My indigodragonfly Obsession: The Greatest Love of All

Regular readers of this blog will recognize the name indigodragonfly. If I’m posting about something I’ve knitted, 9 times out of 10 it’s out of indigodragonfly yarn. If you’re a careful reader of this blog and read the captions on my photos you’ll know that part of the appeal is the creative and often hilarious colorway names. Names like “Zen and the Art of Clown Disposal,” “Pastor of Muppets,”and “A Thin Line Between Love and Batteries” are enough to keep me interested. It’s not enough to keep me knitting though – THAT requires much more than just side-splitting creativity with names.

The yarn is a dream to knit with. ALL of it is. I have knit with 13 different bases from this dyer and they have all instantly become my new favorite yarn. It’s a little awkward having that many favorites, but I’ve learned to deal with it. There are 16 more bases in my stash that I haven’t tried yet, so that problem is only going to get worse.

They dye the most amazing colors too. Seriously, I have a TON of hand-dyed yarn in my stash, but the most complex, deep, knit-friendly, can-always-count-on-it-not-to-pool-unexpectedly yarn is always indigodragonfly. And the range of colors is marvelous! They manage to make me like colors that I thought I hated, and any time I’ve been dreaming up a project that needs more than one color they always seem to have the perfect combination in their dyepots. It’s almost creepy how they do that. It’s like they’re psychic.

It’s not just the names and the fact that the yarn itself is like crack for your hands and eyes, it’s the dyers themselves too. Kim and Ron are wonderful people! I want to support them as much as possible. Besides just the general awesomeness that radiates from them, they also have THE BEST customer service I have encountered in the indie hand-dyer business. I’ve bought direct from eight other indie hand-dyers online, and it’s not that the others have been terrible (though a couple of them have), but ordering from indigodragonfly is so much more fun. When things (rarely) go awry, they are really good about communicating with the customers and letting us know what’s going on and when things can be expected to be fixed. They are the standard by which I measure all other businesses.

As a result of all that, any time I have needed yarn for a project my first thought has always been indigodragonfly. Any time I wanted a particular color I knew exactly which one would fit the bill, and it is always an indigodragonfly color. It’s only been two years since I stumbled upon their booth at the Sock Summit, but since then pretty much all of my disposable income has been spent on indigodragonfly yarn.

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This is my entire indigodragonfly stash. Isn’t it beautiful? Let’s marvel at it from several different angles.

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Are you done marveling? Yeah, me neither. Go ahead and finish reading this post anyway, I promise the pictures will still be there when you scroll up again.

“That’s a LOT of yarn,” some of you might be saying. “That’s WAY TOO MUCH yarn,” more of you might be declaring. I can assure you, it’s not nearly enough. This yarn is addictive. You can’t just knit one skein. I can’t even manage to knit one skein at a time. Look at all the indigodragonfly WIPs I have going right now.

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That’s two shawls, a pair of mittens, a cowl, a hat (now finished), and a bunch of hexipuffs.

“Wow, that’s FIVE WIPs!” some of you might be gasping. “Wow, that’s five WIPs,” some of you may be scoffing while glancing over at your own WIP mountain comprising 20+ projects. To both of you I say, “I KNOW.” ‘Cause either way you slice it, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re in the “that’s not enough WIPs” camp I can assure you, the only reason there are so few WIPs is because I tend to finish my indigodragonfly projects as quickly as possible. If you’re in the “that’s way too many WIPs” camp, you’re about to think I’m a robot programmed to knit 24/7. Here are all of my indigodragonfly FOs:

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That’s 8 shawls (one of them is even crocheted!), 4 cowls, 2 hats, 2 pairs of fingerless mitts, 1 pair of gloves, 1 pair of socks, and a headphone whale. Not pictured are the pair of fingerless mitts that were stolen last year and a shawl I gave away to an ailing family member. Usually I only give away my indigodragonfly FOs to people I see every day so I can still pull out the knits and pet them when they aren’t looking, but that one was a special case.

So, just to reiterate, that’s 21 FOs in only two years! Or another way to look at it is 35 skeins in two years. At that rate, I only have enough indigodragonfly yarn left to last me four years! We’re not talking SABLE here (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy), this is actually a pretty modest collection based on my indigodragonfly consumption rate. And from what I’ve seen on Ravelry, I’m not even that rabid of a customer. There are others with indigodragonfly stashes that surpass mine, and they seem to knit from it at approximately the same rate.

The reason I’m showing you all of this is so you can understand the sheer volume of skeins Kim and Ron must have to dye in order to keep up with their voracious customers. Now imagine doing all of that dyeing without a studio. For the past four years, that’s what they’ve been doing. All of that dyeing has been accomplished in their kitchen – you know, the kind that was built to make food for a couple of people. It’s getting uncomfortable. They would like to eat sometimes, and maybe walk through their living room without having to play Mission Impossible as they navigate over, under, and around all the yarn that has taken over their house.

They need a studio. Their sanity, and the sanity of all of those who depend on their crack – I mean yarn – supply depends on it. To that end, they have begun an Indiegogo campaign!

indigodragonfly Indiegogo

They have AMAZING perks too, like a project bag (if it’s anything like their club project bags, I can tell you they’re awesome!), yarn in an exclusive thank-you-for-helping-us-build-our-studio colorway, and membership in a brand new fiber club! I’m not even a spinner yet and I’m drooling over the prospect of a fiber club.

