Jobo Designs

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

1. October 2009 08:21
by Jobo
1 Comments

Elvish Leaves... Blocked and Ready to Rock!

1. October 2009 08:21 by Jobo | 1 Comments

Finally, last night the weather and my hectic work schedule cooperated and allowed a sock photo session before dark!

Finished!

Elvish Leaves (Elfine's Socks by Anna Bell)

JL Vinca Sock Yarn

Overall, I am quite pleased with the results.  These socks were my first pair done toe-up using Judy's magic cast on for DPNs.  If you haven't tried this technique, it was a little tricky at first but pretty reasonable.  I did find that you needed to go back and tighten up that first cast on row at the end of the toe (similar to the process of snugging up a kitchener stitch toe after the graft has been completed) but the real draw for me was no "wrapping and turning" back and forth for the toe.  The M1 increases (I did Knit Front and Back increases) made a nice clean line at the toe.

You can see it a bit in this close up - The yarn itself had some really nice colour shade progressions.  I really liked the way the 2 strands changed colour at different rates.   Several times I found myself thinking... is it changing colour?  I dunno?  and then looking back after an hours work and seeing the very gradual soft shift.  I don't know why I like this style of yarn, I just do.  It keeps things interesting :)

I really liked working on this cascading leaf style pattern.  It was very predictable, highly memorizable, and easy to pick up when put down unexpectedly.  The pattern was very clearly written and easy to follow, a "must knit" really if you are a sock-a-teer.  Before blocking the leaves were quite bumpy and lumpy, but after a warm water bath and an overnight on the blockers, things smoothed right out.  I am always amazed about how much better things look after a bath and a block.  Even the stockinette sole looked smoother after blocking.

As far as the yarn goes, I was skeptical about whether or not I would be happy with the finished product.  Some consumers have argued that no two balls of Vinca are ever the same, but I found my two balls to knit up quite predictably the same.  It seems there was a similar amount of each colour in the skeins, similar progressions, and very much alike from my experience.  I did find the yarn to be a bit thin and splitty, but for lace socks, I wasn't really concerned with thickness and warmth.  For light and lacy this style of yarn was perfect.  The next real test will come when these babies are worn and washed a few times.  There were some linty bits here and there in the skein, but I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the yarn being pilly or felty.  The yarn seemed to like the blocking bath, so who knows. I'll keep you posted on the durability of the finished socks.

This was also my first time working short row heels in contrasting colours.  I was concerned during the construction process that knitting the heel in line with the rest of the sock would perhaps interrupt my colour progression from the foot to the ankle.  So I knit the heels with a contrasting colour from the outside of the ball.  This of course means more ends to weave in, but I really like the effect it achieved.  It makes the heel stand out and sets them apart from the plain stockinette soles I think :)

Once again, another pair bites the dust... and my Nanners are coming along nicely too.  I hope to show you more about them later in the week.  Sock one is up past the heel, and I have a good 2 hour wait at the doctor's office this afternoon.  I would say the first one will be finished before I get home.  Funny how I'd be furious years ago if someone kept me waiting that long... Now I just pack knitting accordingly and I'm good to go!

 

20. August 2009 07:30
by Jobo
1 Comments

The yarn stash is growing!... Meet Kauni

20. August 2009 07:30 by Jobo | 1 Comments

I'm not sure how I manage to keep accumulating pretty yarns at such a rate... but here we go again - more irresistable yarn to add to the pile :)

I had never worked with Kauni before, but had seen lots of projects that other people have made... and totally fell in love with all the long gradual colour stretches.  This yarn (the Effektgarn 8/2 selection) is approximately fingering weight, but seems a little "lighter" than a sock yarn.  According to the product write-up on Ravelry in the Yarns section, the manufacturer recommends using it for things like wraps, lace, vests, and even socks. 

A lot of the projects I have seen have been lace wraps or shawls... probably because the effect of the colour is spectacular in a triangular shawl.  I have also seen a fair number of fair isle patterned knitting done with solid colored Kauni or the Effektgarn variety.  Since I have two balls of this (one is the lovely pink variegated you see here, and the other is the classic Rainbow Effektgarn) I think I will try doing a couple different things with it - maybe socks for one ball, and a shawl for the other.

The first thing you notice when you spot of ball of this unique yarn is the COLOUR.  Holy cow the colours are vibrant and rich.  I love the way that the yarn fades from one colour to the next in what seems like an endless transition.  You hardly notice that the colours are changing as you work, and then all of a sudden here you are with a smooth gradient.  Some people have reported unfortunate splices in a ball (aka a knot in the middle attaching 2 completely different shades together) which can really interrupt the desired effect.  Myself, having worked through half a ball already, I haven't seen any of these splices, but I know that if it happened to me, it would drive me insane.  I guess if you were really counting on having a project with flawless transitions and perfect consistancy, you may want to plan ahead and buy an extra ball so you don't have to worry about that.  Myself, where usually I like my socks to be fraternal twins rather than identical replicas of each other, I am ok with taking this chance.

