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

Keep up with the Shibaguyz by visiting their website or following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; you can view Shannon’s knit and crochet designs (photographed by Jason, of course!) here on Ravelry.

Protect Your Investment: Lingerie Care Tips from Bra Expert Liliana Mann

For today's blog post, we have a special guest: bra expert Liliana Mann, owner of Linea Intima in Toronto, Canada. Enjoy!

 

We have a ‘rule’ at Linea Intima: to always explain to our customers the importance of washing their fine lingerie.

Bras hanging on a lineIf you want to protect your investment then your delicates should be washed frequently, for example, a bra after every two times it’s worn. Most people aren’t very happy with the idea and are often concerned that a bra that’s washed too frequently won’t last as long. Those of us in the industry know this is a myth – in fact, lingerie that’s laundered properly lasts much longer!

In our stores, I go out of my way to help customers understand this and have a very descriptive way of explaining it. I use the analogy of hosiery and how it takes on the shape of the foot when it’s worn, but after washing, it goes right back to its original shape. But do you know what really gets their attention and makes them want to follow our washing ‘rule’? When they learn that they can use Eucalan, which doesn’t require rinsing! Everybody is thrilled to cut the job in half – wash and hang to dry, how great is that?!

My favourite scent of Eucalan is Grapefruit.  I like the colour, I like the smell, and I like how my clean delicates feel afterwards. To tell you the truth, it makes me hand wash more often now myself!

I always pack a travel size Eucalan in my suitcase to keep my lingerie wardrobe in pristine condition when I’m on-the-go. Here are some of my favourite summer lingerie styles which also make great travel options. As you know, I am not only the bra club president, I am also a customer!

My new 5’S of a bra wardrobe for this summer are: Seamless Bra – Marlies Dekker, Dame de Paris #15421; Seamed Bra – MarieJo Carole #010-1615; Strapless Bra – Simone Pérèle, Celeste #12M304; Sports Bra – Anita Extreme Sports #5527, in the Olympic colours; and my Sexy Bra – Aubade, Idylle Parisienne V114.

And of course I can’t forget to mention a matching panty for each bra. I do practice what I preach…!

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Final Report: Wool, The Fabric of Life Tour of England & Scotland

Lisa Carrow, instructor at the Aurora Waldorf School, my sister-in law and daughter of the founder of Eucalan was fortunate enough to go on the Eucalan-sponsored Wool, The Fabric of Life Tour of England and Scotland.  She's shared her experiences below for those of you who are interested in reading about this once-in-a-lifetime trip.  Enjoy!

-Jennifer Edgar, Managing Director of Eucalan Delicate Wash.

Being a well-seasoned and independent traveler, bus tours aren’t usually my thing. I even surprised myself when I agreed to participate in the Eucalan-sponsored trip.  What a good decision! We had a wonderful time and I for one knit to my heart's content, found inspiration for my personal projects and teaching work, and have now made new connections with a group of talented, enthusiastic women who share my interests in fiber craft.

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I realized on the first day that this was going to be a successful trip. When the whole group has a main focus, even though their backgrounds, job experiences and current life situations are vastly varied, the common thread knits the group together. We were all knitters at the core with an interesting array of other skills such as tatting, weaving, spinning, drawing and painting. Everyone took a genuine interest in each other.  Comments such as “Did you knit that,” “Can I have that pattern,” and “How did you do that – could you show me how?” could be heard on a daily basis.

The bus drive from our hotel to the daily point of interest became a sanctuary where we could quietly knit by ourselves, view the spectacular scenery, listen to the highlights or historical points about the daily destination (never missing a beat or dropping a stitch!) and helping one another with a problem in their project. One day I overheard “I will not be defeated by yarn” as a project was being corrected! Everyone shared talents and expertise freely and joyfully, often in the lounge before or after dinner.  On two occasions, in Peebles and Harrogate, a group of local knitters joined us for an entertaining evening of “knit and natter.” IMG_5417

 At Yarrowford, we had the rare opportunity of meeting and talking with a leading dog runner who is headed for the World Champion Sheepdog Trials this year.  It was amazing to to see his skill and patience with his Border Collie dogs who eagerly awaited his instruction to demonstrate their ability to herd the sheep and follow his directions. We also met a local herdsman who showed us hand-shearing methods and answered our many questions.  Some of us asked for hot soapy water so we could experience the clean wool right away.

