Knitstant Gratification

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

Doppler

Posted by Andi on July 13, 2015

Doppler
Pattern: Doppler: Men’s by Marnie McLean
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Chestnut (8 skeins, 880 yards) and Hollyberry (1 skein, 110 yards)
Needles: US 7
Date started: March 1, 2015
Date completed: July 5, 2015

Let me tell you about this sweater.

I received the Chestnut yarn from a friend in my knit group about two or three years ago. She gave me this yarn and the yarn I used to make my Whirlwind cardigan. I had 880 yards of the Chestnut yarn, which wasn’t quite enough to make a sweater for myself, at least not one with long sleeves. I showed the yarn to Tim to see if he liked it, since a sweater for him would take less yardage than a sweater for me. He did like it, so we started looking for patterns.

Eventually Tim settled on Doppler, which comes in two versions: crew neck and turtle neck. Tim liked the turtle neck. I looked at the yardage requirements printed on the pattern, and was surprised it was so low, especially since the yardage for the women’s version was much higher. I wasn’t the only one who thought that was weird – someone had left a comment on Ravelry asking about that. The designer said the women’s version was knit out of a different weight of yarn, and that’s why the yardage requirements were so different. It gave me some pause, but I figured I had more than 200 yards more than the pattern called for, of course I had enough yarn! I cast on.

I knit the entire body and got through the sleeve cap of the first sleeve when I realized I wasn’t going to have enough yarn to finish the sweater. As I was working on that sleeve the skein I was using at the time seemed very low, but I kept getting more and more done on the sleeve, so I thought I might win this game of yarn chicken. If not, I would need more yarn.

Just in case I started looking at Ravelry. There were a couple of people who had the Chestnut yarn in the same dye lot in their stashes. One looked like she wasn’t very active on Ravelry, so I worried that if I sent her a message she would never see it. I can’t remember why I didn’t think the other would work out. Maybe I didn’t think she had enough? Or there was a project attached to it? I don’t recall, but I remember thinking getting someone else’s stash yarn was a long shot.

I asked the members of the Puck This! group on Ravelry whether it would look good to knit the collar out of a different color of yarn than the rest of the sweater. A couple of people said yes, but that I should try to incorporate that color somewhere else such as the sleeves. I thought that made sense, so I brought it up to Tim. I pulled the other colors of Wool of the Andes I have, as well as some other worsted weight yarns. At first Tim didn’t seem too keen on them, but then he picked the Hollyberry as well as a blue worsted weight yarn, and he would decide when the time comes.

So I kept knitting with the Chestnut yarn. I finished the first sleeve, but it became clear during the second sleeve I was definitely not going to have enough yarn for the collar, but I also might not have enough to finish the second sleeve. My original plan was to rip back the first sleeve by about an inch to make the cuff out of the second color, and thought I could apply that yarn to the second sleeve and I would be okay.

Nope.

I ran out of yarn with maybe three or four inches to go in the second sleeve, two or three inches if you figure the bottom of the sleeve was going to be in the other color. Ugh.

Oh, I remember now the ultimate reason why I didn’t want to ask a Ravelry user for the yarn. I had no idea how much yarn I would need to finish the sleeve and the collar. I had already used more than 200 yards than the pattern had called for, so I had no idea how much yarn the collar was going to eat up. We made the decision to order more yarn from Knit Picks. Since I had no idea how much yarn I needed, I ordered three skeins. I knew I would need at least one, figured maybe two, but I really didn’t want to run out of yarn again. I was hoping the dye lots would match and we would have a one-color sweater.

The dye lots didn’t match up well enough. Oh well, I will be able to make a nice cowl for myself out of the yarn!

Back to the sweater. At first Tim picked the blue yarn, but I had a sense that it wasn’t what he wanted. I finally got him to admit that he only chose the blue because there was more of it, and that he liked the red better. I told him we would try the red and see how it goes. I had a little more than one skein of the red and hoped I would have enough.

