Knitstant Gratification

The crafting adventures of a knitter, music lover, and hockey fan.

Regular Season Sock Knitting Showdown, or Go Bears!

Posted by Andi on September 28, 2014

Ready for the Frenemy Football Knit-a-long. Obviously my yarn is on the right. #GoBears

It is finally here.

As you may recall, my friend and I bought skeins of yarn in the colors of our favorite football teams. I bought the beautiful skein on the right to support my Bears. She bought that skein on the left to support the enemy Packers.

We created some rules for our football KAL.

1. Cast on at the beginning of the first Bears/Packers game of the season (which starts in about 10 minutes)

2. We will knit the same pattern. We chose OppAtt by Jeannie Cartmel. “OppAtt” is short for “opposites attract.” Bears fans and Packers fans are kind of opposites, right?

3. The socks need to be finished by the end of the second Bears/Packers game of the season, which is on November 9. That gives us just over a month.

So there you go. Updates forthcoming.

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Time to Finish

Posted by Andi on September 20, 2014

Yes, I’ve been knitting, and I’ve actually been productive. But I have several things that are almost finished, but not quite there.

I finished knitting my Vertex Cardigan four days ago, and haven’t washed and blocked it yet. I think I will wash it this afternoon or tomorrow. I tried it on in its unblocked state, and I’m not sure what I think of it. I will have to block it to see what I think. I was going to take a photo of the unblocked sweater, and then thought, why? It will look so much better after I block it, so you will have to wait to see it.

While I was working on that cardigan I decided to take my skein of Leading Men Fiber Arts Callback in Jazzercise Leggings to make the Fractured Light hat and mitts by Kristin Kapur. I finished knitting the hat 12 days ago, and yesterday I finished knitting the first mitt and started the second one. I’m waiting until I’m all done to buy and sew on the buttons. I posted a picture of the brim of the hat to Instagram. This photo is nowhere near as bright as the colors actually are – they are eye searing!

Planning for my flight in a few days by finishing the brim of this hat so I can knit in the round on the plane.  #knitting #ggkcraftypad

A friend commented and said those aren’t my colors, and they aren’t. But I love this skein of yarn so much, and I can’t wait to finish the project and wear the hat and mitts.

My concern is the buttons. These colors are so bright I have no idea what color buttons to get. Maybe black? Maybe the dark purple? I don’t want to use metallic buttons – I think that would be too much. I should finish the second mitt today, so maybe tomorrow or next Saturday I can run to the fabric store and see if I can find buttons I like. If you think you know what color buttons will look best please let me know.

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Knitters Have No Excuse for Being Cold

Posted by Andi on September 16, 2014

We went to Riot Fest this past weekend. The weather was unseasonably cold. It rained all day on Friday, so it was wet and cold and didn’t even reach 60 degrees. On Saturday it was warmer during the day, but still cold at night. So I brought layers with me, including a flannel, a sweater, and a fleece jacket. But I also bought accessories.

It was a chilly night, but I had plenty of hand knits to keep me warm.

Here I’m wearing the Blueberry Hill Cowl I made this summer (for the first time – well, this picture was taken on Saturday and I first wore it on Friday), my Green Sockhead Hat, and Andi’s Reading Mitts. I was fairly warm with all of those wonderful hand knits!

It was warmer on Sunday, so I didn’t need all the accessories. That was good, because that was the day we decided to ride the Ferris wheel, and that would have been very cold on the other days. Here is what The Cure looked like from the top of the Ferris wheel.

View of The Cure from the top of a Ferris wheel.

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My Trip in Fiber Part 2: Yards Out

Posted by Andi on August 30, 2014

The great thing about road trips is all of the knitting time that’s available, provided you aren’t driving. Between drive time and the time we spent sitting around chatting with family I had plenty of knitting time, and I was able to complete two projects and start a third.

