Sunday, January 14, 2007

Thinly veiled excuses.

Progress on the Sheep shawl has been halted once again, but his time, not due to headaches, but because of INSPIRATION!

I've been planning on knitting my own wedding veil for quite some time now, but the specifics have been fuzzy. I have tutorials up the wazoo on how to construct a wedding veil out of tulle and etc. but no clue how to go about achieving the same shape with a knitted fabric. I knew I could get good drape out of knitted lace, in fact, I could get a drape and fabric that I preferred much more than that offered by stiff tulle.

Then there was the issue that I wanted something that would be dual purpose, not just a veil but something that could be deconstructed to serve as a shawl during the reception. (I know, I'm picky.)

Enter this:
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The very first shawl had the exact shape I was looking for, rounded edges, but long, not circular.
I immediately bought the book (it has a lot on shawl constructions, especially Farose, which I'm dying to try).

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Unfortunately when I got it home I realized that while the shawl had the perfect shape it had a very weird and awkward construction. The pattern has you knitting a long strip of the edging, but then only picking up a few stitches in the middle to begin the center and then picking up edging stitches along each side with every row until the entire edging strip is connected and then continuing with the main body of the shawl. This of course means that this procedure has to be done twice and the two sections grafted together in the middle once you're done.

Now me? I HATE finishing, and the picking up along the long edge of the edging would mean ugly seams along both ends of the shawl, and possibly an ugly seam along the middle of the shawl if I decided to have a lace motif that didn't have any plain breaks for the grafting.

Luckily I also own this book:
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(This is an awesome book by the way, I love the history and it gives not only shawl patterns, but instructions and tips on construction to make your own)

The Orenburg method is perfect for me, it too requires a long strip of bottom edging to be knit, but then the corners are turned and the middle stitches picked up and the cast on edge picked up to leave no cast on edge, then at the end of the shawl the process is reversed, the corners are turned again, the stitches bound of by knitting the edging sideways over them, and then the last corner stitches are grafted together, for an almost completely seamless shawl.

A little thinking and tinkering has resulted in this:
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A small strip is knit, and the corners turned and main body stitches picked up, then the shawl is knit with an increase on each edge (similar to a triangular shawl done tip up) to give it the rounded/tapered look, then the middle section is knit straight until I reach the other end, where I will reverse the process and decrease back down to my original number of stitches, turn the corners, knit the edging sideways over the remaining body stitches and graft the last corner together.

So far so good, I've learned the simple short rows like method used to turn the corners and my swatch/proof of concept shows that the increasing works exactly as I had hoped, and doesn't distort the edging as I had originally feared. And I have the opportunity to practice some of the simple motifs that I am thinking about putting into the veil. Now I just have to make sure the decrease will work the same way, and practice knitting the applied edging (I've never knit a sideways applied edging before, and since the sheep shawl has one, this is also good to prepare me for that).

Once my yarn arrives I can knit a gauge swatch and do the math, then I can chart up the middle patterns and I can concentrate strictly on the sheep shawl once again.

(After my wedding I may offer the pattern for the veil/shawl up for free here, but it will be charts only, as that is how I knit, and writing up the long hand instructions after the fact will be a huge PITA for me)


Windansea said...

Wow - I think that will be extremely beautiful - I can't wait to see it swatched on the yarn you would use. Lydia

Anonymous said...

That sounds beautiful.

You said that after your wedding you might offer the pattern up for free here.

Are you against selling your patterns? Something like would probably be willing to buy it, and it would still be available free on the web for users (you'd just get a little money for your work). They have done a few other wedding items, but none of them strike me as pretty as this sounds.

Abigail said...

Thank you! I have to restrain myself to finish the sheep shawl first or it may never be finished! But I too am excited and can't wait to see the veil in its element!

The problem with having it published somewhere is that I would most likely have to write up to longhand version in order for it to be accepted, and like I said, I find that part to be quite a PITA.
Also, by that time I'll be back to work, so I may not have the time to do it even if I wanted too. I'll think about it though, as I still have quite a while until I get to that point.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful idea!

mandy said...

that's going to be beautiful!

kat said...

wow, what a great project. did you see that there is now a book out buy suss cousins of just wedding knits.

Abigail said...

Thank you Sara and g.!

Yeah, I saw it at my local Borders and immediately grabbed it, hoping it would have something helpful.

But it's not all that great, it has a veil, but it's pretty useless for anything else, and not all that great. There are maybe one or two nice items in there, but beside being in a wedding book and knit in silver/gold/white/cream they aren't really all that wedding-y. There are two or three little pouches, a scarf, a shawl, a friendship bracelet, a shrug, a pillow, a tank top, two veils, and a wedding dress. None of which are really all that original or well done.

The ring pillow was interesting, but I nearly sporked my eyes out at the knit wedding dress, talk about you knit what!

(I'm insanely picky, and often snarky... this is why I do not own many pattern books.)

brandilion said...

wow, great job on all the planning. It will come out beautiful

Jo said...

Wow, Abigail, I've never heard of knitting your wedding veil before, but seeing as knitting lace is all the rage now, why not. It will definitely be beautiful.

PS. I like both books 'A Gathering Of Lace' and 'Victorian Lace Today' but for different reasons. 'Gathering' has more diverse patterns, which look easier to do (y'know, I have probs working with charts remember the heart sachet!) but 'Victorian' has the whole history of lace making and is a beautiful book just to look at.

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