Knitstant Gratification

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

Archive for January, 2012

Puffing along

Posted by Andi on January 28, 2012

There seems to have been a radical shift in my hexipuff production as of late. Over the last two months I only made 10 hexipuffs, but since my last update I’ve made eight, with several more on tap for today.

Why the change? First, I’ve actually had some down time this week, something that’s been missing from my life for a couple of months. Second, the DVR has been in a state of near saturation recently, so I’m constantly having to watch something to make room for the recordings coming up. Hexipuffs are great television projects! Finally, perhaps my motivation has increased with an influx of new yarns. I got two yarns from Mimi, which started off the kick, and yesterday I broke into this:

Lorna's Laces Mini Skeins

Angela got me a bunch of Lorna’s Laces mini skeins for Christmas! Earlier this week I spent some time winding all of the hanks into little tiny yarn cakes so they would be ready to knit. Last night I knit the first two (top row fifth from the right and bottom row seventh from either side) while watching Midnight In Paris.

With all of the shows on the DVR coupled with all of the Netflix discs of award-nominated movies I plan to watch over the next few weeks, I anticipate a huge increase in my puffing capacity.

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That’s fast!

Posted by Andi on January 27, 2012

Wednesday morning I didn’t see my project bag on the couch and sat on it. Snap! I broke the needle that my sock was on. It was a Knit Picks Options Harmony needle. I wanted to replace the needle fairly quickly because I was planning on going out of town Tuesday morning. i needed the needle in time to transfer the stitches onto it and pack it by Monday evening to travel first thing Tuesday morning.

I considered running to a store and finding the first size 1 needle I could that was long enough for magic loop, but you know what? I really like my Knit Picks needle. I wanted to replace it, not substitute it. There are a few stores that carry Knit Picks needles around here, but I haven’t been feeling well and wasn’t in the mood to run around looking or calling a bunch of stores. Plus, then if I didn’t find one, there would be no way to get it by Monday, preferably before.

So I decided the best option was to order the needle from Knit Picks and pay for expedited shipping. I went with the two-day rather than three-day shipping. I placed the order late Wednesday morning, expecting to receive my package on Friday, today. Imagine my surprise when the package arrived yesterday! That’s right, 24 hours later I had my new needle! Thanks, Knit Picks!!

Of course there was no way I could order just one needle for less than $10. That’s no fun. I also ordered this awesome skein of sock yarn.

Knit Picks Stroll Hand-Painted in Punky

I love the way it has bright colors AND black! It’s Knit Picks Stroll Hand-Painted in Punky. How cool is that? It’s so soft and nice. I was planning on using a different sock yarn next, but I think I might need to use this right away.

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Sunrise over Houston

Posted by Andi on January 23, 2012

Sunrise over Houston 1

Sunrise over Houston 2

Taken January 18, 2012 from my hotel room
Houston, TX

The return to Chicago’s cold weather was a slap in the face
last week.

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FO: iPhoodie for Millicent

Posted by Andi on January 22, 2012

iPhoodie for Millicent
Pattern: iPhoodie (ipod/iphone hoodie) by Emily Vanek
Yarn: Bernat Super Value Solids
Needles: US 3
Date: January 15, 2012

I spent all of last weekend preparing my new iPod for use. I started on Saturday by wrapping the ear bud wires in embroidery floss.

Wrapping ear bud wires in embroidery floss

At first I was going to wrap them differently, with much longer color repeats. But as I was looking on Pinterest I saw wires with more frequent color repeats, and I really liked how that looked. Plus, I thought larger sections of the green could be annoyingly bright. Basically I just made knots, switching colors after every knot.

Embroidery floss wrapped ear buds

Wrapping the wires was quite time consuming. Over several hours on Saturday I managed to finish the doubled-wire that goes from the jack up to where the wires split for the ear buds, as well as most of one of the wires that goes from the split up to the ear buds. I finished the rest on Sunday morning while watching episodes of Downton Abbey.

I spent the rest of Sunday making the new hoodie. It was a tight gauge on worsted weight yarn, and I have to admit that I over did it. I really wanted it done before my Monday morning commute, but my arms and hands were really sore. That was stupid. But it’s done.

