Jobo Designs

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

18. January 2011 09:15
by Jobo
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Musing about "the Muse"

18. January 2011 09:15 by Jobo | 0 Comments

I'm still working away on my Allegheny Muse!  the other night I reached a point in the pattern where there were several rows with no beads.... Boy do those rows ever fly by quickly when there are no BEADS to fuss with!?

allegheny muse jan 14 2011 beads

I'm enjoying this pattern so far... the chart is pretty basic to read, and the bead placement has been interesting and satisfying.  I'm finding the yarn is a little difficult to drag through the bead without splitting a bit, but I think that's probably because my hook is a little small for the yarn itself.  The cashmere blend yarn is so soft and light though... I can't wait to drape it around my neck as a completed shawl.  One thing is for certain though, doing all of those long rows first, the last half of the shawl will likely just fly off the needles!

allegheny muse jan 14 2011

I'd say that I'll have the lace charts done before the end of next week if this pace keeps up!

7. January 2011 15:47
by Jobo
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Allegheny Muse KAL... beaded lace!

7. January 2011 15:47 by Jobo | 1 Comments

A friend (Kim over at A Tail of Two Goldens) suggested that we should do a post-holiday Knit-A-Long for fun to mellow out and enjoy some good knitterly company after the rat race that is the holidays.  Perfect Idea!

So we met up last week for tea and treats... and chose a pattern and some yarn.  In addition to the knitting and chatting... I finally got to meet our hero and golden champion, Ernie!  (and his Little Bro Ollie too of course!)

After much deliberation and yarn fondling, we decided that whatever the KAL would be... it should include beads.  That helped to narrow things down to probably a shawl.  Names of fabulous designers were passed around (Jared Flood, Ysolda Teague, Rosemary Hill, and the like) when Kim suggested a great pattern by a relative newcomer - Kerry Milani.  After browsing the rav pattern page, it was unanimous, we would be doing the crescent shawl Allegheny Muse... and maybe next time something from "Romi"

barking dog olklahoma rose I have been sitting on a beautiful skein of Cashmere Blend fingering weight yarn from Barking Dog Yarns since the summer... and I think it fits this project beautifully!  I had originally thought that maybe I would make fancy socks from it, but the squishy softness was just so irresistable, I think it's a better idea to make a shawl out of it.  This way it will get touched and worn more often, and hopefully will have a long and useful life.

The color is "Oklahoma Rose" - and the yarn is 80% Merino / 10% Cashmere / 10% Nylon

And more about the pattern... "Allegheny Muse" is a crescent shaped shawl that is knit from the "bottom" up in a lacy beaded design, and then specially placed short rows create the upper plain knit portion and define the shape.  This is a new construction technique for me... and to be quite honest, until I set out to cast on, I thought that the plain knitting part at the top would be worked first!  oops!  My Bad.

I opted for the beaded eyelet cast on... I decided that the plain cast on of 200+ stitches might put me off to a less than ideal start.  I'm not great at being patient with ridiculously long cast-ons (*stamps feet and scrunches up face*) but somehow it seemed like a better idea to me to try and fandangle a crochet hook, a knitting needle, and a teensy-tiny beading crochet hook and a small bowl of size E seed beads all at the same time to make a *simpler* edging for myself.  Sigh.  I realize that I'm a little cracked. 

start allegheny museSurprisingly enough, after the first repeat of chains and YO's (and one official spilling of the bead bowl) I got the hang of the cast on.  I really like the way that the beads sit on the points.  Even though this was the first time I've worked this shape of shawl, I think I am going to like doing the lacy part first!  Save the boring basic knitting for later!  Bring on the crazy beads and lace!

I've been trying not to get carried away and go too far on the shawl until Kim catches up... which hasn't been all that difficult with the number of other Works-in-Progress that are lying around the house these days.  I've been quilting away, spinning, and knitting too!  My goal is to do 2 - 4 rows a day on this, and just roll with it!

So here she is - "the Muse" posing with a sparkly holiday ornament (which coincidentally matches the silvery foil lined beads)

allegheny muse edge with beads and sparkle

Want to join in?  Pop on over to Kerry Milani's Ravelry page and pick up a copy of Allegheny Muse for yourself!

10. August 2010 11:00
by Jobo
1 Comments

Russian Supported Spindle!

