Jobo Designs

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

11. July 2015 09:10
by Jobo
1 Comments

Tour De Fleece - Week One!

11. July 2015 09:10 by Jobo | 1 Comments

The Tour de Fleece is ONNNNN! 

For those of you who aren't familiar - The Tour de France is a famous bicycle race that runs over the better part of a month, takes place in France... and the Tour de FLEECE is a spinning event that coincides!  On the days the Tour rides - the spinners spin, and encourage each other, and tease each other, and compete on Ravelry for Prizes if they accomplish their goals! 

My own Tour goal is a very simple one - to just pick up my spinning every day.  My life is so full of mommy/work/wifey responsibilities that planning to spin a specific weight of wool, or a specific number of yards, or anything concrete was probably a bad idea.  I was afraid that if I put words to it, that I'd end up jinxing it.

So here we are - The Tour began on July 4/15 and I have managed to at least touch my spinning every day this week!  Here is what I'm working on:

Inglenook Batts!  The color is "Purple Heartwood" and it's a mix of wool, alpaca, silk, sparkle, and bamboo (I think... my tag is at home)

 

My first impression of Inglenook Fibers is just Wow.  So soft and sparkly and shiny.  And it's purple.  So Win win win.  And then when I tore into the batt to strip it into spinnable chunks... well Look at all of those colors!  So fun and cheery! 

I decided on stripping the batt into 4 x 1 oz chunks, and then further subdividing each ounce into 8 pieces.  The plan is to spin it all on supported spindles, likely putting one ounce on each spindle and then pairing them up to make 2 skeins of two ply. 

 

Here is my Bristlecone Ladybug "Gaston"... doing it's thing!

I usually like to work with laceweight or finer, but I didn't really fuss too much about the grist and diameter of the thread.  I just went with whatever the fiber wanted.  There are some thin bits and some chunky bits.  Some of the single is pretty uniform in color, some sections are mostly one color or another, and other sections still are all barberpoled and stripey.  I'm thinking the finished yarn will be both visually and texturally unique.  I'm not sure what kind of pattern I can find that will work... but no doubt something will turn up.  I'm thinking even something with a central garter stitch panel (either crescent or half-square or something) to show off the variety and texture without obscuring the stitch pattern.

And finally... here is the first two ounces basically finished.  I'm hoping to finish the last poof of fiber on my break today (since I'm working all weekend) and then make a plying ball!  The dark spindle is a Spanish Peacock Russian Set in Macassar Ebony... smooth and fast! 

28. October 2011 03:57
by Jobo
0 Comments

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!

10. June 2011 12:12
by Jobo
0 Comments

Laminaria... in BFL Silk Handspun

10. June 2011 12:12 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Purple Butterfly BFL Silk BraidI've been working along on this... a few rows at a time - Using the nice shiny smooth handspun from "Purple Moth" Wings n' Things Fiber club from Allforloveofyarn (Shown at the left, to refresh your memory of the lovely purply pinkishness)

The yarn itself is coming along pretty well... though I guess you might call it "thread" over yarn really.  My first spindle full was 17g and yielded 170 yards of nice fine 2 ply.  I decided I would do a smaller amount to test first and make sure it was turning out as planned.  I hope to be able to put a bunch more on for the next couple of skeins... maybe as much as 40 - 50 g before winding off?  If the calculation holds true, I should be able to get 900 - 1000 yards from this 112 g braid - which should be lots and lots!

Normally Laminaria is knit from a regular laceweight yarn on size 3.5 - 3.75 mm needles.  Since my yarn is a bit finer, I decided I would use slightly smaller needles (my 3 mm Woody Knitters Needles to be exact)  that way the finished piece wouldn't be too airy.  I really like the way the wood needles grip the thread, and creates such a nice feel for the knitting process.  I know if I was working on steel needles I'd knit tighter, so I figure that my loose knitting on the smaller wood needles shouldn't be that bad.  Either way, I'm going to have lots and lots of yarn (the original large pattern only calls for 600 ish yards of yarn) so if the shawl isn't looking big enough when I reach the point where you normally switch to the border transition... I'll just do more repeats!  How's that for knitting on the fly?

The spinning itself is taking place on a Zebisis stone whorl spindle... I've never actually weighed it though, so I can't tell you the exact weight.  I'd say it's around 1 ounce, based on behavior and comparison to my Golding.  It took a little practice to get used to working without a notch in the whorl, but I think I've gotten the hang of it now, and the yarn is fairly consistent.  The second cop is in progress as my current travel spinning project.  I've been working on it during lunch break and when waiting.  I had better get going on it though... the first 170 yards has almost been knit up!

purple moth spindle

I've completed the first section of the pattern:  the star stitch portion.  I like the texture of this stitch, though I bet it will flatten out a lot during blocking.  I'm finding the yarn size vs needle size to be satisfactory so far.  This stitch pattern is supposed to be more dense than the lacy open part... so I guess I won't know until I get some lacy bits whether I will be completely satisfied.  I've gotten over half of the transition section done, but that's mostly just more star stitch.  Hopefully tonight I will be able to progress more into the flower lace section and see how that's going to look!

Laminaria star stitch section

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