Jobo Designs

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

23. March 2012 12:38
by Jobo
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a box of pretty ? Cupcake Fiber Company Batts

23. March 2012 12:38 by Jobo | 0 Comments

As a post holiday treat (using some of the money I earned on holiday custom knits) I ordered myself some batts from a company I?ve been dying to try ? The Cupcake Fiber Company.  Their products are tailored to lace spinners? with smooth blended colors, fibers like silks bamboo and merino, 6 ounce put ups, and measured weight batts? basically I just have to grab a batt and start spinning :)  And don?t you just love the packaging?  So simple and elegant? and neat for storage too!

cupcake cpny water

?Water? Colorway? Merino Silk

Maybe after I finish a few things, I can take this and start out on a new spinning project.  I?d like to aim for a soft and airy medium weight lace yarn? and maybe pair it up with some beads of some sort.  with the 6 ounces I should be able to get excellent yardage and hopefully make something larger.

19. November 2011 10:20
by Jobo
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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.

4. July 2011 10:57
by Jobo
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Yarn Candy Monday... More Lace Handspun

4. July 2011 10:57 by Jobo | 0 Comments

madli Swatch

Lately I've been gravitating towards ultra-thin, almost cobwebby handspun for lace.  I think maybe because I like getting the absolute most out of a pretty braid of fiber... that, and I love to knit lace in the first place! 

This - is from a bag of carded fiber from Belfast Mini Mills - a blend of Bamboo, Merino and Tussah Silk (percentages of which elude me at the moment)  I'm testing out a theory that I should be able to spin this very lightweight on my Russian Supported Spindle, and perhaps have enough out of the 4 ounce bag to make an estonian style haapsalu shawl... or at least something in that tradition.  I wanted to spin up a handful first and see how the finished yarn behaves before I go on to complete the whole bag.

The Yarn is a nice fine 2 ply... which shifts from light creamy green to denim blue and back and forth.  Basically the roving has a strip of each color side-by-side (will get more photos later) and as you spin back and forth across you get a blend.  When I started spinning, I noticed quite a few nepps and little blobs of the silk, which was a little disappointing.  I had hoped for an ultra-smooth spin, as one would usually find with bamboo and silk blend fibers.  I decided though, to just let it go - spin it as it comes - and try not to be too much of a control freak about everything.  I'm going to have to learn to let go a bit with the whole baby thing, so why not start now?  (Jobo - you can't control every aspect of the world... lol)madli thread swatch

I decided to try a swatch from Knitted Lace of Estonia, since that's what was on my coffee table at the time... though I will likely go back to the Haapsalu Shawl Book when the yarn is completed and I'm ready for the official cast on.  I plan to do the basic rectangle, with the vine lace and nupps, and the standard garter stitch border, then maybe a knitted border sewn on afterwards, sanity and remaining yarn notwithstanding.  This swatch was knit on 2.75 mm dpns (since also, this is what was on my coffee table!)

The resulting lace yarn has some lumps and bumps in it.  The colors come at you randomly (only blended a little by the 2-ply's effect) and I wasn't sure if the lace stitches would cover up and complement some of this effect, or hide the lace completely.  I think the finished swatch is alright... definitely less muddy than I might have guessed it would be.  I think it's promising enough to finish spinning up the bag this way, and then cast on and see how it goes.

What do you think?  does the yarn mask the lace too much?

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