Blueberry Hill Cowl
Pattern: Pashmina Cowl by Joelle Hoverson from the book Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in Blueberry Hill, 1.26 skeins
Needles: US 5
Date started: July 27, 2014
Date completed: August 13, 2014

I finished this in the car on the first day, I believe somewhere in Eastern Ohio. I wasn’t planning on making this at this time. I started this project a few weeks ago when I was going to the Goodwill in West Loop with one of my friends from knit group, and needed an easy project for the train ride. I think the only other project I had going on at the time was the sweater for my cousin’s son, and that was going to be a pain on public transportation. So I started this that day instead.

The yarn came from a yarn store in Indiana that has since closed. The colorway was made specifically for that store, in reference to the Blueberry Festival held every year there (Plymouth, IN). I still have .74 of a skein left. I wonder if I can make some small wrist warmers to go with it or something.

I love how the colors stripe and pool. It reminds me of the reflection of the sky in water. Perhaps it will be a nice pick-me-up on a drab winter day.

This next project I started and completed on the trip.

Spoilers Socks
Pattern: Spoilers Socks (Doctor Who Inspired) by C.C. Almon
Yarn: Pandia’s Jewels Snug in Spoilers, .6 skeins
Needles: US 1.5
Date started: August 13, 2014
Date completed: August 19, 2014

This must be the fastest I ever knit a pair of socks. The yarn and pattern came from the Doctor Who Companion Sock Club – this was the first installment. This was such a perfect project for this trip because it was easy to memorize the pattern, so I didn’t have to keep turning and looking at it. I started the toe on the first sock on the first night of our trip in a hotel room in Pittsburgh, PA. Because it was so easy I was able to easily knit on it in the car or while talking to family. I finished the first sock while on a bus tour of Gettysburg.

Finished 1st Spoiler sock while touring Gettysburg #operationsockdrawer

I was even able to work on it during a tour of Hershey, at least until I got to the heel. I finished the sock after we were headed back home, while we were on I-80 somewhere in Clearfield County, PA. It was raining at the time.

Road trip socks. Cast on in a hotel room I'm Pittsburgh, wove in ends on I-80 in Clearfield County, PA. #operationsockdrawer

Here is a close up of the cable.

Spoilers Socks

I love how these socks turned out. I can’t wait to wear them. Too bad it’s still summer! There is plenty of yarn left over for hexipuffs, so you will probably be seeing some of those in the near future.

Even though I finished two projects during this trip, the yards knit for these projects was smaller than the number of yards I purchased on the trip. The Blueberry Hill cowl used 252 yards, and the Spoilers Socks used 277.2 yards. With those completed, I’m back to having knit 90.1% of the total yards I purchased so far this year. Not bad, but since then I’ve gotten the next skein of yarn for the sock club.

That’s okay, though, because I started another project on my trip. I’m working on the Vertex Cardigan. I’m hoping to finish it during this long holiday weekend, but we’ll see.

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My Trip in Fiber Part 1: Yards In

Posted by Andi on August 23, 2014

My mom, Tim, and I recently took a road trip to Harrisburg, PA for our family reunion. We stopped for the night in Pittsburgh on the way there, and Port Clinton, OH on the way back. I was thinking about how I was going to post about the trip. I decided I’m going to do two posts that are fiber related, and if I decide I want to post about other parts of the trip (or if you tell me you want more details) I will go into that later.

This post is about the yarn I bought on the trip. Before we left I had asked the Puck This! group on Ravelry about yarn stores in the Harrisburg/Hershey area, and got several recommendations. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get to any of the shops. I missed on opportunity early on — one shop was in between Harrisburg and Gettysburg and I thought we could stop at the shop on the way back, but we spent too long at Gettysburg and didn’t get to that.

It wasn’t until our last full day in Harrisburg that I got to buy some yarn. We went to Hershey early in the day and ate lunch there, and had the second half of the day to do something else. We decided to go yarn shopping. There were two shops that were recommended to me that were near Lancaster, which if I recall correctly was about 30 minutes from Hershey. One was north of Lancaster, and one was south of Lancaster. Since Hershey is north of Lancaster, we decided to go to that one.

