Jobo Designs

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

29. September 2009 10:58
by Jobo

Autumn Progression

29. September 2009 10:58 by Jobo | 1 Comments

On PEI, every year there is a definite progression from Summer weather - with warm light breezes and sunny summer days - to a chilly snap in the air and a clear climate shift.  Autumn has definitely arrived.  There are even some leaves turning orange and red!  Harvest is in full swing too.  I made pickles on the weekend at my Mother-in-law's place, and her pumpkins are almost ready for picking.

One thing I actually like about Fall as a season is that 'Back to School' sentiment, and getting back into a routine.  This summer was an especially busy one for us with the Wedding and other summer activities.  Now Marky is back to university, we are on a regular schedule again, and it is cool enough inside the house to cuddle up by the fireplace in the evenings.  (who doesn't like that?)

Fall also means generally more time in the evenings for fibery things! 

Here is what I've been up to:

Blocking Elvish Leaves!

Here they are all finished (wrinkly and bumpy) sitting next to my bathroom sink waiting for blocking... a warm sink sock bath!  I managed to get them onto the blockers a day or so ago, but the lighting was poor (dark cloudy skies last evening)  and I didn't get any decent finished pics yet.  I hope to photograph them tonight when I get home.  Overall I am very pleased with them, but I will write more with the FO pictures. (more about these socks...)

More Socks...

I have been making progress on my "Ain't your Boyfriend's" socks (made with Lovely Pink Kauni) But I am finding it difficult to work on them unless I am at home and can mark down the rows between cable crossings.  I am getting a lot better at reading my own knitting, and can do lace charts without writing stuff down, but I find that if I don't pay attention with cables I can't really tell how many rows it has been, and I end up with lopsided or uneven cables.  This I will master some day.  I have sock number 1 done except for the afterthought heel, and number two is almost to the heel.  Someday soon they will be finished.

Meanwhile, I have been eyeing up my stash of Vacation yarns (what souvenirs do you bring home from vacation? I buy yarn) and decided it's high time for my Pagewood Farms Bamboo sock yarn to get used.  I have been eyeing "Pomatomus" for a long while, but hate doing K1P1 ribbing (would rather gouge eyes out)  so when I saw that there was a similar pattern out there but without all of that ribbing, I decided to go for it:  I cast on this morning in the car :)

The Pattern is "Nanner" by Wendy Johnson (Available as a free download on Ravelry) and luckily enough, these even count towards my entry for Sockdown September (A contest from Sock Knitter's Anonymous Group on Ravelry... you should see the wicked prizes!)  I just have to finish them by Oct 31, which really isn't much of a stretch. I've been breezing through socks lately.

Well I guess thats all for now folks... have a knitterly Tuesday!

25. September 2009 14:55
by Jobo

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.

22. September 2009 14:17
by Jobo

Elvish Leaves.... another pair of patterned socks!

22. September 2009 14:17 by Jobo | 1 Comments

honestly are you surprised?  Socks seem to be my thing these days for a simple and portable project!

While browsing on ebay the other day I found an auction for some really low priced sock yarn - so cheap I couldn't resist!  The yarn is JL Vinca, in a sort of yellowish green colour that reminds me of Green Bananas.  I had read reviews on this yarn before that it isn't great quality (thin, pilly, some even called it scratchy) but I figured for the price (less than 6 dollars for 200g of yarn) I would try it for myself anyways.  When it arrived, I was still quite taken with the colour, but I would have to agree that the yarn is a little on the thin side, and not very tightly spun but not really itchy or scratchy in general.   I had also heard that it was difficult to match up the yarn to make identical socks because of the way the colours run through the two plies, but this didn't really bother me.  I rather like my socks to be fraternal (much to the chagrin of my Hubby who says "nice knitting... but the colours are too wild and crazy")


It was really difficult to capture the color of this yarn....  depending on the light it looked too yellow or green!  Seriously, just imagine the color of Bananas as they ripen from Green to Yellow and you have it.  You can see in the closeup the way that the 2 ply yarn fades from one color to the other.  Overall, I would agree that it isn't the finest quality yarn out there, but it didn't feel as bad as others made it out to be.  I've felt cheap acrylics that were more horrid honestly. I figure I will give it a try and if it pills and wears out too fast I just won't buy anymore.

There has been a pattern waiting in the wings.... more or less waiting for me to find a proper yarn for it: Elfine's Socks

This toe up (my first time using Judy's Magic Cast on for Toe up Socks on DPN's - see here for details) lacy sock features leaves cascading from toe to cuff.  I remember when I first saw this pattern I thought of elves and Lord-of-the-Rings-Ish things.  I think the artist has a real creative streak... she lists these socks as "the season's 'must have' hosiery for style-conscious dryads"

The pattern is clearly written, and very simple to follow.  Admittedly this isn't my first time knitting leaf-like patterns, but I was able to memorize the pattern very quickly and work on these in the car (where I need very straightforward knitting)  The color shifts in the yarn were just enough contrast to keep the project interesting and amusing.  Each skein of yarn has tons of yardage... so much that it feels like a waste to stop at the ankle where the pattern says... I think I might make knee socks out of them (when you're only 4'10" it really isn't that far up to the knee)  I will have to increase some for the calf, since the leaves aren't quite stretchy enough to accomodate my "curvyness" but that's ok, it will be another adventure - I've not made Knee socks yet!

At this point, I have one sock done probably 7 inches or more up the leg, so I decided this morning that I should cast on the second sock, and then I won't forget how I did the increases for the calf.  Do you ever find that if you don't keep good enough 'knitting notes' that by the time you get to the second sock/sleeve/mitten you forget how you did the first one?  I have had problems with this in the past, before I was smart enough to make specific notations about pattern modifications.  If you like the pattern check it out on Ravelry, it's a free download.

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