Tag Archives: Indigodragonfly

Stepping out

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I always overestimate how long it will take to knit up worsted-weight yarn, which means it’s always a nice surprise when I finish earlier than expected! I cast off my mum’s Stepping-Stones Tuesday night and, if I hadn’t decided to block them, they would indeed be in the mail already.

Ta-da! My mum likes tall socks, so I knit these to 7 inches before dividing for the heel.

Ta-da! My mum likes tall socks, so I knit these to 7 inches before dividing for the heel.

Instead, after taking a couple of quick all-finished shots, I looked down at the socks and realized they had some cat hair/miscellaneous dust on them. That’s pretty normal for a pair of socks, either here or at my parents’, but it hardly seems like the condition they should be gifted in, so I threw them in some Soak, thinking they’d dry pretty quickly.

But, it isn’t summer anymore, so instead of drying in less than a day, they’re still quite wet. It’s been a damp and alternately humid and chilly few days, which is not ideal drying weather. Canada Post doesn’t run on the weekends, so it won’t make a huge difference delivery-wise if I get them in the mail on Monday instead of today, but mentally, I’m feeling days behind (instead of ahead, which is more or less where I am, I guess.)

I should note here that schedule is a relative thing, and something that exists solely in my head. I have an idea of more or less when things need to be started and finished in order to not get caught up in holiday knitting stress. Some amount of that seems inevitable, but I would like to be finished before heading to see my family (last year I had part of a fair isle mitten, two thumbs, and a hat to knit when I boarded the plane; I got it finished, but it was close). I’ve learned, though, that it’s best to take stock after the weekend rather than before. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, and while that kind of sucks, it also means I’ll probably get to curl up with my knitting and hang out with L at home, and that sounds not so bad to me.

What does your weekend look like? Are you starting to feel the tug of a gift-knitting schedule?

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It is a testament to both the excellent dyeing at indigodragonfly and Clara’s pattern that this yarn didn’t pool in these socks. I love the way the colours moved around.

Details
Pattern: Stepping-Stones by Clara Parkes
Yarn: Indigodragonfly Superwash DK in Fringe Over Troubled Water
Needles: 3.25mm
Notes: I have now knit this pattern in both a solid and a variegated yarn, and I’m happy to report that it works beautifully for both. These photos are bit a dark (see my earlier comment on the weather this week) but the stitch pattern actually does show up pretty nicely even in this dark multi-coloured yarn. I also really like how clingy this stitch pattern is and how easy it is to remember. The only mod I made to the pattern was to use my normal slip-stitch heel in place of the stranded heel given in the pattern. Ravelled here.

Ps. Thank you all for the amazing suggestions for man socks! I cast on for Charade yesterday, and while I’m only in the ribbing (which I’m making extra deep), I’m already loving the way the yarn is knitting up. I ended up giving my Cranberry Biscotti socks to L as they were a bit too big for me and not only are they a good model for what will fit him, but he wore them today, which means I need to bust a move on these ones (when he starts wearing wool socks, you know the weather is cooling down).

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Heels and toes

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It’s mid-October, so I thought a Soctober update was in order. Mostly, I think, I’m on track.

My first priority this month was to finish these Stepping-Stones socks for my mom, and I’m only a couple of inches from starting the toe decreases, so if all goes well they’ll be in the mail by the end of the week.

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Indigodragonfly Superwash DK in Fringe Over Troubled Water. I changed skeins part way through the foot of the first sock, so I’m interested to see if the difference between socks is noticeable.

 

If you’ve never knit socks or are looking for a speedy pair, I can’t recommend Clara Hughes Parkes’ pattern highly enough (I can never get the name right on first type – this is why). These socks knit up quickly, are more than just plain stockinette but don’t require too much attention, and are a free pattern to boot. This is the second time I’ve knit these socks and I know more pairs are in my future because, honestly, in Canada we need thick socks. I also plan to knit the large size in lighter-weight sock yarn, because I like the way it breaks up the colours in variegated yarns.

Second on my list is Saltburn. These are the official start of my Christmas knitting, so I can’t say too much about them. I will say, though, that I’m planning to shorten them. The recipient like ankle socks, and while those aren’t super practical in the winter, I don’t want to knit socks so high that they won’t become part of the regular rotation. To compromise, I’m knitting the cuff as written and then three (rather than five) chart repeats. The leg is 3.5 inches right now, which is probably as high as they need to be, so when I pick these up again I’ll be dividing for the heel!

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The white is Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label in Natural and the blue is Jill Draper Makes Stuff Splendor Sock in Cobalt.

