UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

July 28, 2009


Filed under: stuff — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:23 pm

This is another of those boring updates that I am certain no one reads or cares about.

I finished swatching on the Mountain Colors Barefoot yarn. Have not found a stitch motif that pleases me yet, though I did find several that were close.

I have worked on more of my sweater. The transition point between the first two balls of yarn is not visibly obvious, so I am very pleased.

I washed and dried some yarn, including the birthday fiber yarn. Which was good because I was able to show it to the giver when she visited.

I think I have become an intermediate knitter. I am now fast enough at the plainwork that anything fancy is excruciatingly slow. Before I was so slow anyway that adding cables did not make much overall difference and the finished product seemed more worthy of my time. Now I know enough how to select stitch motifs which will not slow me down as much (easy to memorize, good rhythm, less purl-knit transitions) that I can create fancier things with less suffering on my part. But the cables are very slow.

I think I am going to try to learn Continential knitting. I did figure it out, but it is not something I can do comfortably for a long time. I really dislike holding the yarn in my left hand. I have been wondering if I might prefer left-handed Continental knitting. Then the same hand which normally holds the yarn would hold the yarn. It seems like a useful skill, the Continental knitting, but going from a process where the left hand could be replaced with a clamp to something where the left hand has complete control over yarn feed… that is not going to work out well. It seems like if Continential is so vastly superior that we should not be teaching the other method at all and the Continential should have taken a lot more primary focus in books. But then again, most sock books were still teaching cuff down (without tubular cast on, so it was not like they gained anything in terms of technique)  and butt-flap heeled socks until about this year. In fact Cookie A’s book with the cuff-down butt-flap socks is constantly touted by Amazon’s recommendations engine even now. So maybe what is being promoted is just wrong.

July 19, 2009

pictures included

Filed under: spin — UndyedYarnpire @ 8:21 pm

This is the yarn from my birthday fiber.

Before washing After washing
From presents

This is the progress on my Leuca sweater.

July 18, 2009

updates, but no pictures yet.

Filed under: spin — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:03 pm

Okay. I have counted the stitches on my sweater and I seem to have decreased 7 somewhere along the line. That is really strange. Not a huge deal since I needed 235 stitches at 5 stitches per inch and have been doing 240. But I will definitely add them back now that I have noticed.

I washed my birthday fiber yarn. The one that is going to become a rainbow mobius scarf. It looks better after washing. When it is dry, I will take another picture and share what I mean.

I wonder if I need to find a reversible stitch. That would really be inconvenient. [pauses] It does not appear so.

No progress on gauging the sock yarn.

July 16, 2009

My progress, and someone else’s rapid slide into evil.

Filed under: discussion — UndyedYarnpire @ 8:51 pm

I have been knitting on my Leuca sweater. I joined my next ball of yarn tonight. I have 4 balls total and got about 8 inches of body from the first ball, so I am fairly well pleased with the potential sleeve length.

Yesterday I swatched with the Barefoot (by Mountain Colors) yarn. I am displeased so far with the swatch. On (real) size 1 needles, the fabric is too loose. I am getting about 7 stitches to the inch, possibly less. I am going to do some all garter stitch and see if it tightens up. Hopefully that will account for the difference between flat and in-the-round. My row-gauge is about 1.5X, so if I got it to 8 stitches per inch, it would be the sock-regular-average of 12 rows per inch.


Tonight I saw one of the most disgusting avatars on Ravelry. I was so offended that I not only hid the avatar, I opted to ignore the user. [Severely edited because this is not a place for my rantings.] It was a completely naked picture of someone’s baby.  I think it is beyond the line of good taste to use immodest images of other people to represent one’s self.

I worried about my cartoon-y avatar with the voodoo imagery. I chose it because it accurately resembles me using DPNs and the kind folks at vivavoodoo.com said it was eligible for use with credit. I did everything I could to credit them, though it often does not appear here, it is at least on my Rav profile.

July 13, 2009

Maze of choices, and me with no breadcrumbs Hansel

Filed under: socks — UndyedYarnpire @ 4:11 pm

You know what Ravelry really needs in its pattern search? The ability to OR availability options.

Frex, I want to have a list of all sock patterns from books I own, or that I have added to my Rav library individually (via Rav download, they still do not have the ability to inventory individual pattern purchases from external sources), or that are available free.

I can get any of those, but if I choose “free” then it will not list things I already own, even though they are free-to-me.

I circumvented the problem by doing 2 searches. In library NOT free to show me all the patterns I have paid for. Then favorited patterns + free. It still omits the one stand-alone sock pattern I have, but it was not all that exciting anyway.

The thumbnails for sock patterns from the books I have bought are terrible, almost universally. It is rather shocking that anyone would look at the thumbnail and want to spend 60 hours making any of those. Sure if I put up a pattern as an amateur, my thumbnail might not be ideal. I probably do not want to make several instances of the same thing just to get a good image. But professionally published books should come with an example sock for each pattern knit in a solid color pictured in the thumbnail.

