Jobo Designs

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

29. October 2014 09:22
by Jobo

A Gradient Spin

29. October 2014 09:22 by Jobo | 0 Comments

While thinking about things I wanted to Blog about... I started looking back at some yarns I have worked on in the last little while.  This particular one sticks in my mind, and I daydream about what I should make with it!

The whole thing started as a small 1 oz sample braid of Merino from an unknown dyer, that I received in a swap box last year

The strip of "top" fades from a steely grey, through lavender, purple, pink, and almost burgundy... and since it's such a pretty run of color, I decided to strip it in half as carefully as possible and spin the two halves to be as identical as possible.  Here is one half on my Spanish Peacock Tibetan Supported Set... it's a lovely shade of warm dark red, and spins like a dream. This is the only set I have with a matching spindle and bowl, and I love it!  (Notice the large green thing in the foreground?  I was working on this when I was 7 months pregnant... lol. Hello Belly!)

After both halves were completed... I decided to chain ply them to keep the color runs, and would have two identical balls of gradient - hopefully enough when paired with some other yarn to make a pair of colorwork mittens for one of my kids.  Here is the progression of colors shown during plying on my Ashford Traveller.  You can see the loops a bit in my plying on the bobbin, but after a bath and a bit of a whack, they disappear.  I never find them noticeable in the knitting either.

And here is what it looks like plied and balled up!  Two half ounce balls of nearly identical color gradient goodness. 

I think I will pair them up with some charcoal grey commercial yarn I have in my stash and knit up some kind of fair isle or color stranded mittens... but I haven't decided yet what they should look like.  My oldest girl is silly and quirky, and I think she needs something more unique than just a snowflake or a flower.  I'll have to see if I can come up with something that will make her giggle and smile :)  She and I have the same goofy sense of humor.

27. October 2014 10:00
by Jobo

Happy Fall... Cupcakes for All!

27. October 2014 10:00 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Cupcakes are always a good idea...  My daughter and I found a multipack of Wilton's Sprinkles in Halloween Themes, so of course, we made some mini cupcakes to share with family and friends at the Thanksgiving Shindig.  My kiddo loves to stir, crack eggs, lick spoons, count things, and sprinkle - so Cupcakes are always a win win win win win (and yum) around our house.  You should have seen her tapping the sprinkles container... carefully applying just the right amount onto each dollop of icing!  Sorry to get your hopes up.  There were none left.  The batch hardly survived 8 hours.  We plan on making these again for the Daycare Halloween Party this week!

24. October 2014 09:00
by Jobo

Uncle Bob's Lined Mittens

24. October 2014 09:00 by Jobo | 0 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!)


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