I still have two more projects from my summer backlog to show you, but I just took my Rock Island shawl off the blocking wires this morning and was eager to photograph it! This pattern seems to have a hypnotizing effect on people: I knew the minute Jared Flood posted it that I would knit it — and soon — and that I already had the perfect yarn for it. I witnessed this pattern have the same effect on my friend Julie at Vogue Knitting LA this past weekend: we saw one of these on display and she bought yarn for it on the spot. More about Vogue Knitting LA in a minute, though — let’s talk about this shawl!

The yarn is Dye For Yarn‘s 100% Tussah Silk Lace, in a colorway called “Withering Aquilegia Black Barlow.” It looks like their online shop is currently in hibernation, but I highly recommend bookmarking them & checking back later: their colorways are lovely, and all of them have delightfully baroque names. I bought this yarn without much of a plan — I was just bewitched by the color, a dusty dark lavender — but it turned out to be perfect for this project.

As you can see here in the obligatory batwing shot, this came out pretty huge. It’s a large shawl to begin with, and silk is notorious for growing. I blocked this as lightly as humanly possible — I soaked it, and then basically just lay it flat. I did thread the top on blocking wires and pin the points out for definition, but I did not stretch it at all — and it’s still this enormous.

I think my favorite way to wear it is centered on a shoulder like it is in the first two shots, but it does sort of work in scarf-configuration here. Knitting this, well, it took a long time. The edging feels like it takes a million years, and picking up stitches from the edging was a minorly insane exercise: you have to pick up 291 stitches, a number I miscounted the first six hundred times I tried (even with stitch markers!), and the edging stretched all the way across my living room as I was doing so. But once you get through that part, it’s relatively smooth sailing: the Rock Island chart isn’t difficult, and then it’s garter stitch for miles.

So, Vogue Knitting LA: I forgot my camera! Bad blogger, no cookie! Except for, well, this Cookie:

Fortunately Julie’s cell phone had a camera, so the one thing we documented was my meeting with Cookie A, one of my knitting heroes. I had decided long ago that I was too poor to actually attend any of the classes or lectures at the convention, so I hadn’t paid very close attention to the event schedule, but as soon as Julie and I walked in we heard an announcement that Cookie was going to be doing a book signing. I hadn’t bought her new(ish) book yet, so I jumped at the chance to get one signed and chat with her. She was delightful!

But yeah, no more convention photos. All I have to show you are photos of my haul:

This pile of autumn-colored amazingness is Twist Alpaca, a sport-weight 100% alpaca yarn from Twist: Yarns of Intrigue, a shop I plan to get to much more often now that I live much closer to it. The shop owner dyes the in-house yarns herself, and I just love her work! I’m going to be casting on with this pretty soon, since it’s so autumn-appropriate!

This is a small skein of ribbon yarn made from recycled strips of silk saris sewn together, from Leilani Arts. I sort of wish I’d bought two of them, but I’m sure I’ll figure out a use for this. I love the colors!

These are two coordinating skeins of laceweight silk yarn that I got from Redfish Dyeworks. For some reason, the camera registered these as bluer purples than they really are — these colors are warmer than they appear here, and hopefully they’ll photograph better when they’re knit up and/or when it’s not cloudy outside. My plan is to make something striped or otherwise two-tone.

And last but not least, the fiber. There wasn’t much fiber at this event, but I was thoroughly impressed by the Sincere Sheep‘s offerings and had a really hard time choosing what to take home with me. The brown fiber is undyed — that’s it’s natural color! — and it’s a blend of merino and alpaca, both of which are ranched locally here in California. The lavender is a 50/50 blend of merino and silk. Props go to Julie for insisting that I take the lavender home with me — I love it to pieces!

More summer projects to come, soon! I’m also nearing the finish line on some other “live” projects, so there ought to be a lot of activity here over the next few weeks.

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