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.


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Pattern Release: Lebanon

Posted at 22 Mar 2015 01:17:05 PM

It's been a long journey to get here, but today I'm happy to announce that my newest pattern, Lebanon, is available from my Ravelry store!

A triangular shawl knit in a handspun fine laceweight singles yarn, with a consistent mesh lace stitch pattern and relatively large needles, this shawl is an introduction to knitting with a fine yarn. It features a knitted edging which allows you to make the most of a small amount of fiber, and begins at the longest edge, so the rows get shorter as you go!

I'm proud to have incorporated spinning techniques learned over the years at Stringtopia in Lebanon, Ohio into the yarn that made this shawl possible. I hope that you too will be inspired to learn new skills and join me on a journey to a beautiful shawl!


Pattern Link @ Ravelry:
I'll have hard copies listed in my Etsy shop shortly.
Thanks for bearing with me over this last year, and I hope that you like it!

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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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Stringtopia Wrap-Up

Posted at 07 May 2011 06:04:32 PM

Right off the bat, I should tell you that Melissa is doing a much better job than I will. She had her camera out all weekend - me, not so much!

When Dan and I walked into the Golden Lamb, we were greeted by the sight of at least a dozen people sitting in the lobby, all spinning away on drop spindles. My first thought was "We're in the right place!" Shelly ran right up and found out who I was and gave me my goodie bag, which was chock full of amazing things from Ugly Schmugly, Working Girl Handmade (can't find a link) and Goodies Unlimited.

Despite that, I still felt kind of out of place, so I sort of stood in a corner and pulled out the first spindle and fiber that came to my hand- a Trindle with some of the 'petrified' locks that Scylla gave me the other weekend when we were excavating her fiber stash. LianaLi solved my problem by immediately coming over and asking excitedly about the Trindle and making me feel right at home!

This was actually from our last day, when Jacey Boggs came in and taught us how to make boobcle bouclé - which turned into a really surprising explanation of twist and plying structures that really went beyond just making yarn with loops in it. We had done a mini lesson in corespun during the kickoff bash on Friday night that was amazing in its own right, too!

I took the two-day class with Abby Franquemont, in which we each studied the kind of yarn that we wanted to make. For some, it was specifically for a project; for others it was a particular type of weaving yarn, and I wanted to focus on lofty woolen yarns. It was one of those classes where everyone learns cumulatively, and picks up much more about spinning as a whole than I think we would have if we were attending a very focused topic class. (I just hope I remember most of it!)

I skipped the Saturday evening spin-in, although quite probably I oughtn't have. Apparently there was much spinning, more door-prize-giving and rather a lot of goofing off, although I'll leave those pictures in the FOAY threads where they belong ;-) Dan and I skipped out after class to go locate a Friendly's, which for you midwesterners is a rather normal family-style restaurant which happens to have a ridiculous ice cream selection and some inexplicably craveable buffalo chicken strips. Whenever we get within 25 miles of one my only request is WE MUST GO. NOW.

And that night the Vancouver playoff game was on (although inexplicably the hotel got eleventy million hunting and fishing channels, but not Versus). We ended up watching it via live updates on nhl.com.

Somebody - I can't remember your name, but you were an absolute sweetheart - left a fantastic prize on my chair even though I wasn't at the party. I didn't even open it until halfway through Sunday because I wasn't really sure that it was meant for me. A new Trindle with 3 - THREE - sets of arms! My favorite is definitely the hammered silver beads. They're just beautiful in motion!

I, er... may have bought some things. Morgaine brought what must have been the entire stock of Carolina Homespun and set up shop in the room across from the classrooms, and oh boy - was that ever an eye-opening shopping experience.

And she let us run a tab. Talk about enabling...

I made lofty yarn! And got to play with real roving, not just mislabeled top, which was another eye-opening experience. Note to self: stop buying top, especially commercially-processed stuff with all of the crimp steamed out of it.

The (rather terrible) bouclé . But hey, I'm still learning! We used mohair for the loopy single, and I definitely underspun it. On the other hand, the merino single that we used for a core was overspun, I think, and I'll need to practice in order to really get the balance right.

The first night we made custom Stringtopian Edition batts on Abby's and Nada's carders. They were supposed to be used for corespinning practice (and it was!) but I had most of it left over which I saved and spun up once I got home. One of those things where if I didn't spin it up soon, emotional attachment would set in and it would sit in my stash forever.

131 yards. I'm not at my goal of true laceweight yarn yet, much though I'm trying, but I can already tell that my singles are more even and not underspun. Yay!

