I'm Laura. I am a gamer, a bookworm, a knitter, a spinner, a tatter, a seamstress, pierced, tattooed, musical, vehemently geeky and occasionally ineptly artistic. She/her.


How to contact me:

     laura @ cybermenology.com
     Cybermenology Handmade

View all icons
Fall 2012

Posted at 16 Oct 2012 02:13:32 PM

Life has risen up to bite us lately here in Casa Cybermenology, and there hasn't been much knitting, spinning or crafting. Even the tatting project which I showed you last is only a few inches larger. Any brainpower which still remains with me at the end of the work day is being put toward recovering and maintaining our emotional health. And laundry. Laundry never ends.

I keep up with all of your blogs, of course, and please be assured that even if my output is low, I am still inspired by all of your lovely projects!

In August I did a Habitat for Humanity with my team through my job. It was a really great experience, and I'm looking forward to doing another one next year. And hey, I know how to hang drywall now! It was approximately 105* F that day, and rather than working everyone until we dropped, the supervisor told us after lunch that we were done for the day. We went and had a couple of beers in a (cold! air-conditioned!) bar on Main Street in St Charles -- and that left me conveniently down the street from Knit and Caboodle.

They had a packet of dyed magenta mohair locks from Pagewood Farm. Sometime back I bought an ounce or so of dyed purple mohair locks from Mandy of The Cloistered Lamb. It seemed like a sign!

I combed the two together and pulled the result into top and spun it tight and worsted. I plied it with bleached tussah and the result, I think, is pretty. The magenta gives the purple some depth without being variegated. I could have plied it harder, but if that's my only complaint..

370 yards, mohair/silk laceweight.

During the last weekend of September I threw off my apathy long enough to pick up a squooshy braid of Frabjous Fibers - Merino Sparkle top (also procured, if memory serves, from that same trip to Knit & Caboodle). Merino isn't my favorite fiber to spin, but when combined with silk and some firestar it can make my heart sing :) This was a little bit compacted (very unusual for Frabjous, believe me) but that added to my overall goal. I couldn't spin it thin, and didn't want to be spinning it for long, so I stripped it lengthwise and spun 250 yards of a worsted to bulky 2ply.

Squishableness. It's good for the soul.

I tell myself that I'm not a fan of multicoloured yarns, but find my stash lacking in interesting things from which to knit hats or cowls. I think that I'm inconsistent. :-)

D and I took a trip to Taos, NM for the Taos Sheep and Wool Festival. I took a class with Galina Khmeleva on Russian supported spindle spinning. I am still pretty bad at it! Amazed at how much of a new skill it was... once you think that you're pretty good at something, it's interesting to be thrown into the deep end again to learn something entirely new. It was nice to be around fiber people again.

You can't fault the scenery of Colorado and New Mexico. Everywhere you looked was breathaking -- literally, we were at 8,000 feet!

We flew into Denver but stayed in Red River. It was a beautiful area, and was less than an hour to Taos. We only had a few days there and I would love to have more time. Next year, I hope.

It was Octoberfest that weekend. Bonus!

Baldy Mountain and Touch-Me-Not

A few months back I picked up a Fleegle Beader and have not yet put it to use. A big grand Shipwreck-sized project is beyond me right now. Nevertheless, I will persist.

Mandy had made me a lavender batt some time ago in exchange for a couple of spindles. I don't seem to have taken any pictures of it - and it was so pretty, with a matching ribbon! - but this weekend I decided that since it was small and colourful, it wouldn't demand much of me and I could probably spin it in a day or two.

I was right. It became 350 yards of slightly textured laceweight yarn, and in order to get some usable yardage (and also because spinning up something to ply with it required more forethought than I'd had), I left it as singles. They're overspun for "ideal" singles, but I'm not bothered. I think that it will make a lovely small shawl.

Welcome to my bathroom counter.

