Jobo Designs

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

7. June 2009 10:33
by Jobo

Spinning Shetland on a Saturday in the Sun... say that 5 times fast!

7. June 2009 10:33 by Jobo | 0 Comments

It was beautiful outside yesterday, and since the Husbeast-to-be was off playing golf with his boys, the house was wonderfully quiet...

So I snuck outside with my wheel to finish playing with that Shetland wool that had been calling my name.  (psst... hey you!  yeah you, spinner girl!  get your butt over here and play with us!  you know you wannnnnnaaaaaa...)

So I spun more singles, and measured them against my gauge... and then plied some more and more... until finally it was all done!

Usually I have a difficult time waiting until the yarn has been rinsed and the twist set.  I have patience issues - wanna touch it NOW want to knit it NOW! (I could be a 2 year old... )  But I did manage this time to hold on.  I really wanted to be able to count on the yardage I calculate, since that kindof dictates what kind of mittens I can make for Dad out of it (aka will I have enough yarn? or will I need to use a different one for the cuffs?)

Here she is soaking in a nice hot bath

Because a few parts of the batts were still a tiny bit greasy, I decided to do a bit of a Dawn wash.  Really just one "wash" and several hot water rinses.  I also wanted this yarn to shrink now, rather than later.  Thats why I chose to use hot water.  (how hot?  hot enough that I couldn't keep my hands in it for very long)

After the washing comes the drying... on a beautiful day like this, my yarn dried in a few hours.  I'm sure the fact that I wrang it out in one of those Super Shammy things didn't hurt either!  Those things suck up water from wool like a dream... I use them to remove the excess water from my wool sweaters after washing in the winter when the drying conditions are really poor around here.

It wasn't completely dry yet, but I couldn't resist another pic or two.  As I had hoped, the yarn turned out quite squishy and bouncy.  Not a bit of "itchy" or "scratchiness" in it at all! (Sorry Bart, no Itchy and Scratchy here!)  Very Soft even while still wet... I couldn't wait for it to be dry and see what it would feel like then!

And here we are... all Balled up!  Sitting like 3 ducks in a row outside by my veggie garden (which needs serious planting by the way, which is hard to muster when you know you will be moving anyways before harvest, well hopefully anyways)  It seemed that from the messiness and unevenness of the skeins after drying that perhaps the yarn did shrink some, so re-balling seemed the way to go before trying to measure the yardage attained.

During the unwinding of the skeins, I took the opportunity to measure the WPI of the finished yarn.  Yesterday using a ruler and the back of an old cereal box (no, not very hi-tech)  I cut out a basic WPI gauge to try and see how even my yarn turned out.  I had been very diligent trying to keep the size of my single even, so I was anxious to see if my careful attention had paid off...

I took 3 measurements at random intervals of each skein so I could get an average measurement. 

Skein One - 9 WPI        Skein Two - 9.5 WPI     Skein Three - 8.75 WPI

So all three were quite close to the 9 WPI I had hoped for... and of course there were some thicker and thinner bits in each skein, so I hope everything evens out in the knitting process.

Reskeined and resting in this morning's hot sun!  It is going to be another lovely sunny day around here.  I think summer has finally arrived (thank goodness)

The next part of the adventure was to see how many yards of yarn I ended up with.  I wasn't sure how much fiber I should buy to get enough to make a pair of man's mittens.  My dad doesn't have massive hands or anything, which is good probably, because I didn't end up with quite as much as I thought I would.  

Some time ago, I had calculated that my niddy noddy makes a skein with wraps approximately 60 inches around, or 5 feet.  So measuring yardage, all I had to do was measure how many wraps of the niddy I got, and multiply each wrap by 5 feet and that should give me the number of feet.

For you Math Yarnies... I'll do my work

      111 wraps (counting all 3 skeins) x 5 feet = 555 feet

      1 yard = 3 feet       so 555 feet divided by 3 = 185 yards


All finished!  here she is with all 3 skeins wrapped together for fun.  Don't you think she looks bigger that way?  Now all I have to do is measure dad and make some gauge swatches to see what needles will show off the yarn best and those mittens will be not far off.  At this point, if I am following an established pattern, I can make both mittens in less than a week (depending on how much time I am allowed to spend knitting that week) so this pair will likely take a little longer, but I can't see it taking much time at all.

One more gratuituous yarn picture, because I can.  I call this yarn "New Asphalt" because it has the same shiny lustrous dark black colour as a newly paved driveway... and some nice silvery accents like the sun is hitting it.  I think this name is exceptionally fitting because my Dad actually paved driveways for 35 years before moving on to a less physically demanding job last year at a provincial campground (which he likes very much, teasing tourists and maintaining the grounds)

More on the mitten process as I go along!

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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