undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
 I want to keep track of my posts to various groups.

[community profile] creativity 
From the most recent: 
second post: http://creativity.dreamwidth.org/1077.html
first post: http://creativity.dreamwidth.org/727.html


undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
I dyed socks in January. I was really impressed with myself.
sock 2 sock 2 sock 2 sock 2 sock 2, sock 1

I dyed socks again today. I am not as impressed, but not because of the dye job... I melted a sock during the heat set. I am still a-goggle about it.

The procedure I used for the first pair in January was to lay out plastic wrap and use ridiculously strong Kool-Aid powdered mix (in about 1 cup of hot water) and pour on stripes. I added some food coloring to get green and was quite happy with the way this came out. You can, however, clearly see the fold line and although the dye made it all the way through, the second side is weaker than the first. These were somewhat blotted, had a second layer of plastic put over top and microwaved.

The second pair I did had purple and teal mottled all over and was just tossed in the slow cooker.  

Today I did one slow cooker pair and a handpaint pair and a stripe-pour pair on three different sock bases. 

I suppose I should talk about the sock bases. I bought finished machine-made commercial socks from Sock Dreams. (I really like their products and their service. That is a recommendation.) Originally I bought 2 pair of "O Woollies" for the January batch. This batch was one pair of the "O Woollies", one pair of "nylon trouser socks" and one pair of Bella silk+nylon socks with a mild texture.

Today I microwaved the two thinner pair and the all nylon ones melted a hole right at the center of the dish. If I had cooked them less, had flipped the packet, or added water underneath... any of that might have saved the sock. I want to find something else to do with it, because who does not need a polka dotted nylon tube? 

There will be pictures soon. I want them to dry first. There will also be after washing pictures of the handspun yarn. 

undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
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. 



undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
I did no knitting for weeks. I had pneumonia. In August. Then my husband got it and became catastrophically ill. Things are improving and I am back working on the Tardis socks he requested last Thanksgiving. Now that it looks like he might live to wear them. 

Things were so grim here that someone else made me a hat. And I feel less stupid about sending them to other people now because I really appreciated it. 
undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
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. 

____

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 and undyed. 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. 
undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
I was reading Nicki Epstein's new book, the block one, and got really inspired by the animals in the back. I love the turtle one made from a square of basket weave. I had a request for a green animal right after I finished the second elephant. Which I had forgotten because the second elephant was a hard slog to finish. But I got a Rav PM from someone last night admiring the elephants.  

I think I could easily make a toad based on what I have done with the elephants and seeing how the turtle came out in the book today. I stopped what I was doing and immediately cast on. I have about half the face knitted, including some non-flat bits for toad-like texture. The yarn is the mottled green stuff I used for that lace scarf. (There is probably not anywhere nearly enough of it. Even after 8 years of knitting, I still mis-estimate yarn needs most dramatically. I usually have twice what I will need or I have half. It is rarely close.)  I am pausing at this point trying to decide if I want to dye some yarn fresh and start with more than enough or if I want to continue with my current plan to make a two-tone toad (it will be white-bellied) and hope there is sufficient mottled green.

---

There was a sizing problem with the "Phantom Phonebooth" socks. I had my husband (the intended recipient) try them on when I had done the decreases for the short row heel and it was at least half an inch too short. I pulled out the heel, laboriously picked up stitches and added 6 more rounds. But I had forgotten I had already added the wing-increase stitches (using the Bordhi method for toe-up construction)  so I am concerned the ankle will be baggy. The socks are not at all stretchy. Either I am knitting too tightly or I should have been suffering through ribbing. So it absolutely will have to actually fit him, there is not enough give that these would be comfortable to wear otherwise. I have not even arrived at the interesting part of this, where I get to make it look like the Tardis. 

___

The Oakland Fiber Festival is coming up on July 10, 2011. That is a Sunday. It is being held at Splashpad Park in Oakland, where the regular farmers market is. I will be attending this event. If you have been wanting to meet me in person, this free event that has free parking might be a good opportunity. Although many restaurants are closed nearby on Sundays, there are several that will be open. It was not a great event last year. I certainly would not drive from Marin or Sunnyvale to see it, but this is walking distance for me so my scale is different than people who come from far away. It might be better this year as well since the organizers have practice.

