Friday, 13 September 2019

Who am I?

Hi loves,

I know you all must be wondering, who is behind Khenzuri?  How did the name Khenzuri came to be?  This is how.

Hi, my name is Melissa Laidlaw, I am the proud founder of Khenzuri's Treasures also known as Khenzuri.  I've always desired to own my own business, before having kids it was to own a salon with a difference.  One with class and structure, one that will set appointments and keep them, one that has an open and closing time that actually means something.

I went to  The Heart College of Cosmetology to gain accreditation as a Cosmetologist.  Just as I completed my studies and was getting ready to start up, tragedy struck on September 4, 2008 with the death of the father of my then soon to be 2-year-old baby Khensani.  My baby was already attending school (that devastating event happened on her 2nd day of school) and with the breadwinner no longer in the picture, I had to put my dreams on hold and go out and seek employment.

I went on the interview on September 27, 2008 and started working October 10, 2008 (my birthday🎈 πŸŽ‰ 🎁 btw).  The years pass one, two, three and before you know it, I was there 8 years. My baby no longer a baby, and with the demand of ensuring she gets a good education and the bills it seemed my dream had slowly faded and had became only a mythical thought.

In 2011 I took up my needles and started crocheting again, researching new stitches and patterns.  I made mostly bags then, and on one of my many visits to my local yarn shop the owner asked "why don't you take your stuff to JBDC"..  I didn't know who they were, she gave me their info, but I didn't act on it initially.

January 4, 2016 I gave birth to my second child Zuri, and a few months after she turned 1 I was made redundant.  With time now on my side I contacted JBDC and made an appointment to showcase my talent. I took a wide variety of things that I've made, bags, doilies, pot holders, 2 swimwear, and a doll. It seemed nothing interested them but the doll. I was a bit disappointed as they were all lovely items, it was explained that they had others who were doing swimwear and bags, doilies would not be an hit as I wouldn't be compensated for them due to mass production.  They however loved the doll and asked that I think about producing them.

I went home do further research and decided on a entirely new design.  I took in the prototype for approval and was given the go ahead to start production, there was just one issue, I had to be registered which means I need a name right????

Think Melissa, think, what would a good name be, then eureka!!!! πŸ’‘πŸ’‘πŸ’‘.

(Khensani + Zuri - Sani = Khenzuri)

And just like that Khenzuri / Khenzuri's Treasures was born on July 03, 2017.


Image may contain: Melissa Laidlaw

Founder/Owner Melissa Laidlaw.





Monday, 12 August 2019

Mis-takes or Mistakes???


Hi loves,


I recently received an email from "I like knitting" highlighting "10 Mistakes Every Knitter Should Avoid" and think I should share with you all as well so you can avoid common knitting/crocheter  mistakes. These are mistakes that can waste your time, frustrate you, and even destroy your projects

We don't want this, do we? 😭😭😭😭😭, No! No! No! .....


Don’t worry though, anyone can make these mistakes—but, more experienced knitters/crocheters have learned how to avoid these errors over time.


Mistake #1: Not getting enough yarn for your project.

When you do not purchase enough yarn required for a project, you run the risk of not getting another skein in the same dye lot which would result in your project looking messy and the colouring being off. There’s a chance the yarn might even be discontinued as well.  To avoid this mistake, ensure to always buy more than needed as that will save you from having either a messy, discoloured project or an unfinished one.

Here's a suggestion to ensure you always have enough for your project. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰


Mistake #2: Not reading the pattern before you begin. 

Trust me I'm guilty of this one.  This can lead to all sorts of mistakes, including not enough yarn, incorrectly counting stitches, etc. Pay extra attention to any “special instructions” or “special stitches.” These will usually appear at the beginning of a pattern before the actual instructions begin.


 Mistake #3: Not knowing there’s a difference between U.S. and U.K. stitch names.

 The United States and United Kingdom have different names for knitting stitches, and if you don’t know the differences, then your pattern will come out completely wrong!

eg: U.K. double crochet (dc) is the U.S. single crochet (sc).. 

Mistake #4: Losing track of your rows and stitches. 

To over come this mistake ensure you have stitch counters and markers.  Using them will set you up for success, so you’ll never lose track of where you are in your pattern.  I also recommend ensuring you are not doing too many things while you knit, especially if you are doing special stitches that requires your undivided attention.
Mistake #5: Using incorrect tension.

Tension that is either too loose or too tight will affect the outcome of the project. Stitches that are too tight will greatly affect the outcome of the project and could even make it nearly impossible to knit into those stitches in the next row. Make something too loose, and your sizing will be completely wrong.

Mistake #6: Not checking your gauge.

