Knitstant Gratification

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

Archive for April, 2016

Splurge! Or What I Got at YarnCon

Posted by Andi on April 24, 2016

My stash is huge. I am in no danger of running out of yarn any time soon. I’m doing my best to control the growth of my stash. I’ve discussed some of the measures I’m taking here before. I keep track of the number of yards of yarn I add to my stash every year, and also keep track of the number of yards I remove (either by knitting or by destashing). Excluding yarn I buy for specific projects, I try to limit the yarn I purchase just because I think it’s pretty and want it in my stash to indie dyers and fiber festivals, though I often fall off the wagon.

The first part of this year I was participating in the Winter Camp, where I was limiting my projects to those I could make with yarn already in my stash, and I wouldn’t buy any yarn during that time. Winter Camp ended at the end of March, and YarnCon was the first weekend in April, so I gearing up to make my first yarn purchases of the year at YarnCon.

I failed a bit. I did buy some yarn before YarnCon. I decided I wanted a new shawl to wear with a dress and I bought the yarn for that from Knit Picks. But it didn’t arrive at my house until after YarnCon, so it doesn’t count, right?

Here is what I got at YarnCon:

My #YarnCon haul. #knitting #yarn

Normally I walk around to all the booths before buying anything, unless I see something I have to have and I’m worried it could be sold out before I get back there. The first yarn on the left I bought as soon as I saw it. It’s by Happy-Go-Lucky, which I have never heard of but is based in the Chicago area. It’s their HGL Sock base in the colorway Magnificent Mile – which is the colors of the Chicago flag. I have the Chicago flag tattooed on my arm, so of course I had to have that. But, I really wanted to buy more from this vendor. I’m guessing I have a lot in common with the dyer, because I loved a lot of her colorway names. One is Lemon Lymon, which is a reference to The West Wing. Awesome!

Going into YarnCon there was one thing I was looking for in paticular. I have the pattern for Endless Rainbow by Martina Behm. I have yarn to use for the rainbow part, but I needed a solid with enough yardage for the main color. I knew that Leading Men Fiber Arts has fingering weight yarn in 150g put ups, since I’ve bought it in the past (see my Duchess of Devonshie shawl). At first I was thinking I wanted a light gray, but then I saw this light blue yarn (next to the pair of socks in the photo) and thought it was the perfect sky color to go with the rainbow yarn. It’s their Soliloquy base in the colorway Ol’ Blue Eyes.

I dropped the most money at the Dragonfly Fibers booth all because of my desire to knit things in the colors of my favorite sports teams. The second yarn from the left caught my eye first because I don’t have any yarn in Cubs colors. It is their Djinni base in the Wrigleyville colorway. Sold! The yarn that is third from the left is in the Chief Black Hawk colorway, which I had seen before but never purchased. As opposed to being just black and red or red, black and white, it is based on the colors of the Blackhawks’ logo. I had been wanting that for a while, so I bought that too.

I’m a sucker for undyed yarns that are the color of the animal. There were a couple of vendors selling such yarn. With Tim’s help I picked the top cake of yarn from Deitricks’ Alpaca Ranch. It is 200 yards of worsted weight yarn spun from a mixture of Maggie’s and Pretty Thing’s fleece. I love it. It’s such a pretty gray. I plan to make a Handbrake Cowl out of it.

Finally, the pair of socks were for Tim. He loves the socks I knit for him, but last year I bought him a pair of manufactured alpaca socks and he loved them for the coldest days of the year. They were getting worn out, so I bought him a new pair to replace the old ones.

So that was a lot. More than I planned. Oops! But here’s how well I did at stash busting at Winter Camp. Between the YarnCon purchases and the Knit Picks yarn for the shawl I have 3,470 “yards in”, but I also had 4,520.4 “yards out” for 130%. I didn’t knit all of those yards. 820 yards was from destashing a skein of lace weight yarn. I thought for sure I bought more than I used, but I was wrong!

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Lots of Accessories!

Posted by Andi on April 10, 2016

As Winter Camp was winding down I wanted to get as many points as possible. I didn’t want to knit on something large and not finish it by the deadline, meaning I would not get points for a couple of weeks of knitting. Once the sweater was done I only made small, quick accessories so that everything I knit in March would count.

Here they are, in the order in which I completed them.

Morning Mist
Pattern: Morning Mist by Sandrine C.
Yarn: Colour Adventure Girly Fun DK in Forest (.64 skein, 147.8 yards, 64 grams)
Needles: US 6
Date started: March 6, 2016
Date completed: March 18, 2016

I won this yarn from the A Homespun House podcast. It’s one of the few skeins of DK weight yarn I have. It’s not clear from the photo, but there is sparkle in the yarn. I wanted a new pair of fingerless mitts, and since I only had one skein of this yarn I thought it would be perfect. I love them. Except for the cast on. The pattern calls for a cable cast on, and I couldn’t understand why the cast on wasn’t more stretchy. That would be because I didn’t put the stitches on the needle correctly. Oops! I’m actually working on another project with a cable cast on and did it right, and it makes a world of difference.

Bath Mitt
Pattern: Bath Mitt by Lily Sugar’n Cream and Bernat Design Studio
Yarn: Lily Sugar’n Cream in 1404 Yellow (.59 skein, 71 yards, 42 grams)
Needles: US 9
Date started: March 18, 2016
Date completed: March 19, 2016

Back around the holidays, the manager of the restaurant where my knitting group meets bought a bunch of cotton yarn for us. I took this lovely yellow yarn, and decided to make a bath mitt out of it. I made such a major mistake on it, though. It’s knit from the cuff up. I separated and made the thumb, then went back to knit the hand. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I started the hand decreases right away instead of knitting even for a while. The hand was shorter than the thumb! Oops! So I had to rip back and add more length to to the hand.

