Monday, February 19, 2018

Kangaroo Leather Experiment

Yep, you read the title correctly... kangaroo leather. I ended up being given an entire bag of kangaroo leather scraps when I purchased a gift from a retail store near my workplace. The store sells traditional western apparel and gifts, including many items made of leather. Since leather is made from animal skin, there are many different types of animals that can be used. This includes kangaroos!

Keep in mind that I have absolutely no experience working with leather.

What to do with a bag of kangaroo leather? Well, I decided to experiment. I started by sorting the thin strips and the chunky pieces into separate piles. Ranna cat was fairly interested in this process, so I gave her a strip to play with.

My hope was to crochet with the strips. I wanted to make a belt or a mat with my 8mm hook. However, working with the leather turned out to be way more difficult than I expected. It did not slide nicely on the hook, instead clinging to the hook and to itself. The results were... um... interesting. By interesting, I mean horrible.

Yikes. Maybe a second run would be better? I selected the thinnest leather strip that I could find and tried again with the loosest tension I could manage. The results were a bit better, but still sloppy.

It seems as though leather strips are not ideal for crochet. At this point, it was time to go rogue and try other crafts. Braiding the leather looked decent.

Tying a bunch of knots in it didn't look too bad, either.

Finally, I remembered all of the macrame hemp jewelry I used to make in high school. I tried out a simple style with the leather and it worked out well.

By this time my hands smelled funny and I hadn't accomplished much. Thus, I ended my short and sad foray into the world of leather. I think I'll stick to what I know. Do you have any experience working with leather?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Review: Eucalan Delicate Wash

Today, I'll be reviewing Eucalan Delicate Wash. Disclaimer: I received this complimentary product in exchange for a review. I am not being paid to write this review and everything shared here is my real opinion. I'm thankful for the opportunity to review this gift pack. The package even included a handwritten note from the CEO of Eucalan. Super classy! The gift pack includes five scents: lavender, grapefruit, eucalyptus, jasmine, and unscented. They all smell very nice.

Wanna know a true story? I can be pretty lazy when it comes to 'proper' care of my clothes. Dry clean only? Well, I hope it doesn't get ruined when I toss it in the wash! Lay flat to dry? Guess I'm throwing it on the drying rack! Hand wash only? I hope the gentle cycle does the trick!

This attitude also extends to my finished objects. I know that a diligent, mindful yarn-lover would take the time to care for their handmade items on a regular basis in the most thoughtful way possible. However, I am a super busy person. I have an intense full-time job, a boyfriend, wonderful friends, more chores than seem reasonable, a karaoke habit, my designing... Who has time to hand wash and block a scarf after each wear? Therefore, I think I am the perfect person to review this delicate wash. I'm not even a typical user... I'm perhaps a shade lazier.

Check out my scrunched up, well-worn example items. I chose a crochet scarf that is a silk wool blend, a woolen knit cowl, and a silk scarf by Laurel Burch that I never got around to having dry cleaned.

The directions on the bottle say to fill the basin with room temperature water and then soak your items for at least 15 minutes. Totally reasonable. However, lazy Sara watched the sink fill about halfway before putting the crochet and knitting in and then dumping in some wash. I didn't even measure how much I was using; I just eyeballed it. As a result, there were some suds when the wash met with the running water.

You know what? This delicate wash is awesome! I took a relaxed approach to its use and it still went wonderfully. The best part is that you don't even have to rinse it out! You just squeeze out your now nice-smelling items and lay them out (which for me means putting them on the drying rack). I spent the 15 minutes they were soaking doing some other chores, so it worked out really well. Super easy, even for a lazy person like me. Side note, don't you think the squeezed out objects look like pretty flowers sitting in the sink?

When I washed the silk scarf, I was a little more regimented. I waited until the basin had filled before adding the wash, and I also measured it more carefully. I washed it separately so it wouldn't pick up any dye from the other two items.

Again, so easy. No rinsing needed. I think the no-rinse aspect and the good scent selection really make this delicate wash a winner. Grapefruit is my favorite one.

I had a great experience using this wash. It's so easy to use that I'll actually be willing to wash my items more often. In fact, I got inspired to use it to wash my bras. I hate washing my bras because I have to hand wash them, then rinse them, then hang them out. However, the no-rinse quality of the Eucalan wash meant I could just throw them in the washer on the soak setting and then spin them. So much less effort, and they came out clean. Sometimes regular detergent ends up making my bras itchy, but they weren't itchy this time. Win!

I wholeheartedly endorse Eucalan Delicate Wash. It's easy to use, smells nice, and gets the job done -- even though I was lazy about it. Before I tested it, I thought about sharing a bottle or two with my fiber friends... but now I think I'll keep it all to myself :3 Here are some additional details from Eucalan:
  • Eucalan Delicate wash is a delicate no-rinse wash that is perfect for caring for handmade items.
  • Our formula is non-toxic, pH neutral, biodegradable, and free of optical brighteners, phosphates, synthetic fragrance and dye.
  • Eucalan is scented with only quality essential oils (which are naturally antiseptic), in addition to natural/unscented.
  • The lanolin acts as a natural conditioner, keeping fibres supple and reducing static.
  • Eucalyptus and Lavender are naturally moth- and flea-repellent, making them an excellent choice for wool fibres and fabrics.