Knitstant Gratification

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

YarnCon 2017

Posted by Andi on April 16, 2017

I’m way behind on posting finished objects, but if I didn’t post about YarnCon soon I was never going to get to it.

With that, YarnCon was two weeks ago, Saturday and Sunday, April 1-2. I went Saturday morning with a member of my knit group and one of her friends, and met up with other members of my knit group there. It was a lovely day with friends and yarn and lunch.

I really wanted to limit my purchases this year for a few reasons. First, I’ve failed at the yards in/yards out thing the past couple of years. I really want to decrease the amount of space my stash takes up. Second, now that I have a car payment I’m trying to spend less money on random things. At first I was going to limit myself to only buying yarn for my playoff pool prize – no other yarn – and that if I bought anything for myself it couldn’t be yarn. I ultimately changed that to allow myself one skein of yarn for myself.

When I first walked in I saw several skeins of yarn I thought was beautiful, and thought I was screwed. How could I choose? But after I calmed down a bit, every time I looked at yarn I said to myself, “If I can only buy one skein of yarn, do I really want it to be this one?” And when I used that strategy, all of a sudden I didn’t feel the need to buy all the pretty yarns.

The first yarn I purchased was for the playoff pool that is happening in the Puck This! group on Ravelry. It’s Backyard Fibers 100% Merino Sock in the Aegean colorway.

Backyard Fibers Merino Sock in Aegean

I thought it was so pretty, and kind of wanted it for myself, but I’m definitely giving it away (thus it doesn’t count toward my yards in!!). The magnet in the picture is from the Frozen Four, which is the semifinals and finals of the NCAA Division 1 men’s hockey tournament. It was held in Chicago this year, and since it’s hockey, I figured it would be a relevant addition to my playoff pool prize offering.

I bought only three things for myself – a shawl pin, buttons, and yarn.

YarnCon 2017 purchases

The yarn was the last item I purchased because I wanted to see all of the yarn offerings before making my decision, even though it was one of the first skeins I saw. It’s Leading Men Fiber Arts Show Stopper in the Neon Pencil colorway. I’ve been coveting this color for a while now, and I really like their yarns, so in the end I went with that. Right now I plan to make socks for myself with it.

The actual first purchase I made was the shawl pin. It’s by Michelle’s Assortment, and made of copper. They were all beautiful, but I went with this one because I really liked the bead.

YarnCon 2017 purchases

Finally, I bought some wood buttons. I don’t remember the name of the vendor, but they were selling several types of buttons. These were 10 cents each, so I bought 10 of them.

YarnCon 2017 purchases

I meant to buy 10 different buttons, but when I got home I realized I had two of the same one. Oh well. It’s not really a problem because I was hoping to use these buttons for the Low Tide Cardigan I plan to knit, and I won’t need all 10 buttons for it. I can always use the duplicate on something else.

And that’s it! I’m pretty happy with what I got, and really happy that I got out of there having spent less than $50 for myself.

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Vesta Socks

Posted by Andi on April 2, 2017

New socks! #knitting #tckwintercamp2017
Pattern: Vesta Socks by Rebecca Mercier
Yarn: Fleur de Fiber Argentum in Oh, Pumpkin, .75 skein (315 yards)
Needles: US 1
Date started: January 28, 2017
Date completed: February 25, 2017

This was my only completed project in February, but it got me a lot of points for Winter Camp. I got bonus points for making something for my hands or feet, something orange, and a pair. I also succeeded in using both stash yarn and a stash pattern.

The fun thing about this pattern is that the pattern on the back of the leg is different from the pattern on the front. Unfortunately the only picture I have of the back of the leg is a bit blurry.

There is a little cabling and a bit of lace.

One of my goals for the year was to use 12 skeins of sock yarn, and as of February I was on pace. This was the second skein I used.

Now, one pair of socks doesn’t seem like a very productive month for me. However, I spent much of the month knitting a sweater that I didn’t finish until March (I will post about that at some point in the future). If I didn’t spend much time on that sweater, I never would have finished it during Winter Camp, so I had to settle on just finishing one pair of socks.

