Tapestry Circles: new project

If you follow me on Facebook, you may already know that I have started to work on a new project. And it is in Tapestry crochet. I tried this technique a few times and I mainly used chart for cross stitch embroidery and translated them into crochet to make pillow throws. Every time I make posts about tapestry crochet it’s a huge success, but very often I hear you don’t know how to do it. So I decided to create my own design in this technique and to show you its basics.
Pillow cover in tapestry crochet with circles pattern - by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links marked with *. Thanks for your support! 

Tapestry crochet is used for designing many different kinds of projects. Those can be bags, rugs, pillows, wallets, and even some garments – like stiff coats, scarves. Every time I search for an inspiration I come across many mandala’s made in tapestry crochet with multiple color changes. These are truly advanced projects, but maybe one day I will become brave enough to design my own. 
Pillow cover in tapestry crochet with circles pattern - by Lilla Bjorn Crochet


But to begin I decided to choose something not so intricate. So I am making a pillow cover with repeated circle pattern. I chose Stone Washed yarn for my project in 10 different shades. The definition of stitches with this yarn is great and I believe it is a very good choice to start mastering tapestry crochet. The yarn is thick enough, and stitches become very neat and even.You can see my chosen palette HERE.
Striped pillow cover made with Stone Washed yarn by Scheepjes. Free crochet pattern by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

You can purchase your own shades of Stone Washed yarn via Wool Warehouse* (international shipping), Paradise Fibers* (US) or in your local Scheepjes shop.
Tapestry pillow cover made with Stone Washed yarn by Scheepjes. Free crochet pattern by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

This project is a kind of challenge for me, as probably for the first time I didn’t think much about the colours. I wanted them to be bright, contrast and, how to say, not so matching. I wanted this pillow to become a bright accent. But it is of course possible to make in just 2 shades. And with not so many contrasts…

Next week I will show you my finished pillow (fingers crossed that you will like it). And there will be also a photo-tutorial published about the basics of tapestry crochet. Stay tuned!
Colorful stripes with Stone Washed yarn by Scheepjes

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About Scheepjes Warehouse and Oceans of Yarn

Notes from the Netherlands. Part 4


This post should have been written and published long ago. It was planned as last, forth, in my series about trip to the Netherlands in April. But in fact it should have been the first one, because the main reason why I went to Holland was to meet with other members of the Scheepjes Bloggers group and to visit Scheepjes Head Quarter in Tynaarlo.
The story of Scheepjes yarns

Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links marked with *. Thanks for your support!

This was my first excursion around warehouse and I was very much impressed by the scales and amounts of yarns and craft supplies. I have never seen so much yarn before. And Scheepjes warehouse in Tynaarlo we visited is one of 6 (in total) located in the Netherlands. Can you imagine? A huge ocean of yarn you can dive in. And maybe even be drowned :)

Tynaarlo is a small place in the North of the Netherlands with slightly more than 1.000 inhabitants. This is definitely not a sightseeing spot and tourists hardly know about its existence. But if you are obsessed with yarns and crafts you may probably want to visit it. As this is the place where Scheepjes yarns come from. It takes only 15 minutes by car to come to Tynaarlo from Groningen (which is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the whole Netherlands). And here you can find Scheepjes HQ - a place where customers come to see the products, and where all the orders are carefully packed and shipped to retailers.
An excursion about Scheepjes Warehouse in Tynaarlo

The story of Scheepjes yarns goes back to 1799 and name “Scheepjeswol” was introduced in 1930’s. In 2010, after twenty-two-year hiatus, “family-owned business De Bondt, a haberdashery wholesaler located in Tynaarlo, Drenthe, took over the Scheepjeswol brand name and gave it a new lease of life so that today we can again use the yarn of this famous Dutch brand”. (Source: First, “sea”, issue of “Yarn” book-a-zine where you can read more about the history of this yarn brand and also find 15 crochet and knitting patterns. Mine as well!)

