UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

February 12, 2011

Stitches West 2011: Thursday’s child has far to go.

Filed under: discussion, stuff — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 1:57 pm

This is a list of vendors at Stitches who are offering Thursday night specials. If you patronize them on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, you will be paying more than other people and getting less selection:

From this thread: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/stitches-west-2011/1521105/

Alpenglow Yarn / Ranch of the Oaks / Little Red Bicycle #1048
Knotty Knitters Calendar (sold by XRX itself)
Ellen’s Wooly Wonders #1445
Faerie Mountain Fibers #1040
Twisted Sunshine Designs #1146

added later:

The Fine Needle #718

I have blacked those places off my copy of the market map because I do not want to pay more than the supposedly fair price the vendor has chosen.

Admittedly those were not places I have highlighted, so it would not be a loss to me, but I will probably refer back to this list so I do not accidentally patronize them in the future either.

This Thursday night sale basically says, “We treat some people specially and you are not one of those people. We would prefer to do business with other people than you. Please go elsewhere.” So I plan to abide by that request and take my money elsewhere, forever.

Bijou Basin Ranch has coupons on their website, so you will pay more if you do not pre-prepare, but they are at least good for the whole show and for anyone. (#602 – 700) I would feel less put upon if I could “mention their website” or a special code word and get the discount, but that is because I cannot print at home so self-printed coupons are a huge hassle. Pico Accuardi Dyeworks is running specials throughout the show (#1144).


Last year I asked if there was anyone reading here who wanted to accompany me to Stitches West on the Friday market day. I have never gone with anyone else. This year I invited people from the learn to knit group where I volunteer and no one wants to come with me. (One woman does want a ride there if I am going, but did not see the invitation as being to a social outing with me as her friend.)  If you want to accompany me, please do speak up. Email, Rav PM, or comment here. If you know me, feel free to call too. I am seriously considering not going. I have only three booths highlighted and I could just as easily order from their websites later. Between gas and entry fee and lunch, staying home would more than cover any shipping costs. Plus I need nothing. I still have untouched things I bought at my first Stitches in 2008.  It would be different if I was going with someone else and doing something social and fun. Many of the comments in the Stitches West group talk about how great it is to meet other knitters and make lots of friends. I do not think I have spoken to anyone who is not a vendor, ever, at the show. It usually seems like everyone travels in groups of their own friends and have no need of conversation with strangers.

December 7, 2010

Bin of Wonders

Filed under: stuff, yarn — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:59 pm

I went out to yarn stores today. Normally I would say I went “yarn shopping” but I bought no yarn. I did buy a copy of the Interweave Knits that has TechKnitter’s zipper thing in it. It also has this great cape and *sigh* I wanted it. Plus when you are in a yarn store there is that pressure to buy something.

I had been looking for yarn to make a lap blanket for a friend. I liked some Lorna’s Laces at Yarn Boutique, but at $19 each plus 10.25%, I was going to be out close to a hundred bucks. At that rate I should order the friend a woolly blanket from LLBean that would fit her whole bed and not need any knitting done on it. We found a less expensive option, but it was very green and still $50.

I was thinking about what yarn I have and realized I have some really nice 3-ply corriedale that is green and black mottled. I figured I had a skein of black WOTA. (I did, two, actually.) This will be a great combination and much more personal.

In the process of digging through my stash, I realized I have 6 really amazing skeins of hand-dyed sock yarn. I found a handful of lovely worsted weight purple yarns in varying shades. I found tubs of fiber. All of this things I had honestly forgotten buying. I knew I had some yarn hanging around. I knew I had tubs of fiber, but I had no idea how awesome my stash is. In fact, I had two skeins of that exact colorway of Lorna’s Laces that I almost bought today.

So I am going to photograph everything. Um. Soon. I will name the tubs too so when it asks where that is stored, I will not simply say “bin”.

I was describing to the friend (who accompanied me today) that I do not usually shop at local yarn stores. She was shocked. But the yarn stores near Oakland are tiny. I said, the really popular one is about the size of my bedroom and my stash has a better variety. We went further afield today and there were honestly some good choices. But the good choices did not seem to go together and they were all frightfully expensive.

September 7, 2010

New or used. It is a giant headache either way.

Filed under: stuff — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:47 pm

My dining table is full of things that need to be photographed. I cannot spin because there is no room to get out anything new. This will provide incentive.

Now, onto today’s topic.

