Jobo Designs

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

22. November 2010 09:15
by Jobo

Finished Art Yarn Woven Scarf

22. November 2010 09:15 by Jobo | 0 Comments

woven scarfAfter a good warm bath, and a day or so to dry... here is my first finished woven scarf!

The finished product smoothed out fairly nicely, and where there had been some minute gaps in the weave, the soak seemed to even things out.  I find the finished scarf to be a little bit itchy, but that might be the mohair content in it, which I generally find to be quite irritating close to the skin.

I am surprised at how much I enjoyed weaving with the "art" yarn... Because I really do not enjoy knitting with it.  I am one of those knitters who likes to see the stitch definition.  I like seeing orderly matching stitches, and the geometric patterns they form.  Knitting with lumpy bumpy uneven textured yarns is interesting, and generally gives unique results, but in the end, I find I am not drawn to that style.  In the weaving however, this unevenness lends character to the fabric, and makes a beginner weaver's mistakes less obvious.  When my weaving wasn't exactly even, a thin or thick strand broke up the basic basketweave pattern enough that it covered my flaws.  Even the slubs and bits of sari silk blended in without standing out from the finished product in a disruptive way (unlike knitting where they seem to dangle from the fabric on one side or the other, sticking out like a sore thumb)

The finished scarf did shrink some in the wash, which I was expecting to happen after reading about the "set" process.  I didn't take a finished measurement, but it fits nicely around the neck without hanging out the bottom of my coat.  I made a basic fringe with overhand knots - combining 4 strands of warp together. The tassels look really blue though, and I wish I had thought of combining in some of the art yarn to carry the glitz and sparkle all the way to the tips.

My brain has been churning away... thinking of what weaving project I should try next... but AFTER the holidays of course.  I likely don't have much free play time until then ;)

11. November 2010 18:41
by Jobo

Introducing... the Cricket: Weaving 101

11. November 2010 18:41 by Jobo | 1 Comments

A few weeks ago, at the Maritime Handspinners' Retreat, I saw a cute little loom.  In fact this little loom looked so tidy and straightforward, and was so reasonably priced, that I ordered one on the spot... and it arrived at my door finally on Monday morning!

Meet the Schacht Cricket Loom - a small rigid heddle loom with an 11 inch weaving surface.

warping the cricket Now, this isn't my first foray into the world of weaving, but it has definetly been a while since I've laid my hands on a real loom.  Years ago when I went to the Gaelic College over in Cape Breton, NS, I took a short weaving course that used a very similar loom, though I can't remember the specific name of the table loom I learned on...

The model Cricket that was on display at the retreat had a beautiful handspun scarf warped and in progress... it looked so interesting, I couldn't help myself after all.  Janet at the Bobbin Tree Kiosk kindly twisted my arm encouraged me to give weaving a try again, and kindly had the loom shipped directly from Schacht to my door step for me :)

The Cricket was very easy to set up.  All I needed was a screwdriver!  The set-up instructions were simple to follow, and because this is a fairly basic type of loom, I was ready to start warping after only a half an hour of set-up time.

I had always heard how horrible the warping process is (for those of you who aren't familiar with weaving terms... the "Warp" is the vertical threads that are strung on the loom, they stay pulled tight while you do the weaving back and forth with the horizontal "weft") and I was expecting that I'd spend a fair bit of the day getting the warp ready to go.  Not so!  I watched a couple of YouTube Videos last week, and armed only with the little booklet that comes with the loom, I was able to get the thing strung in about a half an hour.  I'm sure that next time I try it, I'll be done in half the time.  The warping peg clamped onto my dining room table and made the stringing process quite straightforward.

warping the cricket 2 The kit comes with a ball of very bright green yarn and a ball of medium blue... the blue coincidentally matched the skein of "Wild" art yarn that I made at the retreat, so I decided that this might be a good way to use it up.  I'm not fond of knitting with super bulky thick-n-thin art yarns, so I thought that I should try weaving it instead.  There was nothing to lose.

I forgot to take a photograph of the wild skein before I started winding it onto the shuttle.  Needless to say, this yarn is very different from my usual styled handspun yarns.  It was spun from a very large art batt, kindly put together with the help of Louise at the retreat.  We started with some Blue wool, then added in everything from sari silk bits to mohair locks, silk noils, more wool, glitz, firestar, and every color under the rainbow!  I was horrified and intrigued all at the same time as I spun this crazy batt into a thick and thin low twist single.  In the end, the predominant colors were Blues and Oranges.  The finished yarn was "nice"... but it just isn't "me". 