I started by counting how many rows I needed to finish the second sleeve, then ripped back enough rows of the first sleeve to be able to make the brown portion of the sleeves the same length. I put both sleeves on waste yarn and knit the collar in Hollyberry first. That worked out. Then I knit the bottom of both sleeves. It took almost the full skein of yarn, but I was able to finish the sweater.

Tim likes the sweater. You may note he doesn’t look too happy in the photo. That’s because it was 85 degrees outside when I asked him to take the picture. He was a very good sport and didn’t complain once. I took the photo as quickly as I could so he could take the sweater off right away.

All in all I ended up using more than 300 yards more than the pattern called for. I looked at the comments on Ravelry and saw that someone else had the same issue (I did this while I was still knitting the sweater, before I ran out of yarn). The designer thought it could be due to the fact that the gauge swatch (which I did) was ribbed and supposed to be blocked with a little stretch, and I probably stretched it too much. Oops! I will have to keep that in mind if I make anything else where the gauge swatch is ribbed.

It ended up working out fine. I think the sweater is more interesting with another color, and it required me to be creative to come up with a solution. I really like how it turned out. I showed this picture to a few people who comment on how much they like the red in it, and I have to chuckle a little because it certainly wasn’t the plan!

So I used 990 yards of yarn for this pattern, but purchased 330 yards from Knit Picks in the hopes the yarn would match. I have now used up or destashed 6,747.4 yards of yarn, and acquired 8072.2 yards of yarn, which brings me to 83.6%. Not shabby anymore, at least until I bought two sweater quantities of yarn last week. More on that in an upcoming post.

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Punky Cappuccino Socks

Posted by Andi on July 3, 2015

Punky Cappuccino socks
Pattern: C.C.’s Vanilla Cappuccino Socks by C.C. Almon
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Hand-Painted in Punky, .62 skein (286.4 yards)
Needles: US 1
Date started: June 16, 2015
Date completed: June 27, 2015

I love these socks. I mean, I really love these socks. I love everything about them. I love the way the colors flashed. I love the way they fit. I love the way the yarn feels. I just love these socks!

I used the fish lips kiss heel for the first time with these socks. And guess what… I love the heel. It fits great.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the fish lips kiss heel is a short row heel that doesn’t involve wrap & turns. I wanted to give this heel a shot because no matter how well I make a short row heel with wrap & turns, I feel like the two sides of my heel always look different. I don’t like how it looks. But I like the ease of short row socks, particularly when knitting magic loop. I find picking up gusset stitches to be a bit of a pain.

The great thing about the instructions for the heel is that they come with instructions for toe-up and cuff-down socks. It also has detailed instructions for measuring your foot to determine when to start the heel. I have to admit I didn’t do that. I made these socks from the toe up, and since I usually start my heels when I’m 2.5″ away from the full length of my foot I decided to try that and it was perfect. It fits great.

I made a bigger cuff than usual, yet I still feel like these socks didn’t use enough yards – they took only 286.4 yards, bringing my total knit (or destashed) to 5,757.4 yards (I destashed some yarn as a prize this week). I’ve procured 7,742.2 yards, so I’m at 74.4%. Ugh. Not where I want to be.

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Slowly Getting to a SABLE Situation

Posted by Andi on June 28, 2015

Last year I was so good about keeping my yarn purchasing under control, and this year I feel like I just can’t buy enough yarn.

And I’m not knitting fast enough.

A few weeks ago, when we were in Indiana, we visited Sheep’s Clothing in Valparaiso. It’s a lovely shop. We go there about once a year. While there I asked Tim to see if there were yarns or patterns he liked, or just colors… anything. I regularly do this when Tim comes to a yarn store with me as a way to prevent him from being bored to tears, and to get ideas of things he likes so if I want to knit him a gift I know what to get. The whole time we were there I kept asking if if he saw anything that interested him. No. I would pick up skeins of yarns in colors I thought he would like and asked if he liked them. No. Finally he said he saw two skeins of yarn he liked, and in particular he liked the color combination.

