It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 29. Knit Nation.

Author: Jacqueline 

Grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday, to learn how these Soak worthy bags came to be. Are you bagged? Send us your favorite bag. If we feature it here, we’ll send you a Soak gift pack, in a pretty bag, of course!


 

Last week there was a great party, with a super fantastic swag bag.  

The folks from Ravelry travelled across the ocean to host an event at Knit Nation, the UK-based knitting event. As we’ve just re-launched in the UK, we were a proud sponsor. While we haven’t got our hands on one of these decadent bags, we assure you, they are lovely! The party, as well as the entire Knit Nation event are rumored to have been fantastic!

We look forward to great success with leading yarn shops and haberdasheries in the UK market. 

 

 

If you are a UK based shop and would like some more information on Soak please contact our UK sales rep, Alice.


It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 28. Good things come in three’s.

Author: Jacqueline

Grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday, to learn how these Soak worthy bags came to be. Are you bagged? Send us your favorite bag. If we feature it here, we’ll send you a Soak gift pack, in a pretty bag, of course!


Today we’re celebrating the number 3. Three years at our new office, Chris’s third anniversary with the company and the third bag, I have yet to make. After bag one and two, I know exactly what I’d like; I just have to find the time to make it.e love our office; we can’t believe it has been three years since we moved in. Three years of forklift payments, three years of the ice cream truck, and three years to settle into this lovely space. I guess it’s not our ‘new office’ anymore. Either way, if you are in the neighborhood, do stop by for a visit.

Front entrance

Chris’s third anniversary with Soak is also this week. To celebrate, I made her a lovely bag. I started with an assortment of my favorite fabrics, some from Quilt Market, some from the Workroom all ones I knew she’d love. I included the supplementary pocket detail from my first bag as well.

I also added a bit of extra detail into this bag. For structure, Karyn from the Workroom suggests using canvas as an alternative to interfacing. It gives structure, without stiffness. Don’t forget to Soak and dry it first, as canvas does shrink considerably.

I wanted a detail that would reflect Chris’s three years. I worked on a few ideas for quilting into the outside of the bag and in the end, settled for a more subtle approach. I inserted three contrasting orange panels into one of the straps. Between you and I couldn’t get the full length of the strap from the fat quarter of fabric I had chosen, so integrating the contrasting panels into the handles helped with fabric yield and pattern continuity. 

Before assembling the bag, I worked my free motion machine embroidery magic to write on the bag. Truth be told, at a recent Quilt Sunday I played with one of the fancy Bernina machines that controls the stitch length while doing free motion and I fell hard and fast. For now, I get to stick to my current machine, controlling stitch length by hand. I am getting pretty good at it.

For my third bag to be, I’m going to focus on something a bit bigger, to fit in more work stuff while on the go. I’m also going to add more canvas structure to the interior of the bag, making it easier to distinguish one pocket from the other. I’m going to play with the machine embroidery a bit more; I love the subtlety of the texture and how the thread overlaps the various colours. As with everything here at Soak, it’s all in the details.

Update:

One of our wonderful readers, Amber, sent us a short email with a photo of a similar bag that she has made. We thought it was beautiful and wanted to share it with everyone.

“I love your bag.  Especially the one with the summery bird fabric!  I made this bag as well.  I really like how it turned out.  I did use canvas between the layers, but wish I would have thought to divide the pockets up more.  Really nice free stitching as well.  I’ve yet to try that with my Bernina.  Keep up the great stitching!
Amber”


It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 26. Amy Butler Frenchy bag

Author: Jacqueline

Grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday, to learn how these Soak worthy bags came to be. Are you bagged? Send us your favorite bag. If we feature it here, we’ll send you a Soak gift pack, in a pretty bag, of course!


I’m feeling crafty. Small scale, weekend style projects.  A little spice in my sewing, a quick fix needed.

I was going through the pattern stash in the office and came across my trusted group of Amy Butler bag patterns.  Amy, the loveliest lady in the world, gave me a few patterns at quilt market. This is their lucky weekend.

I started my crafty journey last night, reading through patterns and sorting the remnants from my most recently cut out quilt. (more on that later).  I had made a few fabric piles and decided on the Frenchy Bag.  All I needed was some interface, a problem easily solved by a trip to the workroom on the way home.

This morning, while perusing flickr.com, I noticed Karyn’s posting of new fabric arrivals. Seriously, as I tweeted, how am I supposed to work with fabrics from home when she has the new Echino collection in stock? Apparently my cotton brights will be stunning linings.

