UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

June 24, 2009

current spinning

Filed under: spin — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:05 pm

This is what I am spinning now (unknown fiber batt carded at Yarn School):

From yarn school fiber

These are the upcoming spins (unknown fiber batts carded at Yarn School):

From yarn school fiber

fiber club received

Filed under: fiber — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 4:57 pm

June 22, 2009, June fiber club shipment arrived. It is a pretty blue, turquoise, brown hand dyed SW Merino+tencel.

From Fiber Club

Pattern included is for “Santa Clara” wraprav_link which wants Size E beads (not included). Size E means “seed bead” in 5/0 or 6/0. It took a lot of effort to find that out.

I think I would like to make this and bead it. But I also know myself and I am really ridiculously over-committed knit-wise. This will not even make it onto my radar until next year.

I think I would like to work in parallel with another knitter. I could spin and have something on the needles, but there would be someone actually using the majority of the yarn on a more regular basis. If you know someone like that, or are someone like that, please contact me. We can work something out. I am not wanting all these things knit for me, I do not have recipients in mind most of the time, but yarn languishes around here after it is spun. Sometimes I know what that yarn wants to become and I would dearly love to see it happen. Sometimes it is just yarn and could use outside inspiration. I am in Oakland, CA it would need to be someone nearby, but I am completely serious.

June 20, 2009

The two-month birthday party is finally over.

Filed under: fiber, spin — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:13 pm

Finally! I finished spinning and plying the birthday fiber. I finally just left the remaining colored single on a “storage bobbin” because I cannot face doing more with it. There is about 5% left, so that is within the realm of consistency with other projects.

The plied yarn is actually about as awesome as I had imagined. Pictures forthcoming (but later).


The dyer who did my birthday fiber (which was a gift from SeedlessGrape) left a comment while I was at Yarn School (so it took me forever to pull it out of the mod queue) saying something about how I should share the end results. I am not sure how I feel about that because I was not satisfied, overall, with the fiber. It is extraordinarily impolite to complain about a gift and I do not mean to cast aspersions or imply ingratitude on my part, but the base fiber used was absolute crap. It claimed to be merino, but from the texture, you might think the source was a box labeled “S.O.S.”. The dye work, which I can now appreciate much more than before, was good. The dye went all the way through the mini-braids, there was no accidental whiteness, there was no bleeding of colors, there was no odd dye detritus incorporated. But it was not excellent because several of the mini-braids were somewhat felted. There is no excuse for that when so little massaging is needed to get good dye and rinse penetration.

The colorways were not appealing to me. Every one of them had some good and some really horrible colors. As an array of 12 mini-braids, I found it obvious that this would become a rainbow project, but even so, every blue-trending colorway does not need some chartreuse or khaki and every red-trending colorway does not need fuschia. There was no single braid that I would have been glad to see a whole 4-ounce braid of even though most of them were white-free. I cannot understand why high-contrast colorways are so popular, but this dyer certainly understands her market.

It was a nice gift, no question, I got to try fiber from a new dyer, my first order from an Etsy seller, and it shouted what it wanted to become. But I will not be ordering from them myself, even if the dyer manages to get out from under the auspices of Etsy, because bad colorways and crap fiber sold as “merino” caused me to be dissatisfied overall.


Since then I have been spinning batts from Yarn School. Assuredly these are easy spins, but I am having a lot of trouble seeing what makes people gung-ho on batts. I guess compared to the amount of pre-drafting I need to use the usual combed top (everyone must store it in Space Bags or something) there really is a time and effort savings. It makes me wonder why fiber processors are not making higher class combed top. I know a lot of people who would pay extra if it was nicer when they got their hands on it.

June 13, 2009

Rainbow Yarn Genesis

Filed under: spin — UndyedYarnpire @ 8:56 pm

I pushed forth and spun the rest of the birthday fiber.
I actually went and found the fiber I wanted to ply it with.
I did go and spin that plying fiber.

I lost the end when I was first spinning the plying fiber and the single broke, so I laboriously rewound it onto another bobbin after creating a pair of ends to pull from. Then I started another bobbin for the rest of the singles spinning. I lost the end again when the single broke, so I added the last half ounce onto the the other bobbin so I could finish the spinning and then search for the end.

