UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

May 30, 2008

Wire makes better jewelry than yarn does.

Filed under: other craft — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 1:23 pm

There was a discussion on Ravelry about knitting with wire. I have never really understood why people would knit with wire. Clearly that is an application for crochet. Casting on and binding off are a pain to do with wire. I have been told that Continental knitting style helps, but I am still a “thrower”.

When I started, I made a bracelet out of the innards of a phone cable and some cheap craft store beads. Then I did it again. Then I was out of wire and I bought some at the craft store. Pseudo jewelry wire is pathetic compared to phone cable with its gazillion microwires inside a casing, because the jewelry wire breaks if its bendy enough to be crocheted. If it is not bendy enough, then the whole thing is too frustratring to try.


This is the bracelet I made for myself from copper wire and purple glass beads. The picture is from a long time ago, before I had a camera. I put it on the scanner. I do not wear it much anymore because the wire stretched and got fragile.

May 18, 2008

heat impedes progress

Filed under: summary — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 4:39 pm

Nothing got knitted or spun this week. It was too hot.

I looked in the Elizabeth Zimmermann books for a while and finally got too annoyed. I doubt I would have been so angry that no one bothered to put all her patterns into a single book if it had not been so hot.

I have some more of the Crown Mountain Farms BFL pre-drafted. I really do not know what that will become, but if I start on it now, when I realize what it should be, I will be ready.

I got some advice on taking better pictures of that alpaca yarn and dark yarn in general.

May 14, 2008

Warmer and Wensleydale

Filed under: knit, project lists, spin — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 8:42 pm

I borrowed a copy of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Workshop book. It claims to have a copy of the adult version of the Baby Surprise Jacket… it says she figured out the trick to it and to buy the copy of her ‘Zine with the pattern. Uh huh. You can color me (sarcastically) impressed now. (Apparently this pattern is available in The Opinionated Knitter.)

The book did have the “Rib Warmer Vest” pattern in it. I had been needing a very simple, but elegant, vest pattern for my mother-in-law.

I admit that I want one of these for me as well.

I finished spinning the Wensleydale. (April 2008 Spunky Fiber Club). I estimate ~200 yards from the 4 ounces, this is a thin yarn, sport weight or so.  I thought the Wensleydale spun very easily and the enormous staple-length has to be a large part of that. However, the finished yarn is not really suitable for human garments. I plan to felt it. I think I would like to spin more Wensleydale wool, but only if it is much more intensely dyed and massively cheaper than BFL.

May 12, 2008

All the promised pictures…

Filed under: spin — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 1:53 pm

yarn single on bobbin

↑ Wensleydale Single from Spunky Fiber Club April 2008

alpaca yarn, black

↑ 2-ply alpaca yarn, first alpaca spinning experience. Smooth but not lofty.


↑ CMF BFL “Twelfth Planet” second skein

↑ The extra bit from the CMF BFL “Twelfth Planet”. This particular handful shows the color range fairly well.

↓ The BFL from the hand-dye experiments.


↓ Comparison of the three BFL skeins, each of the CMF “Twelfth Planet” skeins and the hand dyed one

3 yarns

Wensleydale— or “Cheese! Gromit”

Filed under: fiber, spin — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 8:30 am

Assuming I actually get the camera out and do something about it, I will have pictures of the alpaca and a comparison picture of the new CMF BFL compared to the previous skein. Those are all washed and dried.

But what I wanted to say is that long-staple wool is the best stuff for mindless spinning. The Wennsleydale [sic] was really glorious to spin. The yarn it makes is still harsh, but beats the nasty spider-leg Icelandic. The color is wimpy. I was not planning to ply this but I think I will because the singles are thinner than I would want for the project I have in mind. Good thing I have a scale now. I really like spinning this wool. I will be looking for more of it for other projects.

May 9, 2008

no photos yet

Filed under: knit, spin — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:22 pm

I finished my first alpaca yarn; it is drying now. I washed some hand-dyed BFL 2-ply. I washed some 2-ply CMF BFL also. There will be photos taken soon. You will not be able to feel the softness of the alpaca, but hopefully seeing the plying will be of interest regardless.

I was asked how I was measuring my yarns when I claimed they were now consistent between batches. So I expect I will come up with some sort of metric beyond “I looked at it and it looks good.”

Surprisingly I do a lot of my fiber work based on that “looks good” principle. I do not usually measure gauge, I knit some and see how the yarn looks on those needles. Then I adjust to get the fabric I want. Then I knit it until it is the right size. Sure, sometimes I am following a pattern and it gives a yarn, specifies needles, and tells me what my gauge needs to be. But usually my gauge and the suggested equipment do not mesh. I really liked the idea of the book “Knitters’ Handy Guide…. ” but out of 10 projects, my gauge was never included. (And the projects were simplistic with only one method given… no top-down hats in that book, no toe-up socks.) But the idea is really sound, that the fabric desired determines the needles and yarn and only then does gauge get calculated.

I have been knitting on my socks. They appear enormous. I have blunt toed feet, but these might be too large. I will be trying them on at some point very soon. I think they have very cute colors.

Tomorrow’s projects do not involve much about fiber, but hopefully I can take photos to share later.

May 5, 2008

Vocabulary confusion.

Filed under: equipment — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:36 pm

When is a roving combed and when is it carded? What is the generic name for “a snaky rope of fiber, usually wool”?

I tend to assume that “roving” means the snaky rope of fiber. That “sliver” means a carded roving. And that “combed top” means the stuff I usually get where the fibers are all end pointed. However, most places seem to use “roving” and “combed top” interchangeably.

I am not entirely sure what “top” is.

The whole thing came up because I found reference to a “Beka swift” and that seemed really excellent until I thought about it. In the process of looking that up I ran across the “Louet roving carder”. The description explains that carding aligns the fibers in the direction of the carding action. I can see that being true when I think about the engineering of the tool. But when I think of carded fiber, it was used from hand carded rolags and we spun from the cross-ways direction, not the end-on direction.

So what am I not understanding when I think “If I had a drum carder and I fed in combed top, I would get out fluffier combed top.” ? Clearly if it works like that, a drum carder is what I want for pre-drafting fiber.


On an administrative note, WordPress.com is now offering better generic avatars for non-logged in users. I chose one set, partially at random. The way that should work is that you will be given the same image based on name or email address, so it should be uniquely yours. If you are disturbed by the iconic images, please leave a comment here or send me an email to the obviously named gmail address.

Another option would be for you to create a gravatar. Gravatars are multi-system avatar logos. You register with them and your gravatar is used wherever possible. I found the Gravatar system to be somewhat inconvenient since it is based on cookies and I have several places that my red voodoo doll icon would not be appropriate for.

It asked me what “rating” of avatars I wanted to allow. I chose PG, but then realized that I was not given a chance to flag my image. I do not see it as a “G-rated” image, personally, but is unlikely to be adult-only. I loved how the voodoo doll image (it is from vivavoodoo.com and the icons are free for personal use if credit is given, and credit is watermarked onto the actual image)  reminded me of me using double-pointed needles. However, voodoo dolls are not G-rated to me. So I would have set it at PG.

I currently do not have a policy on avatars images. I tend to block images I find offensive. I expect that everyone else knows how to be an adult and maturely handle things. There have been a surprisingly large number of extremely offensive avatars on Ravelry and I just block those images. However, if there is something you think I should do about a particular image, especially if it is mine, speak up.

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