Jobo Designs

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

24. October 2014 09:00
by Jobo

Uncle Bob's Lined Mittens

24. October 2014 09:00 by Jobo | 0 Comments

A few months ago... at an extended family dinner... Uncle Bob asked me:  "What kind of yarn makes the Best, Warmest Mittens?"  Well... ask the obsessed wool lady a loaded question will ya? I know he was expecting me to talk his ear off, so away I went!

He was looking for a better hand warming solution. He had gone out and purchased fancy leather gloves, and other types of mittens only to be disappointed with hands that were still chilly and stiff after his 15 minute walk to work.  He had thought that by buying a supposedly "nice" pair that he would have warm hands. 

We live in Eastern Canada - translation:  It snows here. A lot. There is often a wind chill factor drawing the "feels-like" temperature well below freezing. 

I'm not surprised that leather gloves wouldn't do the job properly. Even with a lining, without the safety-in-numbers of the fingers to keep each other warm, leather just isn't a great insulator for warmth. It might keep the wind or moisture out, but not ideal for the chilliest of days. Maybe as driving gloves, when you're in your car?

The Yarn:

So... enter the world of Wool.  Warm, even when wet, and versatile - if you want warm mittens you probably want wool.  After measuring Uncle Bob's hands, we went right to talking about what kind of wool would be best to keep his digits toasty. I suggested maybe a straightforward superwash wool outer shell, with a soft and fluffy layer inside for a lining to trap the warm air nice and close to the skin.  We decided to go with Knit Picks yarns, because they have great reasonably priced products, in lots of appealing colors, and the quality is excellent value.

- Outer Shell: Knit Picks Swish Worsted - 100% Superwash Wool in Cobblestone Heather

- The Lining: Knit Picks Reverie - 80% Baby Alpaca/20% Acrylic in Wine.

The finished mittens will need to be hand-washed because of the baby alpaca lining, but overall should be easy to wear and simple to rinse and lie flat to dry if they get soiled.

The Design:

- working from Uncle Bob's measurements, I set off to create the perfect pair of mittens!  I've made (no joke) probably 50 pairs of mittens in various sizes over the years.  I decided to just wing it and not bother looking for a pattern.  Mittens are my thing...

- He wanted nice long cuffs to tuck into his jacket sleeves. I decided to do a bit of an offset alternating cabled rib, just to make them look unique. It's basically glorified 2x2 rib... comfortable, stretchy and resilient.

- The outer shell of the mitten was knit in plain stockinette - simple and smooth looking.  I like to Kitchener the tops of my mittens closed to avoid the pointy look.

- The gauge of the lining yarn / needle combo was a bit different from the outer shell... resulting in the need to change stitch counts and rework the increases a bit. The result though, was a nice and lofty feeling lining that fits just perfectly inside the shell.  I carefully sewed the lining in, using small invisible stitches.  You'd never know from looking at the outside that it's in there!

- The final result is a delightful 2-layered approach to the Maritime winter season.  The layers are thin enough to not feel clumsy or awkward, but you can feel that warm difference moments after you put your hands inside.  That baby alpaca warms almost instantly, and the wool keeps that warmth inside.  I'd bet even after a snowball fight, when the outer shell gets a little damp - these suckers will still be toasty warm and comfortable on the inside!

Uncle Bob's Reaction: "Do they come with a Mitten String?  If I lose these, my wife is going to kill me!" (Aunt Christine was in the corner giggling!)


26. November 2010 11:07
by Jobo

Moody Blue Mittens.... completed minus lining...

26. November 2010 11:07 by Jobo | 3 Comments

I've been chugging along on my Christmas knitting... trying to make a little progress each day.  Last night, I completed the outer shell of my Moody Blue Mittens... and got the Angora/Merino Blend carded up to start on the linings asap.

christy mittens 

Here they are... complete with the shiny Mother-of-Pearl Buttons and tiny cable cuffs.  I really like the way this yarn has knit up... the 3-ply really did break up the colors from the roving, and gave a nice overall grey/blue coloring. 

I decided against doing a full button plackett, and instead settled on a small button "tab" as it were. The square buttons I had originally considered for this project turned out to be too angular for the mittens.  In the end, I think the round shape compliments the girly cable ribbing better, especially since the mittens are not such a feminine color - they needed some softness to balance out the design.

angora lining

I've carded up the lining blend... 10 - 15% Angora... and started spinning a bit of it too.  The drum carder really comes in handy with carding large batches of fiber.  I was able to blend all 3 ounces I needed in about 30 minutes, which is great!  I wanted the lining to have a bit of soft fuzzy halo, but not so much that it would shed, or be excessively warm.  These mittens already have a nice lofty 100% merino outer shell, if I had made the linings with 100% Merino, they likely would have been too warm to wear (unless you live in Nunavut!)

As for the outer shells themselves... I just have to tie in the dreaded ends, and they are complete :)

christy mittens 2

20. October 2010 09:27
by Jobo

The King of his Castle...

20. October 2010 09:27 by Jobo | 1 Comments

bunny castle king

Finally, after about a month of languishing, the Bunny Castle is complete... and the king is all moved in!  As you can see he is quite comfortable and settling in just fine :)

bunny castle

The Castle itself is made up of generic branded "Neat Idea Cubes"... which are basically 14x14 inch wire grid panels that we lashed together with electrical ties (they were originally intended as shelving units)  and the shelves were custom made by Marky especially for the Ruttiger-FuzzyButt! 

We originally thought the ramp in the back would need some carpet on it, but he seems to navigate both up and down without any problems.  Watching the "down" strategy is the most hilarious thing ever... he stands at the top and puts his front paws just over the lip of the ramp... then its BUNNYSLIDE away... and he slides down the ramp like a child on a playground slide.  He looks so darned pleased with himself too... it's priceless!

As for the wooden shelves... we chose untreated pine so that it would be safe for him to nibble if the idea struck him... but I wasn't sure if he would make messes in this new cage.  In the old one, there was a wire bottom and any messes fell through.  Well, since Ruttiger moved in on Sunday he has had ZERO wet messes outside his box (great... now I jinxxed it, didn't I?)  and he hasn't really made much mess with hay or woodchips either.  The plastic mat base is easy to sweep up, and I can clean out the bottom in less than 5 minutes.  I bet if there were wet messes it would be easier to just lift the cage off to the side and hose off the mat, but it hasn't come to this drastic an action yet, so who knows.

Either way... the King likes his Castle!  and thanks his loyal subjects (namely Daddy) for the lovely new home :)

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