Jobo Designs

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

26. August 2011 08:13
by Jobo
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Leaf Lace Hat... in Handspun Yarn

26. August 2011 08:13 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Yes folks, the Baby-Crazy is probably upon us.  I've been thinking a lot about what we should be getting ready for the jellybean, but it's tough getting started.  It seems that there are tons of lists and gadgets and piles of general junk that you are "supposed to" be acquiring before bring a new baby home, but I'm just not sure I buy into all of the hype.  I know there are certain things that are not optional (i.e. place to sleep, way to get and stay clean, some form of diapering, feeding equipment, car seat) but we're trying to avoid the buying-for-buying-sake type items.  The kid won't be able to use something like a bouncy swing the minute he/she comes home.  Take a deep breath and just take comfort in the fact that we don't need "everything" the second the brat comes home.

One thing that doesn't stress me out about getting ready for Baby - the Baby Knits!

Baby stuff is easy peasy... takes very little yarn, next to no time commitment, and carries that cutesy factor that makes us all go "Awwwwwww, wook at da baby stuffff!"

I was stuck waiting in doctors' offices a bunch last month, so I've been just tossing leftover balls of yarn in my purse (with coordinated needles of course) and just picking away at small projects when possible.

One such project:  Handspun Leafy (Lace-leaf hat by Sophy T. O'Donnell)

I basically took smaller yarn (heavy fingering/sport instead of worsted/aran) and smaller needles (4 mm instead of 5.5 mm) and worked the smaller size of this hat as written.  I have always enjoyed knitting leaf lace, and this was no exception.  Simple to follow, every second row is knit plain so it works up fast, and the gradually migrating colors of the handspun added some interest to the basic knit.  I don't actually have a baby head, or baby sized object to block this on, but soon enough I will! 

Leaf Lace Hat Handspun 

The yarn was leftover from these socks:  The "Not Mary Kate and Ashley" Jaywalkers I completed a few years ago (you can read more about them here) and I was quite pleased to find a use for the remnants.  I really enjoyed the way this yarn flowed between the pinks and yellows, almost like water-color paints swirling together on a painting.  I just wish my stupid camera phone would show the actual colors of things, instead of washing them out.  The new camera is coming, the new camera is coming, the new camera is coming.

marykate and ashley socks revisited

3. December 2010 11:59
by Jobo
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That's no "Cop" out...

3. December 2010 11:59 by Jobo | 0 Comments

I've come up with a unique way (or at least I've never seen anyone else do it this way... so I thought I should share) to unwind a full cop of singles from my drop/supported spindles...

Basically here it is in a nutshell:

- It can take a very long time to unwind a full cop by hand into a ball for plying or for storage.  I always end up frustrated, often tangled, and bored with all of the repetitive winding.  I'd rather be spinning or knitting!

- My solution is to wind the spindle's contents off onto a spare spinning wheel bobbin, where it can be kept until plying/finishing, in a neat and orderly compact form.  I can then take the bobbin and wind a plying ball if I want, I can ply directly from several bobbins on my lazy Kate, or in the case of something like silk singles, I can wind directly from the bobbin to the niddy noddy for finishing.  The best part is that I can have my spindle back right away to start on the second cop if I wish, and deal with the finishing of the singles later on.

- I can set up my Ashford Traveller such that the drive band is around the bobbin only, and the bobbin will basically wind up the yarn from the spindle (without adding or removing any twist from the single) - and it can wind much faster than I can by hand.

- it was obvious that my supported spindles will stand comfortably in a bowl while I wind with the wheel... but I discovered that my suspended spindles (aka my goldings and other pretty toys) will stand on their hooks and spin in the palm of my hand quite freely.  It's like holding a spinning top!  ... and it tickles a little!

- Please check out the video... I think pictures say things easier than words sometimes!

I hope this technique helps spinners out there to wind singles more efficiently - More spinning and knitting time for all! (and let them all have cake also.  the end.)

11. November 2010 18:41
by Jobo
1 Comments

Introducing... the Cricket: Weaving 101

11. November 2010 18:41 by Jobo | 1 Comments

A few weeks ago, at the Maritime Handspinners' Retreat, I saw a cute little loom.  In fact this little loom looked so tidy and straightforward, and was so reasonably priced, that I ordered one on the spot... and it arrived at my door finally on Monday morning!

Meet the Schacht Cricket Loom - a small rigid heddle loom with an 11 inch weaving surface.

warping the cricket Now, this isn't my first foray into the world of weaving, but it has definetly been a while since I've laid my hands on a real loom.  Years ago when I went to the Gaelic College over in Cape Breton, NS, I took a short weaving course that used a very similar loom, though I can't remember the specific name of the table loom I learned on...

The model Cricket that was on display at the retreat had a beautiful handspun scarf warped and in progress... it looked so interesting, I couldn't help myself after all.  Janet at the Bobbin Tree Kiosk kindly twisted my arm encouraged me to give weaving a try again, and kindly had the loom shipped directly from Schacht to my door step for me :)

The Cricket was very easy to set up.  All I needed was a screwdriver!  The set-up instructions were simple to follow, and because this is a fairly basic type of loom, I was ready to start warping after only a half an hour of set-up time.

I had always heard how horrible the warping process is (for those of you who aren't familiar with weaving terms... the "Warp" is the vertical threads that are strung on the loom, they stay pulled tight while you do the weaving back and forth with the horizontal "weft") and I was expecting that I'd spend a fair bit of the day getting the warp ready to go.  Not so!  I watched a couple of YouTube Videos last week, and armed only with the little booklet that comes with the loom, I was able to get the thing strung in about a half an hour.  I'm sure that next time I try it, I'll be done in half the time.  The warping peg clamped onto my dining room table and made the stringing process quite straightforward.

warping the cricket 2 The kit comes with a ball of very bright green yarn and a ball of medium blue... the blue coincidentally matched the skein of "Wild" art yarn that I made at the retreat, so I decided that this might be a good way to use it up.  I'm not fond of knitting with super bulky thick-n-thin art yarns, so I thought that I should try weaving it instead.  There was nothing to lose.

I forgot to take a photograph of the wild skein before I started winding it onto the shuttle.  Needless to say, this yarn is very different from my usual styled handspun yarns.  It was spun from a very large art batt, kindly put together with the help of Louise at the retreat.  We started with some Blue wool, then added in everything from sari silk bits to mohair locks, silk noils, more wool, glitz, firestar, and every color under the rainbow!  I was horrified and intrigued all at the same time as I spun this crazy batt into a thick and thin low twist single.  In the end, the predominant colors were Blues and Oranges.  The finished yarn was "nice"... but it just isn't "me". 

And so... with the Cricket warped... I wound the art yarn onto the shuttle, and I began to weave:

weaving scarf 1

I was impressed at just how well the color of the kit yarn and the handspun yarn matched together.  The blue warp seemed to ground the color scheme back to blues... in spite of all the wild orangeness.

waeving scarf. 3 

The Thick and Thin bits actually added nice texture to the woven fabric,  I thought it would look all lumpy and unattractive, but it seemed to form little waves and ebbs and flows of color instead.  The blue background kept the piece tied together.  Even the little silk stringy bits seemed to blend in more than I would have imagined.

waeving scarf 2

I've finished the scarf itself, learned how to work a hemstitch, and now the scarf is soaking in a nice warm bath.  I'll try and post more photos when it has been dried and pressed.  I will be interested to see how it turns out in the end.  The weaving process was quite fun though... and I am anxious to get another piece of some sort set up to work at...  weaving is quite fast compared to knitting it appears ;)

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