7 Activities to Celebrate Autumn

Crisp fall days are almost here and we want to make the most of them before we get snowed in for the winter! Whether you call it fall or autumn, today we’re sharing a list autumn activities that we look forward to each year. We hope some of them will help you celebrate the changing of the seasons!

  1. Have an apple picking party! Take a picnic lunch full of tasty nibbles and a few of your best friends and head to a local apple orchard to enjoy the crisp autumn weather, and fresh apples. When you get home, start thinking about apple pie, apple butter and caramel apples, or any of your favourite treats. If you want some more ideas check out An Apple Picking Party from My Name is Yeh.

  1. If you’re in an area where the seasons change, make the most of the beauty around you and take a drive to watch the leaves change into brilliant colors. Collect some of those fallen leaves to bring home with you and create any number of crafty projects like this Fall Leaf Wreath from The Cards We Drew.

  1. Stay indoors and make hearty fall soups! When the weather outside is rainy and cool, warm up indoors and make the house smell amazing by putting together a fall soup. Whether you prefer a squash bisque or a hearty stew we’re sure you’ll find something to try in House Beautiful’s 50 Most Delicious Fall Soups.

  1. Have a bonfire party with s’mores! There’s no better way to enjoy those chilly fall nights than outdoors with friends and a roaring fire. Make sure guests young and old have something sweet to toast over the fire with the perfect DIY S’mores station.

  1. Head to the local pumpkin patch. Pick pumpkins to carve, wander through a corn maze, do activities with the little ones, and take some fabulous family photos. When you get home, roast pumpkin seeds for a tasty autumn snack!

  1. Craft for autumn! Make Cinnamon Scented Pine Cones, Fall Luminaries, a Fall Leaf Canvas, or an Autumn Handprint Tree. Knit an autumn scarf or hat, or a blanket to cozy up with by the fire using inspiration from our Pinterest Knits and Knitting board.

  1. Try a new pumpkin spice recipe! Savor these Pumpkin Donuts, make your own Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte, serve up a delicious breakfast with Pumpkin Spice Waffles, or get fancy with these Pumpkin Spice Macarons. The only limit is your imagination!


We hope we’ve given you some inspiration to plan some autumn activities to enjoy with family and friends. If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate the season, we have a Pinterest board full of crafty ideas, recipes and fun ways to enjoy the crisp autumn air.

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Wet Blocking Knits: Tips and Tricks

There are lots of different ways to block knitted and crocheted items, but they all share many similarities. Here are some fantastic ways to block your knits- and you’ll definitely pick up some new tips. We’ve been fortunate to have some great reviews and love from all sorts of crafty bloggers, and we thought it would be great to share the tips and tricks for blocking your knits that have featured Eucalan!

How to Spray Block Your Knit and Crocheted Items. The Spray technique is a great way to cut down on drying time dramatically. Read all about it here.

Top Tips for Blocking Your Knits, from the famous London Loop yarn shop. Especially great tips for blocking lace, and swatches.

3 Different Ways to Block Your Knits – knits that need to be seamed, items made in the round, and the speedy steam blocking method- all great techniques.

How to Wet Block a Sweater, from Flax & Twine. Wet blocking larger items like a sweater takes a bit of effort, and this is a great step-by-step.

Knitting Expat has a great tutorial on how she wet blocks her knits, and her towel method for removing excess water after wet blocking is a must-do.

How to wet block a hat- hats can be tricky, but this is a great tutorial. With a little bit of guidance, you can do it!

Speaking of wet blocking hats,  knitted tams have their own challenges – here’s a great tutorial on wet blocking a tam (you need a plate!)

Are there any blocking tutorials you would like to see that we haven’t covered? Let us know in the comments!

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Making Rag Rugs – Tutorials and Tips

Have you ever tried making a rag rug? They are perfect for recycling old clothes and fabrics, and are easy to make. Fall is a great time to cozy up with a new crafting project like this! Here are some of our favourite tutorials and ideas to make your own rag rug this fall:

This is a great no-sew version, and reuses old t-shirts:

If you want to try a crochet version, you can make a beautiful doily floor mat rag rug:

Here’s a colourful idea that uses up lots of bright t-shirts:

Looking for a simple woven rug? This one is probably perfect:

Want a fluffier rag rug? This is a cute version for a kid’s room:

If you have a lot of old denim, you can make some amazing rag rug crafts, like this runner:

Rag rugs can also be done in a limited colour palette, and by wrapping fabric around rope, like in this great tutorial for the rug below:

And who says these techniques can only be used for rugs? Check out this great tutorial on making storage baskets, using the same process:

Looking for more rag rug ideas? We have a Pinterest board full of them! Find it here.

