Jobo Designs

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

19. July 2010 11:35
by Jobo

Liesl: Compelling Cardigan, Quick Knit with Satisfying Results!

19. July 2010 11:35 by Jobo | 3 Comments


For some reason? the idea of knitting myself a *fitted* garment still scares the heck out of me.   Maybe this stems from the fact that I have always had issues with the way that clothes fit?

I am three apples tall? a fair bit under the five foot mark, though with my affinity for high heeled shoes you might not have realized at this point!  my 4 foot 10 inch frame, as one can imagine, does not always lend itself to clothing fitting right off the rack.

I shorten everything.  Jeans?  generally at least 3 inches needs to be removed from each pair.  Dresses?  Let the bust out, bring the hem up, blah blah blah.  Sweaters?  they either fit or they don?t.  I always feel badly for the clothing store clerks when they see me coming out of the dressing room with a ginormous armload of outfits?  Clerk:  ?So you?ll be taking those then??  Me: ?um nope, that?s the No Pile?  Sigh.

So not surprisingly, a standard Cardigan ? I fear ? when knitted exactly as intended to the letter of the pattern? Will likely not fit.  I know I will need to deviate from the pattern at some point to customize the piece to fit my shorter and slightly rounder figure.  (Yes, I *would* like another bowl of icecream? thank you.  It?s summertime.)

Liesl (by Scottish knitter and designer Ysolda Teague ? available for sale here)  seemed like a good first time foray into the world of fitted garments. 

The piece is cast on at the neck line, and knit from the top down.  You can stop, try it on, and then continue knitting to see how it fits.  The entire body is knit in one piece, and then the arms are done by picking up stitches and then continuing down until the desired length is reached.  It sounds simple? knit, try it on, repeat until satisfied.  Even I should be able to do that.

The Fabric is a very open lace knit on large needles.  This means it is Stretchy? and hopefully fairly forgiving.  Also, because it knits up fast, I hope that if I mess up, it won?t take too long to redo.  I made a mistake a few years ago on a ?jacket? style sweater, and I would have had to frog nearly the entire thing to fix it.  I opted to keep it, mistake and all, and as a result I only wear it if I am completely freezing? and no-one will see me in it!Malabrigo4

Another bonus is that this pattern can be knit from THREE (yes only Three) skeins of Malabrigo Worsted.  The non-knitters out there are probably thinking ? what is this Malabrigo, and why is she going so nuts about it?

  This. Yarn.  Is.  One.  Of.  The.  SOFTEST.  Things.  On.  The.  Planet!

Normally, the thought of spending money on enough yarn to knit a cardigan, and then potentially messing up said cardigan and never finishing it? would terrify me to the point that I wouldn?t take the chance.  For most cardigan style projects the yarn can be costly.  One particular wool cardigan I had considered for a while would require that I buy 8-9 balls of a specific yarn? which cost 10.50$ Canadian per ball!  If I knew I would love the finished sweater, than I could be ok with that.

Liesl, only requiring 3 balls of Malabrigo at a cost of 10$ a piece? means only a 30$ Investment.  I can live with that.

As you can see? (yes, that is my new bathroom? why do you ask?)  I have completed the yoke and main body of the cardigan and have moved on to the sleeves.  Number one is almost completed, and I plan to start on Number two if the humidity/heat wave ever lets up.  It?s been too hot in the evenings to have a cardigan laying over my lap.

I hope to finish this in the next week or so? and then attach the Vintage Mother-of-Pearl Button that was rescued from my Grandmother?s fantastic Button Stash.  It was a one of a kind? so this will be a perfect way to showcase it!

5. July 2009 11:22
by Jobo

Another Feather and Fan Shawl... Looks Like Butterfly Wings

5. July 2009 11:22 by Jobo | 0 Comments

This yarn was my first go at Merino/Tencel Blend (50:50), actually one of my first attempts at spinning anything that wasn't pure wool, or wool with just a little bit of silk or bamboo added.

The fiber came from FiberOptic - Kimber is Awesome to deal with.  I've bought a few things from her now, and the colours are always spectacular, and products are top notch too!  Speaking of which... If I wasn't on a self imposed fiber diet right now, I'd want some more of her fantastic sock pencil roving.  (This stuff doesn't even need predrafting! just sit, spin, swoon!)

When this package came in the mail, it was so smooth and silky feeling, I just kept it around petting it for a long while.  I was too afraid to wreck it by using it before I was experienced enough to do a decent job with it.  Isn't it funny that we order stuff because it is gorgeous and we can't wait to lay hands on it... and then we are too afraid to do anything with it?  There is something really wrong with that strategy in my opinion.

I tried to spin as thin as possible at the time (which really isn't all that thin now that I look at it compared to more recent attempts) and then 2-plied using a centre pull ball (inside and outside strand together)  The resulting yarn was somewhere between fingering and light fingering weights (a little thick and thin in places)  Unfortunately, I didn't take any pics of the yarn once it was done... I guess I was too excited to start working on it?

Because of the long stretches of colour, I thought that another feather and fan shawl would be a good choice.  The ripple effect did a nice job of showing off the colour blends and stretches last time I made one.  Plus I knew the pattern was well written, was simple to follow even for working on in the car and such, and there were no complex bits to have me shaking my head over and over.  This was started during the wedding planning/panicking stages... so I needed a brainless project.  This was my standby for something straightforward and stress free to stab away at.  It definetly served its purpose and was a joy to knit, even though I had just finished one not too long ago.

Closeup detail of the colour ripples and the shiny silky texture

Last night I finally finished.  By finally finished, I mean got frustrated... ran out of yarn 15 stitches from the end of the bind off... had to un-knit the bind off (285 stitches) then tink back 285 stitches, then re-do the extra loose bind off.  I did have to put it away one time out of frustration (aka threw it at the coffee table and walked away for a few hours) but now that it's home blocking on the spare bed - it looks so nice and tame, and not at all like the beast that had me so cheesed off 12 hours ago.  I think I like it again :)

Finished Shawl posing with a wedding photo / gift from our photographer yesterday.. I'll post a better one when I can get a proper scan.  The photos were taken in my Gramma's garden... these ones were in front of the barn door :)

The full Spread - Similar to last time I worked this pattern... Nice long stretches of colour turned into gentle ripples.  This one looks like Butterfly Wings to me, probably because of the Purples and Blues and Pinks and Burgandies.  For some reason those shades of purples and silvery blues make me think of fairies and butterflies.  ( I know, sometimes I can be such a GIRL )


The finished fabric has a lovely softness and drape... you can hardly feel it on your shoulders, but is still big enough to stay wrapped and not be falling off.  I have been trying to think of who this shawl should go to... and haven't had any brainwaves yet.... For some reason I have a hard time deciding those things, and I get pretty attached to homemade things.  I might have worn this one for half of the day yesterday, but I know I won't use it enough to deserve the privilege of keeping it, someone else would use it more and it would get loved more.


The tousled around the neck look... I think I would almost wear this as a scarf in the Fall too!

I had wanted to make homemade things for the grandparents this year... both my own and my inlaws.  That means a total of 4 Grandmas and 1 Grandpa.  I wasn't sure that they would use / need things like hats, scarves or mitts, but I know that a lot of them get a chill pretty easily, so I thought shawls might be nice?  and in stylish colours too?  even if they only use them every now and again, or as lap-robes when they are chilly around the house... I think they will enjoy the homemadeness of the gifts.  I did fingerless mittens  and headbands for my two sisters in law last year, afghans for 2 of my brothers in law, and socks for mark's mom and dad... not to mention a scarf for my Mom, dishclothes and swiffer covers for my Sister and Socks for my Dad.

If I want to keep up with that pile of homemade gifts I had better stop typing and start knitting!

More later :)


21. May 2009 12:26
by Jobo

Knitting with Handspun is Addictive!

21. May 2009 12:26 by Jobo | 1 Comments

Especially if it's  your OWN handspun!

I finished my Sunshine Shawl last evening before bed, and blocked this morning.  Before blocking, I soaked the finished shawl in a bowl of lukewarm water for an hour or so.  Some people like to put a drop of wool wash in the water too, apparently to help the water soak in more completely (soap makes water wetter!  or so my highschool science teacher believes)  Since I forgot to add the soap component, I counteracted the blunder by simply soaking this puppy longer than necessary.  It's beautiful and sunny outside today here!  the sun's rays made the garter stitch bumps glisten like pearls in the soaking bowl.  Darn camera wasn't able to convey though.

The blocking process is always a neat transformation for me.  The lumpy, bumpy, uncontrolled look of unblocked lace kindof scares me.  Honestly, if you left a piece of knit lace unblocked... you might think your lace knitting skills sucked  needed more work... but after the soaking, and careful laying out, measuring, pinning, standing back and admiring - the real beauty emerges.  The geometrics of the design, open areas and more densely stitched areas seem to pop right out and things flatten and elongate in ways that you could have only imagined before blocking.

It seems that the long stretches of colour lined up beautifully throughout the whole project.  Gentle stretches of lime, sage, teal,  blue, purple, yellow, and various shades in between.  The barberpoling effect of the 2-ply yarn helped ease the colour changes, and blend the transitions between them.  I think I made a wise decision choosing the larger needles for this shawl too, since my yarn is a little heavier than laceweight, more of a sock weight give or take.  The blocking process really opened up the "holes" of the Yarnovers and made the ripples stand out nicely.

I must admit, I am overly impressed and satisfied with myself today.  Not to toot my own horn, but I LOVE working with the yarn I have spun.  I'm not sure if its the fact that I have such high stakes in it... aka carded, drafted, spun, drooled, plied, skeined, knit... or if it's just that I am not used to working with such interesting and unique products.  (Handspun vs Bernat?  c'mon you gotta be kidding here!)  It seems that I become very attached to the projects I am making lately too.  Mark asked me last night if I was going to sell the "Sunshine" shawl, and honestly I'm not sure I would be able to get enough for it to equal how much I love it.  True, I probably won't wear it myself, and I'm not sure I have the strength to give it away yet, but selling it?  I will have to think about that one.  Honestly, if I keep producing homemade goods at the same rate as the last few years, our home will be brimming!  But I'm not sure I am willing to part with any of the stuff yet either.  crafty packrat.

When Sunshine finally dries and I can peel her off the bed... I will try and take a few more pictures!



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