That makes these socks just about 1/4 finished, which is a nice surprise. I usually knit the legs of socks to somewhere between 5 and 7 inches, and only knitting to 3.5 makes these ones feel super speedy!

I’ve been trying not to get ahead of myself planning- and execution-wise, which is something I absolutely tend to do, especially ahead of the holidays. I’ll cast on four things and then wonder why I’m not seeing any progress. This year, I’m trying a more measured approach and working on no more than two projects at once: one that requires attention and one that’s more mindless. Saltburn is my current attention-requiring project, but since I’m almost finished my mindless Stepping-Stones, I decided it was time to wind the yarn for the next mindless knit.

Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in Mushroom Hunting. I can't get enough of this colourway.

Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in Mushroom Hunting. I can’t get enough of this colourway.

I haven’t yet decided on a pattern for L’s socks, but I’m thinking they’ll be something kind of plain. The yarn is gorgeous all by itself, and he’s not sure he wants anything fancy, so I’m going to keep it simple: 72 stitches knit up as… well yeah. I have three basic options, I think: a) 1×1 ribbed cuff into 3×1 ribbed sock; b) 1×1 ribbed cuff into 1×1 mistake rib (one row 1×1, one row knit); c) 1×1 rib cuff and stockinette.

What do you think? Do you knit man socks? What gets the best reviews? I’ve knit lots of socks, but never for L, so I want to try and get this right.

No safety pint required

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Last weekend I cast on for Willowherb from Coop Knits Socks. It’s one of the orange projects (using Indigordragonfly merino sock in Safety Pin or Safety Pint: Discuss) and I am totally captivated.

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Rachel Coopey’s patterns are really beautifully presented, with very clear directions and lots of inspiring pictures. Also, these patterns make beautiful garments. Willowherb combines twisted stitches, switch-back lace work and stockinette panels to make a sock that is super fun to knit and, I suspect, very comfortable to wear. I’m especially enjoying the little inserts of twisted ribbing, which pull the sock in and, I suspect, will prevent any late-in-the-day slippage (I hate the feeling of socks pooling around my ankles, something that rarely happens now that I knit my own).

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The stitch pattern also seems designed to prevent boredom. It’s an eight-stitch repeat, which lets you get into a rhythm, but the chart is 54 rows long, so in the enter sock you might only get through it two or two and a half times. I guess this means I have the chart out while knitting, but honestly, you only have to look at it once a row (thanks to the short repeat), so it isn’t as though you’re married to it.

The yarn, it turns out, is a perfect match. It’s springing and almost spongy in that way merino can be, and it’s giving great stitch definition (sadly, to often wonky stitches). Despite the lace, these are pretty dense socks, so they’ll likely see wear all year round. I have several skeins of this yarn in my stash and I’m really excited to see how it looks in other kinds of patterns.

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Assuming I don’t get distracted by orange project no. 2 this weekend, I may well have a finished Willowherb by Monday. Honestly, you try putting down a project that’s this much fun.

From the Frolic

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I’ve been on a bit of an inadvertent stash stockpile in the last few months and I think I’ve discovered what’s up (besides and obvious love of yarn): this is stress stashing. I’ve never really been someone who bought into the idea of retail therapy (hah), but yarn and clothes are very different beasts. There have been big changes at the Post in the last few months and work has been crazy and the result has been a lot of yarn coming into this little apartment (and yes, L has noticed).

I, however, am not worried, because I have a plan. Or, many plans. I bought Rachel Coopey’s Coop Knits Socks last week and, although it has not yet arrived (yes, I bought the hardcopy; it comes with a code for a digital download, so it’s win-win), I am planning. At the Frolic last weekend I picked up:

Orange!

Orange!

Indigodragonfly Merino Sock in Safety Pin or Safety Pint: Discuss (explanation behind that colourway name here). This is destined to become Willowherb. (After the Frolic, in a fit of why-didn’t-I-buy-it remorse, I swept over to the Indigodragonfly site and picked up three more skeins of this yarn in various colourways. I am well stocked now.)

toshsock-frolic

I also snagged a skein of Tosh Sock in Maple Leaf (it takes a Texan to see maple leafs as anything but red, I think, but this is exactly the colour of the maple leaves that are bursting forth right now, and I love it.) I’m going to turn it into Calamint. I’m not sure what the other skein, in Spectrum, will be – maybe another pair of these?

toshDK-cosmos

A skein of Tosh DK, in Cosmos, also snuck home with me, and while I’m not totally sure, I suspect it’ll be a pair of Stepping-Stones for me. Every winter I tell myself to knit some thick socks and every winter I don’t; this winter I’ll have no excuse.

