UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

August 31, 2009

I am the metal band.

Filed under: discussion, fiber — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 3:01 pm

I did get the August fiber club shipment, um, Friday August 21. It is an unknown quantity of 100% cultured silk in a pinkish-orange semi-solid color. Luckily it looks more “tropical sunset” and less “vomit”. Orange is such a finicky color to do well.

I started a Serpentine sock from Wendy Johnson’s book. The book gives the pattern in sport weight. I checked my gauge and did my own math, but it feels a little worrisome as yet. Socks usually do until I get to about the arch of the foot and can really tell how it is going to fit.

I have not worked on the sweater instructions. I need to refer back to the book and annotate the wire frame diagram. I am planning to spell out the instructions as well because I know myself well enough to know I will be antsy about it otherwise.

I am on a fiber diet. I am not buying much of anything. I looked around and realized I have not been spinning. I have several tubs of fiber that want spinning, and I want to spin those more than I want to buy new stuff. I am sometimes tempted by sock yarn, but I need to actually finish at least one more pair first.

I am planning to make an excursion to Dharma Trading and buy dye. If/When I do that, I will probably order some fiber and maybe a couple skeins of sock yarn.

However, there is one thing that is tempting me. RH Lindsay is doing pre-orders for musk-ox down top for $12.50 per ounce. That would be Qivuit/Quiviut, which normally sells for $45-75 per ounce. They charge $5 in handling for small orders (less than 10lbs) and there is unspecified additional shipping. I know I would like this. I just have not convinced myself to spend the money. If I was sharing with someone else, which would optimize the shipping and handling, I would talk myself into it.   Non-shrinking, non-felting super-warm all-natural fiber? I really want to try that.

I did find another local Rav group, maybe there will be regular people when they get together. It does not sound like they are regular people to me from their posts. Everyone is squealing about drinking lots and lots of alcohol. Since these things are area-wide, most people are driving a long ways to be there and it just seems like the activity should include something less intoxicating.  I think we know why I do not get along well with most groups. I hate children and hate alcohol-parties. The only way to exclude children at an event is to have it be alcohol-centered, so I am never going to be happy.  I am absolutely sure there are people who love knitting and fibery things but who are not 23 and single nor too sproggy.

There is a line in “Walk Like an Egyptian” which I always heard, “like the punk and the middleman”. [It is really, “They like the punk and the metal band.” ] But knitters seem to be punk or moo, there is no middleman.

August 18, 2009

Picture update and projects in progress.

Filed under: fiber, scarf, spin, yarn — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 3:32 pm

I should probably take the pictures and then post, but I will write it all now. Then I will know what pictures I have promised. But, considering this has sat here for 6 days with the window open, perhaps not. (August 18, another 12 days later… I closed the window and sort of forgot about this. So I started it, according to the editing details, August 2, 2009… it only took me 16 days to actually take the pictures.)

SeedlessGrape was here visiting. We had a terrific time (not always the case with meeting virtual friends). She gave me a skein of Madelinetosh. I can see why she loves it. The colorway is really pretty (akin to the Raven colorways from Blue Moon Fiber Arts) and the yarn is sproingy. However my skein looks like a fingering weight yarn, like for socks, but the label claims it is “worsted” and 225 yards. If that is “worsted”, their sock yarn must be like thread.

[Later… Apparently it is actually Tosh Sock, 395 yards, and the label is wrong. The colorway really is “Georgia O’ Keefe” but the yarn isn’t single-ply, and looks about fingering weight. So it is the sock. It was a lovely gift and I do not wish to disparage it in any way, but I admit I am much happier with there being almost twice the yardage.]

Any suggestions on what that wants to be? I had originally thought it would make a nice shawl-lette, but most of the patterns specify the yardage of the skein without specifying if there is leftover. Maybe that is because there is no leftover yarn, but sometimes it seems ridiculous…. like the sock yarn used for a lace beret pattern. The pattern says it uses 400 yards and the hat is itty bitty and lace as well. I think I could do that in under 100 yards. So I do not trust the pattern yardage.

I want to make Jared Flood’s Girasole out of this yarn. Except for three things: 1) I do not want a Girasole and no one else would dare ask me for something like that. 2) I would need about 10 more skeins of yarn. 3) I would have to buy the pattern (with all the issues I have described before).   I just know I would love a “sunflower” lace pattern done in black yarn.  I know me.  I like irony.

I got the July installment of the fiber club on the 27th. It is purple merino+silk. No percentages given. The pattern was interesting.  Not with that fiber, of course.  So far I have spun 3 of the months. I am now behind by 4 months. I have attempted one pattern (with commercial yarn) and gave up. I started using one of the fiber club handspun yarns, that I overdyed, for socks, but the first sock is not yet completed (I started it in March.)  So, although it has been fun getting all the new stuff. I do not think I should join fiber clubs in the future. It is not a waste of money, but there has not been any sense of “belonging” in this group. So there is no incentive to participate actively. Half the time I dislike the colorways. Half the time I dislike the suggested pattern. It got easy to just stash the stuff and continue on with what I was doing.  I had hoped I would spin more and knit more with “assigned” projects. That did not happen.

