UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

May 30, 2009

Spinning My Wheels

Filed under: discussion, summary — UndyedYarnpire @ 7:20 pm

I am still stuck on not wanting to spin what is on the bobbin. I was 80% of the way through my birthday fiber when I left for Yarn School.

I have not touched my wheel since I have returned. It is somewhat sad because I had this amazing idea for plying the fiber with a natural colored fiber (not sure which shade) and having a much more subtle (and longer) skein of progressive rainbow yarn. Then I was going to knit that into a mobius scarf. 

Hopefully the spinning blahs will go away in time. I am still bitter and angry and sickened by the experiences at Yarn School. I do not feel like spinning because it reminds me of the horrible time I had and the disaster that trip was. I do not feel like spinning because the other spinners I met were not people I want to know. So if I spin, maybe I will not want to know myself anymore. Unfortunate timing since we are about to head into summer here and I cannot spin when it is too warm. 

I need to finish this bobbin because I do not think the pre-drafted fiber will resurrect well if it gets crammed into a corner somewhere. 

I am already having storage problems with my carded batts. 

Knitting-wise, things are sort of stalled because I am bored. I am honest enough with myself to know that I will never finish a cabled sweater. I doubt I would finish a ribbed hat even. So that means it has to be plain stockinette. But I do not have a huge desire to sit right down and knit a thousand stitches to get half an inch of length. 

I should probably start another sock so I have something I can measure progress on. Or I could at least copy the charts out big enough to see. I should, I should, I should. 

Honestly, Yarn School was so terrible an experience that I have read 15 books since we got back, written a short story, cooked a bunch of food, done a bunch of laundry, and spent a lot of time outside instead of even looking at anything to do with yarn or fiber. It took me a week to even open the box I shipped back. 

Yarn School should have a warning label that says “We will ruin spinning for you and you will run screaming into the night never wanting to see a ball of yarn ever again.” That would be truth in advertising. It makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it. And worse yet, I know no one reads this blog, so no one will know the truth.

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May 29, 2009

fiber clubs, or how the weight of too many holds back success

Filed under: discussion, fiber — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:32 pm

I got the May fiber club shipment today (in case of revisions, today is: 29 May 2009) from Susan’s Spinning Bunny.

This is definitely going to be my last fiber club. I like a lot of the things you cannot get any other way. Most fiber clubs are the only sources for odd fibers, because very few fiber vendors sell non-standard fibers. (Though Paradise Fibers does, and so did Yarn Barn when I was there in person, obviously I just live somewhere with a dearth of fiber-friendly stores. (A boutique yarn store is not fiber-friendly, it’s about looking good through the window.) ) I am not sure why no one sells baby llama. I am not sure why it is impossible to find naturally colored alpaca+silk. But I am extraordinarily picky about dyed fibers. Sometimes I admit that I chose my matching Rav username right around Halloween, but a lot of the sentiment behind it holds true.

Mass production certainly does not help, and that holds true for all clubs. Spunky Eclectic sent out an 80% white thing with random splotches of blue and brown. I bought fiber at Stitches that was still wet. I have seen shipments where the fiber is exposed during shipping. But the worst thing about mass production is how the perspective is wrong. When a dyer is doing umpteen batches of the same thing, there is a tendency to cut corners– leaving lots of white, using dyes straight up instead of blended, fingerprint splotches of other colors… and lousy packaging. Because it is hard to do a mass production, the final quality is usually lower. But each customer only gets one.

You see what I am saying? It does not matter if the dyer does 1000 or 2, each person only gets one. So each recipient can only evaluate one. I am not evaluating how big a project it was to dye 50 pounds of wool and get it shipped out even though there were supply issues and holidays. (The logistics of doing that as one person are a nightmare.) I look at my shipments for any fiber club and I am not seeing an artisan practicing a craft, I am seeing the 8-pack of fat crayons kindergartners use.  

I am disappointed while I know the dyer is damned proud of her*self because something went out the door and on time. (*her because 100% of the dyers I have dealt with and seen are female, but this is not about one person and there is a possibility that there might be men in this field somewhere. In fact, someone recommedn one to me and I will sign up for his club and we will see if I am non-sexist enough to tell you honestly whether his quality is better.)

Overall, I think fiber clubs are a good idea to push me out of my rut of buying the same fibers over and over and over and using the same kinds of colorways over and over and over again. But I hate pink. I hate orange. I hate yellow (until enough black has been added that it is an olive green, then it can be a nice foil for jewel tone colors). It seems like I should do something else with my money because it is extremely unlikely that something intended for a wide audience would exclude half the colors. 

I keep hoping that fiber clubs are going to be more like spin-alongs. But the spin-alongs I have seen prove that a group homogenizes on the mediocre (they always choose lousy dyers and hideous colorways and mediocre fibers— but somehow without saving any money). 

I guess spinning has to be about the yarn because I sure as anything certain am not making any friends this way.

May 24, 2009

Fiber pictures

Filed under: fiber — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:30 pm

These are the first round of fiber pictures from Yarn School. As usual, click any picture to be taken to the Picasa page with the larger image. 

From yarn school fiber

Fiber I bought:

From yarn school fiber

There are still some items not pictured. And possibly the dye-lab fiber will be re-pictured.

May 21, 2009

half a sock is better than none

Filed under: knit, socks — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:44 am

I turned the heel on my first sock from handspun yarn.

May 19, 2009

Distractions and temptations, part I

Filed under: fiber, stuff — UndyedYarnpire @ 8:19 am

I am itching to start a new project. I have half a sock (from handspun, but the sock itself is plainwork), I have a sweater hem done (plainwork, handspun). I have a sliver of a cablework bag done. 

