UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

December 25, 2010

LOOM!

Filed under: equipment, loom — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:39 pm

I bought a loom.

I had 3 choices I really liked.

  • floor loom, Glimakra Julia. But honestly I’ve never woven and $1K is a lot to try something out. Plus the space, the space
  • rigid heddle loom, LeClerc Bergere, but it doesn’t have a stand available, it doesn’t fold up and it’s kind of big.
  • rigid heddle loom, Glimakra Emilia. I loved the 19″ version but couldn’t find anywhere that actually had them. They were the vaporware of looms.

Most people said that RH looms are better with a stand unless you get a really tiny one like a 15″ Schacht Flip.

So when Paradise Fibers sent a Year End Clearance coupon code good for 10% off almost everything (except LeClerc looms and some spinning wheels) I went and looked. They had the 13″ Emilia. So I bought one on the spot. I figure it will not need a stand because it is small enough and if I need to do big things, I probably want a floor loom anyway.

It has been more than a year of looking and and handwringing trying to find the right choice. I hope this was it, but certainly with the sale price, I can resell it for closer to my cost.

I started looking for a loom because someone, somewhere said weaving uses up gobs of yarn. I have a lot more yarn than I can possibly knit in my lifetime. (I am a very slow knitter and easily distracted when something is not for me.) But I love yarn and want to keep spinning, so I needed to find something that would help.

I expect to be rather happy with my purchase, and there will be pictures.

(This post cross posted at http://undyedyarnpire.dreamwidth.org/1091.html )

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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)

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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 31, 2009

Dragon spindle pictures

Filed under: equipment, spin — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 12:25 pm

Spindle pictures:

From spindle
From spindle

I am extremely pleased with my spindle. This is the Woolly Designs Hollow Whorl “Dragon” spindle hand carved by Tracy Eichheim. I paid $70.65 including shipping. The ordering process is awkward. Check or money order only. One must email a stranger and ask for permission to order. It was extremely uncomfortable for me to initiate contact when the website said they were closed but would be open “in fall”.

There is no fixed price list where one can differentiate the difference in features or price between hollow whorl and rim styles. There are prices for some/most of the motifs, but I made my selection partially based on visible prices. (I am an ardent believer in “If you have to ask, you cannot afford it.”) The Dragon is one of the most expensive motifs. Eichheim has bargain spindles that are under $30 (“Hearts” and “Comets”) and shipping is flat for up to 5 spindles. (I should have ordered one of those as well. More is often better.)

Mr. Tracy Eichheim was personable and friendly enough to chat with me via email; he responded to some of my asides that I include everywhere. I often think that I prefer things where one can just order by clicking and inserting a credit card number, but I know I got the best suited spindle because I was encouraged to ask questions. The people who are sour and bitter and resentful of the time it takes to answer your questions but who do not have automated ordering are much worse than this was.

It was very stressful to send someone a check to reserve a place in the work queue. I guess I am paranoid, but I asked myself what happens to the money if something happened to the craftsman. I need not have worried. My spindle showed up exactly when it had been predicted to arrive. (Both the estimate at ordering and the shipping estimate with tracking number.)

I really do like my spindle. I am very glad I ordered it. I would have been happier if I could have clicked a button to order it instead of feeling like I was begging for a chance to buy one and there was such a shortage that other people would cry without one. When Tracy told me there were a bunch of orders already waiting but he might be able to fit me in before the end of the year, I really felt like I was getting the last dolly in the toy store window while a dozen orphan girls looked on with sad faces pressed against the glass. I had to be talked into sending the check because I do not like when my unique purchase comes pre-wrapped in guilt. Finally my husband said, “All those other people are too slow. They can buy spindles from that lame place [Ashford].”

The dragon carving is beautiful. I took a number of pictures just to show that off. The hook at the top is slightly bent toward the notch so the yarn goes perfectly straight up. The hook is so securely mounted that I would suspect welding had I not asked. (Eichheim described the various glues he uses when I asked. I did get a lot out of the pre-ordering discussion as much as I wished it could have been omitted.) There are a lot of really excellent details in this spindle’s construction. I think it is under-valued and should cost more than it does. Though if I had spent $135 on this, I would have expected low VOC varnish (less reeky) and non-styrofoam packing peanuts and credit card processing.

There are people who name their spinning wheels. I have not named mine. My Fricke wheel has always been a tool and I would not name it any more than I would name my breakfast fork. My spindle, however, wanted a name. If you want to guess, I would be entertained.

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