Jobo Designs

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

2. December 2011 15:07
by Jobo
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Haapsalu Shawl? or at the very least, an attempt at one

2. December 2011 15:07 by Jobo | 0 Comments

I have been in love with Estonian Lace from the second I laid eyes on it.  It doesn?t matter which pattern? a leaf, vine, geometric, lily of the valley, paw prints? I love them all.  It?s been in the back of my mind for years now that I neeeeeed to spin the finest yarn I can and go ahead and just knit one of these.  As close to the authentic ones as possible.  I know it will never be 100% right, as I can?t get the right materials here, and I?ll likely not be visiting Estonia anytime soon? but a girl can dream, Right?

At the last Maritime Handspinners? Retreat in October 2011, I bought an 8 ounce bag of Romney washed locks.  I wanted to try spinning for lace directly from the lock (as do some of the other lace spinning geniuses? ahem Margaret Stove cough) and see how well I could do with it.  This wool isn?t the softest one I?ve ever worked with, but the locks are overall quite clean, fairly free of VM, and have a nice bouncy texture.  I?ve been just flicking them open to untangle the tips, and going at it with a Bosworth Mini. 

So far, I think I?ve spun maybe 200 yards of it (very fine 2 ply) and just decided to cast on and give it a try in pattern to see if it ?works? or not.  I didn?t wash to set the yarn either.  I figure blocking will even that part out for me.  I?m not sure how much of the wool I?ve used so far, but there does seem to be a fair bit of loss.  I?m honestly just hoping that I?ll get enough for the shawl out of 4 ish ounces (since I?m estimating I?m losing 30 ? 40 % of the wool? that should be possible out of the 8 ounces).  My plan (if you can actually call it one) is to knit up this small sample ball and then measure and weigh it and extrapolate from there whether I?ll have enough to carry out the rest of the shawl.  I figure if I do run out? I can just make a borderless plain center panel.  That would still be quite striking, even without a border.

I?m using my Woody Knitters Straights size 3 mm, and I?m following the Haapsalu Shawl Book for the number of stitches, cast on recommendations, motifs, and general encouragement.  I chose to use the ?Double Lily of the Valley? chart as my main center design, with a 4 stitch garter border all around.  Then I?ll knit a border lace separately and sew it on to the central rectangle.  This aspect scares me a little, but I tried a sample tiny shawl last year, and my sewn on border looked ok in the end.

double lily of the valley haapsalu 2

As you can see? The little ball is going quite far.  I think I have enough to do the chart completely and probably another half dozen rows.  The shawl is going to be 141 stitches across (you?re only seeing a small portion here, since my needles aren?t that long) and features 3.5 repeats of the Double Lily of the Valley chart across.  To give you an idea of scale? remember that the needles are 3 mm, and I?ve posed a piece of the lace with a Canadian Dime (which is 18 mm diameter) for scale.  I found knitting with the ?thread? was a little bit tedious in the beginning, but I?m getting used to it now.  I had planned to try and work 2 ? 3 rows every day on it, but sadly I?ve gotten behind with all of the other holiday hub-bub.  I hope to get back at it in the new year, and also back into spinning more of this up.  The spinning itself has been quite enjoyable as well!  I?ll post more when progress has actually been made :)

double lily of the valley haapsalu

24. August 2011 08:03
by Jobo
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Playing... with samples

24. August 2011 08:03 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Often when you buy a new spindle... a handful or chunk of some sort of fiber is included - presumably so you can test out the spindle and learn how to use it properly.  But what do you do with all of the little yarn samples?  they aren't really big enough to make an entire project with, but at the same time it feels wrong to just throw them in the leftovers bin with all the other tiny leftover balls of yarn.  (If I was smart, I'd likely throw some of that stuff away, but you never know when you need waste yarn to do a provisional cast on, or tie tomato plants to a trellis...)

diamond pattern 4 swatch

This is what became of the sample of Ashland Bay Merino that came a few weeks ago with a Turkish spindle I acquired... I didn't weigh the fiber itself, and I didn't measure the final yardage of the thread - but there was lots and lots.  I'd hazard a guess of somewhere between 100 - 150 yards of light lace weight.  The thread itself is 2 ply, and a little bit lighter than a standard lace. 

I love the color!  This is the "Violet" solid colorway.  I often shy away from solid colors, but I think I should try something like this again.  I liked the simplicity of the spin... no handpainted colors to arrange, or heathers to worry about even spinning so the colors would mix appropriately.

The swatch is another piece from the Haapsalu Shawl Book (which I've raved about many times before, and no doubt will again).  I've been working different samples from the book with the hopes that someday I will be capable of knitting myself an authentic (or as close as possible to it) Haapsalu shawl from handspun yarn.  Traditionally these are knit from 100% wool... which has a nice amount of bounce and stretch, and apparently is the best thing for knitting Nupps (the little bobble-ish things you see in the center of the diamonds above.  Nupp rhymes with "soup")  This particular pattern is one of the "Diamond" motifs, named Diamond Pattern #4 in the book.  The swatch was knit on size 4 mm needles, with a slipped stitch on the left and right edges to make an easily blockable rectangle of lace.  I like the way that the slipped stitch creates the chain-like edge... Perfect for simple blocking.  The finished sample swatch is 9 x 18 inches - if I had had 3x as much, it would have almost been a whole narrow scarf!  Yeek!

People have asked before what I actually do with my lace swatches, and the simple answer is - basically nothing.  I have a little pile of lace pieces.  I pet them, and play with them, and generally abuse them by carrying them in pockets to see how the yarn holds up to wear.  I've thought of sewing them together or something, but they are all different shapes and sizes.  The thought also crossed my mind of having some of the pretty ones framed or something.  Mostly, the swatches just help me to learn about the yarns I make, practice blocking intricate laces, and also practice knitting complex and foreign lace motifs.  It's like test-driving a pattern/motif before really committing to it ;)  I know some people hate swatching with passion, and feel that it is a big waste of time.  I think I might be a swatch-a-holic!

2. May 2011 08:47
by Jobo
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Yarn Candy Monday - Superfine Finery

2. May 2011 08:47 by Jobo | 0 Comments

On my quest for the Haapsalu Shawl..... I've been looking at various fine yarns, to try and find some suitable product to try a prototype shawl before I set out to spin my own and make one entirely from scratch!  I found this soft, white, superfine beauty from Webs!  It's Filatura Di Crossa - Centolavaggi... a 2 ply, very fine, Italian superwash Merino lace yarn.  How fine?  100 g has 1531 yards... hopefully an acceptable amount for a very Nupp embellished full sized Haapsalu Shawl.  Time will tell... I guess :)

filatura di crossi white yarn fine

filatura di crossi white yarn

This stuff is so light and fine... it practically floats in your hand!  The winding process was fairly straightforward (i.e. no knots or messes) but because of the fantastic yardage - took the better part of an hour!  The Merino is very bouncy and luxurious :)  I hope it works out fine for the desired project.

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