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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.


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Just News: My ‘not-so-crazy’ Crazy Coat

If you don’t know about The Crazy Coat Workshop / CAL, you are missing out. Luckily, the next round starts on the 1st of May! So you can still join.

What is The Crazy Coat Workshop / CAL? It is a three month designer workshop, run on Facebook, in a secret group. Each participant will design and make, a coat according to her own liking. It could be a long coat, or a short coat. A form fitting coat, or a loose, oversized, bulky coat. A colourful CRAZY coat, or just a plain coat. Whatever you want, we will make it happen!

I encountered a few people who didn’t want to make anything ‘crazy’ and was totally petrified that they would be able to join if they wanted to make something plain and simple. WRONG!

I quickly crocheted up a plain jacket, just to show that anything goes. Whatever you conceive in your mind, you can achieve. I will help you. I wanted an oversized, loose-fitting, dropped shoulder jacket, and this is what I made!

I was so blessed to have a whole lot of ladies here at Yarn in a Barn today, and one of them is Loma Groenewald, the famous crochet photographer! I immediately asked her to take some photos of me in my jacket! I might not be a model, but a good photographer helps!

She even snapped the details!

Join me for the next round. You are going to learn so much, all while having a lot of fun!

The cost is R500 per person and you can book your place HERE.


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Guides to Greatness: Yarn Weights

Yarn weights can be very confusing, especially for newbies in the world of yarn. You get sock yarn not suitable to make socks with. You get worsted spun yarn that has nothing to do with worsted weight yarn, and so the list goes on. To make matters worse, terminology differs between continents and countries, adding even more to the confusion.

Today I was waiting for the laundry to finish, and grabbed the first book I could find, just to browse around for 5 minutes. The book that landed in my lap, was A Knitting Adventure, by Dana Biddle from Colourspun.

If you are into knitting, this book is worth buying. And right now, it is a steal at only R99 at Takealot. The usual price is over R200. Even if you are not a knitter, the yarn information in this book makes it so worth the money!

Dana has some amazing information in this book, among other, a very helpful table on yarn weights! I got her permission to share it with you.

How’s that? I absolutely love this; the last column is the best!

Thanks Dana!