Tag Archives: Willowherb

Meanwhile, behind the scenes

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Remember Willowherb? The socks I cast on way back in mid May? Yeah… I knit up the first one really quickly and then started the second one and then got distracted. You know how that is. The seasons were changing, other things seemed more pressing and one thing led to another and then a month had gone by.

That’s something I love about socks, though: they’re great little side projects. Whenever I didn’t quite feel like working on whatever was my main project, I’d knit on Willowherb. A few rows here, a few rows there, and by the time I was finished Kit, I was most of the way through the leg, so picking it up to finish didn’t feel like any big thing. And, of course, it wasn’t.

These socks were on the needles for almost two months, but in actual knitting time they didn’t take longer than two weeks to knit. (This is what I love about charted socks. There’s so much motivation to just finish at least this repeat or this section of a repeat before putting them down, which for me often results in knitting at least two or three more rows after deciding I’m done for the time being.) Sometimes coming back to a project that’s been sitting around can feel a it like a slog, but let me tell you, I enjoyed knitting these just as much in July as I did in May. I loved watching the stitches twist their way across the sock and holy moly, did I love this yarn. I have several more skeins in different colourways stashed and I can’t wait to use them!

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Details
Pattern: Willowherb by Rachel Coopey
Yarn: Indigodragonfly Merino Sock in Safety Pin or Safety Pint: Discuss
Needles: 2.75mm
Mods: I was sort of in between the sizes listed, and rather than trying to knit the larger size at a tighter gauge, I opted to knit the smaller size a little looser. I didn’t need to loosen it up much, since it was a 68-stitch sock (my usual), but the twisted stitches and the way they cross over the top does tighten things up a bit. In the end, I got a sock that fits like a dream: tight enough to show off the lace and stitches, but not so tight that it’s hart to pull on or uncomfortable. Other than that, I deepened the heel by four rows, and I think that’s it.

I didn’t plan to leave so long between the two socks, so my notes are pretty bad and thus, they don’t quite match. Part of that is my own fault since I realized about four rows too late in the first sock that I’d somehow missed a couple of pattern rows. It’s in the foot and I considered ripping back, but I would have had to tink every row because ripping would be impossible with all the yarn overs and whatnot. It didn’t bother me that much, and I suspect only knitters will notice.

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And we’re off! (almost)

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This has been a long week. The weather has been off and on and a bunch of side projects all managed to converge at once to result in non-stop work. In the long run, I really don’t mind that (I’m not one to string things out) but that plus rain plus plumbing issues at home made for a week I’m glad to see the end of. Partly, though, it felt like a long week because something fun was waiting at the end of it.

Tomorrow, L and I are going away for a sort of mini-holiday. We’re taking four days to visit his parents and then go down to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to visit his sister and her fiancé. Despite visiting Windsor pretty regularly to see his family, we’ve never gone down through Detroit or into the States from there at all (well, obviously he has, we just haven’t been together). I’ve been wanting to for a while and now we’re going. Exciting!

Even better is that we’re being leisurely and taking the train to and from Windsor. While this does mean we leave at a rather unhappy hour tomorrow morning, it also means neither of us has to drive (it’s four hours) and that we aren’t taking the bus (which takes 6 hours!) and that I’ll have lots of knitting time. Oh glory, what a great way to bookend a trip.

This will become a tank top. Yes it will.

This will become a tank top. Yes it will.

I’ve saved Kit for my trip knitting. I’ve swatched (pre-wash I was three stitches too loose, post-wash I’m one stitch too tight, so I’m calling that gauge) and wound two skeins of Euroflax (the second ball was much more successful) and I’m going to cast on on the train. It’s mostly stockinette, with a little texture, so I think it’ll be good social knitting. In case I decide I need a little more action, though, I’m also going to stow Willowherb in my bag.

I finished the first sock almost two weeks ago and then got distracted by Grace, which is coming along nicely. Willowherb is such a good pattern, honestly, you should knit it. It’s interesting and fun and, despite there being little chart repetition, it builds into a great rhythm. Also, the first sock fits so well it’s crazy. I suspect it’s those little twisted rib inserts, which hug the fabric in that are doing it, but it’s pretty amazing and I can’t wait to have the finished pair on my feet.

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So, that’s my wind-down plan. Do you have one? Have you been to Ann Arbour? Are there any must-sees? Any good yarn shops I should be sure to check out? I will report back on the whole adventure early next week!

Flip-flop

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The weather here has been all over the place. I don’t know what I was expecting (not true, I was expecting summer), but this is not it. One day is hot the next day is so cold I feel justified in still having my wool cardigans in my closet. All of which is to say, as the weather shifts, so does what I want to be knitting.

I was actually going to buy purple, but I even changed my mind about that when I saw the yellow.

I was actually going to buy purple, but I even changed my mind about that when I saw the yellow.

Three days ago I was just about ready to put Grace down and wait till the end of the summer to finish. I even went so far as to buy some linen (Louet Euroflax in Goldenrod) to knit myself the Kit Camisole. Then the weather turned and I’m back to Grace and the linen remains unwound.

I was going to take a picture of Grace, but even though it’s bigger than it was, until I actually make some proper headway all the photos will look the same. So instead I present my latest distraction: this lovely skein of 60% seacell/40% silk laceweight that sort of fell into my lap the other day at the shop (truly: it was a gift).

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What I want to do with it (knit double into a crescent garter stitch shawl) seems so boring that I’m convinced there’s a pattern out there just waiting for me to find it. I don’t know what’s going on. I have numerous lovely projects on the needles and all I can think about is casting on more. (Even though I rather suspect they’d just languish on the needles too.)

The one bright note is that I finished the first Willowherb sock and it is both lovely and fits well. So that’s something. 

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.