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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I have attained Button Nirvana

Posted at 13 Mar 2011 05:39:32 PM

Greetings, friends. My, do I have a lot of pictures to show you!

(This, o best beloved, is the down side of only sitting down to publish a blog post once a month or so: the photos do tend to pile up.)

Most days it's still too chilly to go out on the motorcycle (50 yesterday, 30 today) but there are signs of life outside again! (Apologies for the photo, it's a cameraphone thing.)

I took a stab at the Oreo-stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies which have been making their way around the cooking blogs lately.

They turned out quite well, I think - I don't actually like Oreos, so I'm not the best judge, but those that do said that they were delicious. They're even better if you pop them in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to restore that "fresh-baked" texture, too!

Both shawls have been progressing, slowly. I've put probably another 50-100 yards in on the Purple People Eater (working title) and a few rows here and there on Candlelight. I can't wait to overdye that thing the minute it's off the needles!

I've started Sandi Wiseheart's Tundra Shawlette from Spin-Off Magazine in some of the qiviut/silk that I brought back from our honeymoon, but really, it's still itty bitty and there's not much to show yet.

I'm still working on the gloves to go with my new coat - maybe by next winter!

Those are my grandma's knitting needles; lovely, strong US #0's that haven't bent or warped in decades of use. I feel honored to be knitting with them.

I have managed to complete one thing, though!

This morning I polished off the last of the plying on 8 oz of Dyeabolical's 70/30 Merino/Tencel. Final count (before washing) is 846 yards of a light fingering 2-ply. Not quite my goal yet, but I'm happy at this stage to have not mucked things up too badly!

Here's a lovely photo of something which is being sadly neglected:

The fiber is lovely (Frabjous Fibers and every time I pick it up I wonder why I'd put it down.

(And then I remember how many other projects I have ongoing...)

Before I leave you for another month, here are some buttons I found in Springfield, IL at the Knit Wits LYS while I was knocking around there for a few hours:

I'm so excited about these. The fishbowls are adorable, but the rest - I mean, really - squid buttons! SQUID!

I bought plenty - some for a little kiddo's cardigan, most likely, and enough left over to make something for ME (even though I noticed after taking the photo that the shank is broken off of one of them... maybe I'll make him a pin).

I'll leave you with a recommendation - I've been glued to this book for the last week. It's in paperback rather than on my iPad, and having to turn the pages has been cutting into my knitting time, even! It's Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog. Very reminiscent of Wodehouse and Dorothy Sayers - I find myself giggling with delight at least once a page :-)

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Chai Tea

Posted at 03 Feb 2011 06:45:35 PM

You know you're a terrible blogger when you can't think what you last posted.

So! We've been more or less snowed in this week (my car more, D's less) and my back is getting sore from sitting nearly 10 - 12 hours per day in my computer chair. This is one of the hazards of working from home, and then diving straight into WoW once the laptop hibernates. Note to self: purchase vehicle with 4WD before next winter.

The last two weeks have been unbelievably hectic at work, and consequently I chose to do two long and fairly work-intensive projects at home, just to keep things lively. Project #1 was the Great Coaster Project.

I was captivated by the Fabric Coasters group on Flickr, and wanted to make my own. What a great way to use up the fabric stash! The lady at the local quilting shop was a great help in choosing interfacing, too. We chose something which was thick enough to absorb moisture from cups but thin enough that it would lie flat.

I paired them with pretty dark cerulean mugs and a few different types of tea, as presents at the family Christmas party last weekend. I'm pleased that everyone seemed to think they were a neat idea.

Bonus: I have leftover Pomegranate, Chai and Wild Sweet Orange teas! Now, to make some coasters for ourselves...

Also for last weekend I decided to tackle Candied Oranges. I've never made them before, but the picture in this recipe was irresistible and I knew I had to give them a try for the next party.

It's a two week process wherein you soak the thin-sliced oranges in supersaturated sugar syrup, then set them to dry, coat them in sugar and 60% dark chocolate, and inflict them upon the unsuspecting public.

The unsuspecting public didn't seem to mind; I came home with an empty bowl and many compliments.

Next year, I think I'll give blood oranges and grapefruit a try - the former will be pretty, and the latter could be an intriguing sweet and sour combination. Some liked the chocolate, and some would have preferred it without... I'll do both next time.

I have a couple of shawls and a pair of gloves OTN. Every time I go outside in my new winter coat I am reminded that I really ought to get cracking on those gloves; unfortunately they are a construction which has you doing the fingers early on in the process, so I am procrastinating.

I can show you the shawls, though.

This one is lovely to knit, and awful to look at. It's Alpaca with a Twist Fino in the "Blue Jeans" colorway, and it is one of those colorways which looks lovely in the skein and like llama barf when knitted up. I swear there's a pattern in here somewhere!

This is being knit in a very interesting yarn which I acquired from the lovely QuantumTea a few weeks ago at Knit Morning. It's 70% Milk protein, 30% Silk, feels like a dream, knits up nicely but sort of oddly, and I have no idea of how it will block.

(Did somebody say "block your swatch"? Swatch? What swatch?)

It is totally unlike wool when being knit. It doesn't "scrunch in" at all - it's much more like silk in that it mostly just stays where you put it. It definitely has some stretch, so we'll see what it grows up to be!

