Jobo Designs

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

27. April 2011 11:03
by Jobo
2 Comments

Supported Spindles Galore!

27. April 2011 11:03 by Jobo | 2 Comments

Last Christmas, after the delicious meal at my Grandma's house with all of the extended Sonier Family... I spent a little time relaxing and spinning on my Gripping Yarn Russian Spindle.  Several of my Uncles are woodworkers, but one of my uncles in particular, Tim, works on a lathe and does beautiful wood-turning!  He examined my spindle, and thought that he might be able to make another for me from his own materials. 

Well, these are what he came up with!  (Recognize my Walnut Russian in the top left?)  I love the uniqueness and character of both!  Uncle Tim isn't a spinner, but he is definitely a creative woodworker.  He chose some unique woods, and came up with some unique decorative designs for the spindle tips.  Both spindles are nicely finished with tung oil to a semi-glossy satin smooth finish.

support spindles

The Blonde Spindle is made from some sort of Maple (I can't remember if it's spalted or bird's eye) and features some fancy scrollwork instead of a traditional bulb shape.  I haven't weighed her yet, but it feels like it weighs about the same as the 30g walnut does.  I tried just a quick spin with a lock or two of angora,  but she seems to spin nicely.

support spindles 3

The Purple Spindle is made from rich dark Purple Heart - and is quite heavy!  It likely weighs as much as both of the other two put together!  I think it will make a great plying spindle, because of the weight.  I have to sand down the tip of this one again, since it got dropped and the very end broke off.... but I think it will spin much better once that part is fixed.

support spindles 2

My plan is to get some very fine sandpaper sometime this week and hopefully fix that tip, and then do some sample spinning and have some fun playing with my new toys!  It's getting warmer here now that spring has semi-arrived... perfect weather for sitting cross-legged out on the patio with a supported spindle!

24. March 2011 10:25
by Jobo
2 Comments

Silver Strawberries: Finished!

24. March 2011 10:25 by Jobo | 2 Comments

Finally... after many months of work...

Ruttiger and Silver Strawberries Stole

My "Silver Strawberries" stole is complete!  The finished shawl is so light and soft... just like the Bunny it was grown on!

Strawberries Stole floor folded JPG

I guess I should start back in the beginning:  The yarn.  When Ruttiger was a baby, and going through his first Molt I was obsessed with keeping as much of his first coat as possible.  Many people say that the baby fur isn't much of a yield, so it isn't worth keeping really.  I was unbothered by this though, and carefully kept every wisp of fur off of the brush and plucking carefully stored away in a box for safe keeping.  In the end, I didn't have that much of it (maybe 2 - 3 ounces) but I really wanted to make something special out of it some day.

bowl of battsAfter doing much research about Orenburg lace, I thought maybe this might be a good way to use it up.  Traditional Orenburg lace is made from a specific breed of Goat's down, spun by hand cobweb/gossamer weight, and sometimes plied with silk for strength.  I know Angora is no substitute for mohair or goat down, but I *did* have an abundance of it, so I thought maybe I could try it anyways? 

I took poofs of Ruttiger's fur and lightly carded them with pinches of steely carbonized bamboo and creamy soft Merino wool, hoping that those few pinches of longer fiber would lend some strength to the delicate angora strand.  I'd estimate that those small bits of bamboo and wool would amount together to no more than 5% of the total weight combined.

imageFor added strength and shine, I spun a very fine single of pure white Tussah Silk.  I've learned that I absolutely love spinning silk on my Golding Dragonfly ceramic inset spindle.  It's just the right weight for spinning fine yarns - 0.7 ounces - and is perfect for portable spinning too.  This little guy tucks perfectly into my purse! 

The plying process was a bit challenging for this yarn... I thought doing it on the wheel made more sense, but I found it really difficult to apply the correct amount of twist.  My first ball of yarn was quite underplied, though I thought I was probably twisting way to much.  I decided to ply the second and third balls of yarn on a heavier Golding spindle.  This was surprisingly much easier, and actually faster too.  Those two teensy plies took a lot more twisting than I would have imagined.

Once the yarn was completed, I decided to hunt for a pattern.  I had purchased Galina Khmeleva's book Gossamer Webs Design Collection, but the patterns in that book are quite large, and a lot more complicated than I wanted for a beginner Orenburg project.  I saw online where another Ravelry user had drafted a chart for a beginner stole with some traditional stitch motifs.  Basically it was just a chart, no instructions.  Since I had the book to use as a reference, I decided that it would be a learning experience... and just went for it! 

