Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Diamond Fantasy Shawl

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")
Mods: None
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.


mary said...

Your DFS is just breathtaking! I haven't seen it done and in full display. Big congrats to you, experienced lace knitter extraordinaire! Watch out socks, here you come!

Joan said...

Wow!!!!!!!!!!!! Madge I am so impressed. You did a great job on that shawl. It is beautiful. Good for you learning so many new helpful things for knitting lace.

I so hope you will bring it to Zephyr.

Annette said...

Wow indeed!!!! Look at you go, you lace knitting expert. That is gorgeous! Be very proud. :)

Now for a question. I still need to block my lace scarf that I finished awhile ago and I was wondering how to weave the ends in without them being noticeable. Any thoughts?

I can't wait to see your shawl in person someday. I think you would be able to do Stephanie's wedding shawl (or something like it) now. You have talent, my friend. :)

jillian said...

Wowsa! And this is your FIRST lace?? You really should give yourself more credit...it's gorgeous!!

teresa said...

Wow, that looks great! (I just discovered your blog, and did so just in time!)

mehitabel said...

Very inspiring! Now all I need to do is find a flat spot to set up my swift and ball winder, and off I go! Yours is sure gorgeous, hope mine will come out as good!

fumblefingers said...

I couldn't agree more; the shawl is gorgeous, you are one talented knitter and you SHOULD give yourself more credit.

Can I give you my sweater size now?


georgia said...

so gorgeous! i can't believe that's your first lace project. that's too bad about the dye bleeding. i think reds are the hardest to set.

Melanie said...

Your DFS is gorgeous - beautifully done! And it's huge!

Dipsy D. said...

I'm really impressed by your DFS, it's absolutely stunning! This is a real piece of art, and you did such an amazing job knitting it up so beautifully!

Bonnie said...

Wow! That is absolutely gorgeous. The more I see Sivia Harding's patterns, the more I love them.

Thank you for visiting my blog. Your lace work is inspiring!

del said...

OH...MY...GOODNESS. That is one beautiful shawl!!! Simply gorgeous. You should be so proud of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Your DFS shawl is absolutely breathtaking. Inspiring!