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Butterfly Socks

Posted by Andi on February 25, 2017

Butterfly Socks
Pattern: Butterfly Socks by TLCrafts and Design
Yarn: The Wool Dispensary Useful Stimulant in Badass Unicorn, .68 skein (312.8 yards)
Needles: US 1
Date started: January 2, 2017
Date completed: January 27, 2017

This is the first pattern I have test knit. One of my Ravelry friends designed these socks, and when I saw how pretty they were I knew I wanted to knit them. I highly recommend this pattern. The lace has both charted and written instructions, so it should work for everybody. I never fully memorized the pattern, but it became intuitive enough that I would look at the row in the pattern once and remember exactly what I had to do. I really enjoyed knitting it.

Butterfly Socks

As big of a fan as I was of the pattern, I was not a fan of the yarn. The color is gorgeous, but I did not enjoy knitting with this yarn. It was so splitty. I didn’t wash them before wearing them, and my feet were blue when I took the socks off. I know when I finally do wash them that they are going to bleed. I hope that doesn’t affect the color too much, because I do think it’s pretty. This yarn did get me bonus points for color for Winter Camp, which is one of the reasons why I chose it.

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Hat Trick 2017

Posted by Andi on February 12, 2017

Every January the Puck This! group on Ravelry holds its annual hat trick – try to knit three hats in January. I love participating, but I already have too many hats for myself. This year I made three hats for other people.

The first two hats were the same hat for different people using different yarn.

First goal of the January Hat Trick: the first of 2 #pussyhatproject hats I'm making for friends who are marching in Washington #tckwintercamp2017 #knitting
Pattern: Pussyhat Project by Kat Coyle
Yarn: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool Worsted in Hot Pink, .51 skein (128.3 yards)
Needles: US 8
Date started: January 1, 2017
Date completed: January 3, 2017

I finished my second #pussyhatproject hat this week. It's was also the second goal of the Puck This! hat trick #knitting
Pattern: Pussyhat Project by Kat Coyle
Yarn: Baah! Shasta in Falling in Love, .74 skein (148.0 yards)
Needles: US 8
Date started: January 7, 2017
Date completed: January 12, 2017

These hats were made for two friends of mine who traveled from Chicago to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Women’s March. I decided I wanted to make the hats for people I knew. I was lucky in that I decided to do it early because I heard that a lot of local yarn stores across the country ran out of pink yarn.

I didn’t follow the pattern exactly. The pattern as written is knit flat, folded in half, and the sides are seamed together. I decided to knit it in the round instead. I guess that means I didn’t really follow this pattern, because there was another pattern out there that was knit in the round, only I didn’t know about it. I adapted this one. I also made the ribbed part longer so my friends could fold it over to keep their ears warmer. It wasn’t going to be super cold in D.C., but I wanted them to be able to wear the hats on cold winter days in Chicago too.

Hat trick completed! And Tim gets (another) new hat. #knitting
Pattern: Playing with Cables by Patricia Marzan
Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Cranberry, .56 skein (95.2 yards)
Needles: US 8
Date started: January 17, 2017
Date completed: January 21, 2017

Not too long ago I made a red scarf for Tim to go with his new winter coat. I had yarn left over, so I offered to make him a hat, and he accepted. Tim is a big fan of cables, so I showed him a bunch of cabled hats, and he picked this one. Looking at the photo, you can see the right part of the hat has two of the same cable, and then on the left is a different cable. What you can’t see is that the cables alternate by two, so next to the cable on the left is another of the same cable. There are a total of 8 cables on the hat.

The hat trick coincided with the start of Winter Camp. During the month of January, campers get bonus points for making something for the head, so I was able to get bonus points for the first hat I finished.

A new wrinkle to the hat trick this year is that it didn’t have to be hats. It could be three of anything, because sometimes people don’t need hats or want to focus on something else. As such, next year I will probably try to make three of something else.

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Crafting Resolutions

Posted by Andi on January 28, 2017

I have made knitting resolutions for the past few years. I know we are almost a full month into 2017, but I thought it would be good to look back at my resolution for 2016, and look forward to 2017.

My results for 2016 were mixed.

1. Hat Trick: This is from the Puck This! group on Ravelry – make 3 hats in the month of January. I succeeded on this one. I finished all 3 hats.

2. More yards out than yards in: As a reminder, “yards out” doesn’t just mean yards I knit, but also any skeins I destash. Yards only count once an object is finished. Similarly, “yards in” doesn’t mean I paid for the yarn, but it’s any yarn that comes into my stash by gift or repurposing yarn. This was a huge failure this year for two main reasons. The first was the swap I did with my knit group, in which I took several skeins out of my stash, but swapped for skeins with more yardage. Oops. The second reason was that I bought yarn to make an afghan, and I haven’t made it yet. By the end of the year, 9,713.9 yards left my stash, and put 15,888 yards into my stash. That comes to 61.1%, which is awful.

