Jobo Designs

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

18. January 2011 09:33
by Jobo

Notions... the Gadgets we love!

18. January 2011 09:33 by Jobo | 0 Comments

notions and Christys yarn As a fiber artist... many of the notions I hold near and dear to my heart are the simplest ones:  I can't sew without a thimble.  Sure I can do a stitch or two, but much more than that - I prefer to have one of these little treasures protecting my finger pushing the needle through the fabric.  My husband thinks it's a bit pathetic... watching me hunt for my thimble so I can sew on a button.  (seriously, you can't even do a button?)

As a gift a few years ago, my Mom got me a Roxanne thimble... which is much different and much prettier than the old tarnished metal thing I used to wear.  Not that those basic thimbles don't accomplish the job, I just found that they made my finger sweaty, I sometimes got rust or tarnish smeared on my hands (not good if quilting with white thread or fabric) and I had a difficult time getting a thimble to fit properly.  Some were too big, some too small, some just didn't fit *me* in a comfortable way.  I have a half a dozen metal, leather, combination, basic thimbles of various shapes and sizes, but none compare to the comfort of my *special* thimble.

The thing I really like about the Roxanne thimble - they come in sizes similar to ring sizes!  You measure your own finger, and then order or test-drive one at a quilting store near you.  The shape of the thimble is a little different, in that it has the nail-side of your finger left to the open air, and the fingertip and fleshy part covered.  There are lots of dimples for propping up your needle, and there are various flat bits and edges to use as catches or for coaxing a stubborn needle through.


Some might say that having a 14-Carat gold-plated thimble is a bit extravagant... but I love my little thimble :)  I find that it is functional, clever, and beautiful all at the same time.  The company also makes bronze and sterling silver thimbles, but I fell in love with the dainty little gold flowers and dimples, so I guess it made sense to keep the gold one.l

I mostly use it for quilting and for the odd mending job these days... I can't wait for the next major quilting obsession to really give it a good work in.  Over the last few years, knitting and spinning have been the main passion, but I am always on the lookout for beautiful cottons and I keep on stashing for the next big quilt.  Someday I'll feel inspired and start a qulit and work exclusively on that for a few months.  The quilting bug seems to hit and take hold infectiously when it does, so chances are I will be blogging about it when it does!  I've been working on a little baby quilt for my new niece or nephew... due any time now.  Something about babies makes me think of homemade goodies :)

17. December 2010 05:25
by Jobo

Norwegian Mittens for Dad... finally rounding the bend

17. December 2010 05:25 by Jobo | 2 Comments

back of dad's mitts fish

You might remember... way back when... I had started making some Norwegian mittens for my Dad, but I got stuck.  I was using KnitPicks Pallete yarn, which is a little thinner than I have ever used for stranded knitting.  I know other people love the stuff, but I couldn't seem to get my gauge just right, and ended up frustrating myself.  I really liked the way the knitting worked out, and the way the patterns were showing, but my gauge was wonky, and I was knitting more stitches in a round than I ever have for mittens.  Needless to say, these hibernated for quite a while...

Then Christmas was coming.  fast.  darnnit.

So I decided I should rework my pattern, get some bigger yarn, like I am used to using, and just get the darn things finished.  It's the only thing that Dad has asked me to make him, like ever, and I don't want to let him down.

I went out and got some Paton's Classic Wool... which is a light worsted, but knits up great stranded on about a 3.5 - 3.75 mm needle.  It's kind of like my old faithful when it comes to yarn.  It's wool, it's dependable, and it seems to always work out for me.

I borrowed the fish motif from the Fisherman's Friend Mittens by Jorid Linvik, and the dog motif from Traditional Scandinavian Knitting by Sheila MacGregor... and rearranged them and tweaked them to make a pair of man sized, "trigger" mittens.  (i.e. where the pointer finger has it's own glove like finger and the rest of the fingers share a spot)

I am more pleased now with the way things are going together.  I think dad will love them too!


dad's mittens dog

I'm hoping to get the pair completed soon... I only have the thumbs and the tops of the main finger area left to do... and then to tie in the ends of course, and block them.  I currently don't have any man sized mitten blockers, and certainly not any to fit trigger mittens.  I guess I'll have to do the cardboard cutout thing again and cover them with plastic wrap.  Someday I'd like to buy more blockers, but that would mean making up my mind about what sizes and materials I should get.  sigh.  No more major decisions until after the holidays, k?  tks.

26. February 2010 22:05
by Jobo

Corespun Yarn - the learning process!

