We’ve been busy, and a bit out of touch with the blog. Thankfully it has been all in the name of good things and lots of work! We’ll be more on top of this moving forward.
Yesterday, as you may already know, we had our debut on the Shopping Channel! It was a very exciting day, full of new friends, new activities and selling Soak!
We are very pleased to share with you the link to the great gift set we made, exclusively for them (you have to click to see it), as well as some awesome photos of the television that Chris took in the green room (the nice place where guests wait when they aren’t on air) and Jacqueline’s Dad took from home (the nice place where parents watch proudly as their children sell stuff on TV). We love the grainy look of the shots, combined with the TV buying information. All scents are available online, so get them now! Thanks for watching. We’ll let you know our next air date as soon as we have it.
Oh, and did we mention, you can even watch the video of our on-air episode too! (you have to click on the video link above the image on the Shopping Channel page selling Soak…)
Check it out! Thanks again for choosing Soak. We wouldn’t be where we are today, without you.
As part of the Knitting and Crochet blog week, they’ve encouraged us to try something a little different for April Fools.
Today’s assignment was to make a posting on our blog that was different from our typical day to day content. We’ve often had customers ask us for tips on how to block their finished projects, so we’ve decided to make a video to show the process of blocking a lace scarf. We’re new to this world of video so if you have some tips and tricks for beginners, please share!
We were tweeted by one of our friendly customers who had just finished knitting her very first hat and had no idea how to block it. We thought that answering her question would be a great way to start off what we hope to be a series of helpful videos about caring for the items you cherish most.
If you have any questions, requests or suggestions for videos, we’d love to hear them! Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TNNA t minus 4 days.
It’s early Sunday morning. Time to block and finish my wrap. The pattern casually stops after BO. I would suggest, not surprisingly, that all patterns end with Soak-ing instructions. Feel free, oh designers of the world, to use these. (Minus the personal details)
Lay out all the tools you need. I have my mats (aka tradeshow floor, hence, finishing before TNNA), towels, pins and of course Soak (celebration, my favourite) and my Carrie basin. This wrap is clearly too large to be soaked in Phil. You need enough water to fully cover the garment, which, is a surprisingly large amount of water, once the yarn soaks and gets fully saturated.
I also documented the wrap, pre-Soak, for comparative reasons. Something tells me that I didn’t bring enough mats home and that it is going to grow. I also went back to the original pattern for ‘finished’ length instructions, so I have a point of reference.
I filled Carrie with luke warm water. I hate super cold water, it makes my hands uncomfortable. Definitely avoiding hot water, it is wool after all.
Once I added the wrap, as predicted, I needed to add more water. When the wrap was fully immersed, I swished it around and around, to make sure there was enough water movement to get in every cable, stitch and twist.
Every few minutes I moved both the water and the wrap around.
Swish, splash, wait.
The water is slowly turning green. The overwhelming vinegar smell that lingered while knitting (probably the fixing of the colour during the dyeing process) was finally dissipating, being replaced by the clean fresh scent of Celebration.
If you haven’t swished the water for a while, make sure you do, one last time before taking the garment out. Suds settle on the top of the water and can create residue spots. One last swish and we’re coming out of the water. Oh, I’ve also realized that this is probably a multiple towel project, so I’ve gone to my stash of back-up towels. To the tub.
I carried Carrie to the tub (Get it? Carried, Carrie- It has been a week full of people asking why Carrie is called Carrie and why Phil is called Phil. When I filled Phil with water, he couldn’t hold enough water so I switched to Carrie. Now get it?)
It’s important to note that a good bunch of the time spent in my messy, poorly lit bathroom was gentling squeezing the wrap while it was in Carrie to remove water. You don’t want to lift up the weight of the water in the garment. It will stretch and distort. I was once again surprised how heavy the wrap was when wet, I clearly shouldn’t be surprised, but I was. This morning I was excited that no one was home, I have the bathroom, kitchen and living room mess to myself. Now I wish I had someone else to help with the Soaking. This wrap is getting long and heavy, further reinforcing the need to properly block it. We recommend bribing a friend when soaking a quilt or vintage textiles. I further amend by including large garments.
Towel sandwich. First round of removing water.
As I start to lay out the wrap, my first thought is that it’s never going to end up the size it is supposed to. Then, suddenly, as I begin to line up ribs and tighten up cables, the oscillating forms of the cables start to come to life. Corny, I know, but it’s true. The blocking process is revealing the cables as they rise above the surface of the double seed stitch, turning at every twist. When the cables are cabling, the wrap suddenly becomes narrower, shorter and closer to its desired finished size.
Back to blocking. It is a lovely textured surface, mountains of green, rising in my living room. I can honestly say that I’m both shocked and thrilled as I discover the smooth curves and valleys of the cables I’ve made. At the time, I had no idea what I was doing (which I’m sure you’ve gathered) and I can’t believe how beautifully the garment is taking shape.
It’s obvious that I’m an advocate of Soak-ing and properly finishing knits. It’s not only about the shaping but also about respecting the process and allowing the fibers and the stitches to blossom to their fullest.
As the scent of Celebration Soak fills the air, it’s almost lunch time, and I should go probably give myself a rewarding morning soak, while my wrap gently dries.
Soak was first launched in the knitting industry as a way to care for your hand knit pieces. Knitters quickly realized that Soak was also great for blocking, felting and finishing their knit and crochet projects.
Blocking is a term that most knitters have heard of, and know that they should do. However, many are guilty of skipping this step. Blocking allows for the piece to be stretched and shaped into the right dimensions. This is especially important if you took the time to create a beautiful intricate lace pattern. Blocking will help to “open up” the designs to show it’s true potential. Below we show a beautiful scarf that Chris made with only the right side having been blocked.
Remember to refer to the yarn’s ball band for care recommendations before soaking it in the water.
How to block
- Use cool water when blocking or your piece may shrink.
- Add your low-suds detergent. Remember to use only one teaspoon per gallon of water. Don’t let the lack of bubbles tempt you into adding more.
- Soak your piece for 2 to 15 mins depending on the yarn type. Most yarn washes do not contain harmful ingredients so do not fret if you accidentally leave it in for longer.
- Remove excess water by gently squeezing the piece against the side of the sink or wash basin. Avoid lifting a soaking knit piece out of the water as the weight may distort the shape of it.
- Roll the knit piece in a towel absorb the rest of the excess water
- Block your piece by laying it flat on a towel or blocking board and shaping it as you go.
Lay it flat to dry. Try to find a place with good air circulation on all sides. Flip the piece over half way through the drying process to help keep the shape. This picture compares an unblocked piece to a blocked one. Notice how the piece lays flat and the stitches are evened out in the blocked square.
Click here for the full article on blocking and washing hand knits from Knit Simple.