Knitstant Gratification

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

Dreary Shmeary

Posted by Andi on October 19, 2014

Back in August I purchased this lovely skein of Leading Men Fiber Arts Callback (their sport weight base) in one of my favorite all time colorways (and colorway names): Jazzercise Leggings.

Leading Men Fiber Arts Callback

This wasn’t just stash enhancement. I bought this yarn with a purpose — to make a super brightly colored hat for those really gray, dreary days we have here in Chicago as the seasons change. I was thinking of making a simple Sockhead Hat, casting on fewer stitches because this is sport weight yarn and that pattern calls for fingering weight yarn. But then I decided to look for a pattern that actually calls for sport weight yarn. Besides, I’ve already made two Sockhead Hats, and while they are easy and fun, I wanted to do something different. And I found one!

Dreary Shmeary Hat
Pattern: Fractured Light (Hat) by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Leading Men Fiber Arts Callback in Jazzercize Leggings, 0.59 skein
Needles: US 4
Date started: September 1, 2014
Date completed: September 27, 2014

The Fractured Light pattern is a free pattern on Knitty.com. I saw some FOs on Ravelry made with highly variegated yarn, and it still looked great, so I thought I would give it a try. I love how it turned out. There isn’t any pooling until the very top (which isn’t visible in the photo) where the decreases start. I love how this turned out. I get compliments on it whenever I wear it. I love it!

I actually finished the hat on September 8, but as you can see above I didn’t really complete it until much later. The hat used almost 60% of the skein, so I still had a fair amount of yarn left. The Fractured Light pattern is really for two things: the hat plus a pair of fingerless mitts. Since I had so much yarn left, but not enough to make another hat, I decided to take a shot on the fingerless mitts. Thus, I waited until I knew for sure I was going to make and keep the fingerless mitts so I would know how many buttons I needed to purchase.

Dreary Shmeary Mitts
Pattern: Fractured Light (Mittens) by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Leading Men Fiber Arts Callback in Jazzercize Leggings, 0.41 skein
Needles: US 4
Date started: September 18, 2014
Date completed: September 27, 2014

When I finished the first mitt I weight the amount of yarn I had left to determine whether or not I had enough yarn to make both. Sure enough, the yarn I had left was the same weight as the first mitt.

The game of yarn chicken was on!!

As I was working on the second mitt I realized I made an error on the first mitt. Once all of the thumb gusset increases are completed, you are supposed to knit a few more rows before separating the thumb stitches from the hand stitches. I didn’t do those extra rows — not on purpose, but I guess I just didn’t read the pattern right. I debated whether I should rip back the first one to put those rows in, or make the second one like the first one. Given that I was already playing yarn chicken, I decided to make the second one like the first one.

I know that if I had followed the pattern correctly I would not have had enough yarn to make both mitts. Here is what I had left after making both mitts.

I played yarn chicken... and won!!! #knitting

There was also a lot more pooling on the mitts than on the hat. I don’t mind pooling as it’s a way to tell something is handmade… to a point. I’ve seen pooling I haven’t been okay with before, but I like how these look. If I really didn’t like it I would have changed needle sizes to see if I could make it go away.

So, onto the buttons. I had a really hard time trying to figure out what kind of buttons to use. I didn’t think brightly colored buttons matching the yarn was the way to go. I thought it would cheapen the whole look somehow. I wanted the buttons to be noticeable (otherwise why have them?) but I didn’t want them to clash or look silly. When we were at the fabric store Tim found small silver buttons in the shape of skulls with rhinestone eyes that looked really cute with the yarn, but they didn’t have enough of them. I was about to go with some plainish black buttons that I wasn’t really happy with when I found these. They are transparent and very light purple, which is great because you can see the colors of the yarn through them, and they match because there is purple in the yarn. I thought there was a good balance there.

These were the last of the FOs I finished on that day (the Vertex Cardigan and Come Along Pond socks were the others… it was a prolific day). As of that day, with all these projects added together, I have knit a total of 8,070.2 yards since the beginning of the year. I received a new sock yarn shipment right before completing these projects, bringing the total amount of purchased/acquired yarn to 8,216 yards. Doing the math, I knit 98.2% of the total yards I have acquired so far this year. When I discovered that I was thrilled to be close to even, especially since I currently have three projects on the needles so I will be back in the black soon.

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Come Along, Pond

Posted by Andi on October 11, 2014

Come Along Pond Socks
Pattern: Come Along Pond Socks (Doctor Who Inspired) by C.C. Almon
Yarn: Pandia’s Jewels Snug in Come Along Pond, .67 skeins
Needle: US 1.5
Date started: September 1, 2014
Date completed: September 27, 2014

Inspired by Amy Pond, these socks are from the second month of the Doctor Who Companions Sock Club from Pandia’s Jewels and C.C. Almon. The are knit from the toe up, and have both cables and lace. The socks are mirror images of each other, and the cable runs up the outside of each foot.

Come Along Pond Socks

The rest of the sock is supposed to be lace.

Come Along Pond Socks

But I messed it up.

