Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Something old, something new

The woman at Knit-A-Way tried to warn me. I went into her shop the second week in June and bought myself some Addi Lace needles (size 1). When she found out that I planned on knitting myself a veil for my wedding, she asked me, "When?"


I replied, "This August."

She asked, "A year from now?"

"No, two months from now -- almost to the day."

She looked at me in disbelief. "Why in the world are you just starting now?"

As I walked out, I thought about her answer. Yes, most people would have started earlier, but I tend to move through knitting projects quickly. Why in the world wouldn't I have enough time? School was out, which meant I would have a lot more time for knitting....

And I wisely chose a pattern that would start at the center and move quickly at first -- so quickly I decided to stop knitting and start over after a night. Good thing I did, because it was a mess. Then I realized, around the beginning of July, that the rows were getting REALLY long and it was taking me forever to finish.

On July 25, I thought I had finished. The radius of the veil was exactly the length from my wrist to my neck. It would surely be long enough, once I added a small edging. But wait! I looked at those clever Elizabeth Zimmermann increase rows -- and saw there was a slight break in the pattern, and the symmetry was off. The middle section of 12 repeats was mirrored on either side by 6 repeats, which didn't seem to give the shawl much balance. On I went with 3 more pattern repeats, so I now had a pattern of 6-12-9. The extra length drew the attention away from that center portion, which I felt was needed.



During the Cake Cutting



On August 1, I finished the ninth repeat, inserted a lifeline and got ready to begin the border. But what border to use?? I found two possibilities in Victorian Lace Today: the inner half of the border of the Large Rectangle in Spider Net (p. 25), and the outermost border of the Shoulder Shawl in Spider Pattern (p. 131). I worked some magic using Adobe Photoshop and my Microsoft Word skills to combine the two, but the border still wasn't quite what I was looking for. After adding in two more repeats of the inner border, I was ready to roll!

And (gasp -- I can't even believe I did this!) I didn't even try swatching my pattern. I just immediately began knitting the border on, and it worked out. I love it, the way it joins to the body, the proportion of the width, the lacy bits on the edge and the way the main motif is mirrored in the 3 swirls of the border. At first I worked methodically, but time kept on ticking. I was halfway through by Monday, August 6, with six days to go. Finally, on Thursday I finished and blocked the lace, just before I went off to meet the first guests to come into town.

Describing the Process


The lace was ready, and so was I. I opened up the comb with fake pearls that I had gotten at Michael's and was ready to attach the veil to the comb to wear during the ceremony. Some quick backstitching with sock yarn and a tapestry needle, a line of crochet chains just below the backstitching, and a row of double-crochet was all it took to hold the comb -- and it was all reversible! All I would have to do was pull the crochet out, and the veil would become a shawl.

I now pronounce you....


I have always enjoyed expressing my individuality. Often throughout the wedding planning stage, I struggled with the expected conventions that I felt didn't represent me. (No bouquet toss, please. And I'll pass on the garter dance, too!) I never liked the idea of a veil, but I knew I would need a shawl should the night get cold. It gave a simple, old-fashioned tone to a non-traditional day, to be wearing something so old in spirit but made just for the occasion.

26 comments:

Jeri said...

Dear Kelley: That veil and the whole story is so beautiful it made me cry! Many congratulations on your wedding,and on finishing the the veil/shawl.It is absolutely lovely. I wish you a lifetime of bliss. With your creativity and industriousness I'm sure your life will always be full.

kathy in Juneau said...

WOW!! Your shawl/veil is gorgeous and your story had my mouth hanging open.

Best wishes to you!!

Sheila said...

What a wonderful story and a wonderful veil/shawl. Congratulations on our new marriage.

carla said...

It's just gorgeous!

kmckiernan said...

That is gorgeous, what a wonderful job!!

Sassy said...

So incredibly beautiful!

Lynn said...

It is wonderful. You've really created an heirloom. I can just see you bringing a newborn home from the hospital in that. :)

Friender said...

Simply elegant and beautiful. What a memorable project. (i'm here from zimmermania). I skipped the bouquet toss and garter business at my wedding, too (10 years ago). :)

Ami said...

Beautiful!

PenCraft said...

What a way to start a marriage--committment to a shawl/veil with so much love and devotion. And a stunning execution to boot :) I would love to see more photos of it!!!

The Soapy Knitter said...

Oh my goodness that is absolutely beautiful!! Congratulations on such a beautiful keepsake. You did a great job in a short time.

Congrats on your new marriage too.

PS: I found you through the Zimmermaniacs blog. :D

knitting elephant said...

Congratulations on so many things! Your veil turned out more beautifully than I could have imagined! What a gorgeous heirloom you've created! It looks like you could use this as a christening shawl/blanket, as well! Bravo and Congratulations on your marriage! May great things come your way!!

Laura said...

Congratulations, on both the marriage and the veil. It is absolutely stunning!

earthchick said...

Simply gorgeous. Stunning, really. You did a fabulous job and it looks exquisite on you.

Best wishes on your marriage!

tiennieknits said...

It's gorgeous! Love the story!

goodkarma said...

What an endeavor. So meaningful, beautiful. An heirloom for sure! Congratulations on your marriage; I hope you'll be very happy together for many, many years.

From a fellow Zimmermaniac.

Tina - omme i London said...

I am in awe! Congratulations on your wedding AND on completing the beautiful veil/shawl. It is truly stunning. I have just started experimenting with lace and feel embarassed to show it!

Queen of the froggers said...

Wow, just the most gorgeous veil. Well done you!

TheBlackSheep said...

Wow. I'm floored. It's beautiful, but I still can't believe you finished on time. Crongrats on the wedding!

mari said...

I headed over from Yarnival.

Your veil is absolutely beautiful!
How special to wear something you made yourself.
Congratulations on your wedding!

Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

Absolutely beautiful! And it goes so well with the gorgeous wedding dress. Congratulations on the new life ahead of you.

projektleiterin said...

A truly beautiful beautiful shawl/veil!

j-ka said...

Can you please say what patten you used. I am in the same predicament but with even less time than you. I appreciate any and all advice. Thank you so much. Your results are so very very beautiful.
Jill

Beth said...

Your Shawl/veil is gorgeous! Can you share the pattern? I'm looking to make a veil for my own wedding and I'd love to see your pattern. Thanks

Soo said...

Phew!! I'm so pleased you go there in the end! What a beautiful addition to your wedding day. Stunning.

dewittnancy said...

Your veil and shawl are to die for.. congratulations on your marriage and hope you have many happy years together.. love and hugs. Nancy