Author Archives: Elaine

Heirloom Blanket

In February we like the silliness of hearts and lots of red and pink but most of us crafters show our love by making something for those we really care about. Elaine van Wyk, who is the founding partner of I Love Yarn, makes blankets! She has made many blankets for her children, nephews and nieces (and I can reveal that there is a to do list for quite a few more). The most beautiful of all of her gift blankets is a special one she has made for her husband who is very supportive of her and also our new venture.

It can be a challenge to make something that is masculine enough but also fits in with the general decor of your home. Elaine decided on a simple geometric pattern that is softened significantly by the use of a variety in textures and colours. Apparently the colours were picked with a photo of a Mediterranean landscape as the starting point.

The colours used in the motif of the Heirloom Blanket is combined according to personal taste.

The colours used in the motif of the Heirloom Blanket is combined according to personal taste.

The kit for this blanket can be bought from our online shop. We combined different types of yarn in four colour ways; blues, greens, pinks and peaches. There is approximately 2.3kg yarn in each kit and the pattern with diagram and written instructions. The blanket will be approximately 110cm x 192cm in size. Each blanket made will be truly unique as the colours and yarns are combined according to the personal taste of the maker. This blanket will be passed on and kept in families for generations to come!

Sunday Inspiration: Sophie Digard

Every time I see a Sophie Digard crochet item it takes my breath away. This French designer creates very labour intensive crochet items that are made in Madagascar. Her exquisite small motifs are repeated in a sophisticated colour palette using linens, wool and other natural fibres. She produces mainly scarves but also handbags and smaller items like necklaces. The items she makes will be beautiful and coveted in a hundred years still and that is why she is this week’s inspiration!

Clematis is inspired by the flower and fine linen is used:

Clematis via The French Needle

Clematis via The French Needle

I have a secret love affair with velvet and this scarf uses both velvet and merino wool! Pretty much the perfect combination of fibres for me!

Fifty Fifty via The French Needle

Fifty Fifty via The French Needle

This could be the inspiration for a personal necklace project:

Circle Necklace via Pinterest

Circle Necklace via Pinterest

Lovely fine repetition on this handbag (and we all know how many loose ends there will be with so many colour changes!):

Sophie Digard handbag via Pinterest

Sophie Digard handbag via Pinterest

Also see our Sophie Digard Pinterest board.

Embroidery is yarn too

Embroidery is my first love and is such a good fit with yarn. This is the last of the hearts for the week. May you feel love and give love far beyond the 14th!

Knitting that is embroidery in a heart shape!

From DIYand


Simple and modern. Red on grey.

Jaros Designs

Jaros Designs

I love cross stitch on unusual surfaces!

paperplate heart

Villa AppelZee

Beautifully traditional Matyo embroidery from Hungary. Heart pincushions.

Matyo hearts

beezeeger from flickr

More hearts!

Morning! It is Monday and almost Valentine’s Day. We hope that you’ve had time to try the I Love Yarn crochet heart and enjoyed making some hearts! Today we are linking to our favourite knitted hearts. Last week we featured a few lovely crochet hearts but this time round the ideas seem slightly more creative in terms of their practical uses.

We will never wear these in February in Pretoria but would definitely like to wear our hearts on our knees when it gets colder:

Hearts on your knee


You could cuddle with these:

betula pendula on

betula pendula on

Heart on a baby sleeve. Follow the link to overload on cuteness:

Nalle's House via Pinterest

Nalle’s House via Pinterest

Ok these are not practical but aren’t the colours perfect?

Jill Watt on Ravelry via Pinterest

Jille Watt on Ravelry via Pinterest

Sunday Inspiration: Itoamika Jungjung

We are enormously inspired by the Japanese craft culture. The quality of the yarns, the stylish patterns and the beautifully published craft books that we pore over even though we cannot understand a word of it. There is an attention to detail that can only come from spending time on really mastering your craft. We are also big fans of Itoamika Jungjung for her beautifully crocheted art pieces of plants, flowers and vegetables. It is super fine work using hand dyed yarns to get the colours just right.

ball string leaves 1 cells 1

fern 1 Fine mushrooms 1

leaves 1 madeliefie 1

tiny beets 1 tiny flowers 1

All images from - also see our jungjung pinterest board.

Free Crochet Heart

Get your Free Pattern for a Valentine’s Day Crochet Heart here!