Last week I had also come across a Japanese retail site for Echino print products.  I kindly requested that Karyn sort out stocking the insanely divine umbrellas in Toronto, just for me.  A girl can dream. Maybe if we all want them, we can place a big order from Japan.

Anyhow, I’ll keep you posted on pattern and sewing progress. I’m leaning towards incorporating some quilting techniques into the bag and will no doubt make more than one, in the name of  design, experimentation and an inability to decide on a single fabric.

I’ll still be stopping at the workroom tonight. I’m certain though, that I won’t just be buying interfacing.


It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 25. ZigZag bag

Author: Jacqueline

Grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday, to learn how these Soak worthy bags came to be. Are you bagged? Send us your favorite bag. If we feature it here, we’ll send you a Soak gift pack, in a pretty bag, of course!


This Friday is all about my favorite new knitting bag. It’s not all that new (acquisition knitters frolic 2010) but it’s my favorite.

A couple of months ago (pre-frolic) to be exact, I was introduced to ZigZagStitches when Catherine from ZigZagStitches tweeted that she’d added more bags to Flickr.com before the Frolic. I was immediately in love.
ZigZag bags, kittens playing with yarn.

While working on my large green shawl (note- final photo to follow, as soon as I find my lost memory card with all TNNA photos on it!!) I realized that it’s hard work carrying a large knitting project around. In response to this rather obvious fact, my top knitting friends introduced me to the concept of the ‘small, portable simple project’. I was looking towards my trip to the UK and a small project was what I needed indeed.ZigZag bags at the Frolic.

At the Frolic, I sorted through bags and fabric to find my perfect match. It was the right size for my mid-length needles and fabric style. Echino is one of my favorite textile design houses and I was thrilled to see a boxy bag zippered in one of their fine fabric designs.

While I haven’t finished any particular ‘small, portable simple projects’, I have acquired a few more. I am working on Winter Bud in our very own ‘espresso yourself’ colour of our Ravelry inspired Creative Juices Collection and this killer scarf as seen on someone at TNNA, in a lovely shade of orange(not in production) from Lorna’s Lace.  I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

With my ZigZag bag in tote, I’m officially a stylish and organized knitter. Now, if only I can find more time to knit.


101 things to do with Soak | 022 RC car filters

Author: Jacqueline

Boys and their toys.


Rumor has it, my sweetie pie Ted’s friends were stealing their wives’ bottles of Soak. Crazy, I know, I didn’t believe it myself… until this past Saturday. Ted and his pals were at a radio control car race , as they often are on summer weekends. This particular weekend was of interest, because the track was half way between home and the cottage at Hardwood Ski and Bike. Interesting how, you ask? Well, it’s rather simple. I was able to spend time with the guys at the track and make it to the cottage for the balance of the weekend.the track

We were a couple of hours in; the pit was full of people working madly on their cars between races when one of the guys, Marco started asking for dish soap. Dish soap? Why on earth would they need that, there were no dishes to be found… just beer cans, junk food and barbecues. Before I could even ask why, Steve stood up and said, ‘Jacq- got any Soak?’ Well, as it turns out, the washing in question was for the foam car filters. Steve always said Soak was the best for degreasing the filters between races, I had just never witnessed the sacred washing event before.

I sent Marco off to my car, to the ever faithful Soak sales kit, consisting of bottles, mini-soaks and catalogs. It is, after all, my job to always have Soak on hand. A bottle of Citrus was secured, and before I could even say, someone pass me a camera, Marco had immersed the dirty foam filters in Soak and water. He was even resourceful enough to use an old zip lock parts package as his wash basin. No Carrie or Phil needed here.

After an undisclosed time frame (I told him they were soaked enough, but he insisted on soaking and squeezing them longer- he is passionate about how clean his filters need to be) the filters were removed and rinsed, ready to be reattached to the cars.

On the left, you’ll see a shiny, soft and round filter. On the right, a grease filled dirty one. We think this photo speaks for itself. So ladies, hold on to your bottle of Soak if you have RC racers in the family. Or, next time you order a bottle, buy one for your beau.
CLean and dirty filters

Oh, and for the technically inclined, the air filter keeps dirt out of the engine. It needs to be clean and oiled. When it gets dirty, dirt can start getting into engine. A dirty filter also restricts air flow to engine thus reducing power and making fuel consumption rise. So really, we’re cleaning out dirt and dirty oil. Pretty fancy!

PS.  No names were changed in the documentation of this event. Steve is really proud of how much he loves Soak. He also uses Soak to wash his rags after each and every event.


