UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

February 12, 2009

Buying of stuff.

Filed under: stuff — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 1:15 pm

No idea if this interests you, the reader, at all, but my Knitpicks order, which shipped on 2/5/09, arrived today, 2/12/09. It says shipping time is 5-14 days, so I am pleased to have been at the low end of the range while still getting free shipping. 

I ordered on 2/3/09, so that is 9 days from ordering to receipt. I have not yet done a thorough examination of the contents for quality assurance purposes, but I received everything. 

It takes me about a week to get up the gumption to go to the LYS because of the hassles about their hours and parking. (Shockingly there was a post in the local Rav group saying how great the local LYS is. I must have completely different expectations.) So even with slow shipping, I am still getting about the same result.

The postal carrier said that there were no packages at the warehouse because shipping volume is so low. I think that will encourage me to send more things. Or it could. I have been really irritated at the massive increase in retail shipping costs, but if it means better service, it might be worth the money. 

I bought myself 6 circs, 2 #0, 2 #1, 2 #2… That means no matter what the sock yarn knits like, I should be able to deal with it. I have a set of 2 #1 Addi turbos, but I hate them when I have to pick up wraps at the heels and k3tog.  That meant I preferred the slovenly short-row methods where you pull tight and hope. 

I splurged and bought new yarn needles. I don’t think $2 for 4 is a terrific price, but I keep losing mine and it would cost me more than $2 if I had to drive all over shopping for them. Since the new ones are metal, I will magnetize them and put a strip of magnet tape up to hold them. If they had a nice home, I think they would not vacation as much. 

I got a few extra interchangeable tips and a few more cables. I decided from the beginning that I wanted to have a cable for every set of tips I owned and I do, but the 60″ cables do not get a lot of use, so I wanted some spares in more managable sizes. I am hoping there will not be any quality issues where the tips are not threaded inside like there were with the Harmony tips I bought last year. I did opt for only the nickel-plated tips in hopes of avoiding that. Sometimes I wish they had different colors of cable available for those of us who do the 2-circ method since there is no way to distinguish the needle tips. 

I bought the Priscilla Gibson-Roberts sock book and 2 skeins of Imagination in the new color “Mermaid”. The Mermaid is really cheery without being garish. I like it a lot in the skein, we shall see if it knits even tolerably. It will not be especially durable since it is only 2-ply, but the alpaca made my Ceris Major socks very warm. My feet were warm enough that I could go through my apartment shoeless in January. And the price is good. If they were selling it for retail-store prices— like the Lorna’s Laces prices, since that is a similar size skein– I might have higher expectations. 

From yarns

Shopping wise: I was turned onto Little Knits, and they have some excellent prices though their shipping costs are opaque. I also found that Colorsong is having free shipping on yarn and their prices on Fleece Artist are better than most everyone else’s. I have been seriously considering the Bearfoot sock yarn from Mountain Colors. I like the fiber combinations, but the pictures most sites have vary so much that I feel like I should shop in person. I hate being this grouchy about shopping.

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August 19, 2008

Buttons

Filed under: equipment, knit — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:43 pm

I bought buttons today.

I came up with a “double-button” idea for the reversible jacket. That way buttons can be moved from side to side just by buttoning and unbuttoning. Or if the gender association isn’t important, it can just be inverted and the buttons will still work.

So, the buttons: buttons buttons buttons

You will notice that they are a weird cross between a shank button and a bead. Simply Fabrics was the store. (I also had a nice lunch afterward, Thai. The benefits of going somewhere new.)

I plan to use the blue and orange buttons together on the first jacket.

The second jacket is made from “Evil Stepmother” and I finally got around to taking a picture of the yarn.

August 15, 2008

Wherein I seem to hate everything to do with knitting.

Filed under: knit, yarn — Tags: , , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 12:59 pm

Let me explain why I am still angry with EZ. Her BSJ “pattern” is merely a guideline with the details left as an exercise for the knitter. And really until you have knit one, it is almost impossible. It took me 5 weeks to do the first one, using a worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles.

