Queen B Socks and Twinkle Twinkle Blanket

August 18, 2014 11:11 by Suzy

May and June were super productive on the knitting front, but apparently not on the blogging side of things! I get so excited about starting a new project I completely forget to stop and reflect and write about what I have finished...hopefully this post will get me caught up.

JD and I have some friends back in Maryland who were expecting their first child...they were keeping the baby's gender a surprise until birth, so I knew I needed to find the perfect gender-neutral project. Luckily the mother-to-be told me she was decorating the nursery in an ocean/beach theme, so that helped me find the perfect pattern and yarn.

I found the Twinkle Twinkle Blanket pattern on Ravelry back in December...I loved the stunning yet simple pattern, the in-the-round construction, and the fact that it uses fingering weight yarn. Then I just needed to find the perfect yarn and color...a few email exchanges with Allison at Simply Sock Yarn led me to Dream in Color Smooshy, in the Blue Lagoon colorway. I liked that the yarn is durable, soft, and washable, and the colorway had the perfect tonal depth without being too variegated.

This was my first time using the disappearing loop cast on method...it worked really well and avoided both the cast-on "hole" and the tendency of other methods to pucker in the center.

Our friends' baby boy arrived safe and sound in June, and I was so pleased to present them with this lovely blanket!

As soon as I finished the blanket, I cast on for my June Sock Knitters Anonymous project...one of the themes was Historical Figures so I chose the Marie Antoinette pattern, from the wonderful Anne Hanson at Knitspot. I had some madeleinetosh tosh sock yarn leftover from my Sproutlette baby dress project, so I put that stash to good use.

This pattern has a very interesting construction...the top cuff is first worked flat, in a narrow strip, and then grafted together in a circle. Stitches are picked up along the edge and joined in the round for the remainder of the sock. I really liked the cuff edging, and the "honeybee" stitches down the back of the ankle down to the heel. Very regal design, hence the Queen B name!

In other project news, I have given up on my seamed Custom Fit cardigan. I wasn't happy with how the pieces fit together and my crappy attempts at seaming with mattress stitch. Apparently I am a knitter, but NOT a sewer, so I should stick to seamless (or as close to seamless as possible) designs from now on. I'm going to frog the cardigan and use the yarn on a new cardigan pattern...Magnolia by JOJI. Fingers crossed this project is finished soon!

In my next blog post I will share some other exciting news that happened this summer...hint: annual summertime event with critters and funnel cakes...any guesses?

Links to projects in Ravelry:
Starlight Lagoon Blanket
Queen B Socks

Stormy Socks

May 8, 2014 12:20 by Suzy

And the Sock Obsession continues...

For April's Sockdown Challenge, I chose Crocus vernus, a pattern from the featured designer Hunter Hammersen. I really liked the elegant floral lace pattern on these socks and couldn't wait to make them.

The yarn for this project had been in my stash for well over a year...I bought it just a month or two after I first started knitting. Purple is my absolute favorite color, and the Mountain Colors "Harmony Storm" colorway is a beautiful mix of purples and greys and greens. I wanted to use the yarn for socks, but I was very leery of sock knitting at that time. I wasn't really comfortable using DPNs and all the explanations of the Magic Loop or 2-circulars methods were beyond my comprehension. Plus, the descriptions of sock construction looked way too difficult. Or so I thought. Fast forward to 2014...I can't stop knitting socks, and this yarn immediately came to mind when I chose the Crocus vernus pattern.

Aren't they beautiful? I love the almost "ruffly" edge on the cuff, and the contrast of the lace pattern with the channels of yarnovers along either side. I completed 6 repeats of the pattern on the leg, with another 6 repeats on the foot before working the toe. The finished sock is a bit more snug than other socks that I have made, but they fit me very well and look so pretty on my feet.

In other news...

- I won a prize in the March Sockdown Challenge with my Slytherin Socks! I won a copy of the Intwined Pattern Studio software. I've never thought of designing my own patterns before, but with this software it might be fun...

- I'm taking a break from sock knitting (gasp!) and working on a long cowl/infinity scarf right now. My indigodragonfly club yarn for April is a worsted weight, and I thought it might be fun to work with heavier squishy yarn and big needles for a change. Loving it so far!

- When I do go back to sock knitting later this month, I will be tackling my first ever stranded colorwork project! I received a copy of Op-Art Socks for my birthday, and one of the Sockdown Challenges for May is mathematics/tech/geek so I plan to make the Fibonacci socks. Can't wait to get started on those...

Until next time, happy knitting!