It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 24. A French rendez-vous

Author: Jacqueline

Grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday, to learn how these Soak worthy bags came to be. Are you bagged? Send us your favorite bag. If we feature it here, we’ll send you a Soak gift pack, in a pretty bag, of course!


What a week it has been. Out every night, early days in the warehouse. Seriously, I’m not 22 anymore!

Wednesday night, the highlight of the week, Lingerie Française Paris (the French federation of lingerie and swimwear) hosted its annual French lingerie fashion show in Toronto. The beautiful (why on earth have I not been there before?) Wychwood Barns  was the venue for a hot and sticky night of fashion and fun. 

lingerie Francaise

I was the guest of the lovely and talented shop owner Jen, from Secrets from your Sister (2 shops, one on Bloor, one on Yonge, in Toronto). We sipped champagne (followed by many glasses of water) and enjoyed a cabaret style fashion show filled with singing, dancing and style.

Hoisery tap performance

We brushed shoulders with industry insiders, distributors, sales reps and shop owners, including Soak retailer, Christine from Brava Boutique.

Following the extraordinary event we dined with friends such as owners Joan and Greta of The Spa on Main in Georgetown. Our dinner was hosted by Paul from Empreinte makers of my favorite bras. (Dear Paul, I love my new IVA bra, especially the Feather detail!)

No fashion event would be complete without a fun filled swag bag. We opened it up and divided the treats at the office just this morning. The bag wasn’t as photo worthy as the event itself, so I leave you with my favorite parts of this cabaret inspired performance. The open scene featured dancers en pointe with parasols and elegant lingerie. The lights were hot but you barely noticed for the lovely lingerie.

Ballet

Mid-way through, between scene changes and singing, hosiery collections were shown in true cabaret style. With hats, gloves and canes, dancers showed the latest styles and textures, fall is sure going to be stylish and fun. Visit the Lingerie Francaise website for all featured brands and retailers.


It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 23. Literally bagged.

It’s Friday and I am literally bagged. I have a summer cold, so I’m going home.


Have a great long weekend, celebrating Canada Day or Independence Day, if you are, wherever you are. If not, try to sneak in a long weekend this summer, the extra day off is sure to cure my cold, it could do you some good too.
See you next week. Sniff, sniff, cough, cough.


It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 22. Loop. London.

Author: Jacqueline

Grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday, to learn how these Soak worthy bags came to be. Are you bagged? Send us your favorite bag. If we feature it here, we’ll send you a Soak gift pack, in a pretty bag, of course!


While in London, we visited a myriad of beautiful shops. One such shop was Loop. Loop has been working hard in the last month as they have moved into a beautiful bigger shop at 15 Camden Passage, Islington (right around the corner from Angel tube).

They had their opening party last Saturday with great success. When Susan opened the doors to the new shop at 11am, she was greeted by 150 wonderful customers cheering and clapping.  the line

While their previous shop was lovely, the new shop boasts several floors, workrooms and equally brilliant neighbors.loop camden paassage 3 Loop also has a booming online business. We enjoyed browsing the shop for vintage buttons, yarns and magazines alike. I love the extensive use of the word Haberdashery in the UK. It is highly underused here in Canada. Seriously, where, here, would you ever find this phrase? ‘Pompom kits, olivewood buttons and knitting Nellys are just a part of the huge range of haberdashery available’. Soak will now be part of this great shop, both in its online shop and retail outlet. It’s no surprise I left the shop with a cute bag and some fab finds. That’s the joy of travel.

Loop is also sponsoring the opening night party of Knit Nation, a UK based knit event occurring this summer. If anyone can figure out how I can go back to the UK for this event, do let me know! More on that another day.


101 things to do with Soak | 018 Fabrics. Quilting. Pre-washing.

Author: Jacqueline

Truth be told, I love it more than yarn. I love looking at it, cutting it, designing with it, wearing it and resting under it. My mom was a clothing designer. I grew up with fabric. I’ve recently acquired an exceptional stash of Liberty of London fabrics from a recent trip to England.


My first thought was to introduce these limited edition fabrics from the V&A collection to my stash immediately, so the various prints, colours and textures could get to know each other. My fabric stash enjoys new friends. I also had a few select acquisitions from the Liberty store itself but I wanted to include some of them in my summer quilting projects. I knew what had to be done. They all needed to be unfolded from their neatly packed pile and given a good Soak.

There are some basic rules to pre-washing quilt fabrics. We’ve talked about pre-washing fabrics for textiles in general, but here, we’re talking quilting specifically. The liberty fabrics I bought at the V&A suggested cold water wash, and discouraged drying, ‘do not tumble dry’.