Today the leader of the company is Job – a nice and modest man with obviously strong will and vision and a father of three lovely children – who took the family business over from his parents. Over last few years Scheepjes has grown a lot and began to ship yarns to US (Paradise Fibers*) and South Africa. Scheepjes yarns are stocked by Wool Warehouse* and Deramores* – two main retailers located in UK which deliver orders internationally.
YARN book-a-zine published by Scheepjes contains 15 knitting and crochet patterns.
YARN book-a-zine*. First "Sea" issue


But regardless of the fact that Scheepjes is constantly growing, it still remains a business with family spirit, with relatives and friends working together. And with a team of bloggers who were also accepted to friendly and warm Scheepjes family.

As we were told, Scheepjes harbedashery warehouse is one of the largest in Europe. So any zip or ribbon you can think of can be most likely found here. By the way except of long rows with yarns I was very impressed by the amount and variety of zips and buttons. There are even buttons with real dried flowers inside. Very interesting.
Buttons with real dried flowers in Scheepjes Warehouse

One of the facts I liked about Scheepjes is their desire to be as “green” as possible. And this is very close to my own mode of thinking. I do care a lot about the future of the planet and try to do my best to save water and electricity, and to recycle garbage. The first thing we saw when we parked by the warehouse building was a charge spot for electro mobil. And the roof of warehouse is covered with sun batteries which produce enough energy for lighting the entire building (offices and storages).
Scheepjes HQ in Tynaarlo

So this is what warehouse looks like from the inside. Endless yarns, craft supplies and tools, fabric, bag handles, books… Just everything you can think about. And this is not everything. After a half an hour excursion we were invited to look behind the scenes. Here we saw an extra storage place with boxes standing up to the ceiling. And they all were filled with the yarn kits for Last Dance on the Beach CAL. I could imagine hundreds and hundreds of beautiful blankets hidden inside, which will be soon finished.
Extra storage place in Scheepjes Warehouse with kits for Last Dance on the Beach CAL


First Scheepjes yarn I’ve heard about was Stone Washed*. For the first time I saw it in the Sophie Universe CAL (by Dedri Uys from Look At What I Made) and since then I have been wanting to try it. Last summer I found a local yarn shop in Gent (Belgium) selling this yarn and could touch it for the first time. So Stone Washed is the yarn which is associated with Scheepjes in my head. But after becoming a lucky member of Scheepjes bloggers group I got an opportunity to try more and more of their yarns.

Today my favourites, except of Stone Washed, are Catona (best choice for overlay crochet, in my opinion) and Merino Soft. But I can totally imagine that my preferences may change over the time, as  Scheepjes is constantly releasing new yarns. And I’ve already seen something new though I am not free to tell you anything about it. But believe me – it will be exciting!
Stone Washed yarn by Scheepjes is my favourite
Stone Washed yarn by Scheepjes is my favourite

I like to hear the stories behind designs and yarns. So I thought it might be a good idea to tell you about my excursion to Scheepjes warehouse. So that every time you purchase their yarns – you can imagine the place where they are carefully packed and shipped from.

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A Trolley for Yarns and Wip's? Yes!

How many unfinished wip’s do you have at the moment? How many new ideas are on your to-do list? Mine is growing every day. I have several new designs in mind, I also promised to submit several project to different magazines (yay!) and I am also secretly working on one exciting project. My summer seems to become very busy. Together with some traveling and visiting my parents and friends in Belarus.  And this summer seems to give many promises as well. My dreams are coming true! I have finally bought a trolley I was dreaming about for a very long time. It’s from IKEA, it’s called Råskog and it’s aimed to serve in the kitchen. But I will use it to store my current wip’s and yarns I am working with at the moment.
Trolley from IKEA is perfect to store current crochet and knitting wip's and yarns

You know I am a little bit addicted to Sweden in general and everything Swedish. I thought I know everything about local IKEA, but I haven’t paid any attention to this kitchen line before. Before I saw it in use by amazing guys from The Crochet Crowd. They made a lovely video showing this trolley full of yarns and wip’s in action. And I fell in love at once. I have been staring at this trolley for a year already, but it was a bit expensive and I was trying to hold on. But last Sunday I saw it with a very nice discount and… and I bought it immediately, of course!



