Jobo Designs

Letting the crafty creative juices flow. Knitting, spinning, crafting, dyeing, rabbits, sheep and more!

19. November 2011 10:20
by Jobo
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An extra special Fur Project

19. November 2011 10:20 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Every now and again I get to work on some very special projects… something beyond just knitting an established  project with boring old run of the mill wool.  In this case, the uniqueness comes in the form of some special dog fur. 

Gaia

I met the owner on the internet… she was looking for someone to spin up some fur from a well-loved Shepherd Dog – Gaia – who has since passed away.  I always find it interesting how people meet up sometimes, and how the internet makes the world that little bit smaller.  This fur came all the way from England to Prince Edward Island to be processed and worked into a keepsake photo frame. 

I’m a little embarrassed to say that this has taken me longer to get ready than I had anticipated… life is a little weird right now with the baby coming and all.  But I managed to get the fur carded up and spun at the Maritime Handspinners’ Retreat, and this weekend I plan on finishing up the knitting of the frame.

First things first:  Here’s the fluff itself!

Gaia Fur on Carder with Merino

I decided to use the drum carder for this project to make some nice puffy soft batts to spin from.  I actually had a decent amount of the dog fur (about 2 ounces) so I eyeball blended it with some soft creamy Merino Wool about 60:40 Dog : Merino.  I really liked the way that the golden/cream fur combined with the cream wool… not overpowering the color, but instead highlighting the depth of shade that was already present.  I got 4 nice big soft batts, and took them along with me for open spinning time at the retreat.  I even stumped a few people at the retreat who tried to identify the preparation.  One thought it might have been alpaca, because of the softness.

Oct 15 2011 176

Since I knew I was going to be knitting a photo frame, I decided to go with a standard 2-ply yarn, and let the fiber decide on the size as I went along.  It’s funny really how sometimes a fiber prep will tell you how it wants to be spun.  It seemed to flow through the fingers nicely at a fingering weight-ish single, so I just went with it.  The finished yarn feels like a light worsted weight or so, but I imagine will knit up like a regular to heavy worsted yarn because of the nice halo.  I do lovely that aspect of spinning canine undercoat – the yarn ends up with such a desirable substantial halo.  The stuff may be prone to felting, but boy is it warm!

Gaia Skein 1 

The finished skein is a nice size… somewhere around 3 – 3.5 ounces, and the finished yarn is already developing that characteristic halo.  I like the way that the cream and golden colors have marbled together and gave a nice soft variation in the finished yarn.  Now I’m off to skein it up and do a little swatching to choose the correct needle size.

I had a hard time finding a premade photo frame to measure and use for the dimensions of my knitted frame… so I think I’m going to get creative and wing it.  I figure, I intended to cover the entire frame with knitted fabric anyways, so I think I will make a frame in my own desired size from some nice smooth corrugated cardboard (maybe in 2 – 3 layers to give the illusion that there is a thicker wooden frame under the wool) and use that as my starting point.  It will be light for mailing back to the UK, but also can be any size that compliments the photo, so will give me a few more options to really showcase Gaia and his beautiful fur.

8. November 2011 05:56
by Jobo
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Elementary, Watson - Classic Men's Socks

8. November 2011 05:56 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Some time ago... I knit these socks for a dear man I met under some unfortunate circumstances...

warren's sock stack

My Grandfather was very ill in the spring, and spent some time at the Palliative Care Unit at the Prince County Hospital.  Grampy had liver cancer and spent his last days there, under the care of some very special doctors and nurses.  At the same time our family was going through this terrible loss... another family was going through something similar across the hall with their beloved Mom. 

It's funny how being in the same place, at the same time, going through similarly awful experiences can draw people together.  Mrs M had several children, a couple of sons and daughters who would be around the same age as my Mom and her Brothers.  Their families stayed on the unit visiting at all hours of the day and night, just as our family did.  We had many chats in the family lounge, shared some meals, treats, hugs, and even just kind and compassionate smiles when things were getting rough.  The whole experience was devastating and awful - losing Grampy.  Mrs M's family was equally devastated, but they were so kind to us and helped to support us in our time of need, though they were also in the same position. 

I remember one moment, I was in the lounge having a good cry.  I had just gotten off the phone with my Husband, things with Grampy were low.  I looked up, and Warren was standing in the doorway.  He just said "You know, kiddo, You're a Good Kid.  I know they really appreciate you being here today."  And then he gave me a hug.  At that point, I was taking care of my family the best way I knew how.  Grampy was needing pain meds and sedatives for anxiety pretty much every 30 minutes.  The nurses came and helped as often as they could, but it was us (the family) who had to deal with a fair portion of the ugliness.  Mom and Grandma weren't able to remember when the meds were given last.  They couldn't bear leaving Grampa's side to go and ask the nurses for more suction or repositioning.  I was doing the best I could, and being as strong as I could - yet I felt completely helpless and useless.  In that one moment, Warren's words and actions meant more to me than he will ever probably know.

After Grampy Died (March 6, 2011, a few days before my 30th Birthday... how's THAT for perspective?) I decided that I wanted to make something special for this man... in memory of his Mom, and as a thank you for being so kind to us when we were going through that mess.  I decided on Socks, since it's what I do best, and Most 50-something Men that I know can appreciate a nice pair of real wool, handmade socks.

warren's socks closeup 

I wanted to make a pattern that was elegant and dressy, but not over the top.  Warren would wear business casual type clothing for work, so I thought maybe something like this would be appropriate.  I used Knit Picks Stroll Solid - a nice and soft superwash wool that's safe to put in the washing machine, and hopefully will last for many washes and wears.  I chose a denim blue, thinking that it would be neutral enough, but still manly and simple.  I totally guessed on the shoe size.  I hope I was right!

The pattern is:  Elementary Watson Socks by Sherry Menton.  (A free pattern on Ravelry)

The pattern itself was nice and straightforward, though I must admit, I did mess up the heel somehow.  In the end it worked out ok, but I don't think you could say that it was the same as the pattern intended.  I enjoyed the little cables, and the V's were easy enough to memorize and "read" from the work, so I didn't have to keep the pattern handy at all times.

Warren's Socks Pair

I mailed out the finished care-package last week, now that the weather is getting cold enough to actually benefit from wool socks.  I was a bit nervous that he wouldn't like them, or that they wouldn't fit.  If nothing else, they are filled with good will and positive thoughts.

I hope that Warren wears his new Woolies in good health, and feels the good energy that was knit right into them.

You never know how your actions will affect the people around you, or how much your kindnesses really ARE appreciated.

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