The Wedding Shawl – Part 1

Ninnawe:  My son is getting married in about 45 days. The wedding date was set 16 months ago. I had plenty of warning.  Five days ago I decided that I should knit his bride a lace wedding shawl.

Now, lace knitting does not intimidate me. I have done a fair share of lace scarves, hats and socks. But those projects were done at a leisurely pace . . . no angst over deadlines, and certainly no impatience with tinking and occasional frogging when there was an error.  I had time then to ponder the value of lifelines; time to mull over the difference in drape between a size 6 or 7 needle; time to plan projects for my assorted single skeins of silk, cashmere, and/or alpaca blends.  Time was already running out on this shawl when I decided to knit it, and I hadn’t even begun!

As I am (vainly) hoping this shawl will be of heirloom quality . . . something the bride will want as a remembrance of The Day . . . I decide on some hue of white.   While I have lots of potential shawl yarn in my stash, I don’t remember buying any white.  Hurray . . . I  find one skein suitable for a wedding shawl . . . a skein of ivory Cascade Heritage Silk.  Beautiful.  At least there won’t be too much cost involved in this project.  So, I have the yarn, now all I need is a pattern.

Pattern picking consumes the major part of 3 days. Prior to Ravelry, pattern picking for me consisted mostly of spending an hour or so on Knitting Pattern Central, plus a visit to my LYS to peruse their offerings.  I might even go look through knitting books at the local library.   It was all hit or miss, in pre-Ravelry days.

Now, with Ravelry, not only do I spend hours looking through potential patterns, I must also spent quite a bit of time reading about what other Ravelers have done with the Cascade Heritage Silk. If I am lucky, I will find a beautiful shawl pattern that someone else has already done in that yarn.  Investigate.  Analyze.  Re-investigate.  Re-analyze.  The process of knitting is almost replaced by the process of Raveling.  (When will Webster add this new definition of raveling?)

I choose a lovely pattern, with a simple 4-row lace repeat. Even better, it has been done in my yarn by another Raveler.   My confidence builds.

Then angst attacks. Will one skein be enough? No, of course not. My future DIL is tall, nearly 6′.  So I want to make this a little bigger than the pattern … maybe one more repeat of the lace. This may take additional yarn … big sigh.  I wish more Ravelers would tell how much yarn they have left over from these single skein patterns.  Then I could make a more informed decision.

Oh well, back to my LYS for another skein. Of course the dyelot is long gone (I bought the first skein there over a year ago.) But, the owner and I take one skein each from the dyelots she now has outside to compare with my skein. One of the skeins is so close that I don’t think anyone could see a difference, but ‘close’ on the skein may not be ‘close’ in completion. I figure that if I need the skein at all, it will be at the very outer edge of the shawl and probably no one will ever notice.   And really, what other choice do I have? (I was secretly hoping that the store owner would take pity on me and offer to take my skein back and allow me to get two skeins of the same dyelot because this is to be a Wedding Shawl, after all. No dice. She had no pity.)

I purchase the additional skein of yarn, and head home to cast on.

I will have the pattern details and some pics in my next post … am too worn out from all this writing today … must knit to relax.


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