Jobo Designs

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

10. June 2012 14:51
by Jobo
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Catching Up – swatching again

10. June 2012 14:51 by Jobo | 0 Comments

I’ve been knitting, honest! I’ve just been having a hard time getting to the computer what with the baby, and the release of Diablo III… I just never seem to get on here!

I’ve started swatching for another project… this time a sweater for Romy from some delish Alpaca fleece I got in a care package from Stella (over at Twist of Fate Family Farm)

Alpaca for Romy's sweater

The yarn is DK weight…. a blend of lovely Fawn Alpaca and Merino (60/40) spun into a traditional 3-ply yarn.  I really like how the wool gives that little extra bit of bounce to a lush soft yarn :)  The buttons are natural wood, and match just perfectly…. though I’m not sure if I will be dyeing the yarn in the end or not.  Beige is a lovely color, but for a teensy little girly, maybe not the most appropriate color?  I can’t remember where the buttons came from, but they are Guttermann brand, so likely bought somewhere where sewing threads are sold…

I have a few ideas for pattern, but I doubt I’ll be knitting the sweater exactly  according to any particular design.  You know me… I have to mess with things, and I rarely follow a pattern exactly anyways :)

27. February 2012 10:09
by Jobo
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Silk and Satin… Angora

27. February 2012 10:09 by Jobo | 0 Comments

I've made a little more progress on my silk/satin angora project idea…

the Silk:
- Honey colored natural Tussah Silk – which I figured would match the satin angora perfectly… and it really really does!

the Satin:
- Beautiful naturally colored Satin Angora fiber from Twist of Fate Family Farm Bunny "Lady in Red"
- Nice long staples, smooth draws into lace, light beautiful halo.  Addictive.  I could spin this alllll day, every day.

Spun: 
- very fine laceweight, one ply of each delicacy, spun on light Zebisis Designs stone whorl spindles
- Small sample knit to do a swatch and test... 60 yards.  Seems to be just right for the pattern
- so far, spun half of the angora, did not weigh it though, so guessing.  I have approximately 300 yards of fine single... I might do some silk next so I can do some more knitting when the fancy strikes.
- The color of the silk and the angora are absolutely perfect for each other!

Pattern:  Frozen Leaves by Anusla
- as above, I wanted something that could be easily made larger or smaller depending on how much yardage I get.
- I really like the airyness of the swatch, and the light halo that is coming out.  I wanted the lace to be really light and open because I know the angora will be extremely warm.  I also decided to try adding beads, though I’m not sure I chose the right ones… I’ll have to ponder it longer before I add more in.  I can always break the two I put in and have them gone if I want.

The pretty:

frozen leaves swatch

24. August 2011 08:03
by Jobo
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Playing... with samples

24. August 2011 08:03 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Often when you buy a new spindle... a handful or chunk of some sort of fiber is included - presumably so you can test out the spindle and learn how to use it properly.  But what do you do with all of the little yarn samples?  they aren't really big enough to make an entire project with, but at the same time it feels wrong to just throw them in the leftovers bin with all the other tiny leftover balls of yarn.  (If I was smart, I'd likely throw some of that stuff away, but you never know when you need waste yarn to do a provisional cast on, or tie tomato plants to a trellis...)

diamond pattern 4 swatch

This is what became of the sample of Ashland Bay Merino that came a few weeks ago with a Turkish spindle I acquired... I didn't weigh the fiber itself, and I didn't measure the final yardage of the thread - but there was lots and lots.  I'd hazard a guess of somewhere between 100 - 150 yards of light lace weight.  The thread itself is 2 ply, and a little bit lighter than a standard lace. 

I love the color!  This is the "Violet" solid colorway.  I often shy away from solid colors, but I think I should try something like this again.  I liked the simplicity of the spin... no handpainted colors to arrange, or heathers to worry about even spinning so the colors would mix appropriately.

The swatch is another piece from the Haapsalu Shawl Book (which I've raved about many times before, and no doubt will again).  I've been working different samples from the book with the hopes that someday I will be capable of knitting myself an authentic (or as close as possible to it) Haapsalu shawl from handspun yarn.  Traditionally these are knit from 100% wool... which has a nice amount of bounce and stretch, and apparently is the best thing for knitting Nupps (the little bobble-ish things you see in the center of the diamonds above.  Nupp rhymes with "soup")  This particular pattern is one of the "Diamond" motifs, named Diamond Pattern #4 in the book.  The swatch was knit on size 4 mm needles, with a slipped stitch on the left and right edges to make an easily blockable rectangle of lace.  I like the way that the slipped stitch creates the chain-like edge... Perfect for simple blocking.  The finished sample swatch is 9 x 18 inches - if I had had 3x as much, it would have almost been a whole narrow scarf!  Yeek!

People have asked before what I actually do with my lace swatches, and the simple answer is - basically nothing.  I have a little pile of lace pieces.  I pet them, and play with them, and generally abuse them by carrying them in pockets to see how the yarn holds up to wear.  I've thought of sewing them together or something, but they are all different shapes and sizes.  The thought also crossed my mind of having some of the pretty ones framed or something.  Mostly, the swatches just help me to learn about the yarns I make, practice blocking intricate laces, and also practice knitting complex and foreign lace motifs.  It's like test-driving a pattern/motif before really committing to it ;)  I know some people hate swatching with passion, and feel that it is a big waste of time.  I think I might be a swatch-a-holic!

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