Admittedly I am hoping to meet some fiber-craft people who are not immediately local to me because I struggle to fit in with most of the knitters I have met. Or if you are immediately local and actually outlook-tolerant, please speak up. My email is on the sidebar or you can send a Rav PM (same username) if you do not want to leave a comment in public. 



undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
It has been a while since I had something to post. The Tardis socks ("Phantom Phonebooth") proceed.  I am at the heels. The only thing I did not correctly anticipate in doing two-at-a-time is that the heels are going to be awkward, but something seems to be working out. It feels a bit like being lost and just following the majority of cars because chances are pretty good other people want to go where you want to go. 

There are no pictures yet because it looks like a pair of blue blobs.

I have really appreciated the instructions in the first Cat Bordhi sock book, but the book itself is horrible to use. I am constantly paging back and forth and back and forth. I bookmarked all the pages I used for these socks and there are 15 bookmarks in the book. It is bad enough that I am seriously considering taking an Exacto knife and cutting out the pages so the actual instructions can be assembled coherently. The instructions are great, but I find myself so frustrated trying to find them that I tend to assume I remember it from last time. 

Non-knitting news, I finally have a credit card that Paypal accepts. I am seriously considering buying the Rogue or Eris sweater pattern. I have loved that forever. But I am highly unlikely to actually knit it since I am such a lazy knitter. 

Spinning updates. I have spun 8 ounces of BFL from CMF in the "Black Sun" colorway. I like it a lot as a three-ply yarn, but obviously taking a year off of spinning did nothing for my consistency. It was a very good thing that I restarted with BFL, because that really is my go-to fiber. 

CMF is having a sale, free shipping, and the Cormo is out--- and they will custom dye it (normally it is just available undyed.) But my storage bins are full and the Oakland Fiber Festival is upcoming, so I am not buying. I do really like their dye work and they seem to be fast and reliable. Plus their bumps are 8oz and extremely consistent. I was able to spin a sweater's worth and all the balls look similar enough that I am not worried about the sleeves not matching or other weirdness. 

This would go over a lot better with pictures or links, but just about everything is repeated.
undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
I have started a new, simple project. I want to make a cowl where the end can be tucked through, like a keyhole scarf, so one does not need buttons at one's neck. 

I still have the Phantom Phonebooth (Tardis) socks out. 

Eventually I will sew up the first woven scarf into the bag, as intended. There will not be more weaving progress for a while because I put the loom (warped, and I hope it did not get horribly tangled) back in its box. I was going to sell it, but now that the Emilia looms cost $269 for the 13", it would be a final decision on weaving. I am incredibly grateful that I did buy a small folding loom though so I could put it back in the box.
____

Everything has been put away. We had a water leak and the repairs are going to require redoing the entire floor in one room, which means finding space in the rest of my apartment for nearly half of my stuff. There simply is not room for a choice in projects, especially since I will be busy washing and cleaning things to prevent mold growth. 

There might, and quite possibly will, be radio silence here merely due to that. But I will attempt to post when there are new ideas, and I have actually been much more fiber crafty in the past month than in the past year. I realized the last time I spun was a year ago before my MIL visited. I knew the volunteer gig was draining my creativity, but had not realized the only knitting I had been doing was fixing other people's mistakes. How can I pass on the joy of knitting when I never want to even hold my yarn when I get home?

I had more surgery at the end of March and it went better than December's, but my husband got some bad health news recently, so we are still reeling a bit and resentful of the double-crisis with the water. I have actually been knitting and I have all these ideas now, so as contrary as it seems, I hope to have more content, not less. 
undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
 I am finally looking at my loom and not thinking, "Dread. Dread. Dread." Not that there has been any actual progress. I am starting to think weaving just is not for me. The prices went up on the loom I bought, so I probably can sell without a huge penalty.

Twice this week I looked at the bin that has my frogged "Halfaquin" vest in it and thinking, "I could work on that!" I did not work on the socks either.

I did leave the knitting group where I was teaching. There were a lot of reasons for it, especially the specific timing, but mostly I was burned out to the point that I never wanted to knit anymore. Luckily most everyone seemed fairly accepting. 

