UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

January 15, 2011

Swift= warping board: yarn flow diagram.

Filed under: equipment, weaving — Tags: , , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:05 pm

I came up with a method to create warp pieces of yarn that will allow them to be individually tied on in any order. This is extremely common, and the only way to warp a regular (non-rigid heddle) loom. My method involves using my swift with two layers of pegs and a yarn path that owes something to string art. But from a swift with arms about 2 feet long, I was able to come up with a path 100 inches long using only 9 pegs.

swift warping board with diagram

This will allow me to cut all the warp colors in advance and string them through the heddle in any order. In my first warping attempt there was slack between colors because one was tied on and the other merely wrapped around the bar. Not to mention that the physical demands of direct warping required a lot of up and down and alternated close up detail work with big motions. I found it painful to do for an hour. Using the warping board, and in my case it rotates, only requires me to sit while wrapping. Later when I am sleying the heddle, there will be a lot of detail work in a row, but hopefully the lack of alternation will allow me to find a more comfortable position for my back.

The other benefit is that this does not stretch all the way across my living room and disturb my husband with me walking in front of the television.

Longer warps would require more pegs (for diminishing additional lengths while increasing the awkwardness of loading) or longer swift arms.

(The swift is the walnut version of the Mama Bear from Oregon Woodworker. It took me 2 years to talk myself into buying one and I had a great shopping experience buying at Stitches West 2010. The man who makes them included the extra set of taller pegs. There is a competing swift with sliders, but that would have prevented my using it as a warping board.)

August 18, 2009

Picture update and projects in progress.

Filed under: fiber, scarf, spin, yarn — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 3:32 pm

I should probably take the pictures and then post, but I will write it all now. Then I will know what pictures I have promised. But, considering this has sat here for 6 days with the window open, perhaps not. (August 18, another 12 days later… I closed the window and sort of forgot about this. So I started it, according to the editing details, August 2, 2009… it only took me 16 days to actually take the pictures.)

SeedlessGrape was here visiting. We had a terrific time (not always the case with meeting virtual friends). She gave me a skein of Madelinetosh. I can see why she loves it. The colorway is really pretty (akin to the Raven colorways from Blue Moon Fiber Arts) and the yarn is sproingy. However my skein looks like a fingering weight yarn, like for socks, but the label claims it is “worsted” and 225 yards. If that is “worsted”, their sock yarn must be like thread.

[Later… Apparently it is actually Tosh Sock, 395 yards, and the label is wrong. The colorway really is “Georgia O’ Keefe” but the yarn isn’t single-ply, and looks about fingering weight. So it is the sock. It was a lovely gift and I do not wish to disparage it in any way, but I admit I am much happier with there being almost twice the yardage.]

Any suggestions on what that wants to be? I had originally thought it would make a nice shawl-lette, but most of the patterns specify the yardage of the skein without specifying if there is leftover. Maybe that is because there is no leftover yarn, but sometimes it seems ridiculous…. like the sock yarn used for a lace beret pattern. The pattern says it uses 400 yards and the hat is itty bitty and lace as well. I think I could do that in under 100 yards. So I do not trust the pattern yardage.

I want to make Jared Flood’s Girasole out of this yarn. Except for three things: 1) I do not want a Girasole and no one else would dare ask me for something like that. 2) I would need about 10 more skeins of yarn. 3) I would have to buy the pattern (with all the issues I have described before).   I just know I would love a “sunflower” lace pattern done in black yarn.  I know me.  I like irony.

I got the July installment of the fiber club on the 27th. It is purple merino+silk. No percentages given. The pattern was interesting.  Not with that fiber, of course.  So far I have spun 3 of the months. I am now behind by 4 months. I have attempted one pattern (with commercial yarn) and gave up. I started using one of the fiber club handspun yarns, that I overdyed, for socks, but the first sock is not yet completed (I started it in March.)  So, although it has been fun getting all the new stuff. I do not think I should join fiber clubs in the future. It is not a waste of money, but there has not been any sense of “belonging” in this group. So there is no incentive to participate actively. Half the time I dislike the colorways. Half the time I dislike the suggested pattern. It got easy to just stash the stuff and continue on with what I was doing.  I had hoped I would spin more and knit more with “assigned” projects. That did not happen.

