UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

January 8, 2008

The newness is so shiny.

Filed under: dye, hat, knit — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 8:03 pm

There might be a rule somewhere that says: When in doubt, do not ask one’s spouse about one’s hobbies. This is both true and false.

There was an ad on craigslist for a used Elizabeth I Ashford wheel. The price seemed pretty decent considering all the extras. I asked my husband if he thought I should inquire. That answer was fairly telling in its incomprehension. It is not that I need another wheel. I do not even need a double-drive wheel. I do not generally like Ashfords. I do not know what the difference is between Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II, though generally the implication was that there were improvements made to the design.

Tonight I showed off the tropical sunrise hat and asked if I should knit the ribbing in white or if I should dye it, hopefully to match. The answer I got was really surprising. “Of course you should dye it to match. Did you want to work on that before or after we start supper?”

I have to say that this dye job went a lot easier for several reasons, but the biggest ones are the use of a jar and a small amount of fiber. The jar is stable on its own and does not require that third hand to avoid spillage. It is also much easier to get a solid color on 5 yards of worsted-weight yarn than it is on 150 yards of sock-weight. Tonight I used food coloring (from the dropper vials that every kitchen seems to come with, but which only cost $2 otherwise) because I was about to be making food and then there were no concerns about aerosolizing non-foodsafe dye powder.

Boogie’s post today on tablet weaving really struck me as interesting.  Both the post itself and the activity. I really want to weave now. Yes, right now, hands are itching to start on it, and now in the sense of it being a change in attitude.

I have hat pictures and dye pictures and a photo of the “Endpaper Mitts” I did not work on today.

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January 3, 2008

Worth the paper it is written on.

Filed under: hat, knit — Tags: , , , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 3:34 pm

I worked on my endpaper mitts. I am struggling with the yarn, which loves to stick with itself in a bizarre mating ritual that spawns knots. I am struggling with the itty-bitty needles that make me feel like I have gone blind. And I am struggling with my own prejudices that other people, especially pattern designers, are morons. I just do not believe anyone has any clue how to make things that will fit me. These are mittens, but looking at the pattern pictures, the cuff goes way up the arm and the designer has very thin forearms. I finally decided that I would do the ribbing in the larger size needles in hopes of having the cuff fit my arm without emulating a tourniquet. I may take a photo at this point, but I might prefer to ignore this project for a while longer.

(I really do struggle with this idea that anyone who has written a pattern has written it wrong. Either there is something I do not like, or the chosen yarn is silly, or it will never fit me (which is really irritating when one is considering a shawl and one wears regular sized clothes). And that is not including the pattern authors who have outright errors. I am still angry about that Hip Knit Hats book where every single pattern was listed on the errata page— which is not listed in the book, though with more than a dozen major errors, one would think the publisher could have planned ahead and listed a stub page for potential errata. They could not possibly think that they would get a perfect typeset, right?)

I am considering the “Dancing Leaves” lace shawl by Evelyn Clark, but that leaf shape is a standard one, so what I would be buying is someone else doing all the math. What kept me from buying it instantly is the rock-solid belief that other people’s math is not to be trusted. It is not like I can write to her and ask “Are you a moronic twit who publishes patterns that are completely worthless?” Obviously tact would require that to be rephrased, but essentially, that is what I want to know. Can someone vouch for that particular pattern? Has anyone bought anything off her website and are her PDFs hinky?

In the meantime, I started working on a hat, top-down, from the Spunky “Hotrod” superwash merino that I spun up very thick and soft. 

December 31, 2007

done! I finished the first handspun hat!

Filed under: hat, knit — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:56 pm

I am completely amazed with myself. I had one yard of yarn left over after finishing the top of the hat. My decreases were not rushed, but I managed to create a semi-flat top. (I couldn’t tell you what I did exactly, but I decreased rarely and frequently in alternating rows. That works really well for me when I want to avoid that weird conehead effect.) This is the regular old roll-brim hat.

first handspun hat

The color is awesome, but that is entirely due to the yarn. Yarn that I spun. Okay, sure, it was fiber I just bought, not like I ranched the sheep myself and laboriously carded the wool. I did not even dye this, but I am still completely thrilled.

I have not had a new hat for me in 4 years. There are no good photos yet because the flash does not do the colors justice. (That is the yarn if you look at this blog’s header image, taken with a flash, it just looks gray, but it is blue, green, gray, with a bit of pink to it; it was a heathered blend merino roving I bought at a show.)

December 24, 2007

knitting with handspun, first

Filed under: hat, knit — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 12:49 am

I finally cast on with some of my own handspun yarn. It was my fourth third skein. The yarn is a bit thick for the hat-size circular needles I have. I have it in mind that I should run right out and buy some 12s in that friendly 16″ length.

Knitting with my own handspun yarn has been extremely satisfying. The fiber it came from cost about half what the equivalent yarn would have done, and the yarn would have been about half again as small as the skein I spun. There are thick and thin spots, for sure, as anyone might expect from it being only my fourth skein ever, but since it is plied yarn, it is not experiencing catastrophic failure.

I have very little done so far, just 4 rounds. But it is really nifty to be making something from the yarn itself.

Oh, and I did not say this before, but handspun yarn is way softer and nicer than most commercial yarns.

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