I Love Yarn's Free Crochet Heart

I Love Yarn’s Crochet Heart

We developed the little pattern for a stuffed crochet heart as part of our Christmas decoration kit but it can be used for so many things, in different colours and with a variety of threads. We used Vinnis Serina, 100% bamboo for its beautiful sheen.


Vinnis Serina in Crimson, 100% 4ply bamboo yarn, 3.5mm crochet hook, stuffing


1. Ch11, dc into 2nd ch from hook, dc into each ch to the end (10dc in total)
2. Ch1, turn. 9dc. Make 2dc in next stitch. (11dc in total)
3. Ch1, turn. 9dc, dc2tog in next stitch.
4. Ch1, turn. 10dc.
5. Ch1, turn. 10dc.
6. Ch1, turn. 8dc, dc2tog into next 2 stitches.
7. Ch1, turn. Dc2tog, 7dc.
8. Ch1, turn. 6dc.
9. Ch1, turn. 2dc into the 1st stitch, 5dc.
10. Ch1, turn. Dc2tog, work 1dc into next 2 stitches, dc2tog.
11. Ch1, turn. Dc2tog, dc2tog. End off.

Make two of these hearts and ss them together (leave open a small space).
Fill quite firmly with stuffing before closing the opening. Weave in ends.

Crochet hearts for your besties!

It is the month of love and there are a lot of hearts out there! Not sure that I would make a handmade heart for the man in my life but I know all the lovely women I care for will appreciate one. So for love and fun, our favourite crochet hearts found on-line. On Friday we will be giving away a free crochet heart pattern!

Heart pebbles in a bowl:

Pebble hearts
From BabanCat on Etsy

A circle of hearts that evokes a ring of friendship:

Circle of hearts

Julie Saranglao via flickr

French simplicity in a brooch:

domatoma on Etsy via Pinterest

domatoma on Etsy via Pinterest

These heart earrings are too cute to resist:

gitte on Etsy via Pinterest

gitte on Etsy via Pinterest

On Friday we will post a free I Love Yarn crochet heart pattern for you to play with on the weekend!



Our physical store is open! Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 9:00 – 13:00 and Wednesday evenings 18:30 – 21:30. IMG_2327


Part of our dream has been to have a bricks and mortar space too. Through the workshops and community get-togethers we have met so many lovely people and we desperately wanted to create an environment where yarny makers can feel comfortable and welcome. I think we have succeeded and hope you will agree.



Community is so important to us, both in the virtual space and in our daily lives and meeting online friends combine those worlds in a very special way. We want you to share in that and have a small tea garden as part of our store. Some cupcakes, quiche and drinks and a space where you can bring your project and share it with like-minded people. We are at 94 Anderson street, Brooklyn, Pretoria. We can’t wait to see what you are working on!


Crochet for Beginners 2: Loose Ends

This tutorial follows from our first one in the series; Ending Off. Weaving away the loose ends are very important for a neat end result. Ends can unravel again and will then be too short to work away properly. Our rule for ourselves is to work it away, back and forth, in at least three directions and for a slippery thread such as bamboo, four times in different directions. You must really let the stitches you’ve used, guide you when deciding how to weave away the ends. Let us show you an example:

Loose Ends 3 Loose Ends 4 Loose Ends 5 Loose Ends 6 Loose Ends 7 Loose Ends 8 Loose Ends 9 Loose Ends 10




























Cut the thread after you’ve finished weaving. We try to do the weaving in such a way so that the woven yarn is not visible in the stitches. You should ideally weave through more stitches in a direction than is shown in these pictures. This is the part of crocheting that most people do not particularly enjoy but it is worth doing thoroughly.


Crochet for Beginners 1: Ending off

We have prepared a little photo tutorial to show you how we like to end off our crochet work. We are not in favour of knots as they are visible no matter how carefully you try to position the knot.

What you will need:

  • Yarn Needle
  • Scissors

Step 1: Remove your crochet hook and cut the yarn, leaving a tail of about 8 cm.

 Step 2: Pull the loose end through the last stitch for the loop to become bigger.

Step 3: Pull the loose end free from the last stitch.

Step 4: Pull the thread with the loose end tight and the last stitch down in the same position as the  rest of the final row of stitches.

It is very important to work yarn ends like this away properly using your yarn needle. In the next tutorial we will show you how.