Caring for Your Rag Rug

When you spend time crafting a rug, it is worth taking some extra care when washing it, even with Using Eucalan in your washing machine with a rag rug, set your washing machine to the delicate cycle  and run as usual. You may need to add an extra spin cycle if the rag rug is dripping wet when you take it out. Smaller rugs can be hung to dry, but larger rugs should be laid flat to dry, turning them over regularly to ensure even drying.

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Best of Eucalan: Our Top Spring Posts

Ah, spring! A time when everything feels fresh and new, or at least you want it to feel that way! Spring is indeed a great time to freshen up your home and wardrobe, but that doesn’t mean it has to be all work. Here’s a round-up of our top spring posts to get you in the mood to freshen up your wardrobe, your home, and your routine!

Click here for great Tips for spring cleaning your wardrobe.

Click here for the best tips for spring cleaning your home to get it feeling airy and fresh.

With Earth Day upon us, here are 4 ways to celebrate Earth Day all year round.

But it’s not all cleaning – you have to make time for a bit of fun! Click the links below for crafts, recipes and fun decor ideas.

Washi tape tutorial to upcycle old Eucalan bottles

Think Spring – Time for a bit of fun!

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without our most recent spring post, all about the best way to shift your wardrobe from winter clothes to spring.

Happy Spring, everyone!

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Meet the Shibaguyz

The-Shibaguyz-Together-2--July-2015_with_watermarkWe are proud to sponsor Shibaguyz Designz, a company that integrates fashion design, crochet, knitting, photography, and graphic design all under one roof. The design studio is comprised of  Shannon and Jason, who live in Seattle, Washington with their three Shiba Inu. Today, we interviewed Shannon to learn more about this duo’s many creative endeavors.

How did you learn to knit? Crochet?
All the members of my family were makers, from knitting and crochet, to woodworking and quilting, it was expected that we all learn some kind of art. Although all of the women in my family crocheted and knitted, my grandmother was the strongest influence in getting me started. The first actual memory I have is of sitting next to her on the couch and her teaching me to make bookmarks and circles that turned into hats. Pretty much anything I could do to hang out with her made it okay with me. The first projects she taught me to make were those little spiral bookmarks and “draft dodgers” that you put at the base of doors and windows. Then there was the year that everyone got a pair of slippers from me because I had learned to crochet, knit, AND sew.

You know how it goes… first it’s an innocent bookmark, and then, suddenly, you’re the only guy in your class who can make thread lace doll dresses. Wait… was that just me?

I have to point out here that I’m an only half of the Shibaguyz. Jason is also very creative and, besides being the talented photography and graphic design genius behind four of our books, he is also a FAB spinner, he sews, cooks and has just started weaving. He is one of only two people who do the finishing on all of our designs… me being the other person. We make a great team… if I do say so myself…

Jason at Work

Jason at Work


What is the process like for creating a new design or collection of new designs?
I start my process one of two ways: I’ll either sketch the design, something that’s been wandering around in the corners of my brain waiting to be born, then I’ll start looking for the fiber and stitch pattern that will create the fabric I have in mind. The other way happens when I’m swatching for a new design and create a fabric that I LOVE but might not be right for that particular design. I’ll file that fabric swatch away (or keep in on my desk to remind me that I like it) then think about a garment that this fabric will work perfectly for.

It all comes down to the fabric for me… the fabric created by the yarn and stitch pattern must match the vision of the final garment in my head… crochet or knit… it’s all down to the fabric.

Cables and Lace Tunic

Cables and Lace Tunic

What is the best part about being a multicraftual team?
The best part?  Nothing is out of reach… whatever pops into my head I can do. Crochet a dress, knit a pullover, piece together a throw quilt, or sew a shirt.  There are no limits… and with Jason being able to spin, weave, and cook like a four-star chef we pretty much have it all covered!

What is your all-time favorite Shibaguyz design?
That’s a bit like asking Carol Brady which of her children she loves the most… I just can’t answer it. I love something special about every design I make. I love to look at the texture of the crochet stitches in the T-Top from Crochet Geometry as much as the delicate thread motifs from the Motif Maxi Skirt from Designer Crochet or the simplicity of my knit “Cowl Neck Poncho.” Each is completely different (like Cindy, Jan, and Marcia…) but for different reasons and I derive little pleasures from seeing each detail and each nuance of the designs.

