SUMMER OF LACE: Filigree Diamonds Afghan by Deborah Robson
SUCCESSFUL LACE KNITTING DESIGNER NOTES SERIES
DD: Deb, thanks for your contribution to Successful Lace Knitting. I absolutely love how you showed us that lace can be knitted even in the bulkiets of yarns. What was most interesting to you as you designed this bulky lace afghan?
DR: Dorothy Reade had interesting ideas about lace, and there are some quirks in this pattern that are fun to explore. The chart looks like the border is completely even, but I played with the different ways that purl columns and rows behave (recede or come forward) and the way stitches are wider than they are tall.
DD: What stitch pattern did you use and why did you choose it?
DR: I used the Filigree Diamonds pattern because it was available! And it looked promising for the application. I wanted a diagonal feel to the lace so that the afghan would flex nicely in all directions, sort of a bias-fabric effect. The original pattern stitch did not have a border. I added one because I knew the size I wanted and the repeats on this lace were large enough that I couldn’t hit that size without incorporating a border.
DD: Did you make any changes to the chart, or use different decreases than Dorothy Reade used? If so, please explain the changes you made and your reasons behind them.
DR: I used Dorothy’s decrease techniques. There was one missing decrease in the chart, easy to correct, and I made a few adjustments of yarn-overs and twisted stitches make sure the idea behind the design was carried out consistently.
DD: What yarn did you choose for your project? What made this yarn particularly well suited for this project specifically, and for lace knitting in general?
DR: I wanted a bulky yarn, which needed to have a certain heft and not too much weight. Brown Sheep Burly Spun was perfect.
DD: Do you have any special lace knitting tips related to your project?
DR: The trick of managing large-scale lace is keeping the tension loose. I tend to knit loosely anyway: I worked on 8mm (size 11) needles and a “normal” knitter would be on 9mm (size 13), which is what I specified for the pattern. Even at that, I consciously kept my tension very relaxed in order to reduce stress on my hands and make it easier to work the decreases.
I also separated the repeats and the border sections with stitch markers. They need to be moved when decreases cross the boundaries, but were well worth that minor effort. The repeat is just complex enough that it isn’t relaxing knitting without the markers, and with them it’s a pleasure. At the gauge and width I was using, a full repeat of the diamond (rows 10 through 37) measures about 8″ (20cm) and takes just under a skein of yarn.
DD: What kind of knitting needles do you prefer for lace knitting and what makes these needles work well for lace?
DR: Normally I love Addi Lace needles. For this project, I used a Bryspun 40-inch circular. Smooth joints between tips and cable, and a very flexible cable, are paramount. And a sharp enough tip to make the decreases easy.
DD: Would you like to add any personal comments about designing this project? Perhaps you’d like to comment on any connection between Dorothy Reade’s foundation and your own creative spirit.
DR: I’m a huge fan of charting and am grateful to Dorothy Reade for her work in using and promoting charts. My own charts are a lot more visually open than hers, and I felt like I was “claiming” the lace for my project by translating to the symbols that I’m more familiar with.
DD: Thanks again for sharing so much of your creativity with me, and with all of the readers of Successful Lace Knitting!
To purchase Successful Lace Knitting by Donna Druchunas and to find out more, please visit here.
Deborah Robson has been working with textiles since before she could read. She spins, weaves, knits, crochets, and otherwise finds endless intrigue in the numbers of things you can do with fiber, and the multitude of ways in which you can manipulate it. She is the editor, designer, and publisher of Nomad Press, which is dedicated to giving contemporary knitters access to the skills and design techniques of traditional and ethnic knitting and spinning. She has published Donna Druchunas’ Arctic Lace: Knitting Projects and Stories Inspired by Alaska’s Native Knitters; Ethnic Knitting Discovery: The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and The Andes; and Ethnic Knitting Exploration: Lithuania, Iceland, and Ireland. She has been a strong supporter of this book on Dorothy Reade since its inception and is delighted to participate in making it happen.