Now that I have your attention, let me show you the (unblocked) featherless Swallowtail:
Why is it featherless? Well, I ran out of yarn. My plan was to do this shawl in Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool ... on #10 needles. Plan was on track until I realized that I was running critically short of yarn so I stopped at the end of the second Lily of the Valley border chart (just before the peaked edging). Either way, this bald bird is a big one. It's lovely, too ... and warm. Despite my resolve to put it in the holiday gift box, I've found myself wearing it. To Stitches on Friday. Picking up the boys from after-care. On the sofa while knitting. It ain't goin' in no box.
That' s not a bad segue into my Stitches post.
A few months ago, I bought my ticket for the Marketplace on line and took a day off work. In October I went on a yarn diet (except for Santa Fe) with the understanding that I was going to drop big bucks at Stitches with one major rule: No buying anything that I can get at my LYS. That said, here's the rundown of the purchases.
Koigu. No yarn store in the vicinity carries this, so when I see it, I must buy it. In bulk. And kill the wallet in the process. Koigu is one of those yarns that TOTALLY lives up to the hype. I bought five skeins and some mill ends -- all from Rosie's Yarn Cellar. Rosie's was my first stop at Stitches ... I wanted to make sure I bought the patternfor Maude and enough Koigu to go with it. The mill ends were a bonus and will go in the bag with the ends I picked up at MS&W. One day I'll figure out what to do with them.
Socks that Rock. I have NEVER been able to score this. I don't know if it's been a situation where they've run out or whether I haven't been able to find it, but now it's mine. Three skeins. Harlotty, Lucy and Downpour. It seems way too succulent to put on my feet, so maybe I could take the Harlotty and Lucy colorways and make a shawl. Knitblogger's Shawl. Fun.
Other Miscellany. The STR, Koigu and Maude were my three major goals. The rest was icing on the cake. Some beautiful roving, some merino/tencel from Ellen's Half Pint Farm and some doo-dads from the Mannings (had to avoid the Koigu there -- it runneth over). I also picked up a book on dying with natural ingredients and a book on Shetland lace motifs.
One of the coolest things I picked up, though, were two sets of sock-needle covers. Check them out:
So what in the hell has taken me so long to get this posted? Well, I've been hard at work. That tencel/merino blend? One skein is destined to be the second Swallowtail ... this time with feathers. I'm on repeat nine of the second chart with plenty of yarn left. While this one wil be a much smaller piece (more like a "shawlette" most likely), this one will be more true to the pattern itself, which is designed to be small, and it. Will. Have. Feathers. I think I cast this on immediately to assuage any guilt I feel over not putting a shawl in the gift box. I cast on for this almost immediately after I got home on Friday from Stitches. I'm thinking that the other skein in this colorway could just be matching socks :)
But I'm not just working on the Swallowtail. Yesterday, I cast on for Maude, which I heard about from Wendy. I met designer Courtney at the Rosie's Booth at Stitches, and I have to say this pattern is really something. Not only are there no long purl-back rows, but it's done in such a way that you aren't stuck with a zillion stitches at the end -- it's knit from one wing to another and the lace is hypnotic. There's elegance to the edging and, put simply, I'm totally loving this pattern. I bought a very-Thanksgiving colorway of Koigu ... which gives me a serious deadline for this project. But here's evening one progress: