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.

February 26, 2010

Stitches 2010 market results

Filed under: fiber, yarn — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:59 pm

Keep in mind that I needed absolutely nothing to add to my stash. This is purely buying stuff to be buying stuff. Normally I am terrible about buying myself things and I rarely believe in retail therapy, but this was extremely enjoyable.

I bought buttons. $6 worth which I will not post the picture of because they are banal and the picture is horrible.

I bought a skein of heavyweight Blue Moon Fiber Arts because I was there early enough to get one of the Raven colorways.  It is not like their stuff is a deal at Stitches, but I wanted it and have wanted it for years now. So I bought one.

I also bought fiber from Royale Hare and Lisa Souza and RedFish Dyeworks. The RedFish is amazing stuff, baby camel + tussah. It was ludicrous but I loved it. Lisa Souza has awesome prices. Royale Hare has better superwash than anyone else at the show and Romi makes me smile.

$28+t $16+t $53+t $38+t
From stitches 2010

I also bought my first stand-alone pattern. I fell absolutely in love with this double-layer wrap from Bijou Bison last year and they would not sell me the pattern unless I bought the yarn from them. This year they were happy to sell me the pattern by itself. $8.50

I also bought myself a swift from the Oregon Woodworker. I have wanted it for a long time and it was time. They are the nicest people, despite having a sign saying they do not work on Sunday (which usually signifies the kind of Christians who are intolerant of absolutely everyone else on Earth), they were extraordinarily kind. That was $73 with tax for the walnut wood version.

With the $7 entry fee ($8 – coupon + convenience fee for online tickets=$7) and lunch ($10)
was about $250.

March 13, 2009

Six Ways to Sunday

Filed under: fiber, spin — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 7:43 pm

I feel like I need a list here, so things might be random and jumbled, but there are lots of pictures, so you should all feel bribed to keep reading.

  • I washed my Wensleydale sock yarn today and it stayed fingering. Probably about 300 yards, or so.
    From Stitches 2009 Fiber
  • I flayed out a new hank of fiber, one of the Lisa Souza 50% merino + 50% silk. I was hugely surprised by the blinding whiteness in the core throughout. The Lisa Souza Wensleydale had been one of the better dye jobs I have seen recently (zero whiteness), but even the other merino+silk (which was dated from last September) has a pretty solid white core. I find it surprisingly attractive, which is odd since I normally despise white and pastels (except in undyed fiber), but I sent Lisa Souza an email (it included both my satisfaction with the Wensleydale and well-wishes since she’s been very public about her personal issues in addition to the caution about the merino+silk fiber.)
    From Stitches 2009 Fiber
  • I roped myself into participating more with the fiber club just because it makes me crazy to see it floundering.
  • I worked on one sock for an hour today, but feel like I am getting no where…. ribbing is stupid. It takes forever, it looks bad as a texture (in my opinion), and it is physically demanding.
  • And I have pictures of the February fiber club yarn.
    From Fiber Club
  • Finally, I am nearly ready to shelve all the sock projects and just knit something fun. Any suggestions?

    December 8, 2008

    “Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?” ~Winnie the Pooh

    Filed under: discussion — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 8:08 pm

    The spinning is in progress, but I lost that rhythm from the first day that let me finish a whole bobbin in one sitting. I want that yarn.. waaaaant. It is for me. I knew in advance it was for me. I bought the fiber for me and I knew when I saw it that it was going to be special. I did not spin it when I first got it because I knew my skills were not up to snuff. I bought the fiber while visions of knitted sugarplums in my head, last February

    I have a special knitting project in process. I want it to be a surprise, so I cannot talk about it here, but I am all excited. It is such an interesting idea! 

    I finally decided not to buy any Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn, mostly based on the comments and emails I received indicating poor experiences. The yarn is astronomical considering it is just superwash merino. 

    Crown Mountain Farms is having a 2 day sale, 25% off their self-branded colorways in BFL and superwash merino and corriedale pencil. 

    I still think online stores would do better with free shipping with minimum order deals. The shipping costs and need to create an account put me off ordering from BMFA. It would have kept me from ordering from CMF had SeedlessGrape not vouched for them. I probably am not the only one who really hates unknown shipping costs. The sale is nice, but I know shipping is a tax-deductible business expense, and discountable if you have an online account with USPS— so why are the full retail shipping charges being passed along? 

    It is probably like how yarn stores are always zero-inventory boutique shops with fancy windows and no parking instead of a big warehouse where you can actually buy a men’s XXXL sweater’s worth of yarn off the shelf.  I would definitely be willing to drive an hour from here to shop for yarn if there was some hope that the store would bother to have any. I keep thinking there should be a way to get better than MSRP+ pricing in person in California. Maybe if there was a big store in one of the outlet malls? Personally I would like to see it in Hercules or Rodeo (far enough that parking is ample, at the intersection of I80 and Hwy 4) because then I could go for Thai food at my favorite Thai place which I feel guilty driving all that way just to have lunch and come back.

    April 4, 2008

    buying fiber: delusion v. reality

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

    I ordered 3 pounds of BFL from Crown Mountain Farms because they were having a sale, 20% off all their new products, through 3/31. I was relatively certain that 20% would more than cover the hidden shipping costs. The CMF site says they will only charge you what the shipping actually costs, but I am somewhat cynical and untrusting. They require you to give your shipping address and sign up for an account before you can see the total price of your order. Obviously it was going to take something special for me to trust them.

