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.

July 13, 2011

updates, project plans, and a report on the Oakland Fiber Fest

Filed under: project lists, summary — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:34 pm

Let me see where things are:

Tardis socks, “Phantom Phonebooth” have heels turned and decorative motif stitch repeat counted and set up. Still looks like blue blobs on a string though. Pictures might be forthcoming if I can get my husband to model his feet.

Still spinning on my “Black Sun” BFL from CMF that I bought when they first starting having BFL. The stuff is awesome and Crown Mountain Farms remains one of my top vendors. Some of that is because both the roving and the yarn are beautiful but the yarn is still a surprise. I should take pictures to illustrate what I mean. The “Black Sun” colorway is visibly mottled black with lots of bright color splotches. The yarn is purple. There is no way this will make sense until I show the pictures, but that will be later.

I received a late birthday present (birthday is in April, husband’s birthday is in July, usually a shared box arrives in July) from the SIL who sent the great yarn last year which I made into the ill-fitting tank top from the Knitty pattern “Askew”, and which I titled “Blue Hawaii” and which is an “Ugh!” on my Ravelry projects page. Not because of the yarn, which was perfect for that project, but because it really did not fit. (I am now even more of a different shape than when I started it, so I am glad I waited to frog it and start over.) The new yarn is another skein of the Lumpy Bumpy, but is obviously intended to be a Christmas hat since it is red&green. There was a skein of corriedale single in a matching green, and a skein of fingering yarn in cotton made from recycled jeans— but the yarn itself is a dusky red. It is pretty shocking that someone sent me $50 worth of yarn, in three skeins, where none of it goes together except by color. There will definitely be pictures of the incoming gift yarn.

What I have in mind for that is to make a Santa hat (where I will use undyed roving for the brim and puff) from the Lumpy Bumpy. I am going to add the green single to the Blue Hawaii tank project when I frog the current sweater, and I’m thinking about making another tank using the cotton yarn held together (or plied together) with some sock yarns that I am really, honestly and truly, never going to use. If I were a sewer, I might weave the cotton yarns, but it is a low priority project.


Last Sunday was the Oakland Fiber Festival. I was there from about 11 until about 2:30. I had made arrangements to meet up with two different people who both bailed. Even with that, I had an excellent time. The weather was vastly improved from the previous year. There were more booths and more variety. (Last year it was pretty much just alpaca, this year alpaca was still heavily represented but there were people selling other things, including Jordana Paige.)

I saw a demonstration of Danish medallion weaving, which I found somewhat inspirational, although it definitely left me with the impression that weaving is not ever going to be fun . It looks like a lot of very fussy work to get something fancy. Plain weave requires sewing to be of much use. There was also a booth from Saori Berkeley (allowing people to try Saori weaving, but I did not try myself), and there is definitely something to that. It looks more fun, but unfortunately I did not much appreciate the aesthetics of the resultant fabric.

I had an excellent discussion with Katharine Jolda of Felt the Sun, who buys wool from the Navajo reservation (which is the kind of traditional outreach I heartily support after reading most of Tony Hillerman’s works) and uses a self-designed bicycle powered carder to create batts which are then felted and turned into unique vests. Even at hundreds of dollars, I experienced sincere want. Her wools are astoundingly beautifully colored andundyed. They are precisely the kinds of wools that inspired my username.

The best yarn I saw was from Shaggy Bear Farms (no website, despite the listing on the card, but they are carried by A Verb For Keeping Warm and members of the Oregon Wool Association who have been fabulous when I needed something breed specific) which had an excellent colorway, “Berry Pie”, which was implemented in several kinds of wool. I liked their BFL yarn for the texture, but the same colorway was outstanding in the Jacob. I took a card and annotated it carefully so I can email them once I get over my inability to buy without reconsidering.

I bought some really nice German Angora rabbit clip to spin, but that was all I bought.

