Jobo Designs

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

13. July 2009 09:00
by Jobo

Swallowtail Progress

13. July 2009 09:00 by Jobo | 0 Comments

This was one of those weekends where crafting took a backseat to LIFE in general.  We are in the midst of trying to sell our house, so that means impromptu showings, open houses, and lots of prep work. 

We had been slacking bigtime on getting the yard work done before the wedding.  in fact Slacking may not even be the best word for it.  Marky and I both knew that the flowerbeds were starting to resemble an overgrown amazon weed pile... but neither of us had the will power to get off our butts and go outside and do something about it.  Well this weekend, we ripped out weeds and edged flowerbeds, moved things around, and generally removed the junk, reorganized what we had and attempted to make progress.  I must admit, the situation looked pretty dire in the beginning, but we really made a big difference in the end.   The vegetable garden had also gotten neglected this year.... we finally planted a few "fast growers" and hopefully in a few weeks we will have some basics coming up.  We planted mostly green leafy things (aka:  lettuce, spinach, oregano, basil, rosemary) which are edible before they are full grown anyways.  Usually, we do tomatoes but they tend to completely take over the garden (with mammoth efficiency) so we didn't plant any this year.

So basically... I had Really dirty fingernails... but didn't accomplish much fibery or knitterly this weekend.  I worked on my spinning a very little bit each day... just enough to not get kicked off the Tour de Fleece (it says spin each day... it doesn't say for how long!!)

In the evenings I did get to work on my Swallowtail Shawl a little bit though...

This is coming along quite nicely so far.  I haven’t had any segments of the yarn that felt like they would drift apart or like they were “weakened” in any way… despite being singles that are twisted the wrong way!


I have almost completed the “budding lace” portion of the body section… I’m finished of 13 of the 14 repeats of that chart!  Then the next section is a new lace pattern.  I’m not sure whether it is big enough though with just the 14 repeats – debating doing a few more, but I’m not sure the ramifications of whether the extra repeats will mess up the Lily Border or not?

I am also debating on whether or not to work the nupps.  I know that I have lots of resources to learn how to do them properly (I got a copy of Knitted Lace of Estonia while I was away off Island last month)  but I still kind of like the way that the beads look… and plus the added stress of worrying if I will run out of yarn!  Nupps apparently take a LOT of yarn to work… more than one would think, whereas beads are a pain to put in, but look sparkly and pretty… so many decisions so little time.  I have to either use the beads or not… which means I either have to go out this weekend and buy some, or take my chances with the nuppie things.

I am really enjoying watching the blue and grey and lavender shades fly by my needles.  The changes are subtle enough that sometimes I don’t even notice that I’ve moved through another colour… now that's relaxing.

I had been working on straight needles (since that's all I had in that size at the time) but recently switched over to a set of circs.  I'm really liking the feeling of the circs versus the straights for some reason... I usually hate circs!  maybe I'm coming over to the Dark Side?  shudder!

More later :)

10. July 2009 23:41
by Jobo

Week 1: Tour de Fleece - Accomplis!

10. July 2009 23:41 by Jobo | 2 Comments

Imagine... a whole week with spinning everyday...

Some weeks you have to wonder when you find time to work on anything besides laundry :P

I made a special effort to do my spinning every day this week despite feeling tired out with a cold, and itchy with that darn mystery rash... Tonight I finished my Angel Batt Yarn!

I decided to go with the straight bamboo single for the second ply.  I had been kind of thinking that maybe I would try something new with the plying, but really my blended single was not very thick, so I couldn't do anything too crazy with it...   Bamboo has a lot of shine, and I didn't want that to overshadow the softness and pillowyness of the other single.  I chose to make the bamboo single a little thinner, so hopefully this woudn't happen.  I was right... even though the bamboo single is a little narrower - it just gleams next to the puffy cloudyness of the blended single, and looks pretty much the same size.

