Knitstant Gratification

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

Archive for July, 2010

What is the tastiest thing you ate this week?

Posted by Andi on July 31, 2010

For us, this has been the summer of the farmers market. With just a few exceptions, nearly all of our produce this summer has been purchased at the farmers market. While I detest doing vegetables, meats, cheeses, etc. that the various farms are selling. We’ve developed some favorites. We always get a grab bag from the mushroom guy. We almost always buy something from the farm that sold the Japanese turnips.

The weekly farmers market in Oak Park opened earlier in the spring, so that was where we went every week. The Forest Park farmers market opened later, and it’s only every other week and on Friday nights. For various reasons we never managed to get over there until two weeks ago. It’s a smaller farmers market, but it has a wider variety of stalls, including a soap maker and knife sharpener.

Last night we only planned to get a little produce, but then I was lured over to a stall that was selling popcorn. I tried some bacon bourbon caramel corn, and I was hooked. It was made by Salted Caramel. Although I’ve been trying to eat better, I thought if I bought a small bag to share I would get a yummy hand-made treat and support a local business, so that’s what I did! It’s sweet and salty and has bacon!

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It shall be known as the airplane sock

Posted by Andi on July 22, 2010

I finally took a picture of my first Leyburn sock. Voila!

First Leyburn Sock

The yarn is Socks that Rock Lightweight in Hurdy Gurdy, the absolutely beautiful yarn that Adrienne gave me two Christmases ago. See how pretty it is!!!

The vast vast vast majority of this sock was knit on airplanes. I flew to and from California twice last month. Since it’s a short row toe and I didn’t want to deal with taking apart the provisional cast on whilst on an airplane I did the toe and first pattern repeat at home. All of the rest, up to maybe less than one inch from the cuff, was done on those long flights. I finished the last couple of pattern repeats and the cuff at knit group.

I have already done the toe on the second sock, but because I am now focusing on finishing the Blanket From Hell it’s likely that the second sock will also be an airplane sock. Next month I will be flying to Las Vegas, and it is quite possible I won’t work on this sock again until then.

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A sock and some motivation

Posted by Andi on July 21, 2010

For several weeks I felt stagnant. I didn’t want to knit anything; not my current works in progress or anything new. I viewed Project 365 as a chore instead of an exercise in creativity. I hated that feeling, but as much as I wanted to do something creative I had absolutely no motivation to do that something, whatever it was. The idea of doing something creative was nice, but it wasn’t going to be put into action. Was I tired? Burned out? Too hot? It was probably a combination of those things. It was one of those times when the responsibilities of real life took so much out of me that there was nothing left to give to creative pursuits.

But something happened in the past week or so. I switch has been flipped on. All of a sudden I’ve been motivated to do so much. I finished my first Leyburn sock and started the second. I’ve actually been motivated to work on the border to the Blanket From Hell. I have an idea for focusing my knitting practice and creating some of my own designs. But it’s not just knitting. I’m seeing the things around me differently, which helps me come up with pictures for Project 365. I want to start baking again, and even have a plan as to how to go about doing that. I started a new workout plan. I’m revamping the way I save and spend money.

It’s not just knitting, or crafty pursuits, but I’m motivated to make major life changes. Good changes.

Why? And how can I keep this up? I’m better rested. I’ve been working normal hours over the past three weeks, so maybe I’m less tired both physically and, more importantly, mentally. But I want from zero motivation to being off the charts.

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Saturday at Pitchfork

Posted by Andi on July 18, 2010

Tim and I went to the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park.

I’ll start with the music. We stayed on the main field for the first three bands, chatting with some friends. Free Energy was the perfect band to start the day, the onto Real Estate who were also great. The first band we really wanted to see going into the festival was Delorean, who were good, but I think they would be so much better in a tiny, dark little club somewhere. That would be awesome.

Then it was time for us to get up and move to the B stage which was in another section of the park (a section that, for the most part, was too small, but whatever). On the way I bought a banana from the Whole Foods tent, and stood in the very very long line to refill our water bottles. While in line we were able to listen to Titus Andronicus, who sounded amazing. I wish we would have paid more attention to this set because what we heard was great.

