I'm Laura. I am female, 31, a gamer, a bookworm, a knitter, a spinner, a tatter, pierced, tattooed, musical, vehemently geeky and occasionally ineptly artistic.


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It's not really cold and rainy anymore.

Posted at 03 Feb 2011 07:31:46 PM

While my peppermint tea is steeping on this cold, rainy day, I feel like I should write a blog post. All around me people are jumping into NaNoWriMo (or alternatively, NaBloPoMo) and here my blog sits: neglected.

Thank you all for the lovely comments on Snowflakes! I joke about how long it took, but really I do feel like I've accomplished something. However, the astute or stalkerish among you will probably have noticed that my comments to that project on Ravelry start with "This is my giant square shawl warm-up, so to speak.". Yes - with Snowflakes off the needles, I am in theory supposed to be resuming work on Queen Susan. And Evenstar. Hah! (I'll let you know how that goes. After Christmas, most likely.)

Just because Christmas is right around the corner, I've been knitting away picked up a new hobby. I'll pause while you marvel at my superb sense of timing.

Needle tatting. Easier than you think!

I really have been knitting: trouble is, it's a) secret and b) hard on my hands, so it's slow going. Here, I'll show you a sneak peek:

I just love this cable!

I finished a BSJ for the Thursday night KAL at Hearthstone Knits. The vast majority of the knitting was done while my brother and I were driving to and from Ohio a couple of weekends ago. The yarn is Regia Hand-dye Effect, and I love the colors but I'm not crazy about the texture. It's essentially a very loosely spun single plied with a black thread, and it's coarser than I expected. I'm not at all sure how it will hold up.

It goes more quickly than you think!

While DH and I were in St Thomas a couple of weekends ago for the wedding of some wonderful friends, I needed some plane knitting (not to be confused with plain knitting). I have a sock OTN, of course, but I'm having problems with it because I just don't seem to be able to internalize the pattern. Also, it's on wooden dpns and I really hate wooden dpns. (Admittedly, if the first problem were more soluble I would be more inclined to solve the second.)

So, I brought the next best thing: lace.

The swatch for Mystic Desire, originally a mystery KAL from Anna Dalvi. I forgot to bring the shawl upstairs for the photo-fest this morning.

I've been spinning more than knitting lately. My "to-ply" pile is growing larger... I tell myself that I'm just waiting until I get my spinning wheel at Christmas from Spunsilver Creations. The problem with that, obviously, is that I'm going to need to spin for awhile on it in order to get the feel of it, which means MORE singles...

That's 3oz of hot pink merino, 4oz of purple and whiter merino/bamboo, 1 Abbybatt in Girly Camo which is waiting for a plying friend, and half of the huayaca alpaca from Strange Folk Fest.

I did have enormous fun at this month's Spinning Meet-up! A couple of people kindly brought their drum carders, and allowed us to make all kinds of batts from the huge pile of donated fibers. (I got rid of a few bags of random merino and sari silk that way.)
I wasn't really in the market for an art batt, but I did have some problematic suri alpaca - the same that I tried to spin for Tour de Fleece and failed because it categorically refused to draft. It wasn't felted, exactly, but was so compacted that it was unpleasant if not close to impossible to spin.

However... A drum carder and a bit of similarly long-stapled tussah later, and I cannot WAIT to get back to it!

It feels as good as it looks!

Hopefully I will be able to borrow the carder again next month to do the 2nd half of the alpaca. (Anyone know of a drum carder for sale? ;-) )

We're gearing up for the new World of Warcraft expansion on Dec. 7th. I'm really loving the redesign of Stormwind (well, the melting parapets are disconcerting, but visually the city is unbelievable). The reorganization of the zones, etc, is going to take some getting used to but overall it's not the massive change that I'd feared. I'm leveling my hunter to get a feel for the new order of things.

Cheers for now!

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I'm not dead yet

Posted at 22 Aug 2010 11:56:03 AM

I'm not dead, I promise. I may have dropped off of Facebook and my AIM presence is sporadic, but I'm still here - knitting, spinning and occasionally getting out of the house.

