I always forget until I am knitting one how much I love big shawls.

That's why I think it's important to start another one as soon as you bind off. If I wait long enough I realize just how much work I spent on it and I lose my nerve. The planning and excitement over the Drachenfels began just as I was reaching the end of Outline at the Fall 2015 Carolina Fiber Frolic. Our trip ended with an exclusive shopping party at Black Mountain Yarn Shop where they had a Drachenfels sitting on the mannequin. I had gone in planning to buy some Madelinetosh for a sweater, but as soon as I saw this shawl I fell in love (it doesn't hurt that it was paired with an absolutely stunning handcrafted shawl pin. I'm still lusting after that one). After trying it on I then drug my shopping pals to the shelves of Rosy Green Wool Cheeky Merino Joy and piled skeins on my shoulders to find the perfect combination.

I think the reason I love this shawl so much is not just the amazing yarn, beautiful pattern, or the fact that garter stitch stripes are such a lovely decadence. It's the fact that this shawl is like nothing else I have in my wardrobe. I have several shawls that I love to wear, but they are in blues, or pinks, or some crazy fun neon. This fills a neutral hole in my life (that I always knew I had but did not know I wanted to fix), without feeling like a neutral. This is a "wear with anything" shawl in the truest sense because I can pair it with my frequently brightly colored tops for a more grown up look.

The actual knitting process of this shawl was a real joy. It was "mindless" enough that I could work on it while reading or while home with my family for Christmas (it's becoming rare enough to have all of us in one room that knitting projects really can't require thinking -- I'm too busy laughing). This shawl carried me from the latest Margaret Atwood to The Devil Wears Prada (finally) to the second and third Robert Galbraith. Plus a lot of tv. I did mess up the first patterned stripe (remember what I said about knitting with family), but it is so small that I decided not to worry about it and plow ahead.

I also ran out of the main color fairly soon after the third color was introduced. I ended up calculating exactly what kind of multiple I would need by the time the pattern started, compared that to my current stitch count, and then jumped to that point in the striping. Unfortunately I did not write this down (I remember being too engrossed in The Silkworm at the time to get off the couch), so all I can offer is that vague explanation. I think it cut about 10-13 stripes overall. But the shawl is so huge that I don't miss the added yarn. And it probably kept me from running out of yarn at the end like others have reported.

Speaking of yarn, let me tell you about this yarn. I honestly cannot think of another yarn I have worked with to use as a comparison. To start with, it's a sport weight, so it has more of a hand to it than the fingering I'm used to knitting with for shawls. And it is so insanely soft! What sold me on it though was the fact that it is Global Organic Textile Standard certified. I know from my days working in a gift shop turned boutique that organic certification for textiles is nothing to sniff at. There are a lot of wonderful and ethically sourced products that don't meet the requirements for the various organic certifications. Oh, and did I mention that it is machine washable? I discovered recently that they also carry it at one of our local shops, Warm and Fuzzy, so I might be planning a future sweater of some kind. You know, when I start knitting those again.