3. 3 sweaters: I tried, but failed at this one. I made a sweater for myself which turned out horribly and I hate it. I finished a baby sweater, and also got more than halfway through the baby sweater I quit. I don’t think a baby sweater was in the spirit of the goal, but whatever.

4. Finally make my knitting amigurumi vegetables: Nope.

5. Use 12 skeins of sock yarn (doesn’t have to be 12 pairs of socks – could be shawls, scarves, hats, etc. Also, clearly I won’t use 100% of the skein, but I want to have a decent sized project from each): I did this! I made 5 pairs of socks, 2 shawls, a baby dress, and a scarf out of 12 skeins of yarn.

6. More hexipuffs. I would like to get through the scraps friends have sent me: I did finish making hexipuffs out of all the scraps my friends gave me. I also sewed about half of the hexipuffs I have into the blanket.

Now – my crafting resolutions for 2017.

1. Complete the hat trick: I do this every year, and because I’m posting this so late, I’ve already accomplished this one!!

2. Use 12 skeins of sock yarn: Yes, I’m doing this one again this year. I have so many skeins of sock yarn in my stash that this needs to be a goal every year. So far I have used one skein.

3. Finally make my amigurumi vegetables: I say this every year. But this year I mean it. Really.

4. Learn to crochet well enough to have one crochet FO: I have always wanted to learn to crochet well. I have crochet books, but do nothing. This year my mom gave me a crochet stitch dictionary for Christmas, and I’m using that as motivation to learn. Also, this is the reason why I have “crafting resolutions” instead of “knitting resolutions.”

5. More yards out than yards in: I definitely won’t be buying yarn for afghans this year. But I really, really want to succeed at this one this year. To that end I’m doing something drastic. I will not buy any stash yarn this year. I can buy yarn to make gifts for people. I am debating whether I can buy yarn to make something for myself if I have a specific project in mind. I think I will only allow myself to do that if I’m going to make said project right away.

6. Finish beekeeper’s quilt: I have a few new fingering weight leftovers I want to turn into hexipuffs. Then I want to sew everything together and see where the blanket is at size-wise. I figure I’m going to have to make a few half-sized hexipuffs for the edges.

7. Make 3 adult garments: I already have a sweater for Tim on the needles, and I have yarn set aside for 3 garments for myself, so I only have to do two of those. I already know what those will be.

So there you go. This time next year I will revisit this and see how I do.

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Last FOs of 2016

Posted by Andi on January 22, 2017

For completeness, her are my last finished objects of 2016. Yes, I know we are three weeks into 2017 already, but I just took a picture of the final FO today.

Marian Girl
Pattern: Marian Girl by Taiga Hilliard Designs
Yarn: Lion Brand Pound of Love, .13 skein (136.6 yards)
Needles: US 6 and US 7
Date started: December 4, 2016
Date completed: December 12, 2016

My cousin’s significant other had a baby a few months back. As I detailed here, I started making another sweater for the baby well before it was born, hated it, and started over making a new sweater. This is the new sweater.

I loved knitting this. It was easy, but so cute. Here is a view of the back.

Marian Girl

I love how it flares out a bit at the bottom.

This sweater was not finished (or even started for that matter) by the time the baby was born, but it was finished in time for my mom to send it off with the rest of the Christmas presents for that part of the family.

A River Runs Through Mitt
Pattern: A River Runs Through Mitt by Aimee Pelletier
Yarn: Cascade 200 Superwash in 893, .54 skein (118.8 yards)
Needles: US 7
Date started: December 17, 2016
Date completed: December 20, 2016

I made these for a coworker whose hands get cold a lot. She is modeling the mitts in the above photo. Her nail polish was a wreck that day, so she didn’t want to show the tops of her fingers, hence the fists. The yarn I used in this project was left over from a shawl I made my mother a couple of years ago.

Last, but not least…

Alla Moda
Pattern: Alla Moda by Gina Bonomo
Yarn: Purl Soho Line Weight in 1110 Ballet Pink (1 skein, 494 yards) and 2040 Toasted Charcoal (1 skein, 494 yards)
Needles: US 8
Date started: August 22, 2016
Date completed: December 26, 2016

This took a long time to knit because I used it as my travel project for several months. I finally finished it at the end of December because I was so close to being done, and I wanted all of that yardage to count as “yards out” for 2016.

