Welcome

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 a secret to everybody


Posted at 13 Jul 2014 12:08:45 PM

I wish I could show you what I'm knitting these days. Rest assured, in my (increasingly spare) spare moments I am working away on a secret project.

Right now I am knitting a lace edging in a glorious green silk singles yarn, and I so wish that I could show it to you.

Even worse? There are two completed shawls in my sewing room - and neither are blocked.

To make it up to you, here is an adorable almost one (!!) year old boy. The culprit behind the dearth of content 'round here.



Changing topics to food, I want to share this with you. I was slightly overzealous at the garden center this spring, and as a result am inundated with cherry tomatoes -- my favorite kind, but believe it or not there really is a limit to how many we can use up in a day. I looked here and there online, and came up with a plan.


Aren't they pretty?


Sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil, and into a 200*F oven for 3-4 hours. The flavor was sweet and concentrated.



Packed in oil, to be stored in the fridge 'til eaten on salads, couscous, pasta, you name it. I love sundried tomatoes, and this was a low-cost and low-effort way to preserve my garden's bounty.





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February Song


Posted at 16 Feb 2013 02:57:54 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.


It fits!


Stay tuned - shawl progress coming soon! Keep me honest, readers.




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Fall 2012


Posted at 16 Oct 2012 01:13:32 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.




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The Starlight Shawl


Posted at 12 Aug 2012 08:46:43 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.







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Just a taste...


Posted at 22 Apr 2012 07:05:16 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!




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She turned me into a newt!


Posted at 08 Feb 2012 05:45:50 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.






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Unexpected Knitting


Posted at 12 Oct 2011 08:53:37 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!!

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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.




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Wings Shawl pattern released


Posted at 12 Aug 2012 08:15:50 AM

I don't have much time left before I have to leave for the Knitters' Guild meeting, but as I have accomplished something this morning I would like to tell you about it.



The pattern for my Wings Shawl has been released. I'm quite proud of this one - it was a lot of work. Many thanks to all of my test knitters poppyred, WOWWOOL, makneta, lindse, Sajina, Valentina777, EveKnitter, and aliiceinahearse!

The Wings Shawl pattern is written for two yarn weights and four sizes: Shawlette, Small, Medium, and Are You Sure? Large. Yardage requirements are between 450m and 1000m; the smallest size will fit into a single skein of Dream in Color Starry. Blocked size will vary between 60" x 30" to 90" x 40".



The pattern is available via Ravelry for USD $3.99.







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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.