Soakbox Knit-A-Long: Elvis Paisley

Needles

This is another pattern where we would suggest using a magic loop method if you are comfortable with that. The patterning on the mitt is split across two unequal sections which may make magic loop a little awkward, but would also solve the difficulty of having to move stitches around a lof from needle to needle when working the decreases and increases on the large paisley motif. If you are more comfortable working on dpns I would suggest starting out with an even number on the needles, then shifting stitches around once you get up to the thumb.

Reading Charts

Lets talk a little about reading charts. While the pattern for Elvis Paisley isn’t necessarily difficult, it can be a bit intimidating if you have never read a chart before. With a few tricks and a bit of patience, figuring out this chart will be no trouble. I am going to go over reading charts in the context of this pattern. If you are looking for some more information or more guidance on reading charts, I would recommend the book Charts Made Easy: understanding knitting charts visually by JC Briar.

First off, the best thing about knitting charts is that they help you see your knitting visually. The charts make a picture, and that picture is then reflected in the texture of your knitted fabric. While written out instructions may be more accessible, it can be easy to loose ones spot in the pattern, and it makes finding a mistake more difficult. With some pracitce it is possible to look at a chart and understand better where your stitches are trying to go in order to find out where a stitch may have gone wrong.

There are a lot of people who believe very strongly in charts, or are completely against them. We decided to go with only charts for a few reasons. One is that we didn’t have a lot of space. Since this is a printed pattern it was necessary to save space, and there just wasn’t any room for written instructions as well. Another reason is that the mistakes that show up in knitting patterns almost always happen in the written section. From an editting perspective it is really hard to catch a mistake in a bunch of written abbreviations, rather than in a charted format, even with tech editors and test knitters. It is one thing to have a few simple lines written out than 64 rounds of pattern where each round is completely different from the next.

Charts can look overwhelming, but the best way to go about things is to take it one stitch at a time. Just as with learning knitting abbreviations, the information is all there, you just need to know how to look for it. Every chart should have a key, just like in a map. The key will tell you what each symbol on the map means and how to work it. The Elvis Paisley chart is printed on the back page.

Each box in the chart represents a stitch a chart is read as you work your knitting. The first stitch of the first row is the bottom right hand corner. The chart is read from right to left. Because this project is worked in the round, the beginning of each round returns to the right hand side. For a flat piece you would read the chart from right to left for one side, the left to right for the next.

Everyone has a different system for helping them read a charted pattern. Some people have no problem reading the charts as written, but it is not a bad idea, especially if  you are new to them, to use a few aids to help you along.

1. Marking your rounds. The idea is to mark each row as you go along so that it is easy for you to tell which row you are on without getting lost. There are a few ways to do this, and you will find one that works best for you.

One option is to highlight each row as you get to it. This is great, but gets tricky if you want to re-use the pattern, or if you need to follow a chart a second time in the pattern. I would suggest photocopies for this option.

Post-its are great. You can move them up the rounds as you go along, and they are great for writing bonus notes on them as well. The downside is that they can fall off, and that can cause its own problem!

One of the best options is something called highlighter tape. It is a transparent piece of Scotch tape that can be put on your pattern. It is sticky enough that it will stay where you put it, but low tack so that you can pull it up and replace it each round without damaging the paper.

Another great option is a magnetic pattern holder, like these ones by Knitter’s Pride. The board holds your pattern up so you can see it easily while you are knitting, and the magnetic bars can be moved along to mark your spot as you go. The whole thing folds up nicely into your bag so nothing gets mushed up or lost.

2. Marking your stitches. As I said before, each square on the chart is a stitch in your knitting. The easiest stitches are the empty boxes, those are knit stitches. The dashes are purls. A / is a k2tog and a \ is a ssk. The great thing about these two symbols is that they make the shape of the stitches they are representing. The reason a / is a k2tog is because that is the way that decrease leans. So you can see from the pattern how the top of the paisley motif will come to a point because there are a number of rounds in a row that have / and \ coming together to a point as well. Similarly a O is a yarnover, as it makes a little hole in your knitting.

