Jobo Designs

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

4. July 2011 10:57
by Jobo
0 Comments

Yarn Candy Monday... More Lace Handspun

4. July 2011 10:57 by Jobo | 0 Comments

madli Swatch

Lately I've been gravitating towards ultra-thin, almost cobwebby handspun for lace.  I think maybe because I like getting the absolute most out of a pretty braid of fiber... that, and I love to knit lace in the first place! 

This - is from a bag of carded fiber from Belfast Mini Mills - a blend of Bamboo, Merino and Tussah Silk (percentages of which elude me at the moment)  I'm testing out a theory that I should be able to spin this very lightweight on my Russian Supported Spindle, and perhaps have enough out of the 4 ounce bag to make an estonian style haapsalu shawl... or at least something in that tradition.  I wanted to spin up a handful first and see how the finished yarn behaves before I go on to complete the whole bag.

The Yarn is a nice fine 2 ply... which shifts from light creamy green to denim blue and back and forth.  Basically the roving has a strip of each color side-by-side (will get more photos later) and as you spin back and forth across you get a blend.  When I started spinning, I noticed quite a few nepps and little blobs of the silk, which was a little disappointing.  I had hoped for an ultra-smooth spin, as one would usually find with bamboo and silk blend fibers.  I decided though, to just let it go - spin it as it comes - and try not to be too much of a control freak about everything.  I'm going to have to learn to let go a bit with the whole baby thing, so why not start now?  (Jobo - you can't control every aspect of the world... lol)madli thread swatch

I decided to try a swatch from Knitted Lace of Estonia, since that's what was on my coffee table at the time... though I will likely go back to the Haapsalu Shawl Book when the yarn is completed and I'm ready for the official cast on.  I plan to do the basic rectangle, with the vine lace and nupps, and the standard garter stitch border, then maybe a knitted border sewn on afterwards, sanity and remaining yarn notwithstanding.  This swatch was knit on 2.75 mm dpns (since also, this is what was on my coffee table!)

The resulting lace yarn has some lumps and bumps in it.  The colors come at you randomly (only blended a little by the 2-ply's effect) and I wasn't sure if the lace stitches would cover up and complement some of this effect, or hide the lace completely.  I think the finished swatch is alright... definitely less muddy than I might have guessed it would be.  I think it's promising enough to finish spinning up the bag this way, and then cast on and see how it goes.

What do you think?  does the yarn mask the lace too much?

24. March 2011 10:25
by Jobo
2 Comments

Silver Strawberries: Finished!

24. March 2011 10:25 by Jobo | 2 Comments

Finally... after many months of work...

Ruttiger and Silver Strawberries Stole

My "Silver Strawberries" stole is complete!  The finished shawl is so light and soft... just like the Bunny it was grown on!

Strawberries Stole floor folded JPG

I guess I should start back in the beginning:  The yarn.  When Ruttiger was a baby, and going through his first Molt I was obsessed with keeping as much of his first coat as possible.  Many people say that the baby fur isn't much of a yield, so it isn't worth keeping really.  I was unbothered by this though, and carefully kept every wisp of fur off of the brush and plucking carefully stored away in a box for safe keeping.  In the end, I didn't have that much of it (maybe 2 - 3 ounces) but I really wanted to make something special out of it some day.

bowl of battsAfter doing much research about Orenburg lace, I thought maybe this might be a good way to use it up.  Traditional Orenburg lace is made from a specific breed of Goat's down, spun by hand cobweb/gossamer weight, and sometimes plied with silk for strength.  I know Angora is no substitute for mohair or goat down, but I *did* have an abundance of it, so I thought maybe I could try it anyways? 

I took poofs of Ruttiger's fur and lightly carded them with pinches of steely carbonized bamboo and creamy soft Merino wool, hoping that those few pinches of longer fiber would lend some strength to the delicate angora strand.  I'd estimate that those small bits of bamboo and wool would amount together to no more than 5% of the total weight combined.

imageFor added strength and shine, I spun a very fine single of pure white Tussah Silk.  I've learned that I absolutely love spinning silk on my Golding Dragonfly ceramic inset spindle.  It's just the right weight for spinning fine yarns - 0.7 ounces - and is perfect for portable spinning too.  This little guy tucks perfectly into my purse! 

The plying process was a bit challenging for this yarn... I thought doing it on the wheel made more sense, but I found it really difficult to apply the correct amount of twist.  My first ball of yarn was quite underplied, though I thought I was probably twisting way to much.  I decided to ply the second and third balls of yarn on a heavier Golding spindle.  This was surprisingly much easier, and actually faster too.  Those two teensy plies took a lot more twisting than I would have imagined.