I bought the yarn for this project a few years ago from Purl Soho when I was on a business trip to New York. I loved how the colors looked together, and definitely knew I wanted to use both skeins in a single project. For the longest time I was queuing 2-color shawls, and going back and forth on which one to actually knit. I finally decided on this one because I thought it would be really easy. I didn’t have to carry a pattern around with me. I just continued knitting until I ran out of yarn.

There is one thing that disappointed me about how this turned out. In the picture, one of the colors is clearly gray. But the other is actually a light pink, and in the scarf it looks off-white. Even while knitting it I could tell the pink got lost. You can tell it’s pink if you look closely. Oh well.

That said, I love this scarf so much. It’s so light and smooshy. I almost want to make another one, but I would definitely use the Line Weight if I was going to. It’s stockinette, but after blocking it doesn’t curl as much as it did on the needles. If you need a striking but simple knit to use up some fingering weight yarn, I highly recommend this pattern.

So that’s it. The knitting year of 2016 is over. My next post will discuss whether I succeeded in my 2016 knitting resolutions, and what my 2017 knitting resolutions are.

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Knitting for Standing Rock

Posted by Andi on January 2, 2017

In late November, a Raverly friend posted a link to the Unplanned Peacock Studio website. They were selling skeins of bulky yarn at cost (quite a discount) if those who bought it promised to make a hat or cowl to send to the water protectors at Standing Rock. I thought it was a great idea, so I purchased a skein, which turned out to be a lovely shade of blue and white. The yarn page also had links to some patterns that would work with the yarn, so I picked the hat pattern I liked best and got started knitting.

Big Chunky Comfy Hat
Pattern: Big Chunky Comfy Hat by Erica Kempf Broughton
Yarn: Unplanned Peacock Studio Merino Bulky, .48 skein (57.6 yards)
Needles: US 10.5
Date started: December 6, 2016
Date completed: December 6, 2016

The hat actually looks much nicer than it does in the picture. It looks a little wonky because it’s ribbed and not stretched at all. Trust me, it looks really nice on. Actually, it’s inside out, as are the photos on the Ravelry pattern page. It turns out the hat is reversible, but it’s written the opposite way as in the pictures. When I started knitting it I had the intention of keeping it the correct way – the way it was written. But guess what – I liked it better inside out. So that’s the way I knit it.

I went down a needle size because I tend to be a loose knitter (something I’m working on), and was surprised to find that I only used about half the skein. The hat isn’t huge, but both myself and Tim. We both have smallish heads, but so do a lot of other people so I kept it as is, and decided to knit a second smallish adult hat.

Super Soft Merino Hat
Pattern: Super Soft Merino Hat by Purl Soho
Yarn: Unplanned Peacock Studio Merino Bulky, .46 skein (55.2 yards)
Needles: US 10.5
Date started: December 7, 2016
Date completed: December 8, 2016

This hat also fit both myself and Tim, so I felt comfortable sending it. I packaged both hats and sent them.

I loved working with this yarn. I don’t knit with bulky yarn often, so I got a kick out of finishing two hats so quickly. I also loved how the yarn knit up, so I looked at the other yarns on the Unplanned Peacock Studio website. They have so many pretty colors! There is one I want to make a sweater, but since I’m really trying for real this time to curb my yarn buying and knit from my stash it might be a while before I get to it.

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Antlers Scarf

Posted by Andi on December 18, 2016

Antlers Scarf
Pattern: Antlers Scarf by Micah P. Dammeyer
Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in 180 Cranberry, 2.98 skeins (506 yards)
Needles: US 7
Date started: October 2, 2016
Date completed: December 4, 2016

This was one of the projects that helped me get my knitting mojo back. Tim wanted a new scarf this winter, and I wanted to finish it before too much of winter went by. Luckily it was only cold one or two days by the time I finished it, so he will have it most of the winter.

Tim decided he wanted a red scarf, and he wanted machine washable yarn. My mom had a coupon for JoAnn Fabrics back in the summer, so I bought four skeins of Vanna’s Choice for him. Unfortunately they didn’t have four skeins in any one dye lot, so I bought 2 skeins from each of two different dye lots.