And so... with the Cricket warped... I wound the art yarn onto the shuttle, and I began to weave:

weaving scarf 1

I was impressed at just how well the color of the kit yarn and the handspun yarn matched together.  The blue warp seemed to ground the color scheme back to blues... in spite of all the wild orangeness.

waeving scarf. 3 

The Thick and Thin bits actually added nice texture to the woven fabric,  I thought it would look all lumpy and unattractive, but it seemed to form little waves and ebbs and flows of color instead.  The blue background kept the piece tied together.  Even the little silk stringy bits seemed to blend in more than I would have imagined.

waeving scarf 2

I've finished the scarf itself, learned how to work a hemstitch, and now the scarf is soaking in a nice warm bath.  I'll try and post more photos when it has been dried and pressed.  I will be interested to see how it turns out in the end.  The weaving process was quite fun though... and I am anxious to get another piece of some sort set up to work at...  weaving is quite fast compared to knitting it appears ;)

26. February 2010 22:05
by Jobo

Corespun Yarn - the learning process!

26. February 2010 22:05 by Jobo | 7 Comments

Today I decided to be adventurous.  Normally I stick to utilitarian yarns... the kind that are spun with a purpose.  A laceweight single for a shawl, or a 3-ply sock yarn.  I admire the "art yarns" that other spinners craft, but can't seem to figure out what people actually *do* with them!  So up until this point, the only artsy yarns that I have managed to churn out were the sloppy by-accident thick and thin yarns I got in the beginning during the learning process.

Today I broke with tradition.  I made this:


A few weeks ago I found some great corespinning tutorials by JazzTurtle (click here to go to her site) - who makes the most sparkly, fancy, unique batts and then spins them up into corespun works of art!  She has an etsy store also if anyone is interested

After carefully studying the videos several times (knowing I didn't have any batts or fiber that would be suited to this technique) I kept the idea in the back of my mind for *someday*.  Then on Wednesday when I was carding up a couple batts from some leftover wool the idea struck me!  I have been saving little bits and pieces and drum carder remnants in a bag for almost a year, knowing they would be good for something but not knowing what:  I layered them into a crazy multifiber batt!  Since they were all leftovers, I didn't really worry about wasting anything or ruining *good* fiber.  I felt very inspired by JazzTurtle's unique kitchen-sink style batts which contained lots of different textures, staple lengths, fibers and colors.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo, but the batts consisted of various layers:

#1 -  Cobalt Blue "traditional" wool thrums from MacAusland's Woolen Mill (intended for thrums but not suitable in the end)

#2 -  Creamy White Merino/Angora Blend leftover from the lining to my FiddleHead Mittens (very soft!)

#3 -  Natural Brown Merino/Alpaca Blend from my first attempt at multifiber carding

#4 -  Tea Dyed Merino Top from last summer's natural dyeing experiments

I basically just ran these remnants through my Strauch Petite one time to distribute, and did not bother to blend a second time since I wanted the colors to be distinct.  I tore the completed batt (not sure how much fiber there was) into 4 strips of about 2 inches wide, and then tore each strip into 4 chunks.  My goal in dividing the batt up this way was to try and more evenly distribute the different types of fiber (and color) in the finished yarn.

Since JazzTurtle uses plain basic Crochet Cotton for her core, and I happened to have a part ball of South Maid kicking around, I decided to just go for it! 

My skein was definitely over-spun.  Apparently this is the usual result for spinners attempting to core spin for the first time.  By about halfway through my batt, constantly chanting to myself *pedal slowwwwwwer* and concentrating on wrapping the fiber around the core without allowing it to turn into cotton-cored woolen WIRE.  Coming on the end of the skein, I was finally starting to get the hang of it.... but sadly the first half of the skein was pretty overspun.  When I was winding the yarn from the bobbin, I actually let the ball spin backwards a bit every few feet, so that extra pent-up twist could relieve itself.  I think that strategy worked ok as a salvage technique :)

I really enjoyed the way that the colors striped and marbled together along the way.  I tried to be nonchalant about the color placement and thickness of the yarn.  In her videos, JazzTurtle always says how she is creating "texture" in her yarns.  Generally my goal is to make smooth yarns, so this was really counterintuitive for me!  I kept telling myself to let the fiber take on a life of it's own.  If it wanted to be bumpy and lumpy in places I let it.  In other places it wanted to be sleek and tight to the core, so I let it do that too.  I actually enjoyed the areas where the smooth merino stayed smooth, the puffy angora and alpaca sections made little poofy clouds of fiber, and the nubbly blue traditional wool looked a bit rough and unrefined.  I'm proud of myself that I let the yarn take control on this one.

corespun 4 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Take away hints for the Wannabe Corespinner:

- treadle as slowly as you can.  Think of going as slow as you can possibly imagine, and then slow down again!

- Crochet cotton worked great as a core for me, and also makes great "leads" for your bobbins.  The stuff is pretty indestructible

- It takes some practice to keep the core taut and the fiber coming in at the right angle.  I found predrafting a bit helped to keep things running smoothly.  (This may relate to what kind of fiber you are using... mine was such a mismatch blend, it was a little hard to draft on the fly)


I ended up with around 55 yards of bulky puffy goodness.  I'm still not sure what I will make with it (maybe use it as a trim on something like a bag?)  but it was really fun to make, and I've been petting it and carrying it around with me since this morning...  maybe that's what it is... a yarn "doll" for adults who are obsessed with yarn to carry around and pet as needed?! 

Thank you JazzTurtle for the tutorials!

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