UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

December 5, 2008

The left sort of knitter

Filed under: discussion — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 3:00 pm

I have several drafts of posts but will try to sum up. 

Blogging, I do it because it allows me to participate in a wider fiber community when location narrows the potential friends too much. (I am opinionated and contrary… A knitter who does not like babies? I might as well be building a mosque in Iowa while roasting pigs (someone who appalls even the splinter groups.)) Though I sometimes miss formats with threaded comments and notifications, so I can interact more. 

One thing I think is essential is a good feed reader. I like the Google Reader because it works well and everyone can use it. I would hate going through the 30 blogs I read looking for updates manually. I would get frustrated and angry whenever someone had not updated then. Instead new posts show up automatically and I find that I can add more people without significantly increasing my time committment.

Gifts for Knitters. Sometimes I want to comment on famous bloggers’ posts. I was really irked by the recommendation of Signature knitting needles as a gift idea, for example, because what really makes those special is they can be customized to suit the knitter. With 3x3x6 options and a dozen sizes, either the gift will not be a surprise or the giver has about a 1 in 300 chance of getting the right thing. I believe gifts should be a surprise or one should buy them for one’s self. It starts to feel like extortion when you tell people what you want. [ see opinionated disclaimer above.]

Yarn. I wish yarn was always marked with a useful measurement like wpi. So the Blue Moon Fiber Arts people are having a sale, but I do not think of 6 stitches per inch on size 3 needles as “heavyweight”. I want to know how it really translates since tightly spun and sproingy yarn would be excellent for cables and lace both. Plus I really like some of those raven-clan colorways…

I am going to go back to tighter spinning and tighter plying.  As much as I like the yardage and the soft&fluffy texture, I really dislike splitty yarn. Hopefully I can find a happier medium. 

Social knitting group? I went out for coffee this morning to a new neighborhood place. (Grand Lake Coffee House, Oakland, CA, which is, on Grand and near Lake Merritt)  Not a Starbucks! The chairs were comfortable, there was a lot of space. It was not crowded. The service was friendly. The coffee was great. Prices were reasonable compared to other cafes. I think I would like to start an unemployed knitters group in the mornings. Something like Wednesday or Friday morning at about 9:30a to be past the morning rush. I am not sure how to start a group except by showing up with my knitting and possibly posting in the local Ravelry group. I do not care who comes, but would obviously prefer people who do not think I need to be someone else in order to be fully human. 

I have a lot of reluctance to post on Ravelry because every new thing that is started has dogpiles of people explaining why they cannot come. It starts to seem like no one wants to do anything and people who were somewhat interested are really put off. I am also reluctant because the “local knitting community” is very clique-ish and I would hate to be pushed out of my own group because I am not the “right sort” of knitter. I am usually the “left” sort of knitter. I do not see it as wrong and try to be amused by society’s attempts to homogenize everyone.

September 11, 2008

Spinning Group: she argues in favor

Filed under: discussion, spin, stuff — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:49 pm

Normally I do not post to Ravelry Fora because of the Rav policy, paraphrased, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, you’re not welcome.” But I get really tired of people who protest loudly whenever something fun is suggested because *gasp* it might cost money. For spinners, this is ridiculous. I spent hundreds on my wheel and most of my fiber purchases qualify for free shipping (usually a $100 minimum). It is not a cheap hobby. I do not spin because it saves me money. If I wanted to save money, I would not spin or knit at all, I would buy commercial sweaters, hats, and scarves at the end of the season.

If you know me personally, you know I tend to be argumentative and antagonistic. I pasted in what I said, below. I might take constructive criticism, though probably not with an easy grace because I worked really hard to make sure I did not pick a fight. If I had been vicious I would have said, “Some of us have adult hobbies and adult money to spend on them, come back when you grow up.” See what maturity grants us? The knowledge that we should not say what we really think.

[Pasted from: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/bay-area-spinners/231946/51-75#59 ] which is a discussion of having a Berkeley/Oakland spinning group. That idea fell through months ago and a couple people started a group several towns away and co-opted the thread. Recently the thread was resurrected on topic.

I think we could have two groups. I don’t have a problem if people want to keep meeting at that place in El Cerrito, but that’s not really Berkeley/Oakland. It is just too far away for me; I would never be a regular participant. Not to mention that Spindles and Flyers already meets in El Cerrito, so it seems like there is enough coverage of that area. Spinning groups are rare enough that they shouldn’t all have to be in the same town.

I would like to spend an evening with other people who also think this is fun and who enjoy it. But I don’t want to be the organizer. I was thrilled when Orange suggested a group at all, and doubly thrilled when it turned out to be a well-suited location (the Knit-One-One studio has parking, which is essential if I am bringing my wheel.) Then suddenly seemingly everyone was upset because it would cost money. Frankly I think it would be worth paying something to have space reserved and where everyone could spread out. Elbow room is especially useful for spinning, after all. Most spinning wheels cost hundreds of dollars, so I really want a location that has known floor conditions. I also want good lights and non-slouchy chairs. I think a lot of people feel that way, they’re just not vocal because it’s societally frowned upon to contradict someone who cries poverty.

If someone else wants to organize it at Knit One One (or another location with similar facilities), I’d be happy to sponsor the first meeting. If this is a stable group, it might need to be more organized than the casual drop-in knitting groups, perhaps a subscription or membership, if we’re really going to spend $60-90 per evening just for space rental on an on-going basis. I don’t see a problem with that, considering the dearth of spinning magazines and groups and with what good fiber costs. If it was more than just a social group with spinning, we could even try out particular fibers or share new techniques. There really is no reason this has to be limited for the future. For now, let’s see if there’s actual interest.