I’ve had one trip since then. I brought some knitting and kept the new iPod in my knitting project bag, and what do you know, I did not leave it on the plane! I hope this week’s trip sees me bringing my new iPod home as well.

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Hexipuffing, Month 5

Posted by Andi on January 21, 2012

Hexipuffing, Month 5

All I did the day I posted the Month 4 update was knit hexipuffs. Six in one day. So now I’m up to 60. This new batch includes hexipuffs made from sock yarn leftovers provided by Frances. Thanks, Frances!

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Lesson learned: Must knit on planes

Posted by Andi on January 15, 2012

Last week I went on a business trip, and I didn’t bring any knitting with me for two main reasons.

1. I was going to be gone for five days. With all of the clothes I had to bring and my desire to not check my baggage, there was no room in either of my bags for knitting.

2. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was considering not bringing knitting on trips unless it was absolutely necessary so that if I wasn’t asleep or working on the plane I could read for pleasure, something I haven’t had as much time as I would like of late.

The decision not to bring any knitting meant I had to alter how I travel. Normally I keep my cell phones and iPod in my project bag so they are easy to take out and put away at the appropriate times. The bag I keep under my seat is big and can be a pain to keep taking out if the flight is crowded. With no project bag I did have to take that bag out to deal with my cell phones.

I made one key mistake, though. At one point I stuck my iPod in the seat back pocket in front of me while I dealt with other things, and promptly forgot about it until the next day when I didn’t have it. Despite calling two airports and putting in a missing item report with the airline my iPod was not turned in. I only had it for two months! Worse, I don’t use the horrible ear buds it comes with, so I had new ear buds and had just purchased new tips for them.

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I cannot get by without my iPod. I use it when I travel. I use it during my commute to and from the office. I use it at work. I listen to many podcasts and lots of music. Going without an iPod for even a short is difficult for me. Yes, I know this is a first work problem and in the grand scheme of the world is not a big deal, but flying home Friday afternoon would have been a much more pleasant experience if my trusty iPod had been with me.

Yesterday I bought a new iPod. Her name is Millicent. Since I’m starting from scratch with a new device and new ear buds and a new hoodie, I decided to wrap the wires of the new ear buds in embroidery floss to make them tangle free.

Millicent and her accessories

I found some old purple acrylic yarn left over from an afghan I made for my dad and stepmother for Christmas a few years ago. It’s less blue than it appears in the photo above. I chose the yarn before going to Best Buy since there is a Michael’s right next door, and I figured I could buy the embroidery floss on the same trip. Imagine my delight when I found purple ear buds! And they have skulls on them! Clearly those were the ear buds I had to buy. Then I went to Michael’s and bought some lime green and purple embroidery floss to wrap the wires.

The wire wrapping is complete with photos to come in a future post. I like how they turned out. Today I started the hoodie. I really hope I can finish it tonight so that the whole package will be complete in time for tomorrow morning’s commute.

Chances are that, due to this experience, I will never forget my iPod on a plane again. But there is one key way for me to make sure it never happens again: always bring a knitting project bag with me on a flight.

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Hexipuffing, Month 4

Posted by Andi on January 7, 2012

Well, as I thought, it was a crazy month with gift knitting and many other things in life that kept me from knitting as much as I would have liked. So here is the four-month progress picture for my Beekeeper’s Quilt:

Hexipuffing, Month 4

Guess how many news ones there were? Four. See the column down the middle with just four hexipuffs? Those are the new ones.

This picture is three weeks late, so expect a new one next weekend. I will only have one knitting day, and maybe one evening, to make more. Next month’s picture won’t look too dissimilar to this one.

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Second annual resolution fail

Posted by Andi on January 1, 2012

In a post from a year ago I went over what my knitting resolutions for 2011 were.

1. Finish the Blanket From Hell. I’m so close!

I did that one!! I hit a bump in the road by having to buy more yarn than I originally ordered for the project, but finally, the last weekend in February, I finished the blanket at a restaurant before meeting the gift recipient for a movie. It wasn’t the first afghan or blanket I ever made, but it was the biggest and certainly took the longest. The whole time I vowed that I would never knit another afghan in worsted weight yarn. I promptly went out and bought Comfort Knitting and Crochet: Afghans which features many such patterns. But they’re gorgeous!!

