Jobo Designs

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

8. September 2009 07:30
by Jobo
6 Comments

Big Big Blueberry Bobbins... say that 5 times fast!

8. September 2009 07:30 by Jobo | 6 Comments

If you are a Maritimer... Blueberry season is almost over :(

Every August there is an abundance of delicious local blueberries, delicious to eat as is, or bake with, or freeze to use later...  and in my house - even the fiber I've been spinning is Blueberry in colour!

Fiber Notes:

- "Blueberry Whip" Colourway

- blend of Merino/Alpaca Bamboo/Silk 60/40 (This is what it says on the bag, I don't know the original blend proportions)

- From Belfast Mini Mills, Belfast P. E. I.

I started with 2 bags of 4 ounces each (8 ounces total) and made each of the individual plies on my old regular sized Traddy Bobbins, and then plied onto my new Jumbo Bobbins.  (That's how I got a continuous skein so freaking big!)

This fiber is like cotton candy in a bag.... sweet and soft and smooth.  I am not sure exactly how the roving was prepared, but the mix was very light and airy.  The Merino/Alpaca Content was dyed a lovely navy or blueberry colour, and the silk/bamboo component dyed light blue almost turqouise with some white through it.  In places it seemed as though all the fibers were completely blended and were indecipherable, but other areas where the shiny ribbon of silkiness was quite visible.  I was unsure how this unevenness would show in the yarn, but because I was planning to do a traditional 3-ply, I knew that even if some of the light colour showed up exclusively in places, the other 2 plies would tone it down.  

Check That Bobbin! She is Full!!! with 250 yards of continuous yarn... love that length! 

The end result is a heathery blue yarn, 3-ply of course, at approximately worsted or light worsted weight.   With the super jumbo skein and her little sister (not shown) I have about 350 yards of yarn, so definetly enough to make some mittens, and maybe a hat or something too?  This yarn is a gift for someone, so it will be up to her what to make with it.... I'll make her photograph it for you to see when it's done.

mmm Blueberry... hanging out with our Sci-fi/Fantasy Book Collection.  Showing the Geek Colours today aren't we?

As I was spinning this blend, there were some areas where the silk/bamboo seemed to "slub" a little, but you can't really see it in the finished yarn.  I find 3-ply is great for smoothing out any imperfections in diameter and is pretty forgiving.  It is really hard to capture the sparkle and shine of this yarn in a photograph.  In the sun, the shiny bits really gleam, and the dark blue looks even darker of course next to the glinting bits.

I am pretty proud of this yarn!  I am really just starting to "design" yarns with specific purposes in mind.  I am still practicing keeping my plies even so I will get the desired yarn when I am finished.  I still need to set the twist in this yarn, but other than that I think she is done and ready for gifting (I won't tell you who, in case she is reading :P)

and... you can't have Blueberry Season without having some Blueberry Baking! 

Mark's favorite... homemade blueberry pie - homemade filling, homemade crust, happy Husband.

 

20. December 2008 14:07
by Jobo
0 Comments

I Might be in love with my Strauch Petite....

20. December 2008 14:07 by Jobo | 0 Comments

So this is her!  I got a good deal on a Strauch Petite Drum Carder.... and couldn't help myself.  Besides, seriously, would Santa know where to get one of these?  really?  Merry Christmas to me!

So to warm her up, and see if I could handle it, I made a couple batts out of some natural colored brown Alpaca and Merino X I had lying around.  Both fibers are a natural chocolate brown, and carded together beautifully, as easily as I had hoped.  Now of course, blending already prepared Merino and Alpaca isn't that hard of a job.... The alpaca is fine and soft as baby hair in the first place.  Gorgeous soft locks, with no matts or tangles anyways, but someday I will get ambitious, and wash the Jacob Fleece I have in a box upstairs... and then we'll see what the little carder is made of!  I need to get to a fabric store some day soon and get my hands on some tulle... for placing between the locks in my Laungerie bags so I can try washing wool in the Washing Machine.  A bunch of sites say that if you lay layers of the mesh between layers of locks, it helps to preserve the lock formation better. 

 
Here's a close up of the final blended batts... smooth and sproingy from the nice Merino X lambswool.  The stuff spins up like a dream too!  So well blended, and soft.  It drafts very easily, and needs very little predrafting since it is fluffed up so well.  Can't wait to try blending other fibers now... looking at my stash thinking... hrm, can I blend that with anything else here?  lol.  I think the spinning bug is becoming more contagious after all.  Is that even possible?

The blonde Ashford is really getting a workout these days... so much spinning so little time!



12. September 2008 12:11
by Jobo
1 Comments

I Carded Wool... and I liked it!

12. September 2008 12:11 by Jobo | 1 Comments

more adventures with wool.  I finally got my wool cards in the mail (yay! mail that isn't a bill!) 

 I got a set of Ashfords, I guess a step up from the beginner ones.  Talk about torture though, they come unassembled, so you have to screw on the handles and wait overnight for the wood glue to dry before you can use them!  How uncool is that... I had to stare at them until I went to bed that night, and wasn't able to try them out right away. (sniffle) Isn't that a bit like giving a kid candy and telling her she can't eat it until tomorrow?  totally cruel.

But the next day... ready to go.  Glue was dry, and the cards were calling my name.  I started out by flicking open the tips of the locks with my Flick Card, then laid the staples of wool on the new cards and gave it a try.  After a little clumsy and awkward fluffing, and some mild profanity, I managed to get soft fluffy rolags to play with.  I was really surprised at how much softer and suppler the singles turned out from the rolags, as compared to when I spun straight from flicked locks.  This was also my first attempt at spinning woolen, as all I have had to work with up to this point is pre processed roving.  New experience, but a good one I think.  It would be nice to try and make a really fluffy soft yarn sometime. 

I was really surprised also at how much I actually enjoyed the carding process.  I've read before about how some people find it tedious and annoying to process fiber.  Me on the other hand? I found it to be as enjoyable as the spinning process itself.  I think maybe its the back to basics, grass roots feeling of it all.  Imagine... I took wool straight from a sheep, washed it, carded it, and then spun it.  Very primitive in its nature, but also thrilling in its simplicity too.

As part 2 of the Carding Experiment, I decided to blend some of the odds and ends of fiber I had kicking around at home.   The blending part was actually very exciting.  I really liked the depth of colour you can get by blending different things together.  In particular, the blend of soft natural chocolate brown alpaca, silk hankie, and leicester was quite surprising.  It made a nice soft brown colour that was unusually warm.  I'll have to wash it and see what the finished yarn knits up like sometime.  The next batch of locks I wash, I want to try dying and blending some colours on the cards.  sounds like a lot of fun... uh oh, what if dying is just as addictive?  Could be trouble

All three samples are navajo plied (3-ply) and fibers are as follows: 

    top sample - Leicester.

    middle - brown suri alpaca with leicester and a touch of raw silk hankie

    bottom - Romney.


And finally, Spindle Pics... this is that natural coloured Leicester, singles spun from the rolags in the earlier pics.  I have about enough of this I think for a small pair of mittens.  I was thinking I'd maybe try making thrum mittens, and use some funky dyed super-soft roving inside, since the wool itself isn't as soft as I would have liked


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