Knitstant Gratification

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

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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New Yarn and New Old Yarn

Posted by Andi on April 1, 2015

There were a couple of weeks in the first part of March where I wasn’t knitting very much because of a repetitive stress injury. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t doing anything crafty, I just wasn’t knitting.

Besides starting to sew together my hexipuffs, I started my first attempt at repurposing yarn. I had this scarf that I really didn’t like much and haven’t worn in years.

Former scarf

I have a hat that matches it that I really like, but I was disappointed in how the scarf turned out. Since I couldn’t knit with my hands, I decided to frog the scarf and wash the yarn to get the kinks out. The yarn wasn’t in the best of shape and broke in a few places as I was unraveling it or balling it back up. I’m not sure if it was because of the moth issue from a couple of years ago or if I was handling the yarn too forcefully. Either way, here is what I was able to repurpose.

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Bulky in Maple Grove

By weight, this is 1.88 skeins (262.2 yards) of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Bulky in the Maple Grove colorway. I don’t know where the rest of the yarn is. I’m sure the leftovers are in my craft room somewhere, but I’m not sure I would use them together as they might look different now. After frogging the scarf I started looking for new things I could make with the yarn, and I think I settled on the Linen Stitch Cowl.

Around the same time, Knit Picks was having a sale on its green yarns in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. I wasn’t going to get anything, but then I remembered that I didn’t have yarn to make Emmery. I bought the pattern several years ago at Stitches Midwest, and never got around to buying yarn and making the sweater. I also don’t buy much sport weight yarn, so I didn’t have anything in my stash that would work. I figured this was the perfect time to get yarn for this project.

Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport in Aurora Heather

I choose Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport in the Aurora Heather colorway. I needed to purchase 12 skeins (1644 yards). In some ways this is a successful destash because I’m going to be using a pattern I’ve had for a long time that I paid for, but I had to buy almost a mile’s worth of yarn to destash a pattern! I’m hoping I already have some buttons in my small button stash to use.

I’m glad my hand and arm pain went away so that I could knit again because that means I have stopped buying yarn. I’m really in the hole yardage-wise now. Time to get knitting!

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In Which my Beekeeper’s Quilt Starts To Look Like a Quilt

Posted by Andi on March 10, 2015

I have barely knit in the past week. I hurt my arms. It was my own fault. About two weeks ago I started having a few intense typing sessions where I wasn’t taking care of my hands. That weekend I was under the weather, and all I wanted to do was knit. I knit and knit and knit, even though my arms hurt. So now they hurt more. Stupid, I know. So I’ve been letting my arms rest. My left arm is doing much better. It’s not 100% but the rest is doing it well. The right arm has been slower because I’m right handed and I use it to write. But it’s getting there.

I decided to stop knitting for a bit (though I did knit a few rounds on a sock last night). However, I still wanted to get some crafty-related things done. One of the things I decided to do was to start sewing together some of my hexipuffs.

I maybe have half the number of hexipuffs i will need for my blanket, but I've started sewing them together. #knitting

I’ve actually assembled a few more since I took this picture. I figured the sewing wouldn’t hurt my hands as much (and I was right), but I was also thinking that if I waited and did all the sewing when I finished knitting all the hexipuffs it would take forever and I would lose motivation. Normally I hate sewing seams and that type of finishing work, but I’ve really enjoyed this. Maybe it’s because each seam is small, or maybe it’s because I’m enjoying figuring out which hexipuff to add next. Whatever the case may be, I’ve actually been motivated to do this.

I’m trying to make the quilt look as random as possible. I don’t want too many solids near each other, but I don’t want too many variegated hexipuffs next to each other. I don’t want similar colors next to each other. Sometimes I go through 10 or 12 hexipuffs before I find the next one I want to add, but that’s okay. I’m using a whip stitch to sew the hexipuffs together on the wrong size. In some places some of the stitching is visible on the right side, but I’m not too concerned about that.

This is still a long term project. I figure I haven’t knit even half of what I need to make the size blanket I want. The nice thing about starting to assemble it is it will be more obvious when I have enough since I don’t have to wonder what size it is.

I’m using scrap yarn, some of the same scraps I used to make hexipuffs, to sew it together. It’s using even more yarn!! The problem is I haven’t been deducting it from my stash. Hm. I might have to come up with a way to estimate that.

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Buying more yarn than I’m knitting

Posted by Andi on March 8, 2015

Even though I’m trying to keep my yarn purchases to a minimum, I think I bought more yarn in February than I used.

