UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

October 10, 2010

Brighter outlook is more productive.

Filed under: fiber, knit, patterns, project lists — UndyedYarnpire @ 4:16 pm

Knitting group has improved somewhat. There are days when I see that I do some good. And days when I can see that I really have learned something despite not being even a mediocre teacher. (Teachers learn as much from their students as the students learn from them.) I can regauge a pattern on-the-fly now. I can look at a previous project, estimate whether the knitter is loose or tight, and give a pretty good guess as to the gauge; it is good enough for a seamed hat, which is astonishing without a ruler.

My biggest problem with the group is how stressful it is and how uninspiring I find it. I never want to knit anything when I come home. That feeling lasts until at least Thursday morning of the following week. I get so little knitting done that I am seriously considering buying a loom just to consume vast quantities of yarn. But there have been so many sticking points to this loom buying that I have started to realize I should fix my attitude before spending a lot of money.

I stopped what I was doing and sat down to knit this week. It was fun again. I had forgotten the feeling of success and accomplishment from seeing something take shape out of almost nothing. Even without a finished object, I can see the progress. I think, however, that there might be a moritorium on projects for other people until I finish some things for me. I am feeling underappreciated and unloved.

I am halfway done with my Darkside Cowl, which I am making out of that blue SW BFL from Royale Hare (if you want to look for it, I called the post with the picture “Lady Spins The Bluesand if I am ambitious I might go look for the link myself.)

I knit myself two hotpads. I used a combination of Icelandic and Wensleydale, both of which came from the Spunky Eclectic fiber club years ago. I held both yarns together and knit large stockinette squares. I plan to felt them.

From fiber From handspun
From fiber From handspun

I am using the remaining Wensleydale, held double, and I am making myself a teapot cozy. It has a few stripes of the Icelandic.

And yes, I will take pictures of these things at some point.

January 2, 2010

New Year, new projects. Old successes.

Filed under: discussion, equipment, fiber, patterns, project lists, spin, yarn — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 11:46 pm

Recently spun yarns:

From Fiber Club
purple yarn (one ply angora+merino, one ply Falkland for the main yarn, n-plied and wrapped for the two smaller side skeins– 4oz total)


From CMF
turquoise yarn (“Avalon” CMF Corriedale pencil roving, 8oz 2ply in 2 skeins.)


From yarn school fiber
calico yarn (3 ply alpaca: tri-color roving from Alpacas in Wildcat Hollow)


From Fiber Club From fiber dye
Robin Hood (2ply overdye SW BFL)

New Year’s Eve, I cleared my yarn area. I pulled things I was never going to finish off the needles and put everything away in the tubs. There was some squishing required, but everything still fits. (That is the limit. 4 small tubs for yarn, 2 big tubs for roving, 1 under-bed storage for overflow… anything else has to be turned into a finished object.)

I found the sock I started last March. It is feasible to finish it soon because I had already finished the heel turn. The mate will need to be made, but that was worth rescuing.

The pillow front is still on the needles, despite needing 2 more rounds tinked.


New Year’s Day I started a new project, leg warmers for me. The yarn is 2-ply bulky from 8oz of “12th Planet” CMF BFL. Its a nice sort of brown purple colorway.  I think I am going to base these on the “Tree Trunk” pattern which is a straight tube with cables on a knit field. I want mine shaped though.

I measured my leg. 11 inches from ankle to knee. I then put tick marks every inch. Then measured around with a measuring tape. So I cast on and my number is 48. I figure I should have 8 repeats of 3×3 cable around. Then  after the increase, there will be 4×3 cable, then 4×4, and so on. At the biggest circumference, I will have 6×6 cables.

I added an inch of horizontal ease so it can go over jeans. And I plan to pretend my row gauge is more like 8.5 instead of the 7 I really get. That way these should have a little bagginess. Cuffs at the ankle and knee, possibly with a lace edging to be added afterward.

Today I also started a replacement cabled cowl. It is kkpp 3×3 pkkp 3×3 ppkk. Same cable idea. Using Knitpicks Gloss Heavyweight yarn, which is about Aran weight. 4sts/inch 6rows/inch using #9 needles.