I'm tossing around ideas for a pattern for it... I swatched last night for a wide, shallow shawlette in which I can use a separate color for the edging.

The door prices were unbelievable. This is 4oz of Jacob roving in the colorway "Swamp Thing" from Gnomespun Yarn. I may have started sampling it rather immediately.

Up there on the impossible-to-refuse list is BFL/Silk. I bought some because BFL/Silk is rather like emergency pants - in every hypothetical I can come up with, I'm glad I have it.

Ohhh, dear. Dearie dearie dear. This is camel/silk in a truly impossible-to-photograph color of blueish greenish black called Moonless Night, by Spirit Trail Fiberworks. I bought the first braid because really, in what universe was I going to leave that on the shelf? And then I bought the second one because it looked lonely without its friend. (And Lianali is a very, very good enabler. I think it evened out in the end, though ;-) )

And look, Abby! I sampled!

Llamaleader gave us all 1/2oz of llama roving in our goodie bags! I haven't sampled this yet... I think I might be scared.

Our goodie bags also included a really adorable "cupcake", made by piling a silk cap into a cupcake paper and topping it with a bright red silk cocoon "cherry". Love that idea! I introduced Endora to the silkworm.

At lunch, Eve amazed me by spinning straight from the cap, without separating the layers or anything. She was just pulling yarn out of the bundle and winding it onto her spindle - so cool!

I learned a lot about silk - namely, even when it looks like it's overspun, and all of your wool-spinning instincts are screaming at you to wind on, keep going. I have a very informative bobbin that I'm actually keeping on a shelf until I get more time to practice and let the lessons sink in... The first couple of sections on it are what I would have considered "evenly spun", and then you can see the very identifiable point where I asked Abby for help because it was still not very shiny and had a lot of flyaways. Her answer was "more twist. Really. Keep going!" and the next couple of sections are much more shiny and silk-like.. the difference between the two is astonishing. I still have some plain tussah to play with, but after a quarter hour trying to manage that insane amount of twist my fingers were starting to feel a bit fuzzy and I had to stop spinning for awhile.

It was odd coming back home to a world where not everybody pulls out spindles and fiber at every opportunity and where conversation topics never include the phrase "Oooh, what are you spinning?" A weird sort of reverse culture shock.

We got home around midnight on Sunday night/Monday morning and I worked from home on Monday. My hands and wrists are still not up to par, but it's not like I've really given them a break either :)

I'm trying to get caught up on the knitting; I have one shawl design that's being test-knit now, another one which is giving me fits, and the mini one for the abbybatt that's still in the swatching stage. I don't even know how I got myself into this - I love knitting, but never really intended to 'design' anything... oh well!

In the mean time I finally got my stitch counts in Jared Flood's Rock Island shawl to work out - victory! - and I've been knitting away on that. Enjoying having something that's actually Working As Intended... now I see what Anne Hanson means about how nice it is to knit somebody else's pattern.

Time to go upload the stash acquisitions to Ravelry!

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Posted at 02 May 2011 12:36:02 PM


In a word: epic.

More later, once the cramp in my treadling leg has settled down, I've sorted and photographed the bag(s) of stash acquisitions, and attempted to organize the knowledge gained into some sort of logical order.

We got back home at around midnight last night, and it's sort of weird to be back in a world where not everyone (and I do mean everyone) pulls a spindle and fiber out of their bag whenever a few moments of down time present themselves. It was truly an immersive experience, and one which I can't wait to repeat next year. (Stringtopia 2012, go!)

My camera sat in its bag almost all weekend but it's a good bet that the fair Sandi Wiseheart will have some up soon!

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I finished something!

Posted at 18 Mar 2011 04:11:17 PM

I finished something!

Well, half of something. Technically I still need to knit something from it ;-)

(Click to embiggen.)

70% Merino/30% Tencel from Dyeabolical.
846 yards, 2 ply
~14wpi after washing

It's not perfectly consistent, as fine as I'd hoped nor is it as tightly spun and plied as I'd like. I'm still learning a lot about how much twist makes it past the orifice on my wheel. (Stay tuned for the spam comments after -that- sentence!) I like to think that I learned a lot in the course of spinning this, and the Polwarth that I'm working on now is looking much more consistent.

I'm rather paranoid that although I've signed up for Stringtopia, I'm not "good enough" to be going. I know that I'm better on spindles than on the wheel, but we'll be using both and I don't want to fall on my face in front of so many people who are fantastically amazing at this craft. The only real solution is practice, practice, practice ... I doubt there will be much knitting progress next month!


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