Jobo Designs

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

23. October 2009 08:00
by Jobo
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Can you see those Fiddleheads off in the distance?

23. October 2009 08:00 by Jobo | 0 Comments

If you squint and really use your imagination you might be able to see them off in the distance… or at least now you can see what they will be made of when the time comes:

yellowpurpletealangora

I have finished with the carding of all 5 contrasting colors and have also finished spinning all but the lime green!  I’m not sure how that happened exactly… since we have been extra busy around home the last few weeks what with our trip to Newfoundland for the family wedding.  I guess it really is true that sitting and spinning for a few minutes each day makes a difference in your progress.  I have 120 yards of angora lining finished too… but I need 140 yards, so I will likely do another skein just to be sure I have enough.  The lime green rolags are waiting for me at home on the coffee table.  The other big job will be the carding and spinning of the plain natural merino for the main color of the mittens.

skeins2 

I am actually pretty surprised at how consistently I have been spinning.  I know there are some thicker and thinner areas, but overall I think I have stayed between 11 - 13 WPI for most areas of the skein.  It will be interesting to start swatching and see how my yarn looks – and see if it will work for its intended purpose. 

skeins 

Boy, that yellow stands out!  I am quite shocked at how bright that golden yellow turned out… compared to the muted tones of the blues purples and green.  I think this has something to do with the intensity of the Landscape Dyes I have been using.  I started with that brand of dye simply because the prices were reasonable, no mordants were required, and there was a source close to home that sold them.  I have been satisfied with the results with the landscape dyes, but was a little disappointed with the intensity of the blues this time.  I had thought that the wools would have been more deeply dyed by looking at the dye baths.  I think my next dye investment will be for a different brand – maybe Ashford Dyes?  I still need to research some more before I decide.

4. July 2009 16:43
by Jobo
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Do it Yourself Wraps Per Inch Tool

4. July 2009 16:43 by Jobo | 0 Comments

I've been dragging my feet buying a WPI gauge.  I saw some really neat round/dowel carved ones, and some plastic flat shaped ones, and some wooden carved ones with mother of pearl inlays... then I saw a very plain wooden one that someone made from a paint stirrer stick.

SERIOUSLY Jo!  (I thought to myself)  Make one yourself... DUH.



So I hunted around the house for a piece of cardboard, grabbed a ruler and basically cut a 4 inch by 1 inch rectangle of cardboard and cut a 1 inch long notch into one side of it.  Just to be fancy (I'm pretty convincing, but I'm not sure even I can make cardboard from the back of a notepad exciting lol)  I decided to make a ½ inch cutout also on my WPI gauge... so if I ever want to measure laceweight I wont have to wrap 50 times.

Armed with my cardboard creation I set out to measure the WPI of some yarn scraps kicking around the house... shown here - Leftovers from my Kermit the Frog "It Ain't Easy Being Green" Jaywalkers in Fleece Artist Basic Merino Sock  ( see socks here )


All WPI articles I have read are very specific - carefully wrap yarn around gauge so each wrap is adjacent to but not on top of or squished into the adjacent wrap and... DO NOT WRAP YARN TIGHTLY around your gauge.  Some go so far as to suggest that instead of holding the yarn and wrapping it around the gauge, to rotate the gauge and allow the yarn to wind itself around by the force of gravity alone.   

Me?  well I just made sure I was not pulling the yarn tight or overlapping as I wrapped around.  Ideally in working with my own yarn, the goal should be to do a measurement at various points along the skein and take an average in case there were some inconsistancies in my Spinning.  I usually cheat too and use a little stash know how... and hold the yarn up against several commercially made and banded yarns so I could see how they measure up.

Here is one more up close pic for you detail people who wanna make your own:

 

 

7. June 2009 10:33
by Jobo
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Spinning Shetland on a Saturday in the Sun... say that 5 times fast!

7. June 2009 10:33 by Jobo | 0 Comments

It was beautiful outside yesterday, and since the Husbeast-to-be was off playing golf with his boys, the house was wonderfully quiet...

So I snuck outside with my wheel to finish playing with that Shetland wool that had been calling my name.  (psst... hey you!  yeah you, spinner girl!  get your butt over here and play with us!  you know you wannnnnnaaaaaa...)

