Knitstant Gratification

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

Where my knitting mojo went, and how I got it back

Posted by Andi on December 4, 2016

Despite the lack of content on this blog, I have been knitting. A bit. But I haven’t been very enthusiastic about it, at least not until last week.

I’ve always been a pretty productive knitter. I finish a lot of projects. And I’ve finished some projects even – mostly back in the summer. I’m not going to post about them all here, but they are all on the finished objects page.

But lately I’ve been a slower knitter. Less enthused. I didn’t knit every time I watched TV. I have one long-term project on the needles – a scarf made out of two skeins of fingering weight yarn. It’s simple, so I want to use it as a travel project and when I watch movies with subtitles. It’s not done yet, but I’m hoping it will be finished by the end of the year. But more on that later.

I couldn’t understand where my enthusiasm went. That had never happened to me before. I have loved knitting since I started knitting. Over Thanksgiving I figured out what the problem was. I have been working on a sweater for my cousin’s new baby, and I hated it. I mean, it was cute and all, but I really hated knitting it. Because it was a gift, I felt that if I was knitting I was supposed to be knitting that, and since I hated it, I wasn’t knitting much at all.

Finally, Thanksgiving weekend, I gave it up. I was working on the second sleeve, and discovered that I had missed two sets of increases somewhere. I put it down, and figured I would rip out the sleeve and start over. A few minutes later, I decided I wasn’t going to rip it out. I’m done with this sweater.

As soon as I decided I was done with this sweater, my knitting mojo came back. I started searching for new sweater patterns. I’ve been planning new projects. I signed up for Winter Camp, which inspired me so much earlier this year.

I’m back.


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Sail On Girly Girl Socks

Posted by Andi on June 25, 2016

New socks!
Yarn: Little Heart Yarns Joy Socks Self Striping in Sail On Girly Girl, .63 skein (248.9 yards); Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock in Elderberry, .14 skein (20.1 yards) = 279 yards total
Needles: US 1
Date started: June 7, 2016
Date completed: June 23, 2017

I love these socks! The main color is from LittleHeartYarns and it was a delight to knit up. I decided I wanted to use a contrast yarn for the heel so I wouldn’t break up the stripe pattern. I choose some leftover Wildfoote that I had from another pair of socks. I thought it was the perfect choice because it had a light blue, and a purple to match the pink, but also black so it wasn’t too matchy matchy.

I didn’t follow a pattern for these socks. I made my own vanilla sock pattern.

I cast on 64 stitches, and knit 15 rounds in 1×1 twisted rib.

For the leg, I knit a full 60 rounds. I knit the first (or front) half of the 61st round, and stopped to start the heel on the back of the round.

I used a fish lips kiss heel. I like the twin stitches much better than a traditional short-row heel. Plus, it fits great.

I knit back across with the main color, after making the heel, to finish the 61st round.

The foot was 47 rounds long, the I did a round toe from the Sock Architecture book by Lara Neel. It is the first time I used that kind of toe. Instead of using kitchener stitch to make a seam, you decrease until you can wrap the yarn through the stitches and pull – like a hat. I wanted to see how that kind of toe worked for me. It certainly feels different than the traditional kitchener toe or Judy’s Magic Cast On toe, but I haven’t worn these much yet (other than to try them on) because it’s been too warm.

I did my best to make the socks identical, but I failed in the foot at some point because the second socks has much more light blue in the toe than the first sock does. I either was off on my row count at some point in the foot, or maybe my gauge changed. I’m not sure. I don’t mind – it won’t show when I’m wearing them in shoes. I had to wind off a bunch of yarn to start off the second sock in the same place as the first, so I saved that for hexipuffs. I cast on at a color change, so I ended up with a super long tail. I cut those off, and will use that leftover yarn to sew my hexipuffs together. None of that scrap yarn will go to waste!

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Off the Wagon

Posted by Andi on June 16, 2016

I was so good at not buying yarn during the first part of the year, but YarnCon opened the floodgates.

First, one of my Ravelry friends opened her own Etsy shop. It’s called LittleHeartYarns and she dyes such beautiful self-striping sock yarn, among other things. When the shop went live I had to buy a skein. I bought some self-striping sock yarn in the Sail On Girly Girl colorway.