I started the second one with KnitPicks “Imagination” yarn (in “evil stepmother” — because that was a good color, if I could have chosen by title, I might have picked “wicked witch” instead) and size 4 Addi Turbo needles— more on those in a minute— last Sunday and I have the thing half done as of today.

The difference? I wrote out the whole be-damned pattern in step by step instructions, no after-the-fact or “meanwhile back at the ranch” business that causes the knitter to need to pull out 12 rows of work. I have a list to check off each row and there have been no mistakes. I do not see how something can be a pattern when the original material is a few hundred words and I have 5 pages.

Even though I am now working with a splity two-ply yarn on blunt-ended needles with lousy joins— I cannot k2tog without a helper needle for example.– the knitting is 250% faster. If I had tried to knit the BSJ for the first time with this yarn and these needles, I would have given up.

I do not have any idea why people think Addi makes a superior product. I have 6 of the Addi circs and only one of them is actually good. Most of them, the yarn catches at the join, the cable gets kinked from its own weight while stored, and overall the quality is mediocre. It makes sense that the Addis cost about twice what craft store needles cost, but just as craft store needles are not worth $10, Addis are not worth the $20 they cost.

As much as I decried the lousy quality control of the Knitpicks Harmony needles, they are actually cheaper than craft store versions. Since the Knitpicks nickel-plated needles are nice and the cheapest thing going, I plan to order replacements for my Addis next time.  The Knitpicks needles are viciously pointy and getting the tip under to M1 or k2tog is as easy as it ever gets. I need a knitting thimble for when I push against the needletip to pop the old stitch off after it has been knit.

The colorway for the “Evil Stepmother” yarn is quite nice with its purple and blue and brown and red. There has been very minimal pooling. I do not like the fiber though, the combination of superwash merino, alpaca, and nylon is not creating a soft fabric, the alpaca is not de-haired, and the plying is extraordinarily loose— when I was long-tail casting-on, it tried to unply. They market this as “sock yarn”. I would say that this would only be suitable sock yarn for someone in a wheelchair, because it never will be durable for a direct-wear application. The hairy alpaca seems likely to be itchy also, so I would not think anyone would want this in a next-to-skin application.

July 24, 2008

A sort of random status report for fibery things.

Filed under: knit — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:51 pm

There has been no spinning. I found some corriedale (bleah) calling my name and it has an adoptive mother awaiting its arrival. But that was not enough to get me to exhume my wheel and find where I stashed the bobbins during the construction here.

There has been progress on the sweater. I unknit back several rows and successfully (!) threaded the stitches onto the needle again. I was off by two. No Earthly clue what happened to them, but I fixed it up and the mistakes are not obvious (unlike previous fixes which made things look much worse than the mistake— that is how I ended up unknitting so many rows.)

It feels like I have been hugely busy and there has been no time for knitting or spinning, but there are no concrete reasons for that sense.

I ordered a ball winder and the Cat Bordhi sock book and some “Evil Stepmother” colorway yarn from Knitpicks. The yarn is incredibly garish and I just adore it. The ball winder says it was made in Japan. (This is where the cheering starts. I found something that is not made in China!)

I will report on the book later when I have looked at it. It is not like anything could be worse than the Spin Off magazines and a year of those cost more than this Bordhi book.

I saw some really adorable mittens (by Jared Flood (brooklyntweed)) which are going to be in the Fall 2008 Vogue Knitting. I am not sure if that is enough to get me to buy a copy of the magazine. My past experience with Vogue Knitting suggests that nothing will fit me. But they are really adorable adult-size mittens.

June 26, 2008

In Perfect Harmony

Filed under: stuff — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:22 pm

Knitpicks is not Coca-Cola. *humming a bit*

Remember the old Coke commercial, “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” ?

Well, the current status of my Harmony needle tips is that I ordered 2 pair and one was defective. I was pleased by the customer service response to my problem report. I received a replacement pair, and I thought that was going to be kind of irritating to have an odd-ball needle tip— only when I checked the new tips, one was defective.

I have received what I ordered and paid for, a set of #6 and #8 Harmony needle tips. But I also have 2 defective #6 tips. They are defective in different ways, but not ones where a dab of glue would fix it. My problems were with the threading that enables attachment to the cable ends.

