We have dyed many custom-hand-dyed yarns that are specifically designed to be used in wedding shawl over the past 12 years. Hand-knit shawls and hand-dyed color go hand in hand to help create the uniqueness of a wedding. It is amazing to think that most of the hand-dyed custom colours we create for people have gone to wedding projects.
When I look at the correlation between these two things, I see three reasons for a wedding shawl.
- Knitting is a way to express your love
- Knitting a fine lace wedding scarf is a technical accomplishment that historically (in certain cultures) demonstrated a woman’s skill and proficiency with knitting and handspinning.
- Knitting a wedding shawl allows a knitter to express her identity to her most important and closest circle of family members and friends.
It can take several months to knit lace using fine, gossamer yarn. Knitting mistakes can lead to disaster, and the knitter must start over, especially if stitches are accidentally dropped. It can be difficult to fix lace errors. It can be difficult to make a wedding shawl that is perfect because of all the time and effort involved. But it’s a beautiful act of love and sacrifice. I was reading a post on the Yarn Harlot’s blog that said there was no better way to express love than through knitting. That idea stuck with me for many months.
Many cultures, including Russia’s Orenburg region and the Shetland Islands, have a tradition known as “wedding rings shawls”. These are hand-knit, hand-spun shawls that can be used as a wedding band. The yarn in Shetland would have been made from Shetland sheep wool. Orenburg would make the shawls from a mixture of silk and fine goat down, similar to cashmere. It would be an incredible feat to spin and knit such a beautiful wedding shawl. The ultimate goal is for it to be delicate enough that it can be worn as a wedding band. A woman who can spin beautiful, consistent, and heavy-weight yarns, as well as knit intricate lace shawls from them, is bound to be strong and patient.
Creating my own wedding shawl
I was intrigued by the idea of creating my own wedding shawl. I was inspired to learn how to make delicate, fine-lace weight yarns. In 1982, Prince William was presented the Shawl by Margaret Stove, a New Zealand spinner and knitter who designed, spun, and knit it. It took 394 hours to create, spin, and knit this shawl! Margaret Stove, the guru of spinning ultra-fine merino wool and fine yarns, is the guru in the spinning community. Margaret taught me how to wash fine merino wool individually with soap. Then, you can gently open the tips to spin them into frog hair.