UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

September 26, 2009

Odd sense of humor and value

Filed under: stuff — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:24 pm

This is a picture of my new woolly blanket. Notice how even it is, how smooth, and how sharp the patterning is… I would be really proud of myself but…

I just bought it from LLBean. The completed blanket is thin (and remember this is California, not Minnesota or Alaska, thin is preferable), machine washable and dry-able, and it cost less than buying enough superwash yarn on sale (even a clearance) would have cost. Plus it is already done. I might, someday, knit a blanket, but not at this point. Handwork should be reserved for things where fit or detailing or texture or colorwork or something is more important than sheer volume of effort.

But I do think it is hilarious that after years and years of being a knitter, seeing myself and other knitters drool over woolly blankets, I now have one. Mine’s purple.

One of my favorite, favorite jests was pulled on my mother years and years ago, long before I started knitting. She kept saying she wanted a really nice throw blanket for the sofa, but she wanted it big enough to cover two people. She would rant about how ridiculous the lap-size, cat-basket -size, crib-size “throws” were because they would not keep a marshmellow warm and how could they keep the chill off a full-grown man? I ordered her a queen-size fancy comforter (so it was reversible) and mailed a plain sticker where I had printed “THROW” in big letters. I said on the card that I was sorry but her gift did not come fully assembled and she should paste the sticker over the top of the mistaken label on the bag from the store. My mother was thoroughly offended and returned the blanket. But what is the difference between a 60-in by 60-in “throw” and a queen-size blanket? The difference is just in what the label says.

But that was how I got the idea that I should just buy a woolly blanket instead of haunting clearance sales on yarn. This story was recounted in an email to Jared Flood, who wrote back and complimented me on my sense of humor. And no I have no idea why I told a complete stranger the story about my mother’s throw blanket. It just goes to show that even famous people are human.

Origami Motley Slippers

Filed under: knit, socks — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 3:38 pm

I finished my slippers in time to show them off at Thursday’s library knitting.

Overall I think this is an excellent first garment project. I think there are possibilities for customization either with yarn selection or by fancy knitting, and these could be done just on the one feature square.

I neglected to give a pointer to the original Finnish pattern: http://www.kaspaikka.fi/neulonta-A&O/asusteita_vaatteita/sukat-tossut/palatossut.html

September 23, 2009

Progress on Origami Motley Slippers

Filed under: knit, socks — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:10 am

I have finished, including the seaming (which was a bear), one slipper. I have finished the knitting on the second slipper. I have taken pictures. [As always, click on the picture to be taken to its home location where larger variants are visible. I apologize for the lack of borders, but they are really painful to add manually.]

Two pics of the same (finished) slipper:

The project status picture:

I have several hours of news to watch, so I should be able to finish the seaming.

September 19, 2009

Eight Days A Week… too bad that was only a song.

Filed under: discussion — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 8:51 pm

(Watch me be irreverent!)

The Alpaca Direct people are apparently more than just an online store. The guy who runs it posted in several local Rav groups indicating that they had a knit night and that people were welcome to visit the store. I sent him a PM saying, “Thanks!” because I had assumed they were not local. The guy replied with a link to the Google map to the boonies and said they were open 6 days a week.

I wanted to reply and ask him whether they were closed on Mondays like yarn stores or closed on Sundays like everything in red areas.

Now I am wondering if yarn stores in rural areas are closed on both Sundays and Mondays. What about yarn stores owned by Jewish people? Or co-owned by a J and a C? Would that just never be open when people with jobs could go? Or would they work on each other’s holy day?

As a city-dweller, I tend not to shop at stores which are closed on Sundays. Most stores need more shopping capacity, not less. It seems criminally wasteful to have stores which close at 6pm weekdays and which are not open on both weekend days. Obviously they do not have lots of people who show up 10 minutes before closing and leave disappointed. But it has been my experience that small boutique shops are not open when people who have money have free time.

If I owned a yarn store, I would be open from 4pm to 10pm on whichever weekdays and 11am to 8pm on both weekend days. I might have an extra early-open day if there was a call for it. But most yarn stores are situated places with very, very little parking surrounded by other boutique type stores which are open exactly the same hours. I would really love to drop by the yarn store after putting my name on the waiting list at a restaurant. But I cannot, because they are always closed.

I wonder if the new place out in the boonies has parking?

I would probably be willing to drive that far (my car is air conditioned, unlike my apartment) if they had parking and were willing to recommend somewhere fantastic to eat. “Come shop for yarn, we have plenty of parking and when you’re done, be sure to stop at Billy Bob’s Grilled Beast which has the best BBQ west of the Mississippi.” Because, honestly, the barbeque in urban areas really blows, and that is if you even feel comfortable going into the restaurant given the location and clientelle. Or even if they could promise, “We have a sweater’s worth of everything in the store! Come in for the selection, leave with the product! No special ordering necessary!” I could probably search online for restaurants.
Here is what I did not reply, but wanted to: “I usually feel unwelcome in the urban LYSs here because I do not have 800 piercings and tattoos. Are you far enough into the boonies that you check church membership cards and require all women to show their babies at the door to be allowed in?”