It was put together yesterday late in the evening and I couldn’t wait to take the pictures and share with you. I really like a turquoise version, but I chose grey instead because it is better for my current interior palette. At the moment it doesn’t look messy at all but I can’t wait to fill it up with all my wip’s up to the ceiling… But the work behind the scenes is a kind of a secret for now. So you can enjoy the tidy look of my new yarns. I will use the upper basket for most recent projects and yarns.
Trolley from IKEA is perfect to store current crochet and knitting wip's and yarns

My squares for Last Dance on the Beach blanket will be kept in the middle basket. And I haven’t decided yet what I will use the bottom basket for. But as life shows baskets and boxes are never enough!
Stone Washed yarn by Scheepjes

Last week I got a new box from Scheepjes full of gorgeous Stone Washed yarns in different shades. I would like to try design something new in tapestry crochet and I think this yarn will be great for this project. I chose 10 shades (and I will use them all!) and now I need to combine them in pairs.

Will it look good, what do you think?
Stone Washed yarn by Scheepjes

Stone Washed is my favourite yarn by Scheepjes. When I crochet with it, I feel like my mind and body are filling with harmony and silent happiness. The projects are growing very fast and the stitch definition is so even. I have already used this yarn for my Windy Morning Shawlette, Floral Ear Muffs and Joana's Mandala.
Stone Washed yarn by Scheepjes


You can read my review about Stone Washed HERE. And you can also have a look and colour chart and purchase this yarn via Wool Warehouse* and Deramores* (both retailers ship orders internationally), Paradise Fibers* (US) or in your local Scheepjes shop.
Stone Washed yarn by Scheepjes
 
I can’t wait to finish my new design. It will be a free pattern :) And I hope it will turn out just like I imagine it! Stay tuned!

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Secret Pearl Phone Cozy: free pattern

I’ve got a wonderful news this week! My blog hit 1.000.000 views!!! Thank you so much for staying with me over these years and reading my posts. To celebrate I decided to release a new free pattern. My friend asked to crochet a cozy for her new mobile phone. And I thought I can come up with something simple, colorful and then share the pattern with you. So here it is! (And you can also use this pattern to make a new cozy for your tablet.)
Easy to make crocheted cozy for a mobile phone or tablet. With small mandala decor. Free pattern by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

  

You will need: 

 

  • Yarn in one main shade and several leftovers for stripes and mandala. I used Catona by Scheepjes in shades 113 (main color – 13g), 246, 397 and 399.
Catona is available in balls of 25g and 50g and in a wide variety of shades. Please, read my review about this yarn HERE. You can choose and purchase your shades via Scheepjes local shops (NL), Deramores* or Wool Warehouse* (both retailers ship yarn internationally) and Paradise Fibers* (US).
  • Crochet hook Clover Soft Touch* 2.5mm or 2.75mm (C)
  • One button
  • Scissors and tapestry needle to weave yarn tails in.

Easy to make crocheted cozy for a mobile phone or tablet. With small mandala decor. Free pattern by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

      Level

      Beginner

      Size

      You can create your own cozy in any size.

      Gauge

      Gauge is not critical for this design. But I would recommend to crochet with tight stitches.


      Stitch guide and Abbreviations

       

      US standard abbreviations are used in this pattern. But if you are used to other terms, please check this Crochet Translation Project which might be helpful in translation to your native language.

      st(s) - stitch(es)
      ch - chain
      sl st (slip stitch) – insert hook in indicated st, yo, draw yarn up and pull 2nd lp through the 1st lp on hook.
      sc (single crochet) – insert hook in indicated stitch, yo, draw up a lp, yo and pull through both lps on hook.

      Important notes

       

      1. Mobil cozy is worked in one continuous spiral, so do not join rounds.

      2. Use a marker to make it easier to find beginning of each round. Insert a piece of yarn approx. 20 cm (8 inches) long into the top of the last stitch of the first round and move it to the last stitch of each new round as crocheting progresses.

      3. Change colour on the last yarn-over of the last sc of the relevant row. You can make colur changes invisible if you use THIS wonderful crochet tip by Needle Noodle.


