Knitstant Gratification

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

Archive for May, 2010

Drinking out of a shoe

Posted by Andi on May 30, 2010

I took this past week off work. I had to. If I didn’t take the time this week I would have lost it. Luckily it coincided with a holiday, so I was able to get an extra day off out of it!

We spent Monday and part of Tuesday up in Milwaukee with my mom. She wanted to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum. It was such a major exhibit that we had to get tickets for a particular time (2:00) so they could limit the number of people going in at any given time.

We arrived a bit early, so we got our tickets and walked around outside the Museum for a bit. A few blocks from the museum we saw what looked like a mansion. We went over to see what it was, and it was something called The Wisconsin Club.


On the way back we walked past the public library. We considered going in, but decided to spend the rest of our time before we had to be in the Museum sitting in a nice courtyard in front of the museum.

Sculpture outside of Milwaukee Public Libarary

The exhibit was great. It set up the history of the region where the scrolls were found, explained how they were found, how they were pieced together, then finally we got to see some of the fragments. It was really incredible.

We walked around the museum a bit after that. My favorite part was the butterfly exhibit.


Dinner that night was at Mader’s, a famous German restaurant. The place was amazing. There was art and interesting things to look at all over the restaurant. A giant chair. A suit of armor. Paintings. Sculptures. Carvings. And the food, it was great! Literally, it was the best sauerkraut I have ever eaten, bar none. Excellent. And the beer came in these huge glasses shaped like boots!


After dinner Tim and I took a walk along the river. We walked through the outdoor part of the Rock Bottom Brewery, and I have to say, that outdoor part kicks the Chicago version’s butt.


Oh, and I was able to see the last minute of Game 5 between the Flyers and the Canadiens through the window of an Irish Pub!

On Tuesday we went to the Pabst Mansion. That house is really amazing, and the group taking care of it is going through great lengths to restore it. If you are ever in Milwaukee, I highly recommend a tour. The woodwork, the floors, everything was so beautiful.

And of course, no trip to Wisconsin is complete without a stop at the Mars Cheese Castle. This time we got some beer, cheese (including squeaky cheese curds) and sausage.

More photos are available here.


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FO: Gossamer Stars Scarf

Posted by Andi on May 29, 2010

Gossamer Stars Scarf

Pattern: Gossamer Stars Scarf by Kat Coyle
Yarn: Lang Yarns Cocoon in color 0024
Needles: US 6
Date started: April 26, 2010
Date completed: May 26, 2010

I had this yarn for two years, waiting just to make this scarf. As I was knitting it I was disappointed with how it was looking. I was really bummed because I was so excited about this pattern. From the second I first saw this issue of Interweave Knits I had to make it, but as I was knitting it up it looked awful.

But then I blocked it.

Gossamer Stars Scarf

Now I love it. It doesn’t really look like a scarf. It’s more like a stole. But that’s okay because that’s how I planned on wearing it anyway.

I think the yarn is beautiful, but it was a bit fussy. It wasn’t difficult to knit, but it was difficult to keep in a ball because it was so slippery. I would wind it into a cake, and the middle of the cake would slide out. It got to be a home-only project because I was worried that transporting it would lead to a big yarn octopus. I have two balls of this yarn left, and I’m not sure what I will make with it. I’m sure I could come up with something.

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Yarn + My New Apartment + My New Post Office = Waiting

Posted by Andi on May 22, 2010

So far I’m loving my new home. My apartment is bigger and nicer. My new neighborhood is great. Up until now, the only thing I really missed about my old place was being able to see Lake Michigan out of my living room window.

But the events of the last couple of weeks made me miss something else about my old apartment. The building is what in Chicago would be considered a mid-rise apartment building — it had 14 floors. The management company had an office on the first floor. Besides the ease of dropping my rent in a slot instead of mailing it, the best thing about having the management office on site is that they signed for all of our packages. I never had to worry about trekking to the post office to pick something up; instead, it was locked in a closet in my building. The only slight drawback was that because the closet was locked one could only access it while the management office was open. However, once I got a job with set hours my boyfriend was unemployed, so he was always home at some point while the office was open. I never really had to wait for anything, and I guess that spoiled me as far as mail goes. I’m not used to having to wait for packages or trek to the post office to pick them up. I hadn’t had to do that for several years.

