The Rose Wedding Shawl

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The Rose Wedding Shawl

Now that Wool week is over for another year, I’ve found the time to write another blog entry.  I’d forgotten how exhausting teaching can be, but also how much I enjoy it.  It seemed to go very well and I think all my ‘students enjoyed themselves – at least I hope they did!  I’m always amazed at how many people travel so far to take part in all the workshops on offer.  It just shows how popular Shetland wool is all over the world.  There are so many things that can be done with it and next year I hope to be able to attend some of the many workshops available.

Late on last year I was asked if I could incorporate a rose pattern into the centre of a 1-ply wedding shawl, as the bride was a ‘Lancashire lass’ and wanted something to reflect this, I said blithely ‘I don’t see why not!’, as I knew I’d seen a rose pattern in one of my many knitting books.

Finding Marianne Kinsel’s ‘Rose of England’ Design in her second book of Modern Lace Knitting, I sent a picture of it to Trish.  It’s originally a circular design, but Trish wondered if I could do it in a triangular/pentangle shape instead, so the ‘rose’ would hang down her back when she wore it.  I said I would give it a go, but never having been all that good at maths, I wondered how on earth I was going to convert a circle into a triangle! 

Anyhow, using Shetland 1-ply lace wool, I started off on four double pointed needles, but found it too tricky to get going without it twisting, so ended up using two needles for the first few rows before changing to a short circular needle.  As the stitch count increased, I went up to a longer length and had over 1200 stitches by the time I’d finished the centre rose - one row seemed to take forever!

Now to convert the centre circle into a triangle – this was going to take a bit of thought and the use of even more of my little grey cells!  I consulted with various friends about the best way to tackle it and ended up by just dividing the stitches into three and doing each third separately.  I charted the first ‘third’ on graph paper to give me an idea of how big the final shawl would be and what sort of pattern I could fit into it.  I opted for the ‘Cat’s Paw’, as it was simple and would not detract from the ‘rose centre’, but would break up the stocking stitch nicely. I then had to increase outwards, which is the opposite of what I normally do and decided the best way to do this would be to do a yarn forward at the beginning of every right side row. 

 

This also made sewing the three sides together much easier.  To finish, I knitted on a scalloped lace edging round the outside.

I hope you'll agree that the finished shawl looked pretty good.

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The Wedding Dress and more

When I was first asked last year, if I knew of anybody who would knit a Shetland lace wedding dress I said I would ask around.  Little did I know, at the time, that I’d end up doing it myself, but I couldn’t find anybody else willing to take it on, so I thought, Why not give it a go?  I love a challenge!

My first step was to meet the bride and see exactly what she wanted before fully committing to the task.  She gave me a picture of the style of dress she would like and never having done anything like it before, I searched everywhere for a pattern, but couldn’t find anything suitable.  Now what?  

 

After much deliberation and use of my few remaining little grey cells, I met with the bride again and took some measurements. She had an idea of patterns she would like in her dress and chose the ‘Willow Leaf’ pattern for the bottom frill, the ‘Print o da Wave’ for the next section and we both decided that the ‘Ring Lace’ or ‘Bird’s Eye’ pattern would look perfect in the bodice.  I then had to decide where to start!  I thought I would try the bottom frill first and tackle it like I would a shawl, by making panels and sewing them together. I made four, as I would usually do for a shawl, but it wasn’t wide enough and so I had to make another one.  When they were sewn together they formed the frill at the bottom of the dress perfectly, much to my delight!  Phew!

I then had to tackle from the top of the frill up to the waist in the next pattern, the ‘Print o da Wave’, which included an opening at the back for buttons.  This meant I had to transpose the ‘Print o da Wave’ pattern, so it looked the same on both sides of the opening at the back.  After a few sleepless nights, quite a lot of cursing and ripping back, I finally got it to look right and was happy with it. 

I got the underdress just before Christmas, so had it to copy from the waist up, which made things a little easier, but not much - luckily my tailor’s dummy was just the right size!  The bodice was backless with a lace edging down both sides from shoulder to waist and I had to work two darts into the pattern on the front below the bust, so it would fit right.  No easy task I can tell you!  I was mightily relieved when it was finished, delivered and Rebecca was happy with it. 

The 1-ply lace veil to match was much simpler, as I was back in my comfort zone, then about a week before the wedding, Rebecca phoned in a panic wondering if I could do a pair of lace ‘dags’ to match, as the ones she was going to use were no use. 

Lace Dags

Lace Dags

I hope you’ll agree that the whole ensemble looked pretty good and she made a beautiful bride.

 

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My first blog!

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My first blog!

Getting my website updated to suit current trends in technology has been brilliant and I think you’ll agree that it’s a pretty cool site, BUT, I now have to write a blog to go with it -  AAAAARGH!  Many folk who know me, will wonder why I’ll find that hard, as I’m hardly ever lost for words, but a blog is different!  Are people going to be interested in what I’m doing?  Will I have anything worth writing about?  Will I be able to keep it up?  So many questions and the only way to find the answer is to make a start, so here goes!

Me

Me and my Mom

My Granny

When I first started knitting at my granny’s knee aged about four, little did I know I’d be making a living at it over 50 years later (she has a lot to answer for, my granny)!  I think it was her way of keeping me occupied while Mum was out working and I’ll always be grateful.  I remember she was always knitting something and it was mostly lace, Mum was more into Fair Isle and although I loved using colours and often helped her in choosing combinations for yokes and such, I never really wanted to knit them - it just wasn’t my thing.

The first shawl or ‘hap’ I ever knitted was in jumper wool, round and stripey (see above) I gave that one to my cousin when she had her first baby 35 years ago.  I did my first 1-ply christening shawl (see below) for my best friend and that would have been in 1985.  I’ve come a long way since then and haven’t used a pattern for ages.  I keep meaning to write things down, as my memory is not what it used to be – one of these days!

I love knitting, it kept me sane when I was recovering from a really bad car accident in 1996 and one of the reasons I started Shetland Lace Shawls.  It was something I could do from home and didn’t involve a lot of travelling or physical effort.  I love designing and producing something to suit the occasion and am passionate about keeping the art of fine Shetland lace knitting alive and thriving.

This is the shawl I designed in memory of my mother, Jeannie.

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