Nana's Knitting Shop

Knitting tales of a lifelong knitter
and yarn shop owner.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Wedding Shawl

This beautiful Cabin Fever, Evening in Eden shawl is back in the spotlight here at Nana's. There are several people making it and I've seen two in the last few weeks. Joan N. has finished hers and it is stunning. Kathy M. has been working on it for a while now and I saw hers last night. It's well on its way to completion and will be gorgeous. Kathy's had her frustrations knitting lace as so many do...

Jeanne, wonderful, thoughtful mother that she is, wanted to make this for her daughter's wedding which was to be in October and was to be held at Starved Rock. She came in with plenty of time to create this lovely keepsake and we set out to choose yarn.

"What color is her dress?"


"There's lots of variations of off-white. Do you want it to match or do you want it to be a different color?"

"It's got to match the dress."

"Well, I think you better go to the bridal shop and get a swatch. We won't be able to match it if you don't."

"You're kidding, right?"

"Nope. It's got to be perfect."

"Oh, Jeez. I'll be right back."

Jeanne came back with a tiny swatch which she had to brow beat out of the bridal shop. They apparently "don't do that anymore." We chose Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and we were off to the races.

We sat down to go over the secrets of lace knitting and with yarn, pattern, needles, and a handy Peg It! row counter, Jeanne was ready to devote herself to making her daughter the wedding shawl! The name, Evening in Eden, grabbed her just as much as the pattern of the shawl did.

"Are you sure I can do this?" she asked.

"The experience level is 'With gusto! Enthusiastic beginner.' You're enthusiastic, aren't you?"

"Oh yeah, I'm enthusiastic alright, but are you sure I can do this?"

"No problem and come back anytime you like if you run into issues. Whatever you do, try not to take it off the needles if you make a mistake."

Several weeks passed and I thought all must be well. No visit from Jeanne. And then it happened. Jeanne was standing at my door, bag in hand and her normally straight hair kind of standing on end. She had a deer in the headlights sort of look on her face and I knew I had done a bad, bad thing by convincing her to make this beautiful present.

"I've started so many times, I lost count. I lost count row after row and nothing came out right. I started so many times, I had to use a new skein of yarn. Take if off the needles? It's been off the needles more often than it's actually been on the needles. And what's up with this stupid Peg It! thing? It fell on the floor and the pegs fell out so I had no idea where I was. What's the point of counting rows if one spill ruins everything? I can't watch television and work on this and I'm stuck in the living room all by myself hour after hour and my family is as fed up as I am. There's got to be an easier way to do this. You've got to help me."

We sat again and I encouraged her, patted her back and told her with perserverence, patience and pride, her daughter would be walking down the aisle in a made with love shawl. Starved Rock can be cold, don't you know.

"You just wait," I told her, "you won't even need the pattern soon."

Encouraged, but skeptical, Jeanne went home to start again and a very long time passed. I think it was actually months that passed. I breathed a sigh of relief and fully expected Jeanne to burst through the door one day very soon with the completed masterpiece.

And burst through the door one day she did. I grinned at her with anticipation. She scowled at me and said,

"I'm not too proud to quit. I surrender. It's never going to happen and I'm here to have you take back the few skeins I have left. I don't even care if you give me my money back, take this @#*! yarn away from me. My dear daughter will have to freeze at Starved Rock because of you and there isn't enough time or gusto left in my life to ever make this work."

"Alrighty then," I said. Thank goodness I was smart enough to quit while I was behind.

The wedding went off without a hitch. The day was warm enough so Jeanne didn't curse me through the nuptials. I'm hoping she didn't give me a thought, really. No sense having bad juju at your only daughter's wedding. She must have forgiven me, thank the warm weather gods, because she brought me this picture.

Alison didn't need a stinkin' shawl anyway and she certainly doesn't look cold to me.

In the inimitable words of Joanne R., "Life's too short for knitting lace," and I know Jeanne for one agrees.


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