Meet the Yarn: Cloud

Over the next couple of months, I will be sharing short posts about each of our yarns in a lead up to our sweater KAL/CAL in October. Many of us at the warehouse will be knitting a sweater during that month, whether from a pattern or the 30 Day Sweater plan, and we hope you'll be joining us!

When Sabrina first decided to start dyeing Cloud, she wasn't sure what to call it. The only thing that seemed fitting was to call it Heaven. It was Chris from Urban Sheep that told her "it's as soft as a cloud," and the rest is history.

Glacier Point by Irish Girlie Knits, shown in Charcoal, Taffy, and Seaside.

Glacier Point by Irish Girlie Knits, shown in Charcoal, Taffy, and Seaside.

Cloud is a light fingering-weight yarn. Although it works well in some lace-weight applications, it is slightly too heavy to be considered a lace-weight, due to its body and bounce. It is a soft two-ply, and unlike most of our other yarns, it is plied for luxury rather than heritage. It is not plied so loosely that it is difficult to knit with ("splitty"), but it is also not plied tightly enough to really resist showing wear over time. 

It has good stitch definition for lacework, and is great for light shawls and sweaters. Sabrina had originally advised against using it for socks, but then Purl Soho released the Perfect Fit Socks. Knit at this gauge, she was impressed with the crispness, and now we are happy to advise that with proper care, you can create incredibly lightweight and luxurious socks with Cloud. 

Perfect Fit Socks by Purl Soho, shown in Seaside. 

Perfect Fit Socks by Purl Soho, shown in Seaside. 

Each skein has 575 yards, which will knit a medium-sized shawl. Sweaters can be knit from just 2 or 3 skeins. 

Knit an Anthi in any size written, in fewer than 3 skeins! Anthi pullover by Hilary Smith Callis, shown in Mulberry. 

Knit an Anthi in any size written, in fewer than 3 skeins! Anthi pullover by Hilary Smith Callis, shown in Mulberry. 

It is our lightest weight MCN. MCN is our shorthand for our Superwash Merino, Cashmere, and Nylon blend. What's great about our MCNs? Obviously, the inclusion of Cashmere lets you know that this yarn will be soft. Our mill also works to find the highest quality Superwash Merino to supplement that softness. Cashmere has a short staple, so the addition of a high quality Nylon adds more strength to the yarn. 

Find Cloud today at your LYS or online. If your LYS doesn't carry Cloud, or not in the colorway you'd like, be sure to ask them about placing a special order for you!

Unboxing the Schacht Cricket Loom

It's no secret that we're Schacht fans. Charlie was interested in trying out one of their spinning wheels at TNNA and she brought me along to their booth, remembering my idle interest in weaving. I tried the Cricket loom and fell in love instantly, but I thought of the limited space in my house as well as the lengthy knitting queue I have, so I reluctantly pulled myself away from the booth. Fast forward several months. Denise from Schacht was visiting family in Fresno and she stopped by to visit us. I was floored when she brought along a loom! It was so thoughtful; I was so excited!

I was also a little nervous. It's one thing to do a couple of passes while an expert weaver is standing behind you; it's quite another to warp and weave a project from start to finish on your own. Weaving has its own elaborate language that I am going to have to learn. And that was before I really thought about... I'm going to have to put this thing together.

cricket loom in box.jpg

My skills with assembly are so-so. I wouldn't say I'm completely inept at it, but the door on my nightstand doesn't open, and assembling a piece of flat-pack furniture with my husband once really took our marriage bond to the limit. So I looked at the loom, unopened, for a couple of weeks before deciding to jump in. 

With some trepidation, I popped the box open. I think I was still hoping that Schacht had developed space-bending technology to make the inside of the box big enough for the assembled loom, TARDIS-style.

I had so many ideas for woven projects, though, I had to press on and start assembling the loom.

First I set out all of the pieces to make sure I had them all. They easily fit on a card table, as you can see in the photo. The only item not included in the box that you will need is a Phillips-head screwdriver. I have also read others' suggestions to use a power tool to screw the loom together, but I managed just fine with my standard screwdriver. 

I took a deep breath, read through the instructions, and started assembling. I was amazed at how quickly it came together. All of the pieces fit really well together - none of the holes were drilled crookedly, or anything like that. All of my worries were for nothing.

The only step that gave me a little pause was how to attach the apron cords. Thankfully I was able to find help on YouTube and was able to very quickly get back to assembly.

I was able to assemble the loom, warp it, and start weaving my first project in a single evening. Two more sessions of weaving later, and I had completed my first scarf. 

My reasons for not getting a Cricket earlier proved unfounded. The Cricket takes up very little room - I was able to make a place for it on a (deep) shelf. And although it might not do much to shorten my knitting queue, it will definitely be quickly reducing both my stash and my gift queue! 

I'm looking forward to sharing more of my weaving adventure with you. Are you a weaver? Visit our Ravelry group to share your projects and thoughts about weaving with Anzula!

Charlie's Anniversary Gift

Charlie is my first manager and I knew I wanted to do something special for her two year anniversary. 

Slipped Stitch Studios does a bag of the month club and Laura came to us a while ago and asked us if we could do a special colorway for one of her bags, specifically inspired by the Fourth Doctor's scarf.

I thought it would be fun to include the team in creating the colorway. Many of us at the factory, including Charlie, are Doctor Who fans. I chose the colors and invited everyone to paint their own version of the scarf on yarn. We then voted on our favorite skeins and sent the top three off to Laura to let her pick her favorite. And guess what, she chose Charlie's!

The Slipped Stitch Studios Bag of the Month collection for that month.

The Slipped Stitch Studios Bag of the Month collection for that month.

So when thinking about what I wanted to do for Charlie, I knew I wanted to express to her how much I appreciate everything she does and what better way than to wrap her in a yarnie hug. I started with the Doctor Who skein and pulled For Better or Worsted skeins in colorways that complimented the skein without distracting from the colors. I chose two skeins each of Petals, Au Natural, Toffee, Clay and Curry, and one skein of Chipmunk. 

I worked on it steadily for a few weeks, then got distracted with life and other projects, as you do. I carried it with me all over the country and even to concerts and the beach. As Charlie's anniversary got closer, I carried it with me everywhere, knitting in what ever moments I could capture. Being a log cabin blanket, I could have called it good after finishing any section, but I had a goal.

Charlie's anniversary came, and I took the team out for dinner. I hadn't finished her blanket, to my standards, there were ends everywhere and I was even in the middle of knitting a section. Yes, I was furiously knitting all the way up to the dinner. Just before I would be late to the dinner, I wrapped it up and presented it to her. She joked that she was going to have to weave in her own ends. She tends to do that for me, bless her. No way, I promised, I was finishing this without her help.

And, well, she didn't help me, but when I was at Stitches West, Miriam Felton was taking a load off in our lounge and we shared this story with her. Well, lo, Miriam also loves to weave in ends, and before I could say anything, she had her darning needle out and my ends were woven in. I still had a few more blocks to go, so I kept on knitting, again in my spare moments. Fast forward a few more months, I know!, and I finally cast on the last section.

I just need to finish weaving in my ends, hush. Then I will present Charlie with her hug, hoping she can feel all the love and gratitude for all she does in each of the stitches as she wraps up in it. Yes, it is the middle of summer, and we are in the middle of 100 degree heat, but maybe she will go to Alaska and need a warm hug.