Jobo Designs

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

7. December 2010 05:26
by Jobo

Silver Strawberries... first foray into Orenburg lace...

7. December 2010 05:26 by Jobo | 1 Comments

    I finally finished my first lace yarn using my boy?s fluff! I made a very fine ply of angora (blue in color to be exact) and a find ply of white silk, and combined them together to get a light lace weight yarn.  It isn't gossamer by any means, but it's still pretty, and light by most standards.  I spun the Angora Single on my Golding Walnut (heavier spindle, though I can't remember the weight off hand) and the Silk on my new Golding Porcelain Dragonfly spindle.  Both parts were so enjoyable to spin, and even the plying was straightforward.  I started with around a half ounce of Blue English Angora - which had been hand carded with just a tiny wisp of Carbonized Bamboo and an equally tiny wisp of creamy merino.  I just wanted a few longer fibers mixed with the angora combings, hoping it would make a more stable yarn in the end.  I used very little of either addition... and in the end, you really can't see the bamboo or wool.  Maybe it wasn't worth the trouble to add it in?  bowl of batts


    The angora used here was the combings from Ruttiger's daily grooming.  I'm greedy with my fiber I guess... I've been saving every last wisp that isn't tangled or dirty... so in addition to the lovely prime fiber (which I am saving until I actually KNOW what I'm doing lol) I have quite a lot of "seconds" quality fiber.  I didn't want to use up the prime fiber right away, so I decided to try carding up some of this just to see what it would be like.  The results are heavenly!  I did have to pick out some neps and tangles, but overall, the little combfulls of fiber opened up beautifully and were very enjoyable to spin.

    The silk was just plain ordinary silk... that I bought 4 ounces of from Belfast Mini Mills earlier this summer just for this purpose... and was the most fun I've had with silk to date.  I've finally gotten comfortable with "spinning from the fold" - and silk is definitely a good choice for a fiber to be spun this way.  The resulting thread is smooth and shiny.  Everything Silk is meant to be! 

    And my new Golding Dragonfly is the perfect weight for these light singles.  I can see I will be using her quite often from now on!  I think her name will be the "Dragonflier"... which is actually a name I used to go by on a forum back in the dark ages of college!The color reminds me a bit of sterling silver? with a bit of soft dove grey and the shine of the silk. So far, just in handling the knitted piece a bit, there is a light halo beginning to form? can?t wait to see how it goes!


    I have been admiring orenburg lace for quite a while now, and I have bought some fairly complicated patterns for some day down the road when I have the skill to tackle them? but for now, this simple stole looked perfect for my (very basic) skill level. This will give me a chance to try out the basic elements and see how it goes from there. (the pattern is Orenburg Stole: Just a little strawbery by Russian Lily)

    points vertical

    I have been using the Gossamer Webs Design Book as a supplement to this pattern to make sure I have been doing the stitches properly.  The strawberry pattern itself is more of a schematic, and not really a complete pattern intended for a beginner knitter.  I have several reference books at home that I have been referring to, and they help a great deal.  So far, I'll I've accomplished is 6/10 "teeth" for the bottom edge of the stole, but I hope to spend a few minutes each day until I have the stitches picked up for the main body of the stole, and then a few rows each day as a treat to myself as I slog away at the Holiday Knitting.  The teensy yarn takes some getting used to... and dropping stitches in a case like this is a disastrous event.  I have a feeling I will need lifelines for this project.

    I went up a few sizes in needles already from what the pattern recommended, because I am a tight knitter, and because I wanted this fabric to be light and airy in the end. On the 2mm needles, there wasn?t much space between the stitches. Maybe someday when I have been able to spin actual gossamer yarns I will be able to try a more authentic needle size for this type of pattern. Now I just need to finish my remaining holiday knitting so I can sit down and do some more of this!  I need to spin likely 3 more cops of each silk and angora... and then find time to sit and knit of course!

    26. January 2010 09:00
    by Jobo

    Corrupting the Neighbors... Aka Teaching Coworkers about Knitting!

    26. January 2010 09:00 by Jobo | 4 Comments

    I remember what it was like when I first discovered online knitting resources. 

    I have mentioned to folks before, how in my hometown "yarn" was almost always acrylic... "wool" was "Briggs and Little" or "MacAuslands" products... and "patterns" were found in the yarn aisle and consisted of leaflets from Patons and Bernat.  There were a couple of Local Yarn Stores that came and went, but most of the locals knit exclusively with acrylic basic yarns so that's what products they carried.

    I started knitting using products like Patons Canadiana, and Bernat Super Saver yarns... not that there is anything wrong with these things, they were sturdy and reasonably priced.  The garments made from them lasted and were satisfactory.  I learned to make the same afghans and mittens and socks that my Mother and Grandmother had made.  My influences were fairly limited.  I knew nothing of designers, hot new yarns, the wonders of wool, what handspun yarns felt like, the joys of hand painted and fancy colored yarns.  The yarns we had came from department stores basically.  So whatever the stores stocked was what we were exposed to - ewww to the eyelash yarn craze of the 90s.

    Enter the Internet.  This unbelievable new resource has opened so many doors for me, and many other artists alike, in many different venues.  It was like a veil had been removed from my eyes - and the things I saw were so awe inducing that I could sit and look at the beautiful things other people had made for hours.  Often I did.

    I had never really tried knitting with real "wool"... my only experiences up to that point involved the old fashioned wool that my mom used to hook rugs with.  It was good quality sturdy product, but too itchy for making any garments with in my own opinion.  I didn't like the way it felt.  To me seemed that wool must be itchy, and I didn't like that. 

    After being introduced to photos of beautiful yarns like Noro, Cascade 220 (which apparently to everyone else is a staple), handpainted sock yarns, Merino, Angora, Alpaca, and many other lovely wools - I decided to try ordering some things online.  From that point I was hooked.  And I wondered how I could have missed out on lovely experiences like Malabrigo and fancy Silk and Tencel yarns for so much of my life.


    At work the other day... a lady saw me knitting at the lunchroom table... I was using some lovely Brightly Colored Merino Sock yarn in a fingering weight - Blues and Purples - working on one of Cookie A's new patterns - "Kai-Mei"

    Whattttt are you makinggggg! she said with amazement....

    Fast forward a week later after our first knitting conversation... she pops by my cubicle and asks if she can get my help with something.  So I follow her back to her desk and sure enough she has purchased the exact book I had been using that day (oops, I might have told her where she can buy the books) and has a nice skein of self striping fingering wool that she found at the only local store here who sells such things  (oops, I might have mentioned the name of the store in passing)  and she was looking for confirmation that she was interpreting a stitch correctly.

    I think I might have corrupted another neighbor.  OOPS.  lol.


    Speaking of Yarn-Loving Neighbors... It would be nice to see where all of the lovely encouraging comments come from.  Please comment - Have you corrupted any of your knitting neighbors?  Where are you from?

    13. June 2009 09:27
    by Jobo

    Breaking the Rules... Refusal to ply :P

    13. June 2009 09:27 by Jobo | 3 Comments

    Faced with a dye lot dilemma I cracked under pressure...  I couldn't decide what to do with the second bag, and I didn't want to waste all that lovely lavender and blue loveliness - I decided to leave it as singles.

    This would be my first attempt at singles, so there were many things I did not know.  I.e.  how twisty should singles be so that they are still soft but not so twisty that you have a completely kinky mess!  Single ply yarns tend to be a little bit biasy anyways, so I've come to learn, so I figured that since I had tried to use a "minimal" twist in this yarn anyways that maybe it would be okay once it was washed.

    So I wound the bobbins onto my Niddy Noddy and held my breath while I pulled one end of the skein off.... I was sort of expected super twisty disaster... but instead here is what it looked like:

    Not nearly as messy as I thought.  It was kind of interesting too how the twist seemed to make a twirl about every inch or so.  I'm not sure if this is a sign that the twist was fairly even?  since it all decided to kink at even intervals? (or is this just wishful thinking? I think my consistancy HAS gotten better over the last year)

    Another pic, because it's actually kindof pretty.  The sections of blue and grey combine to make a kind of Lavender color... and the polwarth is very clean and almost shiny.  I had a hard time putting it in the bath... I wanted to keep touching it.

    Next, the soaking and drying.  I decided to put the skeins into very hot water to soak, and thwack it well once it had cooled off enough to touch.  I hoped that would be enough to hold it together.  It seemed that later on winding it into a ball that it did seem fairly strong, though I'm still not sure.  If it isn't strong enough, I may have to bite the bullet and find a plan C...

    After the soak, there really wasn't much kink left, but to be sure that it evened out as much as it could, I strung some half-empty cleaner bottles from the skeins (Ignore the horrible coloring... this is my laundry Room)  Since it is almost summertime here, the drying conditions were so so and the skein was pretty much dry by the morning.  (it's not inappropriate to bring a damp newly made skein of yarn to work to show a friend is it?  oops.)

    Here is one skein all finished!  (There are two, and goodness they looked great all snuggled up together, and better still nestled together as one skein... but some bozo was toooo impatient to wait for sunshine to take a picture before she wound number two into a ball.  She thought she could start knitting sooner... lol)

    Here is a slightly blurry closeup... but it shows the colour so nicely.  Soft blue and lavender ripples.  Almost reminds me of the purplish colour you see as the shadow under big puffy white clouds on a sunny day.  I think I will call this finished yarn "Lavender Skies"

    And here she is all wound up and ready to go.  Now I just need to find a pattern.  I'm thinking of making some sort of shawl/wrap/scarf?  Something pretty light duty that won't wear out fast or get all nubbly, but still a garment that will flatter the softness and lightness of the yarn.  My coworkers couldn't believe that this yarn was 100% wool (one gentleman even asked if it was cotton or something) because there is absolutely no itchy wool feel.  The finished texture is super soft and super squishy.  I ended up with about 750 yards or so of this yarn, so definetly enough for a small shawlette or a nice lacy scarf.  The final count was about 22-25 WPI and I used 4 ounces of fibre.


    ** Now I have come to realize days later that when you make singles you are supposed to twist in the opposite direction so the finished yarn has a specific twist, but I think I am going to try working it anyways and see what happens.  Another raveler suggested if it comes "unwound" in my knitting and gets to weak to use, that perhaps I can crochet something out of it, since crochet doesn't tend to untwist the yarn in the same direction as knitting it does. **


    Happy spinning/knitting all :)

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