November 01, 2021

Have You Knit These?
Ishebel by Ysolda Teague

Have You Knit These? <br>Ishbel by Ysold Teague


"In 2008 I was working in a LYS, and many customers were looking for projects using our beautiful sock yarns. They also wanted to try lace knitting for the first time. I love knitting lace, but large, elaborate shawls aren’t part of my everyday wardrobe, hence Ishbel was born, and made to be worn like a scarf. I set out to design a simple shawl that began with the shape. I wanted a top-down triangle, beginning with stockinette so a new lace knitter wouldn’t have to fuss with a long-tail cast-on, or a complex stitch pattern. Making the shawl’s top edge wide enough to wrap around the neck, without creating a deep triangle, was accomplished with a simple solution. I’d increase on right side rows at the centre, as usual, while increasing on every row at the edges to create a wider, shallower triangle. I’m sure I unvented, to use Elizabeth Zimmermann’s delightful term, rather than invented the concept, but many knitters found, via Ishbel, a wonderfully wearable shape this kind of extended triangle is, and it’s now considered a classic shawl shape.

For the lace pattern, I tried to give myself creative limits beginning with a list of criteria: two patterns with small repeats that would flow together and create a scalloped edge. I turned to the small library of stitch dictionaries I’d built up and began swatching ideas. I immediately loved the organic, flowing texture of the shell lace pattern, and adjusted a simple chevron pattern to fit with it for the edging. 

Ishbel was one of those rare designs that turned out exactly as I was hoping, the only issue was that I’d bound off too tightly! I photographed my smaller version with the point at the front, like a kerchief, and inadvertently started a trend for casually worn shawlettes. I’d set out to solve a certain dilemma for my yarn shop customers and myself, not realizing how many knitters were looking for a pattern that fit the same criteria."