Jobo Designs

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

2. October 2009 18:51
by Jobo

Sock Yarn - forget 'Carte Blanche'... I have 'Yarne Blanche'

2. October 2009 18:51 by Jobo | 1 Comments

Pretty mountain of undyed yarn... *pat pat*

A few weeks ago I got the bright idea to go ahead and try dyeing some yarn... since I am enjoying dyeing wool I figured - Hey! Whynnot?

I bought 1 kg of yarn (about 2.2 lbs) which works out to be 10 x 100 g skeins.  This particular lot is Superwash Merino (with 25% nylon for durability) Sock Yarn which has approximately 450 yards per skein (so a nice big fat skein)

When It finally arrived, I was really impressed at the softness and consistant quality of the yarn. I think it will be really fun to start dyeing it up and using my imagination.  It's kind of like a Yarn "Carte Blanche"!  Sky is the limit.  I thought I might try and sell a few skeins to offset the cost of buying so much at once... but I fear this might be more difficult than it sounds.  I already have a 'thing' for hording sock yarn!

This is what 1 kg of yarn looks like in a bag... resist... urge... to dive in.... resist!

15. July 2009 13:27
by Jobo

Destined to be Norwegian Mittens... someday

15. July 2009 13:27 by Jobo | 2 Comments

For some time now, I have admired (drooled and dreamt over) patterned Norwegian Mittens.  In fact, the first time I saw Terri Shea’s book (Selbuvotter) I ordered it right away without hesitation.  I’ve made a few pairs so far…

For example… Mittens I made for myself last winter :)

This book has great background about the art of mitten making in that area of the world... as well as a wealth of patterns a ideas.  The one thing I found a little difficult was choosing a yarn to make them with though, since most of the prescribed products aren't available in canada.  I swatched and pondered for quite a while before I made these ones. 

In response to the yarn selection issue, I have been thinking for a while about making some with my own yarn.  I’ve come to realize that if knitting something is fun – then knitting it with your own handspun MUST be even More fun!

So I set out to find something in my stash that would work to make mittens out of.  I also owe one of Mark’s uncles something from hand spun yarn, since he has been nice enough to send me raw fleece to learn how to wash and prep for spinning.   Since my first attempt at the washing and prepping process I think I may have gotten a little better at it… but I definitely still have a ways to go!

I had some basic white medium soft fleece that I processed from ick to passable wool.  This was my first real wool carded into batts with my drum carder.  Certainly that process was much simpler than the time I had flick carded and then hand carded a few pounds of fleece.  It isn’t the softest wool… probably around a medium fineness.  I don’t think I’d want it rubbed up against my neck or anything, but it isn’t as scratchy as some of the basic wool products I’ve worked with (aka Briggs and Little or Condon’s Wool)

I also had some unnamed natural grey roving from when I bought my spinning wheel down in Rochester last year.  I know the lady in the store told me what it was, but for the life of me I can’t remember.  It doesn’t feel like any of the other wools I’ve been working with… quite long staple, kind of hair-like, medium to fine feel.

So I have 2 colours – natural and grey… all spun up, probably enough to make a small pair of mittens, but I’m not sure exactly.  I need to do some calculations and see how much of each colour I will need.  I think I still have enough of the grey to do another bobbin worth, and I know I have a few more batts of the natural colour wool.

Either way… These two are destined to be Norwegian Mittens…. Someday.

5. June 2009 15:52
by Jobo

Spinning Shetland for the First Time... and Certainly not the Last!

5. June 2009 15:52 by Jobo | 1 Comments

It's been a busy week... Wedding things, work things, house selling things...   clearly not enough time to knit or spin!  sheesh!

Since I did accomplish a ton of things yesterday amidst my running around like a crazy person, this afternoon I decided to take a break and veg out.  Time just for me!  So I poured a great big glass of water, put on a movie (the kind that isn't too boring, but also doesn't matter so much if you don't pay too close of attention) and had a couch afternoon.

I decided I would start playing with the Delightfully soft Shetland that arrived in the mail earlier in the week.  I couldn't keep my hands out of the box anyways, it was just a matter of time.  Jen had wrapped the batts in tissue paper, so they didn't get squished or flattened - stayed lofty and airy!  If you want some for yourself... Check out Whispering Pines Farm here

The colour of this stuff is amazing!  Coal black with some silvery streaks through it, and as soft as soft can be. 

The carefully wrapped  batts roll apart and draft like a dream!  The plan for this yarn is to make a special pair of wool mittens for the father who has everything else.  I figure even if someone else gives him mittens, they wont be handspun and knit by me, so it will still be a decent gift!  I had planned on making an angora lining for these, but I think perhaps they won't need it, since the shetland itself is sooo soft in the first place.

Normally, I just spin, and come up with a project later on for the resulting yarn.  This time I knew I wanted something between DK/Sport Weight and Worsted.  This is quite a change from spinning mostly sock and lace yarns... I was having a tough time deciding how thick the singles should be.  So I decided to set up a card with some samples of ready-made yarn taken apart into singles

The Beige is from a taken apart 4 ply Worsted Acrylic (Red Heart I think... this ball lost it's band some time ago) and the pink is a single ply taken from a 3 ply Aran Weight yarn.  My goal is to approximate somewhere around the size of these, and then navajo-3 ply (mostly because it is fast and less waste) 

I am also trying to reduce the amount of twist I am putting into this yarn.  It's for Mittens!  not socks! so the yarn can be more airy and squishy.  The hard-wearing-ness is not as important here.  I am interested to see how close I came to the desired weight... but am trying to wait until after all 3 skeins are finished and the twist set before measuring WPI.  In the end, what will be will be, and I'll just end up adjusting needle size and stitch patterns until it "feels" right anyways.  I also have to remember to measure dad's hand some day discretely, so I can tailor them to fit him exactly.

Here it is again stripped into roving-like ropes... so I can spin more evenly.

More to come on this and the Mitten-Knitting Process!

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