The trickier stitches are the little cable stitches on the pattern. These are actually rectangles, as the action they represent involves two stitches at the same time. They follow a similar standard as the basic decreases in that the ones that lean left will have stitches that lean the same way, and vice versa for the right. There are four different cabled stitches in this chart. Don’t get too worried though! They are only minor variations on eachother. However, if you are concerned about keeping track of them, it might be handy to pick out four different colours of highlighter or coloured pencil, then go though the pattern and colour them in. Colour your key similarly and then you just have to keep track of which colour you are working on.

For this pattern, the cast-on instructions are on the back. You cast-on the appropriate number for the size you are making, then work the first 4 rounds of ribbing. Then you switch to working from the chart. There are two large red lines on each chart that bracket 4 stitches. This is so that there could be some size variation in the chart, without having to make 3 separate charts. While working across the chart, the stitches between the red lines are worked (or not worked) according to the size. For the smallest size the red lines are skipped all together, for the medium the chart is worked exactly, and for the large the stitches are worked twice, for a total of 8 stitches.

Another unusual section is the thumb. On the chart the thumb stitches are represented by a bunch of @ symbols. That isn’t a stitch! Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the thumb. Once you get to the first @ stitch, flip your pattern to the back and follow the instructions under “Work thumb gusset”, then return to the chart for the remainder of the round. The pattern alternates between written instructions for the thumb and charted instructions for the body of the mitten.


Weekly Affirmation: Dotti Potts

Every Thursday we post a comment, tweet, email or secret message we’ve received from one of our Soakworthy customers (stores, fans, consumers, friends). Sometimes, on a rough day, it’s really helpful to read an inspiring message from someone in our community. Someone who appreciates what we do. Someone who is as passionate about Soak as we are. We appreciate all the love that comes our way. Really we do.

You might not know this, but Jacqueline Sava (our Director of Possibilities here at Soak), also consults with other small artistic businesses. She works with them to help find out how they can streamline their packaging, marketing and media approaches so that they can expand and develop to their full potential. Jacqueline worked most recently with Sandra Silberman of Dotti Potts. We received this message from her a few weeks ago.

“Had my first session with business coach Jac Sava, wow my brain is over flowing with new knowledge and excitement about taking my business to the next level. Thank you, you were fantastic, I look forward to our next meeting!”

You can read more about Jacqueline’s experiences working with Dotti Potts and other businesses on her (new but growing) blog, Maker to Making a Living.


Weekly Affirmation: Spun Out Creations

Every Thursday we post a comment, tweet, email or secret message we’ve received from one of our Soakworthy customers (stores, fans, consumers, friends). Sometimes, on a rough day, it’s really helpful to read an inspiring message from someone in our community. Someone who appreciates what we do. Someone who is as passionate about Soak as we are. We appreciate all the love that comes our way. Really we do.


 

Here at Soak we tend to be pretty up on our social media. Natalie and Jacqueline are active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram under their own handles and the Soak brand on a regular basis. We know that we throw a lot of Twitter affirmations at you, which is why this week we are excited to share one from Instagram instead. It is so great to hear about how people love  Soak from all corners of the internet.

This story starts out when Rebecca, posted a photo of a finished sweater she had knit.

Jacqueline favourited it, which got Rebecca excited.

“spunoutcreations: @jacqueline_soak feeling a bit star struck. I use soak for everything!! Thanks for checking out my stuff.

jacqueline_soak: Yippee! @spunoutcreations your work is totally Soakworthy!”

We couldn’t agree more.


Weekly Affirmation: Easy Peasy

Every Thursday we post a comment, tweet, email or secret message we’ve received from one of our Soakworthy customers (stores, fans, consumers, friends). Sometimes, on a rough day, it’s really helpful to read an inspiring message from someone in our community. Someone who appreciates what we do. Someone who is as passionate about Soak as we are. We appreciate all the love that comes our way. Really we do.


Another affirmation from The Shopping Channel reviews!

“This product has made my life sooo much easier. I just fill the sink and toss my sweaters in with it for 30 minutes or so, and they’re good to go; not to mention the fact that all the fragrances are absolutely delicious. I wish that I had it all winter. I have one favorite cashmere sweater that I would have worn every day!”


Knitter’s Frolic in TWO days!