Little Heart Yarns Joy Socks Self Striping in Sail On Girly Girl

I tried to guess what it would look like. I figured it would have several light and medium blue stripes for each pink one, given the distribution of colors in the skein. I started knitting a sock, and discovered I was right! Here is the striping pattern:

I love, love, love how this yarn is knitting up! #knitting

I LOVE how these are turning out! I will post about the completed socks soon.

In May I was in Lafayette, Indiana. As I was finishing Tim’s new socks the cable on my circular needle broke off. It was a Knitters Pride Karbonz needle. I saw that a yarn store in Lafayette, River Knits, carries Knitters Pride, so I stopped in to see if I could replace the needle. Alas, they didn’t have the exact one I needed. So what did I do? I bought yarn!

I was excited to see that the store carries Opal yarn. I see a lot of Europe-based podcasters knit with Opal, but I don’t see it here in the US that often. I decided I wanted a skein. I chose this one:

Opal Love Story in Romantik

The colorway is called Romantik. I thought it looks like Halloween, so I plan to knit myself a pair of socks out of this yarn in October.

Tim was with me, and I asked him if there was anything that caught his eye, and he chose a skein of Berroco Comfort Sock yarn:

Berroco Comfort Sock in 1811

I was a little surprised he chose a variegated yarn, since he generally doesn’t like those. However, he was looking at the fiber content, and saw that it was 50% nylon and 50% acrylic. He read that nylon socks are better for diabetics (which he is) than cotton socks, and was intrigued by this yarn because it had a larger nylon content than most of the sock yarns I use. After buying this yarn I looked it up on Ravelry and saw that it had a lot of bad reviews. There were also good reviews, so we’ll see how this works out for us.

Finally, I went into a local yarn store shortly after going to the shop in Lafayette to buy some yarn for a pool prize. I’m not going to post about that because it’s not for me and it’s not staying in my stash. There was so much pretty yarn in there that a couple of weeks later I went back and decided to buy something for myself. I considered many skeins, but decided to get this Succulent Fiber MCN Fingering yarn in the Lemon Pepper colorway.

Succulent Fiber MCN Fingering in Lemon Pepper

I love the bits of gray in it. I can’t wait to knit with this.

So far that’s it. Even after all these purchases I still want to buy all the yarn.

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Cozy Cable Socks

Posted by Andi on May 30, 2016

Cozy Cable Socks
Pattern: Cozy Cable Socks by Terry Morris
Yarn: Leading Men Fiber Arts Show Stealer in Purple Rain, 1 skein (435 yards)
Needles: US 1
Date started: March 30, 2016
Date completed: May 30, 2016

I finally finished these socks for Tim. It took me longer than normal to finish these. First, I put them down to finish the shawl I wore to the wedding. Second, I messed up the stitch placement on the second sock, so I put this project in time out for a while. Third, because of all the cables I had to cast on more stitches than I would for non-cabled socks, so it ate up more yarn and required more stitches than I typically use.

I did not weigh the hank of yarn before I started knitting, but I always weigh my finished objects so I can figure out how many yards were used. When I weighed these socks this morning, they were 102 grams. It’s supposed to be a 100 gram skein. Weird! I didn’t have much yarn left – maybe just enough for a hexipuff. It’s a good thing there might have been slightly more yardage! So, when trying to figure the number of yards used, I just took what is supposed to be in a typical skein, so 435 yards.

It is difficult to photograph this yarn. In every kind of light it looks like a slightly different color. If you go to my project page you will see the socks are a slightly different color in each photo. It’s not quite periwinkle, it’s more purple than that, but not much. It’s a bit tonal and very beautiful.

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More Hexipuffs!

Posted by Andi on May 22, 2016

After I finished my Frost Flowers Stole I went back to knitting some socks I started for Tim. I had to put them on the side to finish the shawl on time. I was making good progress. I finished the first sock, started the second sock. I was moving right along when I realized that I was doing the gusset wrong. I didn’t have the stitches distributed on the needles correctly, so I was decreasing in the wrong place.

