Jobo Designs

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

26. February 2010 22:05
by Jobo

Corespun Yarn - the learning process!

26. February 2010 22:05 by Jobo | 7 Comments

Today I decided to be adventurous.  Normally I stick to utilitarian yarns... the kind that are spun with a purpose.  A laceweight single for a shawl, or a 3-ply sock yarn.  I admire the "art yarns" that other spinners craft, but can't seem to figure out what people actually *do* with them!  So up until this point, the only artsy yarns that I have managed to churn out were the sloppy by-accident thick and thin yarns I got in the beginning during the learning process.

Today I broke with tradition.  I made this:


A few weeks ago I found some great corespinning tutorials by JazzTurtle (click here to go to her site) - who makes the most sparkly, fancy, unique batts and then spins them up into corespun works of art!  She has an etsy store also if anyone is interested

After carefully studying the videos several times (knowing I didn't have any batts or fiber that would be suited to this technique) I kept the idea in the back of my mind for *someday*.  Then on Wednesday when I was carding up a couple batts from some leftover wool the idea struck me!  I have been saving little bits and pieces and drum carder remnants in a bag for almost a year, knowing they would be good for something but not knowing what:  I layered them into a crazy multifiber batt!  Since they were all leftovers, I didn't really worry about wasting anything or ruining *good* fiber.  I felt very inspired by JazzTurtle's unique kitchen-sink style batts which contained lots of different textures, staple lengths, fibers and colors.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo, but the batts consisted of various layers:

#1 -  Cobalt Blue "traditional" wool thrums from MacAusland's Woolen Mill (intended for thrums but not suitable in the end)

#2 -  Creamy White Merino/Angora Blend leftover from the lining to my FiddleHead Mittens (very soft!)

#3 -  Natural Brown Merino/Alpaca Blend from my first attempt at multifiber carding

#4 -  Tea Dyed Merino Top from last summer's natural dyeing experiments

I basically just ran these remnants through my Strauch Petite one time to distribute, and did not bother to blend a second time since I wanted the colors to be distinct.  I tore the completed batt (not sure how much fiber there was) into 4 strips of about 2 inches wide, and then tore each strip into 4 chunks.  My goal in dividing the batt up this way was to try and more evenly distribute the different types of fiber (and color) in the finished yarn.

Since JazzTurtle uses plain basic Crochet Cotton for her core, and I happened to have a part ball of South Maid kicking around, I decided to just go for it! 

My skein was definitely over-spun.  Apparently this is the usual result for spinners attempting to core spin for the first time.  By about halfway through my batt, constantly chanting to myself *pedal slowwwwwwer* and concentrating on wrapping the fiber around the core without allowing it to turn into cotton-cored woolen WIRE.  Coming on the end of the skein, I was finally starting to get the hang of it.... but sadly the first half of the skein was pretty overspun.  When I was winding the yarn from the bobbin, I actually let the ball spin backwards a bit every few feet, so that extra pent-up twist could relieve itself.  I think that strategy worked ok as a salvage technique :)

I really enjoyed the way that the colors striped and marbled together along the way.  I tried to be nonchalant about the color placement and thickness of the yarn.  In her videos, JazzTurtle always says how she is creating "texture" in her yarns.  Generally my goal is to make smooth yarns, so this was really counterintuitive for me!  I kept telling myself to let the fiber take on a life of it's own.  If it wanted to be bumpy and lumpy in places I let it.  In other places it wanted to be sleek and tight to the core, so I let it do that too.  I actually enjoyed the areas where the smooth merino stayed smooth, the puffy angora and alpaca sections made little poofy clouds of fiber, and the nubbly blue traditional wool looked a bit rough and unrefined.  I'm proud of myself that I let the yarn take control on this one.

corespun 4 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Take away hints for the Wannabe Corespinner:

- treadle as slowly as you can.  Think of going as slow as you can possibly imagine, and then slow down again!

