Jobo Designs

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

9. November 2009 07:59
by Jobo
6 Comments

Fiddlehead Mittens? becoming ship shaped? erm Mitten Shaped?

9. November 2009 07:59 by Jobo | 6 Comments

Over the weekend, I finally had a chance to tidy up the rest of the Fiddlehead Mitten yarn.  I had finished the green singles last week, and had been letting them rest for a bit so that they would be easier to Navajo ply.  I had also completed a bobbin of creamy natural white, also needing to be plied.  I also needed to set the twist on the finished skeins.  Since there really wasn?t that much left to be done before the cast on, I just went for it and got started.  Funny how the promise of casting on a new project can get a knitter so excited?  I plied like there was no tomorrow?

progress yarn drying icordcaston

It was a chilly but sunny day, so I did my washing of the finished skeins (I suppose washing is a misnomer, I mostly just rinsed in hot water with a few drops of Apple Scented Dawn, probably not enough soap to be considered a washing?)  With the light breeze, the skeins were dry in no time.  I think I really achieved the feel I wanted with the woolen-spun yarns.  The skeins were light and bouncy, and very soft.

I took them over to my Mother?s place on Saturday morning and she helped me wind the skeins into balls, and I was off to the races with the knit up :)

The idea of an ?i-cord cast on? was completely new to me.  I will admit, the last time I made an i-cord was probably when I was 10, using one of those little red tube contraptions with the 4 pegs and a little tool to flip the loops over? So really I had kind of forgotten that it was a knitting technique to begin with. Adrian?s instructions were nice and clear :)  Do not fear the i-cord cast on? give it a try!  I will certainly be trying to come up with new ways to use this cast on in the future ? it makes a nice neat cast on edge that doesn?t roll up or look sloppy.  I thin it will keep the bottom of the mittens from looking stretched out too after being worn for a while

mittsinabowl

I am finding the pattern very straightforward to follow, and clearly written so far.  I was afraid that knitting these would take me way to long and that they would get in the way of my necessary holiday knitting.  Not so, thankfully!  I knit the entire first mitten (minus thumb) on Saturday, and finished the cast on for mitten number two before I went to bed.  Sunday I knit the majority of the second mitten while watching movies with the Husbeast (who was also amazed at the speed of progress)

stripe

During the spinning progress, I had been concerned that perhaps the slight uneven-ness in my spinning might show up as uneven points in the knitting, but I am quite happy with my results.  Overall, the cream yarn and the colors meshed together quite nicely, and the gauge throughout the mitten seems fairly consistent.  (It?s a little hard to tell from the pic above, the way the photo was taken, things are a little skewed? some of my photos turned out a little too blurry to use unfortunately, I?ll have to be more careful with the finished mitts pics)  The dyeing job also worked out as planned ? a Rainbow of slightly heathered yarns in a progression of colors.

Hopefully this evening I can finish the top of Mitt #2 (before I forget exactly what I did with the first one) and maybe spend some time spinning up the rest of the lining (I think I have enough done for one lining, but not the second complete one. 

Yay! This project is turning out as planned :)

25. September 2009 14:55
by Jobo
3 Comments

Swatching, Swatching...

25. September 2009 14:55 by Jobo | 3 Comments

I am still really new at spinning, as far as experience and skills go.  I am learning more and more with each project, but still need a lot of practice :)  and one thing I am hoping to get better at is 'designing' (for lack of a better word) yarns for specific projects, and creating yarns with specific characteristics.

I decided last night to dig into the stash and card up some Angora and Merino batts, to try and make a soft lofty fluffy yarn (perhaps to use as the lining of a pair of fancy mittens?) 

I haven't really worked with many commercially available Angora yarns, so I was unsure what mix to use... so I eyeballed the proportions, using about half of a 1 ounce bag of snow white angora and about 4 ounces of Merino Top - about 10 % Angora.  I figure since my favorite angora sweater is 10 % that this should be just enough luxury, and besides, the Merino is super soft too!  A few cranks on the Old Strauch Petite later, and pulling the batts out into a roving-like prep and voila:

Clouds in a Bowl Anyone?

