Knitstant Gratification

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

Archive for February, 2014

They’re Back!!

Posted by Andi on February 22, 2014

I wanted to knit while watching the bronze medal hockey game this morning, but I was at a loss as to what to knit. The only current project I have on the needles is a lace stole (details will be in an upcoming post), which would not make for good hockey knitting. I thought about starting a pair of socks, but I wasn’t really feeling that. So I did something else.

Finally, after months of no progress, new hexipuffs!! #knitting

Hexipuffs! I know, I wanted to knit several a month, and so far I’m 2 for 2014. But it’s a start. The hexipuff on the left was made from Dream In Color Smooshie that I bought at the factory sale, and was left over after I made the Torrent socks. The one on the right is made from Fiber Optic Foot Notes, and was left over after I made Tim’s gloves. I probably should have made a few more, but then I cast on a pair of wristlets instead.

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Medal Earned

Posted by Andi on February 16, 2014

Every two years, during the Olympics, I participate in the Ravellenic Games. The point is to complete a project that will challenge you between the time of the Opening Ceremonies and the Closing Ceremonies. Because of my schedule I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to participate this year. However, I managed to finish this scarf ahead of schedule, which gave me a small amount of time to work on a project. I cast on last Saturday, and finished my project this morning.

Barely There Socks
Pattern: Barely There Socks by Jill L. Schaefer
Yarn: Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett, colorway 4258, 1 skein
Needles: US 1
Date started: February 8, 2014
Date completed: February 16, 2014

I love them! There are so many benefits to these socks. First, it’s a fast knit. I knit them top-down, and I only knit five rows before starting the heel flap. It took me slightly longer to knit this pair of socks than it would take me to knit one mid-calf sock. Over the 8 days it took me to knit these socks, I only sat and knit them a handful of times. I think I knit on four separate days. Second, it takes a small amount of yarn. I used one skein of Regia, which is a small skein — it would take two skeins of this yarn to make a pair of mid-calf socks. I wear a size 8 shoe, and I made these socks with less than 250 yards of yarn. I could use leftovers! I think there might be enough yarn left over from Tim’s gloves to make a pair of these socks for myself!

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I Need To Use a Lifeline

Posted by Andi on February 15, 2014

My travel knitting project is the Grand Army Plaza Shawl. It’s the perfect travel project because the lace weight yarn cakes up so small that it’s really portable – even more portable than socks!

Well, until this happens.

Uh oh. #knitting #oops

I dropped a stitch somewhere, and didn’t notice it for several rows. Because I’ve only been working on this while traveling I don’t have any lifelines in it. I can’t bring the items I need to make a lifeline on the plane. Of course, it didn’t occur to me to put the lifelines in once I got home.

The other problem I’m having with this project is the needles – they aren’t sharp enough. I use wood needles when I travel, and the tips are pretty blunt. That make p3tog difficult, and that’s probably what led to the dropped stitch.

So I’m debating this. I will be traveling this week. I need to start this project over. Do I have the motivation to go to the LYS and see if I can get a sharper needle, or do I soldier on with the blunt needle and try to be more careful? Am I annoyed enough to put this project in time out and start something else? The pattern for this project is in a book and I have a lot to pack – do I start a project with a more portable pattern?

I don’t know. But I do know I have to frog this now.

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Diagonal Scarf

Posted by Andi on February 9, 2014

A few weeks ago one of the members of my knit group discussed how she had donated some belongings to a homeless shelter. She asked them what else they needed, and they said they needed scarves. She asked us if, as a group, we wanted to make scarves for the homeless shelter. Of course we did!!

I immediately started thinking about my stash and whether I had enough of any one yarn to make a scarf. I have a few skeins of Lion Brand Wool Ease, but none of the skeins were long enough for a scarf. I thought about using two colors, but we were told that the clients at the shelter don’t like having scarves in bright colors so as to not draw attention to themselves.

