Jobo Designs

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

13. April 2011 16:05
by Jobo
1 Comments

BFL Sample... tons of fun in every one!

13. April 2011 16:05 by Jobo | 1 Comments

I recently subscribed to a Fiber Club with All for love of yarn  and part of the lovely package (which you will see as soon as I manage to take decent photographs of it!) was a little 0.5 ounce sample of Blue and Purple BFL Top.  I've worked with BFL before, and have enjoyed it, so I was excited to play with it and see what I could do with it for the Spin-Along.  There is a prize for the most creative use of the fiber, so I couldn't miss out on that!

Blue BFL Sample with card

Here is the sample - just a little chunk of fiber really.  Since I have been working on my thin spinning... and BFL would lend itself to a nice shiny lace-weight... and the thinner you spin you get more yardage... I decided that I should try spinning up a very fine lace from this and perhaps use it as my yarn to swatch for a Mini-Haapsalu Shawl.

I have been fascinated with Estonian lace since receiving the Haapsalu Shawl book a few months ago, and I've been just itching to make an authentic one, with the proper dimensions and traditional lace motifs.  One thing that has kind of irked me though, is the fact that traditionally the lace borders are knit separately and then sewn on.  And you thought sewing a sweater together sounded like fun?  How about sewing on several meters of lace edging?  I know I am capable (at least I really really hope I am) but I wanted a trial run to make sure.

April 11 2011 101

So I spun a nice cop of teensy singles on my little Golding Dragonfly (which weighs 0.7 ounces, so nice and light) and used andean plying to fold the single in half.  I managed to get 150 yards out of the 15 g sample, which I was pretty proud of in the end!  The finished lace-weight is light, strong, shiny, and quite smooth.  I'm sure it will fuzz up a little more over time, but in the beginning it was quite tight and ordered.

Blue BFL Sample Singles

Here are the Singles again... with a penny for comparison of size.  I always seem to forget to do WPI measurements of the singles.  For that matter, I tend to forget to measure WPI for anything really.  Woops.

Blue BFL Sample Skein  

I set out right away to work on my lace sample - I chose a simple leaf-lace for the center of the sample-shawl, and one of the simplest borders to try and sew on.  The Haapsalu Shawl book shows lots of examples, and the beginning sections of the book explain all of the calculations to know how many stitches you will need.  It isn't a "pattern"  book in the strictest sense of the word, but everything you need is there to come up with a shawl on your own.

Blue BFL Sample lace center

Here is my Leaf Lace center panel blocking (Yes, it is pinned out on a Sham-wow... why do you ask?)  and waiting for me to get my act together and make the lace edges.  I've done the math, and planned things out, so now I just have to get started.  I do have the first border cast on already...  170 stitches for each half, that's 340 stitches of casting on, and then casting back off.... for only a sample shawl.  The real deal will have more like 600 - 700 stitches for those border edges.  Eek!

Blue BFL Sample lace leaves

And here is a closeup of the pretty Leaves... just because the fine Handspun looks so goooood.  Despite being Blue layered on the most hideous, offensive orange known to man.  So far so good :)

10. August 2010 11:00
by Jobo
1 Comments

Russian Supported Spindle!

10. August 2010 11:00 by Jobo | 1 Comments

Isn't Ravelry an amazing crafting tool?  Up until a month ago I didn't even realize that there was such a thing as Russian Spindles, and I had not considered trying supported spindling either.  I was happy with my suspended spindles and my wheel...  Then I learned of this "other" method of spinning... and how this method might be the most appropriate way for me to spin lace weight yarns from my Fuzzybutt's baby coat... I was fatally intrigued!  And then I discovered Orenburg lace.... *faints from Gorgeous lace!*

Gripping Yarn Walnut Russian with Angora

This:  (see above) is my new Gripping Yarn Russian Spindle! (laying on a bed of Plucked Angora that I bought a long time ago, and was still too afraid to touch!)  I found out about Lisa Chan's spindle creations on a Ravelry forum for Spindle-Candy.  I learned that for fine lace weight yarns that the supported spinning method was the best way to go, and that shorter fine fibers, even more slippery fibers worked well with this method too.  I have a growing pile of very soft combings from the Rutti-bunny, which I would like to use to make something light and soft and airy.  His fur is such a soft silvery grey... I know some people say that the baby coat is not really great for spinning, but I don't want to waste it either.

So.  Having learned all of this... I decided I needed to try this!  Enter Lisa:  Spindle creator and Spinner Extraordinaire!  Custom spindles, turned specifically for the buyer, from whatever specified wood the spinner wants and the artisan has in stock, and then mailed out in as little as 2 weeks!  I couldn't believe it!  Her wood selection was extensive, and each one was so beautiful I could hardly choose.  I settled on a basic and practical Walnut in a mid range weight.  Lisa was quick to communicate by email, and the finished spindle was sent out in a snap! 

supported spindleThe day it arrived in my mailbox... I couldn't possibly wait to get all the way home before tearing it open!  The long skinny box was too much to resist!  She also included a pretty sample of Merino fiber to practice with.  (I spun it as soon as I got home... sorry folks no photos!)  I didn't have a proper spindle "bowl" so I've been using a little Pyrex finger bowl.  I know it isn't traditional, but it works for now :)

But there isn't a hook on that sucker?  Marky, understandably was a little skeptical that one could create yarn with this "stick"... but I got right to it... sitting cross legged on the floor with the spindle standing in the bowl, and me basically standing on my head trying to see everything and catch the knack.  Lisa's spindling videos on YouTube are very clear and easy to follow.  It's clear from watching her handle these puppies - Not only does she make a fine instrument... she obviously knows what she's doing too!

