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This blog is a tribute to some special people in my crochet life.
Please indulge me while I give you a bit of background.
I started crocheting when I was very young, around 8 if I remember correctly. I was taught by my Ouma and my Mother, Beryl Kaltenbrunn.
Ouma crocheted until she was in her 90’s and her eyesight started to fail. I never saw her use a pattern, but she produced gorgeous work. Mostly baby blankets and bed socks.
Mom is now in her 80’s and still knits and crochets. She has made some of my patterns which is a great honour to me. Mom knits the most beautiful jerseys and cardigans for her great-grandchildren.
I crocheted (and even knitted on the rare occasions) on and off throughout my life, but it wasn’t until I retired nearly 12 years ago that my hobby became my passion. It filled the hours that had previously been consumed by work. It gave me purpose. I am a workaholic by nature and I needed to be kept busy.
In October 2016 my career as a designer kicked off. The learning curve was steep. My 1st attempt at writing a pattern was The Neave Baby Blanket. This is where testing became a reality in my life.
At first I took every correction and suggestion very personally. My confidence hit rock bottom and I very nearly gave up. A very special lady, Kogi Naidoo, took me under her wing and taught me to write a decent pattern. Many of you will know Kogi from her A Square a Week Challenge on Facebook, as well as Creative Kogi. Kogi was “tester in chief” of many of my early patterns. Her love and patience gave me the confidence to keep designing. Kogi has a very busy life with her job and family so no longer tests for me. She does find time to do her own designs and these can be found by visiting the links above. Thank you Kogi.
Many lovely ladies have tested for me over the years and I am eternally grateful. Thank you to all of you.
Five ladies currently form my regular tester go-to group. They are:
These wonderful ladies have been so supportive.
What exactly do they do?
When my draft patterns are ready for testing, we form a Messenger Group. That’s when the fun starts.
I send them a draft of the pattern, they pick up their hooks and start to make up the item from my draft pattern.
They report on mistakes (yes, I make many in my excitement to get the pattern documented); make suggestions; find anomalies in the formatting and, in general, whip the pattern into shape before we publish it for your enjoyment. We interact constantly through our Messenger group. Many versions of the document fly back and forth until we eventually have the final version. I estimate that each tester spends upwards of 100 hours on this process. A significant amount of their time.
Special friendships are formed through this process.
My testers are talented crocheters (is that actually a word?). They produce beautiful work in the process of testing. I am so reliant on their ability to proof read and make the necessary corrections. From time to time we do miss something, but if it gets reported we will make every effort to get the corrections made as soon as possible.
Their patience with me is commendable.
They don’t get paid for this service. They do it for the love of the craft. If I have enough money in the bank, I provide them with yarn or reimburse them for using their own yarn. This is entirely dependent on your support. By buying the patterns or subscribing, you enable these lovely ladies to get the yarn for testing purposes.
Design and testing go hand-in-hand. It would be very irresponsible for me to publish untested patterns. This would only cause frustration and diminish my reputation as a designer. My success is their success.
I am eternally grateful to every single one of my testers. You are there for me even when you are facing your own personal challenges. I love you all. Thank you!!
My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Thank you for reading this and for your ongoing support. It means the world to me.
Lots of love
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