Posted by: jinniver | January 9, 2009

A few pounds of inspiration

A much anticipated package arrived on my front step today.

Back in September, I came across a project on Ravelry that was truly inspiring.  A mom had knit a lace veil for her daughter for the daughter’s First Communion.  I’m not sure why, but I immediately thought of my friend and her oldest daughter.  My friend is a devout Catholic, and I knew the daughter’s First Communion was coming up.  For some reason, I thought it was this year, which made my suddenly conceived plan even more crazy:  I wanted to knit her First Communion veil.

Fortunately (for reality and my sanity), the daughter’s First Communion is next year.  That gives me some time to get to work…and there will be a lot of work, because in addition to actually knitting the veil, I’m designing it.  The original project that inspired me included lace designs that were symbolic of things important to the wearer and/or her mother, and I wanted the lace patterns I picked to have the same symbolism, instead of just being pretty bits.

My friend’s daughter is named after an African saint, so I decided to use the life of that saint as my inspiration.  I’ve done a fair amount of reading on her, and saw things about her life that I wanted to try to highlight.  So now I had the inspiration…I needed the patterns.  Here’s where the package came in.

I didn’t really have any pattern treasuries that could help.  I do have the Vogue Stitchionaries, but they’re pretty basic.  I needed something with a lot more variety.  The mother in the original pattern used Sharon Miller’s Heirloom Knitting (which I’ve ordered, but hasn’t yet arrived).  What I do now have, thanks to a lot of positive chatter on these books, are Barbara Walkers First, Second, Third, and Fourth Treasuries of Knitting Patterns.

And they are treasures, most certainly.  I’ve had the first one for a while now–Genuine scored two copies in a search of used knitting books, and I purchased one from her.  Right away, I found several lace patterns that could work, but I wanted more to look at.  In reading descriptions and reviews, I couldn’t really decide which of the other 3 would be the most useful…so I ordered them all.

In retrospect, I could have settled with just the Second Treasury.  I found several more patterns with potential in that book.  The Third Treasury is all charted patterns, and while I liked several of the patterns, there was only one that would work with my idea.  The Fourth Treasury, based on my quick perusal, seems to be more focused on designing with stitch patterns than on the patterns themselves, so I was able to lay that one aside for more indepth reading later.

I haven’t made my final lace pattern decisions yet, but I have decided on the shape and general placement of patterns in the veil.  The veil will be rectangular, and of a size that it can be used as a stole when my daughter’s friend is older, maybe even for her Confirmation.  The idea of knitting it from top to bottom gives me hives (since that would mean several hundred stitches in a row…I’d never remember where I was if I had to stop in the middle, and I have 2 young children–I’d have to stop in the middle of a row that long), so instead I’m going to knit it in 3 pieces.  Two identical pieces knit from bottom to top will be laid on their sides so the “tops” are now toward the center, where they will be attached to the third piece.  This piece will be knit bottom to top and and centered on the veil in the same orientation in which it was knit.  I already know which type of motif will go there, if not which exact pattern.

I have to admit–I’m excited to get going on this.  The last book should be here in a few weeks, and then it’s go time.  According to the mom who knit my original inspiration, St. Claire is the patron saint of needleworkers.  Any prayers you might find the time to offer her in advance on my behalf will be greatly appreciated!



  1. I can’t wait to see the pictures! That is such an amazing idea


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