Saturday, March 10, 2018

Crochet Pattern: Redshift Infinity Scarf and Hat Set

Even though spring is just around the corner, it's still pretty chilly out. If you're still feeling the need to cozy up, why not work up my new pattern? With both a scarf and hat included, it's a great deal! You can find it on Ravelry and Craftsy.

Tall, cold, and cozy-loving ladies will love this extra long infinity scarf and hat set. This squishy infinity scarf can be wrapped around twice for a longer look and three times for a shorter look. You will need four colors. The unique dance between texture and color make this scarf red hot! A sweet hat completes the look. A light worsted yarn is the best choice for this project. This pattern is gift-ready and smooth to craft.

This pattern is a part of the Cerebral Crochet Series. For your entertainment, a few fun facts about redshift are included at the end of the pattern.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Kangaroo Leather Experiment

Yep, you read the title correctly... kangaroo leather. I ended up being given an entire bag of kangaroo leather scraps when I purchased a gift from a retail store near my workplace. The store sells traditional western apparel and gifts, including many items made of leather. Since leather is made from animal skin, there are many different types of animals that can be used. This includes kangaroos!

Keep in mind that I have absolutely no experience working with leather.

What to do with a bag of kangaroo leather? Well, I decided to experiment. I started by sorting the thin strips and the chunky pieces into separate piles. Ranna cat was fairly interested in this process, so I gave her a strip to play with.

My hope was to crochet with the strips. I wanted to make a belt or a mat with my 8mm hook. However, working with the leather turned out to be way more difficult than I expected. It did not slide nicely on the hook, instead clinging to the hook and to itself. The results were... um... interesting. By interesting, I mean horrible.

Yikes. Maybe a second run would be better? I selected the thinnest leather strip that I could find and tried again with the loosest tension I could manage. The results were a bit better, but still sloppy.

It seems as though leather strips are not ideal for crochet. At this point, it was time to go rogue and try other crafts. Braiding the leather looked decent.

Tying a bunch of knots in it didn't look too bad, either.

Finally, I remembered all of the macrame hemp jewelry I used to make in high school. I tried out a simple style with the leather and it worked out well.

By this time my hands smelled funny and I hadn't accomplished much. Thus, I ended my short and sad foray into the world of leather. I think I'll stick to what I know. Do you have any experience working with leather?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Review: Eucalan Delicate Wash

Today, I'll be reviewing Eucalan Delicate Wash. Disclaimer: I received this complimentary product in exchange for a review. I am not being paid to write this review and everything shared here is my real opinion. I'm thankful for the opportunity to review this gift pack. The package even included a handwritten note from the CEO of Eucalan. Super classy! The gift pack includes five scents: lavender, grapefruit, eucalyptus, jasmine, and unscented. They all smell very nice.

Wanna know a true story? I can be pretty lazy when it comes to 'proper' care of my clothes. Dry clean only? Well, I hope it doesn't get ruined when I toss it in the wash! Lay flat to dry? Guess I'm throwing it on the drying rack! Hand wash only? I hope the gentle cycle does the trick!

This attitude also extends to my finished objects. I know that a diligent, mindful yarn-lover would take the time to care for their handmade items on a regular basis in the most thoughtful way possible. However, I am a super busy person. I have an intense full-time job, a boyfriend, wonderful friends, more chores than seem reasonable, a karaoke habit, my designing... Who has time to hand wash and block a scarf after each wear? Therefore, I think I am the perfect person to review this delicate wash. I'm not even a typical user... I'm perhaps a shade lazier.

Check out my scrunched up, well-worn example items. I chose a crochet scarf that is a silk wool blend, a woolen knit cowl, and a silk scarf by Laurel Burch that I never got around to having dry cleaned.

The directions on the bottle say to fill the basin with room temperature water and then soak your items for at least 15 minutes. Totally reasonable. However, lazy Sara watched the sink fill about halfway before putting the crochet and knitting in and then dumping in some wash. I didn't even measure how much I was using; I just eyeballed it. As a result, there were some suds when the wash met with the running water.

You know what? This delicate wash is awesome! I took a relaxed approach to its use and it still went wonderfully. The best part is that you don't even have to rinse it out! You just squeeze out your now nice-smelling items and lay them out (which for me means putting them on the drying rack). I spent the 15 minutes they were soaking doing some other chores, so it worked out really well. Super easy, even for a lazy person like me. Side note, don't you think the squeezed out objects look like pretty flowers sitting in the sink?

When I washed the silk scarf, I was a little more regimented. I waited until the basin had filled before adding the wash, and I also measured it more carefully. I washed it separately so it wouldn't pick up any dye from the other two items.

Again, so easy. No rinsing needed. I think the no-rinse aspect and the good scent selection really make this delicate wash a winner. Grapefruit is my favorite one.

