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.
Posted at 16 Feb 2013 03:57:54 PM
Hello, blog. We're back.
I'm grateful for the previously mentioned bit of time off from this blog and other crafty pursuits. It truly was necessary due to personal issues in September and October, and shortly thereafter we discovered that a new family member will be arriving in mid-2013. I didn't quite realize what exhaustion felt like before enduring the last few months -- and other moms tell me that what I think I know about exhaustion now
is laughable compared to what life is like with a newborn. I, er ... think I'm excited? Heh.
Regardless, as long as energy allows, I'll be getting back in the craft saddle shortly. A new section of spindles should be available soon in my Etsy shop soon, and lo - Stringtopia 2013 approaches! I'm not missing that come hell, high water or sleep deprivation.
And speaking of Stringtopia, Abby
has been kind enough to link to this site in this year's Stringtopia post. Given that, let's talk about knitting.
I've started a long-anticipated project: Windsbraut - Sommerwind
. Over two years ago -- seriously -- I spun the yarn for this project. It was before I had ever taken a Longwools class with Beth Smith
, before a Stringtopia, before any real videos from Interweave or any sort of formal training. I think I may have read some forum posts on Wensleydale.
My Ravelry notes on the original 2011 stash entry aren't encouraging, but as I wound the yarn this morning I can't find fault with it. Maybe it's due to the passage of time, and that two years later I'm less intimately connected with the yarn than I was immediately after I'd spun it. My honest opinion is that I could have plied it harder but it's Good Yarn. It handled being wound and rewound like a champ. As I've started knitting with it on US5's my only impression is that I really ought to go up a needle size. Wensleydale is, after all, hairy and as one would do with Mohair, one should do with Wensleydale.
Click to embiggen
The goal is to finish it for Stringtopia this year.
For completed FOs, there isn't been much of interest. I started a Tweezle
for a friend's baby, but discovered (again!) that I am completely incapable of weaving in ends competently with acrylic yarn. The problem is compounded when the pattern in question involves stripes -- even more ends. Ultimately I started at the finished pieces for a couple of weeks and then decided the stress wasn't worth it; I threw them in the bin and went shopping from her registry.
Remind me of this episode next time I contemplate knitting for a non-knitter, please. Acrylic is a lovely thing these days and I have nothing against it - but top-down unstriped raglans only.
I did finish this tatted doily, but appear to have sent it off to live with its new owner before taking a proper photo of it:
Whoops. It's finished, really!
It took A Long Time, but I was pleased with the final doily. All shuttle tatted using my favorite shuttle: a Victorian gersilver one piece shuttle which has a spot on it for the owner's name to be engraved, but was left blank. It may have been surplus stock which was never sold, or perhaps the engraving was an extra cost which the original owner couldn't afford. I like it that way because I don't feel as though I'm using someone else's toys without permission.
I knitted a sweater for Rhinebeck - by which I mean I finished it in mid-October, flew to New York, and wore it while driving past Rhinebeck en route to the King Arthur Flour Baking Center in Vermont. The pattern is Paper Dolls by Kate Davies
, and it is above reproach.
My mom and I spent the weekend nearby and took several classes, learned quite a lot, explored the surrounding area, ate in hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and as expected had a fabulous time. Dan has commented on the improvement in my sandwich white bread, and I hope to try for bread bowls soon.
Stay tuned - shawl progress coming soon! Keep me honest, readers.
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.
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...
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.)
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.
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!
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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. Voilà:
(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"?