I found the end of the main bobbin (~3oz) of plying single pretty easily. When plying I got all the way through to about the orange section before I ran out. I could not find the end of the extra bobbin for love or money. I spent an hour picking at it, combing it with a clean toothbrush, taking it outside and picking at it some more. There was NO END anywhere. I realized I had nearly felted some of the single, so I picked a loop and created new ends. These did not unroll. I picked another loop and split that. Would not unspool. I kept doing this over and over and over again. I have NO IDEA what happened, but I cannot, even after pulling off yard-long lengths that would cover several stadia’s markings, find the be-damned end that would actually allow me to unwind this bobbin onto a spare.

I am so frustrated. I would just cut it and spin more ply but I am 80% of the way through the plying and that is a hard place to stop.

The plied yarn itself is interesting. I really like the effect. The birthday fiber was 12 mini-braids of hand-dyed colorways, but the colorways tended to be cools+neutrals or warms+neutrals (with the occasional contrasting color) so I lined them up to create the longest possible stretches of the same colors. I will have hundreds of yards of yarn that progresses from purple through blue and green to tan to orange to reds. It is plied with an oatmeal natural wool so there will be a lot more of the resulting yarn, and also so the yarn is toned down some.

I really want to make a Mobius scarf from this. I think it will be phenomenal. But I also know that this yarn’s genesis has been so irksome that I would prefer if someone else had to do the actual knitting. Volunteers?

June 11, 2009

I am not an explorer.

Filed under: stuff — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:33 pm

I have reached the delusional state of knitting. Wherein I carry a fancy knitting bag (as opposed to a repurposed tote bag. I think I talked about the bag I bought, right? Lantern Moon’s “Molly” in black. Which I really love much much more than I expected to.) that has my handspun yarn that I am knitting into a sweater. I also have a book in the pocket.

I carried this around with me through 5 errands today and…. never even considered knitting. I did not even open the book.

Perhaps I think the sweater will knit itself if I carry it around long enough?

Perhaps I want to be prepared in case I suddenly come across a group of wild knitters upon the urban tundra?

June 4, 2009

mellow yellow

Filed under: fiber — UndyedYarnpire @ 6:46 pm

This is the May 2009 Fondle This fiber club shipment from Susan’s Spinning Bunny. It is 6oz of superwash BFL in colorway “citrus” (named by Susan, not by me, unlike all the other shipments). It is incredibly soft and the higher class of combed top that is flatworm not roundworm in cross section.

From Fiber Club

This is not my colors. Will trade.

It does not remind me of lemons or tangerines, but I can see how it might for some people.

June 3, 2009

For the want of a screw…

Filed under: equipment — UndyedYarnpire @ 4:15 pm

I have been having an intermittent problem with my wheel. A screw kept working loose. It was so bad that I used the screwdriver more often than the oil bottle and actually had the screwdriver clamped in the oil bottle holder. 

It has been going on for more than a year. A while back, I took the screw all the way out and discovered that there was a chunk of thread missing.  (old screw on left, new screw on right)

Well today, I finally went to the neighborhood hardware store. I had my screw in a plastic bag (because it is greasy and I did not want to get my pocket all gross.) There was a man working there who asked me if he could help. I had not been there for 20 seconds yet. He looked at my screw and knew on sight what kind of screw it was. 

He asked me how many I wanted, I bought 2 so I would have a spare, he said they were stainless steel so they should last but put two in the bag. He wrote a code on the tiny paper sack. I asked him if there was anything I could put on it if it decided it wanted to work loose again. He suggested clear fingernail polish. I took this to the front counter, where a woman said, “I can help you right here.”

I was in and out of the Ace Hardware on Grand Avenue in Oakland, CA in under 5 minutes. They had parking, they had exactly what I needed with exactly the people who knew how to help me find it. There was no hassle about me being there for just a screw instead of a houseful of plumbing or something. They did not check my powertool user card before letting me in the door. 5 minutes and under a buck to completely solve a problem that has irritated me for more than a year. It was by far and away the absolute best shopping experience I have had in years. 

People are always pushing for support of LYSs, but I have never been in a LYS with that kind of service. Everyone should be supporting their local hardware store if they are all like this one. I never go to the hardware store because I live in a rented apartment. I am not supposed to fix things. I thought they would not want me there. But now I really want to go back and buy things just because I might need them someday. If my local yarn stores were like my local hardware store, I would probably have an entire room full of yarn stash. (And you people who like Article Pract can hold your breath until you turn purple and orange spotted because I will delete any comments insisting they are as nice as the Ace guys. That was not my experience at AP, not by any stretch of the imagination. And the Ace guys treated me excellently when I was just buying a screw!)  

There is that poem/story thing about how for the want of a horseshoe nail the kingdom was lost. For 32 cents plus tax, I feel like I gained a kingdom. Really great investment.

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