Well, I’m feeling very proud of myself right now, I’ve kept to my target and finished my Ishbel Shawl by Ysolda Teague, from the booklet Whimsical Little Knits which contains lots of gorgeous ‘little’ knits for £12.00 or available as a download from the Ysloda Teague website for £3.75. I started it very soon after my Malabrigo delivery arrived (about March), I was smitten by the irridescence of the kettle dyed merino sock yarn and couldn’t wait to cast on…..needless to say…..I didn’t wait and ten minutes later, we had another W.I.P ! (Work In Progress)
As per usual, I was soon distracted by other UFO’s (Un Finished Objects) and new yarns coming in so more projects cast on and even more UFO’s and W.I.P’s!!!
I think when I went into hospital last Friday, they put something in the mix of the anaesthetic that has given me a new found determination to finish some UFO’s and I decided I would finish Ishbel, my pact to myself was to not pick up any other knitting until Ishbel was finished and I did it!!!
I have heard that Ishbel is a good shawl for a first time shawl maker due to the fact that it isn’t huge and based on a simple spine with garter stitch borders and a good amount of stocking stitch before any lace work begins. I have to say, the lace work was not the easiest I had ever attempted, I couldn’t seem to get my brain to find any logic in the pattern, at no point could I work out what the next row would be without the pattern. Usually, I’m pretty good on lace and cable and once the pattern is set, I can do it without looking at the pattern albeit for the occasional reminder and reassurance, but Ishbel had me baffled, I think that’s why it got so far and then sat without progress for a while! The lace work is only worked on the right side rows so some saving grace there but for every lace row, I needed the pattern. The pattern has both written instructions as well as a chart. Usually, I like to follow the written instructions for lace and cable and use charts for colour work, plainly because you can see what’s coming with colour work. Lines, circles and dashes have never done much for me and so my reason for following written instructions. However, I broke my rule with Ishbel and thought I would break out of my mould and follow the chart, I think it does us good to push our boundaries, it’s how we learn! Needless to say, I think now I’ve done lace from a chart, I will definately choose chart over written in future…..it’s so easy! Lot’s of people say to me that they can’t follow charts but once you have mastered the square per stitch, and the follow the chart in the direction you are working for the right side – from right to left, and then on the wrong side work the chart back across from left to right, you can’t go wrong! It’s always a good idea to photocopy the chart so you can mark off where you are and if you are technical enough you can even enlarge it! An absolutely fabulous piece of kit when using charts is the KnitPro Chart Keeper, they come in 2 sizes, basically to hold either A4 or A5 sheets, they are magnetic and have a magnetic strip to use as a marker on the row you are working so your eyes don’t wander, small magnets hold the corners in place. It comes with a pen holder and marker pen, it is solid board covered by lovely black jaquard and nylon so is very durable. You can use the press stud to clip it open like an ‘A’ frame so it stands on a table and you can fold it back together and press stud it closed for travel and keeping your chart safe!…..Indispensible!!!
After saying all that about how I stuggled with Ishbel, maybe for a beginner on lace, one who is needing to follow the pattern, Ishbel may well be easy! Basically the only stitches making up the lace are yarn forwards, yarn overs, knit 2 togethers, and slipping stitches to pass over……..it’s just the case of doing what the pattern tells you! My problem is that I like to work out what is coming and not be reliant upon the pattern………not an option with Ishbel for me!
I now have to block my Ishbel, I’ll take some pics and post them later but I might struggle to block it myself at the mo as being only 9 days post op from an abdominal hysterectomy, getting on the floor to pin her out may be pushing it! Any willing volunteers??? I’ve got some fabuous new blocking mats, called Block n Roll, they are a bit like those teflon silver ironing board covers you can get so you can iron directly on to them with a steam iron if you prefer to block that way, they are well padded to take the pins and at over 1 metre square, they are ample size for most projects and you can leave them to dry on it! How did we live without them! I’ve also got some lace blocking wires from Inspinity, very flexible memory wire with the ‘T’ pins so shawl blocking suddenly becomes much easier!!!……it’s getting on the floor that’s the problem….
Anyway, that’s all for now, I’ll be back with pics later one way or another 😉