Weekly affirmation: Local Love

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.

Earlier this week we received this heartwarming note from Lori McMurray:

 

Hi there!

Just a note to tell you that I love your product!

We got some when we bought some bras at Secrets From Your Sister.  Then when we were running low I was very happy to find it at the Cloverdale Sewing Centre — I live in Etobicoke.

And I was delighted to find out it is Canadian!

Thanks for making it!

 

Lori McMurray

 

That’s correct Lori! We are proudly a Canadian company. Thanks for your great email!

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Weekly affirmation: Colour Co-ordination

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.

This week we look to twitter for some love:

soak

Of course, Austen isn’t the only one who likes to co-ordinate her knits! If you’re also a fan, be sure to check out our new Heel Soakboxes. Along with a gorgeous sock pattern by Fiona Ellis and a skein of delicious Lorna’s Laces Shephard Sock yarn comes matching Essie nail polish, Soak and Heel!

Here at Soak we’re always proud to show off a new project but when our nails match our knits, we can’t resist!

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Weekly affirmation: Soaking jeans

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 is a lovely letter we recieved from a new Soak user!:

I recently found my perfect fitting pair of jeans.  Being 6’ 5”, this is a task that has proven to be rather elusive over my life and it’s thrilling to discover that, in fact, I will not be chasing it in perpetuity. Now that I’ve found my match, I have every intention of taking exceptional care of them.  I want them to last forever. Just like the sweater my grandmother knit me, there’s no question that if treated properly these jeans have the potential to be one of the few garments in my wardrobe that will stick around ‘till death do us part.

This past year I found myself at an outdoor music festival in Montreal during the dead of winter. Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account the large amount of salt on the ground when I began dancing with a particularly gorgeous, tall blonde girl on my shoulders. Her pretty boots turned my new handsome black jeans into an old doormat.

I recently began using Soak on my sweaters and quickly adopted it to all my ski and cycling apparel. I thought my jeans were toast so I opted to give Soak a try. I didn’t want to throw them in the washing machine for fear of all the dye coming out with the salt, fading them beyond recognition. I filled a bucket with water, tossed in some of the product and continued to swish my jeans around before leaving them to “Soak” for about 5 more minutes. Not expecting much I was shocked beyond belief when I pulled out a pair of jeans that looked exactly how they did days before… I was impressed.

Thank you Soak for resuscitating my near-dead jeans.


Manulife: Entry to Asia Challenge | Jacqueline Sava, Judge.

We are very excited that our Director of Possibilities, Jacqueline Sava is included among the distinguised judges for this business plan competition. She’ll spend today listing to great presentations and reviewing finalists based on her knowledge of exporting Soak. If you need her, she’ll be back at the office tomorrow. Watch for Instagram snapshots from the day. How exciting!

Manulife Financial Presents the Distinguished Panel of Judges for “Manulife: Entry Into Asia Challenge

The elite panel, listed below, is made up of distinguished members of the business & finance community will select the winner of the Manulife: Entry into Asia Challenge after final proposals are presented:

Ramona Cheng:

Ramona Cheng is Executive Director of Ernst & Young and the Americas Markets Leader of Ernst & Young’s China Business Network, a bilateral platform designed to assist clients in developing, refining and implementing their China inbound and outbound strategies. Ms Cheng has over 20 years of corporate finance experience across North America and Asia, including five years of investment banking experience in Greater China.

Philip Leong:

Philip Leong is Vice President and Director, and Chairman’s Council member at RBC Dominion Securities. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Liberty Foundation, an organization with the dual mandate of promoting international freedom and democracy domestically and internationally and helping new immigrants to settle and integrate in Canada. In 2012 Mr. Leong was appointed by the Prime Minister to represent Canada in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council.

Jacqueline Sava:

Jacqueline Sava is Founder and Director of Possibilities of Soak Wash Inc., a consumer goods manufacturer, whose products are distributed through boutiques and department stores across North America, as well as in the U.K., Australia and Japan and at soakwash.com. In 2009 Jacqueline received the Woman Exporter Award from the Organization of Women in International Trade, in recognition of successfully exporting to international markets. Last fall she was invited to appear before the Standing Committee on International Trade of the House of Commons as part of the discussion regarding a trade agreement with Japan.

After reviewing 46 entries submitted by teams of university business school students from across Canada, seven teams were chosen as finalists. These teams will present their plans to the judges today. The three winners of the competition will be announced in Toronto on May 22.


Weekly affirmation: 15 minutes to fall in love with Soak

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.

My regular experience with laundry is to avoid it at all costs and get it done quickly! Mainstream detergents have been my staple….until I discovered Soak Wash. My world has completely opened up to a much brighter and happier laundry day. A good friend of mine is a long time Soak user and was very happy to hear that I crossed over to the other brighter side of laundry. To use a great product that makes your clothes last longer and is easy to use wasn’t possible to me until 15 minutes after I ‘Soaked’ my first pair of pants.  I just recently purchased a pair of  dry-clean only pants and wanted to avoid cleaning my pants in a way that is full of chemicals so I decided to try Soak on them. I was hesitant at first because I didn’t want to ruin my pants and in the past have done so with regular laundry detergent. Well, as all Soak users know Soak is NOT regular. I Googled about colour fastness and I was in the clear. My pants were OK to Soak.

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I filled my mop bucket with Soak (not as glamorous as Phil but it worked), put in my brand new pants and went to read for 15 minutes. When I pulled my pants out of the bucket I was amazed that it was so simple and that they smelled amazing! It only took 15 minutes for me to fall in love with Soak and to never go back to doing laundry the ‘regular’ way. Good bye dry-clean and hello clean pants!

 


Knixwear- a new Canadian brand launches

A friend of ours, Joanna, recently launched Knixwear. She has shared her revolutionary women’s underwear brand with the world – via a crowd funding campaign on Indigiegogo. The campaign has been up for a few days and is already creating a storm in the industry. We’d love for you to check it out. We’re offering Soak treats at some of the pledge levels, and in true Soak style, we’re always sharing stories of great young entrepreneurs, especially those from our home town. Enjoy.


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.