    Universally positive endorsements, thumb-width BFL roving in interesting intense colors, and a sale… I was really pleasantly surprised by my shopping experience. I received a corrected sale invoice within the hour. I was told there would be a “delay” in shipping my order and it still arrived faster than any fiber has ever before. And I was sent a tracking number. When my box arrived, the paper invoice was not corrected for the sale prices, so I emailed to confirm the charges and even this got a prompt reply and positive resolution.

    My caveats for people ordering from CMF is that the colors are much more intense than they appeared. I am, overall, extremely pleased with what I ordered. I like it better than what the pictures indicated I was getting. But none of it looks like how I expected. I am hoping I can photograph my monitor and illustrate the difference. But for now, turn the brightness on your monitor way up.

    Spunky Eclectic has announced price increases for fiber club. I expect all fiber clubs will increase in price since the post office is raising prices again. I will not be subscribing to fiber clubs after this. I did it to force myself to try new things and it has done its job, but in four months, there has never been a fiber I would have willingly chosen. For a while I thought, perhaps, it was because my spinning abilities were not up to par, but I believe it is more that I do not share mass-market tastes. I looked at other people’s fiber club results, both for Spunky Club and for HelloYarn Club and for others, and the smaller clubs have better selections, but the prices are ridiculous. If I am ordering, I would never order just one thing per shipment. So the shipping costs are disproportionately high. I had never subscribed to a yarn of the month club, so I think I bought into the mythology that it was like getting a present and belonging to an elite group at the same time. It is a false mythology because there is no sense of “belonging” and I am paying for the “gift”. It is not fair to blame others for one’s own delusions, but I remain disappointed by the reality.

    Administrivia: Hmm. You cannot see this, but wordpress.com changed their user-level back end. What is most strange about this is that it is forced width narrow. Most people have high resolution monitors now, right? I tend to be somewhat behind the curve on technology purchases and my monitor is 1280×1024. I really resent it when things are set to a specific width when there is zero need to do so.

    There will be a photo post upcoming.

    February 20, 2008

    buying fiber for spinning

    Filed under: fiber — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:04 am

    I have been spinning. But have nothing really to show for it yet. Holidays and long weekends make it difficult to focus on more solitary pursuits.

    I have one bobbin of superwash merino from Sakina Needles spun up. It spins and drafts just like the previous superwash merino from Spunky Eclectic. However the colors are less intense and the roving has lots of white patches. There were more white patches than were shown in the braid even. After spinning, I would say that the dye job on this roving is unsatisfactory because the color did not penetrate well and there is a consistent core of white throughout. With that much hidden white when the braid is undone, it looks like the buyer is being deceived by packaging. Caveat emptor. Admittedly, I have only unbraided two of the rovings. It is possible that both of those were abnormal. Perhaps I will unbraid the third and check. [ETA. The third one is actually worse.] It is also possible that other types of fiber from Sakina Needles are more intensely colored with fewer undyed swaths, since all my purchases of that brand have been superwash merino.

    I realize it is impolite to negatively comment on businesses, but I have positively reviewed places that deserved it and refuse to stay silent and imply a recommendation by saying I have purchased something when I was unhappy.

    I do not plan to return these, and I was very satisfied with the service from Loopy Ewe, but will not be buying Sakina Needles products in future. Hopefully the Tempted brand roving (from that same Loopy Ewe order) is better. [ETA. I wrote and complained because all the SN rovings were poor quality. Loopy Ewe was polite and grateful for the information. And they said they are looking for dyers who could provide a steady source of rovings. If you know someone good and responsible, pass on the referral please.]

    Last night I placed another order with Spunky Eclectic. The product has been very satisfactory, but placing the orders is hard. I would not buy without knowing the owner because it is so much work to fight the system. I did email the owner with several suggestions and concerns, so I am not talking out of school entirely. Very very nice hand-dyed roving, but there is no space to specify which custom color you want when placing the order (I have sent email both times.) and most of the colorway thumbnails cannot be clicked for a larger view. [ETA. Once the order is in progress though, there are no problems. I got email back refining my custom color choices within the same day, even though there is a huge warning plastered all over the site saying everything is gone for the show.]

    If we could combine the Loopy Ewe online store with the Spunky Eclectic products…..

    I am going to be at Stitches West on Friday. I hope to find new and fabulous things there.

    I am considering buying from Susan’s Spinning Bunny next. I was all set to place an order when the price went up 50% and it was on an unknown-to-me fiber, so I was a lot less enthusiastic afterward. I like that I can get a discount if I buy a pound of hand-dye in the same colorway.

    I have looked at a number of places, but most of them do not specify shipping charges. Some of them say your order will be amended after they have figured the shipping charges. But all of them have cancellation fees. So you pick out what you want, give them your credit card information, then they slap you with a shipping fee, but if you protest, you forfeit the cost of your order anyway. I am not doing business with anyone like that. If I give them my zip code and they know the weight and approximate bulk of my purchase, they can figure shipping costs exactly. If they want to add in a handling fee of a couple bucks, fine, but I need to know the final costs before I will click OK if there is going to be a potential $100 penalty for changing my mind.

    Is there anywhere selling pencil roving that is not corriedale, but is a reasonable price? There are days when I want to spin but not have to work at it.

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