Jobo Designs

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

24. March 2011 10:25
by Jobo
2 Comments

Silver Strawberries: Finished!

24. March 2011 10:25 by Jobo | 2 Comments

Finally... after many months of work...

Ruttiger and Silver Strawberries Stole

My "Silver Strawberries" stole is complete!  The finished shawl is so light and soft... just like the Bunny it was grown on!

Strawberries Stole floor folded JPG

I guess I should start back in the beginning:  The yarn.  When Ruttiger was a baby, and going through his first Molt I was obsessed with keeping as much of his first coat as possible.  Many people say that the baby fur isn't much of a yield, so it isn't worth keeping really.  I was unbothered by this though, and carefully kept every wisp of fur off of the brush and plucking carefully stored away in a box for safe keeping.  In the end, I didn't have that much of it (maybe 2 - 3 ounces) but I really wanted to make something special out of it some day.

bowl of battsAfter doing much research about Orenburg lace, I thought maybe this might be a good way to use it up.  Traditional Orenburg lace is made from a specific breed of Goat's down, spun by hand cobweb/gossamer weight, and sometimes plied with silk for strength.  I know Angora is no substitute for mohair or goat down, but I *did* have an abundance of it, so I thought maybe I could try it anyways? 

I took poofs of Ruttiger's fur and lightly carded them with pinches of steely carbonized bamboo and creamy soft Merino wool, hoping that those few pinches of longer fiber would lend some strength to the delicate angora strand.  I'd estimate that those small bits of bamboo and wool would amount together to no more than 5% of the total weight combined.

imageFor added strength and shine, I spun a very fine single of pure white Tussah Silk.  I've learned that I absolutely love spinning silk on my Golding Dragonfly ceramic inset spindle.  It's just the right weight for spinning fine yarns - 0.7 ounces - and is perfect for portable spinning too.  This little guy tucks perfectly into my purse! 

The plying process was a bit challenging for this yarn... I thought doing it on the wheel made more sense, but I found it really difficult to apply the correct amount of twist.  My first ball of yarn was quite underplied, though I thought I was probably twisting way to much.  I decided to ply the second and third balls of yarn on a heavier Golding spindle.  This was surprisingly much easier, and actually faster too.  Those two teensy plies took a lot more twisting than I would have imagined.

Once the yarn was completed, I decided to hunt for a pattern.  I had purchased Galina Khmeleva's book Gossamer Webs Design Collection, but the patterns in that book are quite large, and a lot more complicated than I wanted for a beginner Orenburg project.  I saw online where another Ravelry user had drafted a chart for a beginner stole with some traditional stitch motifs.  Basically it was just a chart, no instructions.  Since I had the book to use as a reference, I decided that it would be a learning experience... and just went for it! 

The pattern can be found here:  Orenburg Stole: Just a little strawbery by Russian Lily

In retrospect, I really don't think anyone could work this shawl from the schematic-style pattern alone.  You would need some help, either from a real live Russian knitter, or a book of some sort to be able to make sense of it.  Having said that though, it was a very enjoyable knit, and I learned so much doing it!  I know that someday I want to try one of those super-large gossamer wedding ring shawls.  I think I need a bit more practice at gossamer spinning, but I will definitely make one some day!

Now for the shawl itself!  I love it.  I adore it. I am so freaking impressed with myself!  I know that isn't the most humble thing.  I love it so much that I almost don't care!  *wink wink*

 

Strawberries Stole floor edging

Let's start in the beginning... the edging!  Orenburg shawls are knit with the edgings in one piece.  You begin the piece by knitting the bottom edging, turn the corner and pick up stitches back across for the main lace panel.  Then you knit the edge all the way up both sides as you go, then finish the piece off by working in the body stitches into the border as you go across.  It sounds devilishly complicated, but is quite straightforward if you follow along with a reference like the Gossamer Webs book.  Apparently most Orenburg Gossamer Shawls use a "5-hole" tooth border.  Mine was the simplest version... but you can count above... 5 holes in, then 5 holes out.  repeat.

Strawberries Stole diamond

The main body of the shawl features several traditional lace stitches.   Orenburg lace is knit in "garter" stitch.  Unlike other traditions where the "wrong side" rows are mostly purled across, when working in garter lace, you actually knit the wrong side rows.  This felt quite weird at first, but was easy to get used to.  I wasn't sure how I would like the finished look, but after blocking, the garter opens right up, with a quite pleasing finished appearance!

The other thing I was surprised to learn was that in Orenburg lace, there are no directional decreases.  All decreases are done with a simple K2tog, or K3tog.  This is a big change for me after making so much Estonian style lace.  Directional decreases are much more important apparently when working in stockinette lace (where the wrong side rows are purled)

Strawberries Stole halosee the halo?

As the name would imply, this stole features the "Strawberry" motif for the edging and the little flower-looking parts inside the graphic diamonds.  The other main features is a "peas" pattern - which actually has a pattern stitch on both sides of the piece.  This took a little getting used to, but was fun to challenge myself to pay attention to both sides of the work.