      INSTRUCTIONS

      Add this pattern to Ravelry Queue

       

      Step 1

       

      Before you start crocheting this cozy, please, carefully measure your mobile phone and decide how many stripes you would like to make and which part will be made in one color. My friend’s phone is 14 cm high, and I decided to make it 9 cm in one main color and then add colorful stripes on top. I also decided to decorate it with a small crocheted mandala. But if you are not fond of this décor, you can make the whole cozy in one shade, or completely cover it with stripes (and use up your leftovers).

      Easy to make crocheted cozy for a mobile phone or tablet. With small mandala decor. Free pattern by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

       

      Step 2

       

      To begin make slip knot and make enough chain stitches to cover your phone’s width. You might try different number of chains – to make your cozy not too wide and not too narrow.

      Row 1. Beginning in 2nd ch from the hook make sc in every ch and 3 sc in last ch. Then turn your work and using other half of the base chain, continue making sc in every ch and 2sc in the last ch (where 1st sc of this rnd was made). If you are not sure how to begin – please check 1st round for Bloom Bathroom Organizer HERE.

      Row 2 and next rows will be crocheted in one continuous spiral (don’t forget to insert marker in the last st of the rnd and move it as you progress).
      Easy to make crocheted cozy for a mobile phone or tablet. With small mandala decor. Free pattern by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

      Step 3

       

      When you reach the desired height you can add several colorful stripes. If you intend to repeat stripes in one color several times, don’t cut the yarn after each of them. You can use it again when you need to make another stripe.

      Because you work in spiral, the beginning of each new rnd will be twisting a bit. So before joining new color for a stripe, you may want to crochet to the side, and then attach new yarn. Again don’t forget to mark the last st of each round so that your colorful stripes line up neat.
      Easy to make crocheted cozy for a mobile phone or tablet. With small mandala decor. Free pattern by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

      Step 4

       

      When you reach the desired height of your cozy – make a loop for a button clasp. Continue crocheting till the center of one side, make as many chain stitches as needed (to fit your button well), make sc in next st and continue with sc till the end of the round.
      Easy to make crocheted cozy for a mobile phone or tablet. With small mandala decor. Free pattern by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

      When you come to the end of this rnd, crochet back with reverse sc (or “crab stitch”). When you reach the loop continue crocheting in front the loop around the cozy’s top till you come to the beginning of the rnd. Finish with sl st, cut yarn and weave all yarn tails in.

       

      Step 5

       

      Crochet a mandala using THIS pattern (only front part, without the bottom). After last rnd cut the yarn leaving approx. 40cm (15”) tail and sew mandala onto cozy using this yarn tail and a needle.

      Sew the button on the back (adjust its position for the loop).
      Easy to make crocheted cozy for a mobile phone or tablet. With small mandala decor. Free pattern by Lilla Bjorn Crochet


      Congratulations! A new cozy for your mobile phone is now finished! If you would like to crochet a cord for this cozy, please, check a wonderful tutorial by Felted Button HERE.
      Easy to make crocheted cozy for a mobile phone or tablet. With small mandala decor. Free pattern by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

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      Something About Inspiration

      Let’s talk about inspiration :) As a crochet designer I am very often asked what does inspire me to create new designs. Usually inspiration comes from what you see, read or hear, right? But then I asked myself, what is actually an inspiration? What are its symptoms? And how (and when) does it come?

      Overlay crochet motifs and mandala by Lilla Bjorn Crochet (lillabjorncrochet.com)

      For sure everyone has her own subjective feelings when “it finally comes”. It can be a kind of a stroke, heart starts to beat irregularly, it is hard to breath, the hair on the head and body goes up.
      What I personally feel is like a door suddenly opens above my head with invisible stairs to the universe. And then I know: I have too little time to sleep and eat. Because in an hour or even sooner this door may close again and everything will be gone. And I will not have enough time to bring new idea to life.

      Sometimes it is necessary to run to the very end, and sometimes it’s enough to only “throw an anchor” to the door opening to keep it open till next morning/day. Just by crocheting several new rows to fix an idea.



