Nothing is as quintessentially Harry Potter-ful as the iconic house scarf. I wasn’t very deep into wedding planning when I decided that scarves needed to happen.
It started when I was thinking about the wedding pictures. I wanted pictures of all of us in our scarves. Originally, all of us meant me and Jeremy. And then the definition expanded to include the boys. But just like the guest list went from the two of us, to the four of us, to the four of us and our parents, to the four of us and our parents and families, to the four of us, our parents, families, and our friends, the scarf plan got a lot bigger, too. I started fantasizing about a group photo, where everybody had a scarf.
And not just a scarf… I could’ve gone the direct-from-China route, and bought thin nylon Harry Potter scarves for cheap, or dug out the ol’ sewing machine and whipped together a few lackluster squares of fleece, but if my primary motto is Why buy it when I can make it, my secondary motto is if I’m going to go to the trouble of making something for you, it’s going to be something worth keeping. It’s go big or go home in Brittanyland.
The thing is, my scarf fantasies involved homemade scarves, reminiscent of something Molly Weasley might’ve made. Hand knit beauties that would be fun, and warm, and actually practical. And I was going to make every single solitary one of them. Great idea! Wonderful! Awesome! The best wedding favor EVER!
Except for one teeny, tiny, insignificant detail…
I didn’t have the slightest idea how to knit. Or crochet. And if you know me, you know that numbers and I do not have even the remotest working relationship. There’s a very good possibility that I have dyscalculia (numerical dyslexia), so counting stitches and remembering where I was in a numerically lined pattern was unlikely to go well.
But I was determined. And as Ginny Weasley once said, “You sort of start thinking anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve” (and youtube tutorials.)
Some people would say I love creating work for myself. I say that at my best I’m a planner, but at my worst, I’m a psychotic, micro-managing demon spawned stress basket, and during the lead-up to my wedding, it was probably a good idea to keep myself good and occupied. So I made a goal for myself.
- I would teach myself to knit a scarf – on a round loom – less room for error that way.
- And I would knit 4 scarves. One for me, Jeremy, and the boys.
- If that went well, I would knit more.
- But I wasn’t making any promises.
I tried out a couple of YouTube tutorials, and wasn’t successful. My scarf-knitting attempts were dismal, I couldn’t understand the instructions, and I was growing frustrated enough to start looking for fleece scarf patterns.
But one day I happened upon the Loomahat channel and this tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdxFdqy6u1s
I do not know who this woman is, but she is an angel sent from loom knit heaven. Under her tutelage, I successfully knit one scarf…two scarves… ten scarves… and finally 30 scarves. I was knitting at all hours. Up at 4:40am, knitting. Up at 11:30pm, knitting. Knitting in the car. Knitting on the train. If I wasn’t at work, I was knitting. What I wasn’t doing was stressing about the wedding. I didn’t have time.
This glorious YouTube knitting genius taught me how to switch colors, bind off a nice edge, and even add fringe to the ends. They turned out exactly the way I’d envisioned.
But have you read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? Things have a way of starting off simple, and then morphing into something bigger and crazier. And so it went with the scarves.
The first thought I had was pretty logical. If I’m giving people scarves, I need something to put them in. I could have put them in a clear plastic bin and called it a day, but where’s the fun in that? I got it into my head that I needed an antique trunk, because let’s be real here, no self-respecting Hogwarts student was going to pack their scarves in anything else.
The hunt was on. I found said trunk at the massive yearly yard sale in Warrensburg, NY. It was hideous when I got it, painted a monotone brown, and really looked very much the worse for wear. But we snagged it for about $25, and at that price, I was willing to work with it. Over the course of a weekend I gave it a magical paint job, but the inside was still a disaster–peeling contact paper from many decades ago plus some water staining. I had been hanging onto an old, rotting crazy quilt, that was visually beautiful but literally disintegrating and didn’t know what to do with it. I revisited it, and discovered it didn’t look unlike Harry’s invisibility cloak, so my next project was lining the trunk with the quilt. Problem solved.
But then, I got to thinking that passing out house scarves to our friends (who knew Harry Potter, knew their houses, and cared very deeply about their scarf’s color) and our family (who didn’t know, didn’t care, and had no idea how important being ___insert your house of choice here___ meant to some people) might end in bloodshed if I didn’t intervene.
So I made name tags. Specifically, I ordered 3 dozen antique-look owl pins off ebay, and then I made envelopes for them to carry from sticky notes. But that looked really boring, so I drew an air mail border around them, because they are carried (in the air) by owls. And for my final embellishment, I dug out my dymo that hadn’t seen the light of day in about six years, and made labels with everyone’s names that looked like post office stickers.
And then I rolled the scarves up, added a wedding program, tied them with ribbon, and attached the little name tag.
I was quite satisfied with how they turned out, until my friend (and photographer extraordinaire) Kira said to me one day, “You know what would be cool to do? Give everyone a wand, so we can do a wand bridge as you enter or exit the church.”
So I made wands. (I’ll add that blog shortly)
And this was the finished product that greeted all our guests when they entered the church.
Just as an aside, because I’m sure someone out there wants some numbers, I made 30 scarves in total. I got all the yarn at Walmart for $2.97 a skein, and it took two skeins to make each scarf. The owl pins were less than $1/ea. The wands are made from thin dowel rods, hot glue, and paint. Not a bad favor considering they cost less than $10 each.
Oh, and I got my picture!