The pattern is from Heirloom Knitting - right now it's all Cats' Paws. I'm planning on doing a full-on Shetland shawl, with this being the center and later I will bind it off, pick up the sts, do a border which is still in the Excel charting stage, and then knit on an edging.

And now, I need to get out of this desk chair for awhile.

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A Christmas Picture Post

Posted at 12 Aug 2012 08:18:25 AM

Happy 2011 everyone! There are no resolutions happening here in Casa Confusion, but we did have a nice holiday and some good accomplishments. So much time has passed that I don't feel like I have a good theme for this post - too much ground to cover - so bear with me if this seems more like a photo dump.

First up is the Christmas gift that D requested - straight out of Despicable Me:

Here's the top of his little head:

Pattern: Despicable Minion by Wolfdreamer
Yarn: RHSS
Hook: Um... the blue one (world's worst crocheter, right here). Probably G or H?
Modifications: None, really. I think I made him taller than the default pattern called for, and the mouth is different. The pattern includes a lot of ways to modify the little guys!

Next is the blanket which I made for my parents, and which I've been positively sitting on until I knew that it had made it to New York safely! It's alpaca/wool for warmth and comfort, and a very snuggly blanket if I say so myself.

Pattern: Serenity
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca
Needles: US #7 (4.5mm)
Modifications: I doubled or perhaps tripled the size as written, which required me to hack & dice the charts up rather a lot. I threw out the original edging and replaced it with an extra cable twist and a knitted-on cable edging.

For Christmas I received a very lovely and stately little spinning wheel: the Kromski Prelude. I went up to Susan's and tried out several wheels, and this was the one I liked best in feel, looks and size.

My lovely little Kromski Prelude

I've been practicing with some undyed merino/silk to get the hang of it, and moved on to plying up some of what I had in the Plying Pile to get the hang of the counterclockwise thing.

A subset of the Plying Pile. Huacaya alpaca, 4 out of 6oz of the hot pink merino, and 4oz of purpleish white merino/bamboo

So, while on some extraordinarily lousy conference calls last week, I managed to spin up the last of the merino/silk, ply it, and move on to plying the spindle-spun huacaya alpaca from Strange Folk Fest. They were an interesting experience: I spun the merino/silk quite worsted and plied it tightly, but spun the alpaca woolen and plied it just past balanced.

And of course, I had help.

Endora Cat.

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Now this is a lovely lunch (with apologies for glare)

Posted at 21 Dec 2010 12:28:28 PM

Lunch was an extra Philly roll from Drunken Fish; the pattern is free from TotusMel; the book is Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters. All were very enjoyable!

Footnote to last night's entry: the movie was passed over in favor of the Blues/Canucks game. We lost, but no matter. LET'S GO BLUES!

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Posted at 20 Dec 2010 07:53:12 PM

Last night (or, perhaps, very early this morning) I finished weaving in the ends of the last of this years' Christmas presents.

As yesterday I had promised myself sushi if I finished the edging, tonight I took myself off to the Drunken Fish and am now very full of edamame, makimono, tea and really exceptional amounts of pickled ginger. Thank goodness for waitresses who leave one alone with her dinner and her ebook reader for long stretches at a time!

Taking myself out to dinner is really one of my favorite things to do.

It was a banner day on other fronts, as well - I picked up my new spinning wheel on the way home from work! It is a Kromski Prelude, and I expect that putting it together will be an ordeal - Susan said "only an hour!" but she does it several times a year. I expect it will take me rather longer.

The, ahem, present has been soaking in the washing machine for a couple of hours now, so I am off to drain it and see what magic blocking will work. Perhaps I will also put in my favorite Pride and Prejudice movie* and do some tatting, and really round out a perfect day.

* The icon is wrong; I just don't have a Greer Garson one. Must rectify that...

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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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happy Thanksgiving!

Posted at 25 Nov 2010 06:49:36 PM

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

We're out of town, but should be home soon. I have a proper post written up (well, mostly) which will go up once we're settled again. In the meantime,

1. Be thankful
2. Be happy
3. Turkey!

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FO: Snowflakes in Cedarwoods

Posted at 12 Oct 2010 07:00:23 PM

It's hard to know how to start blog posts like these.


We'll go with "Done", then, and see where it gets us.

Pattern: Snowflakes in Cedarwoods by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Baruffa Cashwool, 3000 yards
Needles: Circular US #3 for the body, Circular US #2 + US #2 DPN for the edging

( Click for the rest )

I've some more photos from the same shoot, different project - but those will have to wait another couple of weeks to see the light of day. Stay tuned!

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My world is unending.

Posted at 22 Sep 2010 09:31:37 AM

Snowflakes, last week:

Snowflakes, 30 minutes ago:

It will never end.

...The only problem is: my yarn might.

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Battling a nasty case of Startitis

Posted at 02 Sep 2010 08:03:58 AM

I'm trying to make my packing list for our trip to New York this weekend, and for various reasons it seems like all of my knitting WIPs and all of my spinning projects won't work. Metal needles, not mindless enough, too big to fit in the suitcase*, spindle is too pointy; you name it, the TSA would object to it.

I'm looking over my stash page on Ravelry (which, if you haven't personally witnessed it, is fairly ridiculous) and all I can think is "I can't believe I have nothing to knit!"

Great. My stash has become my clothes closet.

* I have not yet achieved the level of obsession which leads me to pack less clothes in favor of using the space for knitting.**

** But I've thought about it.