UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

June 26, 2008

In Perfect Harmony

Filed under: stuff — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:22 pm

Knitpicks is not Coca-Cola. *humming a bit*

Remember the old Coke commercial, “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” ?

Well, the current status of my Harmony needle tips is that I ordered 2 pair and one was defective. I was pleased by the customer service response to my problem report. I received a replacement pair, and I thought that was going to be kind of irritating to have an odd-ball needle tip— only when I checked the new tips, one was defective.

I have received what I ordered and paid for, a set of #6 and #8 Harmony needle tips. But I also have 2 defective #6 tips. They are defective in different ways, but not ones where a dab of glue would fix it. My problems were with the threading that enables attachment to the cable ends.

So out of 6 tips, 4 are fine, but 2 are defective. Even knowing I had had a problem and this was a replacement shipment, no one bothered to test the second batch of needles. With a quality problem in a third (perhaps my experience is aberrant) of the needle tips, I have to say that no one should bother buying these, even though the ones without problems are a superior product at a great price. If I were someone who purchased double-pointed needles, I would definitely consider the Knitpicks Harmony ones, but not the interchangeable ones. They need to dramatically improve quality control overall, but certainly for replacement products. I am not unhappy per se, I am underwhelmed though.

June 21, 2008

Gone Knitting

Filed under: knit, spin, yarn — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 6:56 pm

It has been a while since I actually knitted on a project and did not give up after the first flail.

Not counting that the ending rows are longer and more difficult, I am 27/115 (23.4%) done with the BSJ. So far the biggest gotcha has been that both sides of the marker shift– meaning that it really helps to have a spare set which can be swapped in so the marker will be in the correct place for the next row. My other concern has been that although several people said they made this with three balls of Swish, I am already running short of the main color. I think this is going to end up being much larger than expected also– which would explain the imminent dearth of yarn. I am not worried about that though because I am the only one who knows which color is intended as the “main color” and I have several other balls of Swish.

No progress on the bag.

I bought a small ball of yarn on the free transit day, from Art Fibers. I loved the color years ago. It wanted to become a vest for me, but I did not have that kind of money. I have that kind of money now, but it is not what I want to spend it on, so I did not buy a sweater’s worth. I bought a small ball. $15 worth instead of $135. There are two things which convinced me. First my spinning experience says this is not a durable yarn and the plying is lousy. Second, I would rather make stuff for me out of my handspun. There will be a picture of this yarn later, the colors are not coming out well and that is why I bought this, so I need to get exactly the right picture.

There has been zero spinning lately. Originally because of maintenance things in my apartment that caused a lot of stuff to need to be rearranged. Lately it has been deathly hot. There are threads all over Ravelry talking about how these people do not knit when it is hot. Fine whatever, but I really cannot face my spinning wheel when it is over 90F inside.

I got a renewal notice from Spin-Off this week. 40% of the way through my subscription. I know all magazines send renewals early, but I have been severely underwhelmed by the skill-level of the articles in the magazine and had already been thinking they should have titled it “So you think you want to spin?” because almost all the information is basic-level and pre-spin advice. Choosing a spinning wheel. Differences between roving and top and sliver and batts. All very useful if you have no knowledge and do not know what you are getting into. But I subscribed after I had taken a class and bought a wheel. That means I had derived most of the content before getting the first issue. I thought the first issue, which arrived when I had about 2 months’ experience was a little under my level. Now I think these are like kindergarten reading primers offered as novels to adults. I am frankly shocked they think anyone would ever renew this magazine subscription. Even if the skill-level were appropriate, the writing style borders on the condescending because it is so simplistic. Several articles in the first two issues I read were also poorly edited and/or fact-checked.

I am surprised there are no advanced-level magazines. But I have not heard of any. I am absolutely sure there is a niche there because I am not the only one with the negative impression of Spin-Off. My response upon seeing the renewal notice was definitely a  “____ Off!” but the blank was not filled by “spin”.

June 14, 2008

Current project requires prestidigitation

Filed under: spin — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:06 pm

So, I went out to the knitting group on Tuesday. It was kind of nice because there weren’t many people. I do better socially when I can watch my interactions more closely. Not that I am less likely to be offensive, but so much more likely to notice before damage is done. I got several rows knitted on the “Slant Pocket Purse” (the pattern is in the side bar, somewhere.)

The next day, my box from Knitpicks arrived. There were the two sets of Harmony needle tips, but one of them is defective. I had heard stories about low quality Harmony products going out the door, but my apparent 25% failure ratio makes the whole line seem like it should be pulled. I contacted Knitpicks today, so hopefully there will be an easy and successful resolution. ETA: Knitpicks responded the very next business day and will be sending me a replacement without me needing to send the defective one. They were polite, courteous, helpful. (I expect that my email which was polite, courteous, and indicated how I determined exactly where the fault lay is partially responsible, but I do not see a need to be belligerent just to test it.) I would still recommend against ordering Harmony tips near a crucial deadline, but the slow shipping would indicate that already. Having used the Harmony needles today, I have to say that I am impressed by the smoothness and durability. I also love the rainbow colors. ETA2: Of the pair of replacement needle tips, only one is functional. Since it was known that I had a problem, I expected someone would have checked the replacements. Therefore I would suggest not bothering with Harmony tips. Out of 6 needle tips, only 4 were acceptable. With that kind of ratio, it does not matter how good the customer service is.