2. I’m participating in the January Hat Trick in the Puck This! group on Ravelry. The goal is to knit at least three hats in the month of January. I have four patterns chosen and the corresponding yarn chosen, so if I finish the third one early I can do four. But I need to be reasonable. The goal is three hats.

I’m not sure I truly accomplished this one because I finished the third hat on 2/1, a day late. But I did three hats. I wore one of them frequently last winter.

3. I’m also participating in the Sock Stash Knitdown in the Stash and Burn group on Ravelry. Most of the people participating are planning to knit down 12 skeins of sock yarn from their stash. Because of my time constraints and other projects I want to complete, my goal is to knit down 10 skeins.

I made a good attempt, but I failed at this one. I finished eight projects (one skein per project), and I’m halfway through the ninth, but didn’t have time to finish it. I could have been closer. I had finished one sock and was most of the way through a second when I realized I wouldn’t have yarn so I frogged them. That would have put me at nine projects and halfway through the tenth. So I was close. I pretty much stuck with using yarns that I already had in my stash for a long time, and mostly used patterns I already owned.

4. I have yarn for three garments that has been sitting in my stash, and I want to knit all three garments this year. I bought some recycled yarn at Yarn Con in 2009, some Malabrigo Lace to make a cardigan back in the summer, and a sweater’s worth of Dream In Color Classy at their warehouse sale a few months ago. I have projects in mind, and I have no excuse. I need to get started on those.

This was a complete failure. I made no garments for myself. I started making a cardigan with the Malabrigo Lace, but about halfway through knitting it I realized I didn’t like how the cardigan was turning out, so I frogged it. I have chosen another pattern for the yarn, but haven’t gotten around to starting it. I’ve made some steps toward using the Dream In Color yarn by organizing the patterns in my Ravelry queue that are appropriate for that yarn in order to narrow them down and choose one. I’m still no where near using the recycled yarn.

Finally, it wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution, but it was another knitting goal I set for myself — make a hat, scarf, and mittens to go with my winter coat. And how have I done on that? Well, I finished the hat. I wear it sometimes and I love it. I made one mitten, but it’s not lined yet so I’m not even half done with the mittens. I started the second one, but stopped when I got to the first colorwork row, and there it’s been sitting for months. The scarf is nowhere near finished.

So even though I keep failing, I am setting knitting goals for 2012.

1. Finish the mittens and scarf. Yes, it’s a goal left over from last year, but they need to be finished. I’m no longer enthused with knitting these, but I still think they look beautiful and I want to wear them. I just don’t want to knit them anymore!

2. Make at least one garment for myself. This is a modification of one of last year’s goals, but instead of wanting to make three sweaters I’m being more realistic and am hoping for one. I really think I will make something out of the Dream In Color first.

3. Make my dining room centerpiece. As you may have seen, I’m collecting Cascade 220 to make amigurumi vegetables, which I’m going to put in a colander and use as the centerpiece of my dining room table.

4. Read more when I travel. This is kind of a non-knitting goal. Knitting on airplanes helped me work down eight skeins of sock yarn last year, and clearly I can use that time productively. However, I feel it’s at the expense of something else I want to do with my free time — read more. I only read three books in 2011. One, Gone with the Wind, I started in 2010 when I was in Thailand. The second was Andre Agassi’s autobiography, which I read slowly at home, little bits at a time. The third was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I read over the two weeks before Christmas. Part of the reason I could finish it in time to see the film with friends on Christmas night was because, after hurting my shoulder, I didn’t knit for nearly a week. I want to read more, which means I will have to knit less. That’s okay, and that’s also why my knitting goals for this year are scaled back compared to the past few years.

Expect a similar post next year, but hopefully it will have a different title!

Finally, I have one regular New Year’s Resolution for myself. I’m going to cut back on diet soda. I will still allow myself to drink it at restaurants, or maybe on car trips to Indiana, but my goal is to not have it every day at work, not have it at home (at this point we hardly ever have soda in the house anymore anyway), and not have it be my go-to drink if I’m in a convenience store. I haven’t decided about airplanes. Airplane coffee is awful, so I may allow myself to have diet soda on airplanes. Given these criteria, I should be drinking diet soda once a week or less — better than the nearly daily rate I have going right now.

So there you go. I hope everyone had a wonderful 2012.

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