I'm very happy to say that Denise Bell is a friend. I would have bought her lace pattern books even if we weren't but it's so nice to love what your friends design. Her first book, Ultima Thule, contains lace knitting patterns inspired by the Shetland Islands. It was pouring over this wonderful book that helped start the idea of traveling to Shetland. We had planned to go for Shetland Wool Week last year but then my dogs knocked me down and broke my ankle so that trip has been postponed.
But Denise's book remains. The first thing I knitted was the Lerwick Harbour Hap shawl. It is one of the few things I've knitted that has stayed mine. Many of the things I knit start out intended to be mine but end up being given away or sold. The Harbour Hap is mine and lives in my cedar chest when I'm not wearing it.
My next project from Ultima Thule was the Kailyard Shawl. It's a pi shawl - a circle of fine wool that's about 6' across. I read and reread this pattern for a long time before I bought the wool from Denise and started knitting it. I am sometimes lace knitting challenged so I wanted to be sure I could manage the pattern before I started. Then partway through the knitting we got a new dog - Gus. Gus is part Blue Heeler and a hoot but early on he was occasionally destructive. He managed to get into my knitting and spread everything all over the living room. Fortunately, he focused more on the balls of yarn than on the partially knitted shawl. I spent hours untangling long and short sections of yarn and tying them together but I couldn't figure out what to do with the shawl. Gus pulled one of the knitting needles out of about 8" of knitting. It was a very small percentage of the 1000 stitches I had on the needles at that point but it's lace so figuring out how to fix it completely eluded me.
My partially finished Kailyard shawl sat scrunched up in my knitting bag for at least a year. I thought about it regularly but didn't touch it. Then I was talking about the project with some of our fiber friends at the Houston Fiber Fest this past June and Sybil informed me that she is the Knitting 911 person to call with these kinds of things. Bless Sybil. It took us several weeks to manage to get together but it only took her an hour or two to get me on the right track. Did I know how to do a lifeline? No but she explained it.
Sybil has guidelines that she always follows. She always counts her stitches. Peggy does this but I don't. Sybil always uses a lifeline. I now know how to do it. Sybil marks every pattern repeat. I hadn't done much of that before but I do now. Obviously, I have learned alot about knitting from Sybil. Not patterns or specific stitches but points of project management.
In the end, I tinked about 5 rows of knitting, put in a lifeline at the base of the section and frogged about 4" of knitting. I got myself back to the beginning of the section that had been interrupted so I could start fresh. Then I finished knitting the shawl.
I'm quite pleased with myself!