I have my eye on Graciella (Ravelry link). To get the best out of my yardage and to use my shiny new Fleege Beader, I will use beads, instead of nupps.

This Thursday I will be taking a trip to New York, and from thence with my Mom to Vermont to the King Arthur Baking mothership. We will be taking classes on bread baking on Saturday and Sunday. I'm very out of practice with bread, but expect that I will get some good experience from the classes. And can you imagine a whole weekend in a place that smells like rising bread? YUM.

My snowflake sweater is coming along. Only a few inches of sleeve are left, and I'm hoping to have it finished by the time I leave for New York. I am on vacation from work this week so in theory, that's totally doable. In reality I am distracted by things like playoff baseball and finishing yarn.

Paper Snowflakes and Ouiser the Dog

This may be one of the last pictures with our dog, Ouiser. He is fine (I hope) but we have had to give him to a new home in order to get things more simple around here. He is still on a "three day trial" to make sure that he gets along with their existing dog. However, this was day two and I haven't had any warning phone calls, so probably this is how things will stay. I am very sad, but hope that he will be well loved in his new home.

View all icons
Tatting in progress, continued

Posted at 18 Jul 2012 08:01:40 PM

And here it is, a bit farther on, just before I performed surgery on it. Now I have lots and lots of loose ends to weave in, but it's fixed.

Can you spot the mistake??

I have a half-brained idea to turn this into some kind of bracelet...

View all icons
30 minute lunch hour

Posted at 09 Jul 2012 08:40:48 PM

My first time working with size 10 thread. This is attempt number ... 5, I think, and my tension is improving.

(pattern not mine.)

View all icons
The Starlight Shawl

Posted at 12 Aug 2012 09:46:43 AM

After much swatching (much, much too much swatching!) I've finally finished the prototype for my new pattern: The Starlight Shawl.

I'll be getting the pattern written up in the next few days, and hopefully by this weekend it will be off to some test knitters! If you're a member of the Free Pattern Testers group on Ravelry, keep an eye out - I'd love to work with you!

ETA: The pattern has been released! It's available on Ravelry and will be listed shortly on Craftsy.

View all icons
Just a taste...

Posted at 22 Apr 2012 08:05:16 PM

It's been a quiet, rainy day, perfect for encouraging creativity.

While the baby back ribs are slowly roasting in the oven - they've been there for 5 hours so far, and the house smells unbelievable - I thought that maybe you would like to see a little bit of the new shawlette pattern that's been in the works here at Casa Cybermenology.

It's a new opportunity to work with one of my favorite laceweight yarns, Baruffa Cashwool. This yarn comes in a multitude of colors, extremely generous yardage and the superfine merino is so soft to the touch. And as if that wasn't enough, this shawlette will be beaded!

just a little touch of sparkle...

That's all for now, I have to go put the final baste on the ribs!

View all icons
Trillium and Arabella tatting patterns now available!

Posted at 12 Aug 2012 09:16:35 AM

I'm excited to announce that two new tatting patterns are available!

Trillium Bracelet

A bracelet which starts with a series of split rings, branching off on either side into a clover formation which reminded me of the Trillium flower. This bracelet looks stunning when beaded.

The pattern is available by clicking here.

Arabella Choker

A tatted choker is given additional stability and style when paired with a ribbon. This also can be adapted for beads.

The pattern is available by clicking here.

In addition, I have been partnering with Murphy's Designs to bring you Machine Embroidery versions of my tatting! These use machine embroidery techniques to create tatting-like effects. If you would like to view these embroidery patterns, Trillium can be found here and Arabella is coming soon!

View all icons
She turned me into a newt!

Posted at 08 Feb 2012 06:45:50 PM

I think I'll blame newts for my absence. Or gnomes. Gnomes are good.

Really, it's a combination of work and inability to even look at the computer when I get home for anything more than half an hour or so of catching up on blogs. I always swore that I would never get tired of being on the computer - that working was just the warmup: the real fun started afterwards, and 4-6 hours of computer games was a perfectly normal day.