The first band over on the B stage that we saw was Dâm-Funk, who we thought was good and it was nice to see something a bit, well, funkier there, but I think we both wanted to like the set more than we did. However, I think I would like to see Dâm-Funk at a smaller venue. Sometimes festivals aren’t the best place to see an artist.

Dam-Funk

Next on that stage was the Smith Westerns, which was the band I really wanted to see. They still sound a bit raw, but this band is going to be awesome. The lead singer had the skinniest skinny pants I have ever seen (though the picture below doesn’t convey that). They were a lot of fun.

Smith Westerns

We headed back to the main field to see the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, who were amazing. It was Tim’s favorite set of the day, and probably my second favorite set. Dude, the guy was awesome, and playing in like 95 degree heat in leather pants! How? Ouch! But he was so great — another band I hope I have the opportunity to see again.

Next was Wolf Parade, which was another band I was really looking forward to seeing. We sat and listened for a couple of songs, then grabbed some food and ate close to the stage where we could hear the band. I heard them, but never saw them. They sounded great, though. Yet another band I hope to see again.

We headed back over to the B stage to check out Bear In Heaven. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get into them because, although I really like their album, it sounds like autumn music to me. It was over 90 degrees yesterday, and they were playing in the bright sun. I think the fact that the stage was a bit shaded helped me get in the mood. I hope they come back to Chicago in a couple of months.

In order to avoid being exposed to Panda Bear, we walked through the record tent. Oh, if I had a turn table I would have spent so much money in there. It truly was a music lover’s paradise. Then we went through Flatstock — all of the concert poster art. Some day, when I own a home, I am going to have a bunch of concert poster art. I should start collecting now.

We were pretty successful at avoiding Panda Bear, and went back to the main field after they were over, just in time to get a spot for LCD Soundsystem. I had seen them a few years back at Lollapalooza and thought they were great, but man, they tore it up last night. The most amazing moment of the whole day was when they played “All My Friends”. Wow. Everyone was into it. It was incredible, and the sort of moment that defines why festivals can be incredible. I hope LCD Soundsystem isn’t done after this tour. That would make me sad.

The music and records and posters weren’t the only interesting things to see yesterday. The way the hipsters were dressed was, um, interesting. I do see how so many women can wear boots in such hot weather. The only reason I had shoes as thick as Converse Chuck Taylors on was because I didn’t want my feet to get sunburned. I can’t imagine wearing boots.

How hot was it? This dude created shorts on the spot.

Smartest guy at the festival

And this guy, who we saw several times, was barely dressed at all.

Barely dressed hipster

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Sort of like calories on a holiday, yarn bought at a warehouse sale doesn’t break a yarn diet

Posted by Andi on July 11, 2010

The bins I purchased to hold my yarn stash are now full; however, that did not stop me from going to the Dream In Color warehouse moving sale with some friends a couple of weeks ago. Not only did I not have any space for new yarn, but I had no idea what I was looking for. I wasn’t looking for yarn in a particular color or for a particular project. This led to me buying entirely too much yarn.

Some of the yarn that was for sale had dying issues, where the color didn’t turn out exactly how it was supposed to. Some of the other yarn that was available either had knots or didn’t twist tightly. I bought some of both.

The yarn didn’t have labels on it, so I’m guessing at some of the colors. If you think you can tell what color any of this yarn is supposed to be, please let me know.

I will start with Classy. Some of the Classy was sold in 5- and 6-skein bundles, which is enough for a sweater. I bought a 5-skein bundle that is a sort of green color:

Dream In Color Classy

At first I was thinking it might be Bermuda Teal, but then when I was looking at it more closely I thought it was too green for that. It’s greener than it appears in this photo. Maybe it was still spruce and came out too lightly? I don’t know. It’s very pretty, however, and a great color for a sweater for me.

I bought two skeins of Classy from the bargain bin.

