Jobo Designs

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

24. October 2014 09:00
by Jobo

Uncle Bob's Lined Mittens

24. October 2014 09:00 by Jobo | 1 Comments

A few months ago... at an extended family dinner... Uncle Bob asked me:  "What kind of yarn makes the Best, Warmest Mittens?"  Well... ask the obsessed wool lady a loaded question will ya? I know he was expecting me to talk his ear off, so away I went!

He was looking for a better hand warming solution. He had gone out and purchased fancy leather gloves, and other types of mittens only to be disappointed with hands that were still chilly and stiff after his 15 minute walk to work.  He had thought that by buying a supposedly "nice" pair that he would have warm hands. 

We live in Eastern Canada - translation:  It snows here. A lot. There is often a wind chill factor drawing the "feels-like" temperature well below freezing. 

I'm not surprised that leather gloves wouldn't do the job properly. Even with a lining, without the safety-in-numbers of the fingers to keep each other warm, leather just isn't a great insulator for warmth. It might keep the wind or moisture out, but not ideal for the chilliest of days. Maybe as driving gloves, when you're in your car?

The Yarn:

So... enter the world of Wool.  Warm, even when wet, and versatile - if you want warm mittens you probably want wool.  After measuring Uncle Bob's hands, we went right to talking about what kind of wool would be best to keep his digits toasty. I suggested maybe a straightforward superwash wool outer shell, with a soft and fluffy layer inside for a lining to trap the warm air nice and close to the skin.  We decided to go with Knit Picks yarns, because they have great reasonably priced products, in lots of appealing colors, and the quality is excellent value.

- Outer Shell: Knit Picks Swish Worsted - 100% Superwash Wool in Cobblestone Heather

- The Lining: Knit Picks Reverie - 80% Baby Alpaca/20% Acrylic in Wine.

The finished mittens will need to be hand-washed because of the baby alpaca lining, but overall should be easy to wear and simple to rinse and lie flat to dry if they get soiled.

The Design:

- working from Uncle Bob's measurements, I set off to create the perfect pair of mittens!  I've made (no joke) probably 50 pairs of mittens in various sizes over the years.  I decided to just wing it and not bother looking for a pattern.  Mittens are my thing...

- He wanted nice long cuffs to tuck into his jacket sleeves. I decided to do a bit of an offset alternating cabled rib, just to make them look unique. It's basically glorified 2x2 rib... comfortable, stretchy and resilient.

- The outer shell of the mitten was knit in plain stockinette - simple and smooth looking.  I like to Kitchener the tops of my mittens closed to avoid the pointy look.

- The gauge of the lining yarn / needle combo was a bit different from the outer shell... resulting in the need to change stitch counts and rework the increases a bit. The result though, was a nice and lofty feeling lining that fits just perfectly inside the shell.  I carefully sewed the lining in, using small invisible stitches.  You'd never know from looking at the outside that it's in there!

- The final result is a delightful 2-layered approach to the Maritime winter season.  The layers are thin enough to not feel clumsy or awkward, but you can feel that warm difference moments after you put your hands inside.  That baby alpaca warms almost instantly, and the wool keeps that warmth inside.  I'd bet even after a snowball fight, when the outer shell gets a little damp - these suckers will still be toasty warm and comfortable on the inside!

Uncle Bob's Reaction: "Do they come with a Mitten String?  If I lose these, my wife is going to kill me!" (Aunt Christine was in the corner giggling!)


23. October 2014 07:45
by Jobo

TBT: Inspiring Oneself...

23. October 2014 07:45 by Jobo | 1 Comments

While trying to get myself excited about starting to blog again, and creating a new Facebook page, to try and reach a different audience... I started looking at some old project photos to try and get my mojo running.

Let's just say, I didn't get a large volume of projects completed in the last few years, but I love love love many of the things I did manage to make :)  Just seeing them makes me daydream about the fun I had through the process, and makes me wonder what else I can come up with.

I've been sketching in my design book again, and going downstairs to the studio and just staring at the piles of yarn.  It's a little depressing that I don't really have much time or energy to throw into this kind of stuff lately, but I know I can get back there eventually... someday.  The days when I sleep more than a few hours, I'm actually feeling almost human.  This morning, on the other hand - is a two-coffee-minimum type of morning!

Without further ado:  Here are some of the photos that caught my eye! (Click the Photos for links to some original articles)

Magic Mirror Mittens


Vernal Equinox in Handspun Merino Silk


Lilac Leaves Estonian Stole


17. October 2014 09:00
by Jobo

Tardis Slippers... the Yarn and Concept

17. October 2014 09:00 by Jobo | 2 Comments

The Yarn

I'm a self admitted yarn snob.  I love silks and wools... I'd go into the studio and roll around in a pile of them on the floor... but I digress.

For Slippers - the cushiest, squishiest wools are not very durable, and therefore are not very practical either.  In the interest of slipper preservation, I decided that this was one of those times where the "fancy schmancy" yarn really wasn't going to give me the best finished product in the end. 

Ever wonder why our Grandmas knit slippers from that Plasticy Phentex stuff?  It was INDESTRUCTABLE!  (albeit, likely flammable, ugh, wearing near a wood stove?  melty-hot toes!)  I think I still have the pair from 10 years ago around here somewhere.  The old plastic Phentex yarn was basically just a rough acrylic, but intended for really hard wearing uses, like on our feet, or in a tough blanket.

So I wanted something in between!  Some of the squish and comfort of a real wool, but some of the hardwearing and practical qualities of an acrylic yarn... Bring on the Wool Blend!

Loops and Threads Cozy Wool

- Purchased at Micheals... this 50% Wool / 50% Acrylic Blend yarn should do the trick!

- It comes in lots of delightful colors, and in a 127g ball - I'm hoping it goes pretty far.

- My inspiration pattern is done in a super bulky yarn (5-6 wraps per inch) so this one fits the bill

- This yarn has fairly easy care instructions... still hand wash, and lie flat to dry, but the acrylic content makes it less likely the recipient will be able to felt the slippers by accident. (I hope)

The Pattern

I've seen the new Drops Design ( slippers everywhere... Pinterest, Facebook, Ravelry... the insides of my eyelids when I'm trying to sleep...

There are half a dozen different designs all featuring the same thing:  Chunky, squishy yarns.  Oversized, almost Ugg-ish Slipper Boots.  They look warm and super comfortable.  I've honestly been looking for a reason to make a pair for months now, and had been avoiding the yarn section at Michaels because I need more yarn like a hole in the head knew I couldn't resist!

When this new project came along, I wondered if there was a way

to modify one of the Drops Patterns to make it Whovian enough to work.  I really like the shape of the foot on the "150-4 Little Red Riding Slippers"... so I think I'm going to start there and then see if instead of the cabled ankles, try and add a grid reminiscent of Tardis windows and add some kind of custom buttons to Doctor it Up.

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