Like a sweater, or a pair of socks, a Really Fancy Knitted Wedding Shawl is a Knitting Achievement. Like passing a boss level in a video game.
I nearly didn’t knit it. I thought, “Heck, it’s a lot of bother for something to only be worn once. What if I knit a sweater instead, something I’d wear it all the time.” Then I thought, “Why the hell not, though?”
My wedding shawl was the hardest dang thing I’ve ever knitted, but a long shot. The pattern I settled on, the Bridezilla Capelet, had 1,200 beads, which I’d never knitted with before. I’d also never worked icord edging, or nupps, or the Estonian braid. Or such a big lace chart. Or anything in laceweight yarn.
Still, nothing daunted, I cast on on March 20th… and immediately stopped updating my Ravelry project. That’s why I can’t tell you what yarn I used (was it Rooster Delightful Lace? I know I bought it from Wild and Woolly, and that it had some alpaca…), or what needles I used (probably half a size below the recommended).
The first half was tough going – I was concentrating too hard to even listen to a podcast. But by the time I was halfway through, I was cheerfully knitting with one eye on a TV show and a glass of gin and tonic (the latter may explain the neglect of Ravelry).
It lived in a salad bowl while I was working on, to keep it both tidy and portable. I tucked in a lavender satchet and kept it on the windowsill to help prevent moths (an epidemic in my part of London!)
Don’t the tangle of coloured strings in there look a mess? They mark off every single lace repeat, so I could know instantly if I was off a stitch. I don’t think I could have finished without that trick!
Was it all smooth sailing? Of course not. I had to tink back a bunch of rows. There were some knit-three-togethers that just about killed me.
I didn’t attempt to work on my knitted wedding shawl monogamously – I just chipped away at it as the mood took me.
The final hurdle, a knitted cast off, took a whole evening. “You work each stitch six times, and add a bead, and there are more than 300 stitches,” I explained to my fiancé over the phone.
“Is it making you happy though?” He asked.
“Oh yes!” I said. I paused. “I have a gin too, that helps.”
With three stitches to go, I tipped my bowl of beads onto the floor. The tiny seed beads scattered every which way on our wooden floors, skittering into cracks and under furniture.
I slowly finished the cast off, and half-heartedly swept the floor, capturing maybe half of the beads.
Reader, I left the rest. We were moving out in three days, the cleaners were already booked, and it was too late at night to vacuum.
I’m not proud, but I’d not clean up 300 seed beads again.
Is there anything more disappointing than lace fresh off the needles? Here is my precious knitted wedding shawl looking like a pile of wet noodles:
And here it is after blocking, looking more like a knitted wedding shawl, and less like spaghetti:
I never get sick of lace before and after blocking! There’s such a difference!
Here’s a few more glamour shots:
I added one tiny vintage button at the neck before folding it in tissue paper and tucking it in my suitcase.
Everyone obediently oohed and ahhed over my knitting prowess. My mother-in-law’s neighbour said I was implied excellent wife material because of it. I fell about laughing – I’m I hope I have other qualities in a wife besides patience with lace!
When the wedding day came, I told our photographer to make sure to get some shots of it. (I’m drinking that bubbly just out of frame.)
And of me wearing it.
Don’t you love how it follows the neck line of my dress? After all that work, my knitted wedding shawl was pretty much perfect.
I wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding day. We had everyone who cared about us gathered around. Our vowels were meaningful, and when the celebrant dropped the rings, it wasn’t a disaster. We had an amazing meal, the drinks we flowing and it was a beautiful sunny day.
So beautiful that I didn’t wear my shawl for a second.
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