Cascade 220 Fingering in #8891 Cyan and #9570 Concord Grape

This is Cascade 200 Fingering in the Cyan and Concord Grape colorways. I told him I could make him a boomerang scarf out of these colors. He decided he wanted the cyan stripes to be wider than the concord grape stripes, so that’s why I bought two skeins of cyan and one of concord grape. I’m not sure when I will get to these, but at least there is a project associated with this yarn.

Unfortunately a local yarn store near me has closed. In the weeks before it closed its doors they had a huge sale. So what did I do? I decided to buy a sweater’s quantity of yarn. There weren’t many sweater’s quantity’s left. I was debating whether to buy two or three colors to make a multicolored sweater, but I couldn’t pick out a pattern quickly enough to make that decision. Then I looked at the yarns where there were enough skeins to make a sweater. I chose this one.

Cascade 200 in #9451 Lupin

This is Cascade 200 (the worsted version this time) in the Lupin colorway. I bought all six skeins, which is 1,320 yards (ouch). I can make a sweater to fit myself with that much yardage, but it will have to be basic or have three-quarter sleeves or something like that. Nothing with cables or oversized. There were some colors with more than six skeins, but I didn’t like those colors very much.

So there we go, 2,139 new yards of yarn entered my stash. In my defense I’m destashing 510 yards as a playoff pool prize, so I really only added 1,629 yards.

I first heard of the acronym SABLE (stash acquisition beyond life expectancy) a few years ago, but lately it has popped up on my Twitter feed and in other places. I am no where near that point, but I just can’t knit fast enough lately. But that makes me wonder, if I didn’t buy any yarn until I use up my stash (with the exception of the several yards of leftovers from each project) how long could I knit? I don’t even know how many yards I have. Maybe three to five years? I don’t know.

It’s completely unrealistic for me to say I wouldn’t buy yarn until I completely knit down my stash. But I wonder if I could go a full year? Six months? Could I do it? I probably could if it wasn’t for gifts. Until recently much of the time when I bought larger quantities of yarn it was to make a gift for someone. Could I go six months and not buy yarn and just knit from my stash? I must be able to.

Here’s my goal. I do have a few gifts I already know I want to make. Once I buy the yarn for those, I want to go a year without buying yarn. This is cheating in a way because the gifts are going to be kind of time consuming. But can I go a year without buying yarn? That’s going to be the goal for 2016 because this is ridiculous already. Let’s hope I don’t buy 83490284392 skeins of yarn in the rest of 2015 to make up for it!

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WWKIPD 2015 – I finished something!

Posted by Andi on June 14, 2015

Yesterday was World Wide Knit in Public Day. I didn’t even realize it until the day before when someone from my knitting group posted about it. I looked at a list of events in the Chicago area and wasn’t jazzed with any of them, so I took my knitting out in public to a place I wanted to go. I chose a new local bar, and knit there for a while. My knitting is pictured here with a delicious glass of cider.

Enjoying a cider on World Wide Knit In Public Day #wwkipd #knitting #2townsciderhouse #ginjaninja

This is the second sock. I got all the way to the toe decreases, but didn’t quite finish it before we left. I finished it shortly after I got home.

Rainbow Swirl Socks
Pattern: Rainbow Swirl Socks by Ann McClure
Yarn: Berroco Sox in 1483, .7 skein (308 yards)
Needles: US 1
Date started: April 24, 2013
Date completed: June 13, 2013

I think the pooling is kind of cool. The yarn has three colors: light gray, dark gray, and magenta. In any given spot of the pool there are two colors, which show up every other row. This is also the first sock I ever knit that called for a stockinette stitch heel flap. I’ve made other stockinette stitch heels, but they were all short row heels as opposed to heel flaps. We’ll see how it wear. This is pretty sturdy sock yarn, so I’m not concerned.

This yarn used up 308 yards of yarn from a fairly large skein, so I will have plenty of yarn left over from hexipuffs. That small amount of yardage is a fraction of the amount I purchased recently. I know, I know. Not good. So I’m at 62.8% right now. I have a sweater that is fairly close to coming off the needles, but that’s still not going to get me very far. I thought I was going to finish that sweater this past week, but I had a few days of hand pain from typing, and I had to work on the airplane during my trip, so I didn’t get a lot of knitting done the past week or so. But I’m plugging away.

