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.

Another One Bites the Dust

  • Pattern: Morning Surf Scarf by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer of HeartStrings
  • Yarn: Jitterbug by Colinette, fingering weight, in Marble 88
  • Needles: US size 6
  • Modifications: I cast on 66 stitches instead of 76. I wanted this to be a one skein project, but it ended up a little short, even after blocking. If you only have about 300 yards, I would suggest casting on 46 for a narrower, longer scarf.

This is one of those patterns that looks more complicated than it actually is. It’s mostly straight knitting, with one purl row and one row of different sized yarn overs per repeat. You just knit along, wrap 2, 3, 4, 3, 2 stitches with a knit in between. Then on the next row, you let all of those stitches drop intentionally and you end up with these beautiful open waves.

Blocking made a huge difference for the stitches in this pattern as well. It was a bit curly and bumpy before, and measured in at a meager 25 inches long and 11 inches wide.

After my special sink-towel-yoga mat blocking technique, the scarf grew 14 inches in length and 2.5 inches in width. I love the magic effect a little bit of water and stretching has on knitting!

So, that’s 4 works in progress dealt with this month. Now I am knitting with a much more relaxed attitude, less self-imposed pressure. I cast on for my second Embossed Leaves sock on Monday, and have been working on a 2-color garter stitch scarf for my sister. Then all I have left is the second Diagonal Cross Rib sock and my TKGA Master swatches. I am back in my comfort zone, and it feels wonderful!

Knitting is supposed to be a relaxing, peaceful activity for me. Feeling scattered and surrounded by too many projects was really affecting my enjoyment of knitting, and that was no fun. So after a week of dealing with these projects, I finally feel able to relax and knit with no deadlines or objectives. Knitting and I are over our little disagreements and lover’s quarrels and are back in a harmonious relationship!