That said… I will admit that the designs from my last two books, Crochet Geometry, and Designer Crochet, are designs that I’d saved for my own publication instead of selling the rights for. Some of the patterns are designs I’d been thinking of making for years but just couldn’t bear to part with them. So I kept them until we met the right publisher and we had a chance to put them into our own books the way we wanted them to me presented.

Crochet Geometry and Designer Crochet, both by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby

Crochet Geometry and Designer Crochet, both by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby

For our readers who might not know, tell us a little bit more about the Shibaguyz Designz Studio.
Shibguyz Designz is comprised of myself and Jason, my husband. I’m a fashion designer specializing in crochet and hand knit fabrics. Jason is a photographer and graphic designer. Together we fill in the areas to make one cohesive whole…

Jason’s studio is on the 2nd floor of our townhouse. He has a plethora of camera equipment, and graphic design tools strewn about… you’ll also find Atlas, one of our Shiba Inus, sitting on a chair close by as Jason is rarely allowed out of his visual range.

My studio is on the 3rd floor (what once was a spare bedroom). Right now my studio looks like… like a department store the day after a clearance sale. I just finished up with our previous book so everything I needed to have on hand to finish it is close by. I have sketches hanging on the wall pinned with swatches, bins of rejected swatches sitting on my rocking chair (I LOVE rocking chairs!) and couch (where the other two Shibas, Apollo and Dallas, keep me company), inspiration yarn on the shelves next to me along with test yarn, test patterns, my empty coffee mug (that reminds me, I need to make more coffee), and a couple of chocolate bar wrappers that I think are empty now (that reminds me to tell Jason I’m out of chocolate). On my desk you can find paper with calculations, reference books, more swatches (I swatch a LOT) and somewhere in there I have a computer… surrounding me there are dress forms with muslin mock-ups draped on them, stitched projects pinned to blocking mats. All in all, not bad.

There was a joke going around for the longest time about our ‘Yarn Tub.” We have a guest bath outside my studio door that acts as storage for yarn once my inventory gets a tad bit much. Jason occasionally teases that I need to crawl in the tub and take a yarn bath. I’ve considered it more than once (don’t judge me).

The Shiba Pupz

The Shiba Pupz

Why do you prefer Eucalan to care for your finished designs? Have you discovered any other uses for Eucalan outside of the yarn world?
There are so many reasons I use Eucalan… First, when creating fabric from yarn, which is what we as stitchers do, I have to know what the final product will be like once it is washed. Remember that many fibers can’t take a lot of abuse and the fact that Eucalan, being a gentle wash that does not have to be rinsed and can be left in, is perfect for everything I do from blocking swatches to washing completed garments. The no-rinse factor also makes it perfect because it cuts down on processing time when we have a LOT of swatches to block or garments to finish. Bottom line, the product works… it cleans with a minimum amount of stress on the fibers.

Second, I am scent sensitive and have some contact sensitivity “issues” with my skin. Most commercial fabric washes have artificial fragrances added which cause me to break out or have problems breathing… not a good thing for someone who likes to breathe. When we spoke to the folks at Eucalan about this and found out y’all use natural fragrances derived from essential oils, we were hopeful. When we actually used the products and they didn’t affect my breathing or my skin, we were downright doing a happy dance. The fragrances are mild and leave everything just smelling fresh and clean.

Shannon Teaching Knit Fit 2014

Shannon Teaching Knit Fit 2014

And funny you ask about other uses. We travel around the country a lot teaching at events and fiber festivals. Sometimes packing enough clothes for both of us along with teaching supplies, camera equipment, shoes… gotta have our shoes… can be an issue. On a recent teaching trip to STITCHES West, I had a mishap with a tall flat white and one of his shirts needed washed out. Jason had packed one of the Eucalan Getaway Gang travel kits in my bag so I gave it a try. LOVE LOVE LOVE how easy it was to just rinse out my shirt while I got ready for dinner that night and the shirt was ready to go the next day without a stain. THEN we were on an airplane to Pittsburgh and you know those little half and half containers they give you with your coffee? This particular one was under pressure and spewed half and half all over us in tiny little droplets. Those nifty little Eucalan Wipes took care of the droplets and didn’t stain my favorite traveling jacket (dark blue linen blend… yeah… shoes and suit jackets… it’s a thing with me). We’ve used the wipes on stains on the couch and even just used some on a damp cloth for larger spills on a chair when we didn’t want to get out the big cleaner with that weird hose. No rinse… no stain. Yes… we’re big fans. We travel a lot and we live with three very active Shiba Inu so we have plenty of chances to put Eucalan to the test. Eucalan fits perfectly into our studio and our life.

