soaking and blocking (and a giveaway)


I've been doing a lot of this lately, which is a good thing. There's nothing like giving your sweet new baby sweater a gentle, loving dunk in the sink. But plain water isn't enough for your sweet new baby sweater. You have to use Eucalan. I have used Eucalan for a few years now and it's a must-have for your soaking and blocking process.

You don't skip this part, right? (Right?) Because you owe it to yourself to finish out these last steps properly on that amazing handmade garment that you spent so much time knitting. A good soak in a bowl or sink filled with lukewarm water and wool wash will do wonders for how your hand-knits look and feel. Really.



Last month at TNNA, I was one of the lucky attendees at the Marly Bird Designer Dinner and received a swag bag of epic proportions. In that bag was a sweet little bottle of Eucalan's new scent, Wrapture by designer Kristin Omdahl, infused with the essential oil of Night Bloom Jasmine. It's as good as it sounds. It not only smells wonderful but also has a ton of benefits. All of the Eucalan scents have natural moth inhibiting properties, and the lanolin and essential oils act as natural fabric softeners that will make your sweater extra soft, also allowing the fibers and stitches to lay really nicely. Wool wash cleans and softens your hand-knits with amazing results ... and you don't have to rinse.



Typically, I use Eucalan the 'traditional' way – soaking my garment in a sink or a bowl of lukewarm water (with one teaspoon of Eucalan per gallon) and then laying it out to dry. However, sometimes I knit sweaters that require a bit more care. Sometimes I'm wary of completely submerging them. With these delicate garments, I add a couple of drops of Eucalan into a spray bottle of water and boom, I'm ready to dampen and block my sweater. Eucalan is a no-rinse wool wash so it's perfectly okay to spray it on your garment and let it soak right in!

So. Would you like to soak your next finished project in Eucalan? I know you would. (Giveaway time!)


THE PRIZE


Pack includes: 2 each of the individual use single use pods (Eucalyptus, Lavender, Grapefruit, Unscented, Wrapture), 
6 stain-removing wipes, 1 pack lint removers, 1 nail file and 1 sewing kit in a re-usable vinyl zipper bag.


HOW TO ENTER

   • Comment below telling me if you're a hard-core wool wash user, or a first-timer!

   • Like Eucalan on Facebook or follow them on Instagram.


THE RULES

    •    Giveaway is open to US and CAN residents only

    •    Giveaway is open until Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 11:30 PM CST.

    •    Comments must include a valid email address or Ravelry ID so I can contact you if you are the winner. :)

    •    Winner will be chosen via random number generator and will be contacted within 48 hours after giveaway ends.


A huge thank you to Eucalan for this wonderful giveaway. Good luck and thanks for reading! :)




knitting in public + a fiber exhibition + a community art project


Here in Des Moines we are so lucky to have The Des Moines Art Center, home to ever-changing exhibitions throughout the year and a fantastic permanent collection that includes pieces by Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Francis Bacon, Georgia O'Keeffe, Grant Wood, Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Rothko and so many more. Yes, we are pretty lucky. And the current exhibition on display is a fiber exhibit called Fiber: Sculpture 1960–present. Which, for a knitter, is pretty on point. Lotus and I had to check it out.




 

And not long ago, I mentioned a community fiber project that correlates with this exhibit – the Art Center is collecting hand-knit or crocheted swatches for a re-imagining of the iconic painting "From the Lake No. 1" by Georgia O’Keeffe. So Lotus and I signed up for the project and picked up our yarn. (I believe knitted submissions are due this Friday if you would like to jump in.) It's such a fun project for us to do together.


Last weekend the Art Center hosted a knitting circle, which was the perfect way to celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day. We worked on our swatches for the community fiber project and I got to chat with some of my favorite knitting friends. Paul Kasal also gave a short talk on Georgia O'Keeffe and history of "From the Lake No. 1," which was quite fascinating. 



