Jobo Designs

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

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!

9. August 2010 12:29
by Jobo
2 Comments

Yarn Candy Monday is Baaaack! Barking Dog Yarns

9. August 2010 12:29 by Jobo | 2 Comments

barking dog card I was lucky enough to win a pattern and yarn draw a few weeks ago from Hunter Hammersen over at Violently Domestic... which included a fantastic free skein of 100% Merino Squishable goodness from Barking Dog Yarns.

Well my Package arrived last week, and I am finally getting around to showing you the photographs :)

When I found out I had won a skein, I thought that this would be a perfect time to order another skein too (as a test, you know, erm, to see what the rest of her stuff was like!  as if I need a reason to buy more yarn at this point)  So I also ordered a skein of her Cashmere / Merino Blend.  I love the colors!  It was really hard to decide!

barking dog yarn2

Above:   Rune Merino Cashmere Nylon 80/10/10 in "Oklahoma Rose"

Below:  Sirius 100% Fine Merino Superwash in "Sky Pirate"

The first thing I noticed when I picked up the envelope/baggie the yarns came in was how light and soft the yarn was.  In true Jobo Fashion, I could not wait the 30 second drive from the mailbox to the house to tear into the package.  I knew what it was, and I wanted it open NOW.  This yarn did not disappoint!  The pinks and purples are so soft and girly - the cashmere is so soft and lovely.  No doubt about it, this skein MUST become a shawl or scarf of some kind.  It needs to be close to the skin.  The vibrant blues and purples of "Sky Pirate" are difficult to photograph and even lovelier in person.  They remind me of the Caribbean ocean with it's teal and blue waters, with some indigo and violet shadows.  I will have to make the most special pair of socks yet to do it justice!

Suzan's customer service is fast fast fast, and completely top notch!  You will love her yarns... Pop over and take a Peek :)

13. March 2010 16:48
by Jobo
11 Comments

Another 198 Yds of Heaven... in Patons SWS

13. March 2010 16:48 by Jobo | 11 Comments

teresas shawl 6

Having worked this pattern before... I knew exactly what I was getting into as far as the actual knitting part goes.  I had not had the occasion to knit with Patons SWS (Soy Wool Stripes) before though... so that was a pretty new experience.

SWS Yarn 

Basically, this yarn is like a big soft wooly single - a big fat worsted weight yarn.  I can see why people use it for felting.  When it is first knit it does show pretty nice stitch definition for a single-type yarn, but I can imagine that it would felt nicely into a fuzzy wooly felt without too much trouble.  I discovered near the end of the shawl just how easy it was to wet-felt splice the end of a ball together with the new strand... just by splitting apart the ends, feathering them together, wetting them, and rolling between my hands I was able to make some pretty solid joins!  Unfortunately, I didn't realize this until I had already had to weave in half a dozen ends... oh well :)

 

Just knowing the high Feltability (is that a word?) of the yarn, I will have to be sure and educate the eventual owner of this shawl that it should be washed with cold water only and with very little (no) agitation... or this shawl may become a felted mess!

The reason I chose this yarn is a little convoluted.  I had gone into a yarn store looking for something a) in a blue/grey/black, b) something worsted weight-ish, c) something that was made of natural fiber and warm.  The original 198 yds. of Heaven pattern used a worsted weight wool, so I thought I would take my chances on this.  I used the entirety of 4 balls... there are 5-6 very short pieces left and that is it.  I even ended up splicing a few pieces to complete the cast off.  It was close... I thought I would have to rip back a row and cast off again it was *so* close.

teresas shawl 2

Before blocking, I wasn't sure if the shawl would be large enough.  The Recipient wanted it to be large, wooly and thick.  When it came off the needles, it measured 56 x 24 inches, but after a soak, stretch and rest the finished shawl blocked to 66 x 36 inches.  Perfect size! 

  teresas shawl 10

 

The final texture was a nice mix of thick warm stockinette panels and lacy open YOs.  The Arrowhead pattern really stands out pleasingly from the garter stitch bars and ladders of Yarn-Overs.  This lace pattern would be a good one for anyone who wants to get more comfortable with lace stitches, because it uses a good mix of stitches but does so in a predictable and easy to follow pattern of those stitches.  It is easy to see what the next "move" is and where the patter is going.

 

When I started out on this pattern I had test-driven a couple needle sizes to see the possible fabric textures... I settled on the 6mm circulars for the perfect mix of solid/lace.

 

The last time I knit this pattern I ran out of yarn before I was able to complete the border charts... I really liked the way the border completed the shawl.  The "points" turned out perfect!  I am a complete sucker for the finished curves and points on a shawl :)

 

 

 

teresas shawl 11

Here is a photo to give you an idea of the finished size... it stretches most of the way across my sofa!  aaaaand it matches my living room decor!?  how weird is that?

teresas shawl 13

More gratuitous post blocking photos!  There are the lovely points again!  For the first stitch of each row I slipped a stitch "purlwise" with yarn in back and then continued on.  I learned this technique on another shawl, and have translated it into many other projects.  The resulting edge has a nice "finished" look... almost braided.

teresas shawl 4

And here she is all ready for pickup!  All in all, I was very pleased with this project, and I hope Teresa likes it too :)

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