Ishbel the Grape

Ishbel is finished!  I had enough yarn!

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I bound off the last of the stitches on Monday night, just before the season premiere of House, and put her in the sink to soak.  After a while, I pinned the shawl out on my yoga mat (a little narrow for this project) on commercial breaks.  It was dry by the next morning!

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  • Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague, size Large (see my Ravelry project page here)

  • Yarn: Malabrigo Sock Yarn in color 853; 1 skein or about 440 yards

  • Needles: US size 6/4 mm Addi Turbo Lace needles

  • Mods: None.

This project was everything I had hoped it would be the second time around.  I wanted a darker, more moody colorway.  Check.  I wanted it to be larger than the first version so it would stay put when worn as a scarf.  Check.  And I wanted to get it all done with one skein of great yarn.  Check.

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The Malabrigo sock yarn was a dream to knit with.  The color variation is subtle yet saturated, moving from deep indigo to grapey purples and everything in between.  All without stripes or pooling colors showing up in the final product.  It is soft and sturdy too, which means it should work great for socks as many knitters have already reported.  I have another skein in chocolate brown that hasn’t decided what it wants to be when it grows up yet.

Turns out taking self-timed photos of yourself wearing a shawl is pretty tough.  First all I got was a picture of my butt.  Next it was more shawl and less butt, but it was out of focus.  Finally I got something that wasn’t too blurry or butty (helped along with a little cropping, of course).  Here it is:

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Oh, I’m just in love with this!  Not only do I want to knit more lace shawls immediately, I want to go out and buy a new, more neutral coat to show off my hand-knits this winter.  Is that so wrong?

In the Works

This week I have been a monogamous knitter.  This rarely happens, and I’m enjoying the benefits of focusing on one project.  I can see progress much faster than in the past when I set this project aside to knit other, quicker projects.  I started this back in July, just before heading off on vacation, thinking it would be a quick knit.  After all, I had knit this once before relatively quickly! This version has been on the needles about 2 months, and the weather is getting cooler; I felt motivated to finish this up so I can add it to my wardrobe asap!

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The pattern I am speaking of is Ishbel, a viral knit that has enchanted knitters across the globe.  It is enticing for several reasons: it’s knit with fingering weight yarn; the lace is interesting yet manageable; the size is right to wear as a scarf.  I’m sure we all have our own reasons for knitting one (or more) of these lovely woolen accessories!

I am knitting this version out of a skein of Malabrigo sock yarn in Abril.  The first version I made was the smaller size, and I have been hoping to eke out the large from this skein.  Today I finished up the last repeat before beginning the edging, so I am well on my way to finishing up in a couple of days.  Fingers crossed that I have enough yarn!  I think I’ll add a life line at this point; that way if I run out of yarn, I can do the edging in a complimentary color and it might make sense.

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When I haven’t been working away on this shawl, I’ve been at the sewing machine.  This week I’ve added a few more finished items to the baby pile: flannel receiving blankets!  I lucked out on a 40% off sale at JoAnne Fabrics a few weeks ago and really stocked up on flannel.  The fabrics really run the range of colors and patterns, and I picked what I liked regardless of gender implications.  So no, I don’t know what’s brewing in there!

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I haven’t been following a pattern, as such.  Each blanket is made from a yard of fabric, with about 4 inches cut off from the selvage edge to create a more square shape.  Then I’ve been ironing the edges into a 1/2-inch fold twice and then sewing up the sides.  Easy-peasy and much faster than knitting a blanket!

Ishbel is sitting on the ottoman across the room, just staring at me… better get back to work!

Early Bird Gets the Mojo

The Early Bird paid a visit to our house this morning, and as a result we had homemade zucchini bread in our bellies by 8:30 am.  I’ve been wanting to bake up a batch of this kind of goodness since Saturday when we visited a friend’s farm stand.  Because of all the rain we’ve had this summer, many of her veggies didn’t exactly thrive.  The squash, and specifically the zucchini, have loved this weather.

