Handmade Round Cotton Washcloths

round natural cotton washcloth

I don’t crochet often–hardly at all in fact, but I do like a good handmade cotton washcloth. I find nothing more boring than knitting washcloths. I think they’re gorgeous and lovely to use, but I have a hard time bringing myself to knit them. Crochet on the other hand, is something that I am inexpert enough at that crocheting a few rounds of double crochet is a fun challenge when I need to change up my evening routine, and in about the time it takes to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls, I have a washcloth

round cotton washcloths

I realize washcloths are traditionally square, or at least rectangular, but I spent a lot of time learning how to crochet in the round, and I like to do it. Also, a find a round washcloth works just as well as a square one – perhaps better.

crochet cotton washcloth with ribbon

I like that it folds up into little crochet pizza slices that look good in ribbon.

lavender soap and natural crochet washcloth

And they look good with the soap too.

New Class! Knitting a Top-Down Raglan Sweater

Knitting a Top-Down Raglan Sweater
$60
September 15, 22, 29 Oct 6, 13, 20 (Monday nights)
6:30-8:30 pm
Memorial Hall at Potwin Presbyterian Church
Maximum of 5 students

We will be knitting Flax by TinCanKnits, which is a simple top-down raglan sweater – great for men, women, or children. We will talk about gauge, how fabric behaves, seamless sweater construction, and fit. I will provide printed materials with information on how to knit a top-down raglan that fits. Techniques covered include: knitting a flat gauge swatch “in the round”, raglan shaping, increasing, decreasing, knitting in the round on circular needles, magic loop, and double pointed needles (optional.)

Materials:
Flax is a free downloadable pattern, but student must download from the following link:
ravelry.com/patterns/library/flax
Enough worsted weight yarn to knit a sweater in your chosen size
1 Set size 8 32″ circular needles (or size to match gauge)
1 set size 7 32″ ciruclar needles (or size to match gauge)
tape measure
scissors
waste yarn
darning needle
4-8 stitch markers
Optional:
double pointed needles for knitting sleeves
pen
highlighter

email me at tinydinostudios at gmail dot com to sign up!

See you there!

Why I Love Handmade Soap

lavender cocoa butter soap on wheat plate

About mid-spring, I got stuck on the idea that I wanted to make my own soap. Now, soap and I have not had a particularly happy history. It’s not that I have trouble with lye or fragrance (though I do try to avoid frangrance with phthatlates), it is simply that I have dry skin, and sometimes, using commercial soap was akin to dousing myself with itching powder–and then combine that with our hard water, look out.

I always had better luck with handmade soap. I tried Soap for Goodness Sake and absolutely fell in love with Nuture Botaincals and Bazil Essentials, which is a local-to-me company that I cannot recommend enough if you are in the market for vegan body products. I could lather up with these soaps and get out of the shower and not feel like my skin was going to snap Cassandra from Dr. Who style.

lavender cocoa butter soap bars

So what’s the big difference? Most commercial soap are made with Sodium Laueth Sulfate which is a detergent and skin irritant. Mixing it with oils make it resemble soap, but it more strips grease than cleans, hence the getting out of the shower and diving straight into a bucket of lotion. With traditional soap, yes, made with lye, the soap gently loosens dirt and debris off your skin as it lathers, but the oils in the bar also moisturize your skin. Since I switched to completely handmade bath products, I haven’t needed lotion at all. (Obligatory disclaimer: This is all totally my experience from n=1 experimentation with soaps. These statements are not to be taken as medical advice.)

lavender cocoa butter soap

I spent most of the month of June reading up on oils and their different properties–which ones make a super sudsy moisturizing bar, and which ones make a nice hard bar that one dissolve immediately in the shower. I discovered that my favorite oil is probably cocoa butter. It’s rich, creamy, supremely moisturizing, and makes the kitchen smell like fresh chocolate while you’re working with it.

lavender cocoa butter shave and shampoo bar

The chocolate smell, unfortunately, does not last through the soapmaking process, but the properties of the butter do. The lavender soap I’ve been sharing photos of has cocoa butter, castor oil, and just a little bit kaolin clay, which gives it such a creamy, rich lather that is perfect for shampooing or shaving. Plus, it’s really pretty.

Weekend Garden Update

After a few weeks off, we’re back with an update of what’s going on in the garden!

Our tomato plants are completely loaded, but every time I tried to take a picture of the tomatoes, my camera flipped out, so I have no tomato photos.

many jalapenos 08162014
I do have plenty of jalapenos growing. My spicy peppers seem to be doing much better than my sweet peppers. I am going to have tons of jalapenos, cayennes, and tabascos.

tiny cucumber 08162014
The cucumbers keep producing, but we’re at the time of year when you have to pick them fast, or they go bitter.

amaryllis belladonna perhaps
And we have more surprise flowers.

clump o amaryllis
Now I know absolutely nothing about flowers. The wild sunflower is the state flower of Kansas, after that, I’m out. So I had no idea what these were even though they are popping up in just about every yard in my neighborhood right now.

amaryllis in my yard
According to a google search, they appear to be Amaryllis belladonna, but I wouldn’t count on me to pick out edible plants in the wilderness, if you know what I mean. They’re very pretty, though they kind of smell like baby poop (or at least something in their vicinity smells very strongly of baby poop.) Anybody know if I’m right?

