Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Something Knitted Just For You!

May ushers in wedding season—a season that has seemingly lengthened over the last few years! I’ve been to more October weddings than summer weddings lately. But mid-spring still feels like a bridal time to me, with its hopeful, happy flowering and cheerful birdsong. May is a month that marks a new beginning, just as a wedding does. So let’s talk wedding shawls!

Have you ever been asked to knit something for a bride? It’s a lot of pressure! But such an honor, as well. Especially for those aforementioned October weddings, a knit shawl or wrap is the perfect reception accessory for a bride—and nothing fits the bill better than a bit of heirloom, handknit lace. But do you work something small and cute, or large and ornate, in a sturdy gauge or superfine, with fringe or with beads or with prayers and mama tears?

WEDDING SHAWLS: CHOOSING A STYLE

I’ve had a number of friends marry recently, and having worked closely with them on choosing the dress, the shoes, the table arrangements and all the whatnots, my first advice is to ask the bride what she likes. Do not spend hours and hours knitting a precious gift and surprising her with it and hoping she wears it that day.

Talk about it beforehand and get an idea for what she likes in terms of size, style, weight, and yarn. Gather the details about her wedding aesthetic—is it very traditional? Show her resources such as this book of Estonian shawls, Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls, or Wrapped in Lace.

Is the reception formal? You might want to look at silk yarns and blends and larger scale shawls like the Ghost Orchid Shawl from the book New Vintage Lace. And check out the author’s follow-up book, New Heights in Lace Knitting.

Country romantic? You can look for bigger gauges, more wool content, even rustic fibers—and try finding a sparkly vintage brooch to wear with the shawl! Try Neoma’s Shawl from the book New Lace Knitting, worked in the bride’s colors.

Contemporary and simple? You might find something for her in Free Spirit Shawls or Classic Knit Shawls.

NON-SHAWL WEDDING KNITS

Is it a courthouse wedding? How about a darling shrug like the Shelby Creek Shrug, worked in white? Is the reception in a barn or a banquet hall? You can apply these kinds of aesthetics to wedding shawls and other knits, and narrow down the options.

For a Jewish wedding, you can even knit part of the ceremony décor by knitting a gorgeous chuppah pattern! I attended a wedding recently with a handknit chuppah by the groom’s mother, and it was simply stunning.

For more wedding ideas, check out the annual lace issue of Piecework, which features wedding mitts on the cover, as well as a story on a lace veil that’s been passed down through one family for 160 years!

PieceWork May June 2017

And let’s talk about veils. Have you ever considered knitting a veil? Maria’s Veil from Interweave Knits Winter 2017 just might do the trick – or load up your needles and tackle the gorgeous Waxwing Shawl from that same, lovely issue. (Take a look at our header image, isn’t the Waxwing stunning?)

If you need to build your lace-knitting skills before tackling such an important project, we have an online course that will teach you to read lace charts and work basic lace patterns.

HOW A SHAWL SAVED ONE BUSTY BRIDESMAID

Personally, I have found knit shawls to be invaluable at weddings. For instance, a few years ago, I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding. She had chosen gorgeous floor-length grey silk dresses for us. They were also strapless. I am not small-chested and had trouble with the top of my dress on the wedding day. In the bridal suite, as we all got dressed and touched up our makeup, the mother of the groom offered me some advice in her matter-of-fact-way, “Honey, lean forward and push them together,” she said, making some comical demonstrative motions. We all had a good laugh and I tried it. I looked in the mirror—I looked good! But as the day went on, I noticed I was starting to spill out of the dress. I became more and more self-conscious. Once we got to the reception, I pulled out a sequined shawl I’d brought and kept myself covered up the rest of the night. When I stood up to give the toast and all the cameras started flashing, I was so glad to have that shawl!

In honor of all the brides among us, of all the bridesmaids and wedding guests, and for all the moms and aunts and sisters and fathers and friends who want to knit something special for the bride in their lives, I’ve put together the Knitted Wedding Shawl Collection. This special assortment of knit shawls spans from small and simple to large and intricate, from contemporary to very traditional. It’s a great deal for seven patterns, and perhaps you’ll find something here for the special day.

Clockwise from upper right: Lale Shawl, Cowry Shell Shawl, Estonian Lace Shawl, Milkweed Shawl (bottom), Cufflink Shawl (top), Rule of Three Shawl, and O’Kelly’s Chapel Shawl.

And remember, you can make these knit shawls in any color you want, so pick up your needles and say I do!

—Lisa


Make Gorgeous Memories with These Shawls

 

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