The bumps of fiber are super soft and super light.  I prefer to hand-pull my batts before spinning them, mostly because I find that it is easier to draft from a roving state rather than a handful-of-fiber state.  I decided to spin up a small sample, just a few yards really, to see if I could achieve the characteristics I was looking for - light, soft, airy, fluffy

Because I know I wanted "airy" yarn, I used a big whorl, and really lowered the tension so that there would be the bare minimum of twist.  I tried not to squish out all the air in the carded fiber before the twist entered the zone with a sort of modified long draw.  (I still haven't completely figured out long draw yet despite my attempts)  The singles were quite soft compared with the extra twisty sock singles I have been making lately.

I hope you don't find white fiber too boring......

I want my final yarn to be a DK or Sport weight 3 -ply, so I decided to Navajo ply the sample just for simplicity sake.  My finished 3-ply sample was around 10 - 11 WPI, which is a little larger than I need.  When I spin up the remainder of the yarn, I will have to try and spin a little bit thinner.  My swatch, knit on 3 3/4 DPN's (My favorite set for knitting mittens) worked up to be around 5.5 stitches per inch.  I am also trying to be more consistant in adding things to my Spinner's Notebook... swatches, samples, measurements so someday maybe I could reproduce the results?

The resulting knit swatch was very soft, and not too hairy or fuzzy.  I like the feel of Angora, but I don't like yarn with so much Halo that it obscures the stitch definition.  I think that's why I never liked "faux fur" yarns or felted items.  Felting can look really awesome, but I hate that it completely wipes out any semblance of the design that existed before the Felt happened.

Very Scientific Pseudo-blocking method - pin swatch to pantleg... watch out for leg!

I was a little bit disappointed with the dingy colour of this yarn.  The angora was such a pure white, and the Merino on its own looks natural, but not so beige and dirty looking, almost Oatmeal.  I know it is only for the lining of mittens, but still, I might have to dye it some interesting colour, or at least give it some pizazz.

10. July 2009 23:41
by Jobo
2 Comments

Week 1: Tour de Fleece - Accomplis!

10. July 2009 23:41 by Jobo | 2 Comments

Imagine... a whole week with spinning everyday...

Some weeks you have to wonder when you find time to work on anything besides laundry :P

I made a special effort to do my spinning every day this week despite feeling tired out with a cold, and itchy with that darn mystery rash... Tonight I finished my Angel Batt Yarn!

I decided to go with the straight bamboo single for the second ply.  I had been kind of thinking that maybe I would try something new with the plying, but really my blended single was not very thick, so I couldn't do anything too crazy with it...   Bamboo has a lot of shine, and I didn't want that to overshadow the softness and pillowyness of the other single.  I chose to make the bamboo single a little thinner, so hopefully this woudn't happen.  I was right... even though the bamboo single is a little narrower - it just gleams next to the puffy cloudyness of the blended single, and looks pretty much the same size.



I ended up with about 65 yards of slightly thicker than fingering weight yarn... maybe sport weight ish. I also chain plied the remaining bamboo single... approximately 35 feet of that!  In comparison, the 100% bamboo single is shiny and really reflects the light.  I think maybe this would make a nice border for a project (i.e. maybe Sarjjte's booties use the bamboo 3-ply for the upper portion of the bootie?)  and I do have another 3/4 lb of bamboo upstairs if I feel the need to go spin up some more

very pleased with results :)

this stuff is SOFT beyond... and the bamboo makes it feel smooth too.  As I have been handling it a little there is a soft angora halo that is starting to show.  I think after a wash and a good thwacking that halo will grow a little more too.



Now I just need to come up with a project for it... I am half considering going back upstairs to the studio and making another batt just so I can double my stash of this yarn and double the possibilities of what to make with it ;)

One of Marky's coworkers just had a baby girl (their first) so I would like to make her something... maybe with this yarn?  I gues I will have to see what it looks like after it's bath.  I think I have enough to make booties.... But my brain is fried from a really long day at work.  Maybe I had better recount the yardage in the morning after a good night's sleep before I get my heart set on anything

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