Friday, July 8, 2011

The Þel

Did I confuse you there, by throwing around that bit of Icelandic?  That's not a typo, but Þ is the thirtieth letter of the Icelandic alphabet, the Þorn, or thorn, as it is pronounced.  According to wiki, it's pronounced like the th in thick.  That would make the word "thel".  I'm still no closer to knowing what it means!

Last year, I ordered an offensive amount of Létt Lopi in the hopes of redeeming myself for what I will covertly call the "Schmapigan" disaster.  I am sure I'm not the only person to fall deeply in love with a pattern on-line, order the requisite wool, knit about a mile worth of it, and come up feeling like I've been beaten with the mediocre stick.

Just ordering the pattern alone proved painful.  Not only was it expensive, I was charged as much for the shipping as I was for the pattern.  In this day and age of PDF files, PayPal accounts and laptops, ordering knitting patterns on-line is normally child's play. You pay, you download, you print.  It was a sign that I should have quit while I was ahead.

Pattern finally in hand, I ordered the wool.  Joseph Galler's Peruvian Tweed, quite honestly one of the most beautiful wools I have ever knit with.  I am in love with my Lopi, but JG's Peruvian Tweed is like eating a steak after a year's worth of hamburger.  It's wool, specifically alpaca, but it's different.  And oh my, does it knit up beautifully!  One day, I hope to come across more of it and make myself something I might actually wear.  Each skein weighs a whopping 227g, that's a half a pound, and measures 600 yards.  That's a whole lotta wool in one skein.
So I set about knitting the Schmapigan, and again, Pit Bull here doesn't trust her knitting intuition when things feel wrong.  Since I paid all this money for the pattern, and all this money for the wool, I certainly wasn't going to quit now.  The edges of the Schmapigan feature yards and yards of fringe, and I must have blown an entire skein on this alone.  Now, for you non-knitterly types, wool is not lost even if it's knit up.  Knitters refer to the act of pulling down knitting as "frogging", a play on words from the expression rip it, rip it.  Hence, anything can be frogged, but miles and miles of cut fringe remain...cut fringe.  The finished Schmapigan lived on top of the dryer in the laundry room for a while, and when Popina decided to make a nest out of it, I knew its days were numbered.  I frogged the entire Schmapigan, removed all the beautiful fringe which now resides in a Ziploc bag, and wound up the rest.  I suppose the only thing I will recycle all this beautiful yarn into is a shawl with mile and miles of fringe.  I still don't have the heart to look at it, because I had really high hopes for the Schmapigan.

That's the background on how the Þel came to be.  Here was a pattern in one of my Lopi books that just might redeem me.  I ordered 2 bags of brown Lopi, and got busy knitting.  1600 metres later, the Þel was born.  I have to mention my dear friend Elaine in there as well.  'Twas Elaine who got busy sewing the sleeves in, in return for me sewing in 2,716 ends on a precious baby cardigan Elaine had knit, as well as sewing on grosgrain ribbon for the button band, and finishing the buttons.  (I like that fiddly stuff - especially if I didn't knit it myself).  Knitters are charitable like that. At some point, you just get so involved with a particular project that you just can't deal with it any more.  That's when good friends step in and say, "here, let me knit that back for you", when you've made a mistake and don't have the heart to pull back a few rows of lace, for example.  Sometimes, emotional detachment is required to successfully finish a particular project.  In the end, I handed Elaine both sleeves and the body, and Elaine did the rest.  There was a lot riding on the success of the Þel.  Again, I folded it, put it on top of the dryer in the laundry room and forgot about it.  Popina was happy though, to have a nice, cushy warm place to nap.  Lopi's forgiving like that, though.  This stuff repels everything - dirt, pet hair, you name it.  It's virtually indestructible.

The other day, I thought it would be best to take the Þel to task, and finally wash and block it.  I soaked in Eucalan for a bit, squeezed it out until I was satisfied it was clean, rolled the whole thing up and chucked it in the washer for a quick spin-dry.  The wool is so magical is came out of the washer practically dry.  I slapped it down on the slate patio, straightened it out, and with the warmth of the sun and the slate, it was dry in about an hour.  You'd never attempt something like that with normal wool.  But Lopi's not normal - it's super-wool.  Of course Popina attacked it as it was drying, and it goes without saying Cooper had a nap on it, too.

But it's all good, because in the end, the Þel is everything I hoped it would be, and more:


Robin said...

I never knew there could be so much drama in knitting. :D

It looks really nice!

Shim Farm said...

Yeah, yeah, I am prone to fits of melodrama when it comes to wooly endeavours! Thanks for your compliment - it turned out better than I had hoped!

Anonymous said...

Is this pattern available for purchase? Is it written or charted? I don't have the chart thing down yet and just prefer written...thanks!

Shim Farm said...

Yes Anonymous, it is a written pattern in Lopi book number 25.

Cut and paste this link:

nanotopia said...

Hello! Hoping you can help me with this pattern. I purchased the pattern book from Þingborg in Selfoss, but grabbed the icelandic version by mistake! Crap! :/ and while I can pick through the pattern and understand basics, I need help with the sleeves/sleeve holes and how or where.. dang it all.
Istex and Ravelry doesn't have the pattern up for sale in english.

my fingers are crossed...

Shim Farm said...

Just emailed you nanotopia, using the form on your website link. I'll help you out! It's a simple pattern and we can work it out.

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