Woohoo! I told myself that I had to finish up my Cassidy and my lace swatches before I could move on to my next big project...and I did! I still need buttons for my sweater before I can do an FO post, but I mailed the swatches off yesterday afternoon, so here are all the pictures. Sorry they're not as crisp as I would have liked--it's been really gray and cloudy here and let's face it, I'm no photography expert.
Just to remind you, I was knitting 6" x 6" lace swatches for J.Knits hand-dyed yarn company. I had the choice between knitting plain stockinette or adding patterns to the squares. Well, I don't know about you, but if I was going to be knitting that many squares with laceweight, I needed to do patterns for two reasons: a) it would be dreadfully boring if I didn't, and b) it gave me a chance to play with the yarn, test out some patterns, and learn more about lace and how it behaves.
The company only asked for 10 swatches, but I knit up 15 just in case some didn't turn out and also so they would have a choice about which ones they thought worked best. They sent me five different colorways: two variegated and three semi-solid. I have to admit that I liked working with the semi-solids best. Partially because I generally prefer semi-solids, and partially because (as we all know) the lace patterns tend to become obscured when they have to compete with colors. I tried to choose stitch patterns that had more stockinette for the variegateds.
I had a lot of fun doing these swatches. The yarn is a very thin laceweight--almost cobweb--and 100% alpaca. It is reeeeeeally nice. It's only the second alpaca laceweight I have worked with, and I like it so much better than the Misti Alpaca I used for my very first lace shawl a couple years ago. This yarn is very smooth and felt like silk. Lovely. I can't wait to get my hands on some of their giant skeins and knit up something full-sized and beautiful. :)
And the next big project that I cast on for? My Autumn Arbor Stole, by Anne Hanson! I ordered the kit from The Woolen Rabbit last fall when the pattern was first released and I have been itching to cast on for it ever since. I love this pattern, and I am in love with this yarn too! I love it so much that I even ordered a second kit for my brother's birthday last November (he got the green colorway). I really love merino laceweight yarn, and this yarn is so soft and sproingy but not too tightly twisted, and the color changes are so subtle when it is knitted up that it gives the fabric greater depth and looks so lovely. I'm actually twice as far now as I was when I took this picture. And check out those huge yarn cakes! I had to cut the yarn in half because it comes in one giant 1650-yard hank! This is definitely some yarn I will be working with in the future. :)