Strawberries Stole floor folded

The finished shawl blocked to 24 x 55 inches and only weighs 1.8 ounces!  Wearing it feels like wearing a cobweb around your shoulders.  It is so light and airy... but with the silk it's stronger than it looks.  I've been wearing it around a bit, trying to gauge how well it will last.  I don't want to wreck it, but at the same time, I can't bear the thought of it hiding in a box forever either!

Strawberries Stole windtossed 3

Trying to photograph it... the light wind was enough to toss the stole in the wind!

Strawberries Stole windtossed 2

I love the way it fluttered along in the breeze.  See how the sun picks up the silk shine?

Strawberries Stole whole 

All in all - another successful lace project.  I learned a ton, and plus the stole is extra special because it's made with my Baby's fur!  That makes it an extra special item.  This is the first project where I've raised the animal, prepared the fiber, spun the yarn, knit the stole, and completed the entire thing myself!  Yay Me!

25. May 2010 05:00
by Jobo
3 Comments

Shetland Triangle... Finished and Blocked

25. May 2010 05:00 by Jobo | 3 Comments

floating on the breeze

shetland triangleThe Shetland Triangle has been a quite enjoyable project... beads included.  The tiny crochet hook was very easy to use, and even the beaded rows flew along at reasonable speeds.  I decided that the shawl didn't need all-over bling, but perhaps just the last few pattern repeats.  After some deliberation, I choose to add them to row 9 (the mostly plain knit row of the 10 row repeat) and then to bead the very points of the border with 3 beads on each point, and the centre one of course.

The beads themselves seem to match in quite nicely.  At first I wasn't sure if the slightly rainbow essence would match the Plum yarn, but I think that they compliment the shawl more than a plain flat black bead would have.  I actually found these beads by accident while shopping at Michael's - they were part of a premade necklace with multiple strands of beads.  There were strands of plain black shiny seed beads, several of these "e" beads that I used for Shetland Triangle, some silver metallic looking "e" beads, and finally some black "e" beads that have the look of hematite.  I bought the whole necklace for 99 cents... and I only used one strand for this piece!  I'm sure I will find something else to do with the rest at some point.

shetland triangle2

In the end I worked 2 more repeats of the initial lace pattern than the instructions called for, and surprisingly enough, I managed to use only one skein of the KnitPicks Shadow Lace that I had.  I wanted this to be large enough to wrap comfortably around the shoulders, but I don't really know the recipient that well, so I wasn't sure she would want a really huge overpowering shawl.  I think I reached a decent happy medium on size.  This also means I have enough yarn to make another of these... maybe for me, since I am feeling undecided about giving this away.  I think that's usually how I know I did a good job... if I like the item well enough to keep it myself, it's likely nice enough to be giving it away to someone else?

 

shetland triangle4

When I was knitting this up... using the prescribed sized needles... I had wondered if maybe I should have used larger needles to get a more airy feel to this shawl.  As usual though, the magic of blocking evened out balance, and I think it feels just about right. 

The finished shawl is light but still has enough substance to warm up the wearer.  I am always amazed at how much warmth a light shawl can give.  I think it's kind of like afghans.  How can something so full of "holes" trap so much heat next to the body?  Must be one of those life mysteries ;)  I hope that the person I made this for will feel good when she wears it.  I tried to think kind and comforting thoughts as I knit along, so I like to think that maybe those good vibes will go along with her wherever she goes.  Positive Energy is Good Medicine in itself.

13. November 2009 22:28
by Jobo
2 Comments

Pine Forest Socks done :)

13. November 2009 22:28 by Jobo | 2 Comments

Finally I managed to be home during the waning daylight hours to take some photographs of these socks? they?ve been sitting on the coffee table blocked for almost a week now waiting for their unveiling!  This time of year I find it very challenging to take photos, especially since it?s dark outside most days by the time I get home.  These images were taken indoors in the best light I could find.  (Sorry if they are still a little dark)

pine socks 4

toesThe Pattern:  Kaibashira by Chrissy Gardiner

The Yarn:  Dragonfly Fibers ? Dragonsock in ?Texas Bluebonnet?

Sometimes it is difficult to know what to do with a given yarn.  I really loved the colours in this skein, but every time I tried to knit them up I just had a hard time deciding if it was the right project.  In the end I decided on this pattern because I loved the way that the colours blended into the curves, and the way that the garter stitch rows added dimension to the design.  In the end I am quite pleased with the way they turned out.

There is something very enchanting about knitting socks for me, just enough interest to keep me entertained, but the utility of the finished product is also addictive.  I mean, you really only *need* a certain number of afghans, or cardigans, or mittens? you don?t necessarily use those everyday.  But I wear socks almost every day of the year!  On Prince Edward Island it is quite chilly (and the downright cold!) from the middle of November until April sometime.  On a frigid winter?s day, there isn?t much nicer than a pair of homemade wool socks? or at least to this ?lil knitter ;)

I think I would like to try this pattern again using handspun yarn, since the ripples were so easy to do? they knit up in no time really.  I hope the pattern for this year?s SockWars is as simple? my target won?t know what hit him/her!

pine socks 2

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