Jobo Designs

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

23. March 2010 17:00
by Jobo
2 Comments

Cable and Lace: Sophisticated but Simple Socks!

23. March 2010 17:00 by Jobo | 2 Comments

Iron Knitter Round 5 has begun... Saturday evening, I cast on and knit like crazy so I could make progress but still get to go to the movies too! (Green Zone, with the handsome Matt Damon... not bad ha ha)

The pattern is another freebie from Ravelry - Cable and Lace by Allison Sarnoff - I wonder how many other lovely patterns are on there that I haven't seen yet.  Realistically I can keep pumping out a pair of socks a week for the next few YEARS and still not find the end of the beautiful patterns available on Ravelry. 

I really like the simplicity of this design... and even though it is simple, the basic lace lattice and columns of basic 3x3 twist cables looks elegant and sophisticated.  The stitch arrangement itself consists of a basic 8-row repeating design... half of which are plain stockinette rows!  The pattern works up very fast because of this, and I was able to memorize it within a few repeats. 

bordeaux cable and lace3Close up of cable and lattice detail...

After two days of knitting away, I have sock #1 completed and the second one ready to start the short-rows heel.  I find the slowest row is the one with the cable crossings.  I am out of practice with manipulating a cable needle (aka a lonely DPN in my world)  and am finding that I really need to concentrate to slide the stitches around properly.  Maybe by the end of the pair I will feel good about it again. 

bordeaux cable and lace

The other 7 rows, however, are a speed zone!  Where there is so much of the design in plain stockinette, no purl stitches on either side of the cable (as it is customary in a lot of designs to make the cables "pop" from the design) I feel like I am just flying!  The foot portion with plain stockinette along the sole is even faster! 

I hope I will be able to complete the rest of sock 2 tonight...  I really want to be able to remain in the competition until the last round.  I know that the chances of me "winning" the competition are slim considering I am competing against people who can knit entire pairs of socks in less than 18 hours... but as long as I can stay in until the last round, I feel like I'm winning anyways.   Iron knitter has really gotten me to step outside my own box and try different techniques and patterns - helping me to learn new things and strengthen my skills.  I am starting to worry what the last sock challenge will be (please don't be entrelac, please don't be entrelac!)  After the last pattern, I wouldn't be surprised to see something completely spectacular for the finale.  We've done lace, colorwork, cables, picot edges, gusset and short row heels - all combined to make wonderful beautiful socks.  Keep your fingers crossed I get to stay in ;)

bordeaux cable and lace4

I chose to use another skein of Knit Picks Stroll Kettle Dyed... this time in Bordeaux!  I have basically every color of this yarn, and love the softness and smooth texture it creates.  I find it looks great as plain stockinette, but still has nice definition for lace and other things.  This particular fuchsia skein has just the right amount of color variation to be interesting but not overpowering.  Some of the other colors I received were almost solids.... which is good for some things, and less well suited to other things.

The Color is difficult to photograph... looks burgundy sometimes, but Screaming Pink in other types of light.  With the color combination and the stitch pattern - these are Girly to the Max!  I love them.  They are a little tall for me though, so perhaps they should end up as Holiday gifts.  Who knows, sometimes I get attached for some reason or another!

And finally, here is a pic of a completed sock... hopefully to be joined by an identical twin shortly!

 

bordeaux cable and lace2

27. October 2009 07:25
by Jobo
11 Comments

Nightsongs: Flashbacks of a Forgotten Finished Object…

27. October 2009 07:25 by Jobo | 11 Comments

I guess I got all excited, finished this, blocked it, and the forgot to tell you all about it!  I know it’s a little late, and there are no “fashion” pictures of it being worn… but I still want to share.

This version of Gail (aka Nightsongs) was knit as a gift for my husband’s grandmother… who is generally a tough cookie to buy presents for.  She doesn’t really need “giftware” items, and it’s simply no fun to give her money for a gift so this year I am getting creative :)  (insert evil holiday laugh here)

The yarn is KnitPicks Shadow lace in “Bordeaux” Kettle Dyed… and truly was a joy to work with.  I Didn’t even find that the color bled that much after the soak (which surprised me a little since it is burgandy red… and I had counted on it being a little messy at the very least.  I finished the whole shawl with just over one skein which is a complete steal price-wise… less than 5 dollars for a pretty gift, and beads that I already had upstairs in the stash!  All in all, a very economical, pleasing and satisfying lace project!

