UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

July 13, 2011

updates, project plans, and a report on the Oakland Fiber Fest

Filed under: project lists, summary — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:34 pm

Let me see where things are:

Tardis socks, “Phantom Phonebooth” have heels turned and decorative motif stitch repeat counted and set up. Still looks like blue blobs on a string though. Pictures might be forthcoming if I can get my husband to model his feet.

Still spinning on my “Black Sun” BFL from CMF that I bought when they first starting having BFL. The stuff is awesome and Crown Mountain Farms remains one of my top vendors. Some of that is because both the roving and the yarn are beautiful but the yarn is still a surprise. I should take pictures to illustrate what I mean. The “Black Sun” colorway is visibly mottled black with lots of bright color splotches. The yarn is purple. There is no way this will make sense until I show the pictures, but that will be later.

I received a late birthday present (birthday is in April, husband’s birthday is in July, usually a shared box arrives in July) from the SIL who sent the great yarn last year which I made into the ill-fitting tank top from the Knitty pattern “Askew”, and which I titled “Blue Hawaii” and which is an “Ugh!” on my Ravelry projects page. Not because of the yarn, which was perfect for that project, but because it really did not fit. (I am now even more of a different shape than when I started it, so I am glad I waited to frog it and start over.) The new yarn is another skein of the Lumpy Bumpy, but is obviously intended to be a Christmas hat since it is red&green. There was a skein of corriedale single in a matching green, and a skein of fingering yarn in cotton made from recycled jeans— but the yarn itself is a dusky red. It is pretty shocking that someone sent me $50 worth of yarn, in three skeins, where none of it goes together except by color. There will definitely be pictures of the incoming gift yarn.

What I have in mind for that is to make a Santa hat (where I will use undyed roving for the brim and puff) from the Lumpy Bumpy. I am going to add the green single to the Blue Hawaii tank project when I frog the current sweater, and I’m thinking about making another tank using the cotton yarn held together (or plied together) with some sock yarns that I am really, honestly and truly, never going to use. If I were a sewer, I might weave the cotton yarns, but it is a low priority project.

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Last Sunday was the Oakland Fiber Festival. I was there from about 11 until about 2:30. I had made arrangements to meet up with two different people who both bailed. Even with that, I had an excellent time. The weather was vastly improved from the previous year. There were more booths and more variety. (Last year it was pretty much just alpaca, this year alpaca was still heavily represented but there were people selling other things, including Jordana Paige.)

I saw a demonstration of Danish medallion weaving, which I found somewhat inspirational, although it definitely left me with the impression that weaving is not ever going to be fun . It looks like a lot of very fussy work to get something fancy. Plain weave requires sewing to be of much use. There was also a booth from Saori Berkeley (allowing people to try Saori weaving, but I did not try myself), and there is definitely something to that. It looks more fun, but unfortunately I did not much appreciate the aesthetics of the resultant fabric.

I had an excellent discussion with Katharine Jolda of Felt the Sun, who buys wool from the Navajo reservation (which is the kind of traditional outreach I heartily support after reading most of Tony Hillerman’s works) and uses a self-designed bicycle powered carder to create batts which are then felted and turned into unique vests. Even at hundreds of dollars, I experienced sincere want. Her wools are astoundingly beautifully colored andundyed. They are precisely the kinds of wools that inspired my username.

The best yarn I saw was from Shaggy Bear Farms (no website, despite the listing on the card, but they are carried by A Verb For Keeping Warm and members of the Oregon Wool Association who have been fabulous when I needed something breed specific) which had an excellent colorway, “Berry Pie”, which was implemented in several kinds of wool. I liked their BFL yarn for the texture, but the same colorway was outstanding in the Jacob. I took a card and annotated it carefully so I can email them once I get over my inability to buy without reconsidering.

I bought some really nice German Angora rabbit clip to spin, but that was all I bought.

There were some strange things. Like the “welcome” booth is at the far corner, away from where the bus stops, and away from the direction of the parking lot, and there they were doing “door prizes” but “I do not think it means what you think it means.” because they were raffle prizes. You had to pay to play. I did buy a dollar’s worth of raffle tickets because I still had pocket money remaining. They announced the winners today on Ravelry. I did not win, which was not a huge surprise since a few people bought dozens of tickets. Hopefully they call the winners (one was supposed to write name and phone number on the back of the ticket and keep the stub) as well. But it turns out one must go to Piedmont Yarn to collect one’s prize. It costs $2/hour to park near there, paid at meters which are usually a block away but which require you to put the receipt on your dash so it is a lot of walking (which would completely violate the ADA except those people have public parking comped already), if you can find a space. If I stopped for a coffee or wanted to go to lunch to assuage the hassle, I’d spend more on the trip than I would have spent buying the prize directly. Is it weird to feel grateful for not winning? But if I am grateful for not winning, then I am angry about wasting a dollar buying the raffle tickets. Never let it be said that I was easy-going, hmm?

Several people I know had booths.  I would like to support these friends, but do not want what they sell. Of course I tend to be much more independent than most crafters. When I started, you could not buy stitch markers for sock yarn (or sock yarn, for that matter) and patterns never went larger than a 40″ bust. So I tend to assume I am going to have to find my own way. Of course this leaves me on the fringes of a community I might otherwise be a part of. Even people I taught to knit are more included than I am. I feel sad about this, but not in a way that would change my habits.

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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.

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