Etsy Shop is Back Open!

Good morning all. It is August 16th, and as promised, my etsy shop is back up and ready to go.

Stop in and browse around. I have new sock, lace weight and handspun yarns, as well as some new spinning fiber.

How do you like my new photographs? I’ve been meaning to do this for about two years now. In some ways, I am sorry it took me so long to get up off my ass and do it, but in others, I am glad I waited until I had all the right pieces. My dining room has some of the best natural light in the whole house, being lined with windows and all. That, paired with my vintage cherry blossom table cloth (the first thing I ever bought on etsy ever right after it opened) and my new pottery, everything came togther so beautifully.

clementines and cherry blossoms
My table cloth, just to refresh your memory.

Now, I’m off to do some spinning so I have a bit more handspun to offer up for sale. What are you up to this weekend?

Sunday Morning

photo props
I have no photos on my camera from August that aren’t of photo props or products. Here’a a rare look at my dinning room table without it’s customary pink tablecloth. Also, I am kind of in love with these dishes.

lasagne singles
I’ve been doing a bit of spinning here and there. (Don’t these singles remind you of spinach lasagna?)
And I just cast on a top-down raglan sweater for Brock. It will double as a sample for my fall knitting class, details to come.

Mostly today, I am editing photos and writing copy and drinking coffee when I am not distracted by this little guy.

1972287_10100117278759809_164760275509608177_n

Renovations, etc.

workday saturday
This is what happens when your husband watches you set up a shot: he keeps adding things to it. It was originally just the yarn and the coffee, but everything he added to it, the fresh banana bread, the zucchini from the garden, the baby toy, all seemed appropriate. They are all reasons why I haven’t been blogging much the last couple of weeks, but not the only ones.

In June, I made myself a schedule and tried to stick to blogging 5 days a week for a month. I mostly made it, but looking back at the end of the month, I felt like I hadn’t done anything but blog. I love, love, love blogging–and if I didn’t also have a full-time job, I could probably swing five quality posts a week. Since paying the bills is an unfortunate reality, I am going to have to cut back on the blogging schedule–and, you know, have some time to do stuff to blog about…like update my etsy shop.

I have been planning some renovations for the Tiny Dino Studios online store for ages. I am finally starting to implement them. If you stop by, you will see that I currently have no listings. Over the next two weeks, I will be taking new photos, writing new copy, and adding new product. New listings will go live on August 16th!

In two weeks, I’ll have a whole new store. In the meantime, you might see a few new graphics popping up or some minor changes on the blog and other social media outlets–be sure to check those out for sneak peeks of what I’m working on.

Mug from FriesenArt.

Lavender Infused Soap

The second batch of soap I made with my soap making kit from brambleberry.com was a small batch of lavender infused soap. I used the recipe that came along with the kit, but instead of mixing my lye with plain old water, I boiled some lavender buds I had laying around–they were food grade, and I had always planned to make ice cream with them, but never had–and soap seemed a great way to make use of them. It’s hard not to love a classic, relaxing scent like lavender.

I was still working with the cardboard mold that came with the kit, and as I discussed last time, I wasn’t completely thrilled my soap biscottis. I wanted soap bars, so I did surgery on my mold.

modifying a cardboard soap mold

I finally found a use for that washi tape I had lying around. (I’m not even sure where it came from, but it’s pretty funny.) By shortening the mold, I was able to make the soap taller.

lavender soap2
It almost looks like regular soap bars! It’s still a little short and wide, but it seems like it will be a little bit more practical to use in the shower.

lavender soap
I sprinkled a few buds over the top of the soap, but because I was still wearing some honking big rubber gloves, it was really more of a dump. Overall, I like the effect. And it smells wonderful. I added just a few drops of lavender essential oil, but I’m thinking most of the scent comes from the infusion. Next I need to get some little reusable tea bags and start infusing some olive oils.

Pogona Progress

pogona progress
In my few free minutes over the last two weeks, I have been knitting on my pogona, not without progress.

pogona on the needles
One of the best things about knitting stripes is that I don’t want to stop. I want to see what it’s going to look like after the next stripe. And the next stripe. I’ve stayed up way too late a couple of nights doing this.

cozy stripes
This might be one of the coziest looking things I have ever knit. I give all the credit to the handspun. It makes me wish it wasn’t going to be 100 degrees outside today so I could cuddle up with it.