So out of 6 tips, 4 are fine, but 2 are defective. Even knowing I had had a problem and this was a replacement shipment, no one bothered to test the second batch of needles. With a quality problem in a third (perhaps my experience is aberrant) of the needle tips, I have to say that no one should bother buying these, even though the ones without problems are a superior product at a great price. If I were someone who purchased double-pointed needles, I would definitely consider the Knitpicks Harmony ones, but not the interchangeable ones. They need to dramatically improve quality control overall, but certainly for replacement products. I am not unhappy per se, I am underwhelmed though.

June 14, 2008

Current project requires prestidigitation

Filed under: spin — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:06 pm

So, I went out to the knitting group on Tuesday. It was kind of nice because there weren’t many people. I do better socially when I can watch my interactions more closely. Not that I am less likely to be offensive, but so much more likely to notice before damage is done. I got several rows knitted on the “Slant Pocket Purse” (the pattern is in the side bar, somewhere.)

The next day, my box from Knitpicks arrived. There were the two sets of Harmony needle tips, but one of them is defective. I had heard stories about low quality Harmony products going out the door, but my apparent 25% failure ratio makes the whole line seem like it should be pulled. I contacted Knitpicks today, so hopefully there will be an easy and successful resolution. ETA: Knitpicks responded the very next business day and will be sending me a replacement without me needing to send the defective one. They were polite, courteous, helpful. (I expect that my email which was polite, courteous, and indicated how I determined exactly where the fault lay is partially responsible, but I do not see a need to be belligerent just to test it.) I would still recommend against ordering Harmony tips near a crucial deadline, but the slow shipping would indicate that already. Having used the Harmony needles today, I have to say that I am impressed by the smoothness and durability. I also love the rainbow colors. ETA2: Of the pair of replacement needle tips, only one is functional. Since it was known that I had a problem, I expected someone would have checked the replacements. Therefore I would suggest not bothering with Harmony tips. Out of 6 needle tips, only 4 were acceptable. With that kind of ratio, it does not matter how good the customer service is.

In addition, I had ordered some superwash yarn for two projects. One project for me, because the other project demands a reward. The other project is a baby sweater. (There is no room in the fiber community for those who do not like children. (If you ever want to know why I feel like I do not belong, try being a married woman who has zero interest in procreation. It is so bad that I do not usually wear a ring in public because it staves off confrontation.))

I am making the ever-present “Baby Surprise Jacket” by Elizabeth Zimmerman.

Seedless Grape sent me a link to a helpful site that gives a list of how many stitches there should be in each row. I found a site that describes where the stripes will end up when added at different points.

I remain *embarrassed* to be knitting anything for a baby. I feel like I should be ashamed for violating my own principles. But the project itself is rather entertaining. And if I wanted to make one for myself, I would really like to have an idea how to make it go…. Still, I am wanting to point and say, “These are not the droids you are looking for.”

June 2, 2008

knit knit knit knit?

Filed under: knit, project lists, yarn — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 9:51 pm

Construction at home is making me want to be somewhere else. That means no spinning. It means projects must be portable. I actually have three projects lined up.

  1. I am making that slant-pocket bag (it is linked in the sidebar somewhere) from the Wensleydale and some feltable WotA. (Coolly enough, a friend said my blog here was one of the top matches on spinning Wensleydale.)
  2. I bought 2 shades of purple yarn to make a vest for myself, what I have in mind is that I would make the left in dark and the right side in light, then edge them in the opposite colors so it looks coherent and intentional. I am not sure whether I plan to make that one in the “Rib Warmer” pattern or if I will go back to ye old generic vest. But I will have time to think about it since the yarn was just ordered yesterday.
  3. I also decided that, contrary to my personal moral philosophy, I would make a baby sweater. People who know me are fainting in droves here. But the Elizabeth Zimmermann BSJ really entices. I also have a niece-in-law who is having another child. I would totally score family bonus points if I knitted a sweater for it. I want to knit this pattern. The yarn is costing under $10. But I feel filthy and unclean because celebrating someone’s life screw-ups should be unpalatable.

The yarn I bought is mostly Swish superwash from Knitpicks. I bought 12 skeins and some Harmony tips.

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