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Round, Round, Get Around Shawl

Posted by Andi on June 6, 2015

Round, Round, Get Around Shawl
Pattern: Round, Round, Get Around Shawl by C.C. Almon
Yarn: Dream In Color Starry in Happy Forest (.88.skein) and Visual Purple (.96 skein)
Needles: US 5
Date started: April 6, 2015
Date completed: May 20, 2015

I love this shawl! It’s so nice and big and warm. Too bad I finished it just as the weather was getting nicer. Even though we’ve had a few unseasonably cold days, I’ve only been able to wear it once.

I bought this pattern right when it came out and was on sale with the intention of using the Purl Soho Line Weight yarn I bought when I was in NYC in January, 2014. Then one day I was pattern stalking and found a different pattern to use for that yarn. So I sat on this one for a while until I remembered I had two colors of Dream In Color Starry, maybe I could use those.

The pattern is mostly garter stitch, so while I was knitting it the rows that had both green and purple in them were kind of smooshed up, and it was difficult to see those rows. However, blocking opened it up nicely.

Round, Round, Get Around Shawl

My comfort with slip stitches makes me think I might be ready to try some stranded projects. Even though slip stitch knitting requires only using one color per row, it’s still stranded. You still have to carry the working yarn behind the slipped stitches. I have managed to do this on two projects now without them puckering, so I’m proud of myself.

Now for the numbers. This shawl used up 826.2 yards of yarn, bringing my total yards out to 4,553. My yards in is 5,603.2, so I have knit 81.3% of that. The sweater, shawl, and sock projects I currently have on the needles are keeping me on pace, at least until I use my LYS gift certificate to buy a sweater’s worth of yarn. I might do that today or tomorrow.

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What to get?

Posted by Andi on May 30, 2015

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago. I got two knitting related birthday presents. The first was a copy of Sock Architecture by Lara Neel. I’ve been wanting to try all the heels and toes in that book so that I make socks in any way that I want to and be able to customize other patterns easily, but I will probably start by knitting the patterns in the book. Woo hoo!

The second gift was a gift certificate to a local yarn store. I was trying to think of what to buy, and while I’m still not certain I have narrowed it down a bit. I have knit a lot of things, and some pretty impressive things. But I don’t have any garments I have made for myself that are awesome. I have great accessories, but the sweaters I have made for myself are pretty plain. I decided I want to make an awesome sweater for myself – something interesting and with cables that look amazing. I also want it to be something that is versatile so I can get a lot of use out of it.

I didn’t want to narrow the patterns down too much. I figured I would go to the store with a handful of patterns in mind, see what yarns they have that suit each pattern, and decide what I want to make from there. If there is a bulky yarn I really like I might choose the Dickinson Pullover. I have loved this sweater for years, and I already own the pattern so that’s a plus.

The other two sweaters I picked both call for worsted weight yarn — the same yarn actually (Brooklyn Tweed SHELTER which I’m pretty sure my LYS doesn’t have). The first is Joist and the second is Rowe. I don’t own either of these patterns, but that’s okay. The problem is, if my LYS has a good substitution yarn, which of these patterns would I pick? Rowe requires so much more yarn that it’s the obvious choice. The yarn might cost more than the gift certificate is worth, so why not use the gift certificate for the most expensive project? We’ll see.

I have a couple other patterns I purchased recently where if there is any money left over on the gift certificate I might purchase yarn for these. They are both by Tin Can Knits. I just love their patterns, and I love how the garments have such a huge size range, anything from babies to larger adults. One is Snowflake. Some people have made it with one color, but I like it better with two colors. The other is Low Tide. Since that’s made with fingering weight yarn it’s probably going to be the cheapest of the projects.

So there you go. Right now I’m leaning toward Rowe, but I’ll see what’s speaking to me when I get to the shop.

