Jobo Designs

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

16. February 2010 12:15
by Jobo

Iron Knitter Round 3: Colorwork Socks!

16. February 2010 12:15 by Jobo | 46 Comments

the battle for the title of Iron Knitter is RAGING on... round 3 began after an unexpected delay on Sunday morning.  The "Supreme Commander" had been injured in a car accident, but is recovering, and her lovely husband managed to keep us all in line and forwarded us the pattern as soon as the emergency cooled off.  Helen - Glad you're ok, and on the mend!

chart The Round 3 challenge is Colorwork... also known as knitting a design using alternating stitches of 2 or more different colors and following a chart.  Usually this kind of design features intricate patterns, geometric designs, and sometimes detailed pictures or graphics

There are many different techniques to handle the two different yarns.  Some knitters simply knit stitches with one yarn, and then drop it, pick up the other color, and continue on going back and forth that way.  Other knitters use a fancy yarn-holding thimble that allows you to keep both yarns wrapped on the same finger and alternate your stitches by angling the thimble finger forward and back.  Myself, I prefer to do my colorwork holding one color in each hand.  For one color you basically work your knit stitches as always before - with yarn held in the right hand.  The other color gets held in the left hand in a similar manner as when knitting continental style, and stitches are "picked" through in the same manner.  This took me quite a while to master, but I find it does a really good job, and I can just fly along at it. 

If you are interested in learning this "two-handed" technique, check out the Philosopher's Wool Company - they have a little video excerpt available streaming on the site, and they sell really neat fair-isle patterns and kits.  You should see this woman knit fair-isle.  Must be seen to be believed!  (linky here!)

Shop Around the Corner Socks, by Helen Waittes, feature some standard style fair-isle diamonds and diagonals-and-boxes and also some little 'buildings' laid out like a city block.  Generally, I am not attracted to patterns (either knitting or quilting) that feature country-style motifs like little houses, but I still think this project will have value for me... pushing me to really focus on my tension and even stitches for colorwork technique.  I also plan to challenge myself and work an "afterthought" heel (see tutorial coming tomorrow!)shop around the corner 1


I currently have one sock completed, and have used the following modifications: 

- toe up!

- contrasting color heels and toes

- plain foot

- required chart section with a few added plain rows to help balance the chart

- 2x2 rib cuff in main color instead of Contrasting color


I didn't want to give away too much until I get the pair completed... I'll keep you posted!

25. August 2009 18:01
by Jobo

Merino-liscious! more spindling with Golding

25. August 2009 18:01 by Jobo | 1 Comments

I've been playing around with my Golding some more over the last few weeks... kind of a novelty maybe?  A new toy to play with?

It has actually been quite nice to work at a spinning project that I can actually take along with me, kind of like I take my knitting with me.  I was able to bring along some fiber and work on my latest yarn while sitting around chatting at my inlaws place on the weekend.  I really enjoy working on my wheel, but for reasons different than the spindle perhaps.  Really when you think about the methods and mechanics of how one would spin on a spindle vs spinning on a wheel, there are some obvious similarities, and also some obvious differences, but I think that's what makes them both so enjoyable as unique activities.

Spindling is quite a bit slower for me than wheel spinning, especially since I haven't had as much time to cultivate my spindling skills as I have to hone my wheel spinning.  Although, apparently for experienced spindlers, the process can yield yarn just as fast as a wheel spinner.  Maybe when I have had more practice I will be more efficient.  Already I can make longer stretches of single at a time than I could in the beginning, and my actions are less clumsy and awkward. 

And what am I spinning?

Fleece Artist 100 % Merino - in greens/blues/purples

I was aiming for a fairly thin 2-ply yarn, and was trying a new technique with this one.  I wanted to end up with a yarn that had long stretches of colour, where both plies lined up colour-wise all along the yarn (with slight transitions where the strands overlap in colour of course)

Close up!

So I took my lengths of roving and fluffed them up carefully (Since they had been squished in a bag in the stash for quite some time) and then as evenly as possible, I divided the roving in half lengthwise.  I tried to eyeball it as closely as possible, and since I had carefully fluffed the fibers, it was easier to separate.  In the end I had 2 (almost) identical halves, and planned on spinning each half separately and then plying them together, hoping that both singles would be similar enough that the colour stretches would line up quite closely.  My roving was approximately 60g, so I hoped that I could fit 30 g on my Golding at a time without too much trouble. 


Once I had spun each half, and wound them off of the spindle onto some cardboard tubes, I was ready to ply.  I didn't think the finished yarn would fit on this spindle, since the cops themselves pretty much filled the shaft, I didn't want to chance having to splice.  (Sorry, I didn't think to take photographs of the full cops)  I decided to ply on the wheel (both faster and more orderly)

This is what I ended up with:  around 350 yards of fingering-ish weight yarn... with nice colour transitions.  8 transitions in all - Lime Green, to Teal, to Blue, to Green, to Olive Green, back to Lime, then Blue and Teal again.  

My goal was to have a light yarn that I could knit a scarf or shawl out of and hopefully highlight those transitions.  I'm thinking something like Ysolda's Ishbel?  Anyone have any suggestions?






7. August 2009 18:24
by Jobo

Not Mary Kate and Ashley Socks (and her Royal Highness: Queen Kitchner)

7. August 2009 18:24 by Jobo | 1 Comments

Another pair of socks off the needles... and even got all the ends woven in and worked a successful kitchener toe!

I used to be really afraid of toe-grafting, but I think I am finally over it.  I think part of the reason I always felt like I was awful at kitchener was that I thought the toe should look "finished" as you go... and after some reading of help sites and tips from other people I realized that most people work the toe and then have to gently tighten and bring the stitches together.  When the graft was first done, it looked like a messy unorganized pile of stitches, but after inserting my blunt yarn needle carefully into each stitch all the way across and nudging each stitch into place, (similar to tightening shoe laces) my graft is indistinguishable from the rest of the knit toe.  even the ends of the graft are clean and disappear once the end is woven inside. 

No longer will I shy away from traditional sock patterns for fear of her Royal Highness Queen Kitchener!  and neither should you!

My favorite How-to-Kitchener article is this one from Knitty:  clear, concise, useful, and with great pictures too!   With some careful attention and patience, I was able to work the graft following these directions step-by-step the first time through.

All in all, very satisfied with my second pair of Jaywalkers, and also with the striping/patterning in the yarn.  I think yarn made with this technique almost looks like it has watercolours splashed on... with the gentle blending and shifting colours.

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