Then I remembered the dark blue Plymouth Encore yarn that is in my stash. It was yarn I received when someone donated yarn to our knit group. This yarn was donated to us, so I thought I should use it to make a scarf I was donating. I hope the original owner of the yarn, who had passed away (hence the donation), would be happy with that.

Like most knitters I’m sure, I have a ton of scarf patterns. I finally found one I liked in my 2007 Pattern a Day calendar. Here is what I came up with.

Diagonal Scarf
Pattern: Silk Diagonal Scarf by Marcie Good
Yarn: Plymouth Encore Worsted Solids & Heathers in #354, 1 skein
Needles: US 7
Date started: January 24, 2014
Date completed: February 8, 2014

The photo isn’t true to color. The blue is darker, and what you can’t see is that the yarn is heathered. The color isn’t quite solid.

The scarf is a bit narrow, but I made it long enough that it could be wrapped around someone’s neck twice. I used the entire skein of yarn. I just kept knitting until I had just enough to bind off. I have another skein of the yarn and thought about using both, but that would have been an extremely long scarf.

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Last Minute Birthday Scarf

Posted by Andi on February 6, 2014

Last Friday I attended a friend’s birthday party. I realized Thursday afternoon that I didn’t have a gift for my friend. I did what most knitters would do — I looked through my stash to see if there was something I could start and complete Thursday night. I found some bulky yarn, and since it’s been a very cold winter here in the Chicago area, I decided to make my friend a scarf.

Black Birthday Scarf
Project: Black Birthday Scarf
Pattern: Two-hour Knit Scarf #30167 by Lion Brand Yarn
Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun in Black, 1 skein
Needles: US 19
Date started: January 30, 2014
Date completed: January 30, 2014

I had about seven minutes to spare, or else I would have completed it on January 31. Oh, and two hours is a lie. It took me more than three hours.

This was the first time I knit with size 19 needles in years, and it felt like I was knitting with tree trunks. It took a long time to get used to it.

I’m happy to report that my friend really liked the scarf, and she has been wearing it regularly.

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Stash Enhancement, New York Style

Posted by Andi on February 1, 2014

Last Sunday I had a free afternoon in New York. In planning what to do with said afternoon, the first thing I did was look at the schedules for the three New York area NHL teams. The Rangers and Devils were playing that afternoon, but it was the Stadium Series game at Yankee Stadium. I did not want, nor could I afford, to attend that. I didn’t even spring for tickets to the Stadium Series game in Chicago in February. My next idea was the one I went with.

Yarn shopping.

After checking into my hotel, I headed down to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

Lion Brand Yarn Studio

The shop has some yarn art on the walls. There were tables where people were sitting and knitting. There were also computers where you could search Lion Brand’s patterns, which I thought was really convenient because then all of the yarn is right there! What I was surprised to see was all of the non-Lion Brand items the store carried. All of the yarn was Lion Brand, but they also carried pattern books, wool wash, project bags, interchangeable needle sets, etc.

The store has all of the Lion Brand yarns I see in the craft stores, but it also had the the newer, more premium of the Lion Brand yarns that I don’t normally see in craft stores, such as the yarns with cashmere. The LB Collection yarns. I’ve never seen most of those in stores, only online, so it was nice to check them out and see what the look like and feel like. I had a hard time deciding what to get. I was considering the LB Collection Cashmere, but I have some cashmere yarn I haven’t knit with yet. Then I was looking at the LB Collection Silk Merino because I want to make a pair of Reversible Wristers. There was this really lovely orange color that I wanted, but the pattern uses two colors, and I wasn’t happy with that orange in combination with any of the other colors, so that was out of the running. (I planned to look to see if there were other colors that might go better with the orange online. I still haven’t done that.)I finally settled on this.

Lion Brand LB Collection Wool Stainless Steel

LB Collection Wool Stainless Steel. I’ve seen the Habu textiles wool and stainless steel yarn, but never bought any. I had actually seen the Lion Brand version somewhere once before as well. There was a sample scarf tied to the basket this yarn was displayed in, and I was surprised how soft it was given that there is stainless steel in it. I really liked the sample scarf, so I bought enough yarn to make it. Expect it to show up sometime soon. Hey, maybe that can be my Ravellenics project!!

