Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Week in Knit 2! - Soak!

This week's feature is Soak!
Soak is a rinse-free care product for fibers and delicate (or not so delicate) clothing!

Here's how to use it:

1. Step one. Dirty up your favorite pair of socks. I wore these yesterday at work, and then slept in them too :)

2. Step two. Put garment in cool water. Pour 1 teaspoon of soak per gallon of water. Since I just use my sink, I just drizzle a bit in. Make sure your garments are completely submerged.

3. Step three. Wait 15 minutes. Watch TV, knit, play with your cat. Whatever you want!

4. Step four - gently squeeze out the excess water. Take pride in your icky water! That's all the dirt you got out!

5. Step Five. You can lay flat to dry, though I prefer to hang my socks on sock blockers to help them keep their shape (and I think they dry faster that way too).

Jacqueline, the founder of Soak, was kind enough to answer a few questions about it!

Is there anything you can't use Soak for?
You can use Soak to clean any delicate fibers that you aren't afraid to get wet. For example, we often get calls about historical and vintage textiles. Our general rule is that if you are comfortable putting the textile/ garment in water, then you can clean it gently with Soak. If you aren't going to get it wet (for example, we had a call about a Confederate Flag), don't wash it in Soak, or anything else. In addition, Soak isn't designed to get out rough and tough stains like grass stains. It is a gentle, premium formulation designed for delicate fibers.
Don't forget you CAN use Soak in your HE washing machine on the delicate cycle. Follow your machine's instructions. At my house, anything that doesn't go in the dryer, gets washed on the delicate cycle with Soak.

Your first blog post is from November of 2008. When did you start Soak and how did it start out?

Soak evolved over time from 2004-2006 when it launched at TNNA, the Needle Arts trade show. Soak was originally designed as a wool wash for my previous company, Jacqs-Hats. ( We were selling upscale knits with fine fibers and didn't find that any of the products on the market were good enough quality for the knits we were producing. Soak was supposed to just be a secondary product to go along side the knits. Then, we realized that the quilter's needed a better wash, and then later on, that the lingerie and swimwear markets could also benefit from Soak.

How did Ravelry and the explosion of online knitting shops impact Soak?

While the growth of the on line knitting shop was certainly helpful to our brand, we launched long before with traditional retail shops. For us, the greatest impact is from a new customer actually trying Soak. Once you try Soak, you won't go back to your old wash, be it a wool wash, or a lingerie wash. So, while the Internet did allow for greater reach geographically, Soak samples have been spreading through the community for several years now. There's also a standard adoption rate with products. People (consumers, shop owners) need to see a product around for awhile before they are willing to try it, invest in it, switch to it. Combine that with the fact that we launched a new brand from nothing to international in a few short years, and we're quite pleased with our reach.
Working with Ravelry to design Unleash and the Creative Juices yarn collection was indeed fun. It's great to collaborate within the community to raise the standard on product design, graphic design and innovation.

Do you have anything else you'd like to mention?
We've launched a new travel kit, Seven mini-soaks in a pack- one for each day of the week, plus Carrie + Phil, our new wash basins for hand-washing. You can also check out the blog for more uses for Soak

Thanks again Jacqueline for the information!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Very first feature!

Welcome to The Week in Knit!! This will be a weekly blog, featuring gadgets, tools, tips and tricks to help with your knitting. I will also feature interviews with various folks in the knitting world. If you would like to be interviewed, or know someone who would, email me at Jadielady at gmail dot com. You can also follow me on twitter or Plurk @Jadielady

My first gadget review is Evernote. Evernote is a website and mobile application which many people use to store notes, ideas, pictures etc. You can make lists, take pictures, all kinds of stuff to store for later.

Something I had never thought of, which MissViolet had pointed out on one of the episodes of Lime n Violet, is it is BRILLIANT for giving you mobile access to your knitting patterns.

Many designers release their patterns in PDF format. What you do, is save it to your hard drive, then upload it to your evernote account. You can also keep notes of your own - Most knitters make their own little alterations while knitting projects, and this helps you keep track!

Here is my folder full of Pattern PDF Files.

Here they are on the evernote site.

To upload a new file, I go to the listing of my notes and go to the folder where I want to put the file.

Then click New and Attach File

Here's the view of my patterns on my phone.

What it looks like when I first go to the pattern. (knitty patterns are free and I'm not showing enough for you to be able to knit the project without going to their site, so hopefully no one will mind)

You can zoom in to see detailed instructions.

Because only you have access to your files, you aren't violating the copyright of the pattern, or distributing it illegally. Once the file is on your evernote account, you can access it from any computer OR your mobile phone (It's currently supported on Iphone, Ipod Touch, Android, Blackberry, PalmPre, Pixi, and Windows Mobile, )

My first interview is with two very good friends of mine, Dana and Dianne. They organize and run two of my favorite local festivals, the Sedalia Celtic Festival and the Sedalia Fiber Festival. Since this is a knitting site, we'll focus on the Fiber festival. They each answered the questions, so I will put Dana's responses in Blue and Dianne's in green.

