Monday, February 23, 2009

Meet Ishbel

Welcome to round two of my belated project sharing! This one is a little on the larger side. With that said, let me introduce you to Ishbel:
Hello, I'm a gigantic lace project!

The details:

Pattern: Ishbel
Designer: Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Lace 2 ply
Needles: US #7 Addi Turbos
Time to knit: 6 days(...?!)
Made for: Mrs. P
Level of love: Total adoration (and exhaustion)

A closeup of the vine detail.

In short, Ishbel was a deadline project knit for a close friend's mother. She initially asked if I'd be able to complete this shawl back in July explaining that it would be needed for an event on February 20th. "February?", I thought--that's AGES away, of COURSE I'll have time by then! Well, leave it to me and my knack for procrastination to wait until the absolute last possible moment to start this project. It was begun on Sunday, February 8th and completed late Saturday, Februarh 14th. Yikes. Over 40 hours of knitting was put into making this wonder, and I must say, it gave me quite the sense of accomplishment. My roommate verified that it was the most she'd ever seen me knitting in a 6 day span of time. That's a lot of knitting.

I had never worked with Misti Alpaca Lace before, but I had heard lots of swooning over it by other knitters (always a good sign). The project was requested in a neutral color-- Ivory, grey, or black. Since I'd already completed an ivory shawl, black won hands down. Until this project, fingering weight yarn was the lightest yarn I'd used, and I couldn't really imagine knitting with anything any lighter. Right. At many times I had to adjust my tension due to fear of breaking the yarn mid stitch (that never happened) -- a tad on the nervewracking side.

Looking back, I'm certainly glad I have the experience of 2 ply under my belt, but boy did it slow things down! The end fabric was absolutely to die for--one of the softest materials I've ever felt. How so much warmth can come from something so lightweight and dainty, I'll never fully understand.

Ysolda's pattern, as per usual, was absolutely fantastic and easy to follow-- I will definitely be making this again (but maybe in the smaller size). That said, however, I will NOT be doing any more crazy marathon knitting in the near future. As a knowledgeable fellow knitter said to me:

"A stopwatch is for athletes; not knitters".

Well spoken.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Straun: Too much rock for one state

Well hello! By now I'd imagine my absence for over month is [unfortunately] seen as nothing out of the ordinary. Though no excuse is a good excuse, I can say that I've been so wrapped up in the new semester and Project 365 that my poor blog has gone by the wayside.

On the positive side? It means I have quite a bit share! These next few posts might be slightly out of order as far as finishing dates go, but I promise they all happened within the last month. First up? Straun:

Pattern: Straun
Designer: Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Worsted - Blue graphite (.8 skeins)
Needles: US #5 Addi Turbos
Time to knit: 1/26 - 2/5
Made for: Darren aka Darius Twin
Level of love: total BAMFness

I had been itching to cast on for this hat for quite a while, but (as is often the case with knitting projects) just because I see something I love doesn't mean I'll then have a use for it upon its completion. Luckily, I was able to find an open and willing recipient who possessed the "cool factor" necessary to pull this hat off (unlike me pictured below...*ahem*).

Technique-wise, this project has added a few to the belt. First of all, the invisible loop cast on method. It was a tad on the tricky side initially, but lent itself well to the final product (plus the links in the pattern were very helpful). Because the hat was knit from the top down, it ended with the hemming of the brim portion. Mind you, that process involved grafting 105 live stitches up inside a hat that needed to be kept even vertically while also minding the hem length & brim tension. FUN!

All things considered, however, I really love how this hat turned out and am very (very) pleased with the final product. I'm not 100% certain, but from the looks of it, it would appear the recipient is too!

(Photos & artistry below are a product of Darren Pearson!)
Glad you like it Darren, you rock.

And what's to come? Looks to me like a hat, a pair of mittens, and *gasp* a lace shawl-- Hooooo boy!