      But what I know for sure – it’s absolutely useless just to sit and wait for an inspiration to come.

      Back to my twenties, when I studied journalism at the university, almost all my group-mates found work already and were either writing for newspapers or making reportages for TV. And I just continued studying with this terrible feeling that journalism is not the right path for me, and I will never be able to write a decent article in whole my life. Because I know nothing about writing. And journalism in general.
      Colorful yarn balls


      I submitted several articles to different newspapers, and they were rejected. And this didn’t really help to raise my confidence up. So I calmed down with a thought I permanently lack inspiration and just need to wait till it comes to me.

      But the thing is that journalism is not really “writing” and often (if not always) it has nothing to do with inspiration. A journalist receives a topic and needs to cover it. He needs to create a piece of written text with opinions of people showing different angles and points of view. And when it comes to news, sometimes a journalist has half an hour to produce the text. In good quality. Does she have time to wait for an inspiration? Not really. She is pressed by a strict deadline, so she grabs a cup of coffee, distracts from the whole world (still sitting in a room with many other people talking and making calls) and starts writing.

      I experienced the same situation many times. When I worked at the newspaper I didn’t deal with news so much. But very often I had to submit article to the editor next morning.

      …And so I came up with my own creative method of calling inspiration. And it’s very close to one described in the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert* about living a creative life (in wide and general sense).

      Big Magic. Book about creative living by Elizabeth Gilbert
      Whether I was inspired or not (and very often I felt quite the opposite – I was very tired after a hardworking day with lots of meetings and interviews), I just sat down in front of my computer and started to type anything and everything that came to my mind. With no introduction, no lead, no structure. That could be a quote of a person I had an interview with, or just some random thoughts that could be in a way connected with a given topic.

      Sometimes it took 20 minutes, sometimes an hour. But sooner or later my thoughts and writing were getting a certain shape. And suddenly I could feel that: inspiration was standing behind clapping my shoulder. And my writing was beginning to flow… and then? Then it was very important not to stop and not to let inspiration go back to the universe. After a while I could see that some parts (already written) could be used in the finished article. And it was only needed to edit them a bit, to maybe cut or rearrange. And then after a while the article was finished. Suddenly!
      What is inspiration and how to call it by actually doing something? by Lilla Bjorn Crochet (lillabjorncrochet.com)

      Why do I talk about writing and not crochet? Because it’s pretty the same. I mean creative process is the same. You probably work from the patterns most of the time. But sometimes you may also feel like making something small on your own. But you may not feel inspired, or you don’t know where to begin.

      And my answer is very simple: you don’t need to wait for an inspiration to come. But instead you can “call” it by acting and doing.
      Bloom yarn by Scheepjes
      100% cotton Bloom yarn by Scheepjes*

      Designing has become my daily job. It’s not a hobby anymore. So I cannot really wait for an inspirational stroke to happen. I just start to play with yarn, combine colors, think of possible stitches. And at some point a new design starts growing in my hands. It took several months to create Joana’s mandala and border. I had quite a few bits of inspiration there… And my Spanish Mandala was born in just 2 days.

      But it’s not important how long it takes to bring your idea to life. Important is to stay tuned and continue calling your own inspiration by actually doing something. For me it sometimes takes hours of crochet (with endless frogging) or writing a blog post with no evident result. But at some point inspiration comes. Not always. But very often.
      Overlay Crochet Mandala by Lilla Bjorn Crochet (lillabjorncrochet.com)

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      *This blog post contains affiliate links marked with *. Thanks for your support!

      How to Soften Yarn? Eucalan. Review

      Last Dance on the Beach by Scheepjes is still going on. And today Week 8 has already started! It seems like we are half way done. My pile of the squares is growing and I truly enjoy how the blanket is turning out. Can’t wait to finally join them together and add a border. But it seems like I will have to wait for a while. This week I tried a new crochet stitch again. And more then that, I used Eucalan concentrate for the first time. It was a nice experience, I studied information about it and decided to share it with you. Maybe you know already about Eucalan* and why it is used. But for me it was something new. And if it was new for me – maybe this information will also help you.