So I spun more singles, and measured them against my gauge... and then plied some more and more... until finally it was all done!

Usually I have a difficult time waiting until the yarn has been rinsed and the twist set.  I have patience issues - wanna touch it NOW want to knit it NOW! (I could be a 2 year old... )  But I did manage this time to hold on.  I really wanted to be able to count on the yardage I calculate, since that kindof dictates what kind of mittens I can make for Dad out of it (aka will I have enough yarn? or will I need to use a different one for the cuffs?)

Here she is soaking in a nice hot bath



Because a few parts of the batts were still a tiny bit greasy, I decided to do a bit of a Dawn wash.  Really just one "wash" and several hot water rinses.  I also wanted this yarn to shrink now, rather than later.  Thats why I chose to use hot water.  (how hot?  hot enough that I couldn't keep my hands in it for very long)



After the washing comes the drying... on a beautiful day like this, my yarn dried in a few hours.  I'm sure the fact that I wrang it out in one of those Super Shammy things didn't hurt either!  Those things suck up water from wool like a dream... I use them to remove the excess water from my wool sweaters after washing in the winter when the drying conditions are really poor around here.



It wasn't completely dry yet, but I couldn't resist another pic or two.  As I had hoped, the yarn turned out quite squishy and bouncy.  Not a bit of "itchy" or "scratchiness" in it at all! (Sorry Bart, no Itchy and Scratchy here!)  Very Soft even while still wet... I couldn't wait for it to be dry and see what it would feel like then!



And here we are... all Balled up!  Sitting like 3 ducks in a row outside by my veggie garden (which needs serious planting by the way, which is hard to muster when you know you will be moving anyways before harvest, well hopefully anyways)  It seemed that from the messiness and unevenness of the skeins after drying that perhaps the yarn did shrink some, so re-balling seemed the way to go before trying to measure the yardage attained.

During the unwinding of the skeins, I took the opportunity to measure the WPI of the finished yarn.  Yesterday using a ruler and the back of an old cereal box (no, not very hi-tech)  I cut out a basic WPI gauge to try and see how even my yarn turned out.  I had been very diligent trying to keep the size of my single even, so I was anxious to see if my careful attention had paid off...

I took 3 measurements at random intervals of each skein so I could get an average measurement. 

Skein One - 9 WPI        Skein Two - 9.5 WPI     Skein Three - 8.75 WPI

So all three were quite close to the 9 WPI I had hoped for... and of course there were some thicker and thinner bits in each skein, so I hope everything evens out in the knitting process.



Reskeined and resting in this morning's hot sun!  It is going to be another lovely sunny day around here.  I think summer has finally arrived (thank goodness)

The next part of the adventure was to see how many yards of yarn I ended up with.  I wasn't sure how much fiber I should buy to get enough to make a pair of man's mittens.  My dad doesn't have massive hands or anything, which is good probably, because I didn't end up with quite as much as I thought I would.  

Some time ago, I had calculated that my niddy noddy makes a skein with wraps approximately 60 inches around, or 5 feet.  So measuring yardage, all I had to do was measure how many wraps of the niddy I got, and multiply each wrap by 5 feet and that should give me the number of feet.

For you Math Yarnies... I'll do my work

      111 wraps (counting all 3 skeins) x 5 feet = 555 feet

      1 yard = 3 feet       so 555 feet divided by 3 = 185 yards

 



All finished!  here she is with all 3 skeins wrapped together for fun.  Don't you think she looks bigger that way?  Now all I have to do is measure dad and make some gauge swatches to see what needles will show off the yarn best and those mittens will be not far off.  At this point, if I am following an established pattern, I can make both mittens in less than a week (depending on how much time I am allowed to spend knitting that week) so this pair will likely take a little longer, but I can't see it taking much time at all.



One more gratuituous yarn picture, because I can.  I call this yarn "New Asphalt" because it has the same shiny lustrous dark black colour as a newly paved driveway... and some nice silvery accents like the sun is hitting it.  I think this name is exceptionally fitting because my Dad actually paved driveways for 35 years before moving on to a less physically demanding job last year at a provincial campground (which he likes very much, teasing tourists and maintaining the grounds)

More on the mitten process as I go along!

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