The pattern can be found here:  Orenburg Stole: Just a little strawbery by Russian Lily

In retrospect, I really don't think anyone could work this shawl from the schematic-style pattern alone.  You would need some help, either from a real live Russian knitter, or a book of some sort to be able to make sense of it.  Having said that though, it was a very enjoyable knit, and I learned so much doing it!  I know that someday I want to try one of those super-large gossamer wedding ring shawls.  I think I need a bit more practice at gossamer spinning, but I will definitely make one some day!

Now for the shawl itself!  I love it.  I adore it. I am so freaking impressed with myself!  I know that isn't the most humble thing.  I love it so much that I almost don't care!  *wink wink*

 

Strawberries Stole floor edging

Let's start in the beginning... the edging!  Orenburg shawls are knit with the edgings in one piece.  You begin the piece by knitting the bottom edging, turn the corner and pick up stitches back across for the main lace panel.  Then you knit the edge all the way up both sides as you go, then finish the piece off by working in the body stitches into the border as you go across.  It sounds devilishly complicated, but is quite straightforward if you follow along with a reference like the Gossamer Webs book.  Apparently most Orenburg Gossamer Shawls use a "5-hole" tooth border.  Mine was the simplest version... but you can count above... 5 holes in, then 5 holes out.  repeat.

Strawberries Stole diamond

The main body of the shawl features several traditional lace stitches.   Orenburg lace is knit in "garter" stitch.  Unlike other traditions where the "wrong side" rows are mostly purled across, when working in garter lace, you actually knit the wrong side rows.  This felt quite weird at first, but was easy to get used to.  I wasn't sure how I would like the finished look, but after blocking, the garter opens right up, with a quite pleasing finished appearance!

The other thing I was surprised to learn was that in Orenburg lace, there are no directional decreases.  All decreases are done with a simple K2tog, or K3tog.  This is a big change for me after making so much Estonian style lace.  Directional decreases are much more important apparently when working in stockinette lace (where the wrong side rows are purled)

Strawberries Stole halosee the halo?

As the name would imply, this stole features the "Strawberry" motif for the edging and the little flower-looking parts inside the graphic diamonds.  The other main features is a "peas" pattern - which actually has a pattern stitch on both sides of the piece.  This took a little getting used to, but was fun to challenge myself to pay attention to both sides of the work.

Strawberries Stole floor folded

The finished shawl blocked to 24 x 55 inches and only weighs 1.8 ounces!  Wearing it feels like wearing a cobweb around your shoulders.  It is so light and airy... but with the silk it's stronger than it looks.  I've been wearing it around a bit, trying to gauge how well it will last.  I don't want to wreck it, but at the same time, I can't bear the thought of it hiding in a box forever either!

Strawberries Stole windtossed 3

Trying to photograph it... the light wind was enough to toss the stole in the wind!

Strawberries Stole windtossed 2

I love the way it fluttered along in the breeze.  See how the sun picks up the silk shine?

Strawberries Stole whole 

All in all - another successful lace project.  I learned a ton, and plus the stole is extra special because it's made with my Baby's fur!  That makes it an extra special item.  This is the first project where I've raised the animal, prepared the fiber, spun the yarn, knit the stole, and completed the entire thing myself!  Yay Me!

3. December 2010 11:59
by Jobo
0 Comments

That's no "Cop" out...

3. December 2010 11:59 by Jobo | 0 Comments

I've come up with a unique way (or at least I've never seen anyone else do it this way... so I thought I should share) to unwind a full cop of singles from my drop/supported spindles...

Basically here it is in a nutshell:

- It can take a very long time to unwind a full cop by hand into a ball for plying or for storage.  I always end up frustrated, often tangled, and bored with all of the repetitive winding.  I'd rather be spinning or knitting!

- My solution is to wind the spindle's contents off onto a spare spinning wheel bobbin, where it can be kept until plying/finishing, in a neat and orderly compact form.  I can then take the bobbin and wind a plying ball if I want, I can ply directly from several bobbins on my lazy Kate, or in the case of something like silk singles, I can wind directly from the bobbin to the niddy noddy for finishing.  The best part is that I can have my spindle back right away to start on the second cop if I wish, and deal with the finishing of the singles later on.

- I can set up my Ashford Traveller such that the drive band is around the bobbin only, and the bobbin will basically wind up the yarn from the spindle (without adding or removing any twist from the single) - and it can wind much faster than I can by hand.

- it was obvious that my supported spindles will stand comfortably in a bowl while I wind with the wheel... but I discovered that my suspended spindles (aka my goldings and other pretty toys) will stand on their hooks and spin in the palm of my hand quite freely.  It's like holding a spinning top!  ... and it tickles a little!

- Please check out the video... I think pictures say things easier than words sometimes!

I hope this technique helps spinners out there to wind singles more efficiently - More spinning and knitting time for all! (and let them all have cake also.  the end.)

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