I have some “Winter Sky” Barefoot yarn by Mountain Colors. It really wants to become socks for me. It mewls in the nighttime out of loneliness. And I cannot find anything that suits it.

I am looking for something similar to the “Jigsaw Socks” which are pretty much the same thing as the “Zephyr Socks”. An all-over swirly type stitch-motif  that does not require purling.

And, just for follow-up. I do like Wendy Johnson’s book, Socks From the Toe Up. It repeats some of the structural elements from Cat Bordhi’s method, like the modified short-row heel that uses a gusset to make up flanking stitches instead of k3tog or the no-wrap&M1 method. The book has all the methods that I use for casting on, Turkish Pocket, Magic Cast-on, it explains things I had to “invent” myself when I was struggling with provisional cast-ons. It has several examples of those hideously ugly reinforced heel-flap squares (they look like the ass-flap of a union suit to me and I would rather darn than wear anything like that, but personal preference.)  And even better, these things are all collected together in the beginning of the book instead of scattered throughout as boxed asides in the midst of the pattern which introduces them.  Best of all, fully half the patterns in Wendy Johnson’s book are no-purl.  When a pair of socks has a similar number of stitches as a whole sweater, optimization becomes important. Basically, I feel like Wendy Johnson respects my time as a knitter and she does not need to send me rummaging through the whole book just to make one pattern. Each pattern is actually self-contained, unless you choose to swap in another toe or heel method. I am rather pleased for once.

But unfortunately for this particular yarn, none of the patterns in Wendy Johnson’s book are “swirly”.  I think I might use the Labyrinth pattern for my brown-black sock yarn.

July 9, 2009

grabbing podcasts for knitting accompaniment

Filed under: discussion — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:09 pm

Feeling contrary about Tour de Fleece. Might just not spin while it is on. I habitually take November off from writing just to make sure I do not look like one of those NaNoWriMo people— plus, November? really? Like no one ever has any plans that might conflict with a big project around then. My opinion about spinning in July is pretty similar since my apartment does not have air conditioning, but it has been fairly clement.


Not much knitting going on either. I have been trying out new podcast grabbing software, but so far I have not found anything I like. I can knit while watching the podcast news on my computer, but the video versions take 20+ minutes to download so it would help if they were waiting for me. However the Juice software does not allow other video players than WMP (evil! hiss!) so it is far from seamless to use.

I suppose it would be more “on topic” if I said I would listen to knitters’ podcasts if it was more convenient. It really is very inconvenient to play them directly within the browser with the minimalist controls on board. However, it is unlikely that I will actually listen to knitting-related podcasts regardless of convenience. Perhaps I just have not found the right ones, but so far they have all been things that take more time to listen to than they would to read. Worse yet, they are frequently accompanied by whining from the podcaster about how much time it takes to edit the sound files. So I wonder why the podcaster bothers when it would be easier for everyone if it was transcribed.

Of course I am the email over phone kind of person and the books over movies kind of person. But when I got Netflix, I started to like movies. There really were things out there that were better than the books because the visuals added a lot to the experience. Plus there were movies that were completely different than any books I had ever seen (independent and foreign films especially). So if you know something that would make podcasts easily accessible and are willing to send pointers to content, I would appreciate it.

July 2, 2009

Pledge to Polish Furniture

Filed under: discussion, equipment — UndyedYarnpire @ 3:57 pm

When I run across new conversations where someone wants to buy a spinning wheel, I cringe.

When I bought my wheel, no one wanted to say anything negative about any of them. I got so I understood the vernacular, when I would ask about a particular wheel and someone replied, “A lot of people like those, but you should try your wheel out in person; there’s no way to tell what will work for you without trying them.” That should be taken as a warning that the wheel is extremely fiddly and hard to use or limited for advanced work.

Now, more than 2 years later, there are still people asking their own questions on various unrelated groups instead of reading what advice has already been given in the appropriate venues.

Since I bought my wheel sight unseen because there were no other options, several stores have started carrying spinning equipment. I should be pleased, but mostly I think it is too late to win my customer loyalty.

I still think some of the wheels out there are vastly undeserving of their popularity and a surprising number of people do not investigate maintenance requirements or look at the engineering. They focus on the woodworking and pay no attention to the lack of bearings or high-friction action of the wheel.

Generally I am happy with my Fricke wheel. It barely needs attention between spinning sessions and the spinning action is effortless and smooth. There is that funny business with the screw, I admit, but most other Fricke owners have had no trouble with it. I love the enormous bobbins.

If I had to buy a wheel again, I would probably buy the same one. Because price and performance are much more important to me than looks. If I got to have a dream wheel, I think I would prefer even less wood because widening the materials search would broaden the success of the engineering. I would love to have a wheel that was counter-weighted to prevent backspin, for example. I might like to have gear shifters so I can change ratios without stopping. I would definitely want the bobbins to have an external winding setup as well as something like the WooLee Winder. But what I most want is the ability to swap bobbins without unscrewing or unstringing anything.

Somehow I just do not see my preferences mattering to any newbie spinner who is looking at Kromski wheels.

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