I need another row on my abacus. I want one where there is a fat bead every fourth row. Maybe I just need an abacus where the beads can be interchanged and a big box of beads.

If I can find a new abacus frame, I will most certainly buy bird-shaped beads for this cable pattern (and feather-and-fan) so it goes, “Duck, duck, duck, GOOSE!”

My current abacus frame is a rectangle of wood with beaded wires just wrapped around the edges to hold them in place. The wires cannot be bent and unbent without self-destructing. There is a crossways wire to be the Rubicon. It is a tight horizontal wire threaded under the bead wires and beads have to be lifted over it.  That means if I drop the abacus, I do not lose my place. It is entirely functional with 3 bead wires. I have one wire with alternating big/little beads which I use to keep track of which kind of fancy row I am on. Then I have digits counters (10 medium beads on one, 10 little beads on the other: tens and ones digits). Sliding the beads is fun and does not require both hands unlike those little twisty row counters. Row counters are not useful if you resent having to use them.  I need one more row to count the frequency of fancy rows, but that changes from pattern to pattern.

Speaking of which, when you have chosen a cable, how do you tell how often to execute it? Like my 3×3 cable, is that every fourth row as shown in Knitting In The Old Way or was some of the chart omitted? Most of the examples were 2×2 cables and were every fourth row. I asked a friend who said a good rule of thumb was spacing equal to the number of stitches in the cable. (Which is going to make those legwarmers even more complicated!)

Back to the abacus. I think I could make a travel one with seed beads and coil-less safety pins. That would be a fun project right there.

Now I am going to stop and actually go find the pictures to add. 2010 really needs to be the year of the much more streamlined photo blogging procedure.

December 27, 2009

End of the holiday weekend, what was spun and done.

Filed under: equipment, fiber, patterns, spin — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 11:13 pm

Having a real spindle really does make a difference. My Eichheim spindle (hollow whorl dragon) spins practically forever.  It spins long enough and fast enough that I can get fingering singles from head to floor. If I was standing on a scaffold, I would not need to stop even then. It weighs next to nothing so I can actually spin tiny singles without experiencing the “drop” in drop-spindle. I am quite pleased. The brick-like spindles I tried at [hack, spit] Yarn School sell for $20. This was $70 with shipping. It is definitely worth the difference in price.

So far the negatives are the long wait times and the whorl size being just large enough that I am having trouble finding a non-awkward basket for it. There will definitely be pictures, but please wait.

Pre-drafted and spun half of the overdyed SW BFL fiber. Found a shaped hood pattern using short rows, am thinking about making this mottled green yarn into a “Robin Hood”, but that might change after plying.  I was so excited by the hood thing that I actually printed it. My relationship with my printer is contentious, so that is a big deal. It has been easier to load PDFs onto my phone and view them that way, which says something.

Someone should write a sock book that promises HUGE charts and no purling. While I had the printer going, I figured I would print out some other things. I have dozens of sock patterns faved and apparently it was from before I had actually made socks because they are all ridiculously complicated motifs.

I will probably end up charting my own variant of the Monkey chart. Between the no-purl, offset, no-hole versions, I am not sure what I want. I rather like the YO increases because it provides flexibility in fit. No purl is important.  I like the offset idea. Many of those options do not have a given chart, so I would end up creating it anyway.  There was an interesting double increase I found during the search, a V-inc. It combines the Right-leaning Increase (LRinc in Bordhi nomenclature, the “Riley” in mine) immediately followed by a Left-leaning Increase (LLinc/Leelee), without knitting the superlative stitch between. That was part of the no-hole version. The YO increase version has adjacent YOs and requires some machinations. I need my own chart.

Paradise Fibers sent me an email saying they are having a 10% off sale. I am thinking about buying some undyed things since I invested in the dyes already.

I did not end up receiving the Crown Mountain Farms fiber club from someone else whose credit cards are liked by paypal.  I guess there are still a few days left and I could call them myself.

