Tag Archives: Indigodragonfly

Stepping out


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?


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.

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).

Heels and toes


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.


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!


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


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.


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).


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.


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


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:



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.)


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?


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?


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.

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


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.)

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


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.

So long, perfect record


Let me just start by saying that I have not been sick in about four years. I mean, I get hit by allergies in the spring and fall, and I get a cold every now and then, but I haven’t been stay-at-home sick in years. Well, until this week anyway. This week ended my no-sick streak in a big way. I missed three days of work; I went through multiple boxes of Kleenex; L made me soup; I even got to the pathetic point in sickness when you wonder if this is just going to be how it is now. I hate being sick, but as a knitter, it has its advantages.

On my first day home, I actually couldn’t knit. I spend the day wrapped in an afghan, intermittently reading and sleeping. I drank lots of tea and hot lemon (a family staple), and the next day I thought I was better. I went to work on Tuesday, feeling mostly okay. Then I went to work on Wednesday, and by the end of the night, I felt awful. I spent the next two days at home.

But, thanks to be brief uptick at the beginning of the week, I managed to make the week pretty productive. To whit: I am halfway through the first of my Christmas socks (a gift for my sister), I started a new shawl and am through the first chart, and I made a little headway on the much loved, though equally neglected, Spruce Jaywalkers. I wasn’t really planning this as a productive week obviously, so I don’t really have before pictures, but here’s what I managed to get done between sneezes and naps.

First, Christmas socks. I actually wanted to get these started a month ago (I swatched for them in August, for heaven’s sakes), but there always seemed to be something else on the needles. Anyway, on Monday night, when I was feeling a little better, I cast on the cuff for Cookie A.’s Daphne sock pattern. I fell in love with these socks when she first released the pattern, and knew it would be perfect for my sister, who always looks longingly at my handknit socks, and especially at the lace ones.

One of my favourite things about lace socks is that they’re a surprise when you put them on.

I’m knitting these in indigodragonfly’s Merino Silk 4-Ply Sock, a 50-50 silk merino blend that is very soft (and a little slippery) and perfect for the pattern. Although this is a fingering weight and the pattern calls for sport, it’s working out just fine. The colour is not quite as bubblegum as Cookie A.’s, but it’s certainly feminine, which you’d expect from a colourway called Don’t You Have an Elsewhere to Be? (Cordelia).

Here’s the expanded lace pattern. (I know this will be a good gift because I want to keep them for myself.)


I guess it makes sense that I started a few things this week, given all the finishing I did last week. New project number 2 is The Lonely Tree Shawl by Sylvia Bo Bilvia (hilarious name, no?). I’ve had my eye on this one since she released it a few weeks ago. It’s a free pattern, written for a worsted weight tweedy sort of yarn, and honestly, how perfect is that leafy lace for fall? Well, on Tuesday when I was in the shop, Claudia (the owner) mentioned she’d like it if I wore more garments knit from yarns we carry (I knit with shop yarns all the time, but socks and things are harder to see). I was trying not to shop for myself before Christmas, but this seemed like the perfect excuse, so I snapped up some of The Fibre Company’s Acadia – a merino, baby alpaca, and silk blend – in Douglas Fir and cast on on Wednesday.

The other reason I cast this on was because I needed something to break up all the sock action I had going on.

I just finished the first of three charts (the others are about half as many rows each) and although it looks small, I have faith in the powers of blocking. I’m thinking it will be a sort of warmer, wintry shawl, and chose the colour because it will go nicely with my dark red winter coat.

Finally, the Spruce Jaywalkers. I actually finished the first one in Nova Scotia, casting on the second during the plane ride back to Toronto. I fully planned to just buckle down and knit the second, but then other projects came along, as they do, and it just kind of stuck around. Usually a sock taking this long is an indication that I’m bored with it, but that is not the case here. I continue to delight in the colour changes and watching how they stack up, and this sock has been faithful TV and travel knitting when I didn’t have something else more pressing to work on.

One and a half socks.

