Jobo Designs

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

24. November 2010 12:32
by Jobo
1 Comments

Alaskan Malamute Experiment... signed, sealed, delivered!

24. November 2010 12:32 by Jobo | 1 Comments

imageAfter many months of effort, I finally came to the end of my Alaskan Malamute Adventure this past week!  To give you a basic recap... I was commissioned by a local pet owner to spin some of her pet dog's fur and make a hat/mitten/neckwarmer set from the resulting yarn.  This was my first time working with dog fur, undercoat to be exact, but I was very excited to see if I could make it all work.  The fluff was lovely and light and soft, and I knew in the end I would be able to make something of it... 

I started the fiber prep by removing as many guard hairs from the dog fur as possible.  Guard hairs are bristly, and would have resulted in prickly bits in the finished yarn... and I didn't want that.  Then the fur was weighed, and blended 50-50 by weight with some nice fine Merino Sheep's wool.

I carded and blended all of the fiber by hand on some regular Ashford Hand Cards... mostly because I like the process of hand blending.  I weighed small amounts of fiber that were comfortable to work by hand (around 4-5 g of fiber at a time) and the resulting rolags were light and airy - perfect for some woolen style spinning.

husky wool blend carded basket The swatching process was fun... I decided to spin up a small sample (about an ounce or so) of the wool at a sport/worsted size and knit some small swatches in different stitch patterns to show my client.  In the end, because the yarn had so much halo and fuzzy feeling, a sport weight yarn really knit up and felt like a worsted weight one, which was actually perfect for the project.

I decided to swatch out plain stockinette (for gauge mostly), a simple diagonal lace pattern, and a basic cable pattern.  In the end, after washing, the cables really seemed to disappear into the halo.  The client really liked the idea of the lace, so we decided to move along with that basic idea.

As for pattern... I found a nice basic hat pattern (Noro spiral one-skein hat by Manuèle Ducret) and modified and worked from there to make a hat with the diagonal lace pattern all around.  I used the same stitch pattern to make a "cowl" neckwarmer, and the gauntlets of the mittens.

swatches all 3the swatches... blocked and drying... 

In the end, I ended up spinning quite a bit of yarn... I needed 50g for the hat, 110g for the mittens, and around 120g for the neckwarmer.  The process was enjoyable, though I was worried that I might not finish the set in time for cold weather.  Custom knitting takes time, but sometimes I forget just how long that is.  I was impatient and I had started knitting the garments before the entire quantity of yarn was complete... but next time I do something like this I think I will do all of the yarn first, so there will be less jumping around.

set on... vogue the completed set!

In the end I was very pleased with the final results of the set.  After the knitting and blocking process, the surface of the garments developed a nice gentle halo with a soft finish totally suitable for next to the skin wear.  As you can see, the fur and the wool combined to make a warm oatmeal color, presumably which will match with just about any jacket.

set blocking the set... blocking and drying

You'll notice that I monogrammed the mittens.  The customer and I had discussed that it might be nice to have some sort of monogram or notation to indicate the fiber's source in the finished product.  While spinning up the dog fur, I came across a couple of locks of darker fiber.  I picked out as many as I could and saved them, and then blended them with some natural brown wool, and used this darker yarn to add a little paw print, and an "S" for Samiya - the dog's name.

pawprint closeup 2 <-- gratuitous embroidery shot!  Puppy Prints!

I finally brought the finished garments up to the owner last week... she seemed very pleased with the set, and excited to get to wear her new goodies!  They also decided that her husband should have a pair of special mittens for himself... so after Christmas, I'll be working on some "work" mittens - basically a pair of men's hybrid mittens, with a separate pointer finger, and the rest of the fingers together a-la-mitten.  My dad loves mittens like this, as they give better hand dexterity than mittens, but because more fingers are housed together, they are also warmer than gloves alone.

All in all... Experiment - Successful :)

if you are interested in having some yarn spun from your pet's fur, please contact me for more details :)

9. September 2010 08:30
by Jobo
2 Comments

Chiengora "One-Skein" Hat

9. September 2010 08:30 by Jobo | 2 Comments

Having completed one skein of yarn from my Alaskan-Malamute-Challenge over the past weekend... I decided to get started on the goods!  The completed skein had somewhere between 100 - 125 yards, which as I suspected was more than enough to make the hat.

husky hat 2I chose to use the Noro spiral one-skein hat by Manuèle Ducret  - which is a simple free pattern, graciously offered by Manuèle over on her website.  I thought it might be a complicated knit, but was surprised and delighted by the simplicity of it all.  I decided to work at my own gauge though, and cast on in multiples of 8 until I was pleased with the size of the cuff.  I think I settled on 104 sts in the end.  I'll have to measure the needles I used, because honestly I just grabbed a pair that "looked" appropriate in size for the yarn.  Sometimes eyeballing it *does* work for me!

The Hat itself is quite fuzzy, with a light soft grey halo.  I've been quite surprised with how soft the dog fur yarn actually is!  The dog's owner was considering having the hat lined with some sort of soft wool (maybe angora or alpaca) but I don't think the hat will really need it.  Just wearing it around the house for photos, my head was toasty warm, almost to the point of being uncomfortably warm!  I'll have to run it by her, but I think she will be pleased with it as it is. 

Next - More picking and carding up another basket of chiengora and wool ("Chiengora" is the posh name for Dog Fur Wool) and then spinning up another skein to get started on the cowl and mittens.  My head is just spinning with all of the possibilities :)

8. September 2010 08:00
by Jobo
1 Comments

Spinning Alaskan Malamute... Making Progress

8. September 2010 08:00 by Jobo | 1 Comments

ball of malamute yarnI finally have enough yarn spun to make the hat... I think!  Things have been crazy around our house the last few weeks with a friend's wedding, and a few unforeseen events ("Earl" and some impromptu home renos) and I was feeling like I really wasn't making enough progress on my commissioned projects.

<-- this is my latest skein... 50/50 Alaskan Malamute / Merino - approximately 125 yds somewhere between Sport and Worsted weight traditional 3-ply.

Samiah's owner and I had decided a few weeks ago on a slightly lacy texture for our hat/mitts/cowl set - using a common diagonal lace pattern as the cornerstone.  I found a few patterns that fit the description, but I will have to adapt them all in some way I think to make it all come together.  The cowl and hat are fairly straightforward, but I think the mittens will require the most tweaking of the bunch.

Either way, it feels good to be making a little progress.  After the skein was washed and hung to dry, I got my workstation ready:  Subject measurements, measuring tape, various sized needles, pattern examples, chocolate bar... and when the yarn was dry and skeined, I set out on the hat. 

More hat pictures later in the week :)  I've finished the cuff, and I'm already about 3 inches up into the main body of the hat!

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