Silky Alpaca Lace Design Contest I

Trade shows are great places to meet up with other people in "the business". For a yarn distributor, that means sales reps, designers, mill representatives and, arguably our most important partners, yarn shop owners! We sat down for dinner with Stephanie Steinhaus of Unwind in Burbank, CA and put our heads together to come up with a fun, engaging way to sell some yarn. Stephanie mentioned that Silky Alpaca Lace is a bestseller in her shop, perfect for the Southern California climate and stylish enough for her young, hip customer base. After some back-and-forth, Unwind's "Absolutely No Design Skills Required" Silky Alpaca Lace Contest was born!

Stephanie was looking for designs that were climate-friendly, hip, and casual. She wanted stylish pieces that were unfussy and appropriate from the beach to the street to the office. For us, we knew that the winning design would be featured in a Web-Letter, so we had some criteria of our own. We wanted something that would not only meet our CEY design aesthetic, but also something the average knitter would have the desire and capability to execute on their own. Both our finalists were stunning pieces of work. You saw our accessory winner in the Web-Letter this week, the Dandelion Shawl from Kavita Sleight.

Here is the designer's own description:
This triangular shawl with a rounded lace edge is worked from the center of the upper edge outwards, so the size can be adjusted. The size indicated is for a small shoulderette. The lace pattern was inspired by dandelion seeds blowing in the California breeze.

The original piece is quite dainty, Kavita refers to it as a "shoulderette". We appreciate that some may want a larger shawl; the Web Letter pattern includes a size range of 34 (44, 54)" wide at top x 13 (17.25, 22.5)" deep at center point.

There are two honorable mention entries in the accessories category. The first runner-up is the Poppycock Shawl. Designed by Karen Eckhoff, this garment is truly a piece of art. Taking it out of the box elicited gasps from everyone in the room, and we all had to try it on (obviously). The colorway she chose, Midnight Forest, perfectly echoes the iridescent colors of a peacock's tail.

While awe-inspiring, Poppycock is not for everyone...the pattern numbered 11 pages long! We would be remiss if we didn't give you a couple of peeks at this stunning piece. Hopefully Karen will decide to self-publish this shawl someday!

**UPDATE** Here is a note from the Karen Eckhoff, designer of Poppycock:

Thanks everyone for your flattering comments! I am quite stunned by the response! I will be making Poppycock available, however I would like to have it tech edited and charted first, as it is quite cumbersome in its raw form. I am rapunzelrides on Ravelry if you would like to drop me a line. Thanks again for the outpouring of support! Meanwhile, let's make Dandelion, it is lovely and Silky Alpaca Lace is fabulous to work with!

We have a second runner-up that will have to remain a secret for now...there's a special project on the books and you'll just have to stay tuned.

Next week we are featuring finalists in our garment category! If you do not receive our Weekly Web-Letter, what are you waiting for?