However, this does mean I will have to actively seek out another group so I do not stagnate creatively. There really should be a group in Oakland! Maybe we should meet on Sunday afternoon at Splashpad Park? We'd have to all bring our own beverages and treats and chairs, but there is nearby parking. That is where the Oakland Fiber Festival is held (July 10 2011)... so then it would seem like everyone else was coming to join us. Maybe next weekend I will go and sit on the wall and see if anyone else comes. Well, not if it rains. 


undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
It has taken more than three months since we began the project, but the blanket is finally completed. 

blanket

Read more... )
undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
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. 
undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
 This is a list of vendors at Stitches who are offering Thursday night specials. If you patronize them on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, you will be paying more than other people and getting less selection:

From this thread: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/stitches-west-2011/1521105/

Alpenglow Yarn / Ranch of the Oaks / Little Red Bicycle #1048
Knotty Knitters Calendar (sold by XRX itself)
Ellen's Wooly Wonders #1445
Faerie Mountain Fibers #1040
Twisted Sunshine Designs #1146

I have blacked those places off my copy of the market map because I do not want to pay more than the supposedly fair price the vendor has chosen. 

Admittedly those were not places I have highlighted, so it would not be a loss to me, but I will probably refer back to this list so I do not accidentally patronize them in the future either. 

This Thursday night sale basically says, "We treat some people specially and you are not one of those people. We would prefer to do business with other people than you. Please go elsewhere." So I plan to abide by that request and take my money elsewhere, forever.

Bijou Basin Ranch has coupons on their website, so you will pay more if you do not pre-prepare, but they are at least good for the whole show and for anyone. (#602 - 700) I would feel less put upon if I could "mention their website" or a special code word and get the discount, but that is because I cannot print at home so self-printed coupons are a huge hassle.

_____

Last year I asked if there was anyone reading here who wanted to accompany me to Stitches West on the Friday market day. I have never gone with anyone else. This year I invited people from the learn to knit group where I volunteer and no one wants to come with me. (One woman does want a ride there if I am going, but did not see the invitation as being to a social outing with me as her friend.)  If you want to accompany me, please do speak up. Email, Rav PM, or comment here. If you know me, feel free to call too. I am seriously considering not going. I have only three booths highlighted and I could just as easily order from their websites later. Between gas and entry fee and lunch, staying home would more than cover any shipping costs. Plus I need nothing. I still have untouched things I bought at my first Stitches in 2008.  It would be different if I was going with someone else and doing something social and fun. Many of the comments in the Stitches West group talk about how great it is to meet other knitters and make lots of friends. I do not think I have spoken to anyone who is not a vendor, ever, at the show. It usually seems like everyone travels in groups of their own friends and have no need of conversation with strangers. 

undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
I have been ignoring my weaving. There is nothing like a deadline (and now we are past it) to make me feel contrary. So the plaid runner stands at about the same state as the last picture. And since the cloth is wound onto the front beam periodically, it will continue to look like that until it is nearly done. It is a lot like walking on a treadmill in that regard, in that I feel like I am getting absolutely nowhere until I realize I need smaller trousers.

I worked some on the Phantom Phonebooth socks. They are coming along nicely, albeit slowly. I have both socks knitted to about 50% footlength, meaning I have almost 20% done. They still look like blue pockets, so not much point in digging out the camera. 

However, most of my efforts have been toward a generosity. Several of us are knitting a blanket in pieces to give to a woman we all know who is ill. The remaining pieces should come back by the weekend. Although it has represented a significant amount of my crafting time, I have not taken any pictures. There were several people who expressed a large amount of enthusiasm for the idea but no one who spoke up actually knitted anything. If it was not for the silent supporters who did phenomenal work, I would have ended up doing the whole thing myself as well as buying all the supplies.

Although I really like the woman who will be the recipient, I resent this experience tremendously. Apparently people will lie to your face, in detail, about how they will help; then scamper off with your yarn, even knowing who it hurts and who was supposed to benefit. 
undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
There's a local Ravelry (not sponsored, or technically affiliated, but they are allowed to call it that) meetup. They are holding it at the Women's Building in San Francisco. The link to that location specifies that the building is to be used in support of women and girls. Shocking how extremely inclusive that feels, right? Obviously they are not going to come right out and say men are not allowed, and the meetup group does have a parenthetical comment saying men are welcome, but seriously, how welcome would women feel if there was a building saying "this space is intended to support men's endeavors"? 