Sadly, this dichotomy is prevalent throughout all the fiber world and I really hate being a regular person who fits neither extreme because it makes me ashamed of being a knitter and spinner.

September 16, 2009

Snakes and Lichen and “Sunrise” and Motley Origami and Tuesday Morning

Filed under: stuff, summary — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:36 pm

Serpentine Sock progress is stalled at one repeat done on first sock. So, like 10% completed. It needs its own name to survive my inattention. (If you have forgotten this project, I am making the Wendy Johnson “Serpentine Socks” in a modified form to use Mountain Colors’ Barefoot yarn in “Winter Sky”. I am not sure why they call it Winter Sky since it looks more like a blue variant of Aurora Borealis. I am not sure why the socks are called “Serpentine” either. So whatever the project ends up being called, I doubt it will have anything to do with other people’s nomenclature. Hmm. I wonder if there is a project naming group on Ravelry. I would love something like that, but only if other people were more creative than me.)


Leuca Sweater could use for me to actually finish the sleeve, duplicate the sleeve, then work on attaching them so I can actually finish the yoke of the sweater.


I have not spun anything, including last month’s fiber club shipment. But I did take pictures before the next shipment arrived.


What has been taking up my time is knitting up slippers made from garter stitch squares which are then folded and seamed together to make motley boots. It is really interesting and it has been a while since I worked on something flat using fat yarn. It went really fast but used a really unreasonable amount of yarn.


Also today I was in a parking lot with a Tuesday Morning. I had only heard of it because it was mentioned in a local Rav group as sometimes having phenomenal deals on yarn. I do not care if they were selling gold for the price of silver and offering free delivery. The store had on extremely offensive religious propaganda music. I wandered through the store, but knew from the moment I heard the first lyrics that I would not be buying anything and would not ever go back. There is something really wrong when the majority religious group that already legislates its morality feels the need to proselytize. But regardless of how the individuals feel, I think it is inappropriate for a store owner to deliberately ostracize potential customers. It was more subtle than a sign saying, “Christians only!” but the effect is the same to anyone paying attention. No one recommending Tuesday Morning had mentioned any inkling that they are a prejudiced and evilmongering place, but that was my personal experience today. I do not care what kinds of bargains they have, it would have been immoral to patronize that store because it promotes hatred of people like me.

September 9, 2009

chock full of news and updates.

Filed under: discussion, stuff, summary — UndyedYarnpire @ 4:55 pm

For once, I have lots to say.

In reverse order, I went to a new LYS. It.. um.. does not suit me.  The people working there were pleasant and they had a nice range of yarns. But everything was very jumbled and crammed— and yet! they did not have enough range in the particular items that caught my eye. I would have bought 5 skeins of Cascade 220 if they had them in the same painted colorway, but when I asked if I could order more, I was told I must speak to the owner. I did not do a double-take about that, but I wanted to.  A lot of stuff was hidden away behind other things, so someone else had to dig through and hand me things one by one. Really nice people since they were willing to do that, a complete contrast with the store here in Oakland— the one everyone else loves. But even this new store,  for all the disarray and apparently random organization, they have MSRP+ prices.

I do not mean to constantly disparage LYSs, but it obviously is not something that is well suited to an urban environment, though this one is in an obscure suburb and has parking.

I successfully cast on for the sleeve to my Leuca sweater. (That is not the pattern name. I am using the generic wireframe “Round Yoke” from Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’s Knitting In the Old Way. And like BrooklynTweed, I heartily endorse this book.) I have decided to go with a provisional cast-on, and ( finally understand the whole crochet chain business because there was a really useful explanation and diagram in Wendy Johnson’s Socks From the Toe Up book. I bought Wendy’s book even though there was nothing really novel in it, I found the collection of techniques I always have to look up online to be extremely coherent and usefully organized, which made it worth the sale price.  Plus I liked several of the patterns even if they are vaguely derivative.)  started at just above the elbow. Elbow-length sleeves are sort of the minimum length I can tolerate and this allows me to conserve yarn until after the body is completed. There might be color transition issues, but sometimes you just have to make a choice.

I have been working on my Serpentine Socks (from the Wendy Johnson book), but progress is slow because I do not seem to work on them often enough.

There has been no change in the spinning department. I did not order the musk ox from RH Lindsey.

I now have a crockpot for dyeing. Cost to me, $free. I found it in a closet. I plan to do some Koolaid dyeing in it this weekend. (Starting with food-safe things in case I change my mind about the repurposing.)

Not quite fiber related, but I am in search of new glasses. I can no longer knit with my glasses on, and cannot watch the TV with them off. I might splurge and go somewhere with interesting glasses options, because I got treated badly at the two big  chain places recently.

I am considering buying a fancy new phone. I would like it if it could display knitting charts. Any recommendations for apps or phones?

I am planning to go to the Dixon Lambtown October 3, but not for classes. If you wanted to meet up. Send an email or leave a comment.

ps. I do not have pictures of the August fiber club shipment. I might take pictures tomorrow.

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