Let's just say, we've scaled back a bit.

In the last few months, I've finished two cardigans, a lace shawl, a handful of random amigurimi most of which were Christmas presents, and currently have a shawl, a pullover and a neverending pair of mittens on the needles.

Tonight, I finished skeining up a very longrunning project: 4.6oz of rainbow-dyed Polwarth from Perchance to Spin, and ~6oz of black Polwarth from The Painted Tiger. Brooke at the Painted Tiger was particularly nice to me, since it's apparently really, really hard to dye fiber solid black.

I think that it came out rather well, actually.

The grand total is in the neighborhood of 1494 yards. I'm hoping to make MMario's Queen Anne's Lace - I think the simple pattern will emphasize the looooong color repeats.

I've finished some tatting, too. There are a couple of patterns which I need to add to the sidebar, but I'm having some difficulties with my SSH access. They'll be up as soon as I can.

View all icons
Unexpected Knitting

Posted at 12 Oct 2011 09:53:37 PM

It occurs to me that lately, my Ravelry feed is a more useful barometer of my continued productive existence than my own website. Maybe one of these days I'll try to code a WordPress-esque system for uploading photos and creating a WYSIWYG editor for myself; that might ease the process some.

So, have I been designing anything lately?

No, not so much. My job started out stressful and has become more so over the months and years, which sadly leaves me with little appetite for more work in Excel when I get home. I have sketches, but nothing to show you, dear readers.

An argument for design could be made for the rather large purple shawl which is now (finally) finished, but which I will claim no designer credit for as it was made up entirely of bits and pieces from Heirloom Knitting and an edging from Victorian Lace Today glued together by math.

Nevertheless, I'm happier with it now than I was when I finished it. It's big - easily 70" across - but wears rather well, I think. The yarn is a milk protein/silk blend, and I think it is possibly the most ridiculous yarn out of which to knit a traditional Shetland shawl - which is why I did it.

The bathroom at work is oh-so attractive...

Along the same theme of ridiculous lace knitting, I have acquired up some neon green Jade Sapphire wool laceweight, and I think it would make a fantastic Arsenic and Old Lace.

Along the way there's been a quickish Rock Island out of some of the grey cobweb yarn left over from my aborted attempt at The Queen Susan, the completion of the Twist Cardigan on which I'd been working for nearly two years and of which I have absolutely no good FO photos, a spate of tiny Puerperium Cardigans for the emergency baby gift pile, and I'm about halfway through the Dahlia Cardigan from this fall's Interweave Knits.

I've spun up my first Wensleydale top in a red to black gradient for a Windsbraut - Sommerwind and have almost enough handspun grey alpaca for the solid main color in a Stripe Study. I still have the Perchance to Spin polwarth occupying bobbins in the craft room, but have started spinning up some black polwarth with which to ply it. I should be working on that tonight, but don't really feel in the mood for lifting the couch to anchor a blanket under it -- if I don't, the spinning wheel scoots away from me as I spin!

Tomorrow my brother and I leave for a 10 hour road trip (20 hours, round trip) and I'm saving up the rest of Dahlia for car knitting. The second Guinevere glove is coming along for hotel knitting.

Despite swearing off starting anything new in the hopes that a ban on new projects will help this cardigan toward completion in a time span measured in weeks, not years, I'm going to cast on for a Debussey shawl in a merino/cashmere sock yarn from Anzula which Georgia at Hearthstone Knits just got in. I need something to knit for the next hour before bed, don't I?

The Yankees got knocked out of the ALDS playoffs last week, which was disappointing, but the Cards are still in it. I'd thought that tonight the rain in St Louis would delay the game but so far, so good - we're up 4 to 3 in the 4th. Go Cards!!

ETA: I lied. I have too much yarn for Debussey and the cast on is not what my overly tired brain wants to grapple with. A browse of my hard drive turns up Pirat, which looks like just the ticket.