Basically, by standing the spindle in the bowl, this means that the thread being created can be very fine, as it doesn't have to be able to support the weight of the spindle itself.  Also, as the yarn builds up on the spindle shaft, it doesn't matter that it gets heavier... because the weight of the spindle here is basically irrelevant.

To make the yarn, you spin the top of the spindle shaft with a flick of the fingers, which in turn adds twist to the fibers and creates a thread... which is then wound onto the shaft for safe keeping.  I actually find this method fairly fast, even for very fine threads.  It is methodical and relaxing.  Flick, draft, flick draft, flick draft, wind.  repeat.

gossamer

I breezed through the first fiber that came with the spindle... then I "handy plied" it back onto itself to make the lightest softest 2-ply I've ever made.  (Again, too excited to wait and take a photograph of either the spindle, singles, or finished yarn.... at least I'm consistent!)  Since I have also become intrigued with Russian Lace - specifically Orenburg Down Shawls - I also ordered the Gossamer Webs Design Book, which conveniently arrived in the mailbox just a few days after the spindle. 

I started to knit the basic sample that is the first pattern in the book....  I love the sideways construction of the lacy points... and the way that the scarves/shawls are knit in one piece with stitches grafted and picked up to maintain the continuity of the design.  I love the geometric patterns... mouse prints, strawberries, fish eyes, pine trees, and scalloped borders.

I also love the gossamer, ethereal, almost floating texture of these shawls.  A well made Orenburg shawl (large in size too) can be pulled through a wedding ring.  I'm not sure how long it will take me to make fine beautiful yarns like that... but first things first!  here is what my sample looks like knit up.  Sadly I ran out of "thread" just before the finish line... but it still gives me an idea what the yarn would look like knitted, and how the basic construction methods fit together.  I had hoped to wet block, but I can't do that to an unfinished swatch I guess :( Better luck next time!

gripping yarn sample merino2

I love the lacy little points... so much that here we go again:

gripping yarn sample merino

The swatch was knit on a 2.5 mm Knit Picks Fixed Circular, since I think all of my DPNS are tied up in one pair of socks or another.  Apparently Orenburg lace is usually knit on straight needles... I will need to find some!

Since the first spindle photos were taken, I have about 0.5 ounces of that Angora (an oatmeal shade... and so so soft and light) built up into a nice cop of singles.  The center is starting to bulge and grow with each session... I will remember to take photos this time.  I promise!  I plan on plying this with some natural silk - I have some natural colored hankies that I think will compliment the angora very well, providing some more strength to my fine little thread, and also lending some shine!

How do you say "I love this thing" in Russian?  I Love this Thing!

6. July 2009 18:51
by Jobo
1 Comments

Finished... Camel / Tussah Silk Blend yarn

6. July 2009 18:51 by Jobo | 1 Comments

As part of my adventure participating in my first Tour de Fleece one of my goals was to finish spinning this: 



A deliciously soft and creamy 50 : 50 Blend of Tussah Silk and Camel!

I had picked this up while Honeymooning in New Brunswick the end of June, and simply could not wait to dig in... so I worked my way through it a little bit at a time (literally a handful here and there) and to be honest I'm a little sad that it's all spun up... 4 ounces was definetly not enough he he...

Here are the finished Stats:

I managed to spin up 2 x 2 ounce bobbins of singles about as thin and even as I ever have.  The silk really added a lot of strength to the fluffy camel down and really allowed me to go thinner than I'm used to.  Even though the single was fine, it felt solid and strong.  



Then I plied the two strands together.  I thought for sure that I would be able to fit the whole thing on one bobbin - I must have been crazy!  I probably got 3/4 of the fiber on the bobbin, but in the end had to give in and start a new one.  I hate tying in ends, so that was my main reason for the bobbin gluttony and trying to squeeze an excess on there in the first place.  I guess this is all the more motivation for me to go and order that lace kit and the jumbo bobbins for my Traveller... sigh.  I'd love to have those items but was trying to hold off as long as possible because of the cost associated.


thats a freaking full bobbin... and I still put a bunch more on there before I gave up and started a second!

From there I took a moment to breathe (as one wise raveller put it:  "was the rest for the singles? or for you?") and used my new fangled handy-dandy homemade WPI gauge to measure my yarn - averaging approximately 23-24 WPI.  I also counted the wraps on my niddy noddy while skeining to get an idea at yardage.  I know my NN gives about 5 feet per wrap, had 330 wraps - approximately 1600 feet or 550 yards of yarn.  So this places my yarn at a lace weight, and I think I have enough to make a really nice scarf or something.  


thats one big fatty of a skein!

The feel of this yarn is out of this world!  It's silky and smooth, but light also.  The camel gave it lots of squish and bounce, but still feels like silk too.  I think this will be really fun to work with.  I'm half thinking of waiting to use this until I have designed something decent and original of my own... since it would be a shame to waste this on any old mundane thing.  I will have to keep hunting for the perfect pattern in the mean time...  Anyone have any suggestions?


a close up (yarn pr0n! gotta love it)

and starting tomorrow to continue the Tour de Fleece... I plan on doing some carding.  I have a bunch of blendables that I think should be in a batt together:

     White Superfine Merino

     Cream Soy Silk

     Snow White Bamboo Fiber

     White and Fawn Angora

Happy Spinning everyone :)

 

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