Knitstant Gratification

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

Archive for February, 2016

Spotting Hand Knits in the Wild

Posted by Andi on February 28, 2016

As a knitter, when I’m out in public I’m constantly looking at people’s sweaters, hats, scarves, cowls, etc. and wondering, “Did someone knit that?” I look for telltale signs. Is there a tag? Do I recognize that yarn? Every once in a while I am confident the item is hand knit. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Very rarely, I can confirm something is hand knit because I recognize the pattern. I’m not considering the knits I see at fiber festivals or yarn stores. I expect to see people wearing their knits there. I’m taking about being out in random places in public.

The first time this ever happened to me was a few years ago. I was in a waiting room – doctor, dentist, I can’t remember. It was winter, and a woman walked in wearing Calorimetry. I recognized it right away because that pattern was very popular for a while. Everyone (except me) was making it, so I saw many versions of it. I was going to say something to her once she sat down, but she never did. She went up to the receptionist, picked something up, and walked out.

Last week it happened again. I was on a Brown Line train, and there was a woman wearing Rockefeller. I have knit that pattern, so I was particularly excited to see someone else’s version in person. I debated whether to say something to her, but we were both wearing headphones, and by the time I noticed it the train was nearing my stop and I was going to have to get off the train. Of course, then the train inched its way to my stop, so in the end I probably did have time to talk to the woman wearing it.

Later on I kicked myself for not saying anything to her. I’m always happy to talk about my knits, but on the train people are often in their own little bubbles. We both had on headphones. It’s not typical to see people randomly strike up conversation on the CTA. Perhaps next time I will.


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Hat Trick Denied

Posted by Andi on February 20, 2016

Every January, the Puck This! group on Ravelry participates in the January Hat Trick, where we try to make at least three hats in the month of January. For those of you who are not hockey fans, a hat trick is when a player scores three goals in one game. Some of us cast on during the Winter Classic, which is an outdoor NHL game that takes place on New Year’s Day every year. I went to a bar to watch the Winter Classic, so I cast on before that so I could knit on the train.

Thornhill Hat
Pattern: Thornhill Hat by Brenda Castiel
Yarn: Plymouth Encore in 354, .66 skein (132 yards)
Needles: US 6
Date started: January 1, 2016
Date completed: January 12, 2016

I’m participating in the Winter Camp for the first three months of the year. There are teams, and you get points for how much yarn you use, but there are bonus points available if you use the color of the month, a pattern by a featured designer of the month, or type of project of the month. In January, the colors were blue and purple, and the project was “for the head.” I had this skein of yarn in my stash, just one skein, so it was enough to make a hat and get two types of bonus points.

Tim chose the pattern, which I also already owned. It was interesting to knit because it’s ribbed and cabled – and even the cables are ribbed. Because of that, there are some gaps in the stitches, so Tim wears this hat on mildly cold days. It’s actually been perfect for the past few days. It’s been unseasonably warm here, and some of Tim’s other hats would be too warm.

Pattern: Obla by Amanda Schwabe
Yarn: Wollmeise 80/20 Twin in WD Aquarius (.29 skein, 146.2 yards) and WD Jeton (.21 skein, 105.4 yards)
Needles: US 2
Date started: January 16, 2016
Date completed: January 29, 2016

I also knit this hat out of stash yarn – leftovers actually. I made another hat with the blue, and a pair of socks out of the yellow. I had a lot of yarn left over of each, but not enough to make a project out of either one, so this hat was the perfect pattern for this leftover yarn.

The yarn was in my stash, but the pattern wasn’t. I paid for it. The designer was one of the Winter Camp featured designers in January. One of my goals for this year was to master stranded colorwork. It has been a long time since I’ve tried stranded colorwork, and I wasn’t happy with the results in the past. I’m a good knitter so I knew if I practiced it would work out. This was a great pattern to practice on because the longest floats are only 4-5 stitches long. There was no need to catch floats in the back.

I knit using both hands. I held one color in one hand, and the other color in the other hand. When I tried it in the past I found it really awkward, but this time, outside of the first few stitches, it wasn’t awkward at all! I was able to zoom around the hat.

I didn’t knit a gauge swatch, and had no idea how my gauge would compare to my one-color gauge. This was meant to be a practice piece, so if it didn’t fit me I was going to give it to someone else. Turns out it fit. I wore it for the first time the other day. It’s nice and warm.

As you can see, that’s two hats. I did not have time to do the third. The colorwork hat took a while. Also, I was having hand problems again, so I did have to take a time out from knitting (I sewed some hexipuffs together instead). I also had to travel, and I thought two-handed colorwork would be a bit much on a plane, so I started a pair of socks for that. I may have failed at the hat trick, but I was able to get bonus points for Winter Camp.

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