 Guilty, Guilty, Guilty.... I'm 100% guilty, why do a gauge swatch when I could be a few rows in my project, right???... Wrong!!!  This is why you should... Gauge refers to the number of stitches and rows per inch that result from the yarn and needle size you’re using.  Not checking your gauge can result in your project not matching the specified pattern.  You could end with a project that's too small or too big.


Mistake #7: Washing wool projects. 

Putting wool projects through the washer and dryer is never a good idea. This I learnt the
HARD way.


 (remember this lovely top? well I accidentally put it with some other knitted wears and it end up looking like a dog's chew toy 😭😭😭😭😭, good thing I got 2, yes 2 wears out of it).

Not only is your project likely to shrink, but the chemicals found in most detergents will actually degrade the fibers in your project, ruining its lifespan.

RECOMMENDATION -  Hand washing with a gentle soap or dry cleaning.


Mistake #8: Not taking breaks.

Knitting for hours on end without taking breaks to stretch your fingers and wrists will result in not only pain, but also repetitive-use injuries. Be kind to yourself and take regular breaks in between long knitting sessions. Stretch and relax before getting back to your knitting project.

Secondly you may end up making mistakes that causes you to have to redo an entire project.

Mistake #9: Not sewing in loose ends securely.

Weaving in loose ends after you finish a project is cumbersome, but crucial. Not doing it correctly could result in your project falling apart the next time you wash it.

Mistake #10: Using the wrong yarn weight.

Using the wrong yarn for a project will drastically alter the end result of the project. If you are hoping your project comes out as the pattern intends, pick a yarn that’s the same weight as described in the pattern’s instructions.

I learnt about mistake 10 when I was working on my I'm all aflutter top by @petrabreakstone.  It took me 3 tries to get it right.


Well loves, until next time. Stay true to one's self.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

I'm a Rock Star



Hi Loves,


Here I was browsing Ice Yarn and I came across a yarn called Rock Star Dk. I placed my order and waited patiently (a whole month through the post). It came at the perfect time as I was in the process of casting on for Petra Breakstone's Theodoras-shawl.

The morning my package arrived, I was right in the middle of doing my gauge swatch when I heard the postman. I grabbed my package, ripped it open, quickly cast on and beamed with joy when i realized my gauge was what........ SPOT ON... this is like the first ever.πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€



I was so happy, now I will match the designer's gauge for sure. I loved working with this yarn it doesn't fray, it glides off my needles effortlessly, and it gives a lovely finish. Don't take my word for it. Just look at my shawl.

a few repeats in.

looks like I'm making a replica of the female reproductive system πŸ˜•πŸ˜•


So sorry it's dark, 

but I have close ups πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€


I finished my shawl with yarn to spare, what to do next????????????


I'M A ROCKSTAR...... TO BE CONTINUED.













Wednesday, 24 July 2019

It's not a Fairytail

Hi loves,

So I know I've been away for a loooooonnngggg time.  I am still working on becoming an household name for anything authentically handmade, whether crochet or knitted in my little Island home and by extension the global society.  This is not my typical post, but I think I should let you know some of the hidden truth about being an entrepreneur of handmade items.  I know I've been writing about my "successes" though small they maybe now, but it's not all glitz and glamour over here.

Imagine getting an order for something you have never made, so you are clueless on how much time, effort and material required to complete the order.  You also follow your customers many customization only to have the order left with you upon completion, because they don't think they should pay you what you deserve.  Here's another example, being asked many, many times to "make a hat for me no" to finally complete it and still have it sit in the completed pile for months. You look at that pile wondering why?πŸ€”. There is also the issue of consignment work.  You work hard, give your items on consignment as you are utilizing all resources to get your name and work out there, and after months still no return because the mark up is so high they don't fly off the shelves.

WHAT DO YOU DO??????????????

Well!!!

This is what I do...... Get up every day, do what I love.  Outsiders see me going about thinking "She's cashing in" not knowing the real struggle to get paid for all my hard work, but yet I press on.

I've said this before family and friends can't sustain a business and I still stand by it.  Sometimes the persons who downgrade or thinks your time and efforts are not worth paying for, are the very people you think would have your back.  They would pay a stranger more to do a crappy job than they would pay you for a work of art.

With all that being said... I will continue to press on as when it all seems dim there's that glimmer of hope when you get a call or see a social media post from a stranger praising your talent.

Follow my journey....

twitter
facebook
Instagram

Are you in need of yarn I've got you covered as well.....

Yarn


Saturday, 30 March 2019

Cozy Toes

Hi Loves,

Have you ever been so cold you think you're going to freeze, only to put a sock on and the temperature drops almost instantly?

If your the answer is yes. Then these cuties are just what you need.  The idea came when a friend of mine complained about her feet always being cold.

I have made crochet booties numerous times but really wanted to knit this one.  I went to YouTube and browsed around to get the general construction.  I didn't want anything too complicated as these were just for lying in bed or moving around the house.

