My best friend from childhood (since the day in second grade when I chased away the playground bullies who were tormenting her) called me today with the stunning news that she is engaged. She is 38 and has always wanted a husband and kids, but she just never was able to find the right man. For fifteen years, she has tried every dating service, accepted every fix-up, been on every dating website. She has been on more first dates than I have dates total in my life. This is even more remarkable because she is one of the shyest people I have ever met. The mere idea of public embarrassment is enough to make her blush. I myself (not the shyest person in the world) would rather give up my stash (well, maybe not the whole stash) than go on a blind date, so I am terribly impressed by her courage and perserverance.
She is an amazing, talented, brilliant woman, and I have a theory that the more wonderful and accomplished a woman is, the harder it is for her to find an appropriate man. My friend is definitely at the top of the "wonderful and accomplished" list. So I was delighted (albeit shocked) when she announced today that she is engaged to a man I didn't even know she was dating. She has known him ten weeks, and, according to her description, he is "everything I never wanted." She is a nice Jewish girl; he is a Buddhist. She is Ivy League all the way; he doesn't have a college degree. She's an opera singer and voice coach; he's in construction. And they live in different cities. But she says he treats her better than anyone ever has, he's read everything and is very informed and intelligent, he has season tickets to the opera, and he's moving to her city to be with her. They've both met each other's families, and everyone gets along great and is very supportive of their decision.
I am thrilled for her. I have personal experience of the instantaneous relationship; my husband and I got engaged on our third date. We've been together (and happy) for more than 14 years, so I think you could call it a success. My parents married two months after they met, and they've been married 48 years. And my other best friend married her husband two months after they met, and they've been happily married for 4 years now. So the fact that she didn't know he existed 10 weeks ago does not worry me at all.
What does worry me a little--and here's where the knitting content comes in-- is that I immediately decided to knit a wedding shawl for her. They're planning on having the wedding next spring, so I have plenty of time. But I have never done a shawl, never worked with lace-weight yarn, and don't have a pattern in mind. I also don't want her to feel obligated to wear the shawl for the ceremony; it's more important to me that it simply commemmorate the occasion. Does anyone have experience with this sort of project? Any advice on materials, patterns, or etiquette? When is the appropriate time to give the gift (bridal shower, at the wedding, privately some time before the wedding)? And how do I convey the meaning of the gift without making her feel she needs to wear it for the ceremony?
Any thoughts are much appreciated.