So, that’s the yarn. I also picked up a Sweater Stone for de-pilling and a pair of sock blockers. These are just slightly smaller than my feet, which I think is good since it leaves the sock with a little stretch to ensure a snug fit. I got a pair (set?) of the metal ones and so far I like them just fine – they remind me of my grandparents’ bathroom, because every time we visited my grandmother always had several pairs of my grandpa’s socks hanging to dry over the radiator on giant sock blockers. (This is also why I call all thick and wooly socks “Grandpa Socks.”)

I will have an update on my Happy Street shawl soon (stripes are worthy of in-progress photos since they make for such delightfully visual progress). I am knitting away and have been monogamous since casting on. It’s driving me crazy, so if I can get the third repeat finished tomorrow, I’m taking the sock out with me for a few rounds at least.

Cute because it’s tiny?

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There is something about baby-sized knits that gets me cooing and sighing and smiling before they’re even finished, which is really saying something because they’re so darn quick to knit up! (That being said, they also manage to take longer than I think they will, so what does that say?)

Ta da! this photo really doesn't represent how little this sweater is.

Ta da! this photo really doesn’t represent how little this sweater is.

I finished the Puerperium Cardigan yesterday morning, buttons and all, and I am very pleased indeed. It seems like all our friends are having babies right now (this will be the fourth in six months) and that has given me an excuse to knit up lots of adorable little garments. This little sweater, though, might be my favourite (which is saying something because, remember the pumpkin hat?)

Anyway, this cardigan is a super, super quick knit. Even if you zone out the first time you start and forget to knit the button bands in garter stitch and have to re-start. Ahem. As it turns out, I could have just kept going with that sweater and then knit an whole new one with garter stich button bands and decided which one I liked better because, and I can hardly believe this, the finished sweater only required 81 yards. That’s less than a third of the skein. That’s crazy, is what it is. Babies are so little!

I have buttoned and unbuttoned this cardigan several times, and the star points are not as annoying as I feared.

I have buttoned and unbuttoned this cardigan several times, and the star points are not as annoying as I feared.

You may recall that I was worried about the way the colours were turning out and, while I still worry it’s a little baby-camo (not a look I would normally go for), I kind of love the colours. I was going to take Holly‘s suggestion in the comments and buy two sets of buttons – one girly, one more boyish – and then wait until the baby came along to sew them on and send this off, but when I saw the star buttons I decided they were whimsical and unisex enough to counteract the camo. The stars are also perfect, since the dad-to-be and L were housemates during undergrad and L studies aerospace engineering (with emphasis on space), and thus the stars sort of represent L making this a gift that is clearly from the both of us. I know that seems like a roundabout justification for star buttons, but trust me, they’ll get it.

Can I also just say that I loved knitting with this yarn? Oh my goodness it is soft. It’s 100% superwash merino, so I knew it would be nice, but holy. It makes other soft yarns seem coarse in comparison, and even for babies I wouldn’t hesitate to say it’s good for next-to-skin wear. It also bloomed every so slightly when I blocked it, and I know it will get lots of use. (I am seriously considering stocking up on this yarn, since more babies seem inevitable.)

I think it's the black-ish bits that make me think camo. Otherwise, it's all soft and shifting teals and purples, which I love.

I think it’s the black-ish bits that make me think camo. Otherwise, it’s all soft and shifting teals and purples, which I love.

Details
Pattern: Puerperium Cardigan by Kelly Brooker
Yarn: Indigodragonfly DK Superwash in Fringe Over Troubled Water
Needles: 4mm
Modifications: To be honest, I basically knit this pattern as written. I did one extra garter ridge on the bottom, and I shortened the sleeves (details Ravelled here), but otherwise, this is a tidy little pattern and I didn’t change a thing. The reason I shortened the sleeves is because this is a March baby, and while March can be cold, it’s also a tricky month, and I thought shorter sleeves would be more versatile for layering (also, if it’s a girl, little pink or yellow or whatever coloured shirts and poke out) and will maybe keep this fitting for a little longer. I also suspect it’ll be easier to thread tiny sausage arms through short sleeves, but that’s just me.

Tentatively on schedule

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I say that despite not getting by sister’s Christmas socks finished on the weekend (I didn’t even knit on them over the weekend, if we’re being honest). Nonetheless, it’s mid-November and the most time-consuming item (at least, what I think will be most time-consuming) is finished. Oh sure, I still have fair isle mittens, hats and a not-yet-designed tea cozy, but I’m not worried. In my head, that all seems doable and straightforward. I’m going to miss working on these socks, though.

I’ll have real photos after Christmas. Promise.

