Knitstant Gratification

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

Archive for September, 2013

Frogging Wonky Acorns

Posted by Andi on September 29, 2013

Once the rows on my Radiance Shawl got so long that I didn’t want to take out out of the house, I needed a project that I could take to knit group or when knitting outside the house. I had this awesome skein of Sophie’s Toes sock yarn in Pumpkin Spice for four years.

Sophie's Toes

Every autumn I think about knitting with it; however, then I realize that I won’t have the project finished in autumn, and that sort of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? So in early September, when I wanted to start a new portable project, I thought about this skein of yarn and vowed that I would have a new pair of autumn themed socks before autumn ended.

I chose the Acorn Stash Sock pattern. Isn’t it cute? So I started knitting, and it was going well. I found the increasing seven stitches into one stitch to be mildly irritating, but it only happened every six rows, so I was okay with that.

When it became time to start the heel flap, the pattern stopped making sense to me. I’m an experienced sock knitter, so that doesn’t happen too often. I knit the correct amount of stitches according to the pattern but ended up in the middle of a pattern repeat when I was supposed to separate for the heel flap. That just didn’t seem right. After exercising my brain for a few more minutes, I thought I should go to the Ravelry project page to see if there is errata for that pattern. Guess what? There was.

I clicked through to the publisher’s page where the errata was, and was expecting to see a correction for starting the heel flap. Instead, the errata was for the stitch pattern itself. If you look at the sock you will see that the rows of acorns are offset. The pattern repeat is for two acorns: the top of one and the bottom of the one next to it. Well, it was backwards. That was fine, I just moved where the heel flap was and went from there. I think I made a couple of mistakes either in the heel flap or gusset because as I was decreasing I had an even number of stitches on the heel/gusset needle, and there was supposed to be an odd number of stitches. No biggie, I just figured I would decrease somewhere to eliminate a stitch. When making my initial correction I added a row to the heel flap, so I tried on the sock to make sure the heel flap and gusset weren’t too big. They were okay, but then I realized something.

The acorns were wonky. Very wonky.

Apparently I couldn’t increase seven stitches into one stitch evenly. It looked a tad wonky as I was knitting it, but I knew it would stretch when I put the sock on and figured it would even out. When I tried the sock on I discovered that it didn’t even out.

Acorn Stash Socks

This picture is dark, but if you look closely you can see that the cap of the bottom acorn is thicker on the right side than the left side. If you look at the acorn above it, you can see that the stem is slanted. The acorn itself looks better than the one below it, but that is just because of how it was laying over my hand when I Was taking the photo. They looked very wonky when the sock was on my leg, and that’s what matters.

So I decided to frog the sock. Once I rewound the skein, I had to decide whether to start these socks again, and decided it wasn’t worth it. Even if I took the errata into account from the beginning, the acorns would still end up wonky. Instead of starting these socks over again, I think I’m going to start the Havana Lace sock pattern, which is in the same book.

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Radiance Shawl, Or Where I Finally Knit Up a Gift

Posted by Andi on September 26, 2013

Radiance Shawl
Pattern: Radiance Shawl by Helen Stewart
Yarn: Schaefer Yarn Company Andrea in the Elene Piscopia colorway (.74 skein)
Needles: US 4
Date started: August 17, 2013
Date completed: September 22, 2013

This is a lace shawl that is knit top-down, from the center out.

Radiance Shawl

This is my first lace shawl, knit with lace weight yarn. It was pretty easy. There are only three lace sections, two of which are of the same stitch pattern. It was a great first lace shawl, and it was the perfect pattern for the highly variegated yarn I used.

Radiance Shawl

I had seen some complaints on Ravelry that the yarn wasn’t colorfast. After the Multnomah debacle, I decided to pin this shawl out dry, then spray it to block it. It turned out well. Who knows if it would have remained colorfast had I soaked it. It doesn’t matter now.

Radiance Shawl

I wasn’t planning on knitting this when I did, but last month I just felt the need to use this yarn. I started stalking patterns on Ravelry. I had picked a different one, but then I saw this one and thought it would work better. I started it at my friend’s lake house in Michigan, but ended up frogging it when I got home after making a mistake and dropping a bunch of lace stitches.

