UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

February 19, 2009

Here I am.

Filed under: fiber, knit, socks, spin — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 12:00 am

Hi. I am an idiot. Feel free to point and laugh. My computer got a virus. I could not fix it. I did have anti-virus. I did have anti-spyware. I did have router firewalls in place. Nothing worked. I got help. The help could not fix it. The whole thing had to be wiped. I did retrieve my data and most things are back to normal. But the remaining things are going to especially affect you my readers. I cannot get pictures off my camera. Admittedly, this will be relatively easily solved by the installation of some software, whenever that becomes a priority. 

I received the February fiber club shipment. It is a really ridiculously soft baby llama fiber and a spool of embroidery thread for plying. The llama is a hazel gray color that goes between oatmeal and sea green depending on the light and what the ambient colors are. The embroidery thread is an unfortunate shade of electric turquoise and is 100% polyester. However, I have a plan. I have some dyed silk fiber. It looks fabulous next to the llama. I am so excited about this that I am finding it hard to finish working on the January fiber. 

The second Raspberry Friday Sock is progressing. I am about halfway through the foot now. I have finished 2 of 6 pattern repeats. 

I realized that I am on track to knit 12 pair of socks this year. I sort of want to push for that, but sock knitting really detracts from other fibery projects. Weighing in the other pan is the fact that I have decided to bail on the 50 books per year for the first time in about 5 years– (Feel free to email if you want to discuss my reasons.) so it might be nice if there was something to measure my progress through time against.  Plus I have bought the yarn, I better do something with it.

February 14, 2009

What beats S.S.S? knit knit knit

Filed under: knit — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:45 pm

Finished the first Raspberry Friday sock. Cast on for second sock. I will not say I am immune to Second Sock Syndrome, but I do have a treatment plan in place.

That was when I discovered that Addi and Knitpicks and my needle gauge all have completely different ideas as to what each size means. Now. I love the super pointy KP tips with their long bevel.  It is exactly the opposite of what I liked as a beginning knitter, which is very close to the tips Addi has. (Why they make wood and bamboo with pointy tips and metal with blunt, I really cannot understand.) But the Addis are a full .5mm larger. KP sells a US #1.5 which is the same size as the Addi #1. And the KP people warn that they sell those for consistency with other brands. But it is no surprise I kept thinking I needed #0 or #00  needles if I cannot get the same gauge everyone else is getting when my needles are 25% fatter than everyone else’s.  It was not my fault!

I am going to go back to the Addi needles for the second sock after I finish the short-row toe, which I am slovenly knitting (my hands are freezing) to approximate the larger gauge. When this sock  is done, I am going to have several pair of Addi needles in need of new homes. #”1″s and #4s. Not that anyone reads this. 

I need needle storage now though. My current system looks like a shelf of purple spaghettini.

February 13, 2009


Filed under: socks, yarn — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 6:59 pm

Does it feel like the world is coming to an end? It sort of does here. I actually *gasp* ordered sock yarn.

I had been really enamored of the Schaefer Heather yarn (55% superwash merino wool, 30% silk, 15% nylonwhen I found it. That is what I want to knit my next socks from.

I had been interested in the Fleece Artist Sokomo, but it was spendy. Then I saw the Nyoni sale and I had to have some. I plan to use it with the Estonian Lace book.  I could not pass up a $20 for 800+ yards of 65% merino wool, 20% kid, 10% Nnon, 5% silk. I expect I will think it is a laceweight yarn despite the “fingering” tag, but that was keeping me from ordering it when it was 65% superwash merino +++ at $23 for 325 yards. 

And with another Pagewood Farm skein, I got free shipping.  I will say how happy I am when I receive it. Right now I feel more than a little ill.

February 12, 2009

Buying of stuff.

Filed under: stuff — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 1:15 pm

No idea if this interests you, the reader, at all, but my Knitpicks order, which shipped on 2/5/09, arrived today, 2/12/09. It says shipping time is 5-14 days, so I am pleased to have been at the low end of the range while still getting free shipping. 

