Jobo Designs

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

3. November 2011 13:28
by Jobo

The Finest Thread...

3. November 2011 13:28 by Jobo | 0 Comments

At the Maritime Handspinners' Retreat this year they held a small version of the Longest Thread Contest... where in a nutshell spinners are given a small sample of wool (10 g) and are asked to spin it as fine as humanly possible into a long single by whatever method they choose, 2-ply it, and then measure the length of the thread and see who manages the longest one! 

For the worldwide contest, raw wool is used (locks I'm assuming) and the rules are very strict - thread must be washed and balled, and then the threads are measured in Meters.  If the thread breaks or weighs less then 10 g, only the longest piece of the thread is measured.  The results are quite amazing on a global scale! (results taken from the website linked above)

Overall World Results for 2011:  First prize was given to a thread that was 1005.678 m / 10 g !!! by a spinner from the Netherlands - Jan Zandbelt

The world records are even a more incredible feat... when you consider that the actually single spun was twice as long as the listed length (remember:  these are 2-ply threads!)

Current World Record:  First prize 1468.61 m / 10 g by a spindle spinner from Kyoto, Japan - Naoko Tamuro

For the local contest... our wool consisted of samples of Colonial Wool, but because of a discrepancy in measuring, in the end our thread samples were compared scaled down to 8g.  Because the samples weren't passed out ahead of time, spinners had to spin their samples at the retreat, so I'm not sure that the spinner-sample was really representative of the attendees.

I chose to spin my sample on my 16g Birdseye Maple Bosworth Mini... where most people chose to spin on their wheels.  One other participant spun her sample on a supported Russian style spindle.  There were 15 participants in all. 

It took me most of Saturday to spin up my sample for the contest.  I was afraid of spinning too thin and having my thread break... so in retrospect, I could probably have gone a little lighter.

Regardless of my 20:20 hindsight... the hard work paid off - I won!

Oct 23 11 095

My thread was a pathetic 69 m / 8 g.... which when converted to what it would have been for 10 g... is only a measly 86 m.  When you compare that to the best fine spinners in the world it doesn't sound all that impressive.  The judge did comment though that my yarn was nice and substantial, and was in no way in danger of breaking during the measuring (2 other people's threads broke). 

I'd be interested to see how well I could do with more time and a different type of wool preparation... i.e. spinning from a nice fine wool lock instead of a chunk of top.  I'm finding that I can get a much finer single from a bouncy crimpy wool lock than I can from a mostly smooth highly processed type of preparation.  Also, Because there was a time constraint, I think I might have rushed through some sections.  I think if I had a little more time, I would have been a bit more consistent and might have been able to spin a more even thread.

Fun Facts:

What can you do with ultrafine thread? Knit some amazing Lace!

Estonian Lace (i.e. Haapsalu Shawls) are knit using very fine, soft, bouncy, 100% wool threads that are 2000 m / 100 g

Orenburg Lace (i.e. Gossamer Shawls) are knit using very fine 2 ply thread of silk and Orenburg Goat Down that is 3000 m / 100 g

Shetland Lace (i.e. Wedding Ring Shawls) are knit using Shetland Wool yarns, often cobweb single ply yarns, that are 2000 m / 100 g

Compare with the World's Finest Thread:  (converted to 100 g to compare with these lace traditions)  14686.1 m / 100 g !

Compare with my sample:  (Also converted to 100 g) 862.5 m / 100 g

27. October 2011 09:32
by Jobo

Pretties from the Retreat...

27. October 2011 09:32 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Is there anything better than walking around a room stuffed full of yarn and fiber vendors... where you are ENCOURAGED to touch, pet and fondle all the yarns you can find?  sigh.  I want to go to there.  Again.

Here are just a few of the goodies I picked up from the Bobbin Tree display.  Believe me - I showed great restraint.  There were many many braids and skeins and bags of things that were desirable.  I only came home with a few.  This is saying a lot!

BobbinTree Blended Merino granite 3

Ashland Bay Blended Merino Top "Granite"... repackaged by the lovely Janet at the Bobbin Tree in 50g and 100g braids so that there would be something for everyone.  This colorway is the ultimate in neutral browns, grays and denim.  I  picked up 2 of the 100g braids... because you just never know.  I think this is either going to be a featherweight shawl... or super chunky men's mittens.  very decisive, I know.

southafrican fine wtih fiber 

Waterloo Wools South African Fine Wool in "Sea Dragon" - Did you notice that there are no photos of this fiber in Braid form?  This was my indulgence on Saturday at the retreat.  This sproingy, soft, vibrant fiber just sang to me - Spin me NOW, don't think about me too much, tear me up, twist me and voila!  So I did.  With gusto.  I loved all of the colors... various shades of blues, greens, acid yellows, purples, and everything in between.  I let the fiber dictate the plan and basically let it spin itself.  Before I even got home from the retreat I had a 2 oz skein of Bulky weight 2 ply.  This type of yarn is a bit out of character for me, as I usually gravitate towards superfine lace yarns... but it was fun.  I will have to try this again soon :)

waterloo wools lace larimar

Waterloo Wools Soft-Single Laceweight "Larimar" - I had been wanting to try some Malabrigo lace, but somehow have never crossed paths with any in my travels.  (so sad, I know)  So when I saw this lovely yarn, and it reminded me of that style of softly spun, almost lightly felted singles, I could not resist.  For those not familiar with "Larimar" as a color... this is also the name of a lovely blue stone jewelry you can get down in the Dominican Republic...  the color reminds me of the Caribbean Ocean in it's blue loveliness.  I was happy also to see that the yardage is excellent - 800 yards if I remember correctly.  This should make a perfect light lacy shawl just for me... and in a fabulous color too!  This yarn was featured in 3 other jeweled tones... which I really had to exert a lot of effort not to bring home with me.

24. August 2011 08:03
by Jobo

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!

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