UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

March 30, 2008

Fiber to yarn.

Filed under: fiber, spin — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 4:09 pm

Fiber to yarn:

These pictures are from my Mahogany gallery.

Captions are: fiber from Spunky Eclectic, pre-drafted fiber, pre-drafted fiber, single on bobbin, plied yarn on bobbin, closeup of plied yarn, skeined yarn.

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March 20, 2008

Yell, Yarn.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 3:12 pm

There are definitely days when I feel like any knitting related stuff is an accomplishment. I am not sure going to a knitting night where I wound some yarn but only finished 2 rows of a scarf thing actually counts as “fiber-related”.

I am sure this will not be a huge surprise to the reading audience, but I am not very social. Now that I am old enough that my mommy does not make me go play with my friends, I do not. If I force myself to go out, I usually feel awkward and unwanted, like I am spoiling the evening for other people just by going.

When I went out this week (and it was a double-loaded week), that was most certainly the case. I was told that I should just stop knitting entirely.

For all the vaunted inclusiveness mentioned in books about there being no wrong way to knit and everyone who knits is a so-called real knitter, that does not appear to be the case. Everyone must homogenize or they will be shunned.

I could retitle my blog here, “Billie Idle’s Rebel Yarn!” but I suspect it would only be funny to me.

I am not taking comments on this post, but if you cannot resist, use the contact form, link in the right sidebar, about halfway down.

March 16, 2008

Press ‘Pause’ to continue

Filed under: Uncategorized — UndyedYarnpire @ 6:36 pm

There has been no interesting fiber stuff this week or recently.

I exchanged a couple emails with people, but that was it in terms of social stuff for the entire month. It was an off week for knitting groups— one group meets every other week, the other meets first and third weeks— some months have very social weeks.

The previous week I was too sneezy and considerate to go out. Or embarrassed not to have any knitting to bring. Most likely both.

It would have been a good time to be working on knitting stuff but I was and am between projects.

I figured out where the squeak was coming from in my wheel, with help. A screw had come loose. It was connecting the footman assembly to the wheel axle. It was a strange intermittent noise that would get worse if I treadled slowly or with light pressure. You might imagine that diagnosing it was hard to do as a solo project. With help it took under five minutes to find and solve the problem that had been disturbing me for weeks.

I have a number of pre-drafted fiber ribbon swaths waiting to be spun up. I should probably take a picture of that because it interests me.

Still looking for good fiber sources of undyed-but-not-white fiber. There are not a lot of pre-processed sources, most of them are fleece based. I also looked into wool processing places. I do not think washing and carding a fleece is feasible in my apartment with its single sink.

March 12, 2008

lavabile lana vergine

Filed under: knit — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:32 pm

I dug through my stash and found this great variegated purple yarn. I cast on for that slant pocket purse and had finished the first 9 rows of garter stitch when it suddenly occurred to me to check and see how it looked when felted. It does not felt. I did not realize it was superwash because half the label is in Italian (except the part saying “Made In Turkey”). I bought it at a yarn store in Oregon; which would mean it was from 2003 or 4.

It has a picture of a triangle and a 40, then there are a bunch of crossed out icons. Who knows what that means. “Lavabile Lana Vergine” then underneath it says, 100% virgin wool.

Much cursing ensued.  Probably not the kind of words virgin wool has heard before.

March 8, 2008

polls rigmaroles jogs and bags

Filed under: knit, project lists — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 12:46 pm

I am in search of a new project. I would like to poll my audience, but I make no promises that I will actually complete a suggested project.

I have a hat owing, but it could wait until winter.

Jimmy Beans Wool has odd-ball Lorna’s Laces on sale, but they are out of worsted weight. [ETA: After browsing the sale collection… I want more of that yarn even though I have not knit any of it yet from my stash. I would really want a ball winder if I bought a sweater’s or shawl’s worth of yarn. I keep putting off buying a ball winder because I hate the plastic ones everyone has (and I do not have a table to clamp it to) but I do not want to spend $200+shipping for one of the Nancy’s Knit Knacks winders.]

I found the most adorable purse. I do not have an appropriate yarn in my stash in sufficient quantities… I suppose I could order some Cascade or something. (No point in using nice yarn for a felted project. The suggested Malabrigo is a waste.) There is only one problem. What would I do with it? I personally am not a purse woman. Everything I need fits in my pockets. If I am bringing knitting along, chances are I will not be able to get that into a purse anyway or I would want to change projects, so it would need its own bag.

I keep drifting back to the vest idea. That is definitely what I want for me most of all. I am less wowed by the “More Stripes” pattern if I am not making a striped version— and I don’t want to make a striped version on a ribbed texture because I would feel obligated to go through the rigmarole to avoid the stripe jogs.

[ETA: I did a swatch of the 4×1 ribbing for “More Stripes” in KnitPicks “Bare” heavy worsted. I got a horizontal gauge that is a bit larger, but the row gauge is spot on using size 7 needles. The horizontal gauge is actually off enough that I am just going to knit the next size smaller. I plan to do the swatch with the Lorna’s Laces “Baltic Sea” worsted later/tomorrow. I am a little concerned because the pattern suggests size 5 needles to get that gauge, which is more in line with a sport/DK weight yarn no matter what the Noro people call it. My sweater might end up being too thick. I suppose I could order more yarn…. I could buy 6 skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport. I am afraid I will be knitting for 2 years though. How does Noro Silk Garden compare to Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted? I looked at the yarndex.com zoomed detail view, but it is difficult to tell how zoomed those images are.]

