Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Ishbel Shawl - A Knitting Post

This governments ability to fill me with paralysing anger, dismay, and fear for the future is quite something. It's certainly more than enough to scupper any chance of writing something coherent about Lafcadio Hearn's 'Japanese Ghost Stories', to let me concentrate on a book, or even to do much on my current knitting project which demands solid concentration. So another knitting post it is.

I've bought quite a few patterns over the lockdown period. It's a small thing that I can do to support designers and to cheer myself up with a bit of inspiration. It's helping me get my yarn stash back under control too - so it's all good.

The Ishbel is a Ysolda Teague design, the second shawl/scarf of hers I've made, and there are a few others that I have an eye on. Her instructions are clear, and the couple that I've made so far have been easy going knits that create really pleasing results. They're perfect for just past the basics knitters who wants to make something that looks really impressive, and the right combination of undemanding but interesting for me (not that far beyond the basics).

This pattern comes with instructions for a couple of sizes, doesn't use a huge amount of yarn - the patterns says 550m of lace or fingering (4 ply) weight for the larger size. There's no reason not to add a few more repeats of the lace pattern for a really large shawl, but I like the official 'Large' size as a handy thing to throw over your shoulders or around your neck. I used Jamieson's of Shetland Ultra* lace weight in Sunburst and Petunia and have something that's both really light and quite warming. It'd work well as a scarf on a cold day, but is elegant enough to be a smarter accessory when wanted.

*I think it used rather less than 55m, I have more than enough yarn left to make matching mitts - Anne Eunson's Lunna Mitts might work well


  1. That is a beautiful piece of work, you can be proud of producing that. Sstay well m'dear.

    1. And you, I've missed your comments and hoped that you are well (the downside of not knowing someone on other social media sites) so I'm very glad to hear from you.

  2. I have been so upset and angry I've just written a furious rant on my blog about the despicable government. But you have created something beautiful, which is a worthier use of your time. :) I hope you wear it with great pride.

    1. Well I've commented on your blog with a furious rant of my own, and the shawl is on it's way elsewhere - I couldn't wear it without remembering the anger and frustration raised by the news whilst I knitted it. There is no easy way through this, I'm grateful that I've been able to carry on making things through this because it's been a good coping mechanism, but the anger isn't going anywhere soon. Take care of yourself!

    2. I understand though I also think it's a shame such a beautiful object should be stained (metaphorically!) with any association with those useless, lying hulks. I mean, the Anglican bishops are mobilising against them - all we're waiting for now is the dragons, angels and giants.

      Glad you've got a good coping mechanism, mine at the moment is shouting and drinking but I hope soon to move on to something a little more constructive (and man, I don't even live there any more! But I feel as if I do).

      I don't suppose you've written to your MP? If you haven't, I recommend it as both therapeutic and - for once - actually effective - ordinary MPs seem to be getting as angry as the rest of us.

    3. My sister really liked it and I owe her a thank you, I've started another one for myself so it's all for the best!

      You don't have to still live somewhere to be bothered about seeing it trashed, or to worry about the friends and family who are still here, and both shouting and drinking seem like legitimate responses - if I lived with anybody else that's what I'd be doing too. Living on my own there's nobody to let me know if I'm overdoing it - hence the crazy amount of knitting recently.

      I'm lucky with my MP, He's the Labour shadow Health Secretary (Jonathon Ashworth) so for now a facebook message of support for his response has felt like enough but I might yet write to him if this carries on. It's to early to tell, but I'm wondering if this might be a tipping point. In a lot of ways lockdown has been the easy par of this, I think the next stage will be harder as we all have to count the cost (human and financial), I'd be surprised if the hard questions go away.

    4. I agree. There was a clarity to the lockdown rules (unless of course one was a spad). Now that the surge in infections is declining, we have to find ways to live with virus and make our own judgements; not all of us are that great at assessing risk and risk fluctuates from situation to situation anyway. I foresee a lot of rows. And the economic hardships people face won't go away soon.

      I actually dread any sort of inquiry into how everything was handled because I believe this government will lie rather than admit to any mistakes it's made and that is so unhelpful for dealing with future pandemics (and lots if not all governments have made mistakes over this, not just the British one).

      Honestly, I think the tipping moment has past. Nobody new is going to break ranks now and it seems clear to me that the government can't even see how they have misjudged this. They've exposed previously loyal voters to their dishonesty and contempt for the law. That won't be quickly forgotten.

      But - happy knitting! You are very good at focusing on the things in life that bring joy and pleasure, we can all learn from that.