UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

March 25, 2012

six months later

Filed under: fiber, hat, knit, project lists, summary, yarn — Tags: , , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:45 pm

I said last September that I was getting back to my fiber crafting now that things were looking up. It has been six months since then and I am doing things but not writing about them. My productivity is odd and taking pictures of things is a huge chore. Posting the pictures and linking them into Ravelry is such an enormous task that I would snap a few shots begrudgingly and tell myself I would work on sharing if I ever felt like it. Then I started just piling new things to the side to be photographed and would only take pictures of things if I was sending them out. There was even one project that I sent out without photographing it. But all the pictures have been taken now. Some of them have been uploaded. I plan to work on this in small stages in the forthcoming time.

I finished spinning a pound of CMF BFL which sat unfinished on my wheel for 1.5 years. It came out at a different gauge than the previous half, so that is not good for my consistency with a huge gap in the project. (The pictures for this are not up because I took them when it was too bright and without a diffuser for the sunlight so you cannot see anything.)

I spun half a pound of dyed-by-me fiber (from Yarn School, it wasn’t all hellish craft-wise, just the worst social and travel experience ever, you really do not want to go to that if you are a grown up. But it was such a neat idea that I wish someone would create the Club Med version.) It was fiber everyone complimented me on at the time but which I knew was awful. The spun yarn really is ugly.

From yarn school fiber

I made myself a hat.

From 2012 January

The Tardis socks are at the window level. I made 2 scarves and a hat to give away. I created a stole which was so far off in gauge it was 4 times bigger than expected and will need to be frogged. I finally put up pictures of the Kindle bag I made myself last year. I dyed socks that I bought from Sock Dreams. [Feel free to browse for these pictures, as they are being uploaded. If you have “followed” or “subscribed” or whatever to my Picasa albums, UndyedYarnpire, then you can receive an email update listing everywhere I have added pictures. I subscribed to myself and use those as a list of things to tick off when writing these update posts.]

I went to Stitches 2012 with a friend I met at what was my LYS’s knit night. They have since stopped being my LYS. Which is, I suppose, news related to crafting, that I started going out to things more, meeting people, and found a place I liked so well, I started to consider them my store, where I would shop first. It did not work out. For such an urban area, it probably was not a feasible model. How much yarn does anyone need? I personally have a huge stash to tide me over during lean times when there are no stores and so there is something ready to go for almost any urgent project. But one ball of Tosh chunky would certainly take a month of work to finish (unless I was doing something overly simplistic) because that would be for me. Even though I thought nothing of dropping $10 on dinner before knitting, I was really put off by the idea of buying $20 in yarn even monthly. Where was I going to put it? I bought a pattern and a book, and 2 skeins of yarn in 4 months. The store owner kindly announced the change in policy before Stitches, so I felt free to spend the earmarked “support the LYS” money at Stitches instead. I will still shop if I ever need daytime in-person yarn shopping, but it was at the far edge of my normal range. There are a lot of people I met there that I would like to keep up with, so it is somewhat sad that there isn’t another group we can all migrate to. Some I got to know well enough that we can go out separately.

I have pictures of all the Stitches 2012 purchases.

  • I got 3 braids from Redfish Dyeworks. They remain my favorite dyers. (Crown Mountain Farms is my second favorite and one I buy much more of.)
  • I bought solid fiber from Opulent Fiber. A 5 pack sampler in shades of blue, a really awesome gray, and a copper colored silk
  • I got one braid from Royale Hare, but not the “Napa Nutmeg” colorway. They turned out not to be sharing a booth with Romi this year, I missed pretending that she remembered me while she was just being polite to yet another stranger.
  • I got a really great skein of sock yarn from a new place, Forbidden Yarn. There was a card in my bag saying they were looking for fiber festivals and I was sort of hoping to tell them about the Oakland Fiber Festival, but there is no email address anywhere. You can leave a blog comment but why would I want to post in public if I am likely to be rejected (it is a long trip)? I am not going to add hobby related things to Facebook or twit about it. So if you, the Forbidden Yarn people, google for yourselves and see this, contact Bente at Piedmont Yarn because I really liked your stuff, just not enough to jump through hoops, yeah? Forbidden Yarn named their yarns after the deadly sins. I have a variegated purple skein of their Gluttony, which is an 8-ply sock significantly less crunchy to the touch than Everlast.
  • And I bought a bag. I have always wondered why people spend that kind of money on bags for their knitting, but I do not use my Namaste bag for my knitting. I use it for everything else. [bag is not pictured, but is the purple mini-messenger if you are familiar with Namaste]

Speaking of OFF (Oakland Fiber Festival), I did finally take a picture of the rabbit fiber I bought last Summer. It was really hard to get a great shot of it because it would blow away when I breathed before pressing the shutter button.