In addition, I had ordered some superwash yarn for two projects. One project for me, because the other project demands a reward. The other project is a baby sweater. (There is no room in the fiber community for those who do not like children. (If you ever want to know why I feel like I do not belong, try being a married woman who has zero interest in procreation. It is so bad that I do not usually wear a ring in public because it staves off confrontation.))

I am making the ever-present “Baby Surprise Jacket” by Elizabeth Zimmerman.

Seedless Grape sent me a link to a helpful site that gives a list of how many stitches there should be in each row. I found a site that describes where the stripes will end up when added at different points.

I remain *embarrassed* to be knitting anything for a baby. I feel like I should be ashamed for violating my own principles. But the project itself is rather entertaining. And if I wanted to make one for myself, I would really like to have an idea how to make it go…. Still, I am wanting to point and say, “These are not the droids you are looking for.”

June 10, 2008


Filed under: fiber, spin, yarn — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:43 am


CMF BFL “Stonehenge” 8-ounce skein.

This is the skein from the completely full bobbin I mentioned recently. There are more pictures. I just love this color.

(Sorry for the non-sequitur.) I am absolutely terrible at remembering to update the blogroll in the sidebar. I have found the links other people have on their blogs to be useful in discovering new places. I wanted to be the kind of person who keeps hers up to date. Anyway. I will try to update at least quarterly.

June 9, 2008

Vocabulary Lessons: Whallop

Filed under: discussion, fiber — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:57 pm

So, spinning fiber is frequently sold in 4 ounce packs called “bumps” in the vernacular. There are larger quantities available (especially for undyed fibers) and those are “lumps”. What do the bulk quantities that wholesalers ship get called?

I suggest that we call that the “whallop”.

Now, question. If I wanted a whallop of BFL so I could dye it myself, where would I buy it? How big is a whallop in this case? I am fairly interested in 10 pounds or so. I could be talked into 20. Much more than that and I would be wanting someone else to go in with me on it.

I have not found anyone selling anything bigger than a pound-lump of BFL. It looks like Louet and Ashland Bay might be decent bulk sources, but I don’t know anyone who has a retailing contract with them who is willing to share the bulk discount with me. Around here most LYSs charge as much as the market will bear for anything they can— which I understand since they all seem to have expensive storefronts.

That brings me to the next question. Why do they all have expensive storefronts and the boutique style stores? Would it not be obvious that putting together a warehouse location with parking and actually having a sweater’s worth of yarn right there to take home would be a good idea? Sure, maybe not downtown San Francisco. But if people are willing to drive from Oakland to Sunnyvale, there could certainly be a big yarn deal somewhere in Gilroy or Vacaville—- why is there no “Yarn Outlet”?

June 5, 2008

EIGHT OUNCES! I got 8 ounces on _ONE_ bobbin!

Filed under: spin — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:55 pm

This is the Crown Mountain Farms new BFL in colorway “Stonehenge”. CMF roving comes in 8-ounce bumps and I figured I could spin 2 bobbins of singles and then when plying, I could swap in a new bobbin when the first one got full. I finished one bobbin of singles and have just a smidge left on the other one (shown in the first picture; the scale says that it is under half an ounce of unplied single.) I am astounded and amazed. But I really did get almost eight ounces onto one regular Fricke bobbin!

June 2, 2008

knit knit knit knit?

Filed under: knit, project lists, yarn — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:51 pm

Construction at home is making me want to be somewhere else. That means no spinning. It means projects must be portable. I actually have three projects lined up.

  1. I am making that slant-pocket bag (it is linked in the sidebar somewhere) from the Wensleydale and some feltable WotA. (Coolly enough, a friend said my blog here was one of the top matches on spinning Wensleydale.)
  2. I bought 2 shades of purple yarn to make a vest for myself, what I have in mind is that I would make the left in dark and the right side in light, then edge them in the opposite colors so it looks coherent and intentional. I am not sure whether I plan to make that one in the “Rib Warmer” pattern or if I will go back to ye old generic vest. But I will have time to think about it since the yarn was just ordered yesterday.
  3. I also decided that, contrary to my personal moral philosophy, I would make a baby sweater. People who know me are fainting in droves here. But the Elizabeth Zimmermann BSJ really entices. I also have a niece-in-law who is having another child. I would totally score family bonus points if I knitted a sweater for it. I want to knit this pattern. The yarn is costing under $10. But I feel filthy and unclean because celebrating someone’s life screw-ups should be unpalatable.

The yarn I bought is mostly Swish superwash from Knitpicks. I bought 12 skeins and some Harmony tips.

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