This is a story that I’ve been waiting to share with you, partly because I think it’s a wonderful expression of love on an over-consumerised day about the same emotion. The reason I’ve waited is because I’ve been afraid of not doing this story justice with the telling.
But this story is not about me. This story is about Lara, and her Matt, and their wedding day. It’s really about what Lara wore on her wedding day!
There are four of us that make up the original members of our “stitchy girls”, and Lara is one of those girls. We all met doing cross stitch, but while Esther, Karen and I also knit, Lara has always been about the crochet. Sweaters, tops, hats, shawls – all beautiful colours and textures and made with the most amazing craftsmanship. And she wears them all the time. In fact, I would have to think long and hard to find a time in my memory when Lara wasn’t wearing something that she had made as part of her ensemble.
So when Lara and Matt announced their engagement, we were excited. We knew that Lara would find a way to incorporate an integral part of her into her big day. It stood to reason, after all, since this is the gal who insists on creating special handmade items to celebrate life’s special events. Case in point: BOTH her nieces wore christening gowns, each crocheted by Auntie Lara’s talented hand.
Lara let our “inner circle” in on a secret first: she had always wanted to get married in a red, Indian sari. For Lara, wearing red on her wedding day would invoke good luck and happiness while acknowledging joy in her distant Chinese heritage and purity in her Indian heritage. Her African heritage would be expressed in dance at the wedding reception.
Since Lara has long worn saris to special events, and looks great in them, we thought it sounded like a super idea. As individual as the bride herself! And then she told us her plans for the pallu. Now, the pallu is the three foot long section at the end of the sari cloth. It tends to be highly embellished and is the part of the sari worn draped over the shoulder. It can also act as a veil…
Lara’s plan was to find a sari for her wedding dress and remove the pallu (certainly a radical move in the eyes of traditional sari wearers). The pallu would be replaced with one that she crocheted, and the crochet would comprise many individual Irish crochet motifs that had meaning and significance to the couple. The crochet would also honour Lara’s mom and grandmother, who taught her to crochet using fine cotton thread, tiny steel hooks, and similar motif patterns, and one side of Matt’s family that is Irish.
Not knowing right away what kind of timing she’d be working with in terms of setting a date, Lara had at least taken control of the planning of this project. No word of a lie, within one week of being engaged, she’d found the perfect sari – and in under two hours no less!
After favouriting dozens of Irish crochet lace motifs on Ravelry, Lara had also been working with thread and lace weight silk yarn to determine which would work best for this project, and testing a variety of hook sizes. In a true demonstration of how collaborative the fibre arts are, Lara ended up using SweetGeorgia Yarns Spun Silk 20/2, custom dyed by Felicia Lo of SGY to match the sari. Felicia was also generous in allowing Lara to purchase an undyed skein, that was sent to Tanis Lavallee of Tanis Fiber Arts to be dyed in her signature gold colourway. Not only did this mean that the pallu would be embellished in the red and gold that is considered traditional to a wedding sari, but the weights of the yarn would be the same to avoid any gauge or tension issues.
Over the next six months, a little crochet cottage industry revolved around Lara’s wedding pallu: Lara would crochet the motifs, Karen would weave in the ends, and Esther would block the finished pieces before giving them back to Lara. (Lara had taken any involvement off my plate when we found out we were moving to the UK. I redeemed myself by being able to sew in a few ends on the eve of the wedding & photographing it on the wedding day!).
Eventually, the final assembly was discussed and fine tulle netting was purchased to affix the motifs to and play with placement. The Craftistas (another group of stitchy gals that Lara would also frequently craft with) were brought in to help with connecting the pieces with blanket stitch lace. Finally, the maid of honour, Vis, and Lara stitched all of the motifs to the tulle (in 10 hours) two days before the wedding!
My favourite thing about this story? Is that there was so much love infused into Lara’s veil, by so many makers, sharing their love for Lara and Matt while helping them celebrate this significant moment in their lives.
Lara's Wedding Veil
Started: May 8, 2012
Finished: November 6, 2012
Crochet hook size: 1.75mm and 1.9mm
Yarn: SGY Spun Silk 20/2 (custom red) – 1,954 yards and SGY Spun Silk 20/2 (signature gold colourway by TFA) – 201 yards
Patterns: Various sources (and their significance to the couple below)
- Cat motif (x1) - Matt loves cats
- Celtic Knot Doily (x4) - represent protection, placed at inner corners of the veil
- Figure 18. Edging of Hearts - chosen for their prettiness and because Lara had seen the same pattern in actual vintage lace. The tutorial/translation for that very vintage (somewhat confusing) pattern was generously provided by an Irish woman, in Ireland, who Lara met on Ravelry. Her primary interest is Irish Crochet and preserving the techniques.
- Giraffe motif (x1) - the happy couple met on safari in Botswana
- Owl motif (x1) - Lara loves owls
- Paisley motif (x4) - to tie into the paisley borders on the sari itself
- Peacock motif (x4) - represent wisdom and are positioned for the for directions: North, South, East and West
- Rings and Roses Irish Crochet Purse (x8) - represent classic Irish crochet motifs; 8 were crocheted to invoke the auspiciousness of the number in Chinese culture
- Shamrock (x34) - represent the Irish
- Sun necklace (x1) - represents a mandala and is positioned in the centre of the veil
- Tiger motif (x1) - Matt loves tigers
- Wild Irish Rose (x8) - chosen as another classic Irish crochet motif; 8 were crocheted for the same reason as the roses and leaves