UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

August 31, 2009

I am the metal band.

Filed under: discussion, fiber — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 3:01 pm

I did get the August fiber club shipment, um, Friday August 21. It is an unknown quantity of 100% cultured silk in a pinkish-orange semi-solid color. Luckily it looks more “tropical sunset” and less “vomit”. Orange is such a finicky color to do well.

I started a Serpentine sock from Wendy Johnson’s book. The book gives the pattern in sport weight. I checked my gauge and did my own math, but it feels a little worrisome as yet. Socks usually do until I get to about the arch of the foot and can really tell how it is going to fit.

I have not worked on the sweater instructions. I need to refer back to the book and annotate the wire frame diagram. I am planning to spell out the instructions as well because I know myself well enough to know I will be antsy about it otherwise.

I am on a fiber diet. I am not buying much of anything. I looked around and realized I have not been spinning. I have several tubs of fiber that want spinning, and I want to spin those more than I want to buy new stuff. I am sometimes tempted by sock yarn, but I need to actually finish at least one more pair first.

I am planning to make an excursion to Dharma Trading and buy dye. If/When I do that, I will probably order some fiber and maybe a couple skeins of sock yarn.

However, there is one thing that is tempting me. RH Lindsay is doing pre-orders for musk-ox down top for $12.50 per ounce. That would be Qivuit/Quiviut, which normally sells for $45-75 per ounce. They charge $5 in handling for small orders (less than 10lbs) and there is unspecified additional shipping. I know I would like this. I just have not convinced myself to spend the money. If I was sharing with someone else, which would optimize the shipping and handling, I would talk myself into it.   Non-shrinking, non-felting super-warm all-natural fiber? I really want to try that.

I did find another local Rav group, maybe there will be regular people when they get together. It does not sound like they are regular people to me from their posts. Everyone is squealing about drinking lots and lots of alcohol. Since these things are area-wide, most people are driving a long ways to be there and it just seems like the activity should include something less intoxicating.  I think we know why I do not get along well with most groups. I hate children and hate alcohol-parties. The only way to exclude children at an event is to have it be alcohol-centered, so I am never going to be happy.  I am absolutely sure there are people who love knitting and fibery things but who are not 23 and single nor too sproggy.

There is a line in “Walk Like an Egyptian” which I always heard, “like the punk and the middleman”. [It is really, “They like the punk and the metal band.” ] But knitters seem to be punk or moo, there is no middleman.

March 2, 2009

Knitting Questions

Filed under: discussion — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:31 pm

What makes purl stitches recede or pop? 

If I knit ribbing, the purl stitches go inward, and if the column of purl stitches is narrow enough the visible surface looks like solid knit. 

Today, while looking at textures, I found various brocade textures, from the basic knit diamonds separated by a single purl border to the King Charles where the border is [k,p,k] and variants on sizing of the diamonds within the layout. All of these are done with purl stitches which rise from the surface. 

What affects this effect? 

I would really like a diamond pattern where the purl stitches recede and become invisible. I found one pictured, and it has the same instructions as the brocade. If I wanted a raised brocade effect, I would probably do a twisted stitch lattice to make sure. 

I just cannot tell how a purl stitch knows whether to duck under or stand proud.


I am still in the market for a good stitch reference, obviously. So far I have tried the Mary Thomas one but did not like it.

Thanks to SeedlessGrape for explaining that using the second circular as a cable needle still meant one needs to slip the stitches back onto the left-needle to continue.

February 3, 2009

Grousing About Buying Yarn

Filed under: discussion — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 8:20 pm

 Never again will I shop Sundara Yarns. Today’s update was delayed twice and still sold out in under 20 minutes. There is not enough of that to go around and I will not waste my time looking and dreaming about stuff that does not exist in my reality. 

Sock is progressing. I weighed the remaining ball and my scale says 97g. It is out of “113g”  but I am past the ankle. It seems really unlikely that I am getting a sock from 20g of yarn. I really should have weighed the ball before starting. Next time I will know better. 

I ordered some more needles from KnitPicks today.  I detest the Addi Turbo needles I have been using lately. 

I am going to Yarn School. The airfare was phenomenal. $211 round trip, non-stop on Southwest. 

I spent some time browsing for sock yarns. Jimmy Beans Wool and The Loopy Ewe both have some nice stuff, but I am unfamiliar with commercial brand names and found it difficult to get a comprehensive view of what was available.  I would like a hand-dyed, washable wool+, cabled sock yarn in a heavy fingering—- and the colorway should include no white. (I consider whiteness to be a sign of a poor dye job.)

Yes, this would be a good time to visit my LYS and ask someone.  There is just so much overhead in going to the local stores that I keep thinking about driving to the ‘burbs instead of putting up with it. Then I think, “If it will be that much trouble, I should just order online.” I would have done so if I could have gotten the information I needed. Are there online shoppers who honestly do not care whether their yarn is 2-ply or 3-ply? 