First, if you are making a quilt that is going to be used, like this one which was a wedding present for my cousins in the UK, at some point it is going to be washed.
Quilt1

Second, if a giant quilt gets wet, it is likely to end up in the dryer, regardless of instructions. So, I recommend pre-washing and drying all fabrics.

I did wash and dry my liberty prints, fear not, I’ll share my secrets.

First, unfold all your fat quarters, yardage and fabric.

fabrics

It is essential that the pieces be loose and relaxed when they go into the wash.

unfold fat quarters

If you have (or have access) to a front loader, I would suggest using it. The agitation caused by the upright machines does add a bit of roughness to the washing (and it tends to increase fraying).

Use cold water, and of course, Soak.

Nothing too crazy happens in the washing machine. Sometimes, you get a bit of fraying at the edges, but mostly you just end up with a tangled bunch of fabric swatches. It is imperative to separate and loosen all the pieces again, before they go in the dryer.

Drying is an important part of the washing process, arguably, the most important. For my machine at home, 6-9 minutes on medium heat is enough to dry cotton. I highly recommend not leaving the room during drying. Your goal, when drying fabric is to remove most of the moisture, while leaving the fabric slightly damp so you can take it out, flatten it and keep it from wrinkling. Clearly I left my liberty print too long, it wrinkled. I am not looking forward to the arduous ironing that will follow. Every fabric and every machine commands different drying times. Once again, grab your favorite craft magazine, say, the summer issue of Studio magazine, featuring Soak and hang out in the laundry room. Your fabric will love you for it.

wrinkles

I remove a few pieces at a time, fold them in half and flatten them out. The continuous movement and heat from the dryer keeps the cotton soft and wrinkle free. If the dryer finishes and the cottons remain still, they will wrinkle. I suspect Liberty suggests not drying, to avoid wrinkling and the countless hours that follow, should one choose to try to iron the wrinkles out.

Here is my stack of fat quarters after I took it out of the machine. Note the small amount of fraying that occurred along the edges.

fraying

When I get my fabrics back upstairs, I drape them over chairs and other firm objects, to air dry.

drying

Once dry, my fabrics were transferred to the stash where they took great comfort in all the other prints. Some were cut up for my summer project, as I mentioned, and more importantly, the rest are ready to go on a moments notice. There’s nothing worse than wanting to start a new quilt and knowing you have to do laundry first. That’s how unwashed fabric ends up in quilts. It’s never pretty, so wash new fabrics immediately for safe keeping.

Distracted by the liberty prints? Find them in Canada at Hyggeligt. Your local home for liberty prints. Both online and in a store front in London, Ontario, Hyggeligt is a haven for fantastic prints. I’m grateful that some of my chosen prints can be found there. I will never be without liberty again. Oh, and if you pass through, they also now stock Soak!
libertyend

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It’s Friday and I’m bagged. Week 20. Loop.

Author: Jacqueline

Grab a coffee or tea and join us each Friday, to learn how these Soak worthy bags came to be. Are you bagged? Send us your favorite bag. If we feature it here, we’ll send you a Soak gift pack, in a pretty bag, of course!


Today, as we set up our booth at TNNA, the National Needle Arts Association tradeshow, in Columbus Ohio, we celebrate Loop, in Philadelphia. Our first ever Soak retailer in the USA. Way back when, May 24, 2006 to be exact, Soak crossed the border for the very first time. It was just before our first TNNA, in June of that same year.

Loop window

Who knew that four years later we would be sponsoring parties, working with Ravelry, Louet and other such spectacular companies, dominating the wash category in the knit world? We are thrilled with how our business has grown over the years, as well as how our beloved customers covet our brand.

If you are reading this in or on your way to Columbus, visit us at booth 851. If you are online, check out Loop, as well as their sister store next door, spool. It’s my Mecca, a yarn shop next to a sewing shop, both with friendly staff and great finds!

Craig, owner extraordinaire, has a fantastic blog as well. loop store
I love my Loop bag. I use it for going to the market and going to work. It’s lovely and lively. It always reminds me of how hard we work to build our business and just how lucky we are to work with such great people.

Loop

Not a Soak retailer yet? Get in touch and we’ll hook you up. Would you like to recommend your LYS to us? Email us today!

Be sure when rummaging online not to confuse Craig’s Philadelphia gem with the other Loop, Soak stockist. Loop is also the name of a lovely London, UK based shop but that’s a story for next week.

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