Last Fall when Andrea and Stephan announced their engagement and set a wedding date for October 1, 2011, Andrea asked me to knit her wedding dress. I had just bought the knitting machine (Brother KH 260 medium gauge - 150 needles) and had no experience with it, so the thoughts of whipping up a wedding dress didn't appeal to me at all! Then, Andrea, with the help of her two sisters and their combined charm, eventually talked me into it. I honestly didn't have a clue where to start so I asked Andrea to sketch some of her ideas and I'd try to put them into a pattern. She sent me a picture of a mannequin (not related to Ellen) wearing a toilet paper dress. At first glance I wasn't impressed with this approach but quickly realized that Andrea was thinking in terms of fashion and I was thinking in terms of knit and purl. I would have to convert the fashion into knit and purl without any further input from the outside world.
Now that I had some idea of where this was going I started to source the yarns. I went to Toronto to visit Andrea, measure her from head to toe and have a look around the yarn shops of Toronto. We found the base white pima cotton and the fancy buttons in Toronto. A good starting point, but what about the rest of it? Then I remembered seeing the Tilli Tomas yarns online. My brother and his girlfriend were planning a trip to Florida so I asked them to pick up the Tilli Tomas Beaded Plie (silk with beads). When they went to the specified store, it was in the process of closing the business and the beaded plie was no longer available. Darn! Start again! I wrote Tilli Tomas and they directed me to one of the many online shops that carries their brand, so I ordered online. My Mom had told me about Knit Picks last Fall and I had purchased some sock yarn that I was pleased with, so I began looking on their website to see what I could find. I came across a lace weight baby alpaca/silk blend called Shimmer so I ordered some of that along with a lace weight kid mohair. By this time we are into the middle of March 2011.
I did the tension swatches in April and took a week's vacation from work to knit the dress. That turned out to be a very busy week and I didn't actually start the dress until Saturday, then back to work on Monday. Now I'm feeling a little behind. So, nights and weekends of knitting, seaming and crocheting. We figure about 100 hours in total. John patiently watched TV (hockey, baseball and a few movies) while I worked away at the dress. :-) My goal was to have the dress complete by May 31 because I knew when the warm weather set in, I'd want to be outside. I finished the dress at 11:00 p.m. May 31. Yaay! Ellen modelled it and we did a quick photo shoot before work on June 1, John and I packaged it with a rose scented soap, then John brought it to the post office to ship to Andrea, both of us with fingers crossed that it would fit Andrea.
When Andrea received the dress and tried it on, it fit perfectly! Whew! However, we decided that it needed a sash at the waistline with long tails for a big bow at the back. The sash has been posted in Ellen
Got Sashed (Again)!
Andrea and Stephan arrived last Monday to prepare for the wedding. We did one dress fitting during the week and all was well. Andrea thought the dress was comfortable and very special. Now I'm glad that Andrea and her sisters encouraged me to make the dress. It was a very worthwhile and fun experience. Ellen also thought it was quite special. Not every mannequin has the opportunity to model a knit wedding dress! Ellen sends her best wishes and congratulations to Andrea and Stephan!... and, her thanks to Andrea for permitting her to share in the wedding dress experience!