Knitter’s Frolic

We’re busily preparing for this year’s DKC Frolic!
We’re packing new bottles of Yuzu Soak and Handmaid luxury hand creme,
Yuzu Twosome
Soakboxes galore,
Soakbox #1
Basins,
Carrie
Stick n’ Soak tattos,
Temporary Tattoos
And of course bottles and bottles and bottles of Soak!
Soak bottles staggered
Come see us. Come shop. Come say hello. We look forward to seeing you there!

Knitter’s Frolic

15th Annual Knitter’s Frolic

Saturday & Sunday, April 27-28, 2013

Marketplace: Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Workshops: Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
6 Garamond Court, Toronto, Ontario


Guest Maker: Megan Kreiner

We are excited to present a series of guest bloggers to the Soakworthy space. They will be posting on all sorts of topics, from Lingerie design and production, to knitting and sewing as art. We look forward to expanding our idea of what is Soakworthy. As usual, the opinions expressed are those of their author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Soak Wash Inc, but we probably think that they are making an excellent point. Enjoy!


Hello! My name is Megan Kreiner and I am the author of “Crochet A Zoo”. If you’ve ever delved into wild and cute world of crochet or knitted toy making, then you’ve probably given at least one or two of your creations away as gifts.

In this post, I thought it would be fun to talk about using the toys in the “Crochet a Zoo” book in gift baskets! The sky is really the limit when it comes to putting a perfect gift together and I hope that these 3 gift baskets might inspire you to mix and match toys along with other wonderful extras to make the perfect gift for any occasion!

crocheters_basket_square

Crocheter’s Basket

Inspire that new crocheter in your life with a basket full of basics and essentials to get them started! This basket features:

– A variety of yarn skeins ~ 110-125 yards is more than enough to make 1 crochet animal.
– Felt for patches, stripes and spots.
– A full set of crochet hooks ~ I love the Amour Crochet Hook Set from Clover!

– A bag of toy stuffing ~ I padded the bottom of the basket with the stuffing.

– The book “Crochet A Zoo” ~ there’s a great “basics” section in the beginning.
– A few bottles of Soak to keep critters made with delicate yarns nice and clean.
– A small notions bag with tapestry needles, stitch markers, row counter, a pack of 9mm-10mm plastic safety eyes, an automatic pencil, post-its, marking pins, sewing needles,and thread ~ this can be tucked inside the basket with the stuffing.
– A few finished animals from Crochet a Zoo for inspiration!

I recommend using a fabric or fabric lined basket for this gift basket to keep the yarn from snagging. You can also pack up these goodies in a large canvas bag instead of a basket so your new crocheter can travel with their projects.

baby_shower_square

Baby Shower Basket
Impress that mother to be with a beautiful basket full of adorable baby essentials and some handmade toys! This basket features:

– A selection of animal themed clothing ~ Check out the “Safari Animals” collection from the Janie and Jack online shop or retail store featuring elephants, rhinoceros, giraffes and zebras!
– A set of new shoes wrapped with a bow ~ also from Janie and Jack.
– A selection of crochet toys to complement the clothing you’ve selected.
– A few bottles of SOAK for handwashing baby delicates!

For baby toys, I recommend using french knots instead of plastic safety eyes in my book. I also recommend being selective about the yarns you choose to make your toys with as some babies may be allergic to wool. Fortunately, there are many wonderful options now in organic cotton yarns. You can even order organic stuffings as well from online shops like NearSea Naturals.

zoo_keeper_square

Zoo Keeper Basket

Let their imagination run wild with a basket full of zoo animals! Surprise your budding zoo keeper with a selection of your favorite animal themed books and an adorable “pith helmet” for them to take on all their animal related adventures! This basket features:

– As many crochet zoo animals (and zoo keepers) as you can fit!
– A child sized pith helmet (available on Amazon.com).
– A selection of your favorite animal themed books.

If you’re feeling particularly inspired, you can also add additional pieces to your zoo keepers ensemble like a vest and binoculars. Choosing a basket with a lid can also be a good choice in helping to keep an unruly pack of animals neat and tidy.

I hope that these 3 baskets will inspire you to try out new ideas when gifting your handmade toys! They can be as fun to put together as they are to receive!

* Looking for even more animal patterns, links to resources, or signed copies of the Crochet a Zoo book? Check out www.mkcrochet.com for more information!


