Jobo Designs

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

27. October 2009 07:25
by Jobo
11 Comments

Nightsongs: Flashbacks of a Forgotten Finished Object…

27. October 2009 07:25 by Jobo | 11 Comments

I guess I got all excited, finished this, blocked it, and the forgot to tell you all about it!  I know it’s a little late, and there are no “fashion” pictures of it being worn… but I still want to share.

This version of Gail (aka Nightsongs) was knit as a gift for my husband’s grandmother… who is generally a tough cookie to buy presents for.  She doesn’t really need “giftware” items, and it’s simply no fun to give her money for a gift so this year I am getting creative :)  (insert evil holiday laugh here)

The yarn is KnitPicks Shadow lace in “Bordeaux” Kettle Dyed… and truly was a joy to work with.  I Didn’t even find that the color bled that much after the soak (which surprised me a little since it is burgandy red… and I had counted on it being a little messy at the very least.  I finished the whole shawl with just over one skein which is a complete steal price-wise… less than 5 dollars for a pretty gift, and beads that I already had upstairs in the stash!  All in all, a very economical, pleasing and satisfying lace project!

The Nightsongs pattern itself was a bit of a challenge for me… since it was the first pattern I’ve followed that had only diagrams, and no written out instructions to fall back on.  I think this was a good thing though because it made me step outside my lace knitting box and try something new. 

In the beginning I had considered writing out my own version of the chart but decided to slog it through and really focus on “reading” the knitting itself, and watching the pattern unfold.  At first this was quite difficult… and a little frustrating.  I ended up cutting up the pattern charts and taping them together in places so I could visualize things better.  I looked at lots of project photographs on Ravelry to see if my design was working up correctly.

A big thank you to all of you who posted your own project details and close up photographs… they really really helped me a lot!

This was also my first project adding beads.  I had not been able to find a small enough crochet hook at the time, so I had been using a short piece of thread and a small needle to get my beads onto the stitches.  I decided to use only a few, and only at the very edging… for a bit of sparkle.  In the end, they look like little dewdrops on the burgandy shawl… much like you would imagine on a rose in the garden.  Not too much, not too little.  Just right

Since then, I have found a whole bunch of teeny tiny crochet hooks… at the local dollar store of all places!  so I got various sizes, and they also had yarn needles.  I bought a bunch of those too… I don’t know about you, but I can never find one when I need one!

 

The blocking process was neat and tidy.  The top of the triangle was done with 2 wires bound together with tape and pinned out at even intervals, and the sides (I love points!) were strung along more wires and spread out.

The lace had great stitch definition and the color seemed to really fit with the design.  I liked how the kettle dyeing gave some ‘Splotches’ of lighter and darker color.  I think it was just enough to add some interest, and wasn’t so busy that it took away from the design itself.  The beads are simply plain clear with silver lining.  Sometimes simple is the way to go I guess?

I Think I must be getting better at my extra-loose-stretchy bind off too… because I had no trouble stretching the heck out of my points during the blocking process.  I have had the best luck with the “K1, slip back to left needle, K2togThroughBackLoop, repeat” method, and I try and use a bigger needle to knit off the edging too… this isn’t scientific.  I happened to have a 4.5 mm DPN sitting next to me in a half knit pair of thrum mittens, so I thought it couldn’t hurt… grabbed it and used it to do my cast off (the rest of the shawl was knit with a size 4.0mm Circular)

I can’t quite figure out if this design reminds me more of “hearts” or “spades”… I guess it depends on your vantage point?  All in all, another successful lace adventure, and hopefully a perfect holiday gift for a deserving lady.

13. October 2009 11:42
by Jobo
2 Comments

Lace Scarf… ‘Lilac Leaf’ finished!