After watching a few I got my inspiration and set to work. Two hours or so later I have my very first pair.

πŸ€”πŸ€” I know what you think. "That doesn't look like footwear".  But my friend they will be.

Can you believe it? That somewhat square piece became this masterpiece.

Yes, it did.  I had to jazz them up with a bit of colour.

These were done to fit a size 9-10 ladies feet.  They were just too cute to be for only adults, so I went back to the needles and did a pair for the tiny tots in our lives.


This is the finishing.

But here's where it all started from.










Saturday, 16 March 2019

The Birth

Hi Loves,

I was asked to make a scarf, the customer was very specific in her colours and size...

"I need it to be black with yellow at the very edge, it should be 6" wide and 40 inches long".

Wow!!

I have tons of scarf patterns but as of late the urge to design my own has been getting stronger and stronger. So that's what I did.

I've design pouches and bags, but never wrote anything down, even if I replicated it, who knew it was this hard putting your creation to paper?

It normally takes 7-9 months for a baby to be born, but my birth took only a few hours.  My very first written pattern

How it all went down!!!!!

I played around to ensure I got the width correct (6"), once that has been achieved then its easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

I first thought of making a full seed stitch scarf but after a few rows in, honestly, boredom started to surface.  My lazy inner being started to complain

"This is taking too long". " blah, blah, blah"

Then came Mrs Enthusiastic screaming in my ear... "HEY, Why not do a few rows of garter stitch". We πŸ–πŸ– high five each other and just like that the pattern started taking shape.

Man, I just love my staff (me, myself and I) hahaha...😜😜😜

I completed the scarf and it was an absolute beauty, but sadly I didn't get to photograph it.  Want to know why? Sure you do.

I have no pics as I did the finishing touches while in a taxi heading to make the delivery.

After making my delivery (she loved it btw), I came home and scribbled some more.  With no picture to post, I had to recreate my masterpiece and that's exactly what I did.  I started doing it in black but thought against it and went for a light green yarn I had in my stash.

The aim was to replicate, type, proofread, export to pdf and post for sale on Ravelry by January 4th, 2019 (my baby's birthday). It didn't seem possible up to January 3rd but by 10:30 pm on the 4th, with a finished scarf, the pattern is written and pdf ready, I posted my very first pattern for sale (https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/garter-seedling-scarf).  2019 is off to a good start.

Now the waiting begins, will people like it? Will they purchase it? Either way, I was bubbling with pride, I finally wrote and posted a pattern.  There is no stopping me now.

The Masterpiece 

Without any fringe or tassel.

Crochet loop stitch finish.

Tassel end

Adding Tassels

Wrap your yarn around a book or piece of cardboard (or anything you desire).  Cut to the length you like and let's get started.

Insert hook

Loop the yarn over the hook and pull it through.

Take your loose end and pull through the opening.

Twist and pull through the opening once more.

Pull to tighten and form a knot, repeat until the entire edge is covered.

How to do the crochet loop stitch edging?


You can watch this video or search " crochet loop stitch" via YouTube and follow along.  This stitch is really easy once you get the hang of it.

Let me know what you think, if you purchase my pattern, please share your finished scarf.



Saturday, 2 March 2019

My Second Attempt.

Hey Loves,

So, prior to making my first ever cardigan (see my Cardigan, Bardigan post) I made the request to test knit Petra Breakstone's cardigan while she was still working on it.  She agreed and put my name down.

The pattern was completed and ready for testing, Ravelry forum board ready, pattern received via email and now it was time to start.

Pattern read and all seems well until it was time to select needle size 4 (3.5).  I have a size 3.75, 4 etc.  Swatch gave a size of 5*5 and not the 4*4.... What to do?

I did what was expected... Started my cardigan.  I followed the pattern, upon reaching a section which would become the sleeves I realise if I followed the pattern verbatim I would not have a good fitting cardigan.  The decision was made to modify the pattern and this was a really good decision.

The top progressed beautifully and anticipation started rising.  I continued on until I had the length I wanted, did the edging and bind off.

This is only the beginning


Progression 

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5


Part 6 ( this is where I made the decision to not follow the pattern)

The stitches for the sleeves were separated and I worked my body until I had the length I wanted. The garter stitch edge was done, I also didn't follow the pattern as I thought 3" of garter would be too much for this short version.

The body is complete.

I worked on the sleeves and again I didn't follow the pattern and made long sleeves, I made my version in short sleeves.  Petra was happy I did, as this showed how diverse her pattern was.

My not so willing model πŸ˜‚

After weeks of being finished, I found my perfect model.  The cardigan fit her perfectly, I finally got to see my work in all its beauty.

