Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Diamond Netting not Diamond Mesh Netting

There is a netting stitch, "Diamond Netting With 5 Loops," that I have been meaning to make for many years. The stitch pattern is formed by combinations of long loops and short loops.

Each time I tried the stitch it did not work out the way I knew it should. I didn't know if the problem was with me or with the instructions I was using. The instructions from The Dictionary of Needlework by Sophia Frances Anne Caulfeild and Blanche C. Saward were originally published in the early 1880s.

Last week I felt I had time to try the stitch again. I wanted to use this stitch in a scarf. I picked up a small ball of scrap yarn and began. By the time I reached row 9 of 13 rows I could tell that something was wrong. Since I could not find any other description of the stitch, I decided to try the Swiss Netting (which was 4 loops instead of 5) found in The Art of Netting edited by Jules and Kaethe Kliot. I hoped that by working through the 4 loop pattern I would learn how to fix what was wrong with the 5 loop pattern.

I wanted to know how the stitch was actually put together and not just follow the instructions blindly so I began with a couple rows of plain netting and then did row 1 of the pattern. At this point I stopped, cut the thread and began again. This time, after the beginning rows I did row 1 and then row 2. Once again I stopped, cut the thread and began again. I worked to row 3. The next piece of netting took me to row 4 and so on through the 10 rows of the pattern. It took some time, but when I finally finished row 10 I knew how the pattern worked.

I learned that for me there was more to the pattern than just long and short loops. There were actually three different ways I created the long loop and two different methods I used to form the short loops. I found it helped to describe the type of loop I wanted and the type of loop I was netting into. With these insights gained I wrote down instructions that I could use to repeat the pattern.

Photo of one repeat of Swiss Netting or Diamond Netting with 4 Loops.

I felt pleased with what I had accomplished and decided to see if I could figure out the Honeycone or Single Diamond Netting stitch pattern. I had done it once years ago, but since then I had not felt confident in my ability to work with long and short loops. I was surprised at how easy this 4 row pattern was after the Swiss Netting.

Photo of 4 repeats of the Honeycone or Single Diamond Netting stitch

I now had a better idea of what the long and short loops did and how they interacted with each other to create Diamond Netting. I decided to try the Treble Diamond Netting stitch. Using a combination of the instructions given in The Dictionary of Needlework and my new-found knowledge I was able to figure out the Treble Diamond Netting stitch. Several times I had to put the netting on my lap, see what needed to happen next, and decide how to accomplish it.

Photo of 2 repeats of the Treble Diamond Netting stitch

I was delighted at how everything was coming together. I had now made (with the help of some instructions) Single Diamond Netting, Treble Diamond Netting (which had 3 loops) and Swiss Netting (which had 4 loops). Now to get daring. On my own I would see if I could make Double Diamond Netting (which would have 2 loops). I didn't know if such a stitch existed, but I decided there should be one and I would make it. So I did.

Photo of 2 repeats of the Double Diamond Netting stitch

By this time almost a week had passed and I had run out of excuses for avoiding making the Diamond Netting With 5 Loops. Once I began it did not take me long to discover that part of the problem was with the instructions. Rows 2 and 3 were printed with the same instructions. That is what gave the pattern 13 rows instead of 12 rows. All the repetition and the practice I had given myself in the earlier samples certainly helped. Now that I knew where the long and short loops belonged it was fairly easy to figure out each row.

Photo of 2 repeats of the Diamond Netting with 5 Loops stitch

It was such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when I finally cut the last thread and looked at the finished sample of Diamond Netting with 5 Loops.