10. August 2010 11:00 by Jobo | 1 Comments

Isn't Ravelry an amazing crafting tool?  Up until a month ago I didn't even realize that there was such a thing as Russian Spindles, and I had not considered trying supported spindling either.  I was happy with my suspended spindles and my wheel...  Then I learned of this "other" method of spinning... and how this method might be the most appropriate way for me to spin lace weight yarns from my Fuzzybutt's baby coat... I was fatally intrigued!  And then I discovered Orenburg lace.... *faints from Gorgeous lace!*

Gripping Yarn Walnut Russian with Angora

This:  (see above) is my new Gripping Yarn Russian Spindle! (laying on a bed of Plucked Angora that I bought a long time ago, and was still too afraid to touch!)  I found out about Lisa Chan's spindle creations on a Ravelry forum for Spindle-Candy.  I learned that for fine lace weight yarns that the supported spinning method was the best way to go, and that shorter fine fibers, even more slippery fibers worked well with this method too.  I have a growing pile of very soft combings from the Rutti-bunny, which I would like to use to make something light and soft and airy.  His fur is such a soft silvery grey... I know some people say that the baby coat is not really great for spinning, but I don't want to waste it either.

So.  Having learned all of this... I decided I needed to try this!  Enter Lisa:  Spindle creator and Spinner Extraordinaire!  Custom spindles, turned specifically for the buyer, from whatever specified wood the spinner wants and the artisan has in stock, and then mailed out in as little as 2 weeks!  I couldn't believe it!  Her wood selection was extensive, and each one was so beautiful I could hardly choose.  I settled on a basic and practical Walnut in a mid range weight.  Lisa was quick to communicate by email, and the finished spindle was sent out in a snap! 

supported spindleThe day it arrived in my mailbox... I couldn't possibly wait to get all the way home before tearing it open!  The long skinny box was too much to resist!  She also included a pretty sample of Merino fiber to practice with.  (I spun it as soon as I got home... sorry folks no photos!)  I didn't have a proper spindle "bowl" so I've been using a little Pyrex finger bowl.  I know it isn't traditional, but it works for now :)

But there isn't a hook on that sucker?  Marky, understandably was a little skeptical that one could create yarn with this "stick"... but I got right to it... sitting cross legged on the floor with the spindle standing in the bowl, and me basically standing on my head trying to see everything and catch the knack.  Lisa's spindling videos on YouTube are very clear and easy to follow.  It's clear from watching her handle these puppies - Not only does she make a fine instrument... she obviously knows what she's doing too!

Basically, by standing the spindle in the bowl, this means that the thread being created can be very fine, as it doesn't have to be able to support the weight of the spindle itself.  Also, as the yarn builds up on the spindle shaft, it doesn't matter that it gets heavier... because the weight of the spindle here is basically irrelevant.

To make the yarn, you spin the top of the spindle shaft with a flick of the fingers, which in turn adds twist to the fibers and creates a thread... which is then wound onto the shaft for safe keeping.  I actually find this method fairly fast, even for very fine threads.  It is methodical and relaxing.  Flick, draft, flick draft, flick draft, wind.  repeat.

gossamer

I breezed through the first fiber that came with the spindle... then I "handy plied" it back onto itself to make the lightest softest 2-ply I've ever made.  (Again, too excited to wait and take a photograph of either the spindle, singles, or finished yarn.... at least I'm consistent!)  Since I have also become intrigued with Russian Lace - specifically Orenburg Down Shawls - I also ordered the Gossamer Webs Design Book, which conveniently arrived in the mailbox just a few days after the spindle. 

I started to knit the basic sample that is the first pattern in the book....  I love the sideways construction of the lacy points... and the way that the scarves/shawls are knit in one piece with stitches grafted and picked up to maintain the continuity of the design.  I love the geometric patterns... mouse prints, strawberries, fish eyes, pine trees, and scalloped borders.

I also love the gossamer, ethereal, almost floating texture of these shawls.  A well made Orenburg shawl (large in size too) can be pulled through a wedding ring.  I'm not sure how long it will take me to make fine beautiful yarns like that... but first things first!  here is what my sample looks like knit up.  Sadly I ran out of "thread" just before the finish line... but it still gives me an idea what the yarn would look like knitted, and how the basic construction methods fit together.  I had hoped to wet block, but I can't do that to an unfinished swatch I guess :( Better luck next time!

gripping yarn sample merino2

I love the lacy little points... so much that here we go again:

gripping yarn sample merino

The swatch was knit on a 2.5 mm Knit Picks Fixed Circular, since I think all of my DPNS are tied up in one pair of socks or another.  Apparently Orenburg lace is usually knit on straight needles... I will need to find some!

Since the first spindle photos were taken, I have about 0.5 ounces of that Angora (an oatmeal shade... and so so soft and light) built up into a nice cop of singles.  The center is starting to bulge and grow with each session... I will remember to take photos this time.  I promise!  I plan on plying this with some natural silk - I have some natural colored hankies that I think will compliment the angora very well, providing some more strength to my fine little thread, and also lending some shine!

How do you say "I love this thing" in Russian?  I Love this Thing!

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