If ever you get the opportunity to meet Anneke Wiese I would suggest that you set at least 2 hours aside for one of the most inspiring conversations on crochet.
The first thought that comes to mind when I think about Anneke is that she most definitely is a trend-setter.
Not only is she the queen of the T-yarn, which she uses to crochet her fabulous mats and baskets, but she also set the social media platforms alight with the really easy Twisties she designed and made this winter.
My first meeting with this awesome woman was during a holiday earlier the year when I went to meet her at a fabulous coffee shop.
She was so welcoming, so inviting and what I really appreciated was the fact that she embraced me as an old friend and had absolutely no qualms about sharing advice, experience or creative ideas with me, than a total stranger.
All I can say is that my world has been enriched with colour and creativity since I have met her.
Read our interview with this inspiring crochet friend…
What inspires you?
Nature in all its forms. Mostly the ocean here in Paternoster.
The beaches, flowers and sea shells.
The awesome colour inspiration you get from that.
When we visit the Ceder mountains, we like to go on hikes.
Not too far though, so that Anya, our little pink princess, can keep up.
You will always find Nina and I, our eldest, trailing behind with iPad and camera, taking photos of every beautiful flower, pebble or interesting rock formation we pass.
And included in the nature inspiration, is food.
Fresh vegetables and fruit has the most stunning colour inspiration.
And people inspire me as well. Especially children.
You see the world in a wonderful new way if you bend down and try and look through their eyes.
The smaller the child, the more surprised they are at the new discoveries they make every day. Every teeny tiny little object looks fascinating for them.
When did you start crafting and who taught you?
When I was in school (many many moons ago!) we were taught the basics of sewing and knitting. I knitted a blue teddy. And made a pleated skirt with pale yellow material with tiny flowers printed on. I wish I kept both. They were beautiful. And with none of today’s technology back then, I don’t even have a photo of them. When I was in high school I knitted a few jerseys and made a skirt or two. Mom was there to help. She was good with sewing and I can remember a few outfits she made for me and my sister when we were small. Pretty soon after, I started working, I bought myself a sewing machine and made a lot of my clothes myself. Mostly very simple patterns. Geen frilletjies en valletjies nie! When Nina and Yana were about three and four I wanted to lengthen their pants with pretty crochet borders or flowers. That was in 2005. I did not know how to crochet. I bought a beginner crochet book at Leisure Books.. In the book they mostly crocheted with package twine. So off I went to Checkers in Sea Point, and bought a roll of twine and a crochet hook. I didn’t even know of a yarn shop in the area. I started crocheting little baskets. Lots and lots. Until everyone I know had one for a present and I had a big crate full of baskets. I embellished them with beads (a previous hobby ) or sea shells. Then I had a fabric painting phase. So everyone got cushions with cats painted on them as gifts. In 2010 we had our little surprise. Princess Anya. When we sat down to tell Nina and Yana, then 9 and 10 they were not very excited. Nina said she was very happy with just Yana as a sister. Hahaha! So in 2010 we built a beach house in Paternoster and welcomed a beautiful little baby! After Anya was born I was a bit more house-bound again and wanted something to keep myself busy with. So I took up the crochet hook again. This time around I ventured a bit further than the baskets. Bought another crochet book or two, and found out where the yarn shops in the area were.
Next I tried flowers, but wasn’t very successful at that. My knowledge of single crochet and double crochet did not take me far. A teacher at the girls’ school showed me how to make a granny square. I immediately decided the girls desk chairs needed to be yarn bombed with granny squares! A blue one and a pink one. I rushed to the yarn shop close to the school and bought lots of pink and blue balls of yarn.
By that time I discovered crochet blogs and all the free patterns and tutorials on the internet. I also discovered the little gem of a yarn shop in Vredenburg. When I first laid eyes on Selma, the owner, I knew that we were going to become friends. And after doing a few simple granny squares, I wanted to try out different ones. Anthea, Selma’s daughter helped via BBM with all the new stitches there was to learn.
If you want to learn new stitches in crochet, the best way is to do a few intricate granny squares. You can find hundreds of different ones on Ravelry for free! The best way to learn to crochet is sitting next to a friend. One good beginner book helps too. And a simple Google search will get you lots of tutorials on crochet.
Tell me about your product?
I love to crochet with t-shirt yarn and am so privileged to have 50 Something Yarn shop so close by. The décor products you can crochet with it, is just so pretty and functional. And it is just wonderful that the yarn is off cuts from t-shirt factories. So we are saving a little bit of the earth when we use it.
Since I started crocheting with t-shirt yarn in March 2013, there was no stopping! And once our house had enough rugs and baskets, I started selling them as well. And how wonderful to crochet a rug in the perfect colour for gifts to friends as well. I am very thankful for all the orders, as we who absolutely love the craft always need money for more yarn!
A highlight for me was designing my very first pattern, the “pink doily rug”. I love the lacy look and also wanted a pattern where 1kg of t-shirt yarn would be enough for a rug about 50 cm in diameter. It is wonderful seeing other crochet enthusiasts different versions of the pattern.
And in between rug orders I do crochet with other yarns as well. I was pleasantly surprised with the hit that my twisty neck warmer became.
How did it all begin?
When we left the city in 2013 to move to Paternoster, friends thought that I would be lonely and bored.
Tobie, my husband, was in his study in the mornings to work on his university handbook.
I knew one or two people in Paternoster and I knew Selma and Anthea at the yarn shop.
In a household with 2 teenagers and a toddler there is never a lot of free time to get bored with anyway.
I am also lucky to have lots of cake coffee dates with fb crochet friends from all over SA.
What do you think will be the next big thing in the world of craft?
I think (and hope) to see more crochet décor in everyone’s homes. Last year when on holiday, we stopped at a coffee shop in Paarl.
I browsed through a magazine and saw an article with a house that had the most beautiful crochet décor.
I took photos of the pages with the intent to Google the house owner. Guess who it was? Helloheart’s very own Elsbeth!
Where can our readers find you?
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/annekehekel/
Instagram – http://instagram.com/crochetinpaternoster
What is your favourite blog and magazine and why
There are too many great crochet blogs out there to choose from.
If I must highlight one or two it would be Christelle’s Haak-en-Stekie blog.
It is wonderful to see all her projects that’s she started and mostly finishes! Her love for crochet is infectious.
Ook Magda de Lange se blog vir haar fabulous kleur samestellings, stories en fotos.
And Kathryn of Crochet Concupiscence, where lots of wonderful crochet is shared Her book is an inspiring read.
Would you buy a pattern, or the whole kit online?
I have bought a few patterns and one crochet book online.
One of the patterns was Rene Grabie’s heart pattern which is very well written and works great with t-shirt yarn as well. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/heart—adele-hanging-heart
What is your favourite yarn store and why?
Oooooh! Easiest question to answer! My favourite yarn shop is 50 Something in Vredenburg.
And they don’t only sell t-shirt yarn!
I’ve spent lots and lots of happy hours there having coffee and cake with Selma and Anthea, sharing laughter and even tears sometimes.
They have a great variety of yarn on their shelves.
And between the two of them, they can answer any question you have about knitting, crochet and the yarn they stock.
When Anneke and I met I could not resist buying one of her mats and I cherish it with my whole heart.
There is one thing I can guarantee and that is that Anneke will continue to design, inspire and create and in so doing continue contributing to the beautiful craft of crochet.
And for that I am so grateful.