If you wish to make your own cardigan, you can, just follow the link:   https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/rondo-cardigan





Saturday, 16 February 2019

Cardigan, Bardigan

Hey loves,

    Since my new found love  (knitting, just in case you didn't know), I've been leaning more and more towards clothing.  I've been fortunate as a beginner to have been given the opportunity to test knit for a couple designers and so when a customer ask if I could make her a cardigan I was over the moon.

I sent her pics of the ones I had patterns for (not confident enough to design my own.... Yet);

@theeasydesign 

@expressionfiberarts

@hearthookhome 

She chose @hearthookhome's design (a classic cardigan), with yarn in hand I started to make her choice, but it just did not resonate with me (again leaning towards knitting), so I send her another picture (see below) and she loved it.  




Pattern ✔
yarn ✔
needle ✔

With the necessary tools in hand I did my swatch (honestly, don't normally do this), I didn't get a 4" square as I should, instead, I got 4.5". That's good enough for me.  I selected my size and got the ball rolling.  Cast on and then a bummer..... I thought I was following the pattern, wasn't I?  Panick was creeping in, but not today.  Sadly I had to 🐸🐸🐸🐸 (pull out) what I've done so far, but it was worth it.  The pattern started taking shape and as it grew so does my excitement level.

It was not after I basically completed the full length and cast off and was getting ready to do the sleeves, front panel and neck that disappointment sets in.... It's too big😫😫😫. I was going for a 39 bust for the finished product but mine was measuring 44" without the front panel being added.

Then I thought.... If I was doing the size M (39" bust) and got the size 2Xl... Then doing the XS might work.  I didn't" bother to frog the first one, I just cast on the other size with what little thread I had left.

I worked so hard to finish my cardigan, all while praying it turns out nice.  I completed the top and started the front panel... Following the pattern to the tee, but with the difference in yarn weight that would not work.  Instead of doing 2 full repeats and then the half repeat, I did only one.  After many, many, many hours of continuous work, its finally completed.

It looks amazing but felt sooooo bulky, then my eureka moment came at sometime after midnight.......

Steam press.... Awesome right....

I pinned the pattern in place, placed a cotton blanket over it and steam press and OMG, it felt ooooh soooo soft. It was at that very moment I felt the warmth of accomplishment.

I hang it on a hanger and went to bed, praying she liked it.



I didn't take any measurement, just asked for her bust measurement 

Look at this back, wow


The first one... Oh so big


This was how it all started.

She loved it, praised me for being almost accurate when I didn't take her measurement and just went by mere memory. 

This was such an accomplishment for me.







Saturday, 2 February 2019

Winter chills and spills and then some

Hi Loves,


    With the completion of my cowl and scarf, they were delivered.  At first, she was complaining (and my heart sank);

"the cowl seemed a bit big for his little neck" (I tried it on my 2-year-old, thinking to myself)
"the scarf rolls too much" (I blocked it and it looked nice, even so, it's going to wrap around the neck, also thinking to myself).

She took them, paid me and I was thinking so much for my first impression, she's a goner, then a few days after I received a WhatsApp message.

"Can you make the little hats with the ear flaps"
"yes, I can" (even though I have never even tried, but how hard can it be?)
"I want one for my grandson"
"sure"
"you know what, and one for my granddaughter as she would want one"

Thinking to myself (doing that quite often these days).  Do I have the material as I know that skein of the stripe was finished?.

I messaged her back;

"I have more of the yarn for the boys matching hat, but the scarf used the one skein I had"
"Can you find anything to match the colours"
"Oh, sure I can"

I started my research as I had the concept but didn't really know how to execute.  I watched two YouTube videos, one starting from the top down with it all worked in one and then seamed, the other made 2 ear flaps and then attach while doing the hat (oh, by the way, they were both knitted).  This is where it got tricky (if I had only crochet the cowl and scarf, this would have been easy peasy, lemon squeezy).

Did I tell you I wanted to make the hat and scarf with the same stitch pattern I used for the cowl and scarf? It's a set, isn't it?  After watching the videos I came to the conclusion that making the 2 ear flaps and then the hat would be easiest.  I started the little boy's hat.  It took me a few short hours to have a finished product.  Grinning from ear to ear, a ran to my neighbour's house to show her my lovely creation (psst, this was after 8 pm.  I felt so accomplished.

Now it's onto the most difficult one. sighs..... why, why, why didn't you crochet a scarf... No, you just had to knit with your beginner self.

After doing a bit of thinking, calculating and more thinking the idea was clear as mud.... Sorry meant day.

And after a bit of a challenge my hat was completed... Now the hard bit. Will my client like/love them....

They were delivered and she did (well I think she does as she hasn't made any complaints to date).


I used the same pattern as the scarf, I just had to modify it to work in the round.




Perfect Fit

It's not her size



Who am I?

Hi loves, I know you all must be wondering, who is behind Khenzuri?  How did the name Khenzuri came to be?  This is how. Hi, my name is ...