I'm editing a lace shawl book for Martingale & Co. (not sure how much detail I can divulge at this point so I'll be vague for now). The shawls in this book made with heavier yarn than you'd think for lace -- fingering, sport, even worsted-weight -- and on large needles, and the designs are just gorgeous. I love the idea of using heavier yarns, because it's so much less intimidating than thread-like yarn and tiny needles for those learning to knit lace. After you make a few projects, switching to the smaller yarn and needles is a breeze. But that's hard to believe when you are trying your first lace project!
At any rate, one of the projects the author made using a new yarn called Sea Silk. It's relatively light weight -- a little heavier than lace weight, but maybe not as thick as fingering, made out of silk and seacell, which is a fiber somehow created from kelp seawead. The yarn is available in a bunch of hand dyed colors and colorways. It is ohsosoft and has a gorgeous sheent to it. Someone on the web said it smells like the sea, but to me it smells like raw silk. It's a pleasant aroma that would envelope you while knitting and will probably eventually wash away.
The manufacturer of the fiber (not the yarn) claims all kinds of health benefits from the nutrients of seaweed soaking into your body as you knit with and wear the yarn, but that sounds like a bunch of new-age woo to me. Here's what they say:
Seaweed is added as the active substance for a very good reason. The fact that this marine plant is rich in trace elements has been well known since the times of Chinese medicine, and seaweed has also been proved to protect the skin and have anti-inflammatory properties. It is seaweed which forms the basis of the SeaCell® fiber.
Furthermore, the structure of SeaCell® facilitates the active exchange of substances between the fiber and the skin – nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin E are released by the natural body moisture when the fiber is worn, thereby creating a complete sense of well-being.
Even though I think this is a bunch of marketing hooey, I MUST HAVE SOME OF THIS YARN. It is the most amazing stuff I've seen in a long time. The knitting yarn comes from Handmaiden Fine Yarns in Canada. It's available at a few places on the web, but it seems to be fairly hard to find in stock. None of my local yarn shops carry it (yet?). Here's a photo from the manufacturer's website: