What can I say….I think I’m becoming a bit addicted to this knitting malarky……along with casting on another Karise for myself I’ve finally felt confident to knit another shawl, one that has owned more than just a little piece of my heart for some 5 years or so…as a right beginner knitter who could only just mange garter stitch if no-one was talking to her this was one of those heart stoppingly beautiful pieces that I looked at, lost my head over, sighed and thought I’d just never be able to knit it…..however over the almost a whole year now, I’ve been improving, stitch by stitch…..slowly and surely….and while following the charted lace knitting of the Karise I began to think about what had up to now been a fantasy dream shawl….Ishbel by Ysolda Teague.
I bought the skein not long after I first saw Ishbel, and had it wrapped in tissue and lavender, ferreted away where it lay rather like sleeping beauty…just waiting to be kissed/knitted awake…..it’s a blend of alpacca and silk with some cashmere….it feels a lot softer and luxurious than the Artesano yarn I used for Rachel’s Karise….I’m not sure if it’s my tension becoming more even but my stitches look nice and “all peas in a pod” similar…..I’ve not used any hand dyed yarn before and love the watery qualities of this colourway….I really do like to wear lots of colour but at the same time I prefer smears and smudges to speckles, one colour rather than gradients of many, however the dappled qualities of this yarn have completley bowled me over.
On the whole I have had to concentrate rather while knitting this, the increases are worked on both sides however on one of Ysolda’s technique pages it explains how different yarn over’s change size depending which stitch is in front and in back……it just took me a few goes to understand what it was I having to do with the yarn….the lace repeat is worked over 8 stitches and I knew I was going to need my stitch markers as I still find reading knitting rather hard and wouldn’t really know where to begin with this…..it’s been lovely using the stitch markers I made with some of my beads from Joyce’s necklace, memories of her come flooding back with each touch and glass tingle….the topazy amber colour looks great with the green and it’s making me think about which colours I could wear with this shawl…I’ve got some old vintage velvet (it was probably a church hall curtain) which is a very similar shade ……..
I really wanted to be able to use up as much of this yarn as I possibly could, in part because it’s no longer available so I’d rather use as much of it as the pattern would allow in one fantastic piece….. the 100 gram skein has a length of 400 metres, and the Ishbel pattern notes said the shawl used 302 metres, there is also a larger size where part of the pattern is repeated (although this is for lace weight) so I put in a lifeline just before the repeat to create a larger shawl….. (I haven’t used a lifeline before but I really really do not want to try and pick up any stitches if I’d need to rip the knitting back)….the lace pattern is broken down into 5 charts and each time I’ve worked a chart I weigh the remaining yarn…so I’ve been pretty confident I had enough to work the repeat to make the shawl a bit bigger…….rather than thread the lifeline yarn (vintage crochet thread) through the hole in the base of my needle, I just threaded it through the stitches once the row had been knitted (making sure not to thread the yarn though the stitch markers)……..I hope that all makes sense.
I decided to use HiyaHiya needles for this project, along with the regular tips you can also buy ones that are called “sharps”…and I love their pokey prickiness ….I think it’s because I’m a hand patchworker/quilter and so am used to pointy, pricky old needles. I know they aren’t for everyone and if you’ve not tried them then I’d certainly suggest giving them a go…..though my friend Anne said they’d be far too pointy for her. I’m also still a bit of a tight knitter (though am gradually getting looser) and find these great for when you have to knit or purl 2 together….however I’m not so head over heels for the cable, I find it a bit skinny and lightweight. But the needles are great (they also come in two lengths, personally I prefer the shorter length because of how I hold my needles)…….
The HiyaHiya range also have these way too cute cable stoppers…yep, they’re pandas knitting teensy wee socks….I’m not normally one for super cutesy coo but I do really like these.
(The yarn is by Juno Fibre Arts and is called Alice sock…it’s a blend of alpaca/silk and cashmere…the colourway is canopy. I bought this from Loop in London about 5 years ago and as far as I’m aware the lady that dyed it no longer does dye-ing…..if I’m wrong please please please get in touch and tell me otherwise)