I'm naturally pretty excited to be part of this fiber experience and can't wait to see how this turns out. After what I imagine will be some very creative and interesting assembly sessions, the final piece will be unveiled on July 10th. Thank you, Des Moines Art Center friends, for bringing knitters together from all over our lovely city and making something big and beautiful out of all of our tiny handmade creations.


Scarves in the Round: a giveaway!

Adorned by Heather Walpole

My amazingly cool and talented friend Heather Walpole is a designer and the founder of Ewe Ewe Yarns, and she has just written her first book! I'm super stoked to be part of her blog tour for Scarves in the Round: 25 Knitted Infinity Scarves, Neck Warmers, Cowls, and Double-Warm Tube Scarves.


Heather and I have been friends for a couple of years after collaborating on a 30 Day Sweater project. And I got to meet up with her, see her Ewe Ewe Yarns booth and her new book at TNNA a couple of weekends ago. She's fantastic. Her patterns are featured on eweewe.com and have appeared in the One + One series, as well as in Knit Simple, Love of Knitting, and Creative Knitting magazines. She's also a fellow graphic designer ... and she's done design work for IKEA. So, she's pretty awesome.

In this book, Heather uses circular needles to create fresh, modern takes on the old standby scarf. Finished items range from cowls to long tube scarves and neck warmers for knitters of all skill levels. Get ready to feast your eyes on gorgeous colorwork designs, entrelac, bold striping, geometric patterns and Fair Isle. Check out some of my favorite projects from Scarves in the Round below ... and keep reading to find out how you can win your own copy.







Pretty awesome stuff, right? You definitely have to see the rest of her designs because you'll want to make them all. So ... would you like to win your own copy?

IT'S GIVEAWAY TIME! 

THE PRIZE




HOW TO ENTER




THE RULES

  • Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only
  • Giveaway is open until Sunday, June 14, 2015 at 11:30 PM CST.
  • Comments must include a valid email address or Ravelry ID so I can contact you if you are the winner. :)
  • Winner will be chosen via random number generator and will be contacted within 48 hours after giveaway ends.

A huge thank you to Heather for this wonderful giveaway, and congrats on the amazing book!

TNNA recap: the Rowan adventures


I have a few more TNNA photos to share, and this time it's all about Rowan. I was invited to attend the trade show with Rowan via Westminster Fibers, which was a super cool experience. The highlight of the weekend was getting the opportunity meeting some of the Rowan team from the U.K. One of my favorite knitwear designers of all time is Martin Storey, and it was a real treat to be able to chat with him over the weekend. Pictured above is my wonderfully talented TNNA roommate, Kristen from Knitionary, Martin and I. He is one of the head designers at Rowan and learning about what goes on behind the scenes (the photo shoots, design stories, pattern design, putting together collections) was absolutely fascinating. He's such a nice guy!


There was a knitwear fashion show on first evening of TNNA which featured 75 designs by various yarn companies. Rowan showed four designs – a vest, a fair isle sweater, a wrap and a wedding dress. This gorgeous Kidsilk Haze bridal gown was saved for the finale and was a showstopper! 



The next day, we got to check out the Rowan booth which was bursting with brand new designs and new yarns.


One of my new favorite yarns for fall is Hemp Tweed, which feels a bit squishy and seems to have great memory/stretch to it. I loved all the designs that were showcased using this yarn and can't wait to knit with it this fall. (I believe it's available beginning July 2015.)



And Kristen and I had fun checking out the new Swarovski + Rowan collaboration, which includes yarn pre-strung with Swarovski crystals and packages of crystals/baubles/beads that are available for purchase on their own.



Martin Storey and the lovely Kate Buller brought out champagne and chocolate covered strawberries for everyone during their knitting with Swarovski demonstration, which was really neat. Martin showed us all how to knit with pre-strung crystals.


And they had a sweet little baby garment display showcasing Rowan's Super Fine Merino 4ply, which is another favorite of mine. It feels so nice and will be amazing to knit with. It's washable, too.


And that's it! I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet these sweet and talented people and spend the weekend with other knitting enthusiasts, doing what we do best. A huge thanks to Rowan for everything – I had such a great time!