Special Occasion Accessories for People We Love
My daughter Michela and her fiancé TJ announced their engagement around the same time that the 2017 issue of Interweave Knits Winter came out. This particular issue has a bridal story, which seemed very fortuitous, and I tried to decide which one of the beautiful lace wedding shawls I would knit. (Here, I’ll interject a strong note of caution for any crafters out there who may be thinking about making that heirloom-quality piece for the bride on her wedding day: Always consult with the bride first; you don’t want to put her in the awkward position of having to explain why she didn’t wear the item for the special occasion.)
As it turns out, Michela nixed the idea of a shawl (I’m so glad I asked!). The dress she had picked out had long sleeves and she was afraid that a shawl would be too warm for a June wedding. (She did, however, fall in love with the Solstice Capelet — just not for the wedding ceremony—and she asked if I could make one in gray so that she could wear it for multiple occasions.)
Fortunately, I didn’t have to completely abandon the idea of making something personal for my daughter’s special day. During one phone conversation, Michela happened to mention that she was looking for a particular type of bracelet to wear for the wedding. She sent me a photo of the one she was thinking of and it occurred to me that I might just be able to make it myself.
I’ve never actually made a piece of jewelry before, but I have worked for the last few years just steps away from some of the foremost experts in the field: the editors in the Beading and Jewelry department. I figured I could at least find out if it was even possible for a complete neophyte like me to attempt to make a bracelet. I asked my counterpart in that department, project editor Megan Lenhausen, what she thought and she replied without hesitation, “Of course you can!” With Michela’s approval we chose Cristie Prince’s Princess Kate Bracelet. Megan said she’d be happy to teach me, which gave me the boost of confidence I needed, and we got started.
Megan had a few of the necessary elements (including the seed beads, clasp, and beading needles) on-hand. She also provided me with links to online resources for ordering the other materials: the cup chain and Tila beads.
Once we had everything together, Megan helped me to organize it all on a beading tray. Then she walked me step-by-step through the written instructions and showed me how they related to the diagrams. (Having edited knitting instructions for many years, this part seemed very familiar to me.) The diagrams in the instructions were amazingly detailed and I didn’t have any trouble at all following them. After working a few steps under Megan’s supervision, I felt that I had enough of a grasp of the process to continue on my own—at least until the next new series of steps.
I have to say, the entire process from start to finish was very satisfying and I enjoyed it immensely. Not that I didn’t make mistakes. At one point, I realized that I had been stringing the beads in the wrong direction and I had to undo quite a long section. But I’ve made (and corrected) enough knitting mistakes in my life that this didn’t bother me too much—it’s all just part of the process of making something by hand.
When I finally finished and mailed the bracelet to Michela, I was very anxious to know what her response would be. But I’ll let her tell you that part:
“When my mom told me she wanted to make the bracelet I would wear for my wedding, I was a little skeptical—I had never seen her make jewelry before. But when I received the completed bracelet in the mail, I was shocked! The quality was wonderful and it looked absolutely stunning. I am overjoyed to be able to wear this on my wedding day, and having something that was handmade by my mom makes it more special than something purchased from a store.”
And that is why we make things for the people we love.
Senior Project Editor
Interweave Knits, knitscene, Knit.wear
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