View all icons
Tour de Fleece 2011 Wrapup

Posted at 25 Sep 2011 03:39:10 PM

While my original game plan was to spin a two-ply laceweight from half a merino/??? fleece which I have in the closet, I soon realized that just sorting the fleece and dividing it in half would take the best part of a month's free time.

So, midway through, I switched plans.

I've had this muga silk sitting on my desk downstairs on a little tiny Golding for probably a year now. It's been worked on bit by bit, but I wasn't making any real headway and was getting decidedly tired of having it stare at me. (Fiber guilt trips are the worst!)

So, with about two weeks to go, two long weekend overnights to work and two weekdays off to compensate, I pulled out all the stops!

Not counting the initial spindleful, the first 2oz was spun last week. The second I wasn't sure I could manage between going out on Thursday night and my wrists already not being in the best shape, but between staying home on Friday and working Saturday night, I was done by just about midnight.

Plying started around 3:30am and was finished by noon. VoilĂ :

(click to embiggen, as the Yarn Harlot would say.)

1016 yards of laceweight silk, 2ply. It's not my target - 1000 yards/4oz - but it's the closest that I've come so far, and my very first 100% silk yarn. It's also the most consistent yarn, start to finish, that I've spun. I'm quite proud of it, actually.

Now, upstairs to watch the new Top Gear: America with Dan, and then to pass out before work rolls 'round tomorrow. And just because I love you, blog readers, here's a picture of my cat pretending to be a perfectly normal queen-sized bed sheet:

Whatever do you mean, "pretending"?

View all icons
Tour de Fleece 2011

Posted at 24 Jul 2011 09:28:44 PM

Now that it's, er, almost done, I've finally gotten some photos together of the very limited progress that I've managed to make during this year's tour!

In the very first days I plied up 380 yards of Mountain Colors BFL. This was officially my fastest fiber-to-yarn achievement. I started on a Wednesday night and finished plying on Sunday. Yay! (Granted, some of the ridiculous rate was because I had to work that Wednesday night so there was some extra "awake" time...)

There are looooooong color repeats; I did my level best to keep the colors in sync, but had to do some monkeying about in places while plying. I think that I'll use the final product in a Stripe Study shawl along with some grey handspun alpaca.

My original goal was to spin up the half fleece which my friend Scylla from Knit Night gave me. It's a merino/something cross (parentage is a wee bit unknown) but it's very fine and spins easily from the lock. Luckily for me the fleece was washed already, because if there's anything that I don't have time for these days, it's scouring fleece.

It migrates from a very light silvery gray to light brown into a very dark chocolate brown. My hope is that I can separate out all of the locks and organize them in order, then divide it in half by weight so that I can have a reasonably color-matched two ply. Unfortunately this necessitates taking over the floor of the craft room while the project is in progress... hee.

I did manage to spin up two little sample skeins and since I'm surprised at the results - both had about the same amount of plying twist but the one with pink ties had less spinning twist has a much better feel and drape. That's what I will be aiming for in the final yarn.

While the floor is occupied, I've tackled 4oz of Muga silk top which I've had staring at me for awhile now. I started it on a Trindle, which met a sad end when a bowling bag accidentally landed on top of it. Then I transferred it to my little Golding, which was great except that it mostly sat on my desk and I didn't work on it. Wednesday night I gave up and started running it through the wheel. It has more of a halo than I prefer, but that may just be a characteristic of silk top that I need to learn to live with?

I have 2oz done, and the second half started. (Again, this ridiculous production rate is courtesy of having to work all night last night.) The terrible collages are courtesy of some free online thing, as I don't have Picasa on my MacBook - sorry.

I've got some Abbybatts lying around as well as some 1oz tussah silk colorway testers that would be relatively easy to motor through in the name of stashdown... I'm thinking about working with those in the final days of the tour.


Etsy Shop

Things I Make!

Laura Helton Designs @ Ravelry

Patterns for Knitting