I know you haven't always been responsible for the Sedalia Fiber Fest. When did you take over and why?

Dana: My friends, Dianne Nichols, Linda Willis, Lara Smoot and Nikki Hedrick, and I "adopted" the festival in the Spring 2007.

The festival was originally founded in 2005 by Marty Leist and Sheila Mahone. Marty carried the festival into its second year, but she was unable to continue further due to family and business obligations. Not wanting the festival to end after only two years, we volunteered to organize it for The Sedalia Center. It was a great leap of faith on Sedalia's part; we were novices.

Dianne: Actually, Dana rescued the festival...she saw it wasn't listed on The Sedalia site and she got involved to see why..she then posted on Rav(elry)..trying to get the feel of the general Rav. public and if they wanted to continue etc..So..if Dana had not stepped up to the plate..Sedalia probably would have ..'been put to rest'.. I signed on to help her because I could never let a friend go into something this 'huge' alone..and I didn't want to see it fall by the wayside, even though I was a beginner knitter..I felt the need for this was so very strong.

Do you find it is easier to attract visitors now with Ravelry and Facebook? How did you get the word out before?

Dana: We were fortunate that Ravelry was created in 2006-2007. It played in integral part in getting the word out when we began to organize the festival. Facebook is an incredible social venue and it, too, has helped us inform the public about the fiber festival, as well as Sedalia's other endeavors. I considered us blessed that never had to publicize this event without one or both of these mediums.

Dianne: The first year we used Rav..but not too the degree we use it now..and then there's Facebook which is also most helpful..but then again..if Dana were not so computer savvy, with the website and all of her other ideas of how to best advertise..we'd be sending morse code or..actually licking stamps and envelopes and sending them out..She is so amazing with the skills she has and how she has promoted this festival...She's tireless in promoting this!

There's a few new events this year, such as a visit by an Author and a Dye contest. How did those come about?

Dana: Marty and Sheila were the first to have a guest author, the incredibly talented Margaret Radcliffe. Luckily for us, Dianne is a personal friend of Ann McCauley, a Bedford County native. Barbara Hurd is also a Virginia resident and when approached by Dianne, they kindly agreed to come. We are extremely excited to have them at our festival.

"Do or Dye" was also Dianne's idea. Late last year, she took part in the Sock Summit organized by Blue Moon Fiber and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.

One of their featured events was a dyed skein contest and the results were lovely. Our friend and vendor, Angela McNamara of Serendipitous Ewe took home two awards from the Summit. Unabashedly, I admit that we swiped the idea. There are a lot of gifted independent dyers in our area (yourself included) and as organizers, we want to promote as many aspects of the fiber art world as possible.

Dianne:This is really a fun part..because Ann and I went to High School together, I was a year ahead of her but we knew each other..she graduated and moved away..I graduated and stayed..After I had been knitting a while I saw she was going to be doing a book signing at Yarn Theory..well..I was probably still knitting with Acrylic, and I didn't go..I looked her up a few times and thought about saying..'hi..I knit too' one day in the last year..she was scoping out some sites and she found Dana..and via Dana..she saw me..and my age..and location and sent me a message via Rav..I was ecstatic..of course I knew who she was but she had NO clue who I was..until later in the conversation and she realized I was 'Cricket' nickname from high school and we've since communicated on a regular basis..and I can't wait to see her's been over 40 years..from looking at her pix..she hasn't changed one I know I will recognize her..I still don't own her books, but I will!

I found Barb Hurd via checking out people that had joined our group and saw she was an yes, I'm bold enough to write her and ask if she' s busy on May 15th....Fortunately she put us on her calendar..a very busy one from what I understand, so I feel so fortunate that she has agreed to come and sign her book..I can't wait for a copy.

The Dyeing Contest...funny you should ask...even though this was a huge part of Sock Summit...for some reason it woke me up during the night Fri..that WHY don't we have our version of a Dyeing Contest..and Dana and I had a playdate on Sat..and I suggested...she liked and here we are..We even have an awesome sponsor for the shows how the fiber community is really a 'common thread


Dana: It's our newest raffle prize and Kromski's latest spinning wheel. It's a beauty and

it's going to make someone very, very happy on May 15.

Dianne:I can't comment here because I am still giddy!...but YES Virginia..there is a Santa Claus!! We do have a brand new Kromski Fantasia for the raffle...Who would have ever 'thunk' we could do it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Watch This Space

I have been thinking for a while that I would do a separate blog just for featuring Geeky and Nerdy Knitting things, and I've decided to bite the bullet and just DO EET!

I plan to do a weekly feature of new things in technology which help us to improve our craft or make things easier, as well as new patterns and geeky finished objects or projects.

I'd love to interview people in the fiber world using technology in new and innovative ways so if that's you email me at jadielady at gmail dot com!

More to come!