Sunday, April 5, 2009

Irtfa Irt'fa Irt'faa Irt'fa Irtfa'a...Oh, heck, dark purple Faroese shawl

My mother, who could out-curse any five drunken sailors, was (incredibly) an English major at NYU. I was therefore subjected to considerable cruel and unusual punishment during my formative years. From age 7, I was tasked with solving the New York Times crossword puzzle every morning before I left for school. Worse, when I achieved the lofty status of a tenth-grader, I was required to work it out using a pen.

I finally rebelled when she dragged out the typewriter sometime during my senior year. I think she was desperately trying to train me up so I could beat the socks off my Uncle Stanley, who could actually work the London Times crossword with a typewriter, a feat even my mother couldn't match.

The result of all this brain-twisting was that a) I knew more obscure words than my teachers and b) I was a whiz at spelling. At least I was a whiz at spelling before I encountered this shawl.


An Ann Hanson Faroese-style design, the final product is indeed lovely and doesn't slide off the shoulders, thanks to the top shaping. The knitting, alas, got a bit tedious.



I designate patterns of this type as "Beer-Bottle Shawls." Wait--it's not what you're thinking! I am referring, of course, to the repeat accumulation. One repeat on the needles, two repeats on the needles, three repeats on the needles....100 bottles of beer on the wall etc. blah.

By the time I have worked five repeats, I start looking for tax forms to fill out in lieu of knitting another row of The Same Thing Over And Over. After 10 repeats, I avert my eyes when I walk by the WIP's little plastic bag. But, after a few weeks of avoidance behavior, I generally sit down, plug into some music, and finish it off.


It was a simple knit and I adored the feathery edging. The real joy of the shawl was the yarn: 2/16 Lamoramere Fine Lace Blend (50% Cormo Lambwool, 40% Angora, 10% Cashmere), from Running Wild Farms. It's soft, lofty, springy, has a very fine halo, and dyes beautifully. I bought a skein of white and hand-painted it in dark blues and purples.


I did modify the edging pattern by knitting all the stitches in both directions. Life is too short to do all the purling acrobatics required as written.

31 comments:

Laritza said...

Very nice! I love Faroese shawls for the same reason, they stay ON. Repetition can get tedious but the end result is well worth it. Love the blue too.

Reluctant Penguin said...

It may be hard to pronounce the name, and it may have been tedious to knit, but it is GORGEOUS and I'm sure you will enjoy wearing it!

Dave said...

Love the purple Erma ... the soft colour variation is gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

That is stunning. Dee

heidi said...

it is really beautiful! And the colour is really lovely!

domesticshorthair said...

It may have been a labor to make, but it is amazing to look at.

I can relate to the tedium in my Bird's Shawl...it's been on the needles for two years.

kv said...

i love your hand-painting!!! must try sometime.....

Suzann said...

Oh so beautiful. I love the color and the pattern. Understand about the mind numbing repeats. But look at the fabulous product.
I live lace knitting through you.

Roy said...

From Fleegle's Husband... To Reluctant Penquin, You stated, you are sure Fleegle will enjoy wearing it.

After knitting a shawl, it usually goes straight to a drawer. She rarely wears the shawls except in the summer to keep warm in overcooled spaces. The fun for her is in the process.

Cheryl S. said...

It's lovely, and I'm really glad you posted about knitting instead of purling. I have that pattern and I think I'll do the same. I might actually get around to making and finishing it that way. But not until next year - this year is the year of the sweaters.

Carol said...

PRETTY! i kinda like repetitive stuff sometimes. I find it soothing. At times.

Yarndude said...

Your shawl is beautiful! Definitely well worth all the extra effort.

Jenn said...

Gorgeous as always! Lovely dye job a well!

Janice in GA said...

I have that pattern too. Yours is lovely.

And most of my shawls go straight into a drawer too. It's all about the process, baby.

Soo said...

Very very pretty! Well done for getting through the wall of tedious knitting. It's all worth it in the end.

I'm shocked to hear that all of your gorgeous work goes into a drawer instead of being worn. A drawer?? I have a box for mine. :)

desert tyrtle said...

Beautiful!
@Roy- my shawls suffer the same fate.

Lorette said...

Beautiful! Send them all to me, I'll wear them. ;-)

yarnlot said...

Sometimes the beauty lies in the repetition...tedious indeed.
Wearing the shawls on a summer evening outside can be nice too...

BadCatDesigns said...

Lovely as always! I did think you were going to drink the beer to quench your pattern fatigue, but that says something about me and not you! The yarn is dreamy.

Batty said...

No no no, that's Ia Ia phthaghn or something similar... if you're going to be a deranged Cthulhu cultist, you have to do it right!

Lovely shawl, though. Beautiful color.

MoniqueB. said...

Some tedious work can work out great! I must say that the colour does most of the work, for me...
Absolutely stunning.
The edging is also eyecandy...

Jane said...

I love how this shawl looks and you did a wonderful job dying the yarn! It's great that the shawl will stay put when you wear it. Though I'm tempted by the design I already have too many things to knit. I guess I'll just have continue to admire yours :-)

Mirela said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Opal said...

i'm amazed at your crossword puzzle prowess and your lace knitting skills! irtfa'a is gorgeous, but i have to admit i'm a little timid about doing one of my own now. monotony is just not my thing.

Rosemary said...

Stunning! Love the color, and your work is, as usual, perfect. Thanks!

Meg said...

I am so impressed, you did such a gorgeous job! I love this pattern, want to knit it for my wedding next year, but the 12 PAGES of instructions are terrifying.

Monika said...

Once again you knit a wonderful piece. The color is lovely.

deniasha said...

Even if it's as bad as 100 bottles of beer on the wall, it's enough to make me want to cast it on. Alas, I have a circular shawl and a whole hose of complicated socks on the needles all ready.

Rippedoffknitter said...

That is an amazing pattern and your version is gorgeous. I'm currently searching for the perfect yarn for my own, seeing this is a true inspiration.

Barbara Karlsson said...

wonderfull!

Barbara Karlsson said...

it turned out wonderfull!