Jobo Designs

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

25. September 2009 14:55
by Jobo
3 Comments

Swatching, Swatching...

25. September 2009 14:55 by Jobo | 3 Comments

I am still really new at spinning, as far as experience and skills go.  I am learning more and more with each project, but still need a lot of practice :)  and one thing I am hoping to get better at is 'designing' (for lack of a better word) yarns for specific projects, and creating yarns with specific characteristics.

I decided last night to dig into the stash and card up some Angora and Merino batts, to try and make a soft lofty fluffy yarn (perhaps to use as the lining of a pair of fancy mittens?) 

I haven't really worked with many commercially available Angora yarns, so I was unsure what mix to use... so I eyeballed the proportions, using about half of a 1 ounce bag of snow white angora and about 4 ounces of Merino Top - about 10 % Angora.  I figure since my favorite angora sweater is 10 % that this should be just enough luxury, and besides, the Merino is super soft too!  A few cranks on the Old Strauch Petite later, and pulling the batts out into a roving-like prep and voila:

Clouds in a Bowl Anyone?

The bumps of fiber are super soft and super light.  I prefer to hand-pull my batts before spinning them, mostly because I find that it is easier to draft from a roving state rather than a handful-of-fiber state.  I decided to spin up a small sample, just a few yards really, to see if I could achieve the characteristics I was looking for - light, soft, airy, fluffy

Because I know I wanted "airy" yarn, I used a big whorl, and really lowered the tension so that there would be the bare minimum of twist.  I tried not to squish out all the air in the carded fiber before the twist entered the zone with a sort of modified long draw.  (I still haven't completely figured out long draw yet despite my attempts)  The singles were quite soft compared with the extra twisty sock singles I have been making lately.

I hope you don't find white fiber too boring......

I want my final yarn to be a DK or Sport weight 3 -ply, so I decided to Navajo ply the sample just for simplicity sake.  My finished 3-ply sample was around 10 - 11 WPI, which is a little larger than I need.  When I spin up the remainder of the yarn, I will have to try and spin a little bit thinner.  My swatch, knit on 3 3/4 DPN's (My favorite set for knitting mittens) worked up to be around 5.5 stitches per inch.  I am also trying to be more consistant in adding things to my Spinner's Notebook... swatches, samples, measurements so someday maybe I could reproduce the results?

The resulting knit swatch was very soft, and not too hairy or fuzzy.  I like the feel of Angora, but I don't like yarn with so much Halo that it obscures the stitch definition.  I think that's why I never liked "faux fur" yarns or felted items.  Felting can look really awesome, but I hate that it completely wipes out any semblance of the design that existed before the Felt happened.

Very Scientific Pseudo-blocking method - pin swatch to pantleg... watch out for leg!

I was a little bit disappointed with the dingy colour of this yarn.  The angora was such a pure white, and the Merino on its own looks natural, but not so beige and dirty looking, almost Oatmeal.  I know it is only for the lining of mittens, but still, I might have to dye it some interesting colour, or at least give it some pizazz.

17. September 2009 07:30
by Jobo
1 Comments

Almost too pretty to Knitty!... Dragonfly Fibers Sock Yarn

17. September 2009 07:30 by Jobo | 1 Comments

 Gratuitous yarn Pics!  everyone likes to look at pretty yarn... don't they?

This particular Beauty is from Dragonfly Fibers... and was purchased on a Sock Yarn Binge from the Loopy Ewe.  If you like handpainted sock yarn... their selection is really excellent, and their website has various convenient ways to search for your favorites - by brand, by weight, and by colour family!  I am a sucker for pretty blues greens and browns.  I find I am always drawn to certain colourways... but it is interesting to search for colours that I normally wouldn't be attracted to.  Sometimes I find things that I love but didn't realize it yet!  (If Sheri at the 'Ewe happens to be reading... I'd love a coupon or something :P )

The colourway is 'Texas Bluebonnet'... and this yarn is their 'Dragonsock' 100% Superwash Merino.  The skein is 4 full ounces, so 390 yards - which is pretty good value.  I like to knit socks that are a little higher up on the ankle since I tend to freeze my butt off at the office (in my prime cubicle, sandwiched between the photocopier and the air conditionning vent) so the fact that there is a little extra length there is a plus for me.

Lately I have been completely intrigued by the pooling of handpainted yarns...  I think I have been reading too much of that Ravelry Thread about Pooling.  I know some people seem to think that having pooled or flashed areas ruins a pair of socks, but I find the idea fascinating.  There are always items on that thread where the maker says that they are "too pooled" or that the pooling is unattractive.  Somehow, those are always the ones I like the best!

I would estimate that these socks will have just the right amount of pool in them... with Medium Blues, fading to Greens and teals, then Chocolatey Brown.  I still haven't found just the perfect pattern yet but am actively on the search.  I've been dreaming about this yarn for a few months now, so any day I will get inspired and choose a pattern and have a go.  I think part of the reason I have been paying such close attention to the dyeing styles is that I have aspirations of dyeing my own sock yarn some day soon.  I went out and purchased some natural undyed yarn and am just waiting for the guts to get busy and messy.  I have some Landscape Brand dyes ready to go... just waiting for the mood to strike me.

  I think part of the reason I have been paying such close attention to the dyeing styles of different sock yarns is that I have aspirations of dyeing my own sock yarn some day soon.  I went out and purchased some natural undyed yarn and am just waiting for the guts to get busy and messy.  I have some Landscape Brand dyes ready to go... just waiting for the mood to strike me.

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