Jobo Designs

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

29. November 2010 09:37
by Jobo
3 Comments

Yarn Candy Monday: Lettuce...

29. November 2010 09:37 by Jobo | 3 Comments

I call this yarn... "You don't win friends with salad."  If you know where this is from - you get 2 points!

paige skein

I had originally intended this to be a worsted weight single...   but you know how things never go exactly as planned!  I neglected to take photos of the roving, but it was basically green with splotches of brown, teal blue and yellow.  I thought that since I was planning on doing a single, I would gently card it into some fluffy rolags to blend the colors up a bit.  Apparently my fat single skills are lacking, because when I held it up to a strand of Malabrigo (which was my sample to match) I felt my single was too uneven. 

Now quite honestly, I am hard on myself when it comes to this stuff.  I bet that if I had just knit it up, the finished product would have been fine.  Knitting seems to cover up a multitude of sins, and even out yarns that aren't exactly consistant.  But I got the idea that I could ply the fat single back on itself and get a bulky weight yarn.  I had to weigh my options... skinny-cable mittens with light worsted weight yarn, or big-fat-chunky cable mittens.  I plied about a 3 foot section back on itself and hummed and hawed.

I guess you know which look won out ;)

paiges skein bobbin

This skein overfilled my Ashford Jumbo bobbins.  In fact, I had to do a chunk of it on a regular bobbin, because I had maxxed out the air space around the big bobbin and the darn thing wouldn't turn anymore. The roving was somewhere between 5.5 and 6 ounces, and the yarn is somewhere around 5 - 6 Wraps per Inch.  It looks large like caterpillars, as big as candycanes, the same diameter as a basic ballpoint pen... but it is very lofty and squishable.  I am knitting it on size 5 mm needles, and so far it is looking good.  The smaller needles for the yarn are making a very nice dense, thick fabric - which should be great for warm winter mittens.

paiges skein 2

I wasn't sure if I would like the color of this when it was completed... I worried that the browns would dull the yarn down too much.  My original intent in dyeing this was to make it christmas green, kelly green, really really green.  When it didn't turn out as such, I thought maybe I'd spin it and re-dye it after that, but I kind of like it the way it is?  Reminds me of salad.... *wink wink*

19. August 2010 09:50
by Jobo
2 Comments

A little Bit Husky...

19. August 2010 09:50 by Jobo | 2 Comments

While out doing one of my spinning wheel demonstrations last week... I was approached by a gentleman and his wife about potentially spinning up some custom yarn for them - from the combings of undercoat from their dog - a beautiful Alaskan Malamute!  The eventual goal would be to have some mittens and a hat made from the coat of their furry friend.

I had been a bit skeptical at first... knowing that some breeds of dog that have lovely fur on the animal, but spinning the coat from clippings or combings in some cases can make a horrible itchy yarn.  In the case of this breed though, their undercoat is so soft and downy, it blends well with wools and actually makes a fuzzy yarn that is almost like an angora blend.  I had the opportunity to look at and touch some Husky Blend yarns knit up into hats up at Belfast Mini Mills the last few times I visited, so I had a feeling that this yarn would work out just fine.

After some internet searches, and a some helpful pointers from Straw (a lady who posts regularly on some of the Chiengora Boards over on Ravelry) I decided that the easiest to prep the fiber would be to blend it with some wool - to help it have more memory and elasticity than just dog fur alone.  I have a nice stash of both Merino and Shetland wools, but I decided on the Merino because I felt that it was a little closer in staple length to the 1-2 inch undercoat, so maybe it would blend better.

Straw had suggested that somewhere between a 70/30 dog/wool blend and a 50/50 one would be appropriate... so for simplicity's sake, I chose to make a 50/50 blend... and went rummaging through the packing boxes for my little wool scale.  The scale doesn't measure as small of increments as I would have liked for this job... the undercoat is very light and airy, and surprisingly free of guard hairs and dirt. These folks must really love their pup, I'd say he is very well cared for ;)

My Ashford Hand Carders seemed to hold 4g of fiber quite nicely! (2g of each creamy white merino and downy grey undercoat)  I alternated adding the fibers to the carders to ease the blending, and carded lightly to get a nice homogeneous mix.  The resulting Rolags were light, soft, and a lovely dove grey heathered shade. 

husky wool blend carded basket

husky wool blend carded - gratuitous closeup!

I carded up around 1.5 ounces as a starting sample which filled a good sized basket.  The fiber was so light I worried it would float out of the basket while I tried to capture a decent photo... it was windy!

I have heard that dog fur, actually pet fur of any kind, is a lot warmer than wool on it's own, so I decided that a dk or sport weight yarn would probably be the best weight to strive for... that way the finished mittens and hat would be thin and comfortable for the wearer.  (I'm guessing a bulky weight yarn would have been way too warm, and then the items wouldn't get as much wear)

I actually only spun up around 0.6 ounces... dk/sport 3-ply as a navajo 3 ply.  By that point I had a good feel for what the yarn would be like.

 

Husky yarn miniskein

This:  is the resulting miniskein.  I did not measure the yardage or WPI on this one... but I will before I choose the garment patterns.

Even after only a little "thwacking" the yarn had already begun to show a nice amount of fuzzing and halo.  When I was picking through the husky fiber, I was worried that I might not have picked out enough of the guard hairs.  Obviously I pulled out any of the long bristly obtrusive ones, but there had been some finer ones.  I tried to take most of them out, but I feared that the ones I missed would result in a scratchy sample.  I guess they weren't coarse enough to make any problems, because the skein is quite soft.