FIligree Lace Tunic by Shibaguyz Designz

FIligree Lace Tunic by Shibaguyz Designz

Washi Tape Craft Ideas to Upcycle Your Empty Eucalan Bottles

How to upcycle empty Eucalan bottles with Washi TapeWith Earth Day just around the corner, we found ourselves thinking about creative ways to repurpose the everyday objects around us – and, as you can imagine, there are quite a few empty Eucalan bottles in our recycling bin. Recycling is great, but why not upcycle them into something fun & useful instead? Here are some ideas for creative ways to reuse empty Eucalan bottles in both our small 100mL and large 500mL sizes:

  • Pencil holder (works best with the large bottle)
  • Small flower vase
  • Organizing office supplies such as paper clips, push pins, and binder clips
  • Great containers for craft supplies, too – buttons, safety eyes, notions and other small items commonly used by crafters
  • Starter for seedlings for your garden
  • Flameless candle holder

…the possibilities are endless!

Follow these simple steps for making your washi tape containers with your empty Eucalan bottles:

How to upcycle empty Eucalan bottles with Washi Tape

First, assemble your supplies. You’ll need some empty Eucalan bottles, plenty of washi tape, and some strong scissors.

How to upcycle empty Eucalan bottles with Washi Tape

Next, decide how tall you want your finished container to be, and make a score mark so that you know where to cut off the top of the bottle.

How to upcycle empty Eucalan bottles with Washi Tape

Next, carefully cut off the top of the bottle.

How to upcycle empty Eucalan bottles with Washi Tape

Now for the fun part! Begin to wrap your  container in washi tape in concentric layers or bands, starting at the bottom. You could even alternate washi designs to create stripes!

How to upcycle empty Eucalan bottles with Washi Tape

When you reach the top, add one final layer of washi tape with the top half above the edge of the container. Cut the tape at intervals so that you can fold it over the top edge to create a neat finish.

http://eucalan.com/

Ta-da! Now you have  lovely containers to use however you like!

 

Inspiration: Quilts

For many, quilting is a year-round craft, but the cooler temperatures of autumn and the upcoming International Quilt Market has us thinking about wrapping up in a handmade quilt this season!

We’re been collecting some of our favourite quilting inspirations here on Pinterest; below are just a few of the latest free patterns and tutorials which we’ve been pinning! You can click each image below to link over to each pattern.

triangle

We recommend washing your finished quilt by hand with Eucalan – click here for easy-to-follow instructions on our website. The gentle, no-rinse formula will preserve your handiwork for years to come! Click here to find your nearest Eucalan retailer.

Crafty Back-to-School!

As summer winds down and the kids head back to school, our thoughts have turned to more fibre-y pursuits here at Eucalan. Perhaps it was all the fun of last weekend’s Twist Fibre Festival (which we sponsored for its third year running), or maybe it’s all of the great new patterns coming out right now in anticipation of cooler temperatures. Either way, we are looking forward to getting crafty in the months to come, and today we’ll be sharing some of our favourite inspirations to stitch this month with a back-to-school theme!

pencilsWe’re loving these clever knitting projects based on the iconic yellow no. 2 pencil! From L-R above:  Sinuous Pencil Scarf by Alice Humbracht (note: we also found a crochet version here on Ravelry!), No. 2 Pencil Socks by the Yarn Enabler, Arthur by Anna Hrachovec.

pencilcaseCROCHETOf course, every well-organized student needs a pencil case, and these whimsical crochet patterns are sure to make studying fun! From L-R above: Pencil Cases by Ana Paula Rimoli, Mister Snaps by Irene Strange,  Robot Pencil Case by Sincerely Pam.

btsSEWThere are lots of creative organizational ideas to sew for back-to-school, and these two free tutorials we discovered via AllFreeSewing.com are simple enough to whip up in a jiffy! Left: Composition Book Cover Tutorial by V and Co.; Right: Crayon Zip Bag by The Good Weekly.

needlepointFor fans on needlepoint, we discovered these amusing projects via Pinterest which cover both ends of the spectrum when it comes to packing a school lunch. Left: Eat Your Veggies by Athena and Eugenia; Right: Darth Vader by DorkStitch.