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Birthday Socks

Posted by Andi on May 3, 2015

Birthday Socks
Pattern: Vanilla Bean Striped Socks by Emily O’Grady
Yarn: Zitron Trekking XXL in 553, .65 skein (298.4 yards)
Needles: US 1
Date started: April 2, 2015
Date completed: April 23, 2015

I call these socks Birthday Socks because I bought this yarn on my birthday in 2014. My birthday is in May. I took that day off work. My mom, Tim and I went to lunch, bought some seeds and plants for our garden, stopped at the yarn store (for my mom, not for me) and did some work in the garden.

Note I said we went to the yarn store for my mom. Well, you know what happens when I go into a yarn store – I rarely leave empty handed. I saw this skein of yarn, and I really wanted it, even though it’s not the colors I typically knit with for myself. But it was mid-May, we were preparing the garden, but it was such a gray day, and cold, and I really needed a bit of spring.

I decided to start knitting these socks more than a month before my birthday this year, in the hope that they would be done in time for me to wear them on my birthday. Well, they are! I have worn them once, and so I will wash them again and wear them next on my birthday, which is in 10 days.

Today I'm wearing my newest pair of socks. #wearingmyhandknits #knitting

I’m not super thrilled with how these turned out. I mean, they’re fine, but not what I wanted. First, I was hoping the stripes were more regular. They aren’t all the same width, and not always in order. The blue and purple were really rare, and I was disappointed they didn’t show up more. Although I knit the sock my own way, I used the stitch pattern from the Vanilla Bean Striped Socks which essentially involves slip stitches where the colors change. The problem is, sometimes the color changes were subtle. I would have to spend a lot of time deciding whether there was a new stripe. I think I want to do this stitch pattern again, only with self-striping sock yarn with more contrast.

As noted above, these socks used 298.4 yards of yarn, bringing my yards out total to 3,529.8 yards. My yards in amount is 5,693.2 yards, bringing my percentage to 63%. I’m getting there. I have three other projects that are currently on the needles that will bring me up to about 90%. Yay!

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In Which I Showed Great Restraint

Posted by Andi on April 26, 2015

I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to YarnCon this year because of my schedule. I was out of town on Saturday and flew home on Sunday after a long, hard week and didn’t think I would have the energy for it. But on Sunday morning I saw pics on Facebook and Instagram of my friends’ purchases I decided I had to go.

There were so many beautiful things I wanted to buy, but I amazingly showed restraint. Here is what I got.

My #YarnCon haul. #knitting

I needed a sort of “in-between” size project bag – for something bigger than socks but not sweater-sized. I saw some Cubs ones and a Walking Dead one, but decided to go with this general zombie one from Art Institchtute. I could buy all her bags. Many have skulls!

The yarn in the middle is The Cyborg’s Craft Room Assockilate in the Neon Decay colorway. I wanted so many skeins of yarn in this booth, and after standing there for a long time I bought this one (I was limiting myself to only one). The yarns that drew me in at that booth had black with some bright colors. They looked like the colors you see in space photos.

The yarn on the right is Leading Men Fiber Arts Soliloquy in Into the Woods. It’s 657 yards of fingering weight yarn. I have several skeins of Leading Men Fiber Arts yarn, but I really wanted a skein of this yarn because of the yardage. Usually sock yarn skeins have 350-450 yards. This would allow me to make a larger project without having to buy two skeins of yarn and having a ton left over. I’ve been contemplating patterns to couple with this yarn, and have some narrowing down to do.

And that’s it! That was all I got. I saw so many more skeins of yarn, project bags, pottery, jewelry, buttons and other beautiful things, but I limited myself to these three items. I think this is the least amount of money I have spent at YarnCon in several years.

But there were several things I really wanted and skipped out on. The main thing I decided not to buy was some Bijou Basin Ranch yarn, specifically yak blend yarns. I’ve been wanting some of that yarn for a long time. It’s expensive because it’s a luxury fiber, but it’s gorgeous. I was going to buy some yarn — I settled on a yak/silk blend lace weight yarn — but I didn’t have a pattern in mind and didn’t want to buy a random amount. I think I might buy some of that yarn in the fall, when I have a specific pattern in mind. It will be mine, someday.

