Jobo Designs

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

7. November 2011 12:10
by Jobo
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Little Mittens... fast and easy!

7. November 2011 12:10 by Jobo | 0 Comments

I have quite a few little friends... aka children in my life... who will no doubt need several pairs of hand knit mittens for the upcoming snowball season.  A couple of weeks ago, I just didn't have the attention span to make any larger projects, so I just grabbed some leftover small yarn balls and went to town on some toddler mittens.  They're made from Acrylic (various brands) so as to be indestructible and inexpensive, if they get lost it isn't a big deal.

little blue and brown mittens

At this point, having made about 6 pairs of these in a short time period, I can whip out a pair of these in an evening... if I don't get sidetracked by something else.  Plus it's an excellent way to use up the scraps at the end of other projects.  I've made brown and blue ones as you see above, but also a couple of other colors.  I think I got 3 pairs of the robin's egg blue ones out of the ball I had left!

little blue mittens

I hope to make a few more pairs and mail them out to the eventual recipients just before the holidays.  What kid doesn't love getting mail!  Especially Mail in a big envelope... with their name on it!  and something fun inside!  And maybe stickers!  I think I enjoy mail like that as much as any kid would ;)

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!

17. October 2011 08:01
by Jobo
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Alligator Mittens and Hat Set

17. October 2011 08:01 by Jobo | 0 Comments

I love working on Children's projects... for several reasons.  The cute factor is overwhelming!  I love that for kids, you can use the brightest colors available!  You can also be as creative as you want.  If you can dream it up, you can do it.  And the best part - children's projects are small enough to finish in a reasonable amount of time, so there is lots of instant gratification.

For this little set, I was asked to make mittens and a hat for a 4 year old little boy... who like most little boys, has a thing for alligators.  this began the search for the perfect shade of Alligator Green!  Normally, I gravitate towards wool products, but for this project I chose a nice soft acrylic (mainly for the indestructibility factor) and Vanna's Choice had a lovely mossy bright green.

I set to work to find a hat that would be stylish, keep ears warm, but also be functional for everyday winter wear.  I had been admiring Thorpe (available as a free pattern... follow the linky) for a long time, and had eventually intended to make one from handspun yarn for myself... This seemed the perfect opportunity.  I made a few modifications (2 extra increase rows at the crown) to account for the fact that I was using a basic worsted weight yarn instead of a bulky one, and added a few stitches to the earflaps to account for the extra stitches... but other than that, I worked the pattern mostly as written and was very satisfied with the results. 

I always find it challenging to make hats for children because of the variety in head size...  Maybe now that I'm going to have a child sized noggin at home I will be a bit more fearless?  I consulted a bunch of different patterns to try and make sure that this would fit properly.  I think I did ok in the end, because the Mom was pleased with the fit.

Alligator hat full

And of course... the star attraction - Alligator Mittens!  When we were little I remember my Grandma making dinosaur/lizard mittens with tiny yarn, and them being quite complicated to make and not as functional as regular mittens.  For this reason, I chose to make just a basic regular mitten, and then embellish with eyes and teeth.  I hope that the little guy can play and use them as his everyday mittens this winter, so I wanted them to be comfortable, and perfectly adapted for making snowballs and general seasonal antics.  Also, because they are acrylic... they are fully washable :)

Alligator set

I added crocheted eyes with black French knot pupils, and duplicate stitched teeth along the underside of the mitten.  It was hard to photograph the tooth effect without having the proper sized hands to fit inside the mittens... but you get the idea.  I hope there will be lots of "RAWR" moments and "love bites" with these mittens.

Alligator mitts

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