Weekly Affirmation: Lace Kelly

Every Thursday we post a comment, tweet, email or secret message we’ve received from one of our Soakworthy customers (stores, fans, consumers, friends). Sometimes, on a rough day, it’s really helpful to read an inspiring message from someone in our community. Someone who appreciates what we do. Someone who is as passionate about Soak as we are. We appreciate all the love that comes our way. Really we do.


We found this great affirmation from Lisa on the Jimmy Beans Wool webiste this week. They have a great e-commerce site, where you can also leave text and video reviews of products they sell. What a great idea!

“This is the PERFECT gift for a knitter – great yarn, great pattern and lots of little goodies to make it interesting. I bought one for myself, even though I don’t even wear nail polish and am so pleased with it. Once again, Lorna’s Laces and SOAK have a winner!”

Thanks so much Lisa! We are so happy to working with Lorna’s Laces, and have lots of new plans up our sleeves for the coming months. Stay tuned!


The Workroom at City of Craft

CUTE!! @art_attic stitched up the Horned Owl doll.

One of our favourite local Toronto events are the City of Craft shows. I could not be happier that they have decided to start doing a Spring show on April 20, in addition to their usual Winter one!

Our local sewing shop, The Workroom, is going to have a booth. They are going to be selling Soakboxes and Soak in both 3oz and 14oz bottles. They have all 5 scents, so this is a great opportunity to check out the our new Yuzu in person.

The Workroom will also have a number of products by local artists, such as these super cute  Kiriki Press Embroidery Kits, Uppercase Magazine and sewing patterns by Victory Patterns.
Victory Patterns


Lingerie Spring Forecasting

We are excited to present a series of guest bloggers to the Soakworthy space. They will be posting on all sorts of topics, from Lingerie design and production, to knitting and sewing as art. We look forward to expanding our idea of what is soakworthy. As usual, the opinions expressed are those of their author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Soak Wash Inc, but we probably think that they are making an excellent point. Enjoy!


It’s a great big world of lingerie out there! I think is is why lots of people are intimidated by the idea of getting into lingerie as well as one of the reasons that lingerie blogs are so popular. The lingerie industry is huge, frequently mystifying and we’re all looking for a guide to it.

 Today I’m going to cover the latest and great offerings from brands and designers for Spring 2013, but I hope this will also help serve as a basic guide to what the lingerie world has to offer. Today we’ll cover everything from international mega brands to independent Etsy sellers making limited edition collectible pieces.

 Florals:

Florals are always everywhere for spring, but I’m thrilled to see so many different takes on them this season. 

The Fantasie Deliah Set offers a subdued take on vintage florals with a supportive bra and high waisted panties if you’re looking for something sweet but still slightly out of your regular bra routine.  

The flip side of this is the new “Hyper Floral” capsule collection from Etsy seller Nearer the Moon. The set features printed satin against navy eyelash lace, along with lots of sexy burlesque cutouts and buttons. These pieces are a limited run, so be sure to snap them up while you can.

 Pastel Mesh:

Claudette has revitalized the mesh bra in the past few years, and their offerings this season are colorful and sexy. I love this Dessous bra in Cyber Yellow and this Camouflage mesh set. Both are affordable and supportive, but cater to two entirely different personalities.

 P10

 Mesh can channel old Hollywood glamour too, as it does in this pastel ruffled robe by indie designer Dottie’s Delights. This is one of those completely glamourous pieces that is also accessible and look great on everyone, which is rare.

 Purple:

Purple is the hot color this season and will continue to be trendy moving into fall and winter. There are too many great examples of purple bras to list them all here and I suspect by the coming winter we’ll be inundated with them. That said, this Huit Icon Balconette and this Marlies Dekkers Space Odyssey bra are some of the best of the bunch.

 What lingerie trends do you see yourself embracing this spring? Do any of these pieces catch your eye?


Weekly Affirmation: Wedding Clothes

Every Thursday we post a comment, tweet, email or secret message we’ve received from one of our Soakworthy customers (stores, fans, consumers, friends). Sometimes, on a rough day, it’s really helpful to read an inspiring message from someone in our community. Someone who appreciates what we do. Someone who is as passionate about Soak as we are. We appreciate all the love that comes our way. Really we do.

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This week’s affirmation comes from Twitter again. Have fun at the wedding, Christina!

“Using to handwash a dress for a wedding. Smells gorgeous and you just leave it to soak for 15 minutes. Magic.”