More of the latter than the former, it seems. We sweated last weekend while watching the Cards soundly beat the Cubs, and yesterday I went along with D while his bike group went on a half-day ride around St Louis and some of the state parks to the south. (Note to weather: stop being hot. Please?)

Next weekend we'll be in Iowa, and the weekend after that in New York. I think it slows down after that.. but don't quote me.

Despite my newly-renewed resolution to experience more than what I can see from my computer chair, I've actually gotten quite a bit done. It didn't feel like much at the time, but when gathered up like this I look rather productive:

( Click for the rest )

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FO: Handspun suri alpaca/merino

Posted at 24 Jul 2010 06:52:24 PM

I haz a proud.

70% Suri Alpaca/30% Merino from Surina, purchased at MDSW
Spindle-spun and chain plied
222 yards, about 14 wpi after washing and thwacking.

Tour de Fleece 2010: Victory.

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The funny thing

Posted at 18 Jul 2010 01:36:02 PM

The funny thing about spinning is that it seems to make me a better knitter (or crocheter, as the case may be, but it often isn't).

To wit: When I first re-started knitting, I scorned the idea of swatching. "Hah!" I said. "Swatching takes too much time. It can't turn out too badly!"

Then, I learned about garment fitting, gauge, math and How To Make Your Knitting Exactly What You Want. See also: baggy socks. And then I was almost afraid to not swatch ...but I still didn't wash the swatch.

And then I started spinning. With that came (rudimentary) knowledge of singles twist, plying twist, active twist, relaxed twist, what happens when you weight your yarn after washing versus not weighing it, and all the odd things that can happen to a perfectly nice-looking skein of yarn once it hits good old H20. Armed with better information than multiple forum posts of the "because I said so" type, I'm now afraid to not wash the swatch!

And you know, it's interesting to pick up knowledge this way: in stripes, or layers. Drawing purely from my own experience, when you only knit, you think "yay, yarn!" and you'll probably recognize that there's a difference between wool and not-wool. But unless you're very observant and your yarn purveyors label their wares extremely well, you might not see a difference between the different breeds of sheep/goat/camelids/etc, different plying methods and different amounts of twist. With that comes the realization that the yarn you're holding, even though it's clearly a three-ply fingering weight with 60 stitch color repeats, it is going to be make lousy socks that wear thorough at the heels in a matter of weeks.

Even though I'm very very new to this whole spinning thing, it now seems not at all implausible to have entire conversations about staple length, breeding conditions, shearing methods and how-was-it-prepped? Heavens only know what will happen to me once I discover spinning from locks, prepping my own fiber and whole entire fleeces. See also: spinning wheel.

All of this is also a very slippery slope toward sheep herding, but let's not mention that for the time being.

(D, don't fret. The shepherding thing (while picturesque) is is very unlikely, given that one of the things I like best about all this activity is that I don't have to go outside where it's hot. I sort of doubt that sheep would enjoy existing in the living room...)

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Tour de Fleece, day 11, and FO: The Math Hat

Posted at 13 Jul 2010 08:17:09 PM

Bob Sheppard, the only Voice of Yankees baseball I can remember, passed away on July 11th.

George Steinbrenner passed away today of a heart attack.

Needless to say, this is not a good week for Yankees baseball. They both contributed so much to the team and to the sport, and will sorely be missed. RIP, boys.

In happier news, I've hit the halfway mark on my Tour de Fleece spinning. I may have said earlier that it was 2oz of alpaca/merino; wrong. It's 4oz in total. The 2oz I've spun are already more than I've done in a month before (wheel spinners out there, stop laughing; I like my spindles!) and I'm happy with the singles thus far. They'll be chain plied (another new skill) as I couldn't be arsed to divide the pencil roving into 3 even piles beforehand.

Lest my stash get too small (I thought I said stop laughing!) I used a Groupie credit at The Loopy Ewe to buy a lovely 4.9 oz braid of Polwarth roving in Subdued Rainbow. I'm hoping to spin it up in laceweight looooooong color repeats, either divided for 2ply or chain plied.