Next, the feel... Kauni is a Shetland-Style yarn... 100% wool.   So I never expected it to be as soft as Merino.  Hey if you want baby's bottom soft, you target things like Malabrigo or some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino.  Myself I didn't find this yarn to be as scratchy as some people have described.  I would call this a medium softness yarn, perhaps not suited to items directly in contact with sensitive skin, but I don't find it to be irritating to work with.  The yarn is quite rustic in it's feel, and may still have some lanolin or finishing products in it, because I have read that it blooms after soaking, and softens too.  I would compare this yarn to Noro in it's degree of softness from the feel in the ball, and after working about half a sock in it, it does seem to lighten up some with manipulation, so I really want to see what it's like after a good soak and blocking.

In the close up photo, you can see a little better the airyness of this 2 ply yarn, and the depth of colour.  I am really excited to be progressing on my Kauni Experiment, and hopefully after the weekend I will have some more details for you, including a new tutorial I am working on for Afterthought Heels.

****************************************************************

If you would like to learn more about Kauni Yarns please visit their website:

14. August 2009 13:30
by Jobo
2 Comments

Evil, Evil Monkeys

14. August 2009 13:30 by Jobo | 2 Comments

My Mom and Dad went on vacation earlier this summer over to Cape Breton and toured the Cabot Trail... and brought me back sock yarn as a souvenir from Baddeck (From Baadeck Yarns)  Apparently it is common knowledge that I am open to accepting any and all forms of yarn and/or fibery items, though I am not sure who leaked this data to the press :P

I had never heard of this particular brand of yarn before... so I had to fondle it for a little while, and then of course go look it up on Ravelry and see what the masses thought of it.

The Brand is Fibranatura.... in 100% Superwash Merino, and overall it seems to be a well liked product.  Some folks seemed to think that it wasn't very soft, and was a little stiff.  Now myself, I like my sock yarns to be a little more tightly wound and tougher - since we know that more tightly wound worsted plies are less likely to pill and fuzz, the socks should be more hard wearing and not wear out as fast.  I did find this yarn to be a little overspun (kinks up a little back onto itself) but not enough to be unpleasant to work with.  As far as softness goes, I don't find it to be scratchy or unpleasant... and once the skein was undone, the yarn didn't feel very stiff to me.  Overally I found the texture and softness to be acceptable.

Winding the skein is usually a telling experience... are there any knots?  areas where the yarn is in poor condition?  are all sections evenly dyed?  I was very impressed at the quality of this skein.  There were absolutely no knots or joins, and the colour was nice and even throughout.  The texture of the yarn was very consistant, and the colour transitions were even and seamless.  A+ for quality so far!

I'm not sure I would have chosen this colour combination myself, but once I opened up the skein and got to see the colours in a pile, rather than in neat organized skeiny fashion, the purples and blues and greens grew on me.  I have only worked with handpainted yarns a few times, and the whole flashing/pooling thing is new to me.  I like the idea of watching the color patterns emerge as you go.  I still don't have a lot of experience choosing patterns that compliment that feature, but I had seen many pairs of Monkey Socks on Ravelry that used this style of yarn... so I hoped it would be ok.  There have been nearly 10,000 pairs of Monkey Socks documented on Ravelry to date... so I think the numbers must speak for themselves, and apparently it is impossible to knit just one pair.  Many ravelers have made 3+ pairs of these... are they Evil?  (I'm sure Chris from Family Guy would think they were... hehheheehee)  I also tried to pay special attention to the placement of the colours and the dyeing style so hopefully I would be able to dye my own yarn in a similar way someday.

 

I think these socks will look excellent with blue jeans!

Armed with freshly printed pattern... I cast on and was off to the races with the twisted rib cuff.  (I had never done "twisted rib" before, and I actually liked it better than regular 1x1 rib... not quite as monotonous, and a nice tight springy feeling fabric.

The pattern itself - Monkey Socks by Cookie A - is very clearly written, simple to follow, and easily memorizable.  After working the 11-row pattern repeat a few times I didn't have to follow the pattern anymore, and was even able to work on these in the car. (which I often can't do with patterned knitting, since I get carsick when I have to look at my hands too much)  After knitting a few repeats, it appears that the colours will be well distributed and that there is no really obvious pooling or flashing.  I must say, I was a little surprised at this, because I would have guessed that the regular repeating segments of colour would have made some distinct pools or flashes.  The only place any pooling happened to any degree was in the cuffs, but I kindof like it, because it seems to make my twisted rib stand out in a nice way, almost like it was planned to be there.

Close up of pattern on leg... so you can see the non-pooling nature!

All in all, a quite enjoyable knit... with enough interesting things going on to keep me amused, but not so much that you have to focus too hard on the pattern.  Also a quick knit, I have the first sock completely done now, and the second one done to the heel gusset.  (I will likely finish these this weekend, and post more pics later on)

Sneak Preview...

More to come :) Stay Tuned Knit-fans!

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