Jobo Designs

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

4. April 2009 10:45
by Jobo

Strawberry Thrum Mittens...

4. April 2009 10:45 by Jobo | 1 Comments

dreaming of strawberries and sunshine? it may be summer where you are... but it's still snowstormy here!  You know what they say about little old Prince Edward Island... if you don't like the weather, its okay!  wait a minute... it's likely to change...

So even though spring has supposedly sprung, the 2 feet of snow in my yard has me still mad about mittens.

The latest pair - a Bright Strawberry Pink Thrum Mittens... with soft white merino thrums reminiscent of strawberry seeds.  

The yarn:
Belfast Mini Mills 3-ply Merino (100g skein)

this yarn is soft and lofty... perfect for something like mittens where you want to trap warm air next to the skin.  In this case, the thrums were also merino wool from the same mill, and equally as soft and lofty.  Some people like little thrums (i.e. my mom's mittens usually have a little but less thrum) but me?  Im all about the poof... maybe I go a little overboard, but seriously... if you are going to bother embedding such soft cotton-candy fluff inside... I think you need to put LOTS.  Hey, Go Big or Go Home.

This is the second skein of this yarn that I have used... the first being a heathered blue yarn I used to make some warm cozy wool socks for the Husbeast.  I like the overall texture and consistancy of this yarn, and find it pleasing to work with.  I sometimes find wool itchy on my fingers but not this stuff by a long shot.  There were some sections of the skein that were a tiny but thicker or thinner, but no knots in the whole thing.  I always like that when you have a continuous skein, with no big knits or sections you need to cut out.  I am a hater of weaving in ends.  I know I'm a big girl, and I should get over it, but I still do go to great lengths to NOT not not weave in ends.  I am a baby sometimes.

I think I'd like to try this yarn on something larger sometime... like a sweater perhaps?  It seems to make a nice smooth solid cloth in stockinette, and I think would make a nice warm fall jacket/sweater.  The ladies at the mill have great taste in colours too... I'll have to look next time I pop in.  They had some delicious Olive Green... one of my favorite clothing colors.

Rating 4/5 balls of yarn

The Pattern:

My motto these days has been "easy does it".  With a busy home life, travelling an hour each way to get to work, and trying to sell our house... I don't have a lot of extra brain cells to spare!  I have been making mittens since I was a kid myself, so I normally just improvise things, but I was careful this time to make some notes as I went so I could share things with you folks out in blog land.

I started by taking some measurements of my own hands, I usually make a med/large sized mitten if making for myself to wear.  Since I had planned on using a standard thrum pattern, I wanted to add some extra Girly interest - what better way than by adding a cabled cuff.  Normally I would make cuffs for anything in a standard K2P2 ribbing (I dislike working K1P1, and avoid it where I can) so I decided to cable every 5th row.

Also, to break the monotony, I decided to add my thrums alternating back and forth zigzag, rather than the standard grid pattern often seen.  I added my Thrums every 4 stitches, so all sections of the mittens had to be in multiples of 4 stitches to make things work out evenly. 

Pattern is in the works... will be up here and on ravelry soon, just needs test knitting now... which is kind of scary.  I'm still such a newbie when it comes to writing out patterns!  you should see my notes... more pictures than words.  Most projects I make, I try and make notes about what I have done so that all relevant parts match, i.e. sleeves, and things that are made in twos.  To combat the problem, I often make both mittens or both socks at the same time on two sets of needles, so I dont "forget" how I did something.

I'll keep ya posted!

24. March 2009 12:48
by Jobo

Did you know... 2009 is the International Year of Natural Fibres?

24. March 2009 12:48 by Jobo | 11 Comments

I know, I'm a little behind in the times... someone who is in love with fiber as I am should have been all over this sooner!  But anyways here it is:

Pretty much every year the United Nations designates a special/important/relevant topical theme to the Year with the goal of encouraging the world to take notice of important issues - and hopefully draw attention and prompt discussions about these issues that affect the whole world as we know it.  Some of the past "Year of the" titles include:  

     1971 International Year for Action to Combat Racism & Racial Discrimination    

     1979 International Year of the Child

     1981 International Year of Disabled Persons

     1987 International Year of Shelter for the Homeless

     1993 International Year for World’s Indigenous People

     1996 International Year for the Eradication of Poverty

A lot of the yearly designations have been focussed on major social, economic and human rights issues, but in the past 10 years, have also focused on agricultural issues (i.e. last year 2008, being the International Year of the Potato - a little near and dear to me as one of my little island home's main exports is Potatoes) and cultural and health issues (i.e.2005 was the International Year for Sport and Physical Education,  2002 was the International Year of Culture Heritage)

This year - Is the International Year of Natural Fibres. (see here for a really interesting website all about this)

I really hadn't thought all that much about the real value of natural fibres, and how important they are to basically every culture in the world.  Myself, knitting and spinning is a pass-time and a hobby.  They don't pay the bills, or provide me with sustinance or shelter.  But for some, processing natural fibre is an absolute necessity - a way to clothe oneself, or make a living.  I also hadn't considered the fact that in a lot of areas of manufacture, synthetic fibres are becoming replacements for these traditional ones, and world economies are changing, some are suffering too.  

The goals of this Year, copied directly from the website:

     ** Raise awareness and stimulate demand for natural fibres;

     ** Promote the efficiency and sustainability of the natural fibres industries;

     ** Encourage appropriate policy responses from governments to the problems faced by natural fibre industries;

     ** Foster an effective and enduring international partnership among the various natural fibres industries. 

For those of you who maybe aren't as obsessed as I am with natural fibre... here are some examples:
Wool:  sheep, angora, goat, canine, bison... and many others 

Silk:  from silkworms... who make cocoons of wound super strong smooth fibre

Flax:  long strong fibres from a plant... processed into linen fabric 

For more examples and information,  please check out the official website for the International Year of Natural Fibres


Also, in honour of such an interesting and exciting event, is giving away 3 copies of a new book:

     Shear Spirit: Ten Fiber Farms, Twenty Patterns, and Miles of Yarn by Joan Tapper and Gale Zucker. 

Please go to their website to check it out!


Laterz... Fiber-Peeps!  

Jobo ouuuut.

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