It started on Presidents’ Day. I had the day off. I went to the dentist, then had some time to kill before meeting up with friends, so I went to a yarn shop that I haven’t been to in quite a long time. I just wanted to see what they were carrying these days.

I was good. I made it to the back of the store without wanting to buy something, when I came upon the sale yarn. My inclination was to take the sock yarn I saw, because I can always do something with that, but I have so much sock yarn it isn’t even funny. Then I saw the pack of 10 skeins of Berroco Captiva for half off.

Berroco Captiva

I figured it would make a nice top, so I bought it. I never would have bought this yarn had it been full price. I might make Pause or Flex. There are a few other patterns in the running, but those are the front runners at the moment.

Later in the month I took a trip to my LYS because I hadn’t been in there in a long time. I stumbled upon this yarn.

Berroco Lustra

I loved how it is red and blue. One of the women who works in the shop said that when it is knit up it looks red with a blue halo. Awesome! I bought all three skeins they had. I don’t know what I would have done if they had more. I was scouring Ravelry for something to make with it. I wanted something simple because the yarn is so pretty and I want that to be the star. I think I’m going to go with Barley, Maize, and Oats. I just have to decide if I’m going to make full mittens or fingerless mitts, as the Maize pattern has both.

I did do some knitting this month. Actually, quite a bit of knitting. I can’t show one item that was a gift, and I don’t have any good pics of the stole I’m making. I started a sweater for Tim, but again, no pictures yet. It’s still pretty small. Finally, since those projects are larger, I started a new pair of vanilla socks.

Travel knitting

However, because I finished very little, I’m in bad shape on my yards in/yards out calculation. I have knit 1,210 yards, but have acquired 2,516 yards of yarn, for 47%. Gah!!! It’s not really that bleak. I think I have knit over 1,000 yards on my stole so far. I’m getting there. But I made a decision… I cannot buy any yarn until YarnCon.

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Checkered Baby Blanket

Posted by Andi on February 21, 2015

I haven’t posted in a while, but I have been knitting. Of the three projects I’ve been working on since I last posted, two are gifts. One of the gifts if finished, and one is nearly done. The third is something I’m making for myself, but it’s nowhere near done. Anyway, I wasn’t going to post anything about the gifts until after I give them to their recipients so that it’s still a surprise when they get it. However, in thinking about it, I realized that one of them doesn’t know I have a knitting blog, so I can post about that one.

Checkered Baby Blanket
Pattern: Baby Alpaca Baby Blanket by Lorraine Matsuo
Yarn: Lion Brand Pound of Love in Antique White, .4 skein (408 yards)
Needles: US 8
Date started: December 27, 2014
Date completed: January 25, 2015

My coworker and his wife are expecting their second daughter in April, and this blanket is for her.

I made some modifications to this pattern. The pattern called for bulky yarn, but when I went shopping for yarn for this project I didn’t see any bulky yarn I wanted to use. I was too lazy to even try to figure out on the spot how many yards I would need if I bought worsted weight yarn, so I bought a skein of Pound of Love figuring that would be more than enough. Have you ever seen a skein of Pound of Love? It has to be the largest single skein of yarn I have ever seen. It’s comically big. But it’s lovely because I was able to knit the whole blanket from only 40% of the skein. The only ends I had to worry about weaving in were the cast on and bind off ends.

I went down to a size 8 needle because that was the size needle recommended on the ball band for the yarn. In order to get a decent size blanket I had to cast on more stitches to add an extra square (the original pattern had three squares across). I also had to do more pattern repeats to make the blanket long enough. I made the border per the pattern instructions.

So that was the first gift. I’m almost done with the second gift – I finished the actual knitting so only some seaming is left. I’m going to wait to post that one even though I don’t think the recipient reads this blog because she is a Ravelry friend and thus could find it easily enough.

After receiving some sock yarn scraps I was really in the red, having knit only 47.4% of the total yards I had acquired so far this year. After knitting this blanket I had really shrunk that hole, and was up to 87.9%. I have knit some and bought some since then, so this number is no longer accurate.

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Hat Trick 2015

Posted by Andi on January 25, 2015

I was really looking forward to January rolling around this year in order to participate in the Puck This! group on Ravelry’s January Hat Trick. The timing is perfect. I have yarn I want to destash, and I had some yarn I knew I wanted to use to make a hat. I have completed my hat trick. Here are my goals!