I ended up with about 65 yards of slightly thicker than fingering weight yarn... maybe sport weight ish. I also chain plied the remaining bamboo single... approximately 35 feet of that!  In comparison, the 100% bamboo single is shiny and really reflects the light.  I think maybe this would make a nice border for a project (i.e. maybe Sarjjte's booties use the bamboo 3-ply for the upper portion of the bootie?)  and I do have another 3/4 lb of bamboo upstairs if I feel the need to go spin up some more

very pleased with results :)

this stuff is SOFT beyond... and the bamboo makes it feel smooth too.  As I have been handling it a little there is a soft angora halo that is starting to show.  I think after a wash and a good thwacking that halo will grow a little more too.

Now I just need to come up with a project for it... I am half considering going back upstairs to the studio and making another batt just so I can double my stash of this yarn and double the possibilities of what to make with it ;)

One of Marky's coworkers just had a baby girl (their first) so I would like to make her something... maybe with this yarn?  I gues I will have to see what it looks like after it's bath.  I think I have enough to make booties.... But my brain is fried from a really long day at work.  Maybe I had better recount the yardage in the morning after a good night's sleep before I get my heart set on anything

9. July 2009 22:33
by Jobo

Angel Blend - Heavenly Fibers!

9. July 2009 22:33 by Jobo | 2 Comments

After the slightly embarassing Mohair mishap...  I decided to go ahead with my original plan #2 for Tour de Fleece and do some Blending and Drum Carding!

I have been collecting fibery things for over a year now, and one thing that always seems to get me all excited is trying new fibers.  I have a small stash of many different types of fibers:  silk hankies, soy silk, tussah silk, angora rabbit (in various shades), Merino top, Polwarth top, Dark Chocolate Merino, Chocolate Raw Alpaca, Nylon for Sock Yarn, Mohair (uggggg), Chiengora (from the family pets)....

So I figured that a blending experiment might be fun?  Since I already had lots of goodies kicking around?  (Does it ever feel like your stash is calling your name?)

The Raw Ingredients:

I didn't really weigh or measure anything... I just started tearing and picking until I had a decent sized handful.  The goal here was to get more comfy with Blending things on my Strauch Petite... not to card enough wool to spin a sweater.  For a lot of other people the TdF is a chance to try new things and learn, so I figure I should take advantage of that too!

I know that in a lot of commercial yarns that the angora content is not super high... usually somewhere around 10 - 25 % so I tried to use a fairly small proportion of that.  The Bamboo was so shiny and smooth, I used a little more of that than angora.  I had purchased the Soy Silk originally to try making laceweight on a drop spindle... thinking that it was long and strong fibers like actual silk.  When I realized that this particular Soy Silk only had a staple length of 2 inches max, and was slippery as heck, I decided against the original plan and put it away for a rainy day... ta - daa Rainy day.  The Merino?  think of it as super soft "glue" that holds the other fibers together.

Most of the references I've read suggest to use fibers of similar staple length when you blend fibers together.  In this case, the angora, merino and bamboo were all similar in staple length, and the soy silk was short... but I threw her in anyways!  I thought it might add some gold sparkle / shine to the mix so I just went with it.

I layered all the fibers onto the drum (instead of feeding it in) in an alternating pattern with Merino first, last, and in between the layers of the luxury fibers.  Aka merino, angora, merino, soy silk, merino, bamboo, merino...

To blend a little further (without allowing the separate "ribbons" of fiber disappear into each other)  I ran it through the carder one more time... and then rolled and admired.  

I really wish the camera could show you all of the subtle little ribbons of bamboo and soy silk... they gleam in the light.  Unfortunately it was dark already here... these pics were taken under my Ott Light.  The angora lent it's baby bunny softness too :)  It's quite obvious touching the batt that there is angora in there!

I finally figured out how to fold batts into those beautiful "snail shell" configurations you see on all the pro fiber sites.  The shape is actually kind of fitting in this case... the bamboo shine and softness of the merino looks a bit like the inside of a shell coated with mother of pearl.

All Spun!  I tried to spin this with very little twist with hopes of lofty and soft yarn.  I think I would like to ply this with something thread like, but I don't want to use standard sewing thread.  I am thinking maybe a skinny bamboo single?  the shine would contrast the blended single I think.  Will sleep on it for now, since I won't be able to spin untill tomorrow after work anyways.  I also have silk hankies, so they would also be a possibility for the second ply....

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