13. October 2009 11:42 by Jobo | 2 Comments

I had one skein (440 yards) left of Knitpicks Shadow – kettle dyed yarn in Bordeaux… so instead of trying to do another shawl with it, and perhaps come up short, I decided I would try making just a lace scarf.

knittedlace of estonieSome time ago, earlier this summer, I bought a copy of Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush, dreaming of someday learning to make beautiful timeless shawls with delicate scalloped borders… Every now and again I flip through it and drool a bit and admire the lovely lace.  I always think someday I want to try making one of the complex square ones, with all of the different lace patterns, pick-up-and-knit borders, and NUPPS galore, and then I remember – Nupps suck, and they take up a ton of yardage to boot.  But they look soooooo good.  hard to resist.  If you love lace, please check out this book! The charts are very clearly written out, and lots of tips, stitch dictionary entries, tutorials, notes and asides.  I’m not a very experienced lace knitter, but it was straightforward enough for me to follow for this scarf anyways.  (Ask me when I finally decide to attempt Crown Prince…)

In particular, I wanted to make something straightforward.  Especially since my lace knitting skill is still on the upswing.  I chose ‘Lilac Leaf’ because I had done similar "leafy” style laces before, so there was a comfort zone there.  This scarf also held some challenges too:

redscarf6

New-to-Me Techniques:

Whole Row Grafting – argh… I hate even Kitchner stitching 14 stitches together for the end of a toe!  For this Scarf, in the interest of perfect symmetry, the first end of the scarf is knit, then the second leaf section, and then a second “end” is knit and grafted (in the middle of a garter stitch bar) to the end of the centre section.  I thought it would be a complete nightmare.  But I decided to just go for it.  I knit both proper pieces as listed in the pattern, grabbed a glass of nice red wine, warned everyone in the house to NOT TALK TO ME until further notice, grabbed a yarn needle and set up shop in the bright light under my Ott lamp.  I will admit it was a bit tedious, but the book gave clear concise directions, no-one was brave enough to interrupt me, and within a half an hour the mess was grafted and the ends were tied in.  No fuss no Mess.  Be brave knitters, try it for yourself, it actually was no big deal.  I was freaked for nothing!

Different Slip-stitch at beginning of Row, Cast-on – I know this doesn’t sound like much, but I had never done an edging that started with “Slipping stitch purlways” at the beginning of each row.  It makes a really nice almost ‘chained’ edging, and looks awesome when the little picots are blocked.  I also liked the casting on double.  Of course since you have carried the beginning thread across a whole row, you don’t need to worry about it coming undone.  easiest tie in I have done so far.  Weave under a few stitches, and cut off.  Easy Peasy!

Blocking Rectangular things – Why do I always start with hard things first and gradually migrate back to easy ones?  I’ve blocked lots of triangles, but this was my first blocking of a rectangle.  honestly, 4 wires, a handful of pins, done.  Very satisfying.  (Mind you it did still take about an hour to get it done.  Maybe I’ll pick up speed sometime?  nah doubtful)

Now for the fun part… the finished pictures :)

 

Blocking really changed the finished appearance of this project.  It was really nubbly and bumpy, and really didn’t feel like it was wide enough.  I had decreased the cast on from 93 to 71 (5 motifs across), since I didn’t have that much yarn to work with.  The piece grew a lot… from about 6-7 inches wide unblocked to 10.5 inches.  And the length growth was a bit surprising.  I had started with 34 inch wires, thinking that they would be definetly long enough.  Think again.  I had to double up wires and overlap them.  The finished scarf was about 45 inches long.  I probably could have blocked more severely and gotten even more length.

redscarf2

And here she is sitting quietly next to the african violet… enjoying bathing in the sun.  I really like the way the burgandy red color turned out.  The kettle dyeing gave the scarf a little interest without being too variegated.  Depending on what you wanted your scarf’s purpose to be, perhaps you might want it to be wider or longer, but as far as value goes… a 4 dollar skein of yarn to make a pretty nice Christmas gift for someone, I was very happy with the end result!  Honestly, the person I have in mind for this is a very kind nice person I’ve known for a long time and I wanted to make her something pretty (she wears a lot of burgandy and plum) but I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable by buying something expensive or making something really time consuming or costly.  With this scarf, It only really took about 10 –15 hours total of knitting, so not that big of a time committment, and 4 bucks is ridiculous for cost.  You can’t even buy a soda and a bag of chips for that price.