The Proverbial Cap
Pattern: The Proverbial Cap by Meg Swansen
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash in 893, .62 skeins (136.4 yards)
Needles: US 4
Date started: January 1, 2015
Date completed: January 4, 2015

This was my first hat to make sure I got it done by the end of the month. One of my friends is collecting items for a charity auction next month. We knit red items because the theme is Go Red for Women. The had had to be finished by the end of the month. The first few rows took forever, and I thought this hat might take the whole month. However, after a few rows the pattern started to become more intuitive, and I was able to finish it quickly.

Hallgrim Hat
Pattern: Hallgrim Hat by Charles D. Grandy
Yarn: Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop DK in 444, .66 skein (169.6 yards)
Needles: US 4
Date started: January 4, 2015
Date completed: January 11, 2015

I bought this yarn when I was in Pennsylvania back in August with the intention of making a hat. I held onto this skein of yarn until January for that reason. I thought the cable in this pattern would be interesting and show off the yarn well. My head is small and I have really thin hair, so hats are often big for me. But the first hat fit fine, and I went down a needle size with this one, so I thought I would be fine. But, as you might be able to tell, it’s a bit loose. It’s not loose enough to come off, though, so it actually reduces hat head. This is that hat I will wear when I need to be in a professional situation or I’m going somewhere nice.

Pattern: Karn by Norah Gaughan
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in 300007, 1.72 skeins (172 yards)
Needles: US 8
Date started: January 11, 2015
Date completed: January 17, 2015

I used this yarn to make a sweater, and I didn’t think I had enough left to make much other than a hat. I’ve had this pattern book for years. I started to make a shawl in it, but didn’t get very far and quit. I did a library search on Ravelry for hats made with aran yarn and found this one. The stitch pattern is interesting, but it was knit flat and seamed. I debated knitting it in the round, but decided to get some seaming practice. My seam looks crappy because by the time it came to seam it up I really just wanted to be done with the hat and didn’t take the care with it that I should have. The great thing that came out of making this hat is the fact that I determined that the yarn I had for that shawl I stopped making is enough to make a cute top in the pattern book, so I discovered something else I can make later in the year.

I was glad to get some yards out right away in the beginning of the year: 478 yards! However, a friend gave me some sock yarn leftovers for my Beekeeper’s Quilt, and I estimate about 1,008 yards of sock yarn was in that bag. So I’m at 47.4%. I have a lot of work to do!

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2015 Resolutions

Posted by Andi on January 18, 2015

I have made some knitting resolutions just year, just as I do every year. I made fewer this year because most years I make a bunch of resolutions and don’t stick to most of them, so this year I only have three.

1. Finally knit my vegetables. I need to get many skeins of Cascade 200 wound and ready to make vegetables. They will be the perfect project for the summer because they are small — no sweater or blanket on your lap in the summer!

2. Go through the bin of damaged knitwear, and either repair or frog as needed. As you may remember I had a moth or carpet beetle problem so that I ended up with small holes in some of my knitwear. They have all been washed and have been sitting in a bin with moth balls. I need to decide which things I’m going to repair and wear again, and which I’m going to frog. I never wore some of the shawls, and I figure I should repurpose the yarn.

I’ve been holding off on some of the repairs because in my mind they seem difficult — they are in places with intricate stitch patterns, and may involve more than one stitch. My goal was to start with a pair of fingerless gloves with an itty bitty hole in the inside of the thumb. The yarn is black so, which it will be difficult to work with, it will be difficult for others to see it.

However, I ended up starting with a sweater I recently made, which I found last week had a hole in it. This wasn’t due to a moth or carpet beetle, it just caught on something, or I wove it in poorly and the ends came out.

Sweater repair

Since it was pretty much just a dropped stitch I thought this would be an easy repair. And it was. I started by lifting the stitch back up.

Sweater repair

I threaded a bit of yarn through the stitch, pulled it to the wrong side, and wove those ends in. The hole was fixed, and I think it looks pretty good!

Sweater repair

So I have to keep progressing on the other things that need to be repair. Some will be basic fixes like this, and some won’t.

3. Yards in/yards out — knit more yards than I acquire. So far I’m off to a good start. I have three FOs, and haven’t purchased any yarn yet. The problem is, since I’m going to be frogging projects and repurposing yarn, that means more yarn is going to be entering my stash… again. I know there are at least three projects I’m going to frog, so I figure that is somewhere between 700 and 900 yards. Ugh! So I’m going to have to be particularly careful with purchasing yarn this year.

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