Once the yarn was completed, I decided to hunt for a pattern.  I had purchased Galina Khmeleva's book Gossamer Webs Design Collection, but the patterns in that book are quite large, and a lot more complicated than I wanted for a beginner Orenburg project.  I saw online where another Ravelry user had drafted a chart for a beginner stole with some traditional stitch motifs.  Basically it was just a chart, no instructions.  Since I had the book to use as a reference, I decided that it would be a learning experience... and just went for it! 

The pattern can be found here:  Orenburg Stole: Just a little strawbery by Russian Lily

In retrospect, I really don't think anyone could work this shawl from the schematic-style pattern alone.  You would need some help, either from a real live Russian knitter, or a book of some sort to be able to make sense of it.  Having said that though, it was a very enjoyable knit, and I learned so much doing it!  I know that someday I want to try one of those super-large gossamer wedding ring shawls.  I think I need a bit more practice at gossamer spinning, but I will definitely make one some day!

Now for the shawl itself!  I love it.  I adore it. I am so freaking impressed with myself!  I know that isn't the most humble thing.  I love it so much that I almost don't care!  *wink wink*

 

Strawberries Stole floor edging

Let's start in the beginning... the edging!  Orenburg shawls are knit with the edgings in one piece.  You begin the piece by knitting the bottom edging, turn the corner and pick up stitches back across for the main lace panel.  Then you knit the edge all the way up both sides as you go, then finish the piece off by working in the body stitches into the border as you go across.  It sounds devilishly complicated, but is quite straightforward if you follow along with a reference like the Gossamer Webs book.  Apparently most Orenburg Gossamer Shawls use a "5-hole" tooth border.  Mine was the simplest version... but you can count above... 5 holes in, then 5 holes out.  repeat.

Strawberries Stole diamond

The main body of the shawl features several traditional lace stitches.   Orenburg lace is knit in "garter" stitch.  Unlike other traditions where the "wrong side" rows are mostly purled across, when working in garter lace, you actually knit the wrong side rows.  This felt quite weird at first, but was easy to get used to.  I wasn't sure how I would like the finished look, but after blocking, the garter opens right up, with a quite pleasing finished appearance!

The other thing I was surprised to learn was that in Orenburg lace, there are no directional decreases.  All decreases are done with a simple K2tog, or K3tog.  This is a big change for me after making so much Estonian style lace.  Directional decreases are much more important apparently when working in stockinette lace (where the wrong side rows are purled)

Strawberries Stole halosee the halo?

As the name would imply, this stole features the "Strawberry" motif for the edging and the little flower-looking parts inside the graphic diamonds.  The other main features is a "peas" pattern - which actually has a pattern stitch on both sides of the piece.  This took a little getting used to, but was fun to challenge myself to pay attention to both sides of the work.

Strawberries Stole floor folded

The finished shawl blocked to 24 x 55 inches and only weighs 1.8 ounces!  Wearing it feels like wearing a cobweb around your shoulders.  It is so light and airy... but with the silk it's stronger than it looks.  I've been wearing it around a bit, trying to gauge how well it will last.  I don't want to wreck it, but at the same time, I can't bear the thought of it hiding in a box forever either!

Strawberries Stole windtossed 3

Trying to photograph it... the light wind was enough to toss the stole in the wind!

Strawberries Stole windtossed 2

I love the way it fluttered along in the breeze.  See how the sun picks up the silk shine?

Strawberries Stole whole 

All in all - another successful lace project.  I learned a ton, and plus the stole is extra special because it's made with my Baby's fur!  That makes it an extra special item.  This is the first project where I've raised the animal, prepared the fiber, spun the yarn, knit the stole, and completed the entire thing myself!  Yay Me!

15. December 2010 13:32
by Jobo
1 Comments

Silver Strawberries... the Actual Strawberry Part!

15. December 2010 13:32 by Jobo | 1 Comments

I'm chugging along on my Silver Strawberries Stole... sometimes working on it, when I should be working on other things (bad bad knitter!)  Isn't it funny how when you *know* you need to do something, you sometimes just can't get started?  But when you shouldn't... it's so sooo tempting!

Here is a quick little photo of the progress though... I've reached the first section of "Strawberries" which basically consist of little rings of YO loops.  I can see how one might think they look like a strawberry, though it is a little bit of a stretch.  There are also "Fish Eyes" in the next section of the pattern, and "Mouse Tracks" so it gets more interesting from here ;)

strawberry with quarter for size

To give you an idea how big the motifs are... here is one half of the stole in pinned out fashion.  The stole has 10 "points" across the bottom, and you can see 5 in this photo.  Each strawberry centre is approximately the size of a quarter.  The thread is a little bit uneven in places, but the silk shines, and the angora lends fuzziness.  The stole itself feels light already, and it feels like I've hardly used any of the ball at all.

blocking strawberries and edge

I hope that I can get the rest of my Holiday knitting done soon... because all I really want to do is work on this! 

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