I would describe it as being a little bit thinner than Patons Classic Wool, but about the same bounciness and just a little softer.  I think the halo accounts for that part. I always found the classic wool to be a little bit itchy for close to the skin garments like hats. (make my forehead itch a bit)

 

husky yarn closeup Closeup!

After spinning, washing with a little shampoo to remove any traces of dogginess, and then fulling... I left the yarn to dry overnight.  It was hard to wait... this stuff takes a fair bit of time to dry!  Maybe that's the ambient humidity's fault though... not the yarns!

swatches all 3 

The next step of course... was to knit some swatches to see what the yarn will *feel* like in a knitted state.  The yarn fluffed up a pleasing amount during the knitting process and has just the right amount of halo I think - fuzzy but not completely obscuring the stitch definition.  I tried a swatch of plain stockinette, a slightly lacy diagonal pattern, and a little 2 stitch cable... just to see how it stands up to each style of knitting.  Sometime this weekend, I hope to visit with the customers again and see what they think of the yarn.  If they are happy (and I bet they will be !!)  we can start a design session to choose the details for the final garments :)

** I also have a bit of dark brown fiber saved from the undercoat too... it's a pretty darker brownish grey, and there were only a few bits in the odd clump of fur!  I've been picking it out and saving it to card with some natural black merino which is a similar color and hopefully will use it for some sort of accent on the finished product... maybe a little sewn paw print somewhere, or a cuff accent or something :) **

More to come on this one... and hopefully I'll be able to add a pic of the Dog too :)

27. October 2008 14:02
by Jobo
0 Comments

Boo! Its a Halloweeny Post!

27. October 2008 14:02 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Do you ever feel like you have a million things on the go, but somehow nothing new completed?  Well thats how I feel these days.  The weather is changing finally here, the leaves are turning wonderful reds and oranges, and the wind has a certain nip... Fall is definetly here.

This year has been declared the Autumn of soups and casseroles... comfort food yum!  And of course, since I have never really been a soup or casserole maker, this is all new.  It's like mad kitchen science - soup creation labs. 

Here is the latest creation: 

Italian Wedding Soup... Which may look complicated, but it ridiculously easy!

- Remove the casings from 5-6 Mild Italian Sausages, and form into small meatballs, approximately 1 - 2 cm round.  Cook in a frying pan, make sure these are completely done, as they wont really have time to cook fully in the soup.  Drain fully.  I even let mine drain on paper towels similar to what I would do with Bacon, just to get the excess greasiness off.  Set aside for later.

-Prepare 1 medium onion, 2 Carrots, 2 Sticks of Celery - all chopped into about the same sized pieces

- In a heavy bottom Pot, saute the veggies on medium heat with a splash of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt.  Cook about 10 minutes, or until the veggies start to get glossy and softened.  

- Add spices to taste - I added freshly cracked black pepper, and about 1 tsp of Dried Rosemary and Thyme, and 1 tbsp Dried Parsley.  You could add more or less... up to you. Saute for about 5 more minutes (ok, so the kitchen smells really excellent at this point!)

- Next, add about 8-10 cups of chicken stock (I like the Campbells' low sodium Chicken Broth you can get at the supermarket... for when you don't have a spare chicken carcass laying around) and simmer on med-low, try not to let it boil, just simmer away for about 30 minutes.

- Add the Meatballs prepared earlier,and continue to simmer.  Once the meatballs are heated through you could serve it there, or let it simmer longer on the stove if you want.

- For an extra treat, I added Tiny round pasta (about 1/2 cup) about 15 minutes before serving (you could use whatever you have in the kitchen, or little alphabet noodles if there are children at your table)  Some recipes mention adding Spinach leaves also at this point, where they would wilt and also give their flavour to your soup.  I didn't bother this time with the spinach.

- This soup is great as leftovers the next day, or for work lunches, but remember, the longer the noodles sit in the broth, the soggier they get.  If you were planning on making this ahead, I would perhaps not add the noodles until just before you wanted to serve it.

 
Aromatic Vegetables on Parade...



Finished soup!  Hungry?

 

On the Crafting front...

ever notice how your projects sometimes go seasonal without you even realizing it?

I have been working on blending some Black Superfine Merino with just a touch of the Pewter/Silver colored Carbonized Bamboo I had leftover from another project.  This stuff seems to be turning out really soft and smooth.  My goal was to create some Worsted or heavier weight, but the singles feel so nice, they may end up being consumed as they are :)  Definetly love those hand cards... very simple to use, and there is something so back-to-basics about the combing of wool and then spinning those fluffy rolags.  



Also on a Halloweeny note... I decided I should use up some of the sock yarn I've accumulated over the years.... and started a scarf.  A few years back, I found a whole bunch of Bernat Sox sold color sock yarn on sale at Zellers, and couldn't help myself.  I think I bought 2 balls of every colour there!  (Yeah I know, bad knitter!  bad!)

I have always admired knitted lace shawls and stoles, so I decided to try out the"Woodland Shawl" pattern on Ravelry.  I'm finished of one ball... about 3.4 of the next to go.  here is a sneak peak! It's kindof a burnt orangy colour. 



And just to finish off -some orange "Chinese Lanterns" from my Gramma's Garden...

Trick or Treat!!

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