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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9 comments

  1. Can't wait to get my hands on some of this! Thanks so much for a great and informative post!

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    1. I am glad you found this post helpful. And yes, you definitely should make some of those square. :)

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  2. Eucalan is a must for any fibre artist! I had my squares from the Last Dance soaking in it when my husband washed his work clothes in his separate work clothes only machine. He forgot to switch over the drainage tube and his coal dust filled water went into the laundry tub and flowed over the top of the basin I had my squares in (I may have been a little bit cranky with him!) I re-washed my squares in eucalan and now they are perfect again! Also, Tatiana, I'd just like to say you are my FAVOURITE designer! How you come up with these intricate, amazingly beautiful designs I'll never know, but please keep at it! I absolutely love your work!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, when I asked my crochet friends about Eucalan and got so much positive feedback, I felt like I am the only one in the whole world who didn't know about it yet... And THANK you so much! This is overlay technique which is amazing. :)

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  3. Reading with much interest your post, and burst out laughing till I cried, when I got to the fishermen soaking their garments in heated liquid lanolin, and "smelling like a herd of sheep"that was just so funny. I have not heard of this product here in AUST, but I have been using Eucolyptus oil for years with all my wool wear.Thanks so much for sharing. Edith

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  4. Is this only for pure wool or can it be used on synthetic yarn, also where can it be bought?

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    Replies
    1. My friend Annelies Baes from Vicarno uses Eucalan for all types of yarn. And for acrylic as well. Though I personally haven't tried it with acrylic. But I think it cannot harm anyway. You can see the links in the blog (before Instructions) to different retailers where Eucalan is sold.

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  5. Love the sound of this product as I have never heard of it before, consequently I'm searching to buy it now in New Zealand. You say the instructions say 5mils/1Tbsp......I'm querying this as 5mils is only 1tsp. Wondering which is correct - mils or Tbsp

    Thanks for the info Lynette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lynette! I have just checked the label on the bottle. It says: 5ml/1tsp for 4l/1 gallon.

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