Jobo Designs

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

28. October 2011 03:57
by Jobo
0 Comments

South African Fine Wool... Becomes Mittens

28. October 2011 03:57 by Jobo | 0 Comments

At the Retreat a few weeks ago... I decided to just let loose and spin a braid of fiber free-form - aka just let the darn thing become whatever it wanted to become.  I bought a braid of South African Fine Wool dyed by Waterloo Wools in a very bright and enthusiastic colorway and just tore it into 4 pieces and spun it up without thinking too hard about it.  The result was a nice bouncy, light and not over spun, 2-ply yarn in about a Chunky weight.  I didn't worry about where the colors lined up, and I didn't use a gauge or measure to monitor my singles.  I tried to divide the fiber in approximately half, so I would have two similar balls of yarn to make something "paired" like mittens.

Retreat Pretties SouthAfrican Fine and Lace2

Here is one half of the yarn posing with a skein of lace weight that just happened to match!  I really liked the texture of this breed of wool - soft like Merino, but really bouncy and fluffy.  Sproingy!

SouthAfricanFine Mittens2

As for a pattern... I decided to just wing it.  I've knit so many pairs of mittens in the last 15 years... it's not even funny.  I took a guess as to how many stitches might make sense, and was off without a plan.  In fact, I ended up knitting to the tip of the first mitten, decided that I should have done a longer cuff, and raveled back to the cuff and added half a dozen rows.  One nice thing about knitting with chunky fat yarn on reasonably large needles - the project knits up fast.  I had completed both mitts (including the false start, ravel and redo) in a weekend.

SouthAfricanFine Mittens3 SouthAfricanFine Mittens1 SouthAfricanFine Mittens4

The mittens did end up looking similar when finished, but still with a bit of variation in the color striping and placement.  I liked the texture and variation though... gives the effect of "matching" but not "identical" mittens.  More like a set of Fraternal Twins :)  If you like yarn and knitting close-ups... remember to click the photo thumbnails and you'll get a nice large version of the photo... thanks to the wonderful code-monkey-husband!

SouthAfricanFine Mittens5

I was thinking that I might like to keep these mittens myself... but lately it seems that everytime I post something new to the blog or Facebook... somebody wants to buy them!  I think if the right person came along, I'd let them go, maybe. 

I thought that I'd likely have zero yarn left when these were complete.  My luck (since there was no chance of me getting more of this fiber or colorway) I would run out with only a stupid 4 yard piece required to finish!  Not So!  For once I had a little bit of yarn leftover... and I used this as a perfect excuse to make another baby hat!  (I have a bunch in different noggin-sizes... just in case)

SouthAfrican Fine Babyhat 

I finished the little hat and then added a VERY LARGE pompom :)  I had a few scrap odds and ends from weaving in the tails on the mittens, and I didn't want to let ANY of this great stuff go to waste.  I basically just tossed the ends (2 - 3 inch pieces) in a pile, lashed them together into a non-fussy pompom and stitched it to the top of the little bright toque.  Maybe it isn't very practical... but I love it to pieces.  Maybe (child willing) it will fit and be appropriate for photos or something?

EXTRA!!:

I'm not sure if you noticed my really-fancy-hi-tech Mitten Blockers?!  They're actually pieces of cardboard (2 layers of corrugated stuff from the box some electronic thing came in) that have been wrapped several times with plain old kitchen plastic wrap, and then taped haphazardly where the edges of the plastic meet.  I would like to have fancy, beautiful, durable wooden ones someday (like my Norwegian Mitten Blockers made by Roger!), but this was all I had to work with at one point... so I threw them together and they've been sturdy and trusty helpers for several years now.  They don't look all that pretty - but they get the job done!

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*

15. December 2009 14:39
by Jobo
3 Comments

Squish This!

15. December 2009 14:39 by Jobo | 3 Comments

After spending much time trying to hone my spinning skills to be able to spin thinner and thinner singles… I thought I should shake things up and see if I could spin some chunky yarns too!  It has been said that after one has learner to spin fine that thick can be challenging, so I was expecting this to be an interesting spin, and likely a fast one – since fatter singles would use up a braid of roving much faster than drawing it out into an infinitely tiny thread!

poof braid

I decided to make a mostly white braid, using a technique from the “Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook” where you apply drips and splotches of dye onto pre-soaked roving in a cold pour method.  I literally soaked my Merino Top until it was thoroughly wet (2 hours or so) and then spread it out on plastic wrap and then used a syringe to apply little droplets of purple and teal green over the wool and then steamed in the wrap in the microwave for a bit.  The result was a blend of purpley / bluey dotted roving, which as suspected yielded a pastel blend yarn.

poofskein

Don’t you wish this was Scratch-N-SQUISH!!?

I tried to spin a consistant, fatter than usual, low twist single.  I used the attachments for my wheel that would give the lightest possible amount of twist, and specifically watched my technique to make sure I was not holding on too long to the forming yarn and making the twist too tight.  (for you spinners-in-waiting aka the not-yet-addicted remember that fat singles don’t need as much twist to hold themselves together as thin tiny ones)  The result is a very soft, very large and poofy skein of yarn that looks like it would be really heavy, but is actually a lot lighter than it looks.

poof closeup

You can tell in the close up, my spinning is a little bit uneven, but you can see the airyness and lightness of the finished yarn.  The blues and purples blend together and mix with the often whitish single and make a watercolor-style blend.  I spun the sections of color randomly, so the colors come and go at will.  The finished 2 ply yarn averages out at approximately 7-8 WPI (so fairly chunky) and from the 5 ounces I dyed, I yielded almost 300 yards!  So that’s actually enough yarn to make an actual project… hmmmm what to make.

Any ideas anyone? 

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