All in All… happy and ready to cast on something else.  Mom helped me to wind my next skeins of lace yarn… and here she is:  Knitpicks Shimmer (Alpaca / Silk Blend) in Galaxy.  I have 2 skeins (so about 880 yards) and boy is it soffffffttttt.  My mom had never handled alpaca yarn before, she couldn’t get over the light texture and extreme softness.  I might be a bad influence on her yarn buying…  Myself, I just can’t believe the wonderful and different yarns out there.  Don’t get me wrong, I try not to be a yarn snob (Red Heart has it’s place) but there are so many different fibers and unique preparations available from different companies and countries…. lately I tend to think of yarn in a similar way that critics think about food.  Flavors, textures, vintages.  Gosh I love yarn!  If I was home, I’d probably go roll around in some but alas, I am at work.  The Yarn-Rolling will have to wait until later :)

purple shimmer 2

19. August 2009 07:30
by Jobo
1 Comments

Done Monkey-ing Around!

19. August 2009 07:30 by Jobo | 1 Comments

In general, socks are a pretty quick knit for me... even in light fingering weight wool on size 1 DPNs... I'm not sure why exactly they seem to fly off the needles so fast, but it's not unusual for me ot knock off a pair of socks in a week to 10 days.  Probably a sign of my need to knit lately?  What with a new job and lots of things on my plate, those stolen moments (even 10 minutes at a time) are really necessary for my mental health - and boy do they add up too!

Here they are: 

the Pattern:

Monkeys (by Cookie A) - link to pattern if you're interested

The Yarn:

Fibranatura 100% Merino "Yummy" 

I was really impressed with the way that this yarn didn't pool or flash in any particular area.  I would have thought that since it was dyed in simple colour segments, in a fairly predictable order, that it would have puddled like crazy! Maybe part of the well behavedness was related to my pattern choice, but I'm not really all that experienced with using this kind of hand dyed yarn yet.  Once I try a few more skeins and try and predict possible behaviour maybe it will all make sense ;)

This yarn was great to work with too... not at all scratchy as some of the reviews on ravelry might lead you to believe.  Through the whole project, the plies were even and consistant, the colours behaved predictably, and the overall resulting fabric was perfect.  Not too loose on size 1s or too tight.  Had no trouble achieving the gauge called for in the pattern.  I would actively seek out this yarn again.  Plus I think I have enough yarn leftover for a pair or baby socks too!

If you are looking for a really well written, straightforward pattern, with a little interest, but mostly basic - This pattern may be for you!  I hardly had to look at the pattern for the second sock, and would probably forego using it at all if I were to cast on a second pair today.  I was able to work on them even when I only had a few minutes... which is unusual, because I often have difficulty working only a few rows of lace and then putting it down for fear of getting lost and not knowing where I am when I come back.  I'm not sure if this is just because I am getting more comfortable with lace patterns?  I am starting to be able to "read" my own work and know what point I am supposed to be at just by looking at the stitches of the previous row, which is something I have been working on improving.  I think a lot of knitters have trouble with this early on.

All in All the Month of August has been a socky one so far... with two pairs of completed socks.  My Mother-in-Law has been trying to convince me for years that I should enter some of my homemade goods in the local exhibition... and see how they fare for judging.  I just might have to do that this year and see what the judges think.  I might enter my Not-Mary-Kate-and-Ashley Jaywalkers in the Handspun category (if there is one) and maybe the Monkeys in a lace category of some sort?  She would really like me to enter a quilt, but I haven't really been working on any quilts for the last few months... so maybe next year for those.

Anyways... I have another pair on the needles to show you, but I have to take some pictures first!  These are being made with some samples of Kauni Effetgarn that I received in the mail from Estonia the other day... and are working up really well.  I am enjoying the long colour stretches (Doesn't that seem to be my favorite thing lately?)

I leave you with one more finished sock photo.... don't they look all happy outside on the patio furniture?  I don't think they even mind the humidity... sigh.  It was 38 degrees yesterday with the Humidex... it was all I could do to NOT melt.

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