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!

28. June 2011 05:47
by Jobo
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Electric Orange Handspun Mittens

28. June 2011 05:47 by Jobo | 0 Comments

    • Orange_Mittens_web_thumbs_medium2 I had some odds and ends of dyed Merino and Mohair Locks… and some very VERY bright orange merino roving leftover from last year’s “Spin Wild” Maritime Handspinner’s Retreat… So I carded some technicolor batts, with Orange as a base, and whatever odds and ends matched the Red, Yellow, Orange, Black, kitchen sink. 
    • The Fiber was carded on my Strauch Petite, with much gusto, and little thought or planning.  I unfortunately forgot to photograph the batts...
  • The Yarn was spun extra chunky on an Ashford Traveler, and plied back upon itself instead of leaving as singles
  • The leftover screaming orange Merino was spun in a similar manner (what else was I going to use it for?)
  • The Mittens:  a makeshift pattern
  • -Cuffs in K1P1 Ribbing, cast on 22 stitches, 7 rows
  • -Knit 10 rows plain, then knit 3 stitches in waste yarn a-la-Elizabeth-Zimmermann thumb technique, then knit up approximately 14 rows and decreased like a usual mitten top (K2 K2Tog around, 1 row plain, then K1 K2Tog around, 1 row plain, K2tog around, draw through.)
    -Thumbs: 7 stitches picked up (3 bottom, 4 top) from the stitches after the waste yarn was removed, knit 8 rows, and drew through. Results: VERY orange Mittens…. hopefully some kid decides they really like Orange, and I can give these away. They aren’t as ugly as I thought they would be, but not exactly my style either!
Orange_Mitten_web_closeup_mediumOrange_Mittens_web_side_by_side_medium2

11. January 2011 09:13
by Jobo
2 Comments

Gone Fishing Norwegian-Style Mittens

11. January 2011 09:13 by Jobo | 2 Comments

I almost forgot to photograph Dad's mittens... I was so excited to pass them over to him, that I honestly couldn't even wait until they were completely dry!  I gave them to him still damp.  With some knit items, wet blocking isn't really all that important, but with colorwork, I really find that a good soak smoothes out any uneven stitches, and covers a multitude of sins :)

This pair was designed and knit especially for my Dad as a special Christmas gift.  He so rarely asks me to make anything for him, that I couldn't help myself - I took some ideas and just ran with them, and I must admit, the results are pretty satisfying.  I think he's pleased with them too ;)

Here they are in all of their glory! 

pair dad's fishy mittens

Backs:

pair dad's fishy mittens front

Palms:

pair dad's fishy mittens back

To recap... here are some of the specs:

- Dad likes to "play" outside, and finds that his hands get too cold with plain gloves on, but he can't feel to do anything with mittens on.  These "trigger" mittens, or "picking" mittens as we used to call them when I was a kid (seriously, in our house - nose / toilet humour always found a healthy place) give the right balance of warmth and practicality.  Plus - they are basically two layers of 100% wool... the knit layer and the woven floats on the inside.  Doubly wooly warm.

- My dad has been a sport fisherman for as long as I can remember.  I showed him some mitts with moose, and birds and other creatures on them, and of course he asked if there could be fish instead.  I didn't have much luck finding a rainbow or a speckled trout pattern, but this little fishie turned out ok I think.  The palm side of the mitts features a common traditional all over pattern, which conveniently enough looks a bit like fish scales.

- My parents also have 2 small Dogs - Molly and Sophie - so I included a small mutt on each of the wrists.

- As for the rest of the mittens, I kind of made things up as I went.  I chose some basic geometric patterns, and decided the cuff needed a latvian braid for good measure.  I took measurements of Dad's hands and just knit until the mittens felt right.  Dad likes his mittens to come up nice and high on the wrist... to avoid drafty sleeves.

dad's fishy mitts on dad's fishy mitts on back

And here they are on the hands they were made for... Thanks for letting me take your picture Dad!  I hope he gets lots of use out of them... Mom says he has them in the car to wear out-and-about for now, but I hope he really puts them to the test.  That's how I know he really likes something... he will wear them completely out!

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