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The local Women's Institute provided a wonderful hot soup lunch and delicious “tablet” – a sweet Scottish confection. I felt so happy to meet and support this community.   There was a cheer from the group when it was announced we would be able to attend the British Wool Weekend at Harrogate. This was so much fun and a great way to see such variety in one location: Wool coffins, spinning off a live angora rabbit, and knitting for breast cancer with 6 foot needles in the middle of the event.  There was traditional Guernsey knitting, yarn, yarn, and more yarn, and so much inspiration! Did you know that the British Wool Group is making a wool pillow (from British wool, of course) for every room at the Olympics, hosted there next year? I’m thrilled and inspired by this enthusiasm and to have been able to support Great Britain in my own small way by participating in the tour.  We covered a lot of territory in 12 days! 

There was a nice variety of historical locations such as Sir Walter's Scotts home, Abbottsford, Hadrian’s Wall, and the cities of Edinburgh, York, and London.  Educational and inspiring Beckside Yarnsworkshops included drop spinning and yarn dying at Heriot-Watt University, where we talked them into giving us a tour of the
classrooms and facility there – I’ve never seen so many looms or sewing machines in one room!  

One of my favorites was the felting workshop at the restored Farfield Mill with Chrissy and Lizzie.  The Intarsia knitting workshop at the one and only Rowan Yarns was a highlight for many and what an honor to meet the head designer Marie Wallin, who talked with us for an hour, sharing her work details of creating the Rowan magazines.  Knitting shops were sought out everywhere we stopped. The best ones we found tucked away in tiny communities such as Clapham, where owner Sandra opened her Beckside Yarns shop early for us and we all enjoyed yarn retail therapy.  I found it surprising that larger towns had much smaller yarn shops with quite limited variety.  At the Toft Alpaca Farm near Rugby we were treated to a delicious cream tea, informative talk, and the opportunity to buy hand-spun alpaca for knitting.  

Toft Alpaca Farm

Our bus driver, Mike, handled the large, comfortable coach with great ease through cities and around tiny country lanes, his previous experience was driving bus in London.  And Janet, our tour guide, kept us entertained with her interesting commentary as we travelled from the Border County of Scotland to London, England.  Thank you, Eucalan and DeNure Tours – where are we going next?

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There are many more photos from this trip!  Click here to view the rest of Lisa's photos from the tour.  Enjoy!

Special Guest: Marliana ‘Marly’ Bird

Designer, blogger, podcaster, teacher…Marly Bird has an infectious love for fiber.  She knits and crochets, designing in both mediums.  Not a day goes by without picking up a hook or needles! 

Be sure to check out her live podcast for interviews with other crafty folks.  Former guests have included Trisha Malcolm from Vogue Knitting, Benjamin Levisay from XRX Books, and designer Sheryl Thies, to name a few!

Marly says, "Eucalan was my first wool wash soap I ever used and have been a fan from the beginning.  Whenever I smell my favorite Eucalan scent, lavender, it makes me think of finished projects!"

When she isn't chatting about yarn, fiber, and all things crafty, she is most likely cooking up a fabulous new design you'll want to make!  Here are a few of her most recent designs:

  Chianti Carryall

Chianti Carry All, Published in the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2011 issue

This roomy bag is knit, then felted to a slouchy bag you'll want to use wherever you go! It's a great beginner project and makes a fabulous gift for yourself or a fashionable friend! 

Gradient Serendipity

 

Gradient Serendipity Shawl

This shawl features sumptuous yak/bamboo yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch in an array of hand-dyed colors.  Marly combines garter stitch with a scalloped lace edging to show off the subtle nuances of hand-dyed yarn. Currently part of an exclusive Knit-a-long, the pattern will be available soon as a PDF download on Ravelry!

For the Moms

For the Moms Shawl

Recently published in the November/December issue of Crochet Today!, Marly's latest crochet creation is perfect for gifting.  Mother-in-laws, cool grandmas, any woman on your list will look great in this airy, versatile shawl made with “magic” yarn, which changes color and texture as you stitch.