviously, I want Yarn in a Barn to be a profitable business. But that is not my main focus. My mission is to add value to the lives of other people. And I do it through my yarn shop and through my projects. If I can make one person believe in herself again, I will feel blessed. If I can guide one person to a point where he / she can find and express the inner creativity, I will feel blessed. If I can walk a road with a customer that needs a sister to lean on, I will feel blessed. If I can teach people new techniques and give them new confidence in their crafting, I will feel blessed. That is the focus of my life. Impacting people with positivity. Encouraging those that are too tired to carry on.

The beginning of Yarn in a Barn is now over. Yarn in a Barn is a well established business that still have loads of potential to grow. And with your support, it will. I hope to see you somewhere on my journey…


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Crochet Guide to Greatness: Weaving away the Tails

It’s a job we all hate. Weaving away the tails. We try to avoid it any which way we can. We share videos of different knots – all promising that it will never come undone. But deep down we know, the risk remains.

There was a time when I joined with the Fishermen’s Knot and I cut the tails off. I did it for a long time, until the unthinkable happened – a project I worked very hard on, came undone. There and then I decided to find a better way, even if it means more work. You see, the little bit of extra work, weaving away the tails, is actually minute if you compare it to the rest of the work that has gone into a project. The bigger the project, the bigger the difference. Weaving away tails is really not that bad. You just need to know a secret or two!

My mother taught me to use a wool needle – a needle with a blunt point. I am sure you were taught that way too. Well today, I am going to turn your entire opinion on wool needles upside down! You don’t need a blunt needle to weave away tails, you need a SHARP needle! Blunt needles are wonderful to sew up seams, but not for tails.

Let me explain.

A sharp needle will split the yarn, a blunt needle won’t. Makes sense doesn’t it? Why do we want to split the yarn? To prevent it from moving! So here is what you do…..

You need a needle with a BIG eye and a SHARP point. These are obviously not easy to find. Most of the needles with the big eyes, are all blunt. But there is one little packet of needles, that you simply have to have. And this is what it looks like. Obviously you will probably never use the bottom one, but the other four, are amazing!

Thread your tail through the sharp needle, relevant in size to the yarn you are working with.

No go underneath the ‘feet’ of a couple of stitches.

Skip one strand of yarn, and go back through the same little ‘tunnel’ under the ‘feet’ of the stitches.

Repeat this a second time: skip the last strand of yarn, and go back through the same ‘tunnel’.

Depending on the yarn you work with, you will feel the yarn splitting. That is exactly what you want to happen. Once you have passed through the same ‘tunnel’ three times with a sharp needle, there is very little chance of a tail ever creeping out; it won’t be able to move as it is split and woven into other threads in the tunnel.

Beware: once you have woven your tails away in this fashion, frogging is a disaster. Make sure your project is perfect, before you weave the tails away in this manner. You can forget about getting them out again. If you have to frog after the tails have been woven in, get the tissues and the scissor. You will have to cut in order to frog and you are going to cry.

Here is the really good news. That little pack of needles, is only R25 in the Yarn in a Barn online shop. Order yours HERE.

It’s a pleasure….

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Knitting Workshop: Steven Be is coming to Yarn in a Barn!

13 May 2017

Steven Be will present two workshops at Yarn in a Barn, on the 13th of May.

09h00 – 12h00
Ponchini 101

The ponchini is the new shawl–a versatile garment with so many design possibilities. This is your chance to cast on a ponchini with the help of the Ponchini Master himself.

Experience the magic of mixology, taking a variety of yarns from different brands, weights, and fiber contents to create a magical and unique ponchini. Use one of the patterns from Ponchini Vol. 1 and learn the structure, seaming, and wearability of the ponchini. Steven will teach you his favorite tips and tricks as he guides you through your first ponchini.

You have to bring the following:

  • One of Steven’s ponchini patterns – BUY A PATTERN ONLINE PRIOR TO THE CLASS.
  • Minimum 3 yarns to work with; we love to experiment with finer weights like lace and fingering and fiber contents like mohair and silk to be combined into a heavier weight. Yarns should be chosen and wound prior to class so we can begin immediately. More yarns can be added during class. Choose a color palette when bringing your stash to make it cohesive.
  • A variety of needle sizes will be needed so bring a good selection (we recommend an interchangeable set)

12h00 – 13h00
Cheese and wine lunch

13h00 – 16h00
Shawls, Scarves, and Scharves: Wrap Yourself in Creativity

Broaden your knitting horizons and change your life with StevenBe. This workshop is designed to be an amazing opportunity to have fun while learning Steven’s best tips and tricks. It will set you free from patterns as written and help you feel comfortable making your own modifications and design decisions. Remember: a pattern is only a guideline!

Start with a base pattern from StevenBe and learn different methods of creating angles and edges, modifying the shape with modular knitting, adding new colors, and combining fibers in unique ways to customize the pattern and truly make it yours. Learn to super-size smaller knits and play with a variety of yarn weights to create your own custom colors and textures.

You have to bring the following:

  • Pen, paper, and scissors
  • Base pattern of your choice from the StevenBe repertoire (recommended patterns are Silk N Scribbles, Eyelet Ponchini, Scharf, Shawlvest) – BUY A PATTERN ONLINE PRIOR TO THE CLASS.
  • Minimum 3 yarns to work with, we love to experiment with finer weights like lace and fingering and fiber contents like mohair and silk to be combined into a heavier weight. Yarns should be chosen and wound prior to class so we can begin immediately. More yarns can be added during class. Choose a color palette when bringing your stash to make it cohesive.
  • A variety of needle sizes will be needed so bring a good selection. We highly recommend an interchangeable needle set for this class
  • A notebook and pen or pencil for taking copious notes

You can have the entire day with Steven Be, two workshops and a cheese and wine lunch, all for R150 only. How amazing is that!

You don’t need to buy his book, although I think it would be worth it. But you will have to buy one of his pattern for each of the classes.

Book your place, we can only accommodate 22 people.