Whenever I try to buy yarn, I am reminded of why I wanted to take up spinning. There are just too many headaches involved.

January 25, 2009

Selfish and Snaky Thoughted

Filed under: discussion, knit, socks, stuff — Tags: , , , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 7:19 pm

I read the Selfish Knitters group on Ravelry. Corry sent me there. I find that most of it is useless for me, because I am a selfish knitter already. The women (and they are all women) are all trying to learn to refuse favors. 

Most things I make are for me. If I make something for someone else, it is of acrylic and simple. But that is not selfish of me, since most people prefer acrylic yarn gifts because they are going to want to wash them but will not have a clue how to prevent felting. 

Anyway, today I saw a discussion of what to have on Selfish Knitter badges and I found my favorite, “No I can’t knit something for you, I don’t like you enough.” 

I took up knitting as an excuse to buy yarn. Later it occurred to me that if having yarn was the goal, then I should spin it instead. Even now it is hard for me to give away handspun yarn. I like the yarn better than I do most of the people I know. 

I finished my first real pair of socks this week,

and I have been looking  for my next sock pattern. I am wavering stil, but these are the front-runners: Nagini, Fawkes, Phineas, Leyburn, Anastasia, Wyvern. I really dislike the Monkey socks, even though everyone raves about them and the no-purl variant looks fairly simple. But by the time I added in the toe-up mod, the short-row heel mod, the foot-sizing mods (because I have wide insteps and short feet. 8.5″ foot length is generous, but I have 8.5″ circumference feet at the widest part) I might as well just start from scratch. Then add in the fact that I really do not like the texture, and they seem really pointless. 

[Later, but before posting] I did a swatch on the yarn I have. It is Pagewood Farm “Hand Dyed Sock Yarn” from before they had several types, this one is 80/20 Merino/nylon in some blue+green colorway (the band says “custom”):

 Colorwise, I am seeing a combination of cerulean and cerulean blue. 


I find that it really does not knit to 8 stitches/inch gauge. I can get it there but I have to really tension the yarn harshly and the resulting fabric feels very inflexible. (It just really is not very nice yarn.) That pushes the decision toward Leyburns. 

This is almost a disappointment because I really liked the Nagini texture (although, honestly, that is a lot of cabling) and I had a name for it based on the wyverns in Might and Magic VIII. Next sock yarn has more purple in it and looks more like the couatls. So, maybe all is not lost for that pattern…. there will be other socks.

You would not believe the research that goes into these project names. I have a dozen wiki tabs open full of various mythological systems bestiaries. Did you know the Chinese and Japanese have a Black Tortoise and a Blue Dragon? The Norse have a dragon that eats oak trees’ roots. Then there is the Evil Overlord List that says #34: “I will not turn into a snake. It never helps.” Then most cultures have had some sort of serpent-based myth. There was an unbelievable amount of interesting stuff to read. 

There is so much Norse mythology about magic and sorcery being the province of women because it is all about the weaving of threads, but there was the idea there that the weaving would bind the enemy or free allies. Weaving and warrioring were of equal value. Bound in Freyja’s [blue] Eyes. Weirdly that bothers me because it is incredibly rude to take someone else’s deities in vain. I find myself interested, but not enough to convert just to name my socks!

The Leyburn socks use quilted lattice stitch, my yarn is an blue-green colorway. But I have nothing beyond the obvious. “Caribbean Blue” is a song by Enya. It does not resemble mermaid scales because it does not have the look of overlapped sections. The lattice makes a diamond pattern… but “blue diamonds” feels like it should be followed with “and purple horseshoes, all in Lucky Charms!” But that shows you how old I really am. General Mills no longer makes Lucky Charms with blue diamonds. It would be too obscure if I called my socks, “They’re magically delicious!” The color also reminds me of those blue raspberry freezer pops. Raspberry Parade! (The common household misnomer for Prince’s song, “Raspberry Beret”.) That is a little too obscure also. The diamonds also remind me of cyclone fencing.

Strangely I am going with Raspberry Friday Socks.

January 1, 2009

Epic of Yarnpire

Filed under: knit, project lists, scarf, spin, stuff, yarn — Tags: , , , , , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:21 pm

¡Happy New Year!

I keep planning to add things to the projects page on Ravelry but not quite getting around to it. I usually have pictures of everything before it goes out the door as a gift, but… I only seem to upload the ones I finished since I started using Ravelry. 

I should include pictures of the bent scarf, but it is a gift for my MIL and I would like it to be a surprise. The pictures are uploaded so if you want to look, help yourself. Keep in mind that it has not been blocked and I fully expect the blocking to beautify it. 100% llama yarn, semi-felted single, bought ages and ages ago before I knew what makes a good yarn.