I ordered on 2/3/09, so that is 9 days from ordering to receipt. I have not yet done a thorough examination of the contents for quality assurance purposes, but I received everything. 

It takes me about a week to get up the gumption to go to the LYS because of the hassles about their hours and parking. (Shockingly there was a post in the local Rav group saying how great the local LYS is. I must have completely different expectations.) So even with slow shipping, I am still getting about the same result.

The postal carrier said that there were no packages at the warehouse because shipping volume is so low. I think that will encourage me to send more things. Or it could. I have been really irritated at the massive increase in retail shipping costs, but if it means better service, it might be worth the money. 

I bought myself 6 circs, 2 #0, 2 #1, 2 #2… That means no matter what the sock yarn knits like, I should be able to deal with it. I have a set of 2 #1 Addi turbos, but I hate them when I have to pick up wraps at the heels and k3tog.  That meant I preferred the slovenly short-row methods where you pull tight and hope. 

I splurged and bought new yarn needles. I don’t think $2 for 4 is a terrific price, but I keep losing mine and it would cost me more than $2 if I had to drive all over shopping for them. Since the new ones are metal, I will magnetize them and put a strip of magnet tape up to hold them. If they had a nice home, I think they would not vacation as much. 

I got a few extra interchangeable tips and a few more cables. I decided from the beginning that I wanted to have a cable for every set of tips I owned and I do, but the 60″ cables do not get a lot of use, so I wanted some spares in more managable sizes. I am hoping there will not be any quality issues where the tips are not threaded inside like there were with the Harmony tips I bought last year. I did opt for only the nickel-plated tips in hopes of avoiding that. Sometimes I wish they had different colors of cable available for those of us who do the 2-circ method since there is no way to distinguish the needle tips. 

I bought the Priscilla Gibson-Roberts sock book and 2 skeins of Imagination in the new color “Mermaid”. The Mermaid is really cheery without being garish. I like it a lot in the skein, we shall see if it knits even tolerably. It will not be especially durable since it is only 2-ply, but the alpaca made my Ceris Major socks very warm. My feet were warm enough that I could go through my apartment shoeless in January. And the price is good. If they were selling it for retail-store prices— like the Lorna’s Laces prices, since that is a similar size skein– I might have higher expectations. 

From yarns

Shopping wise: I was turned onto Little Knits, and they have some excellent prices though their shipping costs are opaque. I also found that Colorsong is having free shipping on yarn and their prices on Fleece Artist are better than most everyone else’s. I have been seriously considering the Bearfoot sock yarn from Mountain Colors. I like the fiber combinations, but the pictures most sites have vary so much that I feel like I should shop in person. I hate being this grouchy about shopping.

February 7, 2009

Various updates on the weekend

Filed under: knit, socks, spin, yarn — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:10 pm

[[All pictures can be clicked to view larger.]]

New sock yarn purchased… It looks mediocre compared to the Pagewood Farm, which I thought was pretty mediocre. But this was the best of the sock yarns at my nearest LYS. I do not agree with their categorizations of yarn; if it is 2-ply and 100% merino and loosely spun, it does not matter if it is the same fingering gauge, it cannot be sock yarn. They have not heard of cabled yarns. Next time I will see if the shuttle is launching soon enough to put me into orbit around Saturn where maybe I can see if Purlescence lives up to its reputation? I hate that I had to pay for parking to visit the LYS here and I had more information than they did. Plus I was like the only one there, so I felt obliged to buy something.

New sock yarn from LYS ($23 sale price with tax) 450 yards “100% wool” (it says superwash on the back of the tag) 3-ply [1.5] yarn:

Old sock yarn from Knitpicks (4 balls Essential, $16 total, superwash merino+ nylon (75/25) 800+ yards, [1.5] yarn):


“Candy Butter” progress. I divided the lump of fiber into 2. Then I divided one half into 4. I spun 2, then plied them (first quarter). Now I have the remaining 2 spun into singles. I will ply them today, and then ply both the 2-ply yarns together. I will end up with 3.5 ounces of 2×2-ply yarn. It will probably be thicker than sock weight because I am not very good at spinning finely.

