Jobo Designs

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

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

24. November 2010 12:32
by Jobo

Alaskan Malamute Experiment... signed, sealed, delivered!

24. November 2010 12:32 by Jobo | 1 Comments

imageAfter many months of effort, I finally came to the end of my Alaskan Malamute Adventure this past week!  To give you a basic recap... I was commissioned by a local pet owner to spin some of her pet dog's fur and make a hat/mitten/neckwarmer set from the resulting yarn.  This was my first time working with dog fur, undercoat to be exact, but I was very excited to see if I could make it all work.  The fluff was lovely and light and soft, and I knew in the end I would be able to make something of it... 

I started the fiber prep by removing as many guard hairs from the dog fur as possible.  Guard hairs are bristly, and would have resulted in prickly bits in the finished yarn... and I didn't want that.  Then the fur was weighed, and blended 50-50 by weight with some nice fine Merino Sheep's wool.

I carded and blended all of the fiber by hand on some regular Ashford Hand Cards... mostly because I like the process of hand blending.  I weighed small amounts of fiber that were comfortable to work by hand (around 4-5 g of fiber at a time) and the resulting rolags were light and airy - perfect for some woolen style spinning.

husky wool blend carded basket The swatching process was fun... I decided to spin up a small sample (about an ounce or so) of the wool at a sport/worsted size and knit some small swatches in different stitch patterns to show my client.  In the end, because the yarn had so much halo and fuzzy feeling, a sport weight yarn really knit up and felt like a worsted weight one, which was actually perfect for the project.

I decided to swatch out plain stockinette (for gauge mostly), a simple diagonal lace pattern, and a basic cable pattern.  In the end, after washing, the cables really seemed to disappear into the halo.  The client really liked the idea of the lace, so we decided to move along with that basic idea.

As for pattern... I found a nice basic hat pattern (Noro spiral one-skein hat by Manuèle Ducret) and modified and worked from there to make a hat with the diagonal lace pattern all around.  I used the same stitch pattern to make a "cowl" neckwarmer, and the gauntlets of the mittens.

swatches all 3the swatches... blocked and drying... 

In the end, I ended up spinning quite a bit of yarn... I needed 50g for the hat, 110g for the mittens, and around 120g for the neckwarmer.  The process was enjoyable, though I was worried that I might not finish the set in time for cold weather.  Custom knitting takes time, but sometimes I forget just how long that is.  I was impatient and I had started knitting the garments before the entire quantity of yarn was complete... but next time I do something like this I think I will do all of the yarn first, so there will be less jumping around.

set on... vogue the completed set!

In the end I was very pleased with the final results of the set.  After the knitting and blocking process, the surface of the garments developed a nice gentle halo with a soft finish totally suitable for next to the skin wear.  As you can see, the fur and the wool combined to make a warm oatmeal color, presumably which will match with just about any jacket.

set blocking the set... blocking and drying

You'll notice that I monogrammed the mittens.  The customer and I had discussed that it might be nice to have some sort of monogram or notation to indicate the fiber's source in the finished product.  While spinning up the dog fur, I came across a couple of locks of darker fiber.  I picked out as many as I could and saved them, and then blended them with some natural brown wool, and used this darker yarn to add a little paw print, and an "S" for Samiya - the dog's name.

pawprint closeup 2 <-- gratuitous embroidery shot!  Puppy Prints!

I finally brought the finished garments up to the owner last week... she seemed very pleased with the set, and excited to get to wear her new goodies!  They also decided that her husband should have a pair of special mittens for himself... so after Christmas, I'll be working on some "work" mittens - basically a pair of men's hybrid mittens, with a separate pointer finger, and the rest of the fingers together a-la-mitten.  My dad loves mittens like this, as they give better hand dexterity than mittens, but because more fingers are housed together, they are also warmer than gloves alone.

All in all... Experiment - Successful :)

if you are interested in having some yarn spun from your pet's fur, please contact me for more details :)

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