Jobo Designs

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

13. June 2009 09:27
by Jobo

Breaking the Rules... Refusal to ply :P

13. June 2009 09:27 by Jobo | 3 Comments

Faced with a dye lot dilemma I cracked under pressure...  I couldn't decide what to do with the second bag, and I didn't want to waste all that lovely lavender and blue loveliness - I decided to leave it as singles.

This would be my first attempt at singles, so there were many things I did not know.  I.e.  how twisty should singles be so that they are still soft but not so twisty that you have a completely kinky mess!  Single ply yarns tend to be a little bit biasy anyways, so I've come to learn, so I figured that since I had tried to use a "minimal" twist in this yarn anyways that maybe it would be okay once it was washed.

So I wound the bobbins onto my Niddy Noddy and held my breath while I pulled one end of the skein off.... I was sort of expected super twisty disaster... but instead here is what it looked like:

Not nearly as messy as I thought.  It was kind of interesting too how the twist seemed to make a twirl about every inch or so.  I'm not sure if this is a sign that the twist was fairly even?  since it all decided to kink at even intervals? (or is this just wishful thinking? I think my consistancy HAS gotten better over the last year)

Another pic, because it's actually kindof pretty.  The sections of blue and grey combine to make a kind of Lavender color... and the polwarth is very clean and almost shiny.  I had a hard time putting it in the bath... I wanted to keep touching it.

Next, the soaking and drying.  I decided to put the skeins into very hot water to soak, and thwack it well once it had cooled off enough to touch.  I hoped that would be enough to hold it together.  It seemed that later on winding it into a ball that it did seem fairly strong, though I'm still not sure.  If it isn't strong enough, I may have to bite the bullet and find a plan C...

After the soak, there really wasn't much kink left, but to be sure that it evened out as much as it could, I strung some half-empty cleaner bottles from the skeins (Ignore the horrible coloring... this is my laundry Room)  Since it is almost summertime here, the drying conditions were so so and the skein was pretty much dry by the morning.  (it's not inappropriate to bring a damp newly made skein of yarn to work to show a friend is it?  oops.)

Here is one skein all finished!  (There are two, and goodness they looked great all snuggled up together, and better still nestled together as one skein... but some bozo was toooo impatient to wait for sunshine to take a picture before she wound number two into a ball.  She thought she could start knitting sooner... lol)

Here is a slightly blurry closeup... but it shows the colour so nicely.  Soft blue and lavender ripples.  Almost reminds me of the purplish colour you see as the shadow under big puffy white clouds on a sunny day.  I think I will call this finished yarn "Lavender Skies"

And here she is all wound up and ready to go.  Now I just need to find a pattern.  I'm thinking of making some sort of shawl/wrap/scarf?  Something pretty light duty that won't wear out fast or get all nubbly, but still a garment that will flatter the softness and lightness of the yarn.  My coworkers couldn't believe that this yarn was 100% wool (one gentleman even asked if it was cotton or something) because there is absolutely no itchy wool feel.  The finished texture is super soft and super squishy.  I ended up with about 750 yards or so of this yarn, so definetly enough for a small shawlette or a nice lacy scarf.  The final count was about 22-25 WPI and I used 4 ounces of fibre.


** Now I have come to realize days later that when you make singles you are supposed to twist in the opposite direction so the finished yarn has a specific twist, but I think I am going to try working it anyways and see what happens.  Another raveler suggested if it comes "unwound" in my knitting and gets to weak to use, that perhaps I can crochet something out of it, since crochet doesn't tend to untwist the yarn in the same direction as knitting it does. **


Happy spinning/knitting all :)

8. June 2009 17:19
by Jobo

Playing with Polwarth

8. June 2009 17:19 by Jobo | 2 Comments

Some time ago on a girls shopping trip I bought some hand dyed polwarth top... over at London-Wul

It had looked so cutsie in it's little bag I couldn't help myself really.  I bought 2 bags of 1/4 lb each (about 8 ounces total) and started spinning the first bag over the weekend.  I thought they were the same dye lot, but today when I went to dig in to bag number two I got a surprise... erm... well sort of.  bag number two had a bunch more vivid blue and dark grey bits than the first one!  I guess they will have to be separate projects now since I have 2 bobbins of singles done already and can't incorporate the new coloured bits all throughout the yarn.  I'm a little disappointed, but I guess it will be okay in the end.  This is lovely stuff, very soft and straight, spins effortlessly really.

Here is what the first bag looks like spun into singles:

Mostly grey and blue shades, this bag is more homogeneous with less variation in both colors of grey and blue, whereas the second bag has a bigger range of colour.  I'm toying with the idea of abandonning my original plan of making a  traditional 3 ply for my mom to make mittens out of... I'm just not sure what I can make of it instead.  Will have to ponder this one for a bit I think.

Here is the pic of the 2nd bag... Anyone got any ideas?

I suppose I could 2 ply it, using one dye lot for each ply... but then that's no good for mittens (which was the reason for the purchase originally)

Noob mistake... not looking at all the fiber before starting!  if I had looked I probably would have planned differently.  ugh.

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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