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.

March 3, 2011

Blanket, covered

Filed under: knit — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 11:57 am

It has taken more than three months since we began the project, but the blanket is finally completed.


blanket blanket blanket blanket

blanket with names indicated

blanket blanket

(View all these pictures at: https://picasaweb.google.com/UndyedYarnpire/MBlanket# )

These are the notes on the Rav project page:
This was a group effort. Many people contributed. Thanks go to B for the two amazing cabled panels. Thanks to C for work on the green panels. Thanks to D and T for helping with the green panels. Thanks to K for the two red/gray panels.
Thank you to everyone in our knitting group who cheered us on and who has been involved in the work.
I appreciate all the knitting everyone did so I only had to do the spacers and the seaming myself.


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.

January 11, 2011

Let me give you five reasons. One, two, three, four, five!

Filed under: discussion, knit — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:17 pm

I was working on a giant post about grafting, but it has devolved into a list of links and rants about really annoying things in the world of knitting.

There are a lot of really annoying things in the world of knitting. These five are the ones making me crazy today.

Kitchener Stitch is a specific kind of grafting, only for stockinette. If you are grafting another texture, or not using a sewing needle, or any of other parameter change, it is just grafting. Plus Kitchener most likely did not really create it himself so his name is on it for mythical reasons.

I dislike it when anything is named after a specific person in knitting. I appreciate when things are credited to their developers, but I find myself really annoyed by the phrase, “I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On.”

I am outraged by the people who say that if you substitute yarns (or worse, yarn colors) or change textures or have to do your own math that you no longer have what was in the pattern. There gets to be a point where a project is merely inspired by a particular pattern, but most of us have to do our own adjustments.  If there is a pattern and you have only tweaked it, then you have used the pattern and should credit the originating source. If there is a designer who cannot let design elements go, if they only want people to use certain yarns and only for certain body shapes, then they need to sell completed garments or kits at the very least.

Then there is the polar opposite of this, someone who created a pattern last week, making a hat in the round using stockinette and with a roll-brim, and Cascade 220, arguing that other people “stole her idea” even though they made their hats 5 years ago. We do not have to credit the obvious and if anyone should give credit it is the new knitter who did no searches of prior art before claiming originality.

And finally, last on today’s rants, I hate when truly profound techniques are distributed through quantity-limited media. Magazines without online-access archives (paid or not) are not the correct distribution method for a fundamental technique change. I find that I feel no interest in summarizing the various grafting techniques, even though I found something I have not seen anywhere else, because the one hidden in an out-of-print issue of IK (Interweave Knits) is supposed to be paradigm shifting. Right now, I do not care if it does change grafting throughout the entire knitting world, because that knowledge is lostto all but a select few.

November 23, 2010

Status report

Filed under: project lists — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:32 pm

Hmm. Where was I?

The sweater pictures are still owing.

I finished the scarf I was making from the HelloYarn corriedale fiber. It came out decently well considering I was attempting to spin enormous fluffy yarn and ended up needing to add 2 #7 dpns to each #15 needle in order to have something large enough. (I added with cellophane tape. I kept seeing ads for square or hexagonal needles and this was more awkward at the pointed tip end, but otherwise sufficient. Easier than going out to the store and spending $20 on a pair of needles I will only use for one project.) The scarf is blocking now, so hopefully I can take pictures of both things at once.

I got a request from my husband for a pair of Tardis socks (rav link). They are standard socks using a chart for the top. My dear husband was shocked that I would need to purchase yarn. Because everyone has solid-color Tardis-blue hard-wearing sock yarn in their stash?

I asked around for recommendations on really excellent sock yarn and I am very unconvinced that most yarn manufacturers have any clue what the “sock” designation should mean. I have seen 2-ply 100% non-superwash merino on offer as “sock” yarn. That is only sock yarn if you need to make socks for someone who cannot walk.

I have been working on the finishing details for my teapot cozy. I found a teapot that suits it and it is now becoming a holiday gift. That means all the edging needs to be neatened up and those steeks reinforced, but it essentially looks the same as it did before.

November 19, 2010

Not going to the Blue Hawaii.

Filed under: knit — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 11:29 am

Askew: “Blue Hawaii”
It took 15 days to finish the sweater. Not including the pictures and not including the final strap attachment and ends weaving. The sweater fits as expected, clingy but not corset-like. However, the sweater is really unappealing. Given the wireframe diagram on Knitty, I seamed it as expected. The back and the front are both supposed to be 11.5 inches (not including the strap) so I pinned and seamed to match those pieces. Other knitters have said they knit this sweater completely in-the-round, so this interpretation seems valid. However, it gives a sweater with a back that rides up my shoulder blades and a front that is beyond indiscreet to the point of wardrobe malfunction. It is too high in the back and too low in the front.

I like the bias-knit v-neck idea. I really think that is clever. But there is just no way to get an appropriate fit on my body using this pattern. I could completely rework the pattern and add side panels and change the back to a scoop neck and adjust the bottom hem in the front so less of my midriff is bared, but at that point I have scrapped this project and started anew and should stop giving credit to this pattern.

I have no idea whether there are people for whom this sweater would be attractive as the pattern is written, but short-waisted, large-busted women with real shoulder muscles are certainly not the target body type.

Usually I tell people there is no point in using a sweater pattern because I will have to do all my own math anyway. That was certainly true in this case because I had substituted a yarn and wanted a size in between the sizes given. But my measurements and gauge were completely on target to give a sweater with a tiny bit of negative ease. (The L has 4 inches of negative ease, the 2X has zero ease, in the original pattern.)

There will be pictures later because I want to prove that I really finished this before I frog it.

I have sketches for a revamped option, taking advantage of the texture motif to do neckline shaping really interests me. I also do not believe that constructing a sweater body should divide the body into equal quadrants and if I can talk about that cogently, I believe that discussion would benefit other knitters.

ps. The title for this post is not “Body Scan Ruins Blue Hawaii”, but I would like it to be.

November 9, 2010

sweaters, new and old

Filed under: knit — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:20 pm

New sweater is half seamed. I seamed one side, then did the other and realized I had not aligned them the same way. So I had to unseam the first side and then pin it carefully to ensure I would do it correctly this time. I tried it on. (I used safety pins.) It fits. The bottom hem curls a bit more than I like, but blocking might fix that. The original instructions say that the sweater pieces will need to be stretched horizontally while blocking. I am not sure how my version compares in terms of cling. And I will definitely need to be adding something to the décolletage area.

Interestingly, I have demonstrable proof that I am much smaller from taking up regular exercise. My first sweater, which I washed in preparation for winter, is enormous. It never fit amazingly well, because I had not yet learned that trick of making the front much larger than the back, and because I used the unisex wireframe in the Knitter’s Handy Guide by Ann Budd. It is an acrylic sweater. I know it has stretched, but it is fully twice my size now. Some of that was bought with sweat and effort.

From vest

I plan to recreate the original project in better yarn, with better shaping, and significantly better technique.

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