The Nightsongs pattern itself was a bit of a challenge for me… since it was the first pattern I’ve followed that had only diagrams, and no written out instructions to fall back on.  I think this was a good thing though because it made me step outside my lace knitting box and try something new. 

In the beginning I had considered writing out my own version of the chart but decided to slog it through and really focus on “reading” the knitting itself, and watching the pattern unfold.  At first this was quite difficult… and a little frustrating.  I ended up cutting up the pattern charts and taping them together in places so I could visualize things better.  I looked at lots of project photographs on Ravelry to see if my design was working up correctly.

A big thank you to all of you who posted your own project details and close up photographs… they really really helped me a lot!

This was also my first project adding beads.  I had not been able to find a small enough crochet hook at the time, so I had been using a short piece of thread and a small needle to get my beads onto the stitches.  I decided to use only a few, and only at the very edging… for a bit of sparkle.  In the end, they look like little dewdrops on the burgandy shawl… much like you would imagine on a rose in the garden.  Not too much, not too little.  Just right

Since then, I have found a whole bunch of teeny tiny crochet hooks… at the local dollar store of all places!  so I got various sizes, and they also had yarn needles.  I bought a bunch of those too… I don’t know about you, but I can never find one when I need one!

 

The blocking process was neat and tidy.  The top of the triangle was done with 2 wires bound together with tape and pinned out at even intervals, and the sides (I love points!) were strung along more wires and spread out.

The lace had great stitch definition and the color seemed to really fit with the design.  I liked how the kettle dyeing gave some ‘Splotches’ of lighter and darker color.  I think it was just enough to add some interest, and wasn’t so busy that it took away from the design itself.  The beads are simply plain clear with silver lining.  Sometimes simple is the way to go I guess?

I Think I must be getting better at my extra-loose-stretchy bind off too… because I had no trouble stretching the heck out of my points during the blocking process.  I have had the best luck with the “K1, slip back to left needle, K2togThroughBackLoop, repeat” method, and I try and use a bigger needle to knit off the edging too… this isn’t scientific.  I happened to have a 4.5 mm DPN sitting next to me in a half knit pair of thrum mittens, so I thought it couldn’t hurt… grabbed it and used it to do my cast off (the rest of the shawl was knit with a size 4.0mm Circular)

I can’t quite figure out if this design reminds me more of “hearts” or “spades”… I guess it depends on your vantage point?  All in all, another successful lace adventure, and hopefully a perfect holiday gift for a deserving lady.

13. October 2009 11:42
by Jobo
2 Comments

Lace Scarf… ‘Lilac Leaf’ finished!

13. October 2009 11:42 by Jobo | 2 Comments

I had one skein (440 yards) left of Knitpicks Shadow – kettle dyed yarn in Bordeaux… so instead of trying to do another shawl with it, and perhaps come up short, I decided I would try making just a lace scarf.

knittedlace of estonieSome time ago, earlier this summer, I bought a copy of Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush, dreaming of someday learning to make beautiful timeless shawls with delicate scalloped borders… Every now and again I flip through it and drool a bit and admire the lovely lace.  I always think someday I want to try making one of the complex square ones, with all of the different lace patterns, pick-up-and-knit borders, and NUPPS galore, and then I remember – Nupps suck, and they take up a ton of yardage to boot.  But they look soooooo good.  hard to resist.  If you love lace, please check out this book! The charts are very clearly written out, and lots of tips, stitch dictionary entries, tutorials, notes and asides.  I’m not a very experienced lace knitter, but it was straightforward enough for me to follow for this scarf anyways.  (Ask me when I finally decide to attempt Crown Prince…)

In particular, I wanted to make something straightforward.  Especially since my lace knitting skill is still on the upswing.  I chose ‘Lilac Leaf’ because I had done similar "leafy” style laces before, so there was a comfort zone there.  This scarf also held some challenges too:

redscarf6

New-to-Me Techniques:

Whole Row Grafting – argh… I hate even Kitchner stitching 14 stitches together for the end of a toe!  For this Scarf, in the interest of perfect symmetry, the first end of the scarf is knit, then the second leaf section, and then a second “end” is knit and grafted (in the middle of a garter stitch bar) to the end of the centre section.  I thought it would be a complete nightmare.  But I decided to just go for it.  I knit both proper pieces as listed in the pattern, grabbed a glass of nice red wine, warned everyone in the house to NOT TALK TO ME until further notice, grabbed a yarn needle and set up shop in the bright light under my Ott lamp.  I will admit it was a bit tedious, but the book gave clear concise directions, no-one was brave enough to interrupt me, and within a half an hour the mess was grafted and the ends were tied in.  No fuss no Mess.  Be brave knitters, try it for yourself, it actually was no big deal.  I was freaked for nothing!

Different Slip-stitch at beginning of Row, Cast-on – I know this doesn’t sound like much, but I had never done an edging that started with “Slipping stitch purlways” at the beginning of each row.  It makes a really nice almost ‘chained’ edging, and looks awesome when the little picots are blocked.  I also liked the casting on double.  Of course since you have carried the beginning thread across a whole row, you don’t need to worry about it coming undone.  easiest tie in I have done so far.  Weave under a few stitches, and cut off.  Easy Peasy!

Blocking Rectangular things – Why do I always start with hard things first and gradually migrate back to easy ones?  I’ve blocked lots of triangles, but this was my first blocking of a rectangle.  honestly, 4 wires, a handful of pins, done.  Very satisfying.  (Mind you it did still take about an hour to get it done.  Maybe I’ll pick up speed sometime?  nah doubtful)

Now for the fun part… the finished pictures :)

 

Blocking really changed the finished appearance of this project.  It was really nubbly and bumpy, and really didn’t feel like it was wide enough.  I had decreased the cast on from 93 to 71 (5 motifs across), since I didn’t have that much yarn to work with.  The piece grew a lot… from about 6-7 inches wide unblocked to 10.5 inches.  And the length growth was a bit surprising.  I had started with 34 inch wires, thinking that they would be definetly long enough.  Think again.  I had to double up wires and overlap them.  The finished scarf was about 45 inches long.  I probably could have blocked more severely and gotten even more length.

redscarf2

And here she is sitting quietly next to the african violet… enjoying bathing in the sun.  I really like the way the burgandy red color turned out.  The kettle dyeing gave the scarf a little interest without being too variegated.  Depending on what you wanted your scarf’s purpose to be, perhaps you might want it to be wider or longer, but as far as value goes… a 4 dollar skein of yarn to make a pretty nice Christmas gift for someone, I was very happy with the end result!  Honestly, the person I have in mind for this is a very kind nice person I’ve known for a long time and I wanted to make her something pretty (she wears a lot of burgandy and plum) but I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable by buying something expensive or making something really time consuming or costly.  With this scarf, It only really took about 10 –15 hours total of knitting, so not that big of a time committment, and 4 bucks is ridiculous for cost.  You can’t even buy a soda and a bag of chips for that price.

All in All… happy and ready to cast on something else.  Mom helped me to wind my next skeins of lace yarn… and here she is:  Knitpicks Shimmer (Alpaca / Silk Blend) in Galaxy.  I have 2 skeins (so about 880 yards) and boy is it soffffffttttt.  My mom had never handled alpaca yarn before, she couldn’t get over the light texture and extreme softness.  I might be a bad influence on her yarn buying…  Myself, I just can’t believe the wonderful and different yarns out there.  Don’t get me wrong, I try not to be a yarn snob (Red Heart has it’s place) but there are so many different fibers and unique preparations available from different companies and countries…. lately I tend to think of yarn in a similar way that critics think about food.  Flavors, textures, vintages.  Gosh I love yarn!  If I was home, I’d probably go roll around in some but alas, I am at work.  The Yarn-Rolling will have to wait until later :)

purple shimmer 2

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