The shop is called Flying Fibers, and it’s in Landisville, PA. It is a lovely shop. I wanted to get some local yarn or yarn I couldn’t easily get at any of the shops I frequent in the Chicago area. I ended up getting two skeins of yarn.

Wandering Creativity Merino/Bamboo/Nylon

This is a skein of Wandering Creativity merino/bamboo/nylon yarn. I believe this yarn is dyed by a shop employee or someone who lives in that town. I almost bought a different colorway, but then saw this skein tucked behind another one, so I got this one. I hope this gets my desire for Regia Fluormania out of my system. This skein doesn’t have fluorescent colors, but it is green and yellow, which are the colors in the skein of Fluormania I want. Between a new skein of green and yellow yarn and the skein of Dramatic Knits yarn I bought a couple of weeks ago, I should be good. Anyway, there are approximately 459 yards in the skein, so I should be able to make a variety of different things with it.

I didn’t stop there.

Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop DK

This is a skein of Wnsleydale Longwool Sheepshop DK, 257 yards. I had a hard time choosing a color. At first I was walking around the shop with a peacock blue sort of color, and then I realized I already have a skein of yarn in that color. I thought about buying a couple of skeins and making a two-color project because there was a lime green skein and a coral skein, both of which I really liked, but didn’t want to make full projects with them. In the end I chose this skein. The color isn’t perfect in the photo. It’s a periwinkle blue color, which used to be one of my favorite crayons for the 64 pack. I’ve never had yarn in this color. I think I already chose a pattern for it — the Three Way Stop Hat by Brittany Wilson. They had this yarn in other weights too, and I may see if I can order some of I really enjoy knitting with this skein.

So, if you are keeping track, I added 716 yards of yarn to my stash from these purchases. That comes to a total of 7,292 yards purchased so far this year. Not including the projects I completed on the trip (which I will include in the next post) I had knit 6,044.5 yards, which is 82.9% of the yards I purchased. Not good! Since then I have completed two projects, started another one, but also got another skein of yarn. No more buying yarn for a long time for me!

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Posted by Andi on August 21, 2014

Pattern: Ballinagree by Carol Feller, from the book Contemporary Irish Knits
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Solids in Gray Heather, 2.88 skeins
Needles: US 6
Date started: June 12, 2014
Date completed: August 11, 2014

This is a sweater I knit for my cousin’s son. I was a little concerned about sizing because he’s 3.5 years old, but tall for his age. I decided to knit the size recommended for a 4-year-old. I was close on gauge, but it was going to be a touch bigger, which I thought was okay. I would rather it be too big and he has to grow into it then for it to be too small.

The sweater is made from the bottom up, adding the sleeves with the yoke. Basically you knit the body of the sweater to the underarms, then knit each sleeve and add them to the yoke. I thought I wasn’t going to finish on time, but I finished a whole sleeve, part of the other sleeve, the yoke in the collar in just a few days. I had to actually take a day away from knitting because my wrists hurt. But I finished it just in time!!

I brought it to our family reunion and gave it to my cousin and his wife last week. They seemed to love it.

This book has so many wonderful patterns. I’m sure I will knit more of them.

After buying so much yarn the week before I completed this sweater, it was nice to add this yardage to my “yards out” calculation. This sweater took 567.4 yards of yarn, bringing my total knit (as of the time I completed the sweater) to 6,044.5 yards. I had purchased (at the time I finished the sweater) 6,576 yards of yarn, so I had knit 91.9% of the yards I had purchased. Notice this is all past tense. Since I finished this sweater I’ve completed two more projects and, um, bought more yarn. I will be posting about that later this week.

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Yarn at Lollapalooza

Posted by Andi on August 13, 2014

Lollapalooza was the first weekend in August. At some point I may or may not write a post about the bands we saw, and about our weekend in more detail. But I did spot something fiber related there, and that’s what this post is about.

