echo flower shawl

When my friend Emily asked me to knit her a wedding shawl, I was beyond excited: No one had ever asked me to make them something so important before! Many of my friends are not the “knit shawl at their wedding” kind of girls, but Emily has a real appreciation for handmade, and she told me that she especially wanted me to be “in” her wedding somehow, even if she wasn’t having attendants (hallelujah! no bridemaid dress for me!).

I threw myself into the planning by . . . giving Emily my Ravelry username and password and telling her to go for it. Actually, that’s not true, I sent her links to about 15 different shawls, plus my Rav name and password! I wasn’t sure what style she wanted—triangular? rectangular? lacy? textured? . . . so I gave her lots to choose from. Perhaps because it was first on my list and because I said “this one is gorgeous!” she went with what was secretly my top choice: Echo Flower Shawl by Jenny Johnson Johnen.

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I told Em she had to pick the pattern by September 15, because with the wedding on October 23, I wanted a solid month to ensure I got it done in time. Plus, little did I know, I was going to be starting a new job in early October! But, no surprise, I didn’t need the extra time at all, because I finished this baby in 11 days, start to finish. I know I’m a fast knitter, but this was just a lot of fun to knit—and I was motivated! It really was nice to think about her wearing it at the wedding while I worked on it. Just a few days after I bound off, I borrowed my friend Stephanie‘s blocking wires (why don’t I own a set of my own??) and blocked it.

The yarn is Jade Sapphire Silk/Cashmere 2-ply, which is so amazingly light and soft but warm. I spared no expense for this shawl, buying 3 skeins (but actually only using about 1½). I did worry a small bit—pull too hard while winding this ball on your ball winder (it got caught at one point) and the yarn breaks like a spiderweb. But I figured she’d be careful while wearing it, so it wouldn’t be such a concern.

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When the weather on the day of the wedding turned super chilly (and even rainy), I was, perhaps, the only person to get a little thrill from it as I stood shivering waiting to pose for photos: Emily ended up wearing the shawl in many of the family and friend portraits, she was so cold.  And you have would been, too, if you had her gorgeous dress, designed by her (and my!) friend Anna Cohen. (That’s Anna ensuring the dress is properly arranged in the photo below.) While show-stopping, it definitely wasn’t designed for warmth.

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The wedding itself was one of those perfect affairs where even when there are small hiccups—the cold weather had us move the ceremony indoors, but guests just found that to make it more intimate; it rained in the evening but only after we’d mostly retired to the tent—everyone has the sense of an event that went smoothly. It helped that we’d all been on the ranch for a few days ahead of time, having girl time and soaking in the jacuzzis, sleeping with the room fireplaces burning . . . Ahhh, when can I go back?

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A few shawl details for those interested in knitting it themselves: I used a size 5 needle for the 2-ply yarn, and I did the “shawl” size, working the first repeat 12 times (so 13 of those flowers, when counted down the middle). Basically, I did the first chart until I had finished the first skein of yarn, then I did the edging. I made no modifications at all, and to make my life easier I used a thin hook (probably a C hook, though I never really looked) to do all the work with many loops, like the 7 out of 2 and the nupps. It was slow going but so worth it.

I never measured the finished dimensions, but for scale, Emily is about 5-feet-1 and it covered her torso. I kinda wish I’d made it bigger, but there was no way I was taking out the edging once I had it done!

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It took me too long to find time to sit and post about the shawl, but fittingly, I’m posting on Emily’s birthday! So here’s to you, my dear friend, and to both Emily and John (in his handmade suit, above—also by Anna!, along with me and, on the end, our good friend Julia) and their future together. I hope that your marriage, too, is one of those perfect affairs where small hiccups aren’t even noticed. And I know you’ll have friends to keep you warm and loved when you need it—I’ll always be there to knit for you whenever you ask!

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