If something is available new from a reputable dealer who takes all forms of money, how much would you sell your used version for? I have been getting the local Craigslist feed for looms for about a year now and nothing has suited me.  But when I decided I was willing to buy a new rigid heddle loom, I did subscribe to the Weavers Marketplace group on Rav. Today there was a Glimakra Emilia 13″ for $180 Paypal only. This loom is available from Paradise Fibers for $190. Both include free shipping. The used one includes 2 extra heddles. Admittedly the Paradise Fibers people have last year’s price still, but I would much rather pay $10 more and get to use any kind of money and not have to deal with something that could potentially have been lamed by the prior owner.

This kind of zero discount for used is why I tell people who are considering a Fricke wheel to just buy one. First you cannot possibly try before you buy. There are only 8 dealers in the entire country and they vary from just being an Etsy store to being one of those stores where men are actively discouraged (the website touts their menstrual cup products but does not mention the spinning wheels, I hope people like that go out of business for their discriminatory attitudes.)  None of these places, and I have dealt with all of them to some extent, are run by professional people who think of their fiber-related business as an actual job. They all act like it is some sort of hobby and you should be pleased that they condescend to sell you anything. All of them. It is not exclusive to Fricke dealers. All fiber-related vendors tend toward this. But the main reason to buy a used wheel is not for the discount, it is because you do not have to deal with the flaky weirdos who send you the wrong invoices or cannot update their catalogs or have to call a friend to find out if they can take your credit card for purchases.

Every time I buy something (except the one purchase from Paradise Fibers), there is always an email describing some problem, from me or from them.  Most of the time, for yarn or fiber, there is someone else who is selling a substitute and if I get too frustrated, I go elsewhere. When I bought my wheel, there was only one choice as far as I could tell.

However, having emailed Fricke, it turns out they are happy to drop-ship your wheel to you free. All you have to do is write and ask permission to order (up to 10 days during show season, I waited 5 for my reply), mail them a check or money order, wait for the money to clear (up  to 2 weeks), wait for your wheel to be made, then wait for the shipping. I really do like my wheel. It is definitely worth the price I paid (half or less what a comparable wheel cost from any other brand, while not sucking like a Heavenly) but there is a reason you might think the only way to get a spinning wheel is to inherit it from your great grandmother.

Now I stupidly decided I want a loom. And this whole process is beginning again. Yarn Barn of Kansas does not sell rigid heddle looms except the plastic-knobbed folding ones. They focus on the pipe organ kind of loom… because Kansas has houses for people to live in. Not that people living in Kansas usually have the kinds of jobs where a couple thousand bucks of disposable income is lying around or where if you just ate in for a month you could save that up. I have been to the store and it is not that big either (nor do they have parking). They do claim to offer free shipping on any loom costing more than $250, but not the small folding ones. So pretty much it is free shipping on any loom  more than $500. I was really put out by the Yarn Barn reply which did not offer to help me place a special order when I specifically asked about a loom they do not sell but from a manufacturer they do carry.

None of my LYS sell any looms.  Even the Alpaca Direct people, who I want to be my LYS even though they are not really local, just because they actually have yarn in stock and parking. Like they want customers or something. They said that it might be possible to order a Flip for me. Of course I do not know if I would like the Schacht Flip if I got it. It folds with your weaving on, which is an enormous plus. The reviews seem pretty positive. But it took Schacht 4 years to come up with a jumbo bobbin for their Matchless and it costs $300. That bobbin is still smaller than the Fricke bobbins which came included with my wheel, the whole wheel of which cost about $300. The Matchless is pretty and it is made out of nice wood. But there are some really big detriments in terms of functionality. And that makes me concerned about buying a folding loom from them where the tension gears and moving parts are made from plastic. Like possibly the Flip is an overpriced piece of garbage and people are so deluded by the brand name that they will not admit they made a bad purchase. The Flip’s heddles cost more than any other rigid heddle loom heddles too.

I  have settled on the idea of the LeClerc Bergere ($260, non-folding, metal working bits), the Schacht Flip (folding, plastic working bits, $235, 255, 275:: 12, 20, 24″ ) the Glimakra Emilia (18″, metal working bits, folds but only when empty, $229 but completely non-existent in reality.) I considered the Ashford Knitter’s Loom as well, it is similar to the Flip in terms of plastic working bits, sizes, and folding.

Then I realized if I was going to spend this kind of money, I might as well save up and buy a real 4-harness loom for only twice the price. It has the added benefits of delaying my interacting with people who are going to make me crazy. But there is the detriment in that I will not have my new thing.

June 13, 2010

Happy new things

Filed under: stuff, yarn — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:19 am

It has been a good week. I finished that hat. I was really pleased with how it came out despite not having meant to do that. I had been looking for the standard hat shape, but when I went from the ribbing to the roll brim, it bloomed out. The end result was quite pleasant though. The recipient seemed pleased, but no idea if that was merely politeness.

