Thursday, December 2, 2010

Knitting a wedding veil

Most times during the weeks I spent knitting a wedding veil with fine silk thread, I wouldn't have said that I was experiencing any level of torture. Even though the task was difficult, required a lot of concentration and promoted anxiety, it was still enjoyable. Once it was done, I blocked the veil and stepped back to take a photo...


and grinned. It certainly did look painful. Ouch, poor head! I wasn't just taking out pent-up frustrations in the blocking, though. I knit the veil to have a shape and couldn't block it flat. It would have puckered. I needed the styrofoam head to round out the top, which I knit to fit similar to a hat (actually, half a hat). Since I limited the increases after the top, the sides didn't come out to a complete semi-circle and needed multiple wires to shape them, as did the line from the head to the board. With a lot of pins, flexible blocking wires and the styrofoam head, I managed it. The head is also great for showing off the result.


What a transformation. After I bound off, it was a crumpled ball that fit in my hand. Even as I knit, I didn't imagine that it would open as much as it did. A quick dip in a sinkful of cool water and a few minutes of pinning was all it took. I credit the combination of 2/30 silk thread from Halcyon Yarn and a size 5 needle, along with the knitted lace patterns. I copied the patterns from the Percy Shawl and Eugen Buegler's Feather and Fan Shawl, improvising the shaping. The middle pattern, a version of Frost Flowers, has yarn overs and decreases on both the knit and purl side. It requires twice as much concentration, but it is worth doing.


While the feather and fan pattern in the edging is lovely, it is not as open as the Frost Flowers. Though the flowers are pretty, after just two repeats of that pattern, I was happy to begin the edging. It's so much easier to knit. However, since it is an increasing pattern, the edging widens the veil considerably. I hope it will make a nice flounce around the waist, but the drape of the silk may overwhelm it. Either way, it really used a lot of yarn. I knew from previous shipments that Halcyon Yarn delivers quickly. However, when I finally faced the certainty that I needed a second mini-cone, I thought I'd have a break from veil-knitting while I waited for it to arrive. Not a chance. I placed my order on Friday and received it on Monday, before I'd even finished the first cone.

Now the only difficulty remaining is putting it on the bride. Headbands, hairstyles, --there's choices to be made. At least they are hers and not mine. I made so many decisions and took so many chances with the veil. I'm glad they all worked out so well. If you can stand more details on the process, look at my Ravelry page on the project.

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11 comments:

magnusmog said...

That is beautiful. You must be really proud.

RosalĂ­a said...

Magnific work!

Kristen said...

What? You actually knit this? Oh my, it's fantastic. A beautiful heirloom...it's so beautiful.

Wool Winder said...

Your knitting skills really shine in this project. Impressive and beautiful.

vlb5757 said...

That is just fabulous. I am sure the bride will be speechless. I am just blown away.

Affiknitty said...

Beautiful and amazing work!

Patricia said...

Wow, I am duly impressed! What a great project, so special....

Robin said...

Absolutely gorgoeous! How very special.

Anna said...

Is there a pattern for this? And it could be altered into a full length veil, I assume. I've always wanted to knit my own veil when I get married and I LOVE this pattern!

Luni said...

Anna, the links to the patterns I used are in the post. Just click on them and you will be able to downlaod the one for the Percy Shawl. The Feather and Fan edging is from a book, Gathering of Lace, or you can buy it separately if you click on the link.
However, these patterns are only the source for the charts I used. I modified the instructions to produce a veil rather than a shawl. I would discourage you from knitting a large veil. It will be very heavy. Most of the time, the veil I knit just hung in a strip at the back of the bride's head. She could stretch it out around her shoulders but it would slip back to her back after she walked around a bit. It would have been much more unmanageable if it had been longer.

msthimble said...

Stunning work, an absolute work of art!