Recently in Diamond Fantasy Scarf Category

The Diamond Fantasy Shawl Debut

Finally, at long last, I have a significant finished object to post about.  An eon ago (it seems like almost another lifetime), in May, when I was in Toronto, I purchased a lovely skein of Hanmaiden Silk Cashmere 2-ply yarn.  I had no goal in mind for it, but when I put my hand on it, I just knew it had to be mine.  Like many of the more exotic yarns in my stash, I thought it was likely that it would "marinade" in the stash for a while, talking to the other yarns and getting comfortable.  One never likes to be too hasty when determining the fate of something as precious and lovely as hand-dyed silk and cashmere -- two of my absolute favorite fibers.

However, life changes.  You get put on bed rest.  You start to get ornery.  And it becomes apparent that you need to give yourself a treat, especially if you are going to be on limited activity for an indefinite period of time.  I'd been thinking about buying Sivia Harding's Diamond Fantasy pattern for some time and after determining that one skein of the silk cashmere 2 ply was sufficient for the smaller of the pattern's two incarnations, I decided it was time to take the plunge. 

The Sunday night before the doctor's appointment where I found out I was going to be induced I decided that I needed to turn the lovely hank of silk and cashmere into a lovely ball.  I actually cast it on in the next morning, thinking I would come home and get started on it in earnest.

And I did, of course.  I just didn't realize that I would have a newborn baby when I came home.

Admittedly, even I thought it was somewhat crazy on my part to start a lace project with a brand new baby in the house.  I learned rather quickly that a crying baby is not really conducive to lace knitting.  Almost every time I knit a row, I'd go and check on the baby to see what her status was.  Any restlessness meant it was time to stop.  I got about 2/3 of the way through before the point where she started shifting her sleep schedules and eliminating any semblance of a long afternoon nap.  Sometime in October I got back to it, with the modest goal of getting 1 or 2 rows done a day.

And thus, slow and steady has lead me to an actual completed item of some complexity.  Something that I am pleased with and quite proud of.

This is the finished product draped over the only green item remaining outside our house.  A small evergreen bush.  I did 6.5 repeats of the main pattern (for the scarf size you are instructed to do 6, but I had enough yarn to do the extra half repeat and I hated the idea of not using as much of the yarn as I could in this project) which resulted in a scarf about 50" wide at the widest point and 22" deep -- almost exactly the dimensions suggested by the author for the 6 repeat size, so my gauge must have been a tiny bit tight.

I am in love with the simple and beautiful edging, and with the fact that I did not have to sew it or knit it on after the fact.  I am also very taken with the lace pattern that is not lost in the variegated color in the yarn.

20071201_DiamondFantasyPoin.jpgThe cast off row is an i-cord cast off.  So very lovely for an edge, and, even better, a relatively loose edge.  My previous lace efforts, even when cast off on larger needles, have often ended up too tight relative to how I wanted to block the garment.  This cast off is perfect and decorative as well.

20071201_DiamondFantasyWing.jpgI think the sizing on this project is rather generous for a "scarf" -- I love how it pairs with the white cashmere sweater I am wearing -- perfect for showing of the lace details as well as the color.

20071201_DiamondFantasyBack.jpgI am quite smitten with those points that actually hold their pointiness.  One of the many nice things about silk... much good drape, precious little elasticity, almost no memory.  Once you block it into place, it stays there. 

20071201_DiamondFantasyFron.jpgI almost didn't bother with a front shot -- after all, there's not much to be seen here.  But I do love how this scarf hangs and how it is shaped nicely to stay put.  It doesn't need to be tied to stay in place.  The wings can drape down over my shoulders and hang long enough to stay put. 

To anyone thinking about the yarn or the project, I am enthusiastic about both.  The yarn was a treat to work with and the pattern was very well written and easy to follow.  The lace is both written out and charted.  Although I started with the written instructions, as I got farther along, I found the chart to work better for me -- it was much easier for me to memorize, so I could go a bit faster.  The combination of the yarn and the project was a big winner for me. I think this scarf will blend well with my wardrobe and will likely become a staple item with some of my lighter weight, lighter colored turtlenecks in the winter -- I suspect it will transition nicely into spring as well over short sleeved tops.

Amazing that I have made it through a whole post without one picture of Z, eh?  That is because I did not think hand dyed silk and cashmere would mix well with baby drool (of which she is getting quite proficient at making) when paired with a white sweater.  Nor did I think little, grasping, exploring fingers that like to pull hard on whatever they attach to would be so good for the lace.  She did find the color entrancing, however.

A Little More Fantasy

Current Progress on Diamond Fantasy Scarf

The older Z gets, the more of a fantasy the idea of lace knitting is becoming! Just getting a row or two here and there feels like quite an accomplishment. One thing I've learned quite well by this point: crying baby = not good time to knit lace -- even if the baby is being tended to by someone else. Even if I know there's nothing else I can do for her. Clearly mothers are hardwired to pay attention to one thing above all else.

As the project grows, I do like how the yarn is working out. There's definitely some pooling going on, but because the yarn is only composed of two colors and those colors are relatively close together, it doesn't scream "crazy variegated yarn thing".

Diamond Fantasy Lacework

The more of the lace I knit, however, the more I love the look of it. One nice thing about using a yarn that lacks elasticity: the lace work looks less like a mangled dishrag and more like the final result. And the relatively simple color scheme doesn't overwhelm the lace pattern. Hopefully, I'm on my way to a project that will actually have some long-term wear time in my wardrobe.

My Own Little Fantasy

A Few Intervals of the Diamond Fantasy Scarf

On my last couple of days of bed rest (when I was thinking that they were just in the middle of my bed rest period) I decided that I wanted to start something special just for myself. When I was in Toronto, I purchased on skein of Handmaiden Silk/Cashmere 2 ply lace weight yarn in a lovely purply magenta colorway. It made me happy just to take it out and touch it since it contained my two favorite fibers and some of my all time favorite colors. And it seemed like it might be the perfect thing to help me chase away some boredom.

But what to do with it? One skein, 300-400 yards... not enough for a shawl. Not enough brain power to design something myself. I needed a good pattern to follow. So, since I could wander around on Ravelry I started looking for lace projects, and I started looking at the yarn section looking for things people had already done with the yarn, or lace projects that looked like they might complement the yarn.

Which is where I found Sivia Harding's Diamond Fantasy Scarf/Shawl pattern. This is one of those patterns that I've seen all over the place, but never had a good reason to get started on myself. But since I was anticipating nursing (and nursing tops and bras and so forth and dealing with easy access) I thought that a scarf that could be worn over the top of something else made a lot of sense.

So I spent an evening before dinner hand winding the ball (it was something I could do easily while listening to a podcast and it was a nice tactile experience) and the morning I headed off to my final OB appointment I cast on the first couple of stitches, thinking I'd be home in the early afternoon to work on it a little more. Wishful thinking, that, I guess. But since I've been back with the baby, her naps have given me time to make some progress. I have to admit that I am in "blind pattern following mode" and am just reading through the line by line instructions (easier for me at this point than trying to keep track of a chart). The instructions are excellent and I'm making good progress -- although I've had to learn not to start a complicated lace row without checking to see how Zosia is doing...