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Rosen Bridge

Posted by Andi on April 19, 2015

Rosen Bridge
Pattern: Rosen Bridge by Martina Behm
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Lace in 7120 Sea Mist, 3.76 skeins (1,643.1 yards)
Needles: US 5
Date started: January 6, 2015
Date completed: April 6, 2015

I was gifted this pattern from the hosts of the KnerdGirl Knits videocast around the holidays. I was thrilled because I almost bought it a couple of days earlier, but didn’t, so it was such a pleasant surprise when I found out I won it!

This is the first Martina Behm pattern I have knit. I love how sophisticated it looks, but it didn’t start out that way. As I was knitting it, the yarn looked more rustic than I would like, and while it still looked ruffly, I wasn’t sure I was happy with it. That was kind of discouraging because it involved knitting stockinette stitch with many, many, many yards of laceweight yarn. I was concerned I would spend all this time working on this project and not like the finished item.

But I do like it. In fact, I love it!

Rosen Bridge

Blocking made a world of difference. The rusticness of the yarn, while still a bit evident close up, was diminished and it started to look a lot more sophisticated.

The thing I love best about this project is that it can be worn multiple ways. It can be used flat and worn as a shawl, but because it was knit in the round it can also be worn as a cowl. Because of that flexibility, I bet I will wear it a lot next winter. And by winter, I mean winter. Because the yarn is 100% alpaca it is super warm and fluffy. I could only stand wearing it in the below picture long enough for the picture to get snapped because I was getting hot.

Rosen Bridge

I adore how this shawl/cowl turned out, but man, this was the project that would never end. The great thing, though, was that it was a super easy knit, perfect for knitting in front of the television. Oh, the number of hours I watched hockey while knitting this. There are a lot of cheers, boos, and yelling at the television knit into this project!

Now, the numbers. Right before I finished this I bought some yarn to make a jacket, and that was a lot of yards in such that I had only knit 33.4% of the yards I had taken in. However, adding the 1,643.1 yards nearly doubled my yards out for the year in one project. I know have knit 3,131.4 yards, which brought the percentage all the way up to 70.1%! Woo hoo! Even better, I was recently contacted by someone on Ravelry who wanted to buy my leftover yarn from a project. I sent 90 yards of yarn to her, so that makes 3,231.4 yards out compared to 4,483.2 yards in, for 72.1%.

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Sierra Socks

Posted by Andi on April 5, 2015

Sierra Socks
Pattern: Improvised using Sockulator app
Yarn: ONline Supersocke 100 in Sierra, .62 skein (288.3 yards)
Needles: US 1
Date started: February 22, 2015
Date completed: March 31, 2015

This yarn had been in my stash forever. I had this yarn before I joined Ravelry in August, 2007. I’m not sure when exactly I bought it. I finally decided I needed to knit this.

Because of how thin the stripes are I figured I had to make a plain vanilla sock. I didn’t use a particular pattern when making this sock. I just cast on 64 stitches and went from there. A Ravelry friend made an app that I was testing to calculate the heel flap and heel turn pattern instructions. It worked really well, and I’m trying it wit a new pair of socks as well.

I am a bit disappointed with the yarn. If you look at the leg of the sock on the right, you will see a very defined section of faux fair isle with a red that is as dark as the red stripe. But if you look at the foot and at the other sock, you will see that the red bits aren’t nearly as dark. In this picture it almost looks like white-ish stripes instead of faux fair isle, though it’s a little more apparent in person. I wish it was like the right sock the whole way through. Oh well, there’s nothing I can do about that.

These socks used up 288.3 yards of yarn, bringing my total knit to 1,498.3 yards. With all of my recent yarn purchases and repurposing, I have taken in 4,493.2 yards. Doing the calculations, I have knit 33.4% of the number of yards I have taken in. That is not good, but my percentage will be much better in the next few days when the Neverending Project is finally finished.

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