Book Review: Unobtainables, the super super hero knitting book!

My title may have given it away just a bit, I'm really loving this book. It's seriously super and fantastically fun! Designers Allison Sarnoff and Heatherly Walker put together a huge collection of gorgeous patterns, cleverly organized with a Periodic Table of "Fake" Elements. My nerdy heart is so happy. 

Periodic Table of "Fake" Elements.

Periodic Table of "Fake" Elements.

Here are some of my favorite patterns:

Ithilmar by Heatherly Walker knit with Squishy in Hippo. 

Ithilmar by Heatherly Walker knit with Squishy in Hippo. 

Ithilmar is a light, strong metal forged by Elven magic. (You got the hint that this was gonna be pretty nerdy, right?) It's lustrous and beautiful, just like these socks! Even if you aren't into elves, these are some gorgeous socks. They're knit with Squishy in Hippo so every stitch will be magical. (I really can't help myself).

Tesseract by Heatherly Walker.

Tesseract by Heatherly Walker.

If you're a fan of Marvel super heroes, you already know what a Tesseract is. Just in case you don't, click here for a quick background. Most recently, Loki (swoon) snagged one and took it to Asgard and then... well spoilers. Maybe you've not seen Ragnarok yet, and I'm not going to ruin even a second of that for you. I think this shawl would be stunning in Lunaris, our sparkly and luxurious Merino, Cashmere, and Stellina fingering weight. 

Adamantium by Allison Sarnoff.

Adamantium by Allison Sarnoff.

Oh, Logan... my heart broke the last time I saw you on the big screen. (That's all I'll say, although if you still haven't seen Logan, it's a little late to expect no spoilers, LOL). Just in case you aren't following, Logan = Wolverine. Adamantium is the super strong metal that was surgically adhered to his skeleton to make him unbreakable on top of already having super human healing speed. He's grumpy, sweet, and one of my favorite characters. These fingerless gloves are perfect for everyone and would be awesome in Squishy, Dreamy, Lunaris, Haiku, Silken, or Luster. Just choose your favorite fingering weight yarn and cast on!

Amazonium by Allison Sarnoff

Amazonium by Allison Sarnoff

My (current) favorite: Wonder Woman! She has everything I hope to be; intelligent, compassionate, strong, and gutsy! When you get a little chilly this winter (or need a little confidence boost) you can pull on your Amazonium wrist warmers. You'll feel warmer and more ready to conquer your day! These are knit with fingering weight as well, so choose your favorite and get stitching. Personally, I love Anzula's Curry colorway for Wonder Woman yellow. 

There are 25 "super" patterns in this gem, so head over to Ravelry to see them all. Which one do you want to knit first? Tell us which yarn and colorway you would use in the comments!


Meet the Yarn: Croquet

Jill Wolcott
passion.fashion.knits

Croquet

50% Superwash Merino, 50% Tussah Silk
+/- 230 yd / 210 m
4.75-5.75 sts / in US #4-7

I was surprised to find only 74 Croquet projects on Ravelry, although happy faces abound, as do beautiful finished products.  Croquet retails for about $33 a skein, and most people have one to three skeins (230 yds to 790 yds). The 120 Croquet stashes on Ravelry are mostly not available for sale or swap, so I think this yarn could use a little more explanation and comment to encourage yarnies to dip in and use it. 

Croquet in Saffron, Charcoal, and Au Natural.

The yarn is a DK weight blend of tussah silk and super wash merino (50% each). The WPI is 16. This is a little heavier at 230 yards than the other Sport and DKs in Anzula’s line-up.  I know when I made my Lisse Hat I had to adjust the number of stitches to make it work.  Some of the project comments were that the fabric was heavier or the shawl ended up being larger than expected.  This is just one of the problems with how we categorize yarn, and has nothing to do with the marvelousness of Croquet itself.  I think the silk makes this less squishy than some of the yarns a knitter might be comparing it to.

Here are my gauge numbers in Reverse Stockinette and Stockinette and in a cable pattern, and a lace pattern.  

Some yarns are clearly better in a fabric stitch, and others in a lace.  I think what sets Croquet apart is that is it equally lovely in both.  If you have a smaller quantity, work it up in a hat or cowl; if you have more, a lace shawl or a sleeveless top will be ideal.  If you have even more yarn, it will make a lovely garment.  I will be redoing the pattern for my lovely Florence cardigan in Croquet.    

This fabric is going to slightly heavier, and the silk makes it a little slippery, so it will drape beautifully.  Remember to calculate for that!  Whenever the silk content is high, swatching and blocking are essential.  I recommend that the swatches be hung to get a true sense of what is going to happen with