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 knits!
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?
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 knitted lace pattern collection, the book Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls, or this book 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. 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! Contemporary and simple? You might find something for her in Free Spirit Shawls.
Is it a courthouse wedding? How about a darling shrug like the Viennese Shrug, worked in white? Is the reception in a barn or a banquet hall? You can apply these kinds of aesthetics to knit shawls and narrow down the options.
For a Jewish wedding, you can even knit part of the ceremony décor by knitting a gorgeous chuppah pattern!
If you need to build your lace-knitting skills before tackling such an important project, we have tons of resources for you. Here are a few to check out:
- Start Knitting Lace DVD: Learn to read lace knitting charts and work basic lace patterns.
- Knitting New Vintage Lace Video: Learn all about traditional doily techniques and how to update them for today.
- Knitting Lace for Beginners web seminar: The best cast-ons and blocking methods, plus more info!
- Learn how to graft in lace patterning with this ebook
Personally, I have found knit shawls to be invaluable at weddings. For instance, last year, 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.
And remember, you can make these knit shawls in any color you want. Congratulations.