There are times when a project is picked out specifically to fill a need for a special occasion.Â I’m not talking about the general list of birthday or holiday gift occasions.Â I mean really special occasions – the ones that only happen a few times.
Mom and I keep up a fairly regular twice-weekly dialog, with occasional spurts of daily chatter.Â Several of these chats over the summer consisted of the frustration of shopping for dresses and their various accessories for my brother’s wedding.Â The event was booked for August, in the steamy South, outside, in the late afternoon/early evening.Â Let me stress: the hottest month of the year, during the hottest part of the day, at one of the most humid places in the Southern US, outside.
We’re not sure what they were thinking.Â (In the end, it was one of the coolest weekends on record and the thundershower thankfully held off until five minutes after the Bride and Groom had walked back down the aisle as Husband and Wife.)Â What we were thinking is that we would need lightweight dresses that would hold up in the heat, wouldn’t make us wilt, and another layer for the cool of the air conditioned reception location.
We both found the right dresses, but Mom was having trouble finding a pretty layer to keep her warm during the reception.Â The A/C is always kept entirely too cool in those places.Â I blame it on the men wearing long sleeves, ties, and wool jackets.Â Women in sleeveless dresses don’t stand a chance.Â She knew I was working on a monogamous project with a tight deadline (more on that in another post), so she didn’t want to ask…Â So I went into freelancer/client mode: I wandered around on Ravelry (joy!) and picked out a selection of shawl patterns in rectangular and crescent shapes, then emailed them to her.
Right away she discounted all of the rectangular shawls.Â Not a shape for her personal style.Â I had already known this about the triangular variety.Â Then she picked out the exact pattern that I had been thinking of for her – a crescent shaped shawl in a simple rib and diamond lace pattern.Â I love it when our visions align like that!
The big hurdle was the color.Â Her dress was a deep teal shade that is very difficult to render correctly on the screen.Â All I had to work with initially was the photo on the internet.Â I talked Mom into a light grey for the shawl that wouldn’t compete with the dress color.Â The grey needed to be neutral – not too blue and not too yellow – and I needed to see it in person. Â Here is where my local yarn shop helped enormously.Â We found a yarn in the shade of teal we thought best matched the dress then gathered up all of the fingering weight grey yarn we could find.Â One by one the stack was whittled down – not enough yardage, too blue, etc.Â They had a lovely merino/cashmere/silk yarn in what we determined was the perfect shade of grey, so I bought it.Â Before diving into the yarn…just in case it wasn’t perfect after all…I took it to a local dress shop that carried the same line of dresses as the one Mom ordered.Â Of course they would have a sample of the dress fabric, in that color.Â (Working at a formal wear shop during college comes in handy on occasion.)Â So I was able to hold the yarn with a sample of the dress fabric in real life.Â Again, the yarn was perfect.Â Off I went to wind it into a ball, ready to cast on.
After all of this, Mom was still surprised that I would try to fit in this “big” (not really) project into my already stuffed schedule.Â Seriously, sometimes you’d think she had never met me.Â Ha!Â I knew I couldn’t take the monogamous project with a tight deadline with me for the week at the lake with the family.Â It was quite simply too big.Â Think filling up an entire weekend bag big.Â Can you imagine the looks of the other passengers seated on the airplane when I hauled that out to work on it during flight?Â I definitely needed a smaller, more portable project.Â The shawl was just right to fit the bill.Â And I knew that if I timed it just right, working for the 16 hours of flying (8 there and 8 back) and here and there each day of vacation, that I could finish it by the time the plane landed to bring me back home again.
I love it when a plan works out perfectly.Â Well, almost perfectly.Â I was so excited that I finished on Saturday night and didn’t have anything to knit for the plane ride home on Sunday.Â I’m still calling it a Win. *
For the knitterly:
- Pattern – Jackson Square by Beth Kling
- Yarn – Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Silk +, colorway Silver Moon
- Tangled Strands project page here
*We were having so much fun at the wedding/reception that I forgot to get a photo of the shawl in action.Â The photos shown here were taken in my backyard a few weeks before the wedding, and the shirt she is wearing in no way resembles the color of the dress.