I saw someone saying she was starting her dye work for Stitches. I do not think I am going to Stitches. There were a lot more fiber vendors last year compared to the year before, but the quality and value were a lot lower. I would like more Royal Hare, but the first year there were things like mottled brown… last year it was 6 shades of orange-pink or clown-costume. RedFish Dyeworks had some of the most phenomenal stuff I had ever seen my first year. And last year it was all garish and ugly. I was there Friday and a lot of popular places were picked over already from the people who had gone to the Thursday night preview.

That is it for tonight. I am hoping to get the pictures taken tomorrow. I have a basket full of things I should photograph, but holidays are a difficult time for projects requiring equipment and setup and a solid block of attention.

November 19, 2009

Swatch Bunny is not a sleeper in the race.

Filed under: patterns, toy — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:58 pm

I started and finished something today.

It was the swatch bunny. I created a diagram that explains this extremely simple process.  I got the idea of doing this with swatch squares from Kira of KiraKDesigns, who got it from artsy-fartsy-mama.com, but this is a standard technique found in any basic sewing book.

Basically you knit a square. This is a good use of swatching squares, hence the name. After binding off, tie a secure knot with the seaming yarn at the left midpoint of the square. Baste the seam from left midpoint to right midpoint to top midpoint and back to left midpoint. (see diagram). Pull the seaming yarn to gather fabric together. This makes a pocket which forms the head. Add stuffing and stitch closed. Ears are magically formed and can be fixed in place with a stitch as desired. The body is formed by seaming the “spine” (indicated in green on the diagram) and adding stuffing. Run the seaming needle through the cast on stitches, then gather them, grabbing a small tail tuft from the stuffing before final cinching.

From rabbits

diagram for seaming

November 15, 2009

Queue the stunt rabbit!

Filed under: instructions, patterns, project lists — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:43 pm

I have successfully tinked 2 of the 4 lace rounds on my pillow. (Please insert cursing and animal noises here.) This was needful because of the error-riddled pattern which lacked corrections. Since I was the one who added it to Ravelry, obviously I cannot expect someone else to have annotated the problem there. [I did pause here and add an errata notice to the description of the pattern.] But I certainly did expect the publisher or author to have a modicum of pride and to acknowledge the mistakes.

Thank you to everyone who responded to my plea for actually useful patterns. I have collected them and added them to my projects list. (Not the queue on Ravelry, I find that too frustrating to use until I have started something.)

Since then I have started on making a stuffed rabbit starting from this: http://bunnikins.livejournal.com/47512.html . It is not a complete pattern since it references: http://geobabe.livejournal.com/227621.html for assembly instructions. I knitted half the body and then frogged it because it was going to be too large.

It looks like I will be making a new sample project for my knitting group, make a rabbit from a square. A friend shared the instructions, which basically say to baste a triangle onto a knitted square, gather it, stuff this as the head. Sew the body seam most of the way closed, stuff, and use a crochet hook to pull a tuft of stuffing for the tail. (The triangle is oriented as if there was a diamond inside the square.)

That was what inspired me to look for more rabbity rabbit patterns.

October 31, 2009

How to create a visual slipper pattern.

Filed under: knit, patterns — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:26 pm

I really liked the 8-square slippers. There are apparently several variants of these. Here are a few direct pattern links:

first one I found: http://www.kaspaikka.fi/neulonta-A&O/asusteita_vaatteita/sukat-tossut/palatossut.html

Drops, in English: http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/en/visoppskrift.php?d_nr=109&d_id=57〈=us

felted: http://hurpeknagg.blogspot.com/2008/01/felted-slippers.html

The basic idea I was looking for was something that could be made in all garter stitch, that required very little in terms of shaping, but which would make an actual garment. There are a number of children who go through the library knitting group and never learn to purl, let alone increase and decrease. No one needs 3 mini-size envelope purses, so there was a lack of intermediate project between the itty bitty thing and sending them off to buy their own yarn.

But not everyone who comes to this speaks English. Some of them do not read. It was a puzzle.

I wanted to create something to show how to make the slippers if you did not have a paper pattern or online resources available.  This is what I made:

From origami motley socks

If one sews the white edge seam to the white edge seam, then the red to the red, and so forth, one ends up with the finished slipper.

This was a very interesting exercise, both the finding of a pattern that fit explicit criteria and the creation of a demonstration model that inherently displays the procedure required.

Blog at WordPress.com.