Jobo Designs

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

24. November 2014 22:36
by Jobo
0 Comments

Whats in the Bowl? How to Choose a Spindle Bowl

24. November 2014 22:36 by Jobo | 0 Comments

A friend recently asked me what kind of spinning bowl I like to use... I guess I have a bit of a loaded answer?

It depends on:

- the material the spindle is made of... and the material the bowl is made of

- the shape of the spindle

- how fast I want the spindle to turn

- what position I want to sit in while I spindle

 20141125_111214

Top:  Pyrex finger bowl / Malcolm Fielding Dervish;  Bottom Left:  Glazed Pottery Bowl / Bristlecone Twindle; Bottom Right:  Wooden Thai dipping bowl / Bristlecone Glindle

Materials

I have spindles with tips made from everything from lampwork glass, Swarovski crystals, stainless points, gemstone, and various types of wood!

Bowls are every bit as diverse.  I have bowls made from glass, ceramic, pottery, wood, and plastic.

20141125_111103Wooden Thai dipping bowl / Bristlecone Glindle

 Shape

Some spindles have a long tapered point and it doesn't much matter what shaped bowl you stand them in.  Others (like my Swarovski Crystal pointed spindles) have a short stubby point which basically means you need a shallow flat bowl or you have a hard time finding a place to balance within the bowl.  Other spindles, like my Tibetans and Malcolm Fielding Dervish have a larger circumference whorl than the skinny Russian style spindles, and therefore don’t fit comfortably in a high narrow bowl.

20141125_111922Grocery Store Ceramic dipping bowl / Texas Jeans Russian 

Speed/Friction

If you want a spindle to just fly ? you need to have as little friction as possible between the spindle tip and the surface it is spinning upon. (Oh my goodness a use for the university Phsics classes they made me take!)

20141125_111034

Pyrex finger bowl / Malcolm Fielding Dervish

A fine pointed wooden spindle has a satisfying zip on a really smooth surface like glass or ceramic.  Something like a well balanced metal tipped Russian on glass just flies!  Super fast spin is necessary for spinning very fine yarns (like gossamers and frog?’s hair that need so many twists per inch to hold together properly) but if one is wanting to spin fatter more lofty yarns with less twists per inch ? it may be desired to spin on a surface that slows the spin down.  You might try spinning a wooden tip in a wooden bowl.  The resulting spin is soft and a little bit dampened. 

Care should also be taken to avoid damage to both the tip surface and the bowl itself with repeated use.  A metal tip can bore a hole in a wooden bowl.  An abrasive bowl can wear away at the tip of a glass spindle.  Mismatched surfaces aren't good for either the spindle or the bowl.20141125_111154 Glazed Pottery Bowl / Bristlecone Twindle

Posture

Some people like to spin on basically a little platform with a small indentation in it.  This requires the "bowl" to sit at a specific angle, and usually for the spindle to remain upright throughout the spin, draft and wind processes.  I am lazy.  I like to sit cross-legged and slouch on the floor or lean back with both feet under me while sitting on the couch.  I find a medium sized, fairly wide, not too curved bottom bowl works best for my relaxed posture style.  I tried the "dent" style bowls and glass pendants and while they are beautiful, they just aren't for me. 20141125_112007 Grizzly Mountain Arts Spindle Bowl with Ceramic Insert / Bristlecone Unicorn Goddess

 

So what’s my favorite bowl?  Depends on the day but generally I like a bowl with medium characteristics all around - a middle of the road weight, maybe 2 inches deep, about 3 inches across made of some smooth surface that matches with the material tip of the spindle I am currently obsessed with Smile

5. October 2009 10:14
by Jobo
6 Comments

Fiddlehead Mittens... Still in the Mitten Prepping Stages

5. October 2009 10:14 by Jobo | 6 Comments

Some time ago I saw this amazing pair of mittens...

David's Handspun Fiddleheads

                                                        Photo Courtesy of David, at Southern Cross Fibre

 

That's when I knew that SOMEDAY I would have to make a pair too.  I think what struck me particularly about David's pair is the fact that the yarn colours were so cheery, and the mittens looked so well made and luxuriously soft.  Imagine my surprise when I went on to stalk read that they were made from his own Handspun yarn too!  (you can read all about it on his blog - here )

So I set out to try and come up with my own ideas about color and fibre to try and make a pair for myself.  I have some really fine, soft merino in my stash, so I think that's the natural choice for my main fiber, but I think an Angora Blend will add some luxury for the lining.  (see last post for more about my lining designing!)

I wasn't at all sure how much fiber I would need for each part, so I started studying the specific yarns called for in the pattern (Fiddlehead Mittens - Hello Yarn) and checked on Ravelry project pages to see what kinds of yarns other people had used.  Both original yarns were approximately 11 - 12 WPI (wraps per inch) and considered about a DK or Sport Weight.  In some ways it is kind of fun to try and "match" a required yarn with my own handspun.  Makes me feel like I am finally able to use my skills, and that all of the Wooly-Internet-Surfing has finally paid off?

David used about an ounce of each of the 5 contrasting colors for his mittens, so I started there.  Because I was afraid that I might lose/waste some of the fiber and be in trouble, I decided to use a little more than he did - about 2 ounces and hope that it makes enough for two pairs in the end.  For the lining I carded up about 4.5 ounces of merino/angora.  I think I will spin up all of the individual colors before I do the Main color, and hopefully I will be able to extrapolate a fiber quantity from my experience with the other parts.

