Jobo Designs

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

10. December 2014 08:08
by Jobo
0 Comments

A New Spindle... with New Fiber Too!

10. December 2014 08:08 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Sometimes we all need a little fibery treat... I ordered a new Grizzly Mountain Arts Bead Spindle recently and it came on Friday!  You can see her there second from the left... all shiny and ready to go! 

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Of course I couldn't help but get started on a new spin... to use her and some of my other favorite spindles.

I love my spindle collection... and while I know I really don't *need* any more... sometimes I just can't help it.  They're like magic wands!  Each one has a personality and specific talents.  As you can see, they come in basically every shape and size imaginable.  This handful is by a number of talented artisans:

Left to right:  Phil Powell - Bubinga with Swarovsky Crystal; Grizzly Mountain Arts - Cherry Maple Dymondwood Bead Spindle; Magical Moons - maple Russian; Bristlecone - Outlander Glindle; Grizzly Mountain Arts - Alternative Ivory Druid Egg; Bristlecone - Emerald Twindle

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The fiber is absolutely gorgeous too... a nice soft Merino Wool dyed by Ginny at FatCatKnits.  It's a gradient called "Dragonfly" in vibrant and glowing colors.  My plan is to strip it into two portions and spin from Purple, through blue and teal, and into lime green.  I want to end up with a two ply, light lace, and probably knit it into something either circular or into a rectangular stole.  Something that shows off the beautiful colors and transition.

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These bright lovelies should help keep the winter Blahs away!

9. December 2014 15:38
by Jobo
1 Comments

Yaksperiment... Experimenting with Yak Fiber

9. December 2014 15:38 by Jobo | 1 Comments

I have a good spinner friend who likes to challenge me...

She is always trying new techniques and new fibers, with the goal of creating different types of projects.

Well, the latest new fiber to try is quiviut! she is working on spinning a very fine lace weight from quiviut roving that she has... And it just so happens that I have a very small sample bag of both quiviut and yak fiber.  So I am going to play along with her.

there is definitely a learning curve with trying this yak fiber... The bag that I have is quite small, and I forgot to weigh it before I began. It's just a regular sized sandwich baggie with a few small poofs of fiber.  Some of it is a little bit compressed, so I thought it probably needed to be carded.

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How to card it is another important question... yak is a very short staple fiber at maybe an inch long in the bag that I have. That means worsted techniques an inchworm drafting are not going to work here at all. I carded my fiber into some tight Puni style rolags. 

The first one I carded I spread the fiber over the entire card but I think that was a mistake. I had to take the fiber off in three portions and I used small knitting needles to wrap the fiber around. I compressed it a little bit so it would hold on to itself during spinning.

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The next time I decided to just put the fiber on the first third of the the hand card and remove it in one single go with a larger knitting needle. This time I used 5 mm ones. And I did not compress nearly as much. I think that the diameter of the knitting needles better matched the staple length of the fiber and resulted in an easier to spin roll of fiber.  You could almost see the fiber spiralling out of the end of the rolags.

As for the feeling of spinning yak... I can only describe it as though it feels like I am spinning dryer lint... Lol. After hours of playing with this stuff I went and got a handful of lint from the laundry just to see how they compared.  The lint was really, really short, and I couldn't keep it together much past drafting.  I could draft maybe two inches, and then it fell apart before winding on :)  Yak really does feel a bit linty.

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I had to really adjust my usual spindling technique to make it work... I ended up using a kind of modified long draw technique. It seemed to work best when I drafted quite far from the spindle tip. I tried to keep my drafting triangle at least a foot or more from the spindle tip and held the fiber very very lightly. It felt almost like chewing gum stretching... But don't even think about stretching too far or this fiber breaks into little useless strings. The first roll I tried, I think I threw away as much as made it onto the spindle.

After a little experimenting and testing I decided I should try spinning some of the fiber directly from the bag to see what that was like too.  I fluffed up a piece and went for it - and shockingly, even though it had been a bit compressed, the fiber was clean and untangled and it drafted just as easy from this preparation as my pain-in-the-butt rolags had.  Lesson to self - simplicity.  Try it.

In the end, I just flew by the seat of my pants on this one, yielding a really soft, light two ply laceweight.  I thought it should spin finer, but this weight is what felt reasonable.  My yarn is very inconsistent, lots of slubs and thick or thin bits.  There are lots of fibers that I've tried, only to find them scratchy and unpleasant.  I'm surprised to say, that yak feels almost like cotton to me.  It's pretty limp and not very stretchy.  It's soft enough for close contact to skin... and I think I'm confident in saying I'd be cool with Yak fiber underpants in the case of a zombie apocalypse.  I'd probably sweat my derriere off, because this stuff is supposed to be mega warm though.

My friend is going to knit hers into a bookmark swatch... so I'm going to do the same... here is my unblocked progress:

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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

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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!)

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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

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