The pattern is easy, but not so mindless as to be numbing, and the yarn is fun and nice to knit with. I was an inch or so above dividing for the heel when I picked these up, and now I’m into the gussets, so it probably won’t be long before this is a completed pair, which I’m quite excited about. I have another skein of this Fleece Artist BFL Sock already wound and destined to be a pair of plain socks once these one are off the needles – truly, I love this yarn.

And there you have my week. I’m feeling much better now, which probably means my knitting productivity will dip as I go back to my normal routine, but that’s okay – I’m over being sick.

Everyone is swatching for the weekend


No? Just me? Oh. Well. I guess when you’re wrapped up in something it feels like everyone else is too. What am I swatching? Ah, glad you asked. (Also, I’m sorry if that title was an earworm for you. I’ve had that song stuck in my head ever since I heard Loverboy was somehow back on tour with Journey and Pat Benatar of all acts.)

So, first some business: if you are my sister or a friend getting married this fall, stop reading immediately and go find yourself some other entertainment. I love you both, but go away for now.

Anyway, where were we? Right, swatching. I actually hate swatching for things. When I have a new project in front of me, all I want to do it start in on it right away, and swatching seems like such a drag. But, when I’m making things to be given away, I swatch. (I didn’t actually swatch the baby sweater, due to time crunch, but it turned out pretty well anyway.)

Up first is Daphne, one of Cookie A.’s new sock patterns. I am in love. In love. I am going to knit these for my sister for Christmas, and I’m going to try and get them started now because I just want to feel like I’m being proactive. I’m going to knit them in Indigodragonfly Merino Silk 4 ply Sock, which is equal parts superwash merino and silk and very luxurious and smooth and soft and just the sort of yarn that will make my sister squeal when she opens them (I hope). Colourway: Don’t you have an elsewhere to be? (Cordelia). Man I love their colourways.

Swatched on 2.75 mm needles, for 8 stitches = 1 inch.

I don’t normally swatch socks because I knit so many, but there’s a lot of silk in this yarn and I just wanted to make sure it was going to behave like I thought it would. It totally does.

My other swatch project is for mittens, which will be a bridal gift for my friend who is getting married this fall. She has much smaller hands than I do, but it’s a lovely charted Norwegian pattern, so I can’t really fudge the stitch count. This is the reason I swatch, but also why I hate swatching. So far I’m on my third needle size, trying desperately to get gauge and failing. Somehow (and I’m not sure how), it makes no difference to this wool whether I knit with 2.5 mm or 2.75 mm needles. My gauge remains 18 stitches = 2 inches, which is exactly three stitches too many. Sigh. I’m on to 3.5 mm needles now, but I have a sneaking suspicion that will put me over, causing me to tear around Toronto looking for the illusive 3 mm dpn.

Swatch in progress. Grr.

BUT, that won’t be this weekend, because even though I’m swatching like mad, tomorrow L and I are heading back to Tobermory (to a different cottage) and I am bringing socks. Remember these?

Leftover socks! Still leftover, but almost done.

Yeah, they haven’t changed much.I’m about to divide for the heel on sock two, and I suspect that the 5-hour drive will go a long way to seeing them on their way to done. Since that will leave me with the rest of the weekend and the return drive, I am also bringing this (from my little shopping spree).

Fleece Artist BFL sock in Spruce. It’s a mix of dark green, dark blue, lighter green, and yellow. Should be interesting.

If it starts to stripe while I’m knitting the cuff, it might become Jaywalkers; if not, plain socks it is! I can’t wait to see how it knits up.

Sixth time’s the charm, and trip knitting!


So, it turns out that even when a rule is self-imposed and you’ve decided it’s arbitrary, there are consequence when you break it. To wit: remember how the other day I was all excited about starting the Colour Affection shawl  but really had to because it was Tuesday and Tuesdays are for my sweater? Well, yeah. I finished the decreases for the waist and then decided that maybe that fulfilled my sweater obligation, and then cast on for the shawl.

