Friday, August 21, 2009

What I Did To Ishbel...

No, this isn't a sordid tale about me beating up some poor soul named Ishbel. I'm not really that kind of person. (Although if she was holding out on cherries, you never know what I might be moved to...)
I recently finished my first lace project - it merits that title because it's the first thing I've ever formally blocked. I mean, I've blocked sweater pieces, etc; but I had no idea the amazing difference that blocking lace would make!

The pattern is
Ishbel, by Ysolda Teague. This pic is from when I'd just started the lacework, & I was delighted that my brain was working.
In summary:
1) I used Maui Yarns 100% superwash merino sock yarn in Koa Nut - 440yds/100g skein, & I had a healthy amount left over. I was a little nervous that I'd run out, but it was totally fine.
2) I knit the smaller (scarf sized) stockinette sized panel, but the larger (shawl sized) lace panel. (In the words of the pattern, CO for small, knit section A, B, A, B, A, C, D, E.
3) The pattern has increases on both the RS & WS rows; this makes for a lovely shape, but I didn't like the YO's on both sides; it looked different than the YO's down the center panel. I ended up doing two different things.
In the stockinette section, I knit thusly:
RS: K3, YO, K1, M1R, k...... as pattern called for until 4 stitches from the end.... M1L, K1, YO, K3
WS: K3, P... as pattern called for...P, K3
When I asked Google about the M1R & M1L, I found that most instructions are referencing a lifted stitch. These aren't; they're a stitch that I make by wrapping the yarn around my left or right index finger (or clockwise & counterclockwise), then slipping it onto the right needle as a stitch. I read about this in Myrna Stahman's book on Faroese shaped shawls; I like it because it leans left & right, so it's easy to pair for shaping, and really, it's the first paired invisible shaping I learned so I tend to fall back on it. Because you're working with the yarn from the ball, as opposed to yarn that's already knitted into the project, I also found that it doesn't muck with my gauge or tension in the knitted piece. It worked really well until I got to the lace charts, & then I realized that I was not keen on trying to rewrite lace charts so early in my lace career, and turning my first real lace project into what my family & friends would refer to in hushed tones as "What Finally Made Her Snap".
So with the lace section, I instead knitted:
RS: Exactly as charted/written
WS: K3, P1, P1FB, pattern called for until 5 stitches from the end... P1FB, P1, K3.
This worked well, & probably would've been just fine for the body of the scarf, but it didn't occur to me until the lace part. P1FB is just the purled version of K1FB; I purled first into the front leg, then the back leg of the stitch.

See? (Well, probably not, kind of a crappy pic.) The increases have pulled a little closed, I was maybe a bit eager with the blocking.
(My Ishbel, pinned down & drying.) The difference in the knitted fabric pre- & post-blocking is amazing. I can't even really put it into words; it's, er, um. It's cool!
I'm so pleased with it; I'd provide you with a better photo, but my arms no longer are long enough to get a decent self-portrait. So here, instead, is a partial belly & Ishbel portrait instead.

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