26. February 2010 22:05 by Jobo | 7 Comments

Today I decided to be adventurous.  Normally I stick to utilitarian yarns... the kind that are spun with a purpose.  A laceweight single for a shawl, or a 3-ply sock yarn.  I admire the "art yarns" that other spinners craft, but can't seem to figure out what people actually *do* with them!  So up until this point, the only artsy yarns that I have managed to churn out were the sloppy by-accident thick and thin yarns I got in the beginning during the learning process.

Today I broke with tradition.  I made this:


A few weeks ago I found some great corespinning tutorials by JazzTurtle (click here to go to her site) - who makes the most sparkly, fancy, unique batts and then spins them up into corespun works of art!  She has an etsy store also if anyone is interested

After carefully studying the videos several times (knowing I didn't have any batts or fiber that would be suited to this technique) I kept the idea in the back of my mind for *someday*.  Then on Wednesday when I was carding up a couple batts from some leftover wool the idea struck me!  I have been saving little bits and pieces and drum carder remnants in a bag for almost a year, knowing they would be good for something but not knowing what:  I layered them into a crazy multifiber batt!  Since they were all leftovers, I didn't really worry about wasting anything or ruining *good* fiber.  I felt very inspired by JazzTurtle's unique kitchen-sink style batts which contained lots of different textures, staple lengths, fibers and colors.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo, but the batts consisted of various layers:

#1 -  Cobalt Blue "traditional" wool thrums from MacAusland's Woolen Mill (intended for thrums but not suitable in the end)

#2 -  Creamy White Merino/Angora Blend leftover from the lining to my FiddleHead Mittens (very soft!)

#3 -  Natural Brown Merino/Alpaca Blend from my first attempt at multifiber carding

#4 -  Tea Dyed Merino Top from last summer's natural dyeing experiments

I basically just ran these remnants through my Strauch Petite one time to distribute, and did not bother to blend a second time since I wanted the colors to be distinct.  I tore the completed batt (not sure how much fiber there was) into 4 strips of about 2 inches wide, and then tore each strip into 4 chunks.  My goal in dividing the batt up this way was to try and more evenly distribute the different types of fiber (and color) in the finished yarn.

Since JazzTurtle uses plain basic Crochet Cotton for her core, and I happened to have a part ball of South Maid kicking around, I decided to just go for it! 

My skein was definitely over-spun.  Apparently this is the usual result for spinners attempting to core spin for the first time.  By about halfway through my batt, constantly chanting to myself *pedal slowwwwwwer* and concentrating on wrapping the fiber around the core without allowing it to turn into cotton-cored woolen WIRE.  Coming on the end of the skein, I was finally starting to get the hang of it.... but sadly the first half of the skein was pretty overspun.  When I was winding the yarn from the bobbin, I actually let the ball spin backwards a bit every few feet, so that extra pent-up twist could relieve itself.  I think that strategy worked ok as a salvage technique :)

I really enjoyed the way that the colors striped and marbled together along the way.  I tried to be nonchalant about the color placement and thickness of the yarn.  In her videos, JazzTurtle always says how she is creating "texture" in her yarns.  Generally my goal is to make smooth yarns, so this was really counterintuitive for me!  I kept telling myself to let the fiber take on a life of it's own.  If it wanted to be bumpy and lumpy in places I let it.  In other places it wanted to be sleek and tight to the core, so I let it do that too.  I actually enjoyed the areas where the smooth merino stayed smooth, the puffy angora and alpaca sections made little poofy clouds of fiber, and the nubbly blue traditional wool looked a bit rough and unrefined.  I'm proud of myself that I let the yarn take control on this one.

corespun 4 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Take away hints for the Wannabe Corespinner:

- treadle as slowly as you can.  Think of going as slow as you can possibly imagine, and then slow down again!

- Crochet cotton worked great as a core for me, and also makes great "leads" for your bobbins.  The stuff is pretty indestructible

- It takes some practice to keep the core taut and the fiber coming in at the right angle.  I found predrafting a bit helped to keep things running smoothly.  (This may relate to what kind of fiber you are using... mine was such a mismatch blend, it was a little hard to draft on the fly)


I ended up with around 55 yards of bulky puffy goodness.  I'm still not sure what I will make with it (maybe use it as a trim on something like a bag?)  but it was really fun to make, and I've been petting it and carrying it around with me since this morning...  maybe that's what it is... a yarn "doll" for adults who are obsessed with yarn to carry around and pet as needed?! 

Thank you JazzTurtle for the tutorials!

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