I just wanted to throw the socks down and forget about them, but I didn’t. I ripped back to where I had to pick up stitches to start the gusset so I wouldn’t forget what the problem was, or pick them up one day and forget it was wrong and knit even more. Then I put them in time out.

I needed something else to do, so I decided to knit some hexipuffs. Back at the end of 2015 I started knitting hexipuffs out of yarn a friend sent me. I didn’t get through all of the different fingering weight yarns she sent before the end of the year, so I spent the past couple of weeks making hexipuffs out of the different yarns she sent me.

More hexipuffs!

I have finally used up the yarn she gave me last night – except for two white balls of yarn that I’m saving for cuffs, heels and toes for socks.

It was so nice out yesterday that I was able to knit some of the hexipuffs outside! The weather has been really on and off here. We have one or two nice days, and then a week of icky days. But yesterday it was sunny and warm, and we spent the afternoon on our front porch.

It's a gorgeous day, finally, so I'm knitting on the porch.

After I finished those hexipuffs I filled my current hexipuff project bag with leftovers another friend, one from my knitting group, gave me. I will try to make two hexipuffs out of each leftover yarn she sent me too. I may or may not start that today.

Oh, and Tim’s socks. I did pick up the gusset stitches and did the first decrease row. I stopped there so that I can finish the gusset and work on the foot on my trip this week.

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Frost Flowers Stole

Posted by Andi on May 14, 2016

Frost Flowers Stole
Pattern: Frost Flowers Shawl by Charlene Schurch
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss Lace in 24846 Lilac, 2.44 skeins (1073.6 yards, 122 g)
Needles: US 5
Date started: April 4, 2016
Date completed: May 7, 2016

I worked on this shawl fairly monogamously through the month of April so that it would be finished in time to wear to a wedding on May 7. If you look at the date above, you will see I actually finished it on the day, which is a bit misleading because I only wove in the ends that day. I finished knitting it and blocking it earlier in the week. I thought this shawl looked pretty complicated, but the lace was actually pretty intuitive after I got a row or two into each repeat. Here is a close up of the lace.

Frost Flowers Stole

I wore the shawl to the wedding. I thought it looked nice with my dress. Someone actually stopped Tim and I on the street on the way to the wedding to tell us how nice we looked.

Sometimes we lion nice

Everyone in my knit group was looking forward to seeing the finished shawl because I have been knitting on it for so many weeks. So I brought it on Monday, and one of the ladies noticed a hole! Oh no! Thankfully it was just on the seam. The shawl is knit in the round from the outside in, and grafted together in the middle. Apparently when I blocked it, I stretched it too long for the seam and it snapped. Thankfully only a few stitches came out of the seam, and because this yarn is not too slick none of the stitches dropped down. I quickly put the loose stitches on waste yarn, and I will be able to repair it soon. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it yet. But I will.

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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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Posted by Andi on March 20, 2016

Pattern: Strie Socks, Top Down by Lara Neel
Yarn: Regia Design Line Random Stripe by Kaffe Fassett, 1.56 skeins (358.8 yards)
Needles: US 1
Date started: January 19, 2016
Date completed: March 6, 2016

My mother bought me the book Sock Architecture by Lara Neel for either my birthday or Christmas (I don’t recall which). I quickly decided I wanted to knit every sock pattern in the book and try the various techniques. This was my first. There are toe-up and cuff-down versions of this pattern. I used the cuff-down version. There were three options for toes. I did the shorter toe, which meant I had to knit the foot a tad bit longer than I normally do because the toe decreases were going to take up less room. I wanted to see how that would work out. I have worn the socks once so far, and so far so good.

I love this yarn. There are so many colors in it. From far away it’s clear there are different colors, but close up you can see that some are brighter than others. There is enough left to make some hexipuffs, which will look great in my blanket.

As I said, this was the cuff-down version of the pattern. I don’t think I will make the toe-up version until I’ve knit a few more patterns from the book, just for the variety. I love how this stitch pattern looks, but it was a bit tedious. Plus, I just finished a pair of fingerless mitts (that’s for another post) that uses the same stitch pattern. So I think I will hold off for bit.

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