Jobo Designs

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

25. March 2011 08:15
by Jobo
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FO Friday: Tassel-Hat!

25. March 2011 08:15 by Jobo | 0 Comments

A friend recently had a cute bouncing baby boy... so of course, I wanted to be able to make him something! 

feb 14 2011 024

feb 14 2011 022Baby hats are a great project for many reasons... Basically they are a quick knit, so instant gratification; they don't take up much yarn; and they are so stinking cute!

For this little hat, I mostly winged it using measurements from some other free square hat patterns.  I just cast on a guess at the right number of stitches to work in the round (the yarn is worsted weight 100% super soft hand dyed Merino... left over from these mittens)  worked about an inch in twisted rib then plain stockinette until I thought it was tall enough for a toddler noggin and cast off the top with a 3 needle Bindoff.  The tassels were an afterthough, but I really enjoyed working on them!  I had hoped to make a hat that might fit the little guy a little longer than just his newborn phases, so it is a little big, but almost fits the little dude already at just over a month old. 

I also made a pair of teensy mitts to match, with fluffy 100% Angora (Ruttiger Brand) yarn used as soft thrums.  Basically I didn't cut thrums, but I wove in the loosely plied single as if it was a thrum with short floats so that little fingers woudn't get stuck, but would still feel the warmth that Angora brings.  The mitts fit right away! (Sadly I was not smart enough to photograph them before giving them away)

Baby Liam is as cute as a button... and I hope someday I'll get to see him with his Tassel-hat on!

24. March 2011 10:25
by Jobo
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Silver Strawberries: Finished!

24. March 2011 10:25 by Jobo | 2 Comments

Finally... after many months of work...

Ruttiger and Silver Strawberries Stole

My "Silver Strawberries" stole is complete!  The finished shawl is so light and soft... just like the Bunny it was grown on!

Strawberries Stole floor folded JPG

I guess I should start back in the beginning:  The yarn.  When Ruttiger was a baby, and going through his first Molt I was obsessed with keeping as much of his first coat as possible.  Many people say that the baby fur isn't much of a yield, so it isn't worth keeping really.  I was unbothered by this though, and carefully kept every wisp of fur off of the brush and plucking carefully stored away in a box for safe keeping.  In the end, I didn't have that much of it (maybe 2 - 3 ounces) but I really wanted to make something special out of it some day.

bowl of battsAfter doing much research about Orenburg lace, I thought maybe this might be a good way to use it up.  Traditional Orenburg lace is made from a specific breed of Goat's down, spun by hand cobweb/gossamer weight, and sometimes plied with silk for strength.  I know Angora is no substitute for mohair or goat down, but I *did* have an abundance of it, so I thought maybe I could try it anyways? 

I took poofs of Ruttiger's fur and lightly carded them with pinches of steely carbonized bamboo and creamy soft Merino wool, hoping that those few pinches of longer fiber would lend some strength to the delicate angora strand.  I'd estimate that those small bits of bamboo and wool would amount together to no more than 5% of the total weight combined.

imageFor added strength and shine, I spun a very fine single of pure white Tussah Silk.  I've learned that I absolutely love spinning silk on my Golding Dragonfly ceramic inset spindle.  It's just the right weight for spinning fine yarns - 0.7 ounces - and is perfect for portable spinning too.  This little guy tucks perfectly into my purse! 

The plying process was a bit challenging for this yarn... I thought doing it on the wheel made more sense, but I found it really difficult to apply the correct amount of twist.  My first ball of yarn was quite underplied, though I thought I was probably twisting way to much.  I decided to ply the second and third balls of yarn on a heavier Golding spindle.  This was surprisingly much easier, and actually faster too.  Those two teensy plies took a lot more twisting than I would have imagined.

Once the yarn was completed, I decided to hunt for a pattern.  I had purchased Galina Khmeleva's book Gossamer Webs Design Collection, but the patterns in that book are quite large, and a lot more complicated than I wanted for a beginner Orenburg project.  I saw online where another Ravelry user had drafted a chart for a beginner stole with some traditional stitch motifs.  Basically it was just a chart, no instructions.  Since I had the book to use as a reference, I decided that it would be a learning experience... and just went for it! 

