A week ago, Lydia, who owns the yarn shop in the Byram Arcade in Huddersfield, was married to Ash, and we went to the wedding party in the evening. Lydia had knitted her wedding dress. It had a white satin under-dress, with a long full skirt and a tight strapless bodice. Lydia had knitted a full skirt to go over it, in a lacy pattern in off-white wool, very fine. She had knitted a close-fitting sleeveless bodice in the same stitch pattern. It looked fabulous, and she looked lovely in it.
I knew that she had knitted the dress, and had seen the skirt in progress, though I didn't see the final result until the day of the wedding. So I thought that I ought to knit something to wear myself. I was planning to wear my (one and only) dress. (Anyone who sees me regularly will know that I wear a dress extremely rarely. In fact, of the last two dresses I have owned, the first was a maternity dress, bought in 1984, and the second was a Little Black Dress bought for a wedding two years ago.)
I have had 6 balls of Rowan silk wool for a couple of years, wondering what to do with it. And I saw an intriguing 1950s pattern by Marjory Tillotson for a shrug (aka a bolero or "hug-me-tight"). So I put the two together.
The construction is unusual: it is made in two identical pieces (called "armlets" in the pattern). Each piece is knitted flat, starting with a lot of stitches and then decreasing until you have just enough to fit around the arm. Then you stitch the sides together, to make an under-arm and side seam, forming a cone with the top cut off, more or less. And finally you join the two armlets at the centre back.
I changed the original pattern a lot, because all the shaping is done by decreasing in two stages, reducing the number of stitches by half each time. Apart from that, the close fit is due to the stretchiness of the rib. I wanted the decreasing to be more gradual, and I wanted to avoid the discontinuity at each decreasing row in the original pattern.
Another change from the original was that I was using a different weight of yarn - Rowan silk wool is supposedly DK thickness, but it seems quite a bit thicker to me - the original pattern specifies either two strands of 3-ply knitted together, or two strands of 2-ply. Of course, it should have been far too warm to wear in June, but it was a cold wet day (like most of the rest of this month) and so I was glad of a warm cover-up.
I really like the result - it is nice to wear, and looks good over the dress (and over other things too, I hope.) Silk wool has a lovely sheen, because of the silk content, and the browny/yellowy/greeny colour looks slightly metallic, like bronze.
I was given this really pretty pear pincushion as a wedding favour - Lydia had made them all herself (as well as the wedding dress!). John got a bag of pear-drops - there was a bit of a pears theme going. Bon voyage, Lydia and Ash.