- Crochet cotton worked great as a core for me, and also makes great "leads" for your bobbins.  The stuff is pretty indestructible

- It takes some practice to keep the core taut and the fiber coming in at the right angle.  I found predrafting a bit helped to keep things running smoothly.  (This may relate to what kind of fiber you are using... mine was such a mismatch blend, it was a little hard to draft on the fly)


I ended up with around 55 yards of bulky puffy goodness.  I'm still not sure what I will make with it (maybe use it as a trim on something like a bag?)  but it was really fun to make, and I've been petting it and carrying it around with me since this morning...  maybe that's what it is... a yarn "doll" for adults who are obsessed with yarn to carry around and pet as needed?! 

Thank you JazzTurtle for the tutorials!

23. February 2010 07:30
by Jobo

Vacation... or should I say STAYcation?

23. February 2010 07:30 by Jobo | 12 Comments

I had some vacation time stashed away... waiting for an excuse to take a break... so I decided to take 2 weeks of it!  I'm one of those people who often saves the vacation time, thinking that I will use it to do something exciting or travel somewhere.  The last few years, what with the wedding, Hubby being in University while working full time, and the long commutes to work, there just hasn't been much of an opportunity to get away for very long.  We used to travel down south to the Caribbean once a year, but bummer, not able to do that this year. 


does not equal


So instead of lounging on a beach in the Dominican Republic or sipping Cuba Libres down in Havana... I'm having a "Stay-Cation"  Basically, I am going to play housewifey...  do a few things around the house, cook supper, pretend to be a tourist in my hometown, knit a little whole lot, and play with my spinning wheel and perhaps dye some fiber!

Someday when we are more mobile again, and not as financially or time constrained... I want to travel again.  On my list of places I MUST see at some point before I croak - Ireland and Scotland.  Being a fiddle player, and lover of all things Celtic, I have always wanted to see these countries and wander into some traditional pubs, sit in the corner and drink the music and atmosphere in.  Also high on my list - Australia and New Zealand.  My best friend was living in Australia for a while, so I thought for sure I would get to go and visit her there, but alas she is moving back to Canada this spring.  It will be really nice to have her be closer to home, but sad that I won't get to see her in Bundaberg.  New Zealand has always held much intrigue for me also, which grew exponentially when the Lord of the Rings Trilogy came around.  Seriously... the country is fantastically beautiful, and apparently covered with Sheep!  (wink, wink)  If you ask me, that's a total win win!

What about you, bloggers?  If you could take off and go on a travel adventure... where would you go?  and more importantly, what project would you pack to keep yourself out of trouble on the way there? 

For me it's usually socks... compact, interesting, useful, amusing.  For me Socks have it all :)

22. February 2010 14:01
by Jobo

Yarn Candy Monday: Rainbow

22. February 2010 14:01 by Jobo | 3 Comments

I finally finished spinning up my braid of Rainbow BFL from Sheepish Creations...  and what a delightful spin it was!  The fiber itself was very well prepared and light and lofty.  I really didn't need to predraft anything, the nice long staple length and fine quality fiber just sailed through my fingers and onto the bobbin.  I can't wait to dig into the 8 ounces of Corriedale I purchased from them...  I have a feeling it might be even more fun... with all of the plummy purples and rich gold and blues.  It's a good thing I am on vacation for a couple weeks! 

over the rainbow 2

I ended up with around 470 yards of light fingering weight 2-ply yarn.  I tried to keep the colors together as much as possible, so the result is a long barber pole with a few meters of blended colors as the shifts happened.  At the time I was spinning it, I thought my finished yarn would be much thinner, and perhaps I would have gotten more yardage, but after a quick soak it seemed like the yarn really bloomed more than I would have expected.  It's all good though... My plan is to knit a scarf out of this to show off the long color changes.  Maybe something around 8-10 inches wide and open and lacy.  Originally I had thought of something like a "feather and fan" or "Old Shale" type pattern, but I have to do some more looking to see what else is out there.

over the rainbow

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