The pattern can be found here:  Orenburg Stole: Just a little strawbery by Russian Lily

In retrospect, I really don't think anyone could work this shawl from the schematic-style pattern alone.  You would need some help, either from a real live Russian knitter, or a book of some sort to be able to make sense of it.  Having said that though, it was a very enjoyable knit, and I learned so much doing it!  I know that someday I want to try one of those super-large gossamer wedding ring shawls.  I think I need a bit more practice at gossamer spinning, but I will definitely make one some day!

Now for the shawl itself!  I love it.  I adore it. I am so freaking impressed with myself!  I know that isn't the most humble thing.  I love it so much that I almost don't care!  *wink wink*

 

Strawberries Stole floor edging

Let's start in the beginning... the edging!  Orenburg shawls are knit with the edgings in one piece.  You begin the piece by knitting the bottom edging, turn the corner and pick up stitches back across for the main lace panel.  Then you knit the edge all the way up both sides as you go, then finish the piece off by working in the body stitches into the border as you go across.  It sounds devilishly complicated, but is quite straightforward if you follow along with a reference like the Gossamer Webs book.  Apparently most Orenburg Gossamer Shawls use a "5-hole" tooth border.  Mine was the simplest version... but you can count above... 5 holes in, then 5 holes out.  repeat.

Strawberries Stole diamond

The main body of the shawl features several traditional lace stitches.   Orenburg lace is knit in "garter" stitch.  Unlike other traditions where the "wrong side" rows are mostly purled across, when working in garter lace, you actually knit the wrong side rows.  This felt quite weird at first, but was easy to get used to.  I wasn't sure how I would like the finished look, but after blocking, the garter opens right up, with a quite pleasing finished appearance!

The other thing I was surprised to learn was that in Orenburg lace, there are no directional decreases.  All decreases are done with a simple K2tog, or K3tog.  This is a big change for me after making so much Estonian style lace.  Directional decreases are much more important apparently when working in stockinette lace (where the wrong side rows are purled)

Strawberries Stole halosee the halo?

As the name would imply, this stole features the "Strawberry" motif for the edging and the little flower-looking parts inside the graphic diamonds.  The other main features is a "peas" pattern - which actually has a pattern stitch on both sides of the piece.  This took a little getting used to, but was fun to challenge myself to pay attention to both sides of the work.

Strawberries Stole floor folded

The finished shawl blocked to 24 x 55 inches and only weighs 1.8 ounces!  Wearing it feels like wearing a cobweb around your shoulders.  It is so light and airy... but with the silk it's stronger than it looks.  I've been wearing it around a bit, trying to gauge how well it will last.  I don't want to wreck it, but at the same time, I can't bear the thought of it hiding in a box forever either!

Strawberries Stole windtossed 3

Trying to photograph it... the light wind was enough to toss the stole in the wind!

Strawberries Stole windtossed 2

I love the way it fluttered along in the breeze.  See how the sun picks up the silk shine?

Strawberries Stole whole 

All in all - another successful lace project.  I learned a ton, and plus the stole is extra special because it's made with my Baby's fur!  That makes it an extra special item.  This is the first project where I've raised the animal, prepared the fiber, spun the yarn, knit the stole, and completed the entire thing myself!  Yay Me!

28. February 2011 12:27
by Jobo
0 Comments

Yarn Candy Monday: Plum Special... Bobbins and Skeins

28. February 2011 12:27 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Plum Special BobbinI've been doing a little more spinning lately... which I find to be a little easier on the head than more complex knitting tasks.

Yes, there are precision movements, and paying attention to many factors (twist, single size, drafting, color placement, etc) but there is no counting.  I don't need to worry about how many stitches, or things lining up, or manipulating needles or yarn.  With spinning I find the process is just intuitive and mostly done by "feel" instead of by conscious thought.  It's refreshing for a change.

This particular yarn is a custom spin job for MC, a kind lady who contacted me about spinning up some fingering weight yarn for her to knit a shawl.  We talked color, then I dyed the fluff, and we've been collaborating on what the finished yarn should be like.

Plum Special skein 1 Plum Special Skein 1 natural light Plum Special Skein 1 a

Plum Special round

Now off to complete the rest of the yardage... I have about 280 yards in this skein, but I need to have 800 or so!

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