Here is where I would put a photo of the mammoth vegetable we purchased, but I forgot.  It was at least 2 feet long and weighed about 2 pounds.

So up early with my Betty Crocker cookbook, I made this simple and delicious quick bread.  The recipe makes 2 loaves, so I wrapped one up and threw it in the freezer for later.  Of course, Sweetie and I demolished half of the other loaf for breakfast…

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On to knitting news, I have two works in progress to show you.  I also noticed, as I was updating my Ravelry projects, that I have a few older and abandoned works in progress.  These are hibernating for now, and I have no plans to get to them any time soon.  This is very out of character for me, as I usually can only stand to have 2 things on the needles at a time.  Onward and upward is my current motto!

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This is my second Ishbel shawl in Malabrigo sock yarn, color Abril.  I have finished the stockinette center and am currently waiting for inspiration to strike before I get started on the lace charts.  It’s been about a week and a half since I’ve knit on it.

Instead, I got excited to start a a baby cardigan.  This is the Little Coffee Bean Cardi in a hand-painted yarn from Purlsoup Fibers.  I am really enjoying the pattern and the yarn together.  The yarn is more lavender than I had realized before I started knitting with it, but I love all the bright flecks of colors that pop up.  All I have left is a sleeve and the button bands.

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So that’s where my knitting is at today.  I am also making plans to start a cardigan for myself as well as more baby knits.  I don’t want to jinx things, but I think my knitting mojo may be creeping back!  Shhh…we don’t want to scare it away….

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Well, it happened again.  I went out of town and this whole blogging thing really slipped my mind.  Of course, I didn’t take my laptop to Tennessee, assuming our cabin in the mountains would not have any sort of Internet connection.  Knitters, was I wrong!  Not only did this place have wireless, it had a hot tub, a flat-screen television in every bedroom, and super comfy beds.  This was not exactly what I had pictured when we decided to join in on a family reunion in the Great Smoky Mountains!

At sunrise
At sunrise

I took a new knitting project along with me, hoping to have a break through and get excited about knitting again.  To do this, I turned to an old friend, Ishbel.  Though I had made the pattern before, it turned out a little small and I wanted to try again in a bigger size.

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Time spent away from TV and the Internet left me with plenty of moments with the kids, or knitting on the porch in a rocking chair enjoying the Sha-Kon-O-Hey of the smoky blues.  I was able to finish the stockinette portion of Ishbel and was feeling pretty excited about it.

Then I got home and back onto Ravelry and well…let’s just say I got distracted.  Add the bible of fall knitting, Interweave Knits, into the mix and I am in a conundrum.  What to knit?  I feel uninspired by socks for the moment, something I didn’t think I’d say just a few months ago.  The overwhelming urge to knit anything for baby hasn’t hit yet, though I keep looking at patterns and my stash… That leaves me thinking maybe I should knit myself a cardigan for fall/winter, something that buttons at the top and drapes open a la Juliet, Shalom, or Liesl.  Any suggestions?

And just for fun:

Giant pickle at Dollywood...who could resist?
Giant pickle at Dollywood…who could resist?

Have a great weekend, y’all!

For the Love of Ishbel

Ishbel turned out to be one of those projects that was impossible to put down.  Once I cast on last Sunday, I was a knitting fiend, putting in some time on a row or pattern repeat whenever possible.  It must have been the perfect storm of yarn and pattern, because both were equally pleasing to work with.  Ysolda writes a wicked clear pattern that was a joy to follow, and the Madelinetosh sock yarn kept me smiling throughout.

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  • Pattern:  Ishbel by Ysolda Teague

  • Yarn: Madelinetosh sock yarn in Lettuce Leaf, approximately 300 yards

  • Needles: US size 6/4mm Addi Turbo Lace

  • Mods: None.  I knit the size small as written.  See my notes on Ravelry.

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When I finished binding off it seemed small.  I knew that it would grow during blocking, but I wasn’t sure it would be big enough to wind around and wear like a scarf.  The pre-blocking measurements were 13 x 35 inches (depth x wingspan).  I soaked it for a few minutes, then pressed it in a towel and pinned it out on my yoga mat.  The dimensions grew to 18.5 x 38.5 inches.  It’s still a bit skimpy as a scarf, but I am really enjoying it as my new spring accessory!

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If I were to knit this again (as I am feeling wont to do) I would probably knit the large stockinette pattern with the small lace section, or vice versa.  First, I only used about 3/4 of the skein, and I loathe having that much yarn left over.  Secondly, it is just a little bit shy of wrapping around so that the ends dangle without sliding off over my shoulder.

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I love this scarf and would totally marry it if I weren’t already spoken for!

This was my first lace shawl, and I couldn’t be happier with the experience.  In the past when I saw lace charts I would instantly feel intimidated.  But there was just something about this pattern that spoke to me and said: “Don’t be afraid.  You can do this!”.  Maybe it was that the pattern called for sock yarn and started out in stockinette.  Or that I knew what all the symbols meant and simply needed to pay a little bit of attention every other row.  Most likely I’m just a more experienced and less fearful knitter than I once was, especially when it comes to lace.  Now I’m looking at some of my sock yarn with a certain lace lust that wasn’t there before…

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Now that it’s off the needles I can admit this out loud without ramifications: when it came to the lace section, I didn’t count stitches or use life lines!!!  ‘Cause I like to live on the edge like that.

Must Keep Knitting…

Warning: Once you start knitting Ishbel, you may find it impossible to stop.

Other activities such as sleeping, eating, or self grooming may tempt you into putting down the needles, but you will not be able to be gone long.  Ishbel will lure you back with her sexy yarn overs and fast paced lace charts.

I cast on Sunday afternoon, and by Tuesday had finished the first lace repeat.  I took Wednesday off from compulsively knitting, and am now working on the last chart.  It could be done this weekend…

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May you be blessed with the same excitement over one of your projects this weekend!

Weekend Knitting Progress

It was a good weekend for starting and making good progress on new projects.  I love the feeling of excitement when I get interested in a new pattern.  I start dreaming about knitting it, stalking finished objects on Ravelry, imagining what yarns I could make it in…

Sometimes this process is satisfying enough that I already feel like I have knit the pattern.  More often than not, however, it only creates a need to knit it immediately, no matter what else I already have on the needles.

Such was the case for the past week with Ishbel, the lovely new shawl from Ysolda Teague.  I love much of her work, but have never actually knit one of her designs.  Yesterday, after days of dreaming and planning, I finally purchased the pattern (okay, I got the ebook and the hard copy…Easter present?).  I immediately wound up a skein of Madelinetosh sock yarn in Lettuce Leaf, a bright acidic green perfect for spring knitting.

I thought I could wait to cast on, but decided about to do so about 1/2 an hour before going to my Sunday afternoon knitting group.  And after a few hours of knitting, I have finished the stockinette section:

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Ishbel is my first shawl, so it’s fun to watch it grow from a tiny 3-stitch cast on to something resembling a shawl.  Now I’m gathering my wits to get started with the charted lace pattern.  I’m not exactly a novice in this department, but still green enough to have some reservations.  Thank goodness for the help of those who have gone before me!

On Saturday (pre-Ishbel frenzy) I sat down with my Hemlock Ring blanket.  I started this a week or two ago, but didn’t get very far.  It requires a bit of focus, and I just wasn’t in that sort of mood.  I knit a stockinette sock instead, much more my speed at the time.  But on Saturday the mood struck, and I made a few inches of progress.  It’s so fun!

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This should be an interesting project to watch change and grow. I have 4 balls of Malabrigo yarn to devote to it, and will cast off when I’m about out of yarn.  It’s only once the whole thing is off the needles that I will know exactly how big it has gotten.

So, that’s what I’ve got on the needles at this moment.  Something about the sunshine, blooming flowers, and feeling like a fresh start has me wanting to cast on about 87,000 new projects!