I also picked up the yarn for the start of the knit and knag World Heritage KAL this fall, not because I have any hopes of starting on time, but because Jen the dyer has a 15% off sale running right now and I've been curious about the yarn since seeing it pop up in the Blocking thread on Rav. The yarn, lest I forget to tell you, is Nightfall from FibroFibers.

My knitting doesn't have much to show for itself lately, since my attentions are entirely focused on a secret project or two, neither of which will see the glowing light of your monitors until the end of the year. Rest assured, it's not just stash acquisition going on around here.

Oh! I nearly forgot.

Here: have a hat. I finished it last night (and hopefully it fits the recipient. It's certainly huge on me, which is a good sign). The goal was to have the grey stripes decrease at the same rate that the blue ones increased, while still ending up with a hat of a specified height.

This involved Math. Evil, evil math. I think this is Hat Mark 3. Hat Mark 3.5 if you count my first disastrous 150 stitch cast on...but I don't.

Pattern: my own, but the specifics are on Rav
Yarn: Berroco Lustra
Needles: US 4 for the ribbing, US 5 for the body.

I still have comment logging turned on, and I sincerely apologize if my website eats your comment or decides that you are spam. I'm trying to reproduce the problem so that I actually have some legit non-spam logs to look at, and hopefully fix this once and for all!

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You know...

Posted at 02 Jul 2010 05:27:07 PM

You know...

There may be better ways to relax and improve on a crappy day...

But I really can't think of a one.

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My spindling fingers are tired

Posted at 26 Jun 2010 10:46:16 AM

It's alright Mollie, I wasn't using that anyway.

Today was a great day in fiber-acquisition land! And some of it I didn't even have to pay for (swaps are the greatest thing since sliced bread, I swear. New toys, and it's all "free")!

First was this amazing 3oz batt of merino and bamboo from Butterfly Girl Designs. I've been coveting this for awhile, and a swap with a lovely Ravelry user got it for me!

And then we have 4oz of not quite as high-grade but still merino from Malinablue, which is all sorts of amazing colors:

Then Dan and I went wandering in Old Town St Charles this afternoon because one of the spice shops up there, Figuero's, is apparently a local source for Sticky Pig BBQ Sauce! (A bonus in itself.) Two blocks down from that shop is Knit and Caboodle, a lovely LYS which used to have some very pretty natural-colored Suri Alpaca :)

In conclusion... I will be ever so slightly busy if I want to have a prayer of getting through all of this ;)

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Posted at 24 Jun 2010 07:54:03 AM

Yestereday I started work on a secret project. It's rather unlikely that the recipient will ever read this, so I'm not worried about sharing it with those of you who do. I need a very specific amount of very nice yarn.

It's given me an excuse to break into the alpaca/silk from Gale's Art that I bought at MDSW, too. A few mis-spins have gotten me a bit farther into it than I'd planned, actually ;).

Note to self: you have no idea how to judge yardage. None.

On the plus side, after I 2-plyed what I spun last night, the resulting yarn was perfectly balanced. No kinks, nothing. Go me! Since I felt bad about throwing out 3 yards of perfectly good yarn, this morning I braided it. No idea what I'll do with it... Maybe put jewelry clasps on the ends and call it a bracelet.

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I made yarn!

Posted at 28 Apr 2010 04:44:07 PM

My very first handspun, thanks to Ali!

It's 34 yards of 2ply which average around worsted weight (maybe a bit heavier after having been washed). Spindle spun, plied on her Majacraft Rose. I don't know anything whatsoever about wheels, but hers was wonderful fun!

*cough* I want a spinning wheel now. This one.. *cough*

I'm hoping to get a lot of experience (and loot) this weekend at Maryland Sheep and Wool. It's rather a trek for me, so I'm leaving tomorrow afternoon directly from work, staying briefly in a hotel overnight, and doing the rest of the drive on Friday. I've been counting down the days, and let me tell you: I am stoked!!

I am remembering to bring my camera. We'll see whether I remember to use it.