There were some strange things. Like the “welcome” booth is at the far corner, away from where the bus stops, and away from the direction of the parking lot, and there they were doing “door prizes” but “I do not think it means what you think it means.” because they were raffle prizes. You had to pay to play. I did buy a dollar’s worth of raffle tickets because I still had pocket money remaining. They announced the winners today on Ravelry. I did not win, which was not a huge surprise since a few people bought dozens of tickets. Hopefully they call the winners (one was supposed to write name and phone number on the back of the ticket and keep the stub) as well. But it turns out one must go to Piedmont Yarn to collect one’s prize. It costs $2/hour to park near there, paid at meters which are usually a block away but which require you to put the receipt on your dash so it is a lot of walking (which would completely violate the ADA except those people have public parking comped already), if you can find a space. If I stopped for a coffee or wanted to go to lunch to assuage the hassle, I’d spend more on the trip than I would have spent buying the prize directly. Is it weird to feel grateful for not winning? But if I am grateful for not winning, then I am angry about wasting a dollar buying the raffle tickets. Never let it be said that I was easy-going, hmm?

Several people I know had booths.  I would like to support these friends, but do not want what they sell. Of course I tend to be much more independent than most crafters. When I started, you could not buy stitch markers for sock yarn (or sock yarn, for that matter) and patterns never went larger than a 40″ bust. So I tend to assume I am going to have to find my own way. Of course this leaves me on the fringes of a community I might otherwise be a part of. Even people I taught to knit are more included than I am. I feel sad about this, but not in a way that would change my habits.

June 30, 2011

toads, tardis, telling you about an event

Filed under: summary — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:40 am

I was reading Nicki Epstein’s new book, the block one, and got really inspired by the animals in the back. I love the turtle one made from a square of basket weave. I had a request for a green animal right after I finished the second elephant. Which I had forgotten because the second elephant was a hard slog to finish. But I got a Rav PM from someone last night admiring the elephants.

I think I could easily make a toad based on what I have done with the elephants and seeing how the turtle came out in the book today. I stopped what I was doing and immediately cast on. I have about half the face knitted, including some non-flat bits for toad-like texture. The yarn is the mottled green stuff I used for that lace scarf. (There is probably not anywhere nearly enough of it. Even after 8 years of knitting, I still mis-estimate yarn needs most dramatically. I usually have twice what I will need or I have half. It is rarely close.)  I am pausing at this point trying to decide if I want to dye some yarn fresh and start with more than enough or if I want to continue with my current plan to make a two-tone toad (it will be white-bellied) and hope there is sufficient mottled green.

There was a sizing problem with the “Phantom Phonebooth” socks. I had my husband (the intended recipient) try them on when I had done the decreases for the short row heel and it was at least half an inch too short. I pulled out the heel, laboriously picked up stitches and added 6 more rounds. But I had forgotten I had already added the wing-increase stitches (using the Bordhi method for toe-up construction)  so I am concerned the ankle will be baggy. The socks are not at all stretchy. Either I am knitting too tightly or I should have been suffering through ribbing. So it absolutely will have to actually fit him, there is not enough give that these would be comfortable to wear otherwise. I have not even arrived at the interesting part of this, where I get to make it look like the Tardis.


The Oakland Fiber Festival is coming up on July 10, 2011. That is a Sunday. It is being held at Splashpad Park in Oakland, where the regular farmers market is. I will be attending this event. If you have been wanting to meet me in person, this free event that has free parking might be a good opportunity. Although many restaurants are closed nearby on Sundays, there are several that will be open. It was not a great event last year. I certainly would not drive from Marin or Sunnyvale to see it, but this is walking distance for me so my scale is different than people who come from far away. It might be better this year as well since the organizers have practice.

Admittedly I am hoping to meet some fiber-craft people who are not immediately local to me because I struggle to fit in with most of the knitters I have met. Or if you are immediately local and actually outlook-tolerant, please speak up. My email is on the sidebar or you can send a Rav PM (same username) if you do not want to leave a comment in public.

June 3, 2011

Quick update

Filed under: summary — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:33 pm

It has been a while since I had something to post. The Tardis socks (“Phantom Phonebooth”) proceed.  I am at the heels. The only thing I did not correctly anticipate in doing two-at-a-time is that the heels are going to be awkward, but something seems to be working out. It feels a bit like being lost and just following the majority of cars because chances are pretty good other people want to go where you want to go.