Radiance Shawl

The big issue is why I felt I had to knit with this yarn when I did. My friend Mimi patiently listened to me go on a long rant about my knitting philosophy and changes I felt had to be made. I’m going to repeat part of that rant here, so Mimi, if you are reading this post, you can stop now!

One area where I have been disappointed in my knitting practice over the past few years (and there is more than one area, but expect to see more of that in upcoming posts) is that I haven’t used knitting gifts I have received in a timely manner. Over the years, friends and family members have given me various skeins of yarn, pattern books, magazine subscriptions, etc. Some have gotten use, and in some cases rather quickly. For example, I used the skein of Socks That Rock that a friend got me, as well as a skein of Studio June yarn. I’ve used various project bags, pattern books and magazines I have received.

However, there are other books I haven’t knit from, and there are many skeins of yarn that people have bought me that I haven’t used. I have nothing against those yarns, in fact I still love all of them. But I have a large stash, and I can’t knit with all of the yarns all at once. The fact that I haven’t used them all is by no means a reflection on what I think of the yarn. In all cases, I want to make sure I find the perfect pattern to go with yarn that was gifted to me so I can get maximum enjoyment out of both the knitting process and the finished object.

Sounds good, right? Well, about six weeks ago I started feeling this immense sense of guilt over not using some of the knitting-related gifts I’ve been given in a timely fashion. There were a few gifts in particular I was feeling guilty about.

There are two books Tim bought me that I haven’t used yet. One is Stitch ‘N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller. I told Tim several years ago that I was planning to learn how to crochet, and that I thought there were good patterns in that book. He bought it for me. I still don’t know how to crochet. Every year I say it’s going to be the Year of Crochet for me, and it keeps not being the Year of Crochet. 2014?? I even have yarn in my stash that I want to use for one of the projects in that book, but has that motivated me to learn to crochet? No. There is so much to knit after all. Okay, so I’m considering taking a crochet class at a local yarn store, so maybe I will get on this sooner than I think.

The second book Tim bought me that I’m feeling guilty about is Amigurumi Knits: Patterns for 20 Cute Mini Knits by Hansi Singh. Again, I mentioned to him that I wanted the book because I think amigurumi is cute, but as mentioned above, I don’t know how to crochet. As soon as I got the book I knew exactly what I wanted to make first. I planned on knitting all of the vegetable patterns, and putting the finished objects into a silver collander and use it as a centerpiece for our dining room table. And guess what? I’m still planning on it. I have made some progress, such as buying all of the different yarns I need to make all of the vegetables. But they aren’t going to knit themselves.

Finally, I was feeling guilty about not using the skein of yarn I used to make this shawl. I bought this yarn at a local yarn store called Idea Studio (where, coincidentally, I’m considering taking them crochet class). My mom got me a gift certificate there for my birthday. At first I was looking at cheaper yarns, trying to get the biggest bang for my gift certificate buck. But then I reconsidered, and decided to buy yarn that I would never consider purchasing because I thought it was too expensive. This yarn is silk, and it was $57 for one skein of yarn. Isn’t this what gift certificates are for? So I bought this skein of yarn, and it sat in my stash. And sat.

I don’t know why this guilt crept up on me, except for the fact that people who know me well know that I often feel guilty about something or other. I mentioned this to Tim, and he was by no means offended that I hadn’t used either of the pattern books he bought me yet, and it was up to me when I was ready to use them. As a matter of fact, I think he thought it was weird that I felt guilty about not using them yet. I guess I just felt I wasn’t showing my appreciation for this wonderful gifts because I wasn’t using them.

The guilt has subsided a bit since I made this beautiful shawl, but I do plan on using more of the gifts I’ve been given sooner rather than later. Or so I say. I have about 5 or 6 patterns lined up, none of which involve using yarns or patterns that were gifted to me. I have to let it go and know that it is okay for me to knit what I want when I want to, and that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what I’ve been given.

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Ketchup!

Posted by Andi on September 22, 2013

Today I noticed it has been 10 days since I last posted anything. I have been doing things of note, but because I’ve been busy, had a crazy travel week, and then just needed some well-earned rest, I haven’t posted anything. Instead of making a bunch of little individual posts, I’m just going to catch you all up right here.

First, the garden.