The pictures:

I am still looking for a hooded capelet pattern sized for adults and not pullover.

This is what I spun most recently:

I have cast on for my mobius scarf from the birthday fiber:

August 14, 2009

Slow Swift is an oxymoron, but buying one would make me an ordinary moron.

Filed under: equipment — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 6:49 pm

What do other people want in a swift? It seems unimaginable that the new Paradise Fibers swift would be good after seeing their advertising video. It has added friction. They made it extra friction-y, purposefully. If it was software, this would be the cripple-ware version that most developers give out free to entice you to pay for the full-featured version. “If you buy our swift, we will send one with bearings and bushings to reduce drag and damage-through-use! In the full version, your swift is finished in your choice of varnish! Pinch clamps will make adjustments easier than you see here in our proof of concept mock-up.”

I want a swift with smooth action that does not resist. The plastic ball winders use plastic gearing and they will be destroyed by high-tension skeins.

I want my swift to be easily skein-size adjustable because yarn manufacturers are really horrible about consistency in their industry. I want it not be easy to lose the tail end of the yarn around the axle.  (How hard would it have been for the swift manufacturers to include a notch to hold the yarn end?) And if it was possible, I would like it to have a brake that can be applied without sticking one’s hand into a blur.

Currently I have a swift made of K’Nex. Then I bought some Fleece Artist yarn (very much on sale) and it comes in 800yd skeins that are enormous. *pause for measuring* at least 65-inch circumference. My homemade swift is about 50″ circumference. It is not very adjustable. I can take it apart and use a smaller diameter, which is about 40″, but there is not much I can do to make it larger. What I like about it is that normal (for whatever variance normal has) skeins seem to be 1.5 yards or 54″, so since I have flanges on my swift, it works pretty good. (For handspun skeins, I do not care what size they are made into.)

My swift spins like greased glass. The yarn does not fly off the tops of the supports because I put end caps on them. It is silent. Honestly if I could find an easy way to make it big enough for those giant skeins, and if I could make it adjustable so the shrinkage after washing handspun did not take 20 minutes to retool for, I doubt I would even consider replacing it. It is also plastic, so I can use it as a drying rack for wet yarn. Wood is not a superior material choice.

I certainly am not going to spend $50 (going up to $65) for a friction-added, unfinished wood, hassle-to-adjust, no feature swift that is not large enough to handle the ridiculously over-sized Fleece Artist skeins. (Remind me not to buy their yarn again, I bought it months ago and cannot use it because it is not possible to wind it.)

I think I could make a swift from stuff found at the hardware store. Metal rods, clamps, and a bushing-lined block of wood. I think, with a drill and some dowels, I could improve on the friction-added swift concept just by lining it with a spare couple pieces of K’Nex. But it is mind-boggling that $3 of wood and 4 wingnuts and 4 rubber feet is selling for $65 next week.

I started knitting with dowels I put in the pencil sharpener. But I have seen people selling birchwood needles for $30 a pair. I paid $0.30 for a birchwood dowel that made 4 needles.  I used a square of fine grit sandpaper and rubbed the sticks with the end of a candle for a fancy wax finish. I did not spend even a dollar making 4 needles, not even when I added the clay endcaps later.

When I saw that swift, made from the $1.09 size dowels (and they surely do not pay retail!) using screws that are under a dime each, I do not have to ask myself whether it is worth the money. It is not. But I do want a swift that adjusts. Maybe I just need more K’Nex!

Or maybe yarn manufacturers should actually wind their yarn into pull skeins so we do not need absolutely everyone who knits to own special tools.  I can understand small fiber artists not having that kind of equipment and time available, but Cascade? They are the Red Heart of wool yarns and there is no excuse for them expecting absolutely everyone to own a ball winder and swift in order to use their products.

August 10, 2009

Nothing to see here, move along.

Filed under: stuff — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:03 pm

I do not have any fiber-related content ready to go. I have a post which needs pictures in order to go up. It has been waiting for 2 weeks now.

I found a podcast tool that I really like, Miro. It fetches podcasts from RSS feeds and puts them in a coherent library for easy perusing. It has its own on-board video viewer and audio player. I knew something must exist and it does. I do not expect I will suddenly take up listening to knitting podcasts though. I seem to vastly prefer visual formats, text or video either one.  But since I asked about podcast stuff here (not that anyone remembers from months ago, but still) I had to say what I had found. Watching the news on my computer at my desk means entertainment while knitting.

If you email me, do not write your email in Cyrillic. I have stopped looking at any email that has Cyrillic text in the subject. It is all in the spam folder anyway, so I feel comfortable doing that, but just in case you are a real person, you should know the policy may have changed.

I think I might be taking the summer off of knitting and spinning. I cannot spin when it is hot out. I have not picked up a second knitting project either. So I have been empty-handed and getting nothing accomplished.

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