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Biography

My name is Debbie Hemsley (nee Kaltenbrunn) and I live in Fourways which is a suburb located to the north of Johannesburg, South Africa. I live with my supportive husband, Phil, and our lovely staffie, Benjamin, and two very aloof cats.

I am a crochet addict. I love everything to do with crochet. The endless supply of gorgeous multi-textured simply irresistible yarns, the challenging patterns and the creative process keep me busy and inspired.

Family is very important to me. My three children (Garrick, Bradley and Niki) are all grown up and have flown the nest. Two of my children live in the UK and one nearby us in Fourways. I have three lovely granddaughters, Isabella, Domenica and Neave. Just about all of the woman in the family crochet, including the younger generation.

Crochet has been a very important part of my life for the last 50 or so years. I was first taught the skill by my late Ouma (Grandmother), Gertrude Kaltenbrunn. She lived to be 97 years old and was still crocheting shortly before she left us. My mother, Beryl Kaltenbrunn, is also a great crochet mentor and has been a big influence on my crochet journey. She also knits beautifully, which I can’t do.

Priscilla Hewitt (Matelassé Collection), Helen Shrimpton (Mandala Madness) and Dedri Uys (Sophie’s Universe) have also been an inspiration to me. Their incredible creations have left me flabbergasted at the way they have brought crochet right into modern times. I am in awe of their ingenuity and new ways of combining stitches into masterpieces.

Since I retired 8 years ago, crocheting has become incredibly important and indeed necessary in my life. The main focus of my work has been to support various charities. I find this to be a wonderful outlet for my creativity and a great use of my time.

I have designed many of my own patterns along the way, but it was only recently that I took a chance and starting to design for the public. The enthusiasm for design was sparked when I hosted the video tutorials for Vanessa Smith’s CAL, The Sunshine Owl. This was something entirely new to me and I found myself thoroughly enjoying the process. With some encouragement from various friends, I decided to bite the bullet and design my own CAL. Hence, The Neave Blanket was born. The pattern was inspired by the birth of my third granddaughter, Neave. She was born on 1 October 2016.

Designing is a complex process that keeps me busy and stimulates my brain. I am having a wonderfully exciting time. I am amazed at how many great friends I have made through crochet and social media. These friends have been so incredibly supportive and I thank them sincerely for taking this journey with me. They have helped me through periods of self-doubt, tested my patterns, proof read my drafts and supported me through the challenging process that is pattern writing.

In closing, I would like to welcome you all to The Neave Collection. I hope you will enjoy making my designs as much as I have enjoyed putting them together for you.