Kale. Lots of kale. Did I mention kale? Our kale plants have been spectacular. We planted four, and honestly that was way too many. Next season we can get away with two kale plants, or maybe even one. Tim has been great about using the kale. We’ve had it in salads and in some other dishes, and he’s made a ton of kale chips.

When we first planted the garden, we planted at least one, if not two, hot pepper plants. Only one sprouted, but it wasn’t growing any peppers, so we planted a couple of more. Now the first one has a ton of hot peppers, but the other two are small and will probably not grow any before the ground freezes. I’m not sure what kind of hot peppers we are growing. The seed packet has pictures of both red and green peppers. We only had green ones, until last week when we finally had a red one!

Hot red pepper

Oh, and we have an eggplant!

Our first eggplant

I thought we were never going to get one. Of course, last year they came in really late. You would think we would have remembered that, but we didn’t. We really need to get our butts in gear sooner next year and plant eggplant seeds indoors and transfer them.

Second, Riot Fest.

Last Sunday we went to Riot Fest in Humboldt Park. It was the first year we went, and instead of going all three days we only went on Sunday. Band-wise we made the right decision, but while the weather was beautiful on Friday and Saturday, it was horrendous on Sunday. It rained almost all day. I didn’t even take my camera with me. I took a few pictures on my cell phone, only one of a band, and it was awful. It was cold and wet and miserable, but luckily it cleared up and stopped raining before the last two bands, when it was dark out.

Riot Fest is an interesting festival. Not only is it a music festival, but it’s also a carnival. I really wanted to go on the Orbiter, but I just didn’t trust it after it rained all day.

Orbiter #RiotFest #carnival

There were also sideshow acts, but we didn’t see many of those. Oh, and a wresting ring with matches! Perhaps the weirdest thing, and most awesome by far, was Butter Stamos.

Such awesomeness #ButterStamos #RiotFest

Yes, that is John Stamos, made of butter.

Third, knitting.

I’ve been a pretty monogamous knitter lately. I’ve been working on the Radiance Shawl. I wanted to get it done as quickly as possible, so that’s all I’ve been working on at home. Eventually the rows became really long, so I stopped taking it out of the house. I started a pair of socks to take when I travel or go out, but otherwise I’ve stuck with the shawl. Finally this week I got to the last section, which is all garter stitch, so I took it out again. I finished knitting it at Oaktoberfest yesterday.

How I'm spending my afternoon #Oaktoberfest #knitting #pumpkinbeer #music #hellokitty

I finally finished binding off this morning, and it’s blocking as we speak. It might actually be dry by now. More than likely my next post will be about that shawl.

That’s it! I think we’re all caught up now!

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The Year of Babies Continues

Posted by Andi on September 12, 2013

2013 isn’t the first year I’ve knit baby gifts for friends who were expecting bundles of joy, but it’s definitely the year that the largest number of friends of mine had children. Here is the third baby gift I made this year.

Apple Blossom Cardigan
Pattern: Apple Blossom Cardigan by Sarah Franklin
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Solids in Red, .69 skein
Needles: US 9
Date started: July 2, 2013
Date completed: July 29, 2013

I finished it a while ago, but I had to wait to post it until my friends received it. My friends are big Blackhawks fans, hence the red sweater. I briefly considered making the sweater in red, black and white, but in the end I thought that would be tacky. Besides, I figured they would know why I made the sweater for their new daughter in red.

This pattern came from a pattern-a-day calendar that my mom got me for Christmas. There were two sizes that differed only by the yarn weight – the number of stitches didn’t change. I made the bigger size. For the most part, this was a fun pattern to knit. Actually, I take that back. It was a fun pattern to know for the whole part. What was a bit annoying was sewing down the picot edge. I didn’t mind sewing the picot edge around the neck or the sleeves, but the picot edge also goes all the way around the sweater. That took forever. When it came time to sew that part down I took it to knitting group and worked on it while talking with my friends, which made it less painful. I dreaded it so much that I almost eliminated the picot edge, but that’s what makes the sweater cute, so I kept it. I’m glad I did.