The pictures:

I am still looking for a hooded capelet pattern sized for adults and not pullover.

This is what I spun most recently:

I have cast on for my mobius scarf from the birthday fiber:

March 2, 2009

Socks Hopping

Filed under: dye, project lists, socks, yarn — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 12:34 am

On the plus side, I am no longer a photo slacker. I have tolerable pictures of everything I bought. I posted the photos of my completed socks. I even avoided making the joke about being caught flat-footed. If you want to see more of the completed Raspberry Friday Socks, the thumbnail here links to the full-size image in the album. Or you can look at the previous post.



Today’s project was to pick the new sock yarn and choose a pattern. I know I want to make the “Naginirav_link” socks from the Knitpicks “Essential” yarn. Unfortunately,  I knew right away which yarn I wanted to use next— because I am suckered in by the shiny just like everyone else. But hey, I bought that Schaefer Heather yarn for a reason.


So I did some looking to see if I was attracted to anything particularly. The new yarn is a bit stiff and holds stitch definition well, but I am easily dissuaded by complicated projects. I even spent some time reading the textures/motifs book I borrowed from the library. Nothing seems perfect. I did a swatch in the quilted lattice stitch and would pull out all my hair if I had to do it for a whole sock. (I have the perfect 8sts/inch gauge though.)

Before 90 people jump in and recommend “Monkeyrav_link“, I really dislike that pattern. The alternate versions are somewhat better, “No Purl Monkeysrav_link“, “Staggering Monkeysrav_link“, and “Los Monos Locosrav_link“. But it starts to look like work… like I would be creating my own texture because I would prefer no yarn-overs, I know it will go faster without purling, and I want to go toe-up, and I prefer the ovals to the inverted-Y shapes.

I have come to no conclusions tonight.

Today also had the over-dyeing of the January fiber club yarn. The color is vastly improved from the sickeningly bismuth pink color. Pictures are waiting on the yarn to dry.

Pictures of Stitches West purchases later this week.

January 31, 2009

Recommend your favorite sock yarn!

Filed under: discussion, socks, yarn — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:35 pm

Now would be the time to speak up and tell me all about your favorite sock yarn. I have very little opinion brand-wise and a newb’s unwillingness to spin it myself. 

There are a few caveats I would like your comments to have, please tell me:

  1. the ply-count and whether it is a cabled yarn
  2. how tight it is spun and whether the stitch definition is clear
  3. where I can get it

So far I have used Knitpicks Imagination, and Pagewood Farm “hand dyed sock”. The Pagewood is superior in terms of stitch definition and yarn “roundness”, but splits easily (even with blunt Addi needles, the replacements are not here yet.)

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”.

October 4, 2008

Playing it close to the vest.

Filed under: knit, project lists, spin — Tags: , , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 8:27 pm

I uploaded a picture of the “rose rot” yarn.

There is a picture of the hat I am making from the first skein of “Fireworks”; the hat is probably 80% complete.

And I actually looked at my Ravelry queue and moved stuff just into favorites. I am never going to make a plain jane vest and give some designer credit for it when it does not come in my size. I suspect I will make myself a pair of Cat Bordhi-designed socks before I do one of the other ones I found. I am not really going to knit a lace shawl. That is some flight of fancy.

There has been a decision. I have 20% of a hat, and one mitten (the first one is done) to do for other people, then I am next on the knitted projects. I am getting a vest or three.

I have some Swish superwash I intended as a quick knit, but the EZ pattern was not easy. (The more I think about Elizabeth Zimmermann’s “patterns”, the more cursing I have to remove before posting.) I have some lovely black Aran-weight yarn that cries to become a cabled vest, like the recent Knitty’s “Abrazo”. And I have several pounds of BFL that wants to become a sweater for me, but I really do not like sweaters with sleeves. I faved Cheryl Oberle’s “Many Buttons” vest from Folk Vests, but I have no idea where my copy of the book is. 