      Last Dance on the Beach CAL by Scheepjes. Week 7 - Heart Square made with bobbles. Free crochet pattern.

      But before I jump to review, let me show you the squares I made last and this week. Last week design belongs to Maria from 50 shades of 4ply. She created a very tender square with a heart made of bobbles.  
      Last Dance on the Beach CAL by Scheepjes. Week 7 - Heart Square made with bobbles. Free crochet pattern.

      And today a new stitch pattern was introduced to me by Jellina from Jellina’s Creations. I have always wanted to learn how to do a Waffle crochet stitch. I couldn’t figure it out from the picture, and was very surprised that in fact it is much easier than it seems. As for the rest of the patterns you can find the videos for both designs on It’s All in a Nutshell website.

      And here is how both squares look together. In two shades of grey. I like them a lot!
      Last Dance on the Beach CAL by Scheepjes. Weeks 7 and 8. Squares are made by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

      Review


      And now let’s talk about Eucalan. I’ve got a 100ml bottle with lavander aroma as a gift from Scheepjes together with Merino Soft yarn for my Last Dance on the Beach blanket. I have never used anything like this before and I thought it was probably the right time to try, as half of the CAL is done already. I blocked almost all my finished squares already, but it didn’t stop me at all, and I was happy to reblock them again.

      Disclosure: This post is in no way sponsored by Eucalan and it was my idea to write it. This blog post contains affiliate links marked with *.

      So what is Eucalan? At first I thought it is a kind of ingredient helping to fix the colors and prevent them from running in the future. But Eucalan has nothing to do with it, and it is used for absolutely different purpose – to lanolize (add Lanolin), or “re-oil” wool yarn.
      Eucalan is used to add lanolin to wool yarn.

      What is Lanolin? Also called wool wax or wool grease (from Latin lāna, ‘wool’, and oleum, ‘oil’), it is a wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals.

      "Lanolin is the natural oil that keeps the sheep’s coat dry in damp weather. It serves a similar function as the oil on the feathers of waterfowl. The oil keeps the feathers dry and maintains their insulation. In years past fisherman and other individuals working off shore would go so far as to increase the lanolin content of their wool clothing by dipping them in heated liquid lanolin. This made their clothing very water repellant; however, the down side is you smell like a herd of wet sheep."



      So Lanolin is a natural component in all wool and blend wool yarns. But during the process of manufacturing (and in particular during cleaning and scouring stage) the wool is scoured in a series of alkaline baths containing water, soap, and soda ash or a similar alkali. And it “frees” wool of lanolin – its quantity is reduced very much. Lanolin is then saved and used in a number of household products.  However, handspun fibers that haven't been heavily processed usually still have lanolin (that's why those yarns are often much more “greasier”).

      Constant wearing and washing (and even walking under the rain) washes out lanolin from garments, shawls, blankets and other projects made with wool yarn. They become less water, dirt and dust repellent, the static comes back and then it’s good to refill them with lanolin again.
      Eucalan is a natural concentrate which helps to refill wool (and other natural yarns) with Lanolin. Review and test by Lilla Bjorn Crochetilla

      Of course, there are different ways to add oil to wool (or any other natural) yarn again. Crafters use different concentrates, and even several drops of oil while washing. But why Eacalan is a good choice (in my opinion), because it is specially created to lanolize wool, it is very easy to use, it is non-toxic and not harmful for kids, pets (you can even bath dogs and other animals with Eucalan, as fleas do not like it! :) and environment, and it comes in a range of aroma’s (lavender, eucalypt, grapefruit, jasmine and Natural - with no added chemicals to hide the natural scent of the product). And it has already been on the market for 25 years!

      Before writing this blog post and trying Eucalan myself, I decided to ask my fellow designers, brilliant crocheters and bloggers: what do they think about it.

