Jobo Designs

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

19. November 2011 10:20
by Jobo

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. 


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. April 2011 10:37
by Jobo

Yarn Candy Monday: Heirloom Notions...

4. April 2011 10:37 by Jobo | 1 Comments

Grampy's Scissors

After my Grampy passed away... I was pretty tough.  I was calm at the hospital when he died.  I was dry eyed, and reasonable for most of the day.  I persevered on, helping Mom and Grammy wherever I could, I stayed for every moment, even the horrible ones...

I kept my composure right up until the point I saw Grampy's little folding scissors on the window sill next to his lazy boy chair back at the quiet apartment.

For as long as I can remember... Grampy always had this little pair of scissors in his pocket.  If anyone needed to cut anything... the price tag from a new piece of clothing, the ribbon wrapped around a gift box, the last thread from a sewing project... Grampy would whip out his little folding scissors, and say "Here, Use Mine!"

If you were lucky enough to borrow Grampy's scissors, however, you had to return them immediately!  You did not want to the be the person to lose them.  They were always sharp... because the Singer Sewing Machine Man would sharpen them for Grampy whenever he came to town.  They were special scissors, so you never cut paper with them.  Duh. Even when I was very small I knew that.  They were Grampy's special scissors, so you had to take care of them.  I remember seeing those scissors at regular intervals throughout my childhood, at birthdays, Christmas, regular sunday visits, at the Red A-Frame Cottage at Mill River, at the trailer by the Drive-In, on car trips, on the boat...  even into my adult years.  Those little scissors were there, like a piece of Grampy himself.

That day when we finally came back to Grammy and Grampy's apartment, after the worst had happened at the Hospital... those frigging little scissors.  They should never be alone on a windowsill.  They are supposed to be in somebody's pocket, so they don't get lost.  I held them and cried for quite a time.

Grampy's Scissors folded After hearing why they were so important to me, Grammy told me that I should keep them - that Grampy would be proud for me to use them and keep them, especially since they were so special to me. 

Now these little folding scissors live in my sewing kit.  I take them out sometimes and carry them with me in my pocket (like today, I have them with me) and sometimes I just take them out to cut the final thread on a project.  I used them to cut the final woven in edges of my Ruttiger-Strawberry Stole.  I used them to slit the tape on the box from the last yarn order I received in the mail.  Every time I use them, it's like I'm getting to show Grampy the item I've made, or the treasure I've received.  It's like our little secret.

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