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FO – Multnomah

Posted by Andi on September 7, 2013

Multnomah
Pattern: Multnomah by Kate Ray
Yarn: Interlacements Toasty Toes in Canyon Lands
Needle: US 4
Date started: July 26, 2013
Date completed: August 11, 2013

I started this shawl at the Blackhawks Convention. I needed a mindless knit to work on during the panel sessions, or while waiting in autograph lines. This shawl is knit top down, so it starts with the garter stitch section. It’s a two-row repeat, where you increase two stitches on one row, and four stitches on the other. It was always obvious which row I was on because all I had to do was look for the presence of yarn overs in certain places. I never got past the garter stitch section during the convention, so it worked out smashingly.

The colors in this yarn remind me of a campfire, which is why I bought it. I thought it would make a great shawl for autumn, my favorite season. The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn in yardage akin to that for a pair of socks. This yarn is sport weight, and the skein had greater yardage – about 560 yards. I didn’t want too much leftover yarn, perhaps enough for some hexipuffs but not too much because I don’t know what I would do with a small amount of sport weight yarn. So, I decided to increase the size of the shawl. I added enough extra garter stitch rows to be able to add two extra feather and fan stitch repeats, one on each side. Also, I didn’t bind off when the pattern said. I kept going until I was almost out of yarn. I love how it turned out. I was able to make a shawl it is bigger than the smallish shawl I would have gotten had I stuck with the pattern. I’m glad it’s a bit bigger.

I am, however, a bit disappointed in the final shawl. I soaked the shawl with Soak before blocking, as I typically do. When I came back in the bathroom to take the shawl out of the sink the water was dark orange. It bled. Bad. If you look very closely at the photo, you will see that the lightest parts of the shawl are a sort of light orange now. They used to be white. And it’s not that it looks bad, but I liked it better when that part of the yarn was white. Most of the colors in this yarn are in the sort of yellow to orange to red family, with gray and white added in. I liked the contrast of the gray and white. Now, the only real contrast is gray since the white is no longer white. Boo.

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The Rest of the MFF Weekend

Posted by Andi on September 5, 2013

The rest of the Michigan Fiber Festival weekend was very relaxing. This is where I got to eat dinner two nights in a row.

Friday Dinner

While we were on our way to the farmers’ market we drove past an alpaca farm with an “open” sign. We stopped in on the way back. The place is called Scenic Sky Alpacas, where they raise alpacas and have a small shop. We got to see some of the alpacas. The pen we were near was the “nursery”, where some some mama and baby alpacas were hanging out.

Alpacas

I got to feed some alpacas! I wasn’t sure what it would be like. I was a little afraid one of the alpacas would nibble my hand, but that didn’t happen. All I could feel in my hand was their muzzles, which were super soft. One of the employees explained that alpacas don’t have top teeth, only bottom teeth. Instead they have a hard plate on the top which they use to grind their food.

Alpacas

Alpacas

We also went shopping at a blueberry farm, where, among other things, a friend bought some blueberry syrup for our pancakes Sunday morning.

Blueberry bush

I got to knit by the water.

Relaxin

We did a lot of knitting. All of us were working on socks. Mine are the blue ones on the left, which I posted about previously.

Weekend sock knitting

On Sunday we walked along Lake Michigan.

Lake Michigan

I almost stepped on this pretty lady! I’m glad I saw her first.

Lake Michigan

Overall, it was a great weekend. If you would like to see all of my pictures from the weekend, you can see them here.

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Michigan Fiber Fest, Where I Showed No Restraint

Posted by Andi on September 2, 2013

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Michigan Fiber Festival with three friends, then spent the rest of the weekend at my friend’s lake house.

Got wool?

We got there early because two of my friends were taking a class on Friday morning, so I had plenty of browsing time. I did well at the festival in that I went around to all the booths before buying anything to make sure I was buying what I wanted with the money I had.

The first thing I saw that I knew I was going to go back and buy was a set of Indian Lake Artisans circular needles.

New needles

These needles are hexagonal. They feel nice, and because they are hexagonal it’s supposed to be easier to get the needle under the stitch. These beautiful needles are made by hand. They have straight needles (in which the non-pointy ends are pretty neat) and DPNs as well. I knew I needed a new circular needle in order to make the shell I bought the yarn for during the yarn crawl, so I bought this one. Their needles come in three different kinds of wood. At first I assumed they used different woods just for aesthetic reasons, but I was smart and asked if there were any differences I would notice as a knitter using the different woods. Sure enough, there is. The woods varied in their grabbiness, for lack of a better word — how well the yarn will stick to the needles. I decided to go with the one in the middle, the cherry. I will review the needles after I knit the shell.