I have yet to ply the first two bobbins of “Mahogany”. I plied the first two bobbins of the “Mahogany” BFL. It is not really a [4] yarn. I have some hopes that it will fluff during washing, but right now it is a [2]. I usually leave plied yarn on the bobbin at least overnight before skeining and there is no point in taking pictures of the bobbin.

Then I started thinking about how a vest is constructed. I am asking myself why there are no vest patterns that are made from variable-width scarves (wide at the two ends, narrow in the middle for the shoulder strap part) that are seamed together in appropriate places. It seems like it might work out, though possibly better for a man’s size since their shoulders do not narrow as much. If it got saggy, some reinforcing could be added.

I have stopped wanting to knit a vest sideways because I am certain that the stretch would be very unattractive in a short amount of time. My sideways-knit scarf that was 8 feet long when it was freshly knitted is now close to 12 feet. So there is a reason why people in-the-know do not do that.

A bit of administrivia, I get email notification of all comments. There is no clear way for me to reply to comments, since there is no threading. I sometimes comment and indicate, but I know no one else gets notified. Sorry about that. There is nothing I can do without finding a new blogging service. It means this tends not to be a “discussion” as much as me pontificating. Your email address is not exposed to the world, but if you leave a real one, I sometimes remember to paste in my reply via email also. And I have emailed people privately.

March 4, 2008

Yesterday, all my pictures seemed so far away…

Filed under: fiber, spin — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:58 pm

These are the photos that go with the rambling post from yesterday. If you have a Picasa account, you should be able to add me to your favorites and then you can be notified for all photo uploads. I do not always link in all photos I upload, but they are generally representative.

Fiber for my vest, “Mahogany” colorway by Spunky Eclectic, in BFL

8 ounces “Twillight” BFL by Spunky Eclectic.

8 ounces custom dyed red (I said I wanted red+dark red and possibly orange or tan— something non-“fruity”) Superwash Merino, by Spunky Eclectic. It doesn’t have a name, but I call it “Demon Carapace”. Unlike the similarly colored roving from last month this is intensely colored all the way through, even when unbraided. When I need something dyed right, I know I will be ordering from Spunky.

Think Spring” is the name of the February 2008 Spunky Fiber Club selection.


And yarn photos:

Sakina Needles “Pinyin Pine” SW merino. I hated this roving and I do not like this yarn, but not because it was spun poorly.

DK yarn from BFL roving I dyed myself.

Mostly worsted yarn from Tempted roving “Roxane” in 80/20 Merino/Silk. The color is very intense, with just red and black. I got a lot of barber poling, so this came out seeming very amateurish. I also admit that I had an attitude problem while spinning this yarn and did a very mediocre job.

March 3, 2008

Grist for the mill settles from the dregs.

Filed under: fiber, knit, project lists, spin — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 4:53 pm

There is a small problem with announcing the onset of a new project: the dread that someone out there in the audience will be expecting progress. I had yarn issues and decided to find another project.

This is the nadir state of my creative cycle. I do not  know what I want to make. I have several ideas for things. Mittens for a friend, hat for a sister-in-law. I could be making a matching mitt for me, so I could have warm hands without the 1980s calling and saying they want their Michael Jackson costume back. I could be finishing the tropical colored hat that just does not want to knit up right. And I want to make a vest for myself.

I have the vest pattern chosen, the “More Stripes” by Amy King. It requires steeking, and I have not done that, but it does not seem especially difficult despite being quite scary. I could, in theory, use a sewing machine, which would probably help hold things together a lot more than my haphazard hand sewing. There are also crochet steek techniques. I am sure I can come up with something.

I started spinning the yarn for my vest. I have 8 ounces of “Mahogany” BFL from Spunky Eclectic. That really is an awesome colorway. I should have ordered more of it though. I am very concerned that I will not have enough to make the whole vest. I decided I would continue to spin it as it is going, which is a pretty consistent [1] single. I am getting a pretty consistent ply that is about [3.5] when washed. The pattern suggests I will want 440 yards in each of two colors and I think that might be tough for me to get from 8 ounces when it is handspun.

There is a post pending about my revised spinning technique. I had been hunching over my proto-yarn, pinching along and drafting out gobbets of fiber pulled between both hands. I got very consistent results, but the yarn was so dense I would struggle to get a hundred yards of [4] yarn when washed and plied from a 4-ounce braid. I learned to sit back, to actually draft with the back hand, and to pull+twist a single with a lot more air to it. I am easily getting twice the yardage from the same amount of fiber and it takes less work. It still takes twice as long to do the after-treatments of plying and skeining, but the end result seems more useful.

I have two skeins of Lorna’s Laces worsted too; I think they would make a great vest, but that is really minimum on the yardage since my previous vest was about 500 yards of [6] bulky.

Still, just discussing this here makes me feel more enthusiastic. There will be pictures later, at least of the “Mahogany” yarn.

Oh, and I finished spinning the 80/20 merino+silk Tempted brand roving (colorway “Roxane”). It is plied and awaiting a wash and skeining. I did not see any difference added by the silk. I have read a lot of people talking about how difficult they find the spinning of 80/20 merino/silk blends, but most of them are looking to spin and ply lace or fingering weight yarns. Merino is too short of a staple length to really do  a shiny-smooth laceweight from, in my opinion. The silk helps with the shine, but I thought this was a DK weight at most, and it would be better at worsted. I did think the drafting was fine and the color penetration by the Tempted dyer was good. The colorway was uninspired. I admit to doing a quick and dirty job on this. I think my yarn will end up being a heavy-worsted [5] or so. I just wanted it done.

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