I bought some Wollmeise grab bags during the May 1 update. I know it can be a crap shoot as to when packages arrive from Germany. Once a friend of mine and I ordered on the same update, but my package arrived several days before her’s did, so I really had no expectation as to when this package would arrive. But when I started to see on Ravelry that some people in the United States started receiving their packages on May 7 I got excited that mine was in the country. However, I was out of town on business, and my business trip coincided with the time my boyfriend and I were dog sitting for my father and step mother while they were out of town, so our mail was on vacation hold. So many people reported that they got their packages that I was hopeful that when I would be able to go to the post office on the following Monday to pick up my mail that my Wollmeise would be waiting there for me.

So you can imagine my disappointment when the nice woman at the post office only handed me a few envelopes. I told her I was expecting a package, so she went in back and checked, but there was no package for me. Oh well, I thought, it should arrive shortly. Only it didn’t. Every day I hoped that either my box would be waiting for me inside my apartment or that that little peach slip would be in the mailbox, but it just didn’t show up. I grew more and more disappointed every day.

Finally, last Saturday the post office showed up at our home with a package, only for some reason my boyfriend didn’t hear the doorbell. He could have been asleep, he could have been in the shower, but he didn’t realize that a letter carrier tried to deliver a package until he left the house and saw the peach slip in the mailbox. He texted me to let me know. My friend and I were in the car, so I googled the post office to see what time they closed because we could hit the post office on the way home. My post office closes at noon on Saturday. It was 12:50. I was so annoyed.

What did I do? Went to a local yarn store on the way home and bought yarn to drown my sorrows, of course! There was a sample Citron shawl made with a very pretty variegated yarn, and I decided I wanted to make my own Citron with variegated yarn, so I bought this:

Misti Alpaca

It’s Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock Yarn in the Seattle colorway, which I love. I felt better, at least, so that was good.

When I got home I looked at the peach delivery attempt slip and discovered that it wasn’t my Wollmeise that that letter carrier tried to deliver, but a package from The Loopy Ewe: a birthday present from a friend (the one I was in the car with). I really wasn’t expecting that package to arrive so quickly, as I believe I was on the phone with my friend just a couple of days earlier when she ordered the yarn (or at least it was shortly thereafter). I couldn’t pick it up on Monday because the post office is open while I’m at work. I was rushing out the door when I realized I didn’t sign the slip for Tim to pick it up for me, so he picked it up on Tuesday instead. And look at the pretty:

Studio Jane Yarn

It’s Eight Bells yarn from Studio June Yarn in the colorway Dancing in the Moonlight. Isn’t it gorgeous???? It was one of the latest skeins added to my wish list before my birthday, and now it’s at my house!

This past Tuesday marked two weeks after my Wollmeise package shipped and it still hadn’t arrived, so I emailed the Wollmeise team for the tracking information. I received it Wednesday morning, and much to my surprise I discovered that according to the tracking information there was a delivery attempt on May 8, and it said they left a notice. Um, no. There was no peach slip. And anyway, my mail was on vacation hold that day, so why was there any delivery attempt? I started to get worried because I had asked if there was a package for me the following Monday and was told there was no package. I crossed my fingers and hoped it was still in the post office somewhere.

I finally made it to the post office Thursday afternoon. I explained to the nice lady behind the counter that a package was waiting for me but I had no delivery slip. She went in back and said she didn’t see any packages for me. She walked in back in another direction, and when she appeared again she still didn’t have a box. I started to get nervous. Was it gone? Finally she asked where the package was coming from. When I said “Germany” she immediately looked in a cabinet behind the counter and found my package right away. Yay!

Here’s my haul. I ordered two small We’re Different grab bags. One was a twin Kunterbunt which had the following two skeins:

Strohblume (It looks like summer and I want to knit something with this while sitting outside – that’s saying something given how much I hate being outside.)


The other bag was a twin Gelb-Orange bag.



As I was putting this post together I was thinking about how petty it is that I’m complaining so strongly about waiting a few extra days to get yarn. But I figured anyone reading this could commiserate. When you order yarn, you want it now!!!

I had to include the original version as well, but although I like this version, this is one of those cases where I like the cover better.