The pictures of the finished pillow came out really well. I think the felted on “buttons” are adorable.

Yesterday I received a box with a belated birthday present. It had two skeins of excellent yarn, a bag in my favorite shape and a copy of Knit One, Haiku Two by  Maria Fire. Non-knitting family sent me locally-produced, hand-dyed, merino yarn. In my favorite kinds of colors. Normally non-knitters send complete crap, so I was really overjoyed. Normally my in-laws send me gifts which are in colors my husband prefers— like they didn’t bother to get to know me at all— so I am overjoyed.

March 12, 2010

I am making a list, you should check it twice.

Filed under: discussion, knit, lace, project lists, stuff — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 7:49 pm
  • Pictures are still owing. I hate posting pictures. I know pictures are what sells this. But there has to be an easier way than my dozen-step process.
  • I have new spinning. I should enpicture that too. I finished 8 ounces of CMF BFL. It is three-ply. It looks like twilight (but not Twilight) or a thunderstorm. I tried for different weights of singles. I had one bobbin that would make fingering, one that wavered between lace and fingering, and one that is sport or worsted.
  • I have started and frogged Evelyn Clark’s Swallowtail shawl. I am using the Madelinetosh sock that was given to me by a friend. It waited and taunted me because I needed a worthy project. I love the motif in the Swallowtail. It looks like little turtles. I am unkeen on the triangle shape for myself, but assuredly someone will want this. And I really want to make it.

    (I sent the friend that skein of SW BFL sock yarn from CMF that I had been so upset by. She moved and I called it a housewarming present. She likes itty bitty yarn, so I was not even giving bad gifts. Or so I thought.)

  • There was a request to publicize the Oakland Fiber Festival that Piedmont Yarn is putting on. It is being held June 27 (that is a Sunday) from 10am to 4pm at Splashpad Park. I was not able to find a website mentioning it, so no links, but it is a real thing. They are looking for vendors and artists and guilds to participate and asked that people call them. Posting is on the Bay Area Knitters and Bay Area Spinners groups on Ravelry.
  • Can someone personally recommend a spinning guild? Other than Spindles and Flyers? I went to one S&F meeting and it did not work out.
  • I am needing of a local (Oakland) source for bulk flours. Especially whole grain flour. Or somewhere that has larger quantities of oat and rye flour than the 1 pound plastic sacks from Bob’s Red Mill.

February 23, 2010

pre-pictures post, with pre-Stitches update

Filed under: stuff — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:45 pm

I am going to Stitches on Friday. I will be driving. I am going alone since there were no takers on the invitations I sent out.  However, should you wish to tag along or meet up, please do send an email (listed in the sidebar if you click through from the feed.)

I have finished my legwarmer except for the bind-off row. I have 3 more rows on the scarf. And the woman who wants the elephant just lit up when I told her I was working on it, so I expect there will be more progress.

The two cowls I sent out as holiday gifts were not well received. I have a hard time with gifts because I do not believe in exchanging money and hold myself remote from my husband’s family (with their enthusiastic participation) so often wish not to be involved in the gifting what-so-ever.

There will be pictures soon. [easter-egg sunday scarf, half-a-cowl, legwarmer A, elephant skin, repurposed sock-mittens]

January 29, 2010

good, bad, and ugly.

Filed under: stuff — UndyedYarnpire @ 1:24 pm

Ravelry has added email notification for private messages. You have to opt in to get them. Open message box and click the email options tab at the top right.

The posting announcing this announced that they had abandoned their official “site announcements” thread a while ago. I had not been aware that the official outlet moved. I had been aware of the creation of the casual forum with user announcements, but had had no idea this had been adopted officially to the exclusion of all other media.

Yesterday’s knitting group did not go amazingly well despite being one of the most interesting ones since I took over. I really enjoy teaching advanced things and knitting with people who know things I do not know. That does not happen often because the teaching aspect is advertised. Yesterday though, I think I was fired. Now, what makes this awkward is that I am not sure; it was handled badly. I consider myself socially wrong-footed a lot of the time, but even I am more adept than that.  Still, I could spend the rest of my life never dealing with a child again, so it is probably for the best. If I want to teach, I will find another opportunity.

The second cowl I was making is too small of a neck-diameter. I am torn between buying another ball of yarn and adding a seed stitch section on both ends for holding the buttons and buttonholes using a different (stiffer) yarn of the same color.

Still no spinning.

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