I had a great experience using this wash. It's so easy to use that I'll actually be willing to wash my items more often. In fact, I got inspired to use it to wash my bras. I hate washing my bras because I have to hand wash them, then rinse them, then hang them out. However, the no-rinse quality of the Eucalan wash meant I could just throw them in the washer on the soak setting and then spin them. So much less effort, and they came out clean. Sometimes regular detergent ends up making my bras itchy, but they weren't itchy this time. Win!

I wholeheartedly endorse Eucalan Delicate Wash. It's easy to use, smells nice, and gets the job done -- even though I was lazy about it. Before I tested it, I thought about sharing a bottle or two with my fiber friends... but now I think I'll keep it all to myself :3 Here are some additional details from Eucalan:
  • Eucalan Delicate wash is a delicate no-rinse wash that is perfect for caring for handmade items.
  • Our formula is non-toxic, pH neutral, biodegradable, and free of optical brighteners, phosphates, synthetic fragrance and dye.
  • Eucalan is scented with only quality essential oils (which are naturally antiseptic), in addition to natural/unscented.
  • The lanolin acts as a natural conditioner, keeping fibres supple and reducing static.
  • Eucalyptus and Lavender are naturally moth- and flea-repellent, making them an excellent choice for wool fibres and fabrics.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Fiber in the News: Incan Knotted Rope

I recently came across this cool piece on the Inca's use of string in recording their world. It is so fascinating! Have a listen or a read over at NPR. What an interesting use of fiber! I can't share any pictures of the ropes here because I haven't gotten permission. However, if you do an image search of these ropes, you'll fine that they have a certain beauty to them. They remind me of sun rays.

This is once of the more unique uses of fiber arts that I have seen. Have you seen any unique uses of yarn or string? Share in the comments!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Fun Crochet Finds at The Handmade Showroom in Seattle

Around the holidays I went out to the movies with my boyfriend. I just love going to the movies! Being transported to another world for an hour or two is enjoyable in so many ways. Not to mention, I get to have my favorite food: Popcorn!

One of the movie theaters in Seattle is located on the top floor of a mall. Since we were a bit early, we poked around the mall for a while. They happen to have a new store called The Handmade Showroom. Inside are cool objects that are all handmade in the Pacific Northwest. I found a bunch of crochet! Here is a sampling.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Crochet Pattern: Weightless Cowl

It's the first day of 2018. I can hardly believe it. The last couple of years have been very busy and very challenging in a number of ways. I hope that life calms down a bit for me and that I can be much more active in the fiber community this year. I want to kick off 2018 by releasing a new pattern right away. The Weightless Cowl is available on Ravelry and Craftsy.

Float away to crochet bliss while you create this lovely cowl. The gradual widening from top to bottom makes it easy to style. This simple, elegant cowl is worked in the round with the right side facing. It isn’t difficult to create, using different sizes of hooks to decrease instead of decreasing the number of stitches.

This pattern is a part of my new Cerebral Crochet Series. I've been looking for a way to unite my three passions: fiber arts, teaching/learning, and psychology. I think I may have found it!

So, what is the Cerebral Crochet Series? Well, the cerebrum is the part of our brains responsible for complex functioning, including what we would colloquially refer to as "thinking." Every pattern in the Cerebral Crochet Series will include some researched facts that relate to the name of the pattern.

For your entertainment, a few fun facts about weightlessness are included at the end of the Weightless Cowl pattern. I'm really excited about this series! Let me know what you think in the comments.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Review: Charley Crochet Cactus Kit from Global Backyard Industries

Today, I will be reviewing the Charley Crochet Cactus Kit from Global Backyard Industries. Disclaimer: I received this complimentary kit in exchange for a review. I am not being paid to write this review and everything shared here is my real opinion. Thanks go out to Global Backyard Industries for providing the kit.

So, there are 10 days until Christmas. How did we get here so quickly? Who knows. I am pleased to report that all of my (modest) shopping is done. Are you sitting there with no idea of what to get for someone this holiday season, be they crocheter or not? This kit could be a great solution to your problem! Since it is available on Amazon, you can buy it now and it will ship out quickly. Furthermore, the cactus it creates is quite giftable as well! Finally, this kit is priced very reasonably.

The kit comes with everything you need to create the cactus, even the hook! I trusted this to be true before opening it and brought it to my fiber group the other day, ready to work on it. The only thing it doesn't contain is scissors. The materials are of good quality.

The instructions were clear and the cactus was really fun to make. I was a little unsure about working with the green novelty yarn, but it turned out to be sturdy and just fine to work with. I love my little cactus! I haven't decided if I will give it to a friend or take it to work. Check it out!

How cute! I unhesitatingly recommend this kit.