I wasn’t sure how long I was going to make the scarf. I used two of the skeins from one dye lot first, and then Tim tried it on. He wanted to be able to wrap it around his neck twice, and he could do that but then it didn’t really hang down at all. I used three skeins total, and I don’t think it’s obvious that one skein came from another dye lot. I’m going to use the fourth skein to knit Tim a hat in January.

Tim loves cables, so I wasn’t surprised he chose this pattern. It was actually pretty easy to memorize.

Antlers Scarf

It’s a good thing it was easy to remember and knit, because someone else asked me for one. I might be making another, which is fine because it was a fun knit.

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Where my knitting mojo went, and how I got it back

Posted by Andi on December 4, 2016

Despite the lack of content on this blog, I have been knitting. A bit. But I haven’t been very enthusiastic about it, at least not until last week.

I’ve always been a pretty productive knitter. I finish a lot of projects. And I’ve finished some projects even – mostly back in the summer. I’m not going to post about them all here, but they are all on the finished objects page.

But lately I’ve been a slower knitter. Less enthused. I didn’t knit every time I watched TV. I have one long-term project on the needles – a scarf made out of two skeins of fingering weight yarn. It’s simple, so I want to use it as a travel project and when I watch movies with subtitles. It’s not done yet, but I’m hoping it will be finished by the end of the year. But more on that later.

I couldn’t understand where my enthusiasm went. That had never happened to me before. I have loved knitting since I started knitting. Over Thanksgiving I figured out what the problem was. I have been working on a sweater for my cousin’s new baby, and I hated it. I mean, it was cute and all, but I really hated knitting it. Because it was a gift, I felt that if I was knitting I was supposed to be knitting that, and since I hated it, I wasn’t knitting much at all.

Finally, Thanksgiving weekend, I gave it up. I was working on the second sleeve, and discovered that I had missed two sets of increases somewhere. I put it down, and figured I would rip out the sleeve and start over. A few minutes later, I decided I wasn’t going to rip it out. I’m done with this sweater.

As soon as I decided I was done with this sweater, my knitting mojo came back. I started searching for new sweater patterns. I’ve been planning new projects. I signed up for Winter Camp, which inspired me so much earlier this year.

I’m back.

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Sail On Girly Girl Socks

Posted by Andi on June 25, 2016

New socks!
Yarn: Little Heart Yarns Joy Socks Self Striping in Sail On Girly Girl, .63 skein (248.9 yards); Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock in Elderberry, .14 skein (20.1 yards) = 279 yards total
Needles: US 1
Date started: June 7, 2016
Date completed: June 23, 2017

I love these socks! The main color is from LittleHeartYarns and it was a delight to knit up. I decided I wanted to use a contrast yarn for the heel so I wouldn’t break up the stripe pattern. I choose some leftover Wildfoote that I had from another pair of socks. I thought it was the perfect choice because it had a light blue, and a purple to match the pink, but also black so it wasn’t too matchy matchy.

I didn’t follow a pattern for these socks. I made my own vanilla sock pattern.

I cast on 64 stitches, and knit 15 rounds in 1×1 twisted rib.

For the leg, I knit a full 60 rounds. I knit the first (or front) half of the 61st round, and stopped to start the heel on the back of the round.

I used a fish lips kiss heel. I like the twin stitches much better than a traditional short-row heel. Plus, it fits great.

I knit back across with the main color, after making the heel, to finish the 61st round.

The foot was 47 rounds long, the I did a round toe from the Sock Architecture book by Lara Neel. It is the first time I used that kind of toe. Instead of using kitchener stitch to make a seam, you decrease until you can wrap the yarn through the stitches and pull – like a hat. I wanted to see how that kind of toe worked for me. It certainly feels different than the traditional kitchener toe or Judy’s Magic Cast On toe, but I haven’t worn these much yet (other than to try them on) because it’s been too warm.

I did my best to make the socks identical, but I failed in the foot at some point because the second socks has much more light blue in the toe than the first sock does. I either was off on my row count at some point in the foot, or maybe my gauge changed. I’m not sure. I don’t mind – it won’t show when I’m wearing them in shoes. I had to wind off a bunch of yarn to start off the second sock in the same place as the first, so I saved that for hexipuffs. I cast on at a color change, so I ended up with a super long tail. I cut those off, and will use that leftover yarn to sew my hexipuffs together. None of that scrap yarn will go to waste!

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