After I left the store I started to wonder whether yarn with stainless steel content would get tossed out by airport security on my way home. It didn’t.

I was also attracted to several a few things at the checkout counter. I’m a sucker. First, look at these cute Hiya Hiya stitch markers!!

Hiya Hiya stitch markers

You could also buy them with a little case for the stitch markers, but it was a lot more expensive. Personally I didn’t need the little case.

I’ve been wanting one of those bags that fold up really small so you can stuff them in your purse, and then you have a bag when you need it kind of bags. They had those at the checkout counter too, so of course, I got that too. I’m sorry it is wrinkled in the picture, but it had been all folded up.

Lion Brand Tote Bag

Next I got back on the subway and headed down to Purl Soho.

Purl Soho

What a wonderful store. The first thing I noticed is that right when you walk in there is a pile of swatches made from various yarns the store sells. What a great idea! Then shoppers know what that yarn will look like knitted up. I’ve seen swatches or sample projects in other stores, but not a big pile like this. You could just go through all of the swatches until you find something with the drape or feel that you like, then go find it on the shelf. How cool is that?

Outside of the Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn that I can’t get around here, I ignored most of the other yarns they sell because I can easily find many of them in other places. The only yarn I planned on purchasing was Purl Soho’s own brand, since that’s really the only place to get it. My original plan was to get one skein of yarn, but I got three skeins. Here they are.

I got one skein of Worsted Twisted in Peacock Blue.

Purl Soho Worsted Twist

I also got two skeins of Line Weight — one in Ballet Pink and the other in Toasted Charcoal.

Purl Soho Line Weight

Purl Soho Line Weight

Here’s how that went down. I found the Worsted Twisted first, and that Ballet Pink color jumped out at me. I grabbed it, and it felt so soft and nice and squishy! I figured one skein would be enough for a hat or cowl. Then I noticed the line weight right next to it and became confused. Worsted or lace weight? What to do? Get both! So, while still holding the Ballet Pink skein of Worsted Twisted, I started going through the Line Weight options. I picked up a skein of Peacock Blue Line Weight and really liked that. I looked at the two skeins in my hands, liked them, and almost walked away. Then I thought that really light pink would get awful dirty if I wore it as a cowl. I decided to switch. I got the Peacock Blue Worsted Twisted, but I didn’t see any Ballet Pink Line Weight. That’s when I picked up to Toasted Charcoal skein. It’s a different type of gray than I typically see and I thought it was really pretty. Again, I thought I was finished and was about to walk away, when I spotted the Ballet Pink Line Weight skein way up on the top shelf. It was the only one. I jumped up and grabbed it. Now I had two skeins of Line Weight and three total skeins of yarn in my arms. Remember, I planned on getting just one skein. I held the two Line Weight skeins in one hand and realized how nice the looked together. I could make a two-color shawl! So yes, I got all three. I figured what the heck, when am I going to be back there? Probably not for a long time.

I spent some time looking at the needles and notions, but not as much time looking at the fabric in the store. It looked very nice from what I could see of it — very interesting colors and designs. If I knew how to sew or started quilting I’m sure I would have been sucked in.

I went to the counter to pay, and I noticed they had a tote back and two project bags tacked to the wall behind the counter. I asked the gentleman who was ringing me up for one of the drawstring project bags. The one on the wall was the only one left, so that was the one I got.

Purl Soho project bag

All in all I’m happy with what I got. I could have gone a lot more crazy in both stores. Even though I bought more yarn than I had intended, I only went $10 over my budget (I was planning to get some project bags or something in addition yarn from the very beginning).

There was one striking thing about both stores, and that was the number of men who were working there. I would say approximately half of the staff in both stores were men. That is in sharp contrast to the yarn stores I’ve been to in the Chicago area, where I have only ever seen two men, each at a different shop.

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