Waking my sleeping beauty skein…..

casting on the Ishbel

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.

section B worked for Ishbel

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 ……..

ishbel lace with life line

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.

cute pandas knttng socks

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)


20 thoughts on “Waking my sleeping beauty skein…..

  1. it’s lovely! I agree about using the hand dyed yarns – so very nice, and yours sounds wonderful.

    I do life lines the same way, and it works just fine.

    Looks like you are going to have an absolutely beautiful shawl when you are finished. 😉

    1. Hi Sal, thanks for stopping by, and thank you for the lovely compliments…..the yarn is a bit like knititng with kittens, it’s so tummy fur thistle down soft, and the colour reminds me of washes and pools of watercolour paint as they flow over paper.

    1. Yes, I had a silk dressing gown exactly like the one in that picture, sadly it went all mouldy when I lived in a very damp basement flat so had to be binned, but I’ve been thinking about that picture while knitting the shawl.
      …”don’t think it’s within my capabilities…”
      Okay I’m looking at you over the top of my glasses…..yes it is, and yes you can. There are 5 charts which are all broken down so you need only look at one chart at a time (or there are written instructions but I’m finding the chart easier to work from)….stitch markers help a lot, and when I’ve worker one set of stitches I just check ther are the right amount of stitches before the next little set of 8….it doesn’t sound fast but I’m surprising myself with my progress…….and if I can do this then I know you can, seriously, you can knit magic loop which makes you some sort of knititng super hero in my book……now get some of that nice yarn you were telling me the shop near you has (and some stitch markers) and buy the pattern xx

      1. Right, I can do this. My confidence has been knocked a bit after having to frog my Miette as I couldn’t unknit it. I will definitely be using a lifeline! Thanks for the encouragement. If I don’t try, I’ll be knitting socks for the rest of my life!

      2. Oh no, sorry to hear about your Miette, I’m jusy waiting til the end of the month to get some pointier needles for my attempt (Knit Pro metal novas, the wooden ones I’ve got in that size are a bit blunt for me to happily knit the lace pattern)…
        I wrote up lots of notes on my Ravelry page for the Ishbel which sort of explain the tricksy yo you need to do, well it’s not really tricksy but you have to knit into the back of it the following row….wish I was there so I could keep making pots of tea for you while you knit it, but please imagine I’m there with pompoms (and tea) cheering you on.
        Ps…your kool aid socks are fab xx

      3. I have just bought the Ishbel pattern, balled my yarn and sorted my needles although they are my knitpro symphonie ones and I worry the wood will grip the yarn too much. I knit tight, I had to go up a whole needle size to get the right guage for the Miette. Are you using 4mm needles? I wish you were here too!

      4. Lol, It feels like I am as I’ve just replied to your socky comment….okay lets put the kettle on, and a bit of Enya if you want the full experience of being here : ) deep breath and cast on. I find catching the stitches on the side for the cast on tag easier.
        I’ve been using a 4mm metal needles (the swirls of the symphonie one make me feel a bit fairground ride queezy) but I guess you could use a 4.5 one, what yarn are you using? When I knitted my Open Sky shawl I was on a 6mm needle though the pattern said 5mm.

        This is a link to the stitch count for Ishbel…..


        Just remember to work the yarn over on the purl side with teh yarn in the knit position rather than in the purl position….and then when you knit the other side you’ll need to knit that stitch via the back. It seems a bit at first but you’ll be fine…..

        I also found it really helpful to keep the centre stitch marked with a bulby bottomed safety pin stitch marker xx

    1. Hi Janey, thank you : ) I couldn’t resist buying them, we’ve watched two great cartoons with Panda’s in them so they always make us smile.

      Shirokuma cafe (Polar Bear Cafe) and We Bare Bears….both awesome x

  2. What a gorgeous colour yarn. I used a life line for the first time after a failed attempt at the fish lips kiss heel on my last pair of socks. I managed to work out a way to insert it as I knitted too which was far easier than threading it through afterwards but I can’t remember how I did it now! I think some of the needles have a hole near the tip for inserting a life line, they sound worth investing in if I ever get really into knitting. Each time I read your knitty posts I determine to knit a shawl but atm I’m focused on my crochet cardi! Enjoy the rest of your week, I’ll be looking out for your finished shawl post, it’s certainly looking good so far so should be gorgeous after blocking. 😊

    1. Hey Sharon, Aw, thank you, your comments are alwasy so nice : ) Yes, my my needles have lifeline holes in them but I’d already knitted the purl row which was the row that needed to be secured, but it wasn’t particularly tricky, just had to remember not to go through the stitch markers.
      Well, as you know, I think Karise is a nice first shawl pattern, the pattern is nicely written out and the chart is super clear and easy to follow.
      I’ll be a little bit sad to finish it but have some local Wensleydale that I’d like to knit with next, it looks like a lock of Rupunzels hair, really golden and glossy xx

      1. OK, you’ve nearly persuaded me now, I may have to buy the pattern, in spite of the contentment challenge, I mean crafting is essential for my mental health surely !! Your rapunzel yarn sounds great, I’ll have to rummage in my stash and see what I can find to use next! xx

      2. C’mon Sharon, I’ve got Buttercup and Bees in Canada now knittinng an Ishbel and I know you can knit the Karise, though I warn you, once you’ve knit one you’ll want another to knit another and I bet Abby would like one too.
        I’m not one for math puzzles and crosswords (apart from grumping at my neighbours cat who broke in and played with my knitting) but like the charts for the knitting x

      3. The main body is stocking stitch for which you just increase either side and in the middle, then you get to the lovely lace bit. The lace pattern isn’t written out but if you really don’t like working from a chart then you could write out what you have to do. I was a bit, “aaaggghhh” when I first saw there weren’t written instructions for the lace but actually I found the chart incredibly easy to follow and was much quicker to read than looking at written instructions. I mentioned to Buttercup and Bee that I put the pattern into a plastic ringblinder sleeve/page and then use a strip of washi tape to mark which line of the chart I’m on.

      4. I like the purl row as I can totally switch off and just let my mind wander aimlessly….(and compared to the knit rows once I’m working the lace pattern are surprisingly quicker!)

      5. Yay (and I’ve just done an air punch…..) seriously Sharon ir’s such a nicely written pattern and the finished knit is so beautiful that you won’t regret it xx

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