March 3, 2011

Blanket, covered

Filed under: knit — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 11:57 am

It has taken more than three months since we began the project, but the blanket is finally completed.


blanket blanket blanket blanket

blanket with names indicated

blanket blanket

(View all these pictures at: https://picasaweb.google.com/UndyedYarnpire/MBlanket# )

These are the notes on the Rav project page:
This was a group effort. Many people contributed. Thanks go to B for the two amazing cabled panels. Thanks to C for work on the green panels. Thanks to D and T for helping with the green panels. Thanks to K for the two red/gray panels.
Thank you to everyone in our knitting group who cheered us on and who has been involved in the work.
I appreciate all the knitting everyone did so I only had to do the spacers and the seaming myself.


February 21, 2011

status reports: playing it as it lies

Filed under: knit, summary — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 1:06 pm

I did end up skipping this year’s Stitches West. It was definitely a self-spiting gesture but I feel mostly good about it anyway. After reading the Stitches West Rav group where people talk about their favorite vendors and they are universally the known and popular indy vendors, but not the ones I particularly love, I felt somewhat bad. I know RedFish Dyeworks does not get the attention that Sanguine Gryphon does, and this makes sense if you are only talking to knitters because the RedFish spinning fiber vastly outclasses the yarn/floss they sell. But I am a very lazy knitter and have zero use for laceweight yarn and almost no interest in that monochromatic kettledye kind of yarn. I either want variegated or I want solid, variation in solid color might be attractive if one is a skillful and careful knitter, but in my work it looks like I do not have a clue.

I am making progress on the Phantom Phonebooth socks (using the Tardis pattern). I have about half the arch increases done. The problem is that this is very boring but whenever I am not paying enough attention I drop stitches. I have about an hour before I get to the heels, and immediately after the heels begins the iconic patterning. That means the project will improve soon. Probably just in time for the warmest weather of the year. Is that not when most people want wool socks?

The interesting part about my dropped stitches is that the method I have for fixing dropped stitches, which is picking up the lowest stitch in the drop column, then the overhead bar yarn, then “casting off” the stitch, and repeating until I have reached the current row— which works abysmally in knitting group where everyone is doing all-garter– is perfect for my own needs. I do not need a crochet hook, I never get the stitches twisted, the tension stays pretty even, and I do not end up with purls when I meant to get knits. I am somewhat 3D dyslexic, so this happened a lot when I was first learning to fix dropped stitches. I could rescue something before it became unstable, but it never looked right. Now it looks perfect… as long as I am fixing from the front side of a stockinette section.

There has been no weaving progress. I am nearly to the point of sending the intended recipient a gift certificate and cutting the warp. If I had any interest in weaving something else, I might actually do it. Rather obviously, weaving is not my thing. I feel okay about getting an excellent deal on a small rigid-heddle loom that I can comfortably store in its box and only taking it out when I have something that calls out to be woven.

I need to get back to doing more spinning. That is the only one of these fiber crafts that resonates with me so I remember why I love this. I need to remember why I love this so I can finish the gifted blanket without sewing all the negativity I have into it. There will definitely be pictures of this and I will give anonymized credit so you all can see that I did not do this alone. I am definitely ready for the blanket to be completed.

January 11, 2011

Let me give you five reasons. One, two, three, four, five!

Filed under: discussion, knit — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:17 pm

I was working on a giant post about grafting, but it has devolved into a list of links and rants about really annoying things in the world of knitting.

There are a lot of really annoying things in the world of knitting. These five are the ones making me crazy today.

Kitchener Stitch is a specific kind of grafting, only for stockinette. If you are grafting another texture, or not using a sewing needle, or any of other parameter change, it is just grafting. Plus Kitchener most likely did not really create it himself so his name is on it for mythical reasons.

I dislike it when anything is named after a specific person in knitting. I appreciate when things are credited to their developers, but I find myself really annoyed by the phrase, “I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On.”

I am outraged by the people who say that if you substitute yarns (or worse, yarn colors) or change textures or have to do your own math that you no longer have what was in the pattern. There gets to be a point where a project is merely inspired by a particular pattern, but most of us have to do our own adjustments.  If there is a pattern and you have only tweaked it, then you have used the pattern and should credit the originating source. If there is a designer who cannot let design elements go, if they only want people to use certain yarns and only for certain body shapes, then they need to sell completed garments or kits at the very least.