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Making our home greener

Posted by Andi on May 16, 2010

We have been trying to make positive changes in our home. Our old apartment was dreary for several reasons, and we had no motivation to make any changes. Moving helped. We could start over and make the positive changes we wanted to make.

Among the changes we wanted to make was adding more plants. We had a rubber tree plant (named Bouncy) and a pepper plant in the old apartment. As a housewarming gift my mom gave us a flowering plant, which I really enjoyed. We would like to have more plants and grow more things. Tim started our herb “garden” in earnest. The pots sit by the window in the kitchen. I see that some cilantro is growing, among a few others.

Yesterday I was at Ikea and was inspired to buy plants. I had some cacti when I was younger, so I got excited when I saw cacti for sale. I picked out this specimen:

My new cactus.

Because of it’s black and red spines, its little bit of white, and the fact that it’s pointy, I decided to name it Patrick Sharp, after the hockey player for the Chicago Blackhawks, whose colors are black and red. Then I saw some aloe plants. Tim had mentioned wanting an aloe plant once in the past, so I decided to get one of those as well.

My new aloe plant

I named it Sisyphus.

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He likes them!

Posted by Andi on May 12, 2010

Despite my relative silence, I have been somewhat productive on the knitting front (and only somewhat on the reading front, but that’s not relevant here). Besides getting halfway through the Gossamer Stars Scarf, I finished the first of the Mock Cable Socks I’m making for Tim.

Tim's Green (!) Mock Cable Socks

He tried them on, and not only do they fit, but he actually liked them! My boyfriend, the guy who only wears plain white or plain black socks, likes these lime green socks that aren’t plain!

Tim's Green (!) Mock Cable Socks

Will he wear these once I finish the second sock? And in what situation? People who see me knitting this sock and know it’s for a man really wonder if he will be wearing them in public. I will be really happy if he wears them around the house and likes them, but I will be ecstatic if he decides to wear them in public!

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Competing Pastimes

Posted by Andi on May 2, 2010

I used to be a voracious reader. I always had my nose in a book or magazine. Once I moved into my own place I joined a book club. Not the read-a-book-and-meet-to-talk-about-it book clubs, but the kind where you can get books for cheap. I acquired so many books that I wanted to read, and then didn’t read. I had to do so much required reading for school that I didn’t really want to spend my free time reading as well. The only time I read for pleasure is when I was in the gym. I would sit on an exercise bike or work on an elliptical and read. When I was at home and needed to relax I would knit. That really seemed to work out well. I always had so much schoolwork to do, especially when working on my dissertation, that I felt guilty if I read or knit when there was work to be done. But if I read while exercising, in my mind, that was okay. And I could justify watching a movie or a sporting event on television if I was knitting at the same time, particularly if I was making a gift for someone. I was still being productive.

Then my gym membership wore out, I started a new job, and because of the gym’s hours I didn’t renew it. There went my reading-for-pleasure time. I fell out of the habit of reading. If I had free time at home I still knit.

We moved two weeks ago. In the process of packing a got rid of many of the books I bought and never read. My tastes in books have changed since I bought some of those books, and I no longer had interest in them, so I donated them. I looked at every book to determine if I wanted to keep it or not. I kept more books than I got rid of, including books I forgot I had.

Right now a lot of those books are in piles and boxes in my dining room. Tim is organizing them. Some are going on the bookshelf we have, but we have many books and will have to buy more shelves. We will have to determine how many books are left over before we buy the shelves, so for now the books are in our dining room. I keep walking past the pile thinking, “I can tread to read Martin Chuzzlewit,” or “I can’t wait to read that WWII book I bought.”

But, when am I supposed to read if I want to get all of this knitting done?

I’m struggling with dividing my time between reading and knitting. Tim suggested I listen to audio books, but I don’t want to for two reasons. First, I have a ton of podcasts I want to catch up on, so I really don’t want to add audio books to that mix. Second, I don’t want to listen to books, I want to read them.

So I’m trying to come up with rules for dividing my time. Perhaps I will stick to knitting while watching television. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are going on, and I will be watching as many games as possible, so that should allow for a ton of knitting time. But if there is nothing in particular that I want to watch, perhaps I should use that free time to read. I have a ton of music to catch up on as well, so I can kill two birds with one stone.

It occurs to me that I feel like I’m not being productive if I’m not multitasking. That probably isn’t too healthy.

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