The Crazy Coat Designer CAL- May Group

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 May. Book your place HERE. I can only accommodate 100 people in each workshop series.

Soon I will have a Pinterest board up with the Crazy Coats from the current round!


Posted on

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.


Posted on

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!

Posted on

Just News: Sore Hands Remedy

Here is the recipe everybody is looking for!

This hand cream will alleviate pain and fatigue. The mix is quite strong already; do not increase the essential oils in the cream.

You can use this cream as often as you like, all over your body. It has excellent anti-inflammatory properties too.

Mix the following ingredients together:

  • Large pot aqueous cream
  • 40 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
  • 40 drops Marjoram Essential Oil
  • 20 drops Lavender Essential Oil
  • 10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 10 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil

Keep your essential oils in the fridge to prolong the life thereof. The same goes for the cream. Keep the big jar in the fridge and decant little bits for yourself into another, smaller container.

  • This cream is not meant to replace any prescribed medication.
  • Test the cream beforehand for adverse reactions.
  • Hilda Steyn / Yarn in a Barn do not accept any liability should the cream not perform as expected.



Posted on

Crochet Guide to Greatness: The Leaning Square

I don’t think there is a crocheter alive, who hasn’t wondered about the leaning square at some point in time. This photo, courtesy of Christelle Botha, perfectly shows what I am referring to. The square, isn’t square! It is leaning over to the right hand side. Christelle is clearly right-handed. If this was done by a left-handed person, the square would have been leaning to the left.

The common advice given to prevent this from happening, is to “turn around every now and then, and crochet with the wrong side facing you”. But why?

To keep things simple, I will use notation for a half-double crochet (US) / double crochet (UK).

The official notation for this stitch, looks like this:

The diagram for a tiny swatch with this stitch, will look like this:

Be warned. This is very misleading. I wish I could change the entire world of crochet and use different notation. Sounds crazy right? Let me explain. Look at the photo below. I have indicated the stitch hole and the stitch post, of the last stitch made. If you look closely, you will see that the stitch hole, is slightly to the right of the stitch post.

The notation should actually look like this:

This is a much more realistic way of showing it. With this notation, you can even determine the direction in which the crochet should be done. The diagram below not only gives the pattern, it also indicates that the piece should be turned around after each row!

So what does all of this, have to do with the leaning square?

Look again at the diagram above. The posts of the stitches are not on top of each other, yet because you are working back and forth, that slight movement, is corrected automatically. But what will happen if you continually crochet with the same side facing you? This!

BAM! You will have a leaning square!

To keep a square from leaning, you have to turn around EVERY round! Not only will your square be SQUARE, it won’t have a wrong or right side either. Unless you are like me. Then the last round will determine which side is the right side!

Pity I cannot change the entire world of crochet to use more realistic notations.

Make sure you subscribe to my blog for more awesome tutorials.

Posted on

Just News: The Way Forward

When the website crashed, I didn’t only lose the online shop, I also lost three years worth of blogging. Moaning and moping won’t change a thing, so I am embracing this opportunity to start over!

On the Yarn in a Barn Facebook Page, I asked what people would like to see on my blog. From the answers I got, and from some deep thinking on my side, I decided on the following categories:

  • Tool Talk: In these blogs I will tell you about different gadgets, that could make your crafting easier, or more interesting.
  • The Face: In these blogs you can meet the people behind the yarn and other products, that I stock in Yarn in a Barn.
  • Guide to Greatness: In these blogs I will teach you advanced techniques, be it crochet or knitting.
  • Yarn Review: Exactly what the name says; I will tell you all you need to know about the yarns in Yarn in a Barn.
  • Just News: no explanation needed! This could be anything, new workshops, new events, new yarn, whatever is happening at Yarn in a Barn.

I will include the blog categories in the blog title for your convenience.

I hope you will enjoy the new journey with me.

Let’s rock this year with fibre art!

Posted on

Just News: The Crazy Coat

Back in 2013, I saw this photo on Pinterest.

I loved it, and I had to have it. I searched everywhere and could not find the pattern. So I made my own. Unfortunately, I ‘grew’ a bit and the coat no longer fits. So my daughter is wearing it now.

Since then, many have asked for a pattern. I couldn’t write a pattern for it, as it was someone else’s concept. The requests kept on coming. So I finally decided to do something about it.

The Crazy Coat Workshop Series / CAL is a CAL with a twist. A huge twist. Each person will design her own, unique, crazy coat, and make it, using her favourite size crochet hook, and yarn she prefers. I am not being prescriptive about it at all! So how are we going to do it?

The cost to join the CAL is R500. That would amount to about $38, depending on the exchange rate. This is simply to pay for my time; I am going to spend a lot of time coaching people through this journey. This is not for those who just want a free CAL to make a coat the same as thousands of others. It is for those that wish to progress to a higher level in crochet, and need a bit of guidance to get there.

Each week, I will release a document with information and work for that week. I will take you through the entire process of planning, designing and creating. All of it. After this, you will be able to make any garment you can think of, with the techniques I am going to teach you. It is a chance to learn how to find and express, your unique creativity and make something completely unique.

I am thrilled with excitement for yet another opportunity, to help people grow, and to help people reach a level higher than they thought possible. That is why I do what I do. Having social media following means nothing. It hasn’t got eternity value. Building people up, helping them reach the higher heights, encouraging them to believe in themselves; that is my calling. That is why I am doing this.

We are starting on the 1st of March. The entire project will be run in a secret Facebook group, so that people all over the world can take part.

Join me! Book your place HERE.

Posted on

Just news: A fresh new start

Life happens. That is a nice way to say shit happens. I know I shouldn’t use that word, but hey, right now, it seems quite fitting.

On Friday, the 20th of January, a hacker targeted my website host, and wiped out more than 1200 e-commerce sites, back-ups and all. I was devastated. More than three years of work down the drain. Everything was gone. I have to rebuild my entire website from scratch. I had a temper tantrum, that turned into a tearful session that lasted two days. Finally yesterday, I got a fresh new backend to start working on. Big girl panties hey!

I am proud to say my website is up and running. The online shop is not there yet, but it will be back without a few days. We are working relentlessly to get everything back to normal as fast as we can.

How does this affect you? Well, the implications of this are far reaching:

  • You will have to register again before you can place an order. Your entire profile and purchase history is gone.
  • If you have bought any patterns before, you will no longer have those patterns. All patterns are now available free of charge to make up for any loss.
  • All yarnie points have been lost. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about that. I do apologise.
  • If you have recently placed an order, and have not yet received your parcel, please forward the email order confirmation you have received, to so that we can ensure you get the products you paid for.

I apologise for the inconvenience to you my valued customers.

The website is looking lovely, with a fresh new look, better security and backups in three different places!

If you need anything in a hurry, feel free to email me your order via the web contact form.

Take that hacker!