Jobo Designs

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

30. July 2009 10:10
by Jobo
2 Comments

Much Ado About Nothing... really.

30. July 2009 10:10 by Jobo | 2 Comments

It's been the kind of week where I've been working on lots of things, but not really accomplishing anything huge and fascinating or anything like that.

UFO's are everywhere, new projects are tempting too!  I've been just playing a little with all sorts of things and trying to make a little progress at a time.  I was sick on tuesday and basically layed on the couch all day.  I didn't really even knit.  that's saying something.

My "Not Mary Kate and Ashley" socks are really coming together.  I have sock number one done now except for the toe grafting, which I will try and finish on my lunch break later.  I cast on the second sock last night, and finished the ribbing on the cuff, and then I fell promptly asleep on the couch!  I will try and post some pics of the first sock tomorrow... I should have time to take pics before it gets too dark outside.

I have also been working on mark's afghan a little, but am not enjoying it very much.  It's the second time I've worked this pattern in the last year with the exact same colours.  So the inspiring factor is pretty low on this one, except for the fact that it's a special blanket for my Honey.  If he wasn't as excited about it, I'm sure I would never work on it.  The real thing that's turning me off though isn't so much the repetition factor... I really really hate the yarn!  I've been getting more and more spoiled when it comes to yarn!  I understand that acrylic yarn totally has a place in the knitting world... but after going from fancy yarn back to cheap acrylic (Red Heart!)  I can really feel the squeak of the plastic on my crochet hook.  It feels almost icky!  I've worked with some other acrylics lately that didn't feel so gross... but in particular one colour that I am working in this afghan... sets my teeth on edge the way it feels on the hook.  I'll just have to grit my teeth and get through it.  I've calculated that I can do a diamond motif and tie in the ends in about 15 minutes or less.  If I can just do a few each day, it will be done soon enough.

Nightsongs is also making some progress... and has been sitting politely on the coffee table piled neatly on top of her pattern, staring at me asking for more attention, but I have been a little tired in the evenings, and am afraid to mess her up.  Need to learn how to do Lifelines.

My plan is to take some photos of these projects for you tonight, and have a better post tomorrow.  No-one ever said that ALL knitting was exciting... some knitting is just.... well.... errrr knitting.   It will get me somewhere eventually.

In the interest of gratuitous yarn pictures... some photos of my dyeing session last weekend... to get you through another gray and raining day (or at least it's gray and rainy here.  would rather be home knitting on the sofa than be here at work dying of boredom ) 

This is 100% Merino Top... dyed with Wilton's Icing Colours.  Looks like Bubblegum Icecream - blue and pink.  Hoping it will mix when spun to make a purplish shade.

26. July 2009 11:09
by Jobo
1 Comments

Hi, my name is Jobo, and I am a New-Project-a-Holic...

26. July 2009 11:09 by Jobo | 1 Comments

why is it that when you finish one project... you often feel the desire and inspiration to start a couple more?

Yesterday I finally finished another pair of thrum mittens that had been sitting on the needles for a few monthes hibernating... which felt good :)  I always like knowing that I finally completed something, that it turned out, and that another project is tidied up.  (The pile of UFO's is rather large these days, I take my small victories where I can!)  Then in the happy afterglow of a successful finished object.... it hit me!  Gee, you have that sock yarn you just finished... and a whole bunch of great ideas!  Cast on Cast on!

So I folded like a cheap suit... and I cast on another pair of socks:

Not Mary Kate and Ashley - Jaywalkers



armed with my latest sock yarn creation, I set out to find an acceptable pattern.  I knew that since the yarn was spun from handpainted roving, that the 2 balls were nowhere near identical.  Some people apparently have a compulsion to always wear socks that match perfectly - I on the other hand have worn mismatched socks since highschool.  Now when heading off to work, or somewhere serious, generally my socks match, but the idea that homemade socks can be more Fraternal twins and still be ok is fine by me.  I know other knitters who carefully align yarns to make self striping socks with identical lines, toes and heels.  For this pair my plan is to just knit, and see what happens.  Mary-Kate and Ashley might be indecipherally identical, but these Jaywalkers won't be!

I wanted a design that would keep me interested (aka not plain ribbing or stockinette) but one where the yarn's gradual changes and variations would be lost in heavy patterning either.   Even though I had just barely finished a pair of Jaywalkers, for some reason the elements of that particular pattern kept sticking in my mind.

