My knitted swatches accompanied us to the shops. My sketch of the dress accompanied us on the second trip after Chris reprimanded me for not having it on the first. He got a post it note version for the first trip.
All of the stitch patterns shown are from Barbara Walker. The top pattern is rose trellis lace, then razor shell or new shell, then feather and fan or old shell, with cobweb frill finishing the bottom. The second picture shows sunspots and ogee lace. I loved the cobweb frill as soon as I knit it. This will be perfect at either end of a long rectangular stole. It finishes the ends nicely and is so much more elegant than fringe for a lace stole. I've been swatching the ogee lace for years, trying to use it somewhere, but it's been either the wrong scale or looked wrong in the yarn I was using. This is where I finally get to knit it. I was pretty sure ogee lace was the pattern I wanted as soon as I had knit it, but I wanted to wait to see what sort of shapes the embroidery made on the fabric for the dress: whether it was curving like the ogee or more geometric like the rose trellis. Interestingly, although all the swatches are knitted on the same needles, I think the ogee pattern will need to be knit one needle size larger, even though all the other patterns look lovely at this gauge. Just goes to show you how important swatching is! I blocked all the swatches too. I've learned the hard way that you have to block a lace swatch to get an accurate gauge and to see what it will really look like when finished.
We looked at a lot of fabric, none of it quite what we wanted, until we found this in Hamilton, just before the shops closed.
What you're looking at is an embroidered and beaded net with a scalloped border. The right side is laid on a black card so you can see the detail in the embroidery. Each flower is filled with five bugle beads in the petals in shades of silver and gold. The left side is laid on a natural color silk similar to the silk satin which will be the main fabric of the dress. I didn't try to buy silk satin in Canada because silk is sometimes tricky to bring across the border. I don't know the details; it has something to do with country of origin even though we can often buy the same fabric from the same country here in the US. Whatever the reason, it's easier to mail order from Thai silks in California, although the shop owner in Hamilton looked disdainful when I said so.
One of the things I liked about this fabric was it's mottled appearance. Western wedding dresses can be painfully dull in their monochrome. Chris tried to talk me into a pale blue dress, which is when I realized I did want to get married in white-ish, but with a little color and interest. This was one of only a few off-white fabrics that included some subtle color and variation. It also goes well with the stole, don't you think?
After we bought the fabric we wandered into Yarnopolis, which stays open a full hour later than the fabric stores. We were high on the excitement of finally finding what we wanted, and finally having one concrete thing accomplished towards getting married this spring, and Chris, who has excellent taste, fell in love with a skein of Manos del Uruguay yarn. Since he is the world's most interested and helpful groom when it comes to buying dress fabric, I couldn't say "no" to his big brown eyes (which look so good with this colorway). I started knitting him a scarf that night.
You should know if you haven't knitted manos yet, it's lovely to knit. Very co-operative, and it feels wonderful running through my fingers. He's a lucky guy, and since it's an easy scarf pattern, he'll soon be a warmer guy. Good thing since it snowed today.