Things have been quiet round here because in January myself and Mark got married! I’ve always found January a tricky time of year – the grey light, the short days, the cold. Though I have one of those SAD light box thingies (which definitely helps) I felt January could be fixed forever by turning it into an annual celebration of epic, wonderful LOVE: the kind of LOVE you want to celebrate for the rest of your life. Plus, getting married in January enabled us and our guests to enjoy the benefits of wearing WOOL!
Those of you who know us won’t be surprised to learn that our wedding was pretty big on WOOL as well as featuring FRUITCAKE and BEER, and many things made by ourselves, our friends, and our families. I thought you might enjoy reading a bit about them.
Mark’s suit and my dress are made from 100% wool fabric, purchased at Cotswold Woollen Weavers. Mark’s suit was bought in their shop, where I got several metres of fabric that my awesome, gifted friend Emmylou turned into The Wedding Dress Of My Dreams. My bridesmaids all had woolly tabards made by my friends at Tall Yarns’n Tales in the same dotty fabric as my bolero.
I’ve loved Cotswold Woollen Weavers since I interviewed Richard Martin there for a radio feature aired on BBC Oxford in 2009 and it was fantastic to be able to use their distinctive cloth; likewise, Tall Yarns’n Tales are one of my favourite local businesses whose distinctive workwear plays an important part in my wardrobe. I love their style and was really happy to be able to share it with some of my closest friends.
The gorgeous herringbone tweed of which my dress was made provided inspiration for my gauntlets. Using the KNITSONIK System from (ahem!) my own book, I played with shades of Jamieson & Smith 2ply Jumper Weight yarn worked with a lovely fingering weight Portland sheep yarn in a natural white from Farnell Farm. I wanted to pick up the shades in the tweed, and to make something elegant and understated to match. After swatching, I settled on an extremely simple pattern, and concentrated on exploring the subtle shifts between different beiges, creams and whites.
My dear friend Brenda turned my swatch into a ring pillow which has been stuffed with various important and special wools including fleece from my friend Caro’s flock and some Jacob wool that I gave my friend Tom some years ago from a flock I recorded in the Scottish Borders for a KNITSONIK project. My friend Gabrielle sewed it shut using J&S yarn!
The Portland breed originates from close to where Mark grew up (Weymouth) and Shetland is my spiritual home, so working the two yarns together felt very special and I felt I couldn’t get married without a little bit of KNITSONIK included in my outfit.
The KNITSONIK System was present in other ways as well; unbeknownst to me, in the lead up to our wedding, my good friend Liz had been secretly scheming with many comrades to create some very special KNITSONIK bunting. Each flag uses a different inspiration source and the whole thing features contributions from many, many friends. It is the most colourful and glorious thing I have ever seen, and really deserves its own blog post. For today I’ll just share that the bunting was there when we said our vows, and later on when we cut our cake, and that we are deeply thankful to Liz and all the other knitters who made beautiful flags for it… the whole thing brought so much love and colour to our wedding: IT IS AMAZING!
We made our cake ourselves using the recipe from the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook with a few minor adjustments (more fruit and more booze!) It felt really good and right to make it there on this counter where we have made so many other meals and cakes and feasts together over the past decade or so.
The ducks stopped laying for several weeks and a fortnight before the wedding I gave them extra food and oyster shell and a good talking to. Luckily, they busted out an emergency supply in time for us to use their eggs in the cakes, which meant they could be there in spirit if not in person (thank you Honey and Pretzel)!
Our friends Vic and Lou did a stunning job of turning our home baked cakes into The Wedding Cake Of My Dreams; using fondant in gloriously sheepy shades, they created an entire “knitted” cake, complete with a knitted heart on the top! Here I am with Vic and the insanely amazing knitted wedding cake, trying my best to express my feelings about said cake with my face.
THE CAKE! THE BUNTING!
I investigated flowers many months back and for various reasons decided I wanted to use wool. I wasn’t sure what to do for greenery until I spotted a photo on Pinterest of a bridal bouquet with ivy trailing down from it… the ivy reminded me of my friend Cecilia’s Hand Spun Yarns and she very kindly made me enough green coily yarn for us to decorate my hair and all the tables in glorious green, spirally joy.
Jo Stringer did my hair and makeup and I absolutely love her approach to our woolly theme and how she incorporated our handmade woolly flowers and Cecilia’s special yarn.
The flowers were the product of several hen-dos organised by my beautiful and lovely maid of honour: Lara. These gathering were all incredible opportunities to come together with cherished female friends, and they were also very crafty, involving the production of 100% wool wrapped sheep, pompoms and bouquets for use at the wedding!
I love my woolly bouquet, and my friends at Sticks ‘n Strings clubbed together to buy me a special vase in which it now lives: a constant reminder of all the times spent with friends making the flowers, and of the happy occasion of our wedding.
The yarns used are very special and enabled absent friends and family to be represented… Kate’s Buachaille yarn was used, as was special wool left to me by my Granny Margaret, and my dear Aunty Hilary. There was also quite a bit of wool from Portugal included and some from Romania as well: after writing my series of EU sheep and wool posts for Wovember last year, I was determined to include some special wool from sheep and friends in other EU countries.
We gave all our guests Wovember badges as favours and you can see my dear Pops here, sporting his badge with pride beneath a corsage made from fabric left over from mine and Mark’s outfits. Lara made the most amazing giant cross-stitch version of the rubber stamp we used on all our invites (amazingly, I don’t seem to have a photo of this to share with you just now but do not worry: there will be one soon) and we had readings from Thomas Hardy (read by Isolde) and Kate Tempest (read by my brother Fergus).
The DJ played four tracks by Missy Elliott to which I danced my woolly boots off, and we drank beers made by me and Mark and by my brother Thaddaeus.
There were other incredible sounds for the wedding too, including sheep bells rung by my niece and nephews – a gift from my friend Josh Moll – and some wonderful live music. My brother Ned arranged some of our favourite songs for the Ford Family brass (and saxaphone and clarinet) ensemble. This meant that we were able to enjoy The Book of Love, The Floral Dance, and my all time favourite ever piece of fun music: Jazz – Delicious Hot, Disgusting Cold at various points on the day… all made extra special by being played by people we love.
We had cheese from our wonderful local business – The Grumpy Goat – including a sheep’s cheese (of course!) called Fosse Way Fleece!
And we made our wedding rings together under the careful supervision of Sue Lane, who is a warm and encouraging teacher; making each others’ rings was very special and we are now really enjoying wearing them!
Everyone embraced our woolly dress code with panache… did you ever see a woollier wedding posse???
We are still landing after being on cloud 9 on this wonderful day, which felt like an amazing handmade celebration of love, and a fantastic way to begin a new chapter of our shared life. The cloud of joy was created by LOVE and by our friends and family, and after our wedding, we went on an amazing honeymoon to Japan which included yet more joy that I am looking forward to sharing with you in coming weeks. For now I just wanted to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who made our wedding so wonderful, and to tell you about it on here. I am so happy to be married to Mark: say hello to Mr KNITSONIK!
The shop has been closed for the last three weeks but is now open again and I am hoping to be back again very soon with news of bunting and Japan! For now,
YOURS IN WOOLLY WEDDINGNESS AND LOVE,
All our wedding photos shared here were taken by our lovely and talented photographer, Catherine Hadler and used with kind permission.