I end up with a lot of yarn leftovers for a variety of reasons. Provisional cast ons. Waste yarn used to hold stitches. The cast on tail was too long. I could go on. Usually I keep a small pile of such yarn in my living room in case I need some waste yarn, but when the pile gets too large I end up throwing it out. A new pile will accumulate soon enough. But I found a new use for waste yarn at Lollapalooza of all places.

Creative use of yarn #Lollapalooza2014

Vases! There were a bunch of these plants in the wine tent. It looks like they just put yarn around the outside of a square glass vase, and voila! It’s amazing what a little yarn and a hot glue gun can do!

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Back in the Red

Posted by Andi on August 11, 2014

July and August are clearly Stash Enhancement Time. I have already posted about the yarn I got in the swap and my first yarn club installment. Well, that was just the beginning.

First, I won a prize from the A Homespun House podcast’s Cooperative Press KAL (when I made my Fields of Malachite shawl).

My prize arrived! Thanks @a_homespun_house !!

The prize included a skein of Colour Adventures Girly Fun DK the Forest colorway, which is a lovely green and black with some silver. It also included some Such Gwenderful Stuff stitch markers, which are in rainbow colors and are super cute. Oh, and some gummy bears from Germany. They were tasty.

Then, this past Saturday, some friends of mine from knit group and I went to Knitche because they created a pop up shop for indie dyers in their store, and the first indie dyer featured is Leading Men Fiber Arts. I like the skein of Leading Men Fiber Arts yarn I’ve used (to make my Sallah Cowl), and wanted more. Oh, I got more.

Knitche is a great store. This is the first time I’ve been there since they moved to their new location, which is on two floors. I wish it was my house. Anyway, right when we first walked in, I saw this awesome Colinette Jitterbug and decided I had to have it.

Colinette Jitterbug

This is the Toscana colorway. I thought the colors would look kind of like speckles when knit up, and that seemed to be the theme for my purchases.

I went to the pop up store upstairs, and I swear I could have bought all of the Leading Men Fiber Arts yarn that was there. But I didn’t. Although I had various skeins in my hand several times, eventually I came home with three skeins.

First thing first. The whole reason I wanted to go to the shop in the first place was to get a skein of any base of the colorway Jazzercise Leggings. I have been coveting this for months. I have also been coveting Regia Fluormania yarn, which comes in all kinds of fluorescent colors, but when I saw I could get yarn in fluorescent yarn from an indie dyer I decided to get that. Then when I heard the pop up shop was coming I decided not to order it online.

Leading Men Fiber Arts Callback

This is the Callback base, which is sport weight. I think I’m going to alter the Sock Head Hat pattern for sport weight yarn. It will be fantastic to wear some bright yarn on dreary winter days. Later I saw a skein of Fluormania in the shop and picked it up, but decided to put it back.

At this point I started picking up a bunch of skeins and putting them back. Here are the two I ultimately chose.

Leading Men Fiber Arts Show Stopper

This is the Show Stopper base in the Imperfection colorway. Notice the speckles? I love them!! I have no project in mind for this, but I just had to have it.

Leading Men Fiber Arts Show Stealer

This is the Show Stealer base, which is merino, cashmere, and nylon. This is the Sritely Endeavors colorway. If you look closely at the picture you will see it has some speckles in it as well. It’s funny, you can think the yarn you have in your hands is soft and nice, until you touch this skein and realize you didn’t really know what soft yarn felt like until you touched it. These are going to make fantastic socks, but I may make a scarf or cowl instead so I can feel it against my neck instead.

I stopped myself here. This is what I bought. All this stash enhancement has really impacted my yards out/yards in ratio. The five skeins of yarn in this post added 1,857 yards to my total purchased in 2014. Thus far I have completed projects totalling 5,477.1 yards, meaning I have knit 83.3% of the yards I have purchased. Before this I was at 111%. So I’m back to having bought more than I used.

Speaking of enhancement, I won another podcast prize, this time from the Dramatic Knits podcast for their June Race to the Finished Object thread (for finishing my Cowl Neck Vest.