Here is what my final swatch of Angora Merino (10% / 90%) looks like - at around 11 - 12 WPI, I think it will work just fine.  I've carried the swatch around in my pocket for a few days, hoping to bloom the angora halo of the yarn similar to what a little wear will look like.  It doesn't seem to be getting pilly or anything, but the light angora halo is definetly starting to come out.  At first I was a little disappointed with the greyish-oatmeal color, but I think it is growing on me.  For a lining (where hands, and dirt may enter) it's Probably best that the lining isn't pure white anyways.

The next step was to choose some colors and dye up some wool for the 5 contrasting colors.  (My main color will be a natural white wool)  I have a very minimal selection of Landscape Dyes, so for this project my colors were limited.  I want to achieve heathery shades similar to David's so I settled on dyeing the roving in a "kettle" fashion, where the wool would be semisolid and then I'll card it to mix up the darker and lighter shades. 

As for Dyeing process... I had read a post a while back (sorry I forget who posted it!) in a dyeing group on Ravelry, that another user would sometimes just shove the wool into a big jar with some hot dye solution and let the color wick from the bottom of the jar up the wool.  If done correctly, the wool would be darkest near the bottom of the jar, since it would have had the most contact with the wool and things would get lighter near the top.  I have been saving the 12 ounce Jars that Spaghetti sauce comes in just for this purpose... sorry I forgot to take pictures of the wool in process

Here is what I ended up with!  You can sort of see in the picture how the color is more of a semisolid with some lighter and darker bits.  I had folded up the roving accordion style, so when it went into the jar there was a repeating dark/light pattern.  I made sure to put Hot wool (soaking in hot water) into the jars full of hot dye bath to avoid felting.  After the wool was in, and comfy of course, I filled the sink with water as hot as the tap would allow, and stood the jars in the sink and left the whole thing to steep for about an hour.  (I refilled the sink with hot water about halfway through)  It was surprising just how hot it stayed in the jars.   After the hour, when I rinsed, there was quite a bit of dye runoff which was disappointing.  I had eyeballed how much dye to use.  Must really go out and buy scale sometime. 

Now I am waiting for them all to dry (were still damp this morning) so I can start carding them up.  I think I will try carding each colour alone first, and if there isn't a heathery enough feel, I might throw in a few handfuls of natural merino just to give it some contrast.   Speaking of which... this means I should probably clean out my drum carder too.  Sigh.  Always more cleaning isn't there?

It's nice to have a new project to daydream about :)

25. September 2009 14:55
by Jobo
3 Comments

Swatching, Swatching...

25. September 2009 14:55 by Jobo | 3 Comments

I am still really new at spinning, as far as experience and skills go.  I am learning more and more with each project, but still need a lot of practice :)  and one thing I am hoping to get better at is 'designing' (for lack of a better word) yarns for specific projects, and creating yarns with specific characteristics.

I decided last night to dig into the stash and card up some Angora and Merino batts, to try and make a soft lofty fluffy yarn (perhaps to use as the lining of a pair of fancy mittens?) 

I haven't really worked with many commercially available Angora yarns, so I was unsure what mix to use... so I eyeballed the proportions, using about half of a 1 ounce bag of snow white angora and about 4 ounces of Merino Top - about 10 % Angora.  I figure since my favorite angora sweater is 10 % that this should be just enough luxury, and besides, the Merino is super soft too!  A few cranks on the Old Strauch Petite later, and pulling the batts out into a roving-like prep and voila:

Clouds in a Bowl Anyone?

The bumps of fiber are super soft and super light.  I prefer to hand-pull my batts before spinning them, mostly because I find that it is easier to draft from a roving state rather than a handful-of-fiber state.  I decided to spin up a small sample, just a few yards really, to see if I could achieve the characteristics I was looking for - light, soft, airy, fluffy

Because I know I wanted "airy" yarn, I used a big whorl, and really lowered the tension so that there would be the bare minimum of twist.  I tried not to squish out all the air in the carded fiber before the twist entered the zone with a sort of modified long draw.  (I still haven't completely figured out long draw yet despite my attempts)  The singles were quite soft compared with the extra twisty sock singles I have been making lately.

I hope you don't find white fiber too boring......

I want my final yarn to be a DK or Sport weight 3 -ply, so I decided to Navajo ply the sample just for simplicity sake.  My finished 3-ply sample was around 10 - 11 WPI, which is a little larger than I need.  When I spin up the remainder of the yarn, I will have to try and spin a little bit thinner.  My swatch, knit on 3 3/4 DPN's (My favorite set for knitting mittens) worked up to be around 5.5 stitches per inch.  I am also trying to be more consistant in adding things to my Spinner's Notebook... swatches, samples, measurements so someday maybe I could reproduce the results?

The resulting knit swatch was very soft, and not too hairy or fuzzy.  I like the feel of Angora, but I don't like yarn with so much Halo that it obscures the stitch definition.  I think that's why I never liked "faux fur" yarns or felted items.  Felting can look really awesome, but I hate that it completely wipes out any semblance of the design that existed before the Felt happened.

Very Scientific Pseudo-blocking method - pin swatch to pantleg... watch out for leg!

I was a little bit disappointed with the dingy colour of this yarn.  The angora was such a pure white, and the Merino on its own looks natural, but not so beige and dirty looking, almost Oatmeal.  I know it is only for the lining of mittens, but still, I might have to dye it some interesting colour, or at least give it some pizazz.

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