      “I am a big Eucalan addict, – says Annelies Baes, a crochet mind behind Vicarno brand. - I block everything with it: wool, woolmix, cotton, linen, acrylic. I sometimes even use it to wash my luxe bras. I use Eucalan to take care of the yarn, to make the stitch work “even” (Eucalan does magic to your stitch definition), to make it soft, to wash it (after working several hours or even weeks or months I like the idea of a clean and fresh finished item. :) So much nicer for the publisher to receive a fresh clean item!”

      Esther de Beer from Happy in Red uses Eucalan for most natural fibres, like tweeds, alpacas, wools: “I think that these fibres can sometimes be a little “prickly” for the sensitive skin. A rinse in Eucalan before locking really deals with fibres that are a little rough and tough. And I really like the smell, although that's a personal thing, of course”.

      And Kirsten from Haak Maar Raak recommends using Eucalan every time while washing and before blocking. So even for freshly finished items: “I think it's necessary for each “machine processed” yarn”.

      Eucalan is a “no rinse” product, it means you don’t need to rinse your knitted or crocheted fabric after soaking in water with Eucalan. I was wondering if washing with Eucalan and without rinsing will help the dirt go out, but Annelies assures that “it removes stains perfectly. When I have a sweater or shawl with a spot or a stain it just goes away. I use it to block all my new items and afterwards to wash all my woolen items by hand. It works great. (Although I can imagine if you go rolling in the mud with a sweater, you need to 'refresh' your Eucalan water a second time to get all the dirt gone :)" I think I (myself) would wash a very dirty item with a mild shampoo first and rinse it. And then wash it once again with the Eucalan water.

      You can read interesting facts about Eucalan on the official product web-site HERE. And you can find Eucalan on Amazon*, Wool Warehouse*, Paradise Fibers* (US) and most likely in your own local craft and yarn shops.

       

      Instructions 

       

      And here is my own experience of using Eucalan:
      1. Fill basin with tepid water (it should be not hot and not cold, I tried to reach a room temperature).
      2. Add Eucalan. Instructions say to add 5ml/1tbsp for 4l/1 gallon of water. I filled my basin with 2l of water, so I thought 1/2tbsp should be enough. After a little bit of shaking a nice foam appeared on the surface of the water. And I used just a tiny amount of concentrate. So even a small 100ml bottle will be enough for a long time, or to wash lots and lots of items.
       Eucalan is a natural concentrate which helps to refill wool (and other natural yarns) with Lanolin. Review and test by Lilla Bjorn Crochetilla  
      3. Soak your project for minimum 15 minutes. I forgot about my squares and left them for 30 minutes, probably.Eucalan is a natural concentrate which helps to refill wool (and other natural yarns) with Lanolin. Review and test by Lilla Bjorn Crochetilla  
      4. After taking square out I carefully squeezed them a bit to get rid of huge amount of water, but still leaving them wet enough.Eucalan is a natural concentrate which helps to refill wool (and other natural yarns) with Lanolin. Review and test by Lilla Bjorn Crochetilla  
      5. And I blocked them in a usual way, on blocking boards and with sewing pins. Instructions ask to leave the project dry naturally with no direct heat and sun. 
      Eucalan is a natural concentrate which helps to refill wool (and other natural yarns) with Lanolin. Review and test by Lilla Bjorn Crochetilla

      After bathing my squares, it was still lots of water left and it was a pity to poor it out, so I used it to lanolize my Autumn Winds Cowl also made with Merino Soft yarn.
      Washing Autumn Winds Cowl in water with Eucalan. Review by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

      My squares are almost dry and I can feel a nice aroma. I am not fond of perfumes at all, and I don’t use them. But this one is very gentle, and not so bright. I would say it’s a smell of freshness! And after bathing in Eucalan water my hands were covered by a pleasant oily film. Not greasy but just naturally moistening.

      What is my conclusion? I will definitely use Eucalan again. Again and again.

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      How to Make Round Pillow Form: In 4 Easy Steps


      I am a true believer that pillows can never be too many. I mean they can be of course, but if you have pillows in different colors, and sizes, and with different patterns, you can change them on the sofa regularly. And give a new look to your livingroom every time. Crocheted mandala’s are still very hot in interior design and they can make wonderful round cushions. I’ve recently finished two with my new pattern Spanish Mandala (available for purchase in Ravelry and Etsy shops). When you make a round crocheted pillow, it is very important that stuffing fits the size very well. Sometimes it is really hard to find a pillow form of an exactly needed size. But good news is that it is very easy to make it! And you don’t even need a sewing machine for that!

