Mehitabel mentioned my DFS in her post today, so I thought I'd share it with you. It's my humble first attempt at knitting a lace shawl, and hopefully an auspicious sign that some day I'll be able to create something as beautiful and awe inspiring as Stephanie's wedding shawl.
Pattern: Diamond Fantasy Shawl by Sivia Harding
Yarn: Claudia's Hand Painted Fingering in Chocolate Cherry
Needles: US5 Takumi bamboo circs (I started with a 24" circ and ended with a 36")
Rating: 5 sparkly stars - The pattern is simple and well written, making it perfect for a person new to lace and an easy peasy knit for someone more experienced
This May I joined designer Sivia Harding's Yahoo group, Sivia Harding Knits. (I don't even know how I found the group - it must have been mentioned on a blog somewhere - but I sure am glad I did.) They'd recently begun a DFS KAL (which is ongoing), and after reading some of the posts I decided to sign up for it, too. I ordered my pattern from Sivia and feverishly cast on.
The next two months were spent learning the lace knitting ropes. Sivia and the women in the KAL were extremely helpful; their combined wisdom and experience aided immeasurably in figuring out what the heck I was doing.
What this project has added to my knitting bag o'tricks:
+ How to do a Russian join - key when using superwash fingering weight yarn (sweet! no ends to weave in)
+ How to use two different colored stitch markers to delineate edge stitches from the body repeats
+ How to see where I was in the pattern and really read a lace chart
+ How I hate having a wadded up blob of knitting on too-short circs, and was much happier using longer ones as the number of stitches on my needles grew
+ How to do an i-cord bind off (sweet! what a great finishing touch to the top edge)
+ How a lifeline is not only important, but it should be placed every 10 rows for maximum comfort (otherwise I get really really angry...I spent several weeks sulking when I dropped some stitches on the last repeat and had to rip back 25 rows)
+ How to block a lace shawl (so many pins!)
The downside? Only one thing marred the project, and that was my yarn choice. The dye hadn't set properly, and came off on my hands and needles while I was knitting. Then, when I was giving the shawl its Eucalan bath right before blocking it, the dye bled horribly in the water. Again, the group gave me great advice - a little vinegar is a marvelous thing! - and the color finally set, but by that time it was much faded from what it was in the hank. But, there's so much beautiful fingering weight wool out there that I'll just pick something else for my next project...can anyone say Koigu? Heh.
All in all, a great project. And one that's opened the door to many others - in the queue are Birch, Evelyn Clark's Flower Basket, Leaf and Swallowtail, Miriam Felton's Adamas and Seraphim, and Anne Hanson's Wing of the Moth.
P.S. The Hanging Garden Shawl I'm working on right now is also Sivia's pattern. Last night I finally ripped back and set up my stitches again. I'm going to limit myself to doing 2-4 rows at a sitting for a while, and see how it goes.