For more back-to-school inspirations, check out our Pinterest board here!

Superwash vs. Hand Wash

For our crafty fans, there is often a lively debate between advocates of superwash vs. hand wash yarns, and Laura Parkinson’s recent article in the July issue of Knitting Magazine has inspired us to revisit the topic on today’s blog post. Her article offers a balanced list of pros and cons to take into consideration before your next trip to the LYS – and of course, we also appreciate the Eucalan mention!

PurlAboutTownSM

Yarny politics aside, there is plenty of room for both in the wonderful world of yarn crafts, and Eucalan is actually an ideal way to care for both! Proponents of hand wash only yarns cite the natural, unprocessed (or less processed) nature of the fibres as a big plus, and we couldn’t agree more – a lofty wool or a rustic blend of natural fibres can be quite delightful. However, folks who are pressed for time might appreciate the machine washable fibres available on the market, from superwash wools (which have been chemically treated to have the barbs removed to avoid felting) to synthetic fibres such as acrylics and tencel – and even some natural fibres which can be machine washed and dried such as linen and qiviut. Wash and wear can be equally satisfying!

Wool yarn in coils with knitting needles in wicker basket on light blue background

No matter where you land on the spectrum, using a specially formulated wash such as Eucalan will keep your finished project looking its best for years to come. Here’s how to protect your investment:

500l_lavenderHand Wash:
Our no-rinse formula will save time and water while also reducing the chances of accidental felting while washing. Choose Lavender or Eucalyptus for the added benefit of repelling moths naturally.

  1. Add Eucalan to basin.
  2. Fill basin with tepid water (room temperature water, not hot and not cold)
  3. Insert article to be washed and soak for 15 min. (minimum).
  4. Squeeze article gently to incorporate water and soap through fibres.
  5. Pull article out of water and gently squeeze out excess water. Do not twist or wring.
  6. Follow drying instructions located here.

Machine Wash:
All five of our natural scents are enriched with lanolin to naturally condition fibres, keeping static away and softening your garment with each wash. Our biodegradable and eco-friendly formula can be used in washing machines – even those marked HE!
Eucalyptus
Front Load Machine:

  1. Select Rinse and Spin or Hand Wash/Delicate cycle. Cold or tepid water.
  2. Add Eucalan** to fabric softener drawer.
  3. Load articles into machine and start cycle.
  4. Follow drying instructions located here.

Top Load Machine:

  1. Add Eucalan** to machine.
  2. Select gentle cycle and add cold or tepid water.
  3. Stop machine. Add articles.
  4. Allow to soak 15 min. (minimum).
  5. Gently squeeze articles to incorporate soap and water through fibres.
  6. Spin water out.
  7. Follow drying instructions located here.

*Use 5mL/1 tsp per 4L/1G of water (more for heavily soiled items)

**Use 15-30mL/1-2 Tbsp. per load (adjust amount based on size of load)

Click here for more laundry lessons on eucalan.com!

Quilting Care + Inspiration

We count many quilters and sewists among our fans, and today we’d like to share some of our favourite quiliting inspirations along with some easy-to-follow instructions to care for your creations!

This eye-catching chevron quilt is simple enough even for beginners – it made up entirely of triangles. How clever! Click here for a photo tutorial on the Thirty Handmade Days blog.

chevronquilt

Here’s another modern take on quilting from the Blooming Poppies blog. Click here for a photo tutorial demonstrating how to make a Comfort and Joy Circle Quilt of your very own!

circlequilt

Of course, you aren’t limited to just making quilts! Check out this tutorial to sew an adorable (not to mention handy) quilted storage box:

fabricbox

You can view more crafty inspirations here on our Pinterest board!

Eucalan’s gentle, no-rinse formula is the perfect way to care for your handmade creations. First, you’ll want to test for colour-fastness to ensure that darker colours don’t run into lighter colours when washing. If there are any spots or stains, you can pre-treat with full-strength Eucalan as needed. We recommend washing your items on the delicate cycle of your washing machine; click here for easy instructions for both top-loading and front-loading washing machines. To dry, hang quilt out of direct sunlight or lay smaller items on a flat surface. CaringForQuiltswithEucalan