That would be why I do not go to YMCAs. If they want to rename their organization to the effect of actually including old women and a-religious people, then sure, I can see them being a community organization for everyone. 

I am honestly offended by how universal and understood the prejudice in the fiber arts is. I would really like to see other women stand up and say, "I like the idea of getting together with other knitters and crafters but not if your event is only open to some kinds of people."

undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
 Progress on the second weaving project:
plaid cloth on loom
undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
Tools I have built yesterday and today in order to facilitate the weaving:
On the left is a terrible picture of the new rubber feet on the bottom of my Emilia. They do keep the ratchets from hitting the table when the loom rests flat instead of with the front end hanging off the table.  The second picture is of a hand-beaded sleying hook made from a paper clip. Sleying hooks are what weavers use to thread the heddles. This is a vast improvement over the plastic guitar pick that came with the loom since it actually fits in both the slots and the holes.
 
loom with feet sleying hook 

My new weaving project is warped. I am making a plaid from black and silver and white. 

warped loom
undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
 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.) 
undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
Having put my loom away for almost 2 weeks, I am almost ready to try again. My experience was so horrible the first time, but I think a lot of that has to do with being a beginner and mis-understanding the instructions. I hope that is the case.

I will not need to assemble the loom again, which should prevent the heinous disaster I experienced. People at knitting group laughed when I told the story (since I meant for it to be funny, that is fine) about how I was supposed to melt the ends of the texsolv cord to prevent fraying and thought since I was only doing 4 cords, I might just use a match instead of lighting a candle. I burned my thumb, dropped the match, and set some papers on fire. Luckily I was able to blow the papers out and did not need a fire extinguisher, but you might guess that my opinion of the loom instantly dropped to a bitter negative one. 

Next came the actual using of the texsolv cord. In the assembly instructions, the word "loop" is used at least three different ways. You wrap the cord around the beam to make a "loop" and stick the end through one of the "loops" in the other end of the cord. Next you make a "loop" with the cord to attach the tie-up bar. But that one really meant, "Pinch a fold of the cord in the middle and put this through the hole at the loose end of the cord." So, not only was the explanation vague to the point of incomprehensibility, it says nothing about the extremely tight nature of the texsolv cord. It was so tight that in my imagination I kept hearing the cord scream like an abducted  virgin heroine in an historical romance. Accomplishing that maneuver with a burned thumb was painful. 

Anyway, having warped once and a half times, I should avoid the obvious pitfalls that resulted from instructions that were written "Do A B D E repeat across, oh, by the way, make sure to do C every time too." Anyone who had warped a loom before would know C, wrap around tie-up bar, but I had no idea and had to unwarp a lot of very finicky yarn. 

I had problems with the warping, but the second time it mostly worked. However, layers of warp intermingled during the winding on, so my tension was wonky when I started weaving. (I did not notice during the process and it was only by reading the Ravelry group where someone else had a similar issue with wonky tension that I found the explanation. The instructions actually say that no warp wrapping is needed.) The warping is ridiculously tedious and a complete pain in the entire body. It is honestly horrible. And this is the "direct warping" that makes rigid heddle looms "so much easier" than multi-shaft looms. I warped about 9" and cannot imagine owning a 32" wide loom. Some of the warping and sleying (putting the yarn through the holes of the heddle) problems were because the tools provided with my loom are inefficient and completely pathetic. The "sleying hook" does not fit into the slots of the 10-dent heddle without forcing it. And the sleying hook is under 2 inches long and plastic. It is, actually, a strangely shaped guitar pick. There is no reason why what comes in the box as an "everything you need to get started" should not work together seamlessly. They probably should ship the looms with the 8-dent heddle unless they find another sleying hook that fits better. They actually recommend using dental floss threaders for the 12-dent heddle in the instructions.

The other problem with the winding on is that was when the ratchets started grinding the under-surface because the instructions do not say to set the loom with the front edge hanging off of the table. These instructions give a diagram of a slip knot, but never mention anything about where the clamp that holds the loom stable is supposed to go. The clamp is not even in any of the pictures. I was mostly able to figure out what I should do based on the pictures and the fact that there is only one place to put the clamp (on the underside of the loom's front stabilizer brace.) But if the instructions had mentioned this, there would have been a lot less destruction of the pad I had placed under the loom. I am mostly thankful that I had taken extra precautions. 

