Jobo Designs

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

4. November 2014 10:32
by Jobo

Freeform Lace... with Handspun of Course!

4. November 2014 10:32 by Jobo | 0 Comments


I recently acquired a few new spindles... some Phil Powell Russians!  They are a delightful spin - very well crafted, and a very nice long twirl.  He makes a bunch of different types of spindles... which you see a selection of here:  Metal tipped, Swarovsky Crystal tipped, and Gemstone tipped (shown here in Rose Quartz).  His Etsy shop is often sold out, but he's willing to take custom orders, so if you like this sort of thing, please do email him!  That's how I ended up with the two gem Russians :)  Ask and Ye shall be Enabled!

So I suppose you're wondering what they're sitting on?  Well you can't have new spindles and not test them out... no Sir.  That's just wrong.

The Fiber

I was gifted a small batt in a swap some time ago that I thought would be an excellent test floof.  I can't find any "before" photos of it though.  Woops!  (sleep deprivation MUCH?) But I do know it's details!  It's a 20 gram sample Batt "Wine and Roses" from a Nunoco Smorgasbox (photo stolen from Etsy!).  While not very large... it was just right for goofing around with.  I loved using these spindles, and I can't wait to do some more with them!  The batt was basically a gradient from light pink through to burgundy.


The Yarn

- I decided to spin the batt fine, moving from one color to the next in a long gradual gradient, and then chain ply it to finish up. 

- I ended up with something between lace weight and fingering... mostly closer to laceweight. 

- Final guesses on Yardage:  125 yards


- so what does one actually DO with 125 yards of very light fingering weight yarn?

- I decided to just cast on and play with some lace, with no real pattern or plan. 

- I knit a strip of Shetland inspired border, then flipped it 90 degrees and picked up stitches along the side.  I worked in a waffle type eyelet stitch for a while, and flipped it again.  I worked some freeform picots around the edge, and ended up with a long lace rectangle. 

- My plan is to stitch the ends together and make a loop neck warmer. 

- It might be ugly... I'm not sure what it will look like exactly until I do it and try it on. It's made of buttery soft merino wool, and it's handspun lace.  So I'll probably wear it regardless of whether it's ugly or not!

Shetland inspired points...

Closeup of waffle, insertion, and picots...

Long view... showing Gradient.

Finished Neckwarmer... to be continued!  (If and when my children ever sleep... which may be NEVER! lol)

24. November 2010 12:32
by Jobo

Alaskan Malamute Experiment... signed, sealed, delivered!

24. November 2010 12:32 by Jobo | 1 Comments

imageAfter many months of effort, I finally came to the end of my Alaskan Malamute Adventure this past week!  To give you a basic recap... I was commissioned by a local pet owner to spin some of her pet dog's fur and make a hat/mitten/neckwarmer set from the resulting yarn.  This was my first time working with dog fur, undercoat to be exact, but I was very excited to see if I could make it all work.  The fluff was lovely and light and soft, and I knew in the end I would be able to make something of it... 

I started the fiber prep by removing as many guard hairs from the dog fur as possible.  Guard hairs are bristly, and would have resulted in prickly bits in the finished yarn... and I didn't want that.  Then the fur was weighed, and blended 50-50 by weight with some nice fine Merino Sheep's wool.

I carded and blended all of the fiber by hand on some regular Ashford Hand Cards... mostly because I like the process of hand blending.  I weighed small amounts of fiber that were comfortable to work by hand (around 4-5 g of fiber at a time) and the resulting rolags were light and airy - perfect for some woolen style spinning.

husky wool blend carded basket The swatching process was fun... I decided to spin up a small sample (about an ounce or so) of the wool at a sport/worsted size and knit some small swatches in different stitch patterns to show my client.  In the end, because the yarn had so much halo and fuzzy feeling, a sport weight yarn really knit up and felt like a worsted weight one, which was actually perfect for the project.

I decided to swatch out plain stockinette (for gauge mostly), a simple diagonal lace pattern, and a basic cable pattern.  In the end, after washing, the cables really seemed to disappear into the halo.  The client really liked the idea of the lace, so we decided to move along with that basic idea.

As for pattern... I found a nice basic hat pattern (Noro spiral one-skein hat by Manuèle Ducret) and modified and worked from there to make a hat with the diagonal lace pattern all around.  I used the same stitch pattern to make a "cowl" neckwarmer, and the gauntlets of the mittens.

swatches all 3the swatches... blocked and drying... 

In the end, I ended up spinning quite a bit of yarn... I needed 50g for the hat, 110g for the mittens, and around 120g for the neckwarmer.  The process was enjoyable, though I was worried that I might not finish the set in time for cold weather.  Custom knitting takes time, but sometimes I forget just how long that is.  I was impatient and I had started knitting the garments before the entire quantity of yarn was complete... but next time I do something like this I think I will do all of the yarn first, so there will be less jumping around.

set on... vogue the completed set!

In the end I was very pleased with the final results of the set.  After the knitting and blocking process, the surface of the garments developed a nice gentle halo with a soft finish totally suitable for next to the skin wear.  As you can see, the fur and the wool combined to make a warm oatmeal color, presumably which will match with just about any jacket.

set blocking the set... blocking and drying

You'll notice that I monogrammed the mittens.  The customer and I had discussed that it might be nice to have some sort of monogram or notation to indicate the fiber's source in the finished product.  While spinning up the dog fur, I came across a couple of locks of darker fiber.  I picked out as many as I could and saved them, and then blended them with some natural brown wool, and used this darker yarn to add a little paw print, and an "S" for Samiya - the dog's name.

pawprint closeup 2 <-- gratuitous embroidery shot!  Puppy Prints!

I finally brought the finished garments up to the owner last week... she seemed very pleased with the set, and excited to get to wear her new goodies!  They also decided that her husband should have a pair of special mittens for himself... so after Christmas, I'll be working on some "work" mittens - basically a pair of men's hybrid mittens, with a separate pointer finger, and the rest of the fingers together a-la-mitten.  My dad loves mittens like this, as they give better hand dexterity than mittens, but because more fingers are housed together, they are also warmer than gloves alone.

All in all... Experiment - Successful :)

if you are interested in having some yarn spun from your pet's fur, please contact me for more details :)

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