Then there is the polar opposite of this, someone who created a pattern last week, making a hat in the round using stockinette and with a roll-brim, and Cascade 220, arguing that other people “stole her idea” even though they made their hats 5 years ago. We do not have to credit the obvious and if anyone should give credit it is the new knitter who did no searches of prior art before claiming originality.

And finally, last on today’s rants, I hate when truly profound techniques are distributed through quantity-limited media. Magazines without online-access archives (paid or not) are not the correct distribution method for a fundamental technique change. I find that I feel no interest in summarizing the various grafting techniques, even though I found something I have not seen anywhere else, because the one hidden in an out-of-print issue of IK (Interweave Knits) is supposed to be paradigm shifting. Right now, I do not care if it does change grafting throughout the entire knitting world, because that knowledge is lostto all but a select few.

December 8, 2010

Fixing a dropped stitch.

Filed under: discussion, instructions, knit — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:24 pm

Sock progress:
I noticed when I was doing the Tardis socks (nicknamed “Phantom Phonebooth”) that the method I had used to pick up stitches along the side of the square while making the toe… (if you have the Cat Bordhi sock book I, it was the “pontoon toe” as described in the master toe section.) left an unpleasant texture on the inside of the sock. So I frogged and restarted. I am still in the midst of the toe increase section (toe-up socks.)

That got me thinking about my method for fixing dropped stitches. I have not seen anyone else do this and I should probably photograph it so you can see. I put the good stitch at the bottom of the ladder on my right needle tip. I lift the first ladder onto the right needle tip. Then I pass the good stitch over the ladder, like for casting off. Then I grab the next ladder and repeat. It works really well and is extremely helpful if you do not happen to have a crochet hook. However it is not a flexible method. If you are fixing garter stitch or are on the purl side or pick up a stitch inverted, it never looks perfect again. I can, with the diagram in front of me, pick up dropped stitches with a crochet hook, but when I have 3 people waiting for help, I need something faster and where I look like I know what I am doing.

December 3, 2010

Three projects. New, Done, redoing the WIP

Filed under: knit — UndyedYarnpire @ 4:04 pm

I settled on buying the Stroll Sport yarn from Knitpicks for the Tardis socks. The yarn arrived today. I ordered Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving). That has got to be some of the fastest shipping I’ve ever experienced with KP. Normally it takes the full 10 working days for my order to arrive after the shipping notification, which is usually at least 3 working days after the order is placed.

I decided on this because I liked the idea of thicker yarn, the same colorway (though a different yarn) was named in the pattern, so I did not need to guess whether that was the right blue, and the price is low enough that if I have to replace it with something else, I have wasted less money.


I finished a scarf knitted from handspun which was dyed by HelloYarn which I got from *hack, spit* Yarn School. I gave it away to the intended recipient who asked me when I was going to get a real job.

*shakes head*

I consider myself socially inept, but I certainly do better than that.


The “halfaquin” sweater from two years ago has been frogged. I am so much smaller now and the sweater had issues subsequent to my washing it that frogging was the better choice. I am remaking it now. I have half of one quadrant done.

November 24, 2010

tank sweater: Blue Hawaii. Completed project photos.

Filed under: knit — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:28 am
From askew
From askew

Finally the pictured of that tank top sweater which I called “Blue Hawaii” and was based on the Askew pattern from Knitty. These are the pictures of it. I am still frogging it because of the poor fit/style.

This yarn was perfect for the project. It inherently created a cute ruffled effect for the cast on and off edges. (I did nothing to encourage or discourage it; I was just pleasantly surprised.) I like the effect of the two very similar colorways that I used here.

The problems were because the back is much, much too high; the front and back methodology created really high underarm fabric; and the neckline was too low.

It does, however fit perfectly. There is enough room at the bust, it clings well enough that the straps would not be mandatory, so I know my regauging math is not at fault. I also love the bias-knitting method of creating a v-neck. That is such a beautiful concept. I also like the bias knitting for the torso because it means bending over or stretching does not reveal as much belly.

In theory I could simply add more to the front top. If the front were 4 inches higher, I could tug the whole sweater down and it would not rub my shoulder blades in the back. But when I tried it on, I pulled the bottom edge of the back down to my waistline and measured from there. That put the bottom of the front point unappealingly near my crotch. Visually, it functions like an arrow. With all that, I sincerely expect there is just a design flaw that makes this sweater really unflattering on my body.

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