If someone has a really awesome vest pattern (waistcoat style or pullover) that is at least worsted weight yarn and comes in larger sizes (remember that a “medium” is a size 14 woman now, so no fair using those Vogue sizes where a large fits a size 8 woman.) I would most assuredly be interested.

September 5, 2008

Colors May Be Different On Your Monitor

Filed under: knit, project lists, yarn — Tags: , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 4:41 pm

How do most people buy yarn? On a bad day, I will freely admit that I took up spinning so I never had to go to another LYS again. It does not work that way for me because my knitting skills really are not up to dealing with amateur handspun yarn… or rather I can only knit basic things from handspun.

I am looking at making a cabled mitten and I have every intention of buying yarn for that. When I am dealing with any new pattern, I usually make it from a commercial yarn first. That way when there is a problem with the results, I have eliminated one variable. Then I can attempt to determine whether the problem is with the pattern or with the knitter.

Today I fell in love with a sweater pattern, Francis Revisited. So I decided I would buy some yarn for it. Well, I would be buying rather a lot of yarn for it because the largest sizes want 1100 yards of worsted-weight alpaca. I know what color I want to make it in— there is a particular hue between blue and purple that rocks my world in a medium shade. I found that Mountain Colors appears to have several colorways that seem to replicate this and they have an alpaca blend in worsted weight.

I am not sure how I found this yarn, but I know I looked at Dream In Color because Seedless Grape recommended it for a hat I am making, but nothing DIC has was what I wanted for a me-sweater. So I started looking to see who sold Mountain Colors online, The Loopy Ewe does, but they have no worsted weight yarn at all. Paradise Fibers sells it, but the pictures were itty bitty. So I looked at the MC website and their colorway pictures are not done for each yarn, they have colorway pictures which are done in a hodgepodge of their yarn lines. So it is extremely difficult to tell what the colorways I was considering would look like in a non-boucle yarn… plus they do not have swatches knit up. I thought to myself, that if I needed to see the colors in person to choose, then I should see if they have LYS carrying their brand. They do, but their listing is massively outdated, 3 defunct stores are still listed and 4 new stores are not (but they might not carry it).

I looked at the store ratings on Yelp and called the highest rated one which mentions Mountain Colors specifically in their products. They only have it in sock weight and ribbon. The woman on the phone was very honest and said they had limited color selection. She kindly recommended another store, but the reviews said that store was overpriced. On the plus side, it was worth calling them because I now know of a yarn store with free parking and air conditioning. Most yarn stores around here say they have street parking, but what they mean is that there is a street, not that there is parking. There is a store less than a mile from my home and it took me 25 minutes to park near there. I could have walked in that time. When I got there, they did not have fingering weight yarn without nylon in any solid colors. I have not been back.

When I started knitting, I started with acrylic from Michaels. I visited a few yarn stores after I had been knitting for a few years, because it took that long for reality to catch up with me. (I started before the knitting trend gained popularity.) But the stores near me were not for regular people. I have been ignored in an empty store while at the counter waiting to purchase until a woman in designer heels comes in and is helped but points to me and says “This lady was here first.” The first major non-acrylic yarn purchase came from Knitpicks.com after a friend vouched for them. Generally, since I make mostly small size projects, I have been sustaining myself with single-ball purchases. I can tolerate the horrible discrimination I experience in LYSs when I am a “looky loo” who is not really buying anything. But my experience in LYSs says if I want a sweater’s worth of yarn, I had better order online, because otherwise I will be paying the retail premium and still having to wait for it because stores just do not stock a dozen 50g balls in the same colorway and dyelot. And usually the store does not have the color I would want in stock, so chances are the store would have me looking at website pictures to choose what I wanted to order and I can do that from home.

It might sound strange that going to a yarn store in person was one of my last options. If I had found something wonderful from Knitpicks, I would have just ordered it.

I did find some nifty black spinning fiber from Paradise Fibers while I was attempting to look for the Mountain Colors yarn.

*there was a long pause*

The current plan is to give up on ordering Mountain Colors yarn because the resulting projects on Ravelry and Google Image Search in “Winter Sky” are not what I was wanting. I am wanting a yarn in an “indigo” color that is about halfway between pastel and dark, preferably a non-solid variant.

(This is #6600ff)

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