So I was extremely angry the whole time I was weaving the first project. Some of that was because the stick shuttle gave me splinters. How difficult would it be to actually sand a flat piece of wood? That is inexcusably bad quality control. 

Now I have little rubber feet from the hardware store to raise the loom up and protect the table from the ratchets if the clamp slips (which it does frequently unless you are willing to damage your table tightening the clamp) and I have come up with a way to indirect warp (where one measures and cuts the warp threads and sleys them afterward instead of during) which will save me from having to lean in to do detail work then immediately stand and walk around the room before hunching back down again. Plus I know better now. I know how to position the loom to use the clamp and avoid table damage. I know how a correctly warped loom should look. I bought some warp separating bamboo mats to help reduce intermingling the warp layers during winding on. 

I hated my loom because I did not have what I really needed to make it work. I lacked in experience. I lacked in understanding the directions. I hurt myself and damaged property during the assembly because of the instructions.

In my opinion, corners were cut in the design choices and those choices affect the versatility of the loom (it is extremely difficult to use this loom on your lap because of the ratchets). If the lumber on the ratchet mounting sides had been wider, then the loom could be folded and stored flat on a tabletop when not in use, but that cannot happen since the ratchet teeth stand proud of the surface in every orientation. The loom does not fold up well at all, the knobs are strained when the loom is folded. The pegs holding the loom in the open configuration (it can be folded while warped) splintered the wood in their holes. The wood feels unfinished, though it might have some sort of clearcoat. It certainly is not professionally varnished for durability and long-lasting service. I feel like what came in the box is insufficient to make the product work correctly. 

Many of these problems have been addressed by fixing the user and aftermarket solutions. But I must heartily recommend against this loom due to the instructions, the ratchet teeth, the poor quality finish, and the lousy included tools. If this loom was $80-100 and marketed as an unfinished loom for experienced weavers, I think it would be fine. Since it is assembled, I will feel no guilt selling the loom should the second project go anything but silkenly smooth, provided I explain to the buyer how the loom should be mounted. I am still considering weaving as a potential hobby, but this is definitely why everyone keeps recommending try-before-you-buy because everyone-is-different. I will see if I can try out other rigid heddle looms in person before buying the next one. 
undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
 I bought rubber feet for my loom. I am hoping that I will resent it less when I do not have to be quite so careful how it is placed. I also received my copies of Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving and The Weaver's Idea Book. This might help somewhat in terms of less struggling with the concepts of weaving and how those concepts affect technique.

I have also been considering whether I would prefer indirect warping. The direct warping is a pain in the head, back, rear, and feet. Plus the results are mediocre due to the differences between a tied warp strand and a looped warp strand. I own an Oregon Woodworker swift, the mounted versions of which are recommended as warping boards. I have been mentally running through how long of a warp I could construct with two sets of pegs, but I think I might have to measure. 

My hair has been shortened from the icon. (The icon is not me, despite the representative nature of my tendency to hold onto spare DPNs by putting them in my hair, up my sleeve, or through my sweater.) I am really cold without my insulating fur. Can someone recommend a style of hat that might compensate? I'm wearing a stretchy lace cowl today, but it scrunches up too much. Maybe I should dig out the turtlenecks instead?

Immediately after posting this, someone on my Rav friends list faved, the Lady Jessica Cowl (direct), Rav link. I happen to have 110 loops of 5 foot diameter handspun 3-ply worsted BFL (dyed by Lisa Souza) just waiting for this project. (Google's math says that is about 180 yards.) 

There has been very little progress on the Phantom Phonebooth socks, despite their presence right next to the remote control in front of the TV. 

I have not made any progress rebuilding the Halfaquin sweater that I frogged. There is time for all this, but I seem to allow it to be sucked down into flash games, sending random emails to friends, and cooking. But the cooking has been nice to have done. 
undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
 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 lost to all but a select few.

Profile

undyedyarnpire: cartoon voodoo doll, looks like knitting needles stuck everywhere (Default)
UndyedYarnpire

January 2015

S M T W T F S
     123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated September 24th, 2017 12:24 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios