Well, you can probably tell from the number of vowels in the word “trousseau” that it’s originally a French word. It’s a word I first encountered in one of the Anne of Green Gables books, and it means the clothes, household linen, and other belongings collected by a bride for her marriage.
(It’s still really weird to think of myself as a bride.)
In Anne times, most of these things were sewn by hand by the bride for her new home. There were different fashions for married women, and of course it was important to have sheets and towels and such. Women also embroidered and tatted lace and made other decorations, and everything was stored in a ceder hope chest.
This tradition has, in some forms, morphed into bridal showers and wedding registries today. (It’s been amazing to me how many people in my community have wanted to express their support for Jonathan and I).
Now, I am not sewing sheets or hemming tea towels or doing anything of the sort. Nor am I making any of my clothes, especially my wedding dress. But I’ve always been somewhat entranced by the hours of care put into making all of the things that make a home. And it sort of fits with how I feel about knitting. Every stitch is a good wish and a promise. So I am partway through a knitting project, and that’s what I thought I would share with you this evening.
I came upon this idea when I was doing research for my wedding dress, and I was looking up different kinds of lace. There’s a whole lot of history and such there that I’m not going to get into at the moment, but one kind of lace is knit lace. And when I figured this out, I knew I had to make something.
Lace knitting is using a variety of stitches to make the eyelets and weaves familiar to us as lace. Turns out, actually, that the very first project I ever did (badly, mind you) was a very simple lace pattern called vine lace. I still use that pattern and love it, and I’ve gotten much better at it! It only uses five different stitches.
This project is different. Here’s an image of what I’m making:
image copyright trosario, who knit this version.
This pattern is called Summer Rose and is published on Ravelry by MMario. It’s way beyond anything I’ve ever knit before in terms of complexity, and at first I was a little unsure about it. I have a little bit of an affinity for lace knitting, and there are great videos on YouTube for learning new stitches. If nothing else, I figured, it would be a great learning experience. I’m about a third the way through the project now.
I. Love. It.
I love the fiddly nature of the lace knitting, the precision required of the counting, the new stitches I’ve learned, the fineness of the yarn. I love trying to understand how the different stitches are organized to make this beautiful pattern. I even love figuring out where I made mistakes when suddenly I have the wrong number of stitches.
I have made mistakes, and I’m not sure I’ve fixed them all correctly, but they are all fixed so that I don’t think they’ll be visible. This is one of the tricks to lace, I’ve learned; it’s more important to get the right number of stitches in the right place rather than add a stitch or lose a stitch at the end.
Especially these last couple of weeks, when the kids are going crazy with the longer warmer days and the run-up to spring break, I’ve been a little obsessive about this project. It’s something I can make progress on no matter what else has happened that day. I’m already scheming about the next lace project I can work on. I have a couple of ideas!
It’s not a traditional trousseau for sure, but it gives me the time to reflect on the promise I’m going to make and to daydream about my future. And I think it’s going to be beautiful.
Your homework: What’s the “next level up” for a hobby you enjoy? Give it a shot! Is it frustrating? Satisfying? Both?