      Spanish Mandala Cushion - pattern by Lilla Bjorn Crochet
      Spanish Mandala Cushion

      Disclaimer: this tutorial is in no way a professional sewing guide. Quite the opposite! It is aimed to absolute beginners. I am not a professional sewer, but I find this way of making a round pillow form very easy to follow.

      What you will need:

      • There are two ways: You may either purchase fabric and stuffing separately OR you can buy a ready square pillow form, which can be probably found in any store with home accessories. I purchased mine in Ikea. It was cheap and large enough: 50cm x 50 cm (20” x 20”). Many different square pillow forms are also available on Amazon. For exmaple, you can check them HERE*. But please, make sure you choose the right size!!
      • You will also need scissors, sewing pins, a needle and sewing thread of matching (or any) color.
      • And then you will also need patience and time :)
      4 Easy Steps to remake a square pillow into a round insert form. Tutorial by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

       



      STEP 0.

      Before you start remaking a pillow form, make sure that your crocheted mandala pillowcase is properly blocked and stretched, and its size is final!

       

      STEP 1.

      If you are, like me, using a ready square pillow, frog one of the seams a bit and take ALL the stuffing out. Please, be prepared. Even if your pillow is small, you can get LOTS of it. And if you have pets, you should better hide somewhere to finish this step, as very shortly the stuffing, like snow, will be all over your house… What actually happened to me thanks to my wonderful and curious dog.

      4 Easy Steps to remake a square pillow into a round insert form. Tutorial by Lilla Bjorn Crochet


      I got a real mountain of stuffing!
      4 Easy Steps to remake a square pillow into a round insert form. Tutorial by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

      STEP 2.

      Put the stuffing away (you may want to put it in a box, or a big plastic bag), and turn fabric pillowcase inside out.

      Now place your crocheted mandala pillowcase onto the fabric and center it. Draw a circle around the mandala stepping approx. 3-3.5cm/1 (1 ½)” from edge. (Note: in the second picture below you can see that I drew a line just around the crocheted piece. DON’T do that! If you cut it like that, your pillow form will appear to be very small, and it will not suit perfectly).
      4 Easy Steps to remake a square pillow into a round insert form. Tutorial by Lilla Bjorn Crochet


      Remove crocheted mandala and pin fabric along the line with a few sewing pins.

      Cut fabric along the line with scissors. Now your new round pillow form is ready to be put together.
      4 Easy Steps to remake a square pillow into a round insert form. Tutorial by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

      STEP 3.

      If you have a sewing machine – great! But if not, don’t worry – you can sew your pillow form by hand. Take a needle and sewing thread and start sewing along the edge stepping away approx. 0.7cm/ ¼” with running stitch. Every time insert the needle on the top of previous stitch and make small stitches, so that your sewing is dense. (see pics below) Sew around the edge leaving approx. 10-15cm/4-6” opening.
      4 Easy Steps to remake a square pillow into a round insert form. Tutorial by Lilla Bjorn Crochet


      You can also secure the edge with blanket stitch to prevent fabric from unweaving.
      4 Easy Steps to remake a square pillow into a round insert form. Tutorial by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

      STEP 4.

      Turn fabric inside out and put the stuffing inside. You will most likely need less stuffing than there was in a square pillow. Stuff the pillow according to your taste (I prefer the pillows to be not very firm).

      Now wrap the egdes of the opening inside, pin them with 2-3 sewing pins and close the opening with the same running stitch.
      4 Easy Steps to remake a square pillow into a round insert form. Tutorial by Lilla Bjorn Crochet

      Ta-dah!!! Your new pillow form is finished! And you can now put it inside your crocheted Mandala Pillowcase!
      Spanish Mandala cushion - pattern by Lilla Bjorn Crochet
      Spanish Mandala Cushion


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