Jobo Designs

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

28. October 2011 03:57
by Jobo
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South African Fine Wool... Becomes Mittens

28. October 2011 03:57 by Jobo | 0 Comments

At the Retreat a few weeks ago... I decided to just let loose and spin a braid of fiber free-form - aka just let the darn thing become whatever it wanted to become.  I bought a braid of South African Fine Wool dyed by Waterloo Wools in a very bright and enthusiastic colorway and just tore it into 4 pieces and spun it up without thinking too hard about it.  The result was a nice bouncy, light and not over spun, 2-ply yarn in about a Chunky weight.  I didn't worry about where the colors lined up, and I didn't use a gauge or measure to monitor my singles.  I tried to divide the fiber in approximately half, so I would have two similar balls of yarn to make something "paired" like mittens.

Retreat Pretties SouthAfrican Fine and Lace2

Here is one half of the yarn posing with a skein of lace weight that just happened to match!  I really liked the texture of this breed of wool - soft like Merino, but really bouncy and fluffy.  Sproingy!

SouthAfricanFine Mittens2

As for a pattern... I decided to just wing it.  I've knit so many pairs of mittens in the last 15 years... it's not even funny.  I took a guess as to how many stitches might make sense, and was off without a plan.  In fact, I ended up knitting to the tip of the first mitten, decided that I should have done a longer cuff, and raveled back to the cuff and added half a dozen rows.  One nice thing about knitting with chunky fat yarn on reasonably large needles - the project knits up fast.  I had completed both mitts (including the false start, ravel and redo) in a weekend.

SouthAfricanFine Mittens3 SouthAfricanFine Mittens1 SouthAfricanFine Mittens4

The mittens did end up looking similar when finished, but still with a bit of variation in the color striping and placement.  I liked the texture and variation though... gives the effect of "matching" but not "identical" mittens.  More like a set of Fraternal Twins :)  If you like yarn and knitting close-ups... remember to click the photo thumbnails and you'll get a nice large version of the photo... thanks to the wonderful code-monkey-husband!

SouthAfricanFine Mittens5

I was thinking that I might like to keep these mittens myself... but lately it seems that everytime I post something new to the blog or Facebook... somebody wants to buy them!  I think if the right person came along, I'd let them go, maybe. 

I thought that I'd likely have zero yarn left when these were complete.  My luck (since there was no chance of me getting more of this fiber or colorway) I would run out with only a stupid 4 yard piece required to finish!  Not So!  For once I had a little bit of yarn leftover... and I used this as a perfect excuse to make another baby hat!  (I have a bunch in different noggin-sizes... just in case)

SouthAfrican Fine Babyhat 

I finished the little hat and then added a VERY LARGE pompom :)  I had a few scrap odds and ends from weaving in the tails on the mittens, and I didn't want to let ANY of this great stuff go to waste.  I basically just tossed the ends (2 - 3 inch pieces) in a pile, lashed them together into a non-fussy pompom and stitched it to the top of the little bright toque.  Maybe it isn't very practical... but I love it to pieces.  Maybe (child willing) it will fit and be appropriate for photos or something?

EXTRA!!:

I'm not sure if you noticed my really-fancy-hi-tech Mitten Blockers?!  They're actually pieces of cardboard (2 layers of corrugated stuff from the box some electronic thing came in) that have been wrapped several times with plain old kitchen plastic wrap, and then taped haphazardly where the edges of the plastic meet.  I would like to have fancy, beautiful, durable wooden ones someday (like my Norwegian Mitten Blockers made by Roger!), but this was all I had to work with at one point... so I threw them together and they've been sturdy and trusty helpers for several years now.  They don't look all that pretty - but they get the job done!

27. October 2011 09:32
by Jobo
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Pretties from the Retreat...

27. October 2011 09:32 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Is there anything better than walking around a room stuffed full of yarn and fiber vendors... where you are ENCOURAGED to touch, pet and fondle all the yarns you can find?  sigh.  I want to go to there.  Again.

Here are just a few of the goodies I picked up from the Bobbin Tree display.  Believe me - I showed great restraint.  There were many many braids and skeins and bags of things that were desirable.  I only came home with a few.  This is saying a lot!