Podcast Prize

This is a cute project bag and some buttons from Art Institchtute. Perfect timing, because I’m going to need another project bag so I can cast on some more yarn and catch up!! Seriously, recently I decided I don’t have enough project bags, and so I was really happy to receive this.

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For the Swap

Posted by Andi on August 9, 2014

I participated in a swap recently. We are supposed to include something we made. Some people knit or crochet, some sew something, make soap, bake, etc. I went with knitting. First, I made this hat for my swap partner.

Alexandra Hat
Pattern: Alexandra Hat by Jillian Moreno, from the book Lace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of Lace by Judith Durant
Yarn: Noro Kureyon in 219, .88 skein
Needles: US 5
Date started: June 28, 2014
Date completed: June 29, 2014

I used stash yarn, and I already owned this book. I actually got it for my birthday, and this was the first pattern I made from it.

I was going to make fingerless gloves as well, and actually cast them on. But then I thought the pattern was poorly written, I was having problems with it, and the fingerless gloves were tight – I worried about the fit. So I frogged those and decided to make a dishcloth instead.

Christmas Lace Dishcloth
Pattern: Christmas Lace Dishcloth by Cathy Waldie, from Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar 2013
Yarn: Lion Brand Lion Cotton Solid in Sage, .21 skein
Needles: US 7
Date started: July 26, 2014
Date completed: July 26, 2014

I really love how classy this dishcloth looks. The pattern also has a dish towel, and I think knitting them both would make a lovely gift.

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Stash Enhancement Adjustment

Posted by Andi on July 29, 2014

If you’ve been reading this blog this year you know that in an effort to reduce my stash I’ve been keeping track of how many yards of yarn I knit as well as how many yards of yarn I purchase acquire. My goal is that, by the end of the year, I will have knit more yards than I acquire. I’ve been pretty good about sticking to my yarn buying rules (either have a pattern in mind, or it must be bought at a yarn festival or from an indie dyer, or souvenir yarn, or yarn I can’t easily get at home).

I have been knitting along nicely, finishing many projects and I have several WIPs. But in the past couple of weeks I’ve acquired some new yarn. It’s time for me to be accountable and add some new yards into the “acquired” total.

First, I received my package from the Puck This! Off Season Swap on Ravelry. In my package, not only did my lovely swap partner make me a beautiful orange market bag, but she also included this lovely yarn.

Blue Ridge Yarns Footlights in Blue Lagoon

This is Blue Ridge Yarns Footlights in the Blue Lagoon colorway. There are four mini skeins of 100 yards each. If you look at the bottom of the picture, you can see that there are two different shades of green (one on each end) and two skeins of navy blue. Keeping the skeins separate allows the knitter to determine for himself or herself how thick the stripes will be. Isn’t that cool?! I will separate the greens with a stripe of the blue. What I haven’t figured out yet is what I want to make. I’m not sure if I want to do socks or a scarf or a cowl. I kind of want to make all three. What would you make?

The second bit of stash enhancement comes courtesy of the Doctor Who Companion Sock Club by Pandia’s Jewels and Javapurl Designs. The yarn arrived on July 21st, and I received the pattern a few days later. Those of you who know me will know why I was so excited when I opened the yarn.

Pandia's Jewels Yarn Snug in Spoilers

Yes, there is some pink, but for the most part… BLACKHAWKS COLORS!!! The colorway is called Spoilers, and the pattern was inspired by River Song. I love the pattern and the yarn, and I can’t wait to knit this up.

So, now onto the calculations. These two skeins of yarn total 862 yards, bringing my total yarn procurement in 2014 to 4,719 yards. As of when I’m typing this post, I’ve knit a total of 5,477.1 yards. That means I’ve knit 116% of the yards I have acquired. I am quite proud that I added a fair amount of yarn to my stash, and I’m still ahead. While the total knit includes some projects that I have knit and haven’t posted, it does not include three WIPs I am currently working on, as well as a frogged project that I started and decided I didn’t like.

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