Well. I read the pattern (a point in my favour, I think) and then decided that a 4mm needle for fingering weight yarn seemed awfully big. I like a tight gauge, so I thought I’d knit this on a 3mm needle instead. So, I cast on, using a cable cast on. As soon as I saw it, though, I thought that’s too tight and pulled it off and re-cast on with a long-tail cast on. Nice and stretchy. Well, yes, but then you have to M1L and M1R in the first row, and that’s super awkward with a long-tail cast on, so I ripped it off again and then tried to cast on more loosely using my preferred cable method. Well, tiny needles and tiny wool and tiny stitches does not make picking up stitches very easy and somehow in the process of picking up the second one, I managed to drop all of them. That’s quite a talent, right?

At that point, I decided that maybe Veera was on to something with the 4mm needle. So I went and dug one up and cast on again, once again using the long-tail cast on. Of course, then I tried to pick up stitches and realized that it wasn’t going to work well, so I ripped it off again and switched back to the cable cast on (are you keeping up? That’s five times I’ve cast on for this so far – thank goodness it’s only 5 stitches to start with). Anyway, that seemed to work, so I started the pattern. I was about 9 rows in when I thought I had a problem.

It looks more like a pouch than a shawl, right?

See that? I’m a big believer in the magic of blocking, but I just wasn’t convinced blocking was going to save me. My edges just seemed too tight. It was puckering. I was convinced that when I was finished and took it off the needles the edge wouldn’t block straight, but would instead give me a hump. That is not what I want. So, I ripped it off my needles. Of course, though, as soon as it was off, this happened.

Oh wait, the pouch fanned out just the way the pattern indicates it should. Rats.

Apparently, it was fine. But, because of the picked up stitches and whatnot, I decided to rip it all the way back to the beginning and start over. (Aside: I just want to say that the Madelinetosh held up like a pro during all this ripping and reknitting and I didn’t have to cut off any of the old yarn, which is excellent since I’m already slightly worried about yardage.)

Anywa, when I started to notice what I thought was a hump forming, I took to Ravelry to read other people’s notes. It seemed that everyone add a YO between the first and second stitches of the row, and then dropped it on the way back, so make for a looser edge. I figured I’d try that, just to be sure. I added the YOs for the first six rows and then stopped doing them because I didn’t like the way the edge looked. I have decided that, since the edge was actually fine even when I thought it was too tight, that if I just pay attention and knit the first two stitched loosely, everything will be fine. So far so good. (Yes, I went with option A. I feel good about it.)

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I like how this is looking.

This puts me in a good place for my trip knitting. Did I mention I was going away? Well, I am. For two weeks! I am beyond excited. My trip involves three countries and two very long travel days, so knitting and books are required. I’m still working on my trip reading, but my trip knitting is all arranged.

Obviously, Patio Affection is coming. It’s garter stitch, and not pattern intensive, which is perfect for the plane and any driving we do. It’s big, though (or it will be), so I decided I needed a smaller project too. Also, on the off chance I get a little tired of garter stitch (it’s been know to happen), I decided project 2 needed to be sort of fiddly. So, I decided that this lovely ball of Indigodragonfly Sock would become the famous and ubiquitous Monkeys, which I have not yet knit.

Indigodragonfly 100% merino sock, in colourway “Tiny Bloodsucking Dancer” (their colourways have the best names).

Pretty good, right? I’m going to pack the Monkey project away in my checked luggage, just in case, and keep the shawl in my carry on, at least for the initial travel day.

The thing is, though, I needed to sort out my project bag situation. I have my standard (and very pretty, if I do say so myself) bag for the socks, but Colour Affection requires three balls of yarn and is going to grow. I poked around and didn’t come up with anything besides something ugly (like a grocery bag) or silly (a cloth bag in Christmas fabric) when it hit me: stuff sack.Thus, this 5L stuff sack from MEC is now my shawl bag, which will expand as amy knitting does (it’s also pretty much water proof and made of 30-denier rip-stop nylon, so my Addis shouldn’t poke through).

Sock bag (by ZigZag stitches) and stuff sack (by MEC), all rolled up.

5L is pretty big, as it turns out.

Really, I’m only going away for two weeks, so this will for sure be enough wool. Yes?

Sock wool on the left, shawl wool on the right. It’s kind of a lot, isn’t it?