Slytherin Socks

April 30, 2014 14:31 by Suzy

Back in February, I discovered a group on Ravelry called Sock Knitters Anonymous (SKA)...every month there is a different "Sockdown" Challenge with various options to choose from. Members choose the challenge option and cast on during the challenge month, and must finish the socks and post photos in the group by the end of the following month. It's a really fun group, and I like how the different challenge options encourage you to work outside your comfort zone. There are two featured designers each month, or you can pick one of the design/construction/theme challenge options. Some months there is also a Mystery Sock (MOCK) pattern as well.  At the end of each challenge period, the group moderators hold a random drawing from all of the completed projects for various prizes donated by some awesome pattern designers, yarn companies, and other knitting-related vendors. Great motivation to finish your socks, don't you think?  My Monkey Squalor socks were my first entry in the SKA group...one of the February challenge options was designer Cookie A. She had TONS of patterns to choose from, and the Monkey pattern is one of her most popular on Ravelry.

For the March Sockdown, Heidi Nick was one of the featured designers. After browsing her patterns, and adding a bunch to my Ravelry Favorites, I decided to make the Dolores Umbridge socks. I really liked the mock cabling and the unique zig-zig running down each side. I had another indigodragonfly special edition colorway in my stash...Owl Week: A Bad Week To Be A Field Mouse in the Sad Lester Sock base. I fell hard for this gorgeous rich green as soon as it was featured on the website last summer. I was originally planning to make the Nennir cowl, which has a really cool Celtic knotwork pattern that I thought would be perfect with the green. Once I got the yarn, however, I realized it was not the best choice for a project to be worn around the neck. The Sad Lester Sock base is made from 100% Bluefaced Leicester wool, which I hadn't used before. The wool is soft, but not as soft as Merino wool or the other indigodragonfly Merino blends. It takes colors beautifully, however, which is why the green was so awesome. So, I decided to make socks from it instead.

Now, in case you are unfamiliar with the Harry Potter universe, Dolores Umbridge is a truly evil witch disguised as a sweet old lady. She acts syrupy sweet, dresses in pink with big bows on her head, and decorates her office with collectable kitten plates...and is a fan of incredibly severe punishments for anyone who crosses her, or anyone of less than pure Wizard blood. Creepy, creepy lady.  

In addition, most of the villains in the Harry Potter world are/were members of the Slytherin House at Hogwarts School of Magic. The colors of Slytherin are green and silver, and the mascot is a serpent.  So with a pattern name of Dolores Umbridge, and using striking green yarn, I had to name this project Slytherin Socks!

How amazing are these??? Cables twisting snake-like down the legs, all the way to the toes. 

This was a great pattern...my first time working exclusively from charts, and I really liked the heel construction. Instead of a typical heel-flap, the increases for the gusset are worked at the same time as the heel, so there was no picking up stitches. Very cool.

So I definitely see myself knitting a pair of socks for each month's SKA challenge for the rest of 2014! I'm nearly finished with this month's challenge (good thing I have until May 31) and I already have my pattern and yarn ready for May. Stay tuned for more sock posts as they are completed!

Keeping Warm With Two Sticks And Wool

February 13, 2014 08:48 by Suzy

I'm off to a great start for 2014!

In January, I completed 3 projects...my Charades in the Acid Rain socks, Sweet Rizzo hat, and Mars Attacks! socks.

For my first pair of socks, I used my Giftapalooza yarn from indigodragonfly...the colorway is called "Acid Reindeer" and it's a beautiful mix of rich blues and violets in the MCN Sock base. I didn't want to make a boring stockinette sock, but I also didn't want to make anything too complicated for my first sock project, so the Charade design was a great choice. Plus it's a free pattern!

Then I went on to use my December club yarn, also from indigodragonfly...Merino Silk DK with the aweseome name of "Light The Lamp, Not The Rat!". This is one of those colors that I probably never would have chosen myself, but once I received the package I fell in love with the shiny spun gold...it looks like it's glowing! This is why I join this club...so I get to try new colors and yarn bases and get me out of my comfort zone.

In case anyone is confused about the color name...here is a link to the inspiration from the holiday classic "A Muppet Christmas Carol"...I love Rizzo!

The Sweet William pattern was already in my queue and I thought it was a perfect match for the yarn and the gorgeous color. This is the first hat I made for myself, and I love it. It's much warmer than you would think so it has been a regular fixture in my bundling-up routine each morning.

Finally, I tackled another pair of socks.  This time, I wanted to try Susan B. Anderson's simple stockinette sock design, and used Wisdom Yarns Saki Silk in the "Mystery Mars" colorway. Blues and greens mix with orange for a fun, random-stripe look. I got the yarn from Webs when I ordered my sock blockers (I needed something to add to the cart to get free shipping) and I liked it even more than I had hoped. Very soft and easy to knit with, and I can tell they will wear well with very little pilling.

At the moment, I am working on several monkey-related projects (can't wait to share pictures!) and hope to finish my CustomFit cardigan soon as well. My first Bare Naked Knitspot club shipment should arrive any day now, as well as my next indigodragonfly club package, so I will have no shortage of goodies to fondle and get on the needles. Good thing, since it looks like spring will never come!

One particularly cold morning this month...