 I got a new knitting bag. Of course I never go anywhere so who knows why I got it. But we were at the World of Goods warehouse sale and how could I possibly pass up a purple batik bag for $5? I do really like it. It is almost perfect. It would be a better knitting bag if it stood up on its own, if I was sure of the handles’ durability, and if the inside was not black. I can possibly add a cardboard insert to help the freestanding. And if the handles fall off a $5 bag, I am not out too much money. 



I cast on for my sweater. The yarn is absolutely brilliant in this. It looks better cast on in the sweater than it did skeined or balled. I am wavering on whether I should frog and start again. I did a long-tail cast-on and it looks horrid. I also managed to be a little confused on whether I was going to be using the #6 or #8 needles. But I did start on it. I much prefer the fabric to the #6 swatch, but the body will take about 22500 stitches compared to 15000. That is a huge difference in work and the #8 swatch looks tolerable. I will take some pictures before I frog. I might do a sleeve first. I should definitely take pictures, but eh.

Project-wise, my schedule cleared up a little. The February date for the Woodland Shawl has been put off. I am now doing that for me and I want to do lacework in the summer. It might end up being something that is put up for adoption, but I am knitting it because I want to knit it and there is no pressure.

Currently the plans are spinning for my rainy day scowl. Coming up with a project plan/pattern for the scowl. And sweater. And sucking it up and using the sock yarn that taunts me daily. (“I am an adult, sock knitting is not too hard. I will master it. And then I will have an entire repertoire of woolly socks and my feet will never be cold again!”)

I have decided that I am extremely funny and should have a job naming things. For example:

 I have named “Knave of Hearts, Jack of All Spades”.





The new (proto)yarn, I want to call “Mood Indiglo” but I suspect I would get a lot of complaints from Timex and Billy Joel’s attorneys. It may end up being something like “cobalt cutin” for the dust that appears on blueberries and grapes. Today’s research suggests the Epic of Gilgamesh was written on lapis lazuli tablets… so I am leaning toward “Source of Gilgamesh”.

December 30, 2008

Knit Adopters

Filed under: discussion — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:00 pm

or Methodology of a selfish knitter living in a warm climate…

I like to knit things. I like to wear knitted and woolly things when it is January or February and I am freezing even with the heat on. (Which is really psychological since it rarely drops below “shorts wearing weather” around here. But most definitely when it is bucketing rain, my bones ache with chill.) But this is not a long season and often I want to knit things I would never wear or use. 

My solution has been to ask people what they might want. When there were no requests from family. I started making up projects and knitting them. Then I would put up pictures and offer things free to a good home. 

But many times no one wants these things, and it does not have anything to do with quality in any objective sense. Sometimes the really excellently made things are snapped up. Sometimes the excellent things languish. 

It seemed like a good idea to knit things I wanted to make and then find homes for them. It is still all about me and what I want to spend my time doing, right? 

What I would like to know is what other people do. Not those hand-wringing women who honestly believe being anything but self-sacrificing is immoral, but regular people with time commitments and a sense of their own worth as people.  I have no problems being a selfish knitter. But just because I do not want something does not mean it should not get a good home.

My current plan is only to knit things for myself. I suspect I would adore having handmade socks. I know I want that cowl neck sweater. (Want is a really underpowered word for my feelings there.) 

But what about the things that seem like they would be fun to knit, but not fun to wear?

December 28, 2008

Getting old is a life-long process.

Filed under: discussion — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 3:24 pm

I saw another instance of the “only grandmas knit” myth. 

Where do people think grandmothers come from? If you ask any of those knitting grandmothers and probably most of them have been knitting their whole lives. It is just something people stopped teaching their children, or at least stopped expecting them to do. So now we have adults who have never knit anything and [great] grandmothers who started because you could not buy socks in stores. 

It reminded me of an inset story in Neal Stephenson’s book, Cryptonomicon. In the book, there is this main storyline that is sort of amateur archaeologist/historian based, the history parts are mind-numbing. It flashes back to the historical time period in question and the characters then are really dull and more than a lot offensive. But what made this book for me was the little inset stories, especially the fictional one the main character pulls off a colleague’s computer. In that story, a man notices that the passion has gone out of his marriage. One day he sees his wife in sexy clothes and he remembers why they got married in the first place. She tells him that she likes those kinds of clothes, but their furniture would destroy nice silk things. So the man realizes if he wants to be happy, he has to make his wife happy and she wants heirloom-quality furniture. He wonders where you go to buy grandma furniture. 

Since most people become grandparents around age 50 now (plus or minus 10 years, depending on regional societal expectations, education, etc.) and most people are expected to live to about 75. That means an entire generation of people who have zero hope of inheriting grandma furniture before they are adults in their own right. So someone must sell it. Plus where did grandma get hers? It is not like she was born a grandmother and was endowed with nice furniture at her baby shower. 

Honestly. Where do people think grandmothers come from? 

Grandmothers are women who have lived to become mothers and whose children have become parents themselves. They did not stop being people and turn into grandmothers.

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