Since the socks are knit from the toe up, you only do the pattern for half the sock, as you do stockinette stitch for the bottom of the foot. After you finish the heel you go all the way around the leg. The pattern for the first installment of the club also had a cable up the outside of the foot, but when you started the leg it had two cables, one on the outside and one on the inside of the leg. You just knit the same stitch pattern twice around the leg.

Instead of reading this new pattern closely, I assumed it was the same thing. When I finished the first sock it had two cables, one on the outside and one on the inside, and the rest of it was lace. I didn’t start looking really closely at the pattern until I had already started the toe of the second sock. There was an extra chart for the right sock, and I wanted to see in advance what was different. That was when I realized I made a mistake with the first sock. It would only supposed to have one cable, the one on the outside of the foot. The lace was supposed to be repeated throughout. I had two cables. What to do?

I considered ripping back the leg of the first sock and doing the pattern correctly, but then I decided not to for several reasons.

1. I liked the cable part better than the lace part, so a sock with more cables was fine with me.
2. I was about to travel for several days, and I wanted to be at the beginning of a sock when I left so I could just work on one and not worry about cutting the yarn, weaving in ends, or anything like that. My plan was to start the toe of the second sock, and not start the stitch pattern for the foot until I had left. Ripping back the first sock would have messed that up because I didn’t have time to reknit the entire leg before my trip.
3. I’m doing the who Stashdown yards in/yards out thing, and I didn’t want to knit all those yards twice. Besides, see reason 1.

Seriously, if I didn’t like how it looked I would have ripped back and figured out another project for my trip. But I did like how it looked so I left it that way. The second cable isn’t a mistake, it’s a design element!

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Vertex Cardigan

Posted by Andi on October 4, 2014

Vertex Cardigan
Pattern: Vertex Cardigan by Carol Feller
Yarn: Ella Rae Lace Merino in colorway 137, 1.65 skeins
Needle: US 5
Date started: August 19, 2014
Date completed: September 27, 2014

This cardigan was sort of a long time coming. I bought this yarn two years ago (but it seems like longer) when an LYS was having a going out of business sale. I bought three skeins. That’s an odd amount for me, so I’m thinking it must have been the last three skeins in that color, but I’m not sure. For the longest time I was thinking of making a shawl with it. At some point I saw this pattern in an issue of Interweave Knits and decided it would be a better use of the yarn.

There is quite a bit to say about this yarn. First, even though it’s called Ella Rae Lace Merino, it’s actually fingering weight. I knew that when I bought it, so I was able to start looking for appropriate patterns. Caking the yarn was really frustrating. I did all three skeins because I didn’t know if I was going to use two full skeins or not. All three skeins had cuts in them. I wound one of the skeins into two cakes, and two of the skeins I wound into three cakes. Even beyond that, when I started knitting I found other weak spots where I broke the yarn and started again so the sweater wouldn’t unravel. I was so annoyed when I was done caking the yarn that I started looking at reviews on Ravelry. I found one or two other people who talked about cuts in the yarn. Many people complained about the name being misleading – they thought they were buying lace weight yarn (at least I had that right). The other complaint some people had was that, in some cases, skeins from the same dye lot looked very different when they were knit up. Thus, I alternated through the entire sweater, which was really irritating.

All that said, however, the yarn is so soft and has a lovely drape. It feels silky even though it is 100% merino wool. The colors are so pretty, and look consistent throughout. I don’t know if that’s because I alternated or because the colors were consistent across the skeins. Because of the cuts in the yarn, I was able to alternate with partial skeins at a time, mixing them all together even more.

Vertex Cardigan

The pattern is seamless. You do the yoke area and the fronts first, then work on the back. Once the back is as long as the two front panels it’s joined after the underarms and knit in one piece. It was interesting construction, but not confusing. The pattern tells you to measure across your back at the underarms to determine size, and I was worried the whole time that it would not come out right, but I think it did. I’m happy with the back.

The front doesn’t have a closure, and actually doesn’t close around me. It doesn’t seem to close on the model either. I looked at FOs on Ravelry, and found that it closes on some people and not others. I didn’t look closely enough to see if people just made garments with more positive ease, or if they altered the pattern to make the fronts wider. I wore this on Saturday when I took the photos (I just kept it on the rest of the day), and I think this is going to take some getting used to. I’ve never had a cardigan that doesn’t close, and even though I knew it would be like that, it still feels odd now that I’ve worn it. Also, I’ve never been much of a vest or short sleeved sweater wearer. I made this to wear over tank tops so that my shoulders could be covered a little, and it works really well for that.

This is the first fingering weight garment I have ever made. With all the fingering weight yarn I have in my stash, and all of the things I’ve knit with it, I’ve never made a garment – only accessories. I think this was a great test because I have other fingering weight sweaters I want to make, but wasn’t sure I would have the patience to make something so large in such thin yarn. This went great. It is mostly stockinette stitch, with some increases and decreases to make the bias panels. It didn’t take much thought. It was my mindless knit. I worked on it while watching television and whatnot. I feel more confident that I can start, and actually finish, other fingering weight garments. I think I have to keep it basic, however. If it had cables or lace I might get tired of making the whole thing, but if it’s my mindless project I should have no problem.

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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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Ballinagree

Posted by Andi on August 21, 2014

Ballinagree
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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