There are no pictures yet because it looks like a pair of blue blobs.

I have really appreciated the instructions in the first Cat Bordhi sock book, but the book itself is horrible to use. I am constantly paging back and forth and back and forth. I bookmarked all the pages I used for these socks and there are 15 bookmarks in the book. It is bad enough that I am seriously considering taking an Exacto knife and cutting out the pages so the actual instructions can be assembled coherently. The instructions are great, but I find myself so frustrated trying to find them that I tend to assume I remember it from last time.

Non-knitting news, I finally have a credit card that Paypal accepts. I am seriously considering buying the Rogue or Eris sweater pattern. I have loved that forever. But I am highly unlikely to actually knit it since I am such a lazy knitter.

Spinning updates. I have spun 8 ounces of BFL from CMF in the “Black Sun” colorway. I like it a lot as a three-ply yarn, but obviously taking a year off of spinning did nothing for my consistency. It was a very good thing that I restarted with BFL, because that really is my go-to fiber.

CMF is having a sale, free shipping, and the Cormo is out— and they will custom dye it (normally it is just available undyed.) But my storage bins are full and the Oakland Fiber Festival is upcoming, so I am not buying. I do really like their dye work and they seem to be fast and reliable. Plus their bumps are 8oz and extremely consistent. I was able to spin a sweater’s worth and all the balls look similar enough that I am not worried about the sleeves not matching or other weirdness.

This would go over a lot better with pictures or links, but just about everything is repeated.

April 3, 2011

fiber and life status

Filed under: summary — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:39 am

I have started a new, simple project. I want to make a cowl where the end can be tucked through, like a keyhole scarf, so one does not need buttons at one’s neck.

I still have the Phantom Phonebooth (Tardis) socks out.

Eventually I will sew up the first woven scarf into the bag, as intended. There will not be more weaving progress for a while because I put the loom (warped, and I hope it did not get horribly tangled) back in its box. I was going to sell it, but now that the Emilia looms cost $269 for the 13″, it would be a final decision on weaving. I am incredibly grateful that I did buy a small folding loom though so I could put it back in the box.

Everything has been put away. We had a water leak and the repairs are going to require redoing the entire floor in one room, which means finding space in the rest of my apartment for nearly half of my stuff. There simply is not room for a choice in projects, especially since I will be busy washing and cleaning things to prevent mold growth.

There might, and quite possibly will, be radio silence here merely due to that. But I will attempt to post when there are new ideas, and I have actually been much more fiber crafty in the past month than in the past year. I realized the last time I spun was a year ago before my MIL visited. I knew the volunteer gig was draining my creativity, but had not realized the only knitting I had been doing was fixing other people’s mistakes. How can I pass on the joy of knitting when I never want to even hold my yarn when I get home?

I had more surgery at the end of March and it went better than December’s, but my husband got some bad health news recently, so we are still reeling a bit and resentful of the double-crisis with the water. I have actually been knitting and I have all these ideas now, so as contrary as it seems, I hope to have more content, not less.

March 13, 2011

still standing still

Filed under: summary — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:15 pm

I am finally looking at my loom and not thinking, “Dread. Dread. Dread.” Not that there has been any actual progress. I am starting to think weaving just is not for me. The prices went up on the loom I bought, so I probably can sell without a huge penalty.

Twice this week I looked at the bin that has my frogged “Halfaquin” vest in it and thinking, “I could work on that!” I did not work on the socks either.

I did leave the knitting group where I was teaching. There were a lot of reasons for it, especially the specific timing, but mostly I was burned out to the point that I never wanted to knit anymore. Luckily most everyone seemed fairly accepting.

However, this does mean I will have to actively seek out another group so I do not stagnate creatively. There really should be a group in Oakland! Maybe we should meet on Sunday afternoon at Splashpad Park? We’d have to all bring our own beverages and treats and chairs, but there is nearby parking. That is where the Oakland Fiber Festival is held (July 10 2011)… so then it would seem like everyone else was coming to join us. Maybe next weekend I will go and sit on the wall and see if anyone else comes. Well, not if it rains.

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.

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