Also, pretty early on, I knew I was going to buy a button. I tend not to look at buttons at festivals because I’m afraid I won’t find the right project for the buttons, or I will buy four buttons and find a pattern that calls for five buttons, you know what I mean. This time I decided to buy one button, and use it on a one-button cardigan. Easy! There was a vendor who had many beautiful buttons, but my favorites were the ones with imprints of leaves and clovers on them. I chose this one.

New button

I love it. And, I think I picked a pattern to use. I just have to figure out the yarn. I have some rust-colored yarn that might be nice, otherwise I might choose some sort of blue or try to match up the green in the button to the yarn. We’ll see.

Throughout the day I saw a lot of yarn that I would have loved to buy, but I knew when I got to the Skaska Designs booth that I was in trouble. The booth focused on lace knitting. There were several absolutely gorgeous shawls on display, along with lace patterns, magazines, and yarn. One rack of yarns were silk blend lace weight yarns. They were all beautiful. It was easy to narrow it down to two, but that would have totally blown my budget. I bought one, a gorgeous silk and camel blend.

Silk/Camel blend laceweight yarn

Not only did I love the beige color, but seriously, how often do you see camel yarn? I knew it existed before seeing it that day, but I had never actually seen it with my eyes. Besides, I saw a camel earlier in the day, so I thought buying camel yarn made sense.

Camel

Totally unrelated, but am I the only one who now, upon seeing a camel, thinks of this commercial?

That was going to be all I bought. I was at my limit. But a friend had mentioned a book about natural dying that she saw. I had seen it too, and at first decided to pass on it. I have one book on natural dying already, and while it’s always nice to have more than one so you can compare, I figured I would take the lady’s card and buy it later. In the end I worried I would lose the card or something, so I bought the book, which is by Stefania Isaacson.

Natural dying

And now, just like the Yarn Crawl, I broke my rules. I was over budget.

One of the fun things about fiber festivals are the animals. Not only did I see a camel, but I spent a lot of time looking at goats and sheep.

Angora goats

Angora goats

Sheep

If you would like to see all of my photos from that weekend, including the rest of the weekend which I will discuss in an upcoming post, you can find them here.

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Lollapalooza, Day 3, A Month Later

Posted by Andi on September 1, 2013

Finally. Only I would be posting about events that are a month old. At this point, I’m not even going to post about the Blackhawks Convention!

So, Day 3. Sunday was the day we didn’t do much research about, so we made our decisions as to who we would see early in the day on little information. The second half of the day was set.

First, we saw O’Brother.

O'Brother

After that we decided to see Palma Violets.

Palma Violets

Again, the sound at the Bud Light stage was awful, so even though I thought the band was good, at one point we left because the sound was awful.

Palma Violets

We wandered around a bit, and settled in to see Alex Clare, who we weren’t necessarily planning on seeing. I never really listened to him much, and I liked his set. It was different than I was expecting given the one song of his I knew. I would say that, after Ghost BC, this set was the surprise of the festival for me.

Must have been hot

AFter that, we went over to the other side of the park and found our spot for the rest of the day. We started with Tegan & Sara. So many people wanted to see them that we barely found enough room for our blanket. Eventually it thinned out after their set so we could spread out a bit more. They were very good, and Sara made it all the way through the set, unlike the first time they played Lolla when Sara couldn’t handle the heat (it was a lot hotter that day).

Tegan & Sara

Next was one of the bands I was most excited for: Alt-J. They sounded great, and was one of the highlights of the day for me.

Alt-J

Oh, and this was creepy.

Unicorn

For me, Grizzly Bear was a band I ended up seeing because I was parked on that side of the park. They were pretty good, though.

Grizzly Bear

I really enjoyed Beach House, though I don’t think Tim would say the same.

Beach House

Finally, The Cure. The last time I saw The Cure was at Coachella, and we didn’t get to see the whole set, so it was great to see the whole set this time.

The Cure

They may be older, but they sounds as good as ever.

The Cure

Overall, it was a great weekend. To see all of the pictures (I only posted a handful over the three posts) click here.

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