I know I am not social enough to handle corralling people, so I do not want to be the face of the group. Wondermike? Someone else? Were you volunteering? If you want behind the scenes help, PM me.

March 20, 2008

Yell, Yarn.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 3:12 pm

There are definitely days when I feel like any knitting related stuff is an accomplishment. I am not sure going to a knitting night where I wound some yarn but only finished 2 rows of a scarf thing actually counts as “fiber-related”.

I am sure this will not be a huge surprise to the reading audience, but I am not very social. Now that I am old enough that my mommy does not make me go play with my friends, I do not. If I force myself to go out, I usually feel awkward and unwanted, like I am spoiling the evening for other people just by going.

When I went out this week (and it was a double-loaded week), that was most certainly the case. I was told that I should just stop knitting entirely.

For all the vaunted inclusiveness mentioned in books about there being no wrong way to knit and everyone who knits is a so-called real knitter, that does not appear to be the case. Everyone must homogenize or they will be shunned.

I could retitle my blog here, “Billie Idle’s Rebel Yarn!” but I suspect it would only be funny to me.

I am not taking comments on this post, but if you cannot resist, use the contact form, link in the right sidebar, about halfway down.

February 6, 2008

yesterday seems so far away.

Filed under: knit, spin — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 3:01 pm

Yesterday I attempted to woolen spin. Had some problems. Did not succeed.

I also attempted to spin silk, which I really enjoyed. That was awesome. I spun it too thin, but it was so pretty.
I went out and knitted with other people. I had fun. I might go out again tonight.

I should show pictures of the things I have been working on.

December 30, 2007

last week it was the merino, hold the olive. this week needs the martini

Filed under: knit, spin, summary — Tags: , , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:32 pm

social first. I continued my project of interacting with people. A lot of those first contacts I made panned out, with people who responded enthusiastically. Apparently it is not easier for other people to make friends. Today was a knitting group in a neighboring town. So I get credit for interacting with people in person.

knit second. ♦I have started the decreases on the hat-for-me from the handspun. That might be finished as soon as tonight. ♦I finished the knitting for the oven mitt (though the felting still does not look done).

spin third. I did not do a lot of spinning this week in terms of volume. I did the December Fiber Club yarn, and did my first chain ply (Navajo). Then I spun the rest of the fiber club into a single. I plan to ply that today or tomorrow.

December 22, 2007

Pint of Merino, twisted, no olive

Filed under: summary — Tags: , , , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 11:59 pm

This week:

  • I dyed yarn. It was Knitpicks “Bare” superwash+nylon fingering/sock yarn. I dyed a third of the hank with Jacquard acid dyes “Gunmetal” and a third with food coloring (in a warm red+pink range). Despite having tried for solid colors, I ended up with a variegated monochrome for each. I think the idea of mixing the dye in a zip-top bag, then adding the yarn made for some really uneven dye transfer. Since the dye is heat-set, possibly the painting method could be used— then the painted skein could be placed in the bag and sealed for its boil-in-bag setting. I was not disappointed in the results despite them being unanticipated. Serendipity. Plus it was a great learning experience for something I had never tried. I will say that the citric acid powder was significantly nicer to use than vinegar and the resultant yarn was a lot less reeky.
  • I have been hard at work on a felted oven mitt that I cross-bred with the Norwegian mitten in Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitter’s Almanac. The oven mitt pattern came from Knitpicks, sort of. Their 36 stitches of bulky-weight yarn required 2 circular needles or double-points. By adding another dozen stitches, I could freely use a single 16″ circ. I will felt it a bit more and that will be all to the good for an oven mitt which is trying to save someone’s fingers from pain.
  • I spun the Pinedale merino heather fiber I bought from Carolina Homespun at a show, it came out well, but could have been nicer if I had waited until I had more experience. Of course one cannot get experience without trying new things. That fiber drafted very differently than anything else I had tried.
  • My new fiber from Spunky Eclectic arrived! My black alpaca is here! I also got my first installment of the Spunky Fiber Club. It was an eyebrow-raising color.
  • I spun thick singles and super-bulky weight yarn! This is 4 ounces of Spunky Eclectic superwash merino in “Hotrod”. You cannot feel it from there, but it is some of the softest yarn I have ever touched. I should probably have a whole post about this.
  • I also made a small amount of triple-ply white yarn. It is lightweight, a sport-weight maybe, so you know how thin the singles must have been. I am impressed by how much rounder the cross section appears compared to the two-ply yarn. I also made more two-ply white. I am starting to need something to do with this stuff.
  • I started the Eunny Jang “Endpaper Mitt” and frogged it immediately. I will need different needles.

Social accomplishments.

  • This week I contacted my local spinning guild. They replied and seem accepting of those newly come to the spinning world.
  • I contacted a knitting group which has the hope of being populated by creative people instead of the “overly sweetened coffee and cashmere” crowd which take over the “Stitch and B*tch” kinds of knitting groups. (I do not personally mind cursing, but other people have more sensibilities.)
  • One of the people I sent wheel advice to wrote back and we are supposed to be doing a knit-along for one of those insanely complex Eunny Jang mitten patterns.
  • Someone I wrote out of the blue was very friendly and invited me to spin with her.

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