But I have this tempting ball of cloud-colored merino-cashmere handspun. I know it wants to be a lacework hat for me, probably a beret. 

I have a new skein of sock yarn,

From yarns

And I have that new sock book that I want to try out.

So it feels like there could be something more interesting to work on, yet less ridiculously complicated than the cabled bag. And yet… I would rather have one finished new pair of socks than two half-finished pairs. 

I know it is pathetic to suffer from “oooh! Shiny!” and never finish anything, but when stuff goes into the bins, it seems to tarnish. No matter how exciting that colorway is now when it taunts me from the table, it will not be enticing enough to call to me from the yarn bin hiding under the bed. No wonder people put pictures of everything they own in their Ravelry stash. It would be easier to visit via photos than manhandling all the bins I own looking for the right one. 

My box of fiber (the one I shipped) arrived yesterday. 

Also in yesterday’s mail was a door prize I won after I had bailed on Yarn School. I have no idea how they decided who won, other than the prizes which were being given out for worst first yarn and best handspun object. I had thought about staying because I wasted all that money being there; but everything else about the trip had been so horrible, it seemed unlikely I would win. I am now the proud owner of a 4oz Hello Yarn fiber braid in (as I was told) autumn colors. (There is no official colorway named on its tag, probably because Adrian of Hello Yarn was just having fun in dye lab when she did them.) I am hugely impressed by the transitions in Adrian’s work. There are not many dyers who can juxtapose orange and turquoise without getting muddy-like-a-trampled-circus. The dye goes all the way through.  I almost feel sorry for myself for liking Adrian’s work though, because you cannot buy it. It does not exist. She is so popular, it vanishes the instant it appears. I will leave it to you all to judge whether you think these are autumn colors though:

From yarn school fiber

I have not yet photographed the remainder of the box, but be assured there will be eye-candy for the near future. I am looking at all the new stuff I have and feeling the temptation.

May 17, 2009

This week in Yarn.

Filed under: summary — UndyedYarnpire @ 11:39 am

I am mostly over my ranting. There are still no pictures of the good stuff from the trip. Largely because the stuff is not here yet for retaking pictures.

I have a new skein of sock yarn, Mountain Colors Barefoot in “Winter Sky” . I bought that and a new knitting bag (Lantern Moon) at Yarn Barn. I knew when I saw it that I really wanted it. Which is what I have been waiting for as far as investing in bags goes. It was ludicrously priced, but I have never seen them in person before and I doubt they are ever cheap. 

I figured as long as I was nearby, I would look. But, I really needed a better map of Kansas because Lawrence and Topeka and Harveyville and the airport in Missouri are all just a smidge away on the map. I think it was rounding error, but these things are all about an hour apart. 

The box of wool I sent myself is not here yet, even though I mailed it on Monday the 11th. I did opt for cheap shipping, so it is not late yet, but I am getting antsy. I have lots of carded batts and several pounds of dyed roving. I took some preliminary photos at my MIL’s house, but they are weird pics that do not show the fiber off to its best angle. 

I have been knitting on the sole project I traveled with, my sweater from the “Moss in the Dark” handspun yarn. I spent some time thinking about how fast this is going. I get about 5sts/inch and about 7.5 rows/inch. I can do about 6 rounds in 2 hour-long shows minus commercials. Or about 1 round in the 15 minutes of The Daily Show before the guest comes to be interviewed (does anyone watch the interview part? it seems to be all authors of books I will never read) .  That comes out to being ~15 stitches per minute. When I was doing my gauge samples, I calculated the number of stitches needed for the torso, with these needles, I need 23,000 stitches. That is about 25.5 hours just for the torso. Also, it looks like I am going to run out of yarn, so either the sleeves will be including another yarn or this will be a short sleeve sweater. Still beautiful yarn for the project though, so it is fun to work on. 

I got the new Wendy Johnson sock book, Socks from the Toe Up from the library. It looks like the kind of book I want to own, mostly because there were  a lot of no-purl texture/motif options. Also, just from the reading through it looks well organized. But then again, that was what I thought of the Cat Bordhi book, which is completely unusable once you are past the demo socks where all the instructions are part of the pattern. Wendy Johnson wrote the generic toe-up feather-and-fan pattern which was the first real pair of socks I was able to make; so I think of WJ as the battering ram for my knitter’s sock block. 

I frogged the failed March sock while watching Criminal Minds last night. That was the Schaeffer yarn which had been so unbelievably ugly in the previous pattern. Hopefully a different pattern will solve the variegation issue, it is a tri-color sock yarn that looks like it wants to stripe and instead I got this mottled effect that was really butt-ugly. Plus the sock was too tight. The yarn knits to 8sts/inch, I have made several pair in that gauge, so I thought I knew what I was doing. But this yarn has almost no give to it. Possibly it should not be used as sock yarn, but I am going to try once more, this time with a lacier motif.

May 15, 2009

environmental photos from yarn school.

Filed under: stuff — UndyedYarnpire @ 4:17 pm
yarn school building

The captions are not visible unless you view the pictures on Picasa, so I am only including a link to the album. The cover photo is of the shower bathroom. Please note the lack of stalls and be aware that the outer door does not lock. Most of the pictures are taken with a flash or during the day, but as you might expect, I did not shower during the day, nor was I able to use my camera’s flash to illuminate my showering. It was absolutely ghastly and surprisingly worse than the pictures even show.

I have positive pictures from Yarn School, but since I took 700 pictures on the trip, there is going to be a delay while I sort out what goes where. If you know me and want to see pictures of my mother-in-law’s garden, drop a me note somewhere because I doubt those are going to be posted anywhere obvious.

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