Generally I think this is great. The garter stitch is nice and scrubby but soft on my skin. If I were to make it again, however, I would go down a couple of needle sizes. I used the needle called for in the pattern, and didn’t make a swatch. Actually, if I made a swatch I probably still wouldn’t have recognized the problem. When it gets wet, the garter stitch grows a lot. A tighter gauge would be better. I have more cotton yarn (including more of this yarn) so I think I’m going to try a tighter one soon.

Lovely Linen Stitch Cowl
Pattern: Lovely Linen Stitch Cowl by Gaspereau Valley Fibres
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Bulky in 808 Maple Grove (1.88 skeins, 262.7 yards, 212 grams)
Needles: US 13
Date started: March 16, 2016
Date completed: March 20, 2016

This yarn was reclaimed from a scarf I no longer liked. I frogged the scarf and washed the yarn a year or two ago. I wanted to find a pattern that would use as much of the yarn as possible. It is hard to tell from the photo because there is no scale, but this is a long cowl. I can wrap it around my neck twice. It’s nice and big and I think it will be very warm. I finished it just in time for spring! Here in Chicago, however, we seem to be having a second winter. It has snowed at least a little bit most days in April so far. If I go out today maybe I will wear it.

Dead Simple Lace Socks
Pattern: Dead Simple Lace Socks by Wendy D. Johnson
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in 55 Toscana (.68 skein, 272 yards, 102 grams)
Needles: US 1
Date started: March 12, 2016
Date completed: March 27, 2016

I finished these socks in about two weeks, but I finished the first sock in a few days, and then held off on the second sock until I had a travel week so I could take it on the plane. They knit up quickly – probably because, even though Ravelry says this is a fingering weight yarn, it’s actually more of a sport weight.

I’m a little nervous about this yarn. When I went to wind it I discovered it’s 100% merino, with no nylon content. I almost never make socks with 100% merino (except when I first started knitting socks and didn’t know any better) because they are weaker and wear out faster. But I bought this yarn specifically to make socks. I didn’t want to make anything else out of it, so I decided these might be house socks. That’s fine. I wore them the other day when it was cold in the apartment and they kept my feet nice and warm. I have also heard bad things about the dye on this yarn, that for some people it has bled badly. As you can see, this yarn is a light color with some really bright bits. I’m really worried the bright bits are going to bleed and get all over the light parts. I haven’t washed these socks yet. I guess if they are house socks no one will see them, so it won’t matter if they bleed, but it will make me sad.

Skimmer Socks
Pattern: Skimmer Socks by Sheila Toy Stromberg
Yarn: Leading Men Fiber Arts Show Stealer in Thus with a Kiss I Die (.3 skeins, 130.5 yards, 30 grams)
Needles: US 1 and 1.5
Date started: March 27, 2016
Date completed: March 30, 2016

Aren’t these cute? These are supposed to be those little socks you wear with shoes that aren’t supposed to show. I made these with leftovers from the pair of socks I made my mom for her birthday back in December. They only took 30 grams of yarn. Usually my sock leftovers are smaller than that, but sometimes I have that much. Right now I’m making a pair of socks for Tim out of this same yarn. I was hoping I would have 30 grams left over, but I don’t think I will. His socks are cabled and he has bigger feet than my mom, so it will use more of the yarn. Oh well. If they truly don’t show I can make monster versions with lots of leftovers. I haven’t worn these yet, so I can’t report how well they work in shoes. I also have another pattern that I’m going to try, and I’m going to see which works better.

So that wraps up my Winter Camp knitting! I ended up with 467 points, so I should have nine entries for prizes. But that wasn’t what it was about for me. I used this as a challenge for myself to make all of the projects out of stash yarn, and I was successful. I didn’t buy any yarn during this period either. I loved the challenge. I just heard they will be doing it again next year, so I will participate then as well.

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When Not Following the Pattern Comes Back to Bite You

Posted by Andi on April 1, 2016

Last year a local yarn store nearby closed. I bought a sweater’s quantity of Cascade 220 on sale there right before it closed. I wanted to make a warm oversized sweater that had enough room to have several layers underneath that, but that would also be interesting to knit. I chose the Caldwell Pullover and made it a size bigger than I really needed. I’m happy with the body, but the sleeves, not so much.

Caldwell Pullover
Pattern: Caldwell Pullover by Courtney Spainhower
Yarn: Cascade 220 in 9541 Lupin (4.88 skeins, 1073.6 yards, 488 grams)
Needles: US 8
Date started: December 31, 2015
Date completed: March 13, 2016

The problem with the sleeves is that yarn overs and decreases cause it to puff out. It’s most visible on the left sleeve. This is after I tried to block it out. It was worse before. I didn’t notice it was doing that until after I finished knitting the sleeves. I went back to the Raverly pattern page to look at the finished objects to see if it happened to anyone else. It did, but because the others who knit the pattern didn’t make theirs oversized like I did and the sleeves fit closer to their arms it’s not as obvious.

So yeah, not thrilled with the sleeves. But I wore the sweater the other morning when the temperature dropped during the night and it was cold in my apartment in the morning. And you know what? It worked just like I wanted it to. My long-sleeved shirt fit under it just fine, and it totally warmed me up. So, success? I guess so.

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