These perks are so amazing that I’m sort of dying on the inside because I can’t have any. You see, all of that glorious stash was acquired back when I was employed. Now I only have 69 cents in my bank account and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I’m not just sad because I can’t get in on the fiber club (oh god, there’s a fiber club), I’m more upset that I can’t help them reach their goal. They’re so close! Maybe some of you can help them out for me? If you don’t knit or don’t particularly care for the perks I know someone you could send them to *nudge, wink*. And if you enjoy reading this blog, you may want to consider helping them out so that I can continue writing, ’cause if the indigodragonfly supply dries up it would end me. 

Minions, assemble! I need you, indigodragonfly needs you, THE WORLD needs you!

FO Friday: Adventure Knit-a-Long!

Spoilers below for the leethal Adventure Knit-a-Long!

My color pairing was inspired by a botched bleach attempt on my hair. I was trying to bleach more of my hair so it could all be purple instead of just a couple of streaks. We really didn’t know what we were doing and it turned out very uneven and blotchy. The roots of my hair got pretty blonde, but the ends turned out to be neon orangey-pink!

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It looked kind of cool next to the section of purple hair that I hadn’t bleached! Luckily for my hair purple dye will cover a multitude of sins and it all turned out fine. It did give me an idea though.

indigodragonfly Merino Sock in Aww...Someone Left This Little Plastic Skeleton in the Dumpster! (purple) and More Tequila, Less Sunrise (orangey-pink)

indigodragonfly Merino Sock in Aww…Someone Left This Little Plastic Skeleton in the Dumpster! (purple) and More Tequila, Less Sunrise (orangey-pink)

Don’t those two skeins look JUST like my hair?

I decided to embrace the accidental nature of the hair incident and use those skeins together for a mystery KAL. Soon after, the leethal Adventure Knit-a-Long was announced and I thought it would be perfect! It was a choose-your-own-adventure format that I have never seen before!

Every step of the pattern had several different paths to choose from. For the first section I started with a buttonhole tab cast-on and climbed the Basket Tree.

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For the second section I went to play in the river. It was my first time doing stranded colorwork, but it was only for one row of the pattern repeat so it was pretty easy! After looking at some of the spoilers I fell in love with the idea of adding a pop of a third color. I consulted my sister, the color genius, and she told me to use this blue.

blue is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Beach Glass

blue is Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Beach Glass

Have I mentioned she’s a genius? Unfortunately I didn’t see the spoiler until it was too late. I ended up putting the blue in too far up the hat and had to rip back to put it where I really wanted it to go.

For the final section I wanted to showcase the purple a bit more, so I climbed the Stone Hilltop with just the purple yarn. I blocked it, picked out a button (I went with the blue one because it helps tie in the blue stripes), sewed it on, and voila! A finished hat! I’ll be taking some hipster-esque selfies later after I dye my hair again, but for now here it is on one of my head models. It’s a bit looser on the model than it is on my head.

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WIP-Cracking Wednesday: Pool Party

First let’s start this post with a mini muggle vocabulary lesson. In knitting, “pooling” has absolutely nothing to do with water. Pooling is what happens when you’re knitting with a yarn that has many different colors in it and the same colors start stacking on top of one another making a “pool” of a single color. Usually it’s a complete surprise when this happens. It’s basically a freak of math. Depending on how the rest of the colors are interacting and what the knitter’s intention for the project were this could end up looking either really cool or really crappy.

I have been experimenting with taming this freak of math and pooling my projects intentionally. I learned how to do this by taking a class called “Planned Pooling” taught by Gladys We (wenat on Ravelry – check out her projects page for tons of beautiful examples of planned pooling). Basically it involves laying out your skein of multi-colored yarn, figuring out the length of the color repeats, and then adjusting your knitting gauge until those color repeats stack on top of one another!

I had the perfect yarn to start with – bright colors, easily distinguishable, with decent sized color lengths, and nerdy to boot.

First I made a cowl with a simple seed stitch.

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Then I tried playing with the pooling a bit by making a ribbed hat and accentuating the yellow parts with cables. Pardon the crappy selfie, I haven’t had a chance to do any glamour shots yet.

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The class actually focused more on trying to keep vertical pooling, but I’ve been loving the swirls!

For my next trick, I wanted to see if I could make a smaller circumference project – how about fingerless mitts? That would come with the extra difficulty of having to repeat the process twice in order to get a set.

I decided on a simple 1×1 rib, but added a bit of interest by knitting through the back loop for all the knits – that just makes the ridges look more dramatic. For the thumb opening I thought I could just make a buttonhole and call it good. Unfortunately the buttonhole turned out looking a bit messy. On the side where it was started there’s a weirdly loose strand stretched across the thumb opening.

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The other side looks fine though.

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I’ve never really had an occasion to make a buttonhole before, so I’m not sure if there’s something wrong with my technique, or if I was just following some crappy instructions for a buttonhole. In any case, I’m going to have to figure out how to clean that up. Maybe a crocheted edge around the thumb opening? I don’t know, I’ll have to think about it. Other than that, the first mitt looks pretty good.

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I’m not 100% sold on pairing that stitch pattern with this yarn. I was happier with the painterly quality of the seed stitch and the exaggeration of the cabling on the hat. The ribbing does make it VERY stretchy though, to the point where this could truly be considered a one-size-fits all project. That mitt fit my boyfriend’s man hands, my mother’s miniature hands, and everything in between!

Starting a second mitt to match it was a bit challenging. It took four tries before I could get the cast on to pool even remotely like the first one did. Even several inches into the knitting, one of the yellow swirls is looking way more chaotic than the other and I can’t seem to correct it. Oh well, I guess they’ll just have to be fraternal twins.

Pooled Mitt WIP Mitt the Second

 

I have learned one thing from this experiment though – I don’t like trying to match pairs when I’m pooling. I’m better off sticking with single item projects from now on. My blood pressure will thank me for it.