Wet Blocking Crocheted Lace: Morgana Shawl Tips

In our last blog post, we shared the stunning FREE crochet pattern from Kristin Omdahl for the Morgana Crocheted Shawl. If you haven’t picked up your free copy of the pattern yet, you can do so by signing up for our newsletter right here. The pattern will be emailed to you right away!

Kristin has put together a video that shows exactly how to wet block and finish crocheted lace, which is helpful to any crocheter, regardless of whether you are making the Morgana shawl or not.  It features Eucalan Wrapture, the jasmine-scented delicate wash we developed with Kristin herself! Check out her amazing video right here:

If you are unsure about your crochet skills, the stitches, or wet blocking crocheted lace, Kristin has a whole series of really helpful videos to walk you through every step of the Morgana Shawl.

Happy Crocheting!

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Free Crochet Pattern! Morgana Shawl

The phenomenal Kristin Omdahl has created a beautiful 3-colour crochet shawl pattern- the Morgana shawl!

This shawl features alternating stripes of light turquoise, leaf green, and lavender. The colours are perfect for spring and summer, but of course it would also look beautiful crocheted in a single colour. Perhaps your new go-to accessory this year?

It’s a free pattern for our newsletter subscribers! All you have to do to get a copy of the pattern is sign up here, and the full pattern pdf will be in your inbox really quickly.

To make a shawl just like the one shown, you’ll need a Tidbit Trio kit by Kristin Omdahl Yarns– the yarn is 100% bamboo, so very breathable and has a lovely sheen to it. There are all sorts of colour choices for the yarn, so have fun combining your favourites into something that is completely you!

Kristin is also the wonder behind Wrapture, our jasmine scented wash. Naturally, we recommend you use Wrapture for wet blocking your shawl when it’s done, as lace really looks its best once it’s been blocked. Kristin has put together videos on how to do this, as well as how to read a crochet chart and work the edging- find them all right here.

You can also read Kristin’s blog post about the shawl she designed right here!

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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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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

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!

Catching up with Kristin Omdahl

Knit and crochet designer Kristin Omdahl has been keeping busy this summer! Her latest endeavor is her own line of beautiful yarn called Bamboo So Fine. This lustrous and silky yarn pairs perfectly with Eucalan’s Wrapture by Kristin Omdahl, which is infused with the intoxicating aroma of night-blooming jasmine. Each skein of yarn has generous yardage and comes in your choice of exquisite colors; Kristin also includes patterns and a sample of Wrapture with each purchase!

BSF_amethystad

 

Most knitters and crocheters find that long crafting sessions leave their hands feeling dry, so we recommend adding a tin of our Wrapture Fragrant Balm to your knitting bag! This emollient product absorbs quickly, leaving your skin moisturised without any residue that could transfer to your project. It’s great for taming cuticles and rough patches, plus you can apply to your pulse points for a pleasing natural fragrance.

If you’re curious to learn more about Wrapture Fragrant Balm, check out this recent product review on the Rock + Purl Podcast to learn more!

 

Are You Ready to Knit in Public?

Eucalan is proud to sponsor Worldwide Knit in Public Day (WWKIP), an international event which began as a way for knitters to come together and enjoy each other's company. It has now become the largest knitter-run event in the world! Events are taking place around the globe June 8-16. Your local yarn store or knitting guild is a good place to start when looking for an event near you, if you are hosting an event in your town, be sure to share the details on the Knitty Blog and in the WWKIP Ravelry Group

Since the point of this event is to socialize with your fellow knitters (and let's not forget about the crocheters!), you'll want to be sure to take a project that doesn't require too much of your concentration. For most knitters, it's probably tough to have a conversation while wrestling with a complicated lace chart or trying a new-to-you technique for the first time! 

If you are surveying your WIPs (works in progress) and discovering that you don't have a portable project that is just right for social knitting, here are a few suggestions from some designer friends of Eucalan, plus a few of their designs to try out when you're back at home base! 

Marly Bird

MarlyBird

Left: The Nightfall Scarf knits up quick in bulky-weight yarn; Right: The Huckelberry Hat is a great way to learn entrelac knitting in the round!

 

Kristin Omdahl


KristinOmdahl

Left: The Fer Sure Crochet Legwarmers are a quick project to take on-the-go; Right: The Come to Me Lace Caftan uses an all-over crocheted lace pattern for a striking wardrobe-enhancer. 

 

Jennifer Hansen

Jenniferhansen

Left: The Goddess top is knit seamlessly in the round in stockinette stitch; Right: The Rebel Lace Cardi incorporates the broomstick lace technique which Jennifer demonstrates in her Craftsy class.