Picture of the first quarter (2-ply), then the second quarter which are single ply (and were plied this morning). Please excuse the really horrible winding on the 2-ply bobbin. I dropped it and it rolled away.

One thing this project has done, my fine gauge spinning has improved. I put my wheel into the largest ratio whorl and I just zip through it. Since nothing can happen to this that will make it any uglier than the color started out being, I am not being uptight about my spinning and that really helps. 


Raspberry Friday Sock progress. I have finished 4.5 repeats (the pattern started right past the toe). The pattern is 18 rows high. I figure I will need another 1.5 repeats before it looks sock-height. Then I get to start the second one.


I ordered that Estonian Lace book that everyone raves over. It took 2 months to get here. I am hoping it really inspires me for my Siduri. That is the name for the Source of Gilgamesh yarn’s project. I should really wash that yarn. 

I requested a motif dictionary from the local library. I went on Monday, but right before they unloaded the books from other branches. I meant to go one of the other days but my priorities shifted. Plus I was peeved that they had been open for 2 hours and still had not unloaded the bags, but by the time I got home, the email saying I should come get the book was waiting for me.

Done, halfway, now what should go next?

Filed under: spin — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 8:32 am

The first half of the January club fiber is done, spun into 2×2 yarn. I am mostly satisfied. I think it wavers more than I would like in size, but the firm-ness and round-ness of the yarn is really exquisite.  The end result yarn is very tweedy and it is very nice. I will skein it and photograph it soon.  

I should spin the other half of the fiber and over-dye them together so they will match. But that means I cannot change projects and I would really like to.  Not that I know what else I would like to be spinning next, but I just know I really would prefer it not be pink. My Jiminy Cricket half says, “It would be nice to finish the January fiber before the February arrives.” 

In an email, I talked about spinning toward an undyed Fair Isle project, like mittens. I have the fiber. I have recently learned to spin really tiny singles. So I could get a sport-weight yarn pretty easily and that would mean a lot of stitches for patterning. That would be a big project getting 5 colors to all come out similarly, yarn-wise, but what a sense of accomplishment!

February 5, 2009

Candy Butter wouldna melt in her mouth

Filed under: spin — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:27 pm

I have half the yarn for my cabled sock yarn done. 2 bobbins of singles, plied. One nice thing about this project is that since I really did not like the fiber (the texture is wonderful, but the color is awful) I am just zipping through it. That means I am getting a lot more experience with a finer gauge of spinning than I practiced last year. 

I worry some about trying to knit socks with handspun. There cannot be a good gauge swatch because this handspun is variable; hopefully the second round of plying will even it up some. The yarn does not have a name because I have every intention of overdyeing it. It looks a lot like pink taffy or “if cotton candy was a grease stain”. If I named the yarn, “Candy Butter”, not only would I never want to knit it up, I doubt I could even give it away. 

I did look some for sock yarn. Weirdly enough even though nothing claims to be cabled, I found the sample of Regia Bamboo (I got it from The Loopy Ewe) was actually a 3×2 cable-plied yarn. The Regia Silk sample was a 4-ply yarn. So basically, the product exists, but no one thinks it is worth telling consumers what differentiates one yarn from another. I did not especially like the Regia in the samples. It would knit in a sock gauge of 10-11 sts/inch and they do not make knitting needles with enough 0000s for me to get that kind of gauge.

I am going to stop complaining about the buying of yarn. I will either buy it (and tell you about it) or not. 

I started an email conversation with [big name blogger] and I read through my half of the conversation. I would like to talk to that person, but you are not seeing her here.  For example, I was going to say that I was not bothered by purling, but I dislike the transition between knit and purl. I believe 1×1 rib is a punishment parents give to naughty children. 

I have named the project that is going to be knit with the “Source of Gilgamesh” yarn. I am calling it “Siduri”. There are still some details to be worked out…. like what I am actually going to knit. But the name puts it on my radar.

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