Dream In Color Classy

The first is petal shower. I have always wanted to knit with this colorway, but I knew I would never wear it myself. I figure I can use this to make a gift. I’m not sure the exact color of this next one:

Dream In Color Classy

Maybe it’s Pansy Golightly? It has a bit of green or teal in it as well. This was a total impulse purchase. I figured it would make a nice hat.

The Smooshy was being sold for 5 skeins for $50, so of course I had to buy 5 skeins.

Dream In Color Smooshy

I loved this skein of Happy Forest. I have a skein of Starry in this color. I just love it. I can never have too much green yarn! Speaking of green yarn:

Dream In Color Smooshy

I have no idea what this color is. It sort of looks like pictures of Green Lantern that I’ve seen, only it has black in it. Is there any more perfect yarn for me than a yarn that is both green and black? I think not.

Dream In Color Smooshy

I think this one is Blue Lagoon. I toyed between that and Bermuda Teal, but it seems too blue. I’ve been wanting to work with both of those colors, so I was glad to find this one.

Dream In Color Smooshy

I think this is either Cinnamon Girl or Prairie Grass. I’m leaning toward Cinnamon Girl. And finally, I have no idea what this is:

Dream In Color Smooshy

It’s pretty much solid. I’m guessing it’s from the new solid series, but I can’t tell what color it is supposed to be.

So, that’s it. When I figured out the cost I figured I got all of the yarn for what I would have paid for the Classy had it been regular price. So what if I had no room for it… how can one pass up such a deal?

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Meet Blitzen

Posted by Andi on July 10, 2010

Blitzen

This is Blitzen, our new stand mixer. Well, new to us at least.

Last weekend we were visiting my boyfriend’s family, and we mentioned something about wanting a stand mixer for a long time, or that we were going to buy a stand mixer. I don’t remember. The jist of it was we wanted a stand mixer but did not yet have one. My boyfriend’s mom said that they had a stand mixer they weren’t using. It just needs to be cleaned. So Blitzen came home with us on Monday

Today my boyfriend cleaned him up and he looks brand new.

Ironcially, even though I’m the one who likes to bake, I’m not the one to christen Blitzen. My boyfriend made a carrot cake for me last night, and he used it this morning to make the cream cheese frosting. Blitzen worked very well.

And the cake turned out well. He cut it into layers and put some of the cream cheese frosting in between. Yay!

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Resolution progress

Posted by Andi on July 8, 2010

Now that the year is more than half over, I thought I would revisit my knitting resolution for the year and measure my progress.

My goal was to complete 26 projects this year. So far, I have completed 14 projects, one more than the 13 I needed to have finished by this time to be on target. So far, so good.

But, things are slowing down. I was on fire early in the year, and now I’m stagnant.

I currently have three projects on the needles. First is the Leyburn Socks. I’m less than an hour from finishing the first sock, but I have yet to pick it up since I came back from California two weeks ago. I haven’t knit in two weeks. I blame the heat, and after a crazy week that week, a need to truly relax.

Second is the blanket I’m making for a wedding present. I haven’t worked on this in a couple of months. All I have is the border left. I was going to sew it to the blanket as I knit it, but I don’t want a huge blanket on my lap in this heat. I will knit most of the border before sewing it on. This really needs to become a priority, not only because I just don’t want it on my project list anymore, but because the wedding I made it for was almost a year ago. It needs to be done soon.

Third is the Astrid shawl, which, let’s face it, is not going to be touched any time soon. Because each of the circles making up shawl can be knit quickly, I will do this when I just need something to do quickly. It will not be a focus until at least fall, which really makes no sense because, given how small each circle is, wouldn’t it be a perfect project for summer?

However, other projects are pressing, like the blanket. And gifts for friends who are expecting.

I’ve made a lot of scarves and shawls lately. I want more, but I also want to change my focus. What I’m really motivated to make now are lightweight cardigans I can wear to work in the summer to cover the tattoo on my arm. I have a bunch of patterns in mind. I will start with the Geodesic Cardigan because I have the yarn for it already, and we’ll see where I go from there.

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