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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
And here is my own experience of using Eucalan:
- Fill basin with tepid water (it should be not hot and not cold, I tried to reach a room temperature).
- 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.
3. Soak your project for minimum 15 minutes. I forgot about my squares and left them for 30 minutes, probably.
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.
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.
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.
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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