BobbinTree Blended Merino granite 3

Ashland Bay Blended Merino Top "Granite"... repackaged by the lovely Janet at the Bobbin Tree in 50g and 100g braids so that there would be something for everyone.  This colorway is the ultimate in neutral browns, grays and denim.  I  picked up 2 of the 100g braids... because you just never know.  I think this is either going to be a featherweight shawl... or super chunky men's mittens.  very decisive, I know.

southafrican fine wtih fiber 

Waterloo Wools South African Fine Wool in "Sea Dragon" - Did you notice that there are no photos of this fiber in Braid form?  This was my indulgence on Saturday at the retreat.  This sproingy, soft, vibrant fiber just sang to me - Spin me NOW, don't think about me too much, tear me up, twist me and voila!  So I did.  With gusto.  I loved all of the colors... various shades of blues, greens, acid yellows, purples, and everything in between.  I let the fiber dictate the plan and basically let it spin itself.  Before I even got home from the retreat I had a 2 oz skein of Bulky weight 2 ply.  This type of yarn is a bit out of character for me, as I usually gravitate towards superfine lace yarns... but it was fun.  I will have to try this again soon :)

waterloo wools lace larimar

Waterloo Wools Soft-Single Laceweight "Larimar" - I had been wanting to try some Malabrigo lace, but somehow have never crossed paths with any in my travels.  (so sad, I know)  So when I saw this lovely yarn, and it reminded me of that style of softly spun, almost lightly felted singles, I could not resist.  For those not familiar with "Larimar" as a color... this is also the name of a lovely blue stone jewelry you can get down in the Dominican Republic...  the color reminds me of the Caribbean Ocean in it's blue loveliness.  I was happy also to see that the yardage is excellent - 800 yards if I remember correctly.  This should make a perfect light lacy shawl just for me... and in a fabulous color too!  This yarn was featured in 3 other jeweled tones... which I really had to exert a lot of effort not to bring home with me.

25. October 2011 08:21
by Jobo
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Maritime Handspinners' Retreat - the Vendors!

25. October 2011 08:21 by Jobo | 0 Comments

I've been a bit slack with my blogging since I got home from the Retreat... I've been preoccupied with my purchases, and required 8-months-pregnant naps!  Today I'd like to share a bunch of photos from the vendors area.... It was a great experience to walk around and chat with the vendors and fondle admire the wares.  When else can you go shopping and be encouraged to pick up everything and touch it?  Buying fiber is a very tactile experience for me.  I need to feel what the fiber is like to know what I can do with it... which is difficult because I often buy wool online for lack of local stores with such goodies.  I'd be surprised if anyone would look at you funny if you rolled around in a pile of fiber on the floor in a room like that!  Very freeing experience.

Note:  I'm trying something new with the photos:  Click the thumbnails for full sized images!  (Thank you to my technical staff for the upgrade... ahemHUSBANDcough)

The Bobbin Tree - many wonderful wooly treats...  complete with experienced wool-pusher and enthusiast Janet!  (whose hair matched some of her fiber perfectly... just sayin *wink*)  I succumbed to the pitfalls of the booth and ended up with yarn, combed merino top, and a few other goodies too!  Also:  Jobo's prize for the best booth mascot goes to Orville - the Bobbin Tree Owl!

 the Bobbin Tree the Bobbin Tree the Bobbin Tree the Bobbin Tree the Bobbin Tree

Gaspereau Valley Fibres - our wonderful hostesses for the weekend... and their piles of dyed locks, tops, books, etc.  There were many people walking around with large brown paper gift bags full of these scrumptious locks!  The service was great too!

 Oct 15 2011 271 Oct 15 2011 267

Cobweb Woolies - There were many many bags of wooly treasures at this table... it was like a sea of them!  Delia had bags of both washed and unwashed natural wool locks in every color under the sun!  Wooly Balls made a comeback - basically dyed beautiful locks wrapped into balls with elastic bands hanging on a tree... forget holiday ornaments, you can decorate my Christmas tree with these!?  I bought a bag of creamy white washed Romney locks (8 oz) to play with, and it's springy and wonderful!

 Cobweb Woolies Wooly Balls! Cobweb Woolies

Handspun Silks - luscious, wonderful, handspun reeled and spun silks by women in developping countries!  I couldn't believe the beautiful colors of the silks, dyed with natural products and locally sourced dyes.  One particular shining beige brown was dyed with coconut husks, and just had such a warm lovely glow.  The second photo with the felted soaps, brown hat, and yarns... I'm sorry I can't remember the name of the vendor... but the products were really neat!  I almost bought one of the felted soap kits... but I feared it would be to nice to use, and would languish in the bathroom forever!

 Handspun Silk Can't remember vendor name!  Sorry!

Alpaca House Farm - I had a very interesting chat with a gentleman alpaca herder (and vintage motorcycle enthusiast) about farming, fiber production and processing, and alpaca yarn and blankets in general!  The fleeces were lovely, as evidenced by the prize ribbons, and this fellow's woven blankets were out of this world! I loved the geometric patterns in the two colored weave... priceless!

  Alpaca House Farm Alpaca House Farm Alpaca House Farm

I very much enjoyed all of the vendors and tables, but these were the only ones I managed to photograph between the petting of the yarn :)  All in all - a fantastic marketplace full of enthusiastic and helpful vendors and fiber artists!

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