A bit about me…
Hi. I’m Brenda Olwagen and welcome to my blog.
The happiest moments in my life (okay, other than rock climbing) have been when I was crafting in some way. My maternal grandmother was an amazing crafter and seamstress. She taught me to knit, crochet, embroider and sew when I was at school. I could do it, but hated it.
Unfortunately, the sewing bug only bit when I was at university. My beloved Oumie had passed away three years prior and would never see what she had inspired in me. Crochet only became a favourite pastime when my sister came for a visit in 2012 and re-kindled that memory from long ago. Knitting became an obsession in 2015 when I started getting achy fingers from crocheting. I started weaving in February 2018 after doing a 4-day weaving course and buying a loom. In between I’ve done quilting (apparently not “the right way”), mosaics and a variety of other crafts.
My interest in yarn started gradually. I’d only ever really worked with acrylics. I’m still not sure how I was so oblivious to the variety of fibres and yarns that were available, because my Oumie frequented a boutique yarn shop in Sunnyside in Pretoria for many many years, until her hands were too arthritic to knit or crochet. Sadly, about a decade or more later, when I was a student at Tuks (University of Pretoria), the owners of the yarn shop allegedly set the shop alight.
They were in trouble and desperate. The fire destroyed the entire strip mall, including Giovanni’s, the Italian restaurant at which I was waitressing that evening. Evacuating and watching it all burn down was rather traumatic. Even more so was the realisation of how desperate people can get when something they’ve put their whole life into is about to go under. I suspect that memory was the seed of my passion for supporting small businesses.
Anyhow…I’d only really used acrylics. Ignorance was bliss, and kind to the bank balance! I thank, with eternal gratitude, the AMAZING ladies in the Yarmies group for showing me what truly beautiful yarns, and astonishingly talented indie-dyers, are out there. And I blame you all for turning me into a yarn snob 😄.
I’ve grown to passionately LOVE yarn and have an unashamedly large stash. Large by my standards, but apparently not by others. I have logged barely any of it in my ravelry stash, due to lack of time, laziness, or fear of judgement. Not sure which. You can find my ravelry bio here.
My husband is a darling for encouraging my passion and a fiend for enabling my desires. He is passionate about helping businesses (especially SME’s) succeed and I’ve been helping out here and there. His enthusiasm has been contagious. One of the reasons for starting this blog is that I’d love to see the yarn and yarn-craft industries in SA succeed and grow and will add my little drop to that ocean.
Christo and I have been together since 1994. Despite our promises to friends that we’d only marry when our kids insisted on it, we married on Scarborough beach in Cape Town in 1999. Caitlin came along 3 years later (2002) in Cape Town and Meghan was born in Copenhagen in 2007. We knew we should have stuck to that promise – our kids asked for many years why they weren’t at our wedding!
We live in Johannesburg with our 4 cats (3 Maine Coons and a Norwegian Forest cat) and 2 border collies.
The cats are very helpful when it comes to anything related to yarn, of course…