Jobo Designs

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

6. August 2012 09:28
by Jobo
1 Comments

Red Red Socks. A Grandma Story

6. August 2012 09:28 by Jobo | 1 Comments

My nearly 80 year old grandmother has been saying for years that she's too old/tired/etc to knit anymore.  She can't see very well, requires hearing aids, and generally doesn't feel all that well most of the time.  every project she completes, she comments that she thinks it will be the last doily/embroidered pillowcase/socks that she makes.

 

Well my Mother and I have been pulling the wool over her eyes for a while now. she runs out of yarn - and we buy some more.  She comments again that it's too much work. and I drop by with a newly finished project and some skeins of wool to be wound into balls.  She has something almost finished (aka. just the last toe on a pair of socks left) and my Mom will drop off some extra pretty yarn in just the right color.  Invariably, a few days later she will have cast on another project, and will keep on picking away at it Smile  She just needs a little encouragement along the way.

 

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One such knit-trickery scheme involved my Mom bringing Grandma some bright red (Grandma's favorite color) tonal-style yarn over one day.  In the past, Grandma always knit the same pair of cabled rib socks (a-la-old-patons-beehive-leaflet) for my Grampa over and over again.  They were always blue or grey or brown.  Manly colors.  Always in Kroy or old-school wool.  This red yarn was the exact opposite of the usual cool boring muted tones - it was soft, squishy, warm rosy reds and plums.

 

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Grandma wasn`t too sure anyone would wear socks made from such a bright color.  I assured her that I wear socks of every color. the brighter the better in fact.  I see them like a beacon of happy color, hidden in shoes during the day, but peeking out over the tops like a not-so-well-kept secret.  She agreed that if I would wear the socks. she would like to try knitting with that yarn.  So that was that.

 

Now the socks are done!  What do you think?  I think they look charming and cheery in red!  And there is just enough yarn left for a little pair for the littlest beetle too. My plan is to knit up a pair that will fit the Rome-ster and we can wear our matching set when we visit Grams again.  I bet that will keep her inspired for a little while longer?

 

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21. November 2011 09:12
by Jobo
0 Comments

Fiddlehead Mittens? in Chroma

21. November 2011 09:12 by Jobo | 0 Comments

I made a pair of hand-dyed, hand-spun and hand-knit Fiddlehead mittens last year . It was an epic project, and every step was done by hand.  I love the results (which you can see here)  but when someone asked if I could make another pair, I didn’t really feel up to the challenge of doing it all the hard way again.  Don’t get me wrong - the first pair was a complete joy, it’s just that if I go through all of those steps to make another pair of mittens, I’ll likely want to be creating something more unique in the end.  I don’t tend to make the same thing more than once.

So, then the hunt began for some suitable yarn.  I could do as the pattern says, and just buy the 6 different colors and this would have been fine also, but I would have enough yarn to make like 4 more pairs (if the second pair is an unwelcome thought, believe me, the 3rd and 4th pairs would simply not get done) and there really isn’t any point in that. 

Then it occurred to me that I could get a color changing / color gradient yarn and use it for the contrast strand instead of all of the different solids!  I knew I wouldn’t really want to use something like Noro (both for the price, and the unpredictability of color sequencing) but there are a lot of different options out there now.  I can’t remember the name of the one I saw at Michael's but I believe it was mostly acrylic, so I didn’t bother looking any harder at it for this project.  I bet it would work lovely too (I think it was Impeccable, something like that).  The next yarn I saw that fit the bill was the new Knit Picks Chroma Worsted.  From the catalog, it looked like there were repeating colors in the ball, and there was also a white or chocolate brown option for the solid to match.  I figured this was a perfect chance to try it out, so I ordered a ball of the cream/natural and a contrasting ball with a variety of greens/blues/purples called “pool party”

Chroma Fiddleheads

So far things seem to be working out quite well.  I like the texture and softness of the yarn (though I don’t think it’s really all that rough and tumble it’s a barely together single really) and the way the gradient is running through the design.  The colors are different enough for the nice swirl pattern to still stand out.  I’ll be interested to see how the lighter green holds up in contrast to the white in the end. 

I’ve made it up past the thumb on the first mitten, and plan on finishing the pair for sure.  I am really enjoying doing colorwork on a pair of long circulars too no gaps in between DPNS, and no fussing with the beginning and ends of rows.  I still very much like working with DPNS, but circulars certainly have their advantages too! 

As the mitten progresses, I’ll post again!  I think these are going to look great in the end!

19. November 2011 10:20
by Jobo
0 Comments

An extra special Fur Project

19. November 2011 10:20 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Every now and again I get to work on some very special projects… something beyond just knitting an established  project with boring old run of the mill wool.  In this case, the uniqueness comes in the form of some special dog fur. 

Gaia

I met the owner on the internet… she was looking for someone to spin up some fur from a well-loved Shepherd Dog – Gaia – who has since passed away.  I always find it interesting how people meet up sometimes, and how the internet makes the world that little bit smaller.  This fur came all the way from England to Prince Edward Island to be processed and worked into a keepsake photo frame. 

I’m a little embarrassed to say that this has taken me longer to get ready than I had anticipated… life is a little weird right now with the baby coming and all.  But I managed to get the fur carded up and spun at the Maritime Handspinners’ Retreat, and this weekend I plan on finishing up the knitting of the frame.

First things first:  Here’s the fluff itself!

Gaia Fur on Carder with Merino

I decided to use the drum carder for this project to make some nice puffy soft batts to spin from.  I actually had a decent amount of the dog fur (about 2 ounces) so I eyeball blended it with some soft creamy Merino Wool about 60:40 Dog : Merino.  I really liked the way that the golden/cream fur combined with the cream wool… not overpowering the color, but instead highlighting the depth of shade that was already present.  I got 4 nice big soft batts, and took them along with me for open spinning time at the retreat.  I even stumped a few people at the retreat who tried to identify the preparation.  One thought it might have been alpaca, because of the softness.

Oct 15 2011 176

Since I knew I was going to be knitting a photo frame, I decided to go with a standard 2-ply yarn, and let the fiber decide on the size as I went along.  It’s funny really how sometimes a fiber prep will tell you how it wants to be spun.  It seemed to flow through the fingers nicely at a fingering weight-ish single, so I just went with it.  The finished yarn feels like a light worsted weight or so, but I imagine will knit up like a regular to heavy worsted yarn because of the nice halo.  I do lovely that aspect of spinning canine undercoat – the yarn ends up with such a desirable substantial halo.  The stuff may be prone to felting, but boy is it warm!

Gaia Skein 1 

The finished skein is a nice size… somewhere around 3 – 3.5 ounces, and the finished yarn is already developing that characteristic halo.  I like the way that the cream and golden colors have marbled together and gave a nice soft variation in the finished yarn.  Now I’m off to skein it up and do a little swatching to choose the correct needle size.

I had a hard time finding a premade photo frame to measure and use for the dimensions of my knitted frame… so I think I’m going to get creative and wing it.  I figure, I intended to cover the entire frame with knitted fabric anyways, so I think I will make a frame in my own desired size from some nice smooth corrugated cardboard (maybe in 2 – 3 layers to give the illusion that there is a thicker wooden frame under the wool) and use that as my starting point.  It will be light for mailing back to the UK, but also can be any size that compliments the photo, so will give me a few more options to really showcase Gaia and his beautiful fur.

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