I’m placing an embargo on shots of the finished items until after they’re gifted, so while I’ll post some photos as the knitting progresses, the finished shots will be a little vague. Even though you can’t see them properly, know that I am totally happy with these socks. I’ll post details below, but I just want to give a shout-out to indigodragonfly, whose Merino Silk 4-ply sock was the perfect substitute for the A Verb for Keeping Warm Metamorphosis yarn the pattern called for. The indigodragonfly has a higher silk content and is slightly lighter weight, but it was perfect for Cookie A.’s pattern.

Colourway: Don’t You Have an Elsewhere to Be? (Cordelia)

Also, second sock syndrome? Not over here. I’m not sure why, since these socks are basically a repeat of the same 12-row chart from top to bottom, but honestly, I think I just enjoyed the yarn so much that watching the same shapes come out of it never got boring. I can’t decide if that’s sad or not, but maybe I don’t care? I can tell you that I seriously want a pair of these socks in this yarn for myself, but that will have to wait until after the New Year (and after L’s birthday).

Are you embarking on Christmas knitting this year? How’s it going? I feel like it’s early enough to be optimistic and still be enjoying the whole process, so for heaven’s sakes let’s engage in a little of that before the manic must-finish stress rolls in. (There’s no way that’s just me.)

Details
Pattern: Daphne by Cookie A.
Yarn: Merino Silk 4-ply sock by indigodragonfly in Don’t You Have an Elsewhere to Be? (Cordelia)
Needles: 2.75 mm bamboo dpns
Modifications: Not many to be honest. I made the largest size (we are a family of big feet), but instead of using te sport weight wool called for, I used a fingering weight. I don’t think it really made much of a difference. Other than that, I used Cat Bordhi’s hungry stitch ssk method for both the gusset decreases and the toe shaping. The biggest change, I guess, was that to get the right length in the foot before starting the toe, I ended after row 6 in my final chart repeat (that’s the half-way point). It worked out fine and I don’t think it looks weird. Each repeat for me was 1 inch, so it was easy to calculate. I also have yarn left over (enough to do surprise toes on a future pair of socks, or work in as stripes somewhere), so considering I made the largest size for size-10 feet, that’s pretty awesome yardage. It’s ravelled here.

Socks and socks

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Last night, I made two new sock knitters. I have taught various friends to knit socks, but this was the first time I taught in a formal environment (by which I mean, people paid me), and although I was a little nervous, it was also really fun. Watching people turn their first heel – make flat knitting into something three-dimensional – is awesome. Truly, it is knitting magic, and to watch people realize that they have mastered a technique that cool is pretty great. I taught them baby socks, since it was only a two-hour class, so not only were the heels magical, but also tiny and cute. It was seriously fun, and I think I did alright as a teacher, which was a relief.

In the world of grownup socks, stuff is happening. The same weekend I finished my Jaywalkers, I finished the first of my Daphne socks. Can we just take a minute to recognize how amazing Cookie A. is? I mean, truly. Here is a pattern that is straightforward, well written, beautiful, and not boring. What are the odds of that? Second sock syndrome? Not with her designs. I love how these are turning out, and I think the indigodragonfly Merino Silk 4-ply was a perfect choice. This photo (shot with a flash indoors – sorry), sort of shows you what I mean.

Crappy picture, lovely socks. Let’s pretend the bad quality is a way to retain the surprise in case my sister wanders over here, okay?

The silk gives the lace such richness, and the tone-on-tone variegation makes the variations in texture pop. I am going to have a hard time giving these away, which means they are going to be an excellent gift. I’m just a few rows from the heel flap on the second sock, and if all goes well, they’ll be done by the end of the weekend. (That being said, it’s only Wednesday, so anything could happen.)

Finally, remember when I said I wasn’t going to cast on any more socks until my Christmas knitting was well in hand? Well, I said that, and then an hour or so later I was leaving the house to go spend an afternoon with a friend, and realized I had no plain knitting. None. Now, I’m sure Wendy wouldn’t have minded terribly if I had charts, but it’s not really as social, so I was forced – forced! – to cast on a pair of plain socks.

These would neer be described as my colours, but I am totally loving them nonetheless.

I’m not really sure why I didn’t go for Jaywalkers again, since it’s certainly a simple enough pattern, but instead I’m knitting these in a 3×1 rib, and quite liking the result. The yarn (Fleece Artist BFL Sock in Seafoam), both in the skein and in the ball, frightened me quite a bit with it’s acid-trip-level colours, but the way they’re blending in the rib is quite pleasing. They were an excellent antidote to the greyness brought by Sandy, and although I’m now buckling down on Christmas stuff (it is November, after all), they’re a pleasant little side project and should keep my wandering eye in check over the next month and a bit.