Pattern in hand, I began to "swatch" - aka cast on the first part of the pattern, knit a few rows and see if the size looks appropriate.  My yarn is a little larger than standard sock yarn, but then again, the Fleece Artist Merino I had just worked with felt a little thick compared to some others I had worked with.  Following the pattern as is, my sock would have been very large, too large for me anyways, so I decided to modify things a little.  Instead of having 7 stitches between each inc/dec fot he pattern row, I decided to decrease to 5 stitches, and see how it went.  This meant I started with casting on 60 stitches instead of 76.

So far they look pretty good, but now I am afraid they might be too small.  When I slide the sock over my foot, I can get it on, but there is a little resistance in going over my heel.  Others have remarked that because of the inelasticity of the zigzag fabric,  that it can be a bit tough to get the socks over the heel, but that they feel good after that point.  I think I will knit on past a heel and see what it feels like to put on after that point.  Something tells me though that I will have to frog and start over with 68 stitches.  Will keep you posted on that!



I am really happy with the effect created with the pattern... subtle zigzags in colours that fade from yellow to pink, with hints of green and beige in there too.  It is fun to knit along, and see that in the last 10 rows I have knitted such gentle and blended waves.  I am pleased to see that my hand spun yarn is even, and smooth.  Marky said that you would almost think I knew what I was doing!  ( I guess that's a compliment? )

I even like the way the slip stitch heel looks!  Anyways, I should go and play outside, it's beautiful and sunny outside today for a change.  I might even go knit outside (though I should probably be cutting the lawn instead... gross)

 

23. July 2009 11:14
by Jobo
1 Comments

Takes the cake!... erm Icing! - Dyeing with Wilton's Icing Colours

23. July 2009 11:14 by Jobo | 1 Comments

On the weekend I decided it was finally time for me to get back on the dyeing experiment bandwagon... so I dug out some goodies and got to work!

About 6 months ago I purchased 10 pounds of wonderful Merino top, for the express purpose of playing with and dyeing... and maybe someday when I get half decent at it, dye some to sell?  I plan on buying some more professional dyes, but the closest LYS that sells them is 2 hours away, so needles to say the plans are there, but I am still using food colouring dyes for the moment.  I also plan on trying some Kool Aid dyeing in the next few weeks.  I want to make purple yarn for my mom as a special treat, and I think maybe Grape Kool Aid will be one of the easiest ways since we know that Wilton's Icing Colours tend to separate depending on the colour you are in search of.

This partcular day the goal was just to play with what I already had in the house.  I decided to try a modified "kettle dye" approach.  I soaked my merino in water + white vinegar for about an hour, then poured the wool and soak into large glass pyrex baking dishes, leaving enough water to cover the wool.

Then I mixed up my icing colours with hot water and a little vinegar for good measure, and using a children's oral medication syringe, I squirted the colours all over the wool trying to keep the puddles somewhat separate.  I was hoping to keep a little of the undyed white areas, since I like the way these look in some of my past projects.  (I find the depth of colour is interesting when there is some "white" there to shade the colours... gives more variations and subtleties)  I know some spinners out there HATE seeing any undyed fiber in their finished braids.  I'm not so opposed to it, especially when I'm dyeing for my own use.

Once the dye had been applied, I popped each baking dish into a 350 degree oven, one at a time, for about 10 minutes, or until steam started coming off the water.  I kept each tray hot but not boiling for about an hour, and then left them to cool completely.  Once cool, I rinsed carefully in a sink full of cool water and hung outside to dry. 

This is one of the combinations I ended up with:

"Painted Daisies" - 2 x 4 oz. braids of 100% Merino Top

Excuse the dreary pictures... I took these after dark one night so I could start spinning it right away.   It rained cats and dogs last night in a big thunder storm.  We got completely soaked leaving the grocery store, the rain was coming down in buckets!  not the best weather for snazzy photographs exactly

After a little drafting and then spinning.... this:

became this:

... which was promptly 3 plied:  2 strands of painted roving and one strand of undyed white merino top (to try and tone down the colour a little bit, mellow out the Bright Yellow!)

 

Here is the finished yarn peeking out the top of my purse (in my drawer at work) it was just staring at me from over there so I couldn't help but take it's picture.  The yarn fades from yellows into pinks, into creams, but in a random fashion, so I'm not sure exactly what it will knit up like.  I am thinking I would like to make socks with it, since it is somewhere between fingering and sport. I'm thinking maybe another pair of jaywalkers?  It will be stripey, but not exactly solid stripes, more variations of colour floating by

This is skein number one... and there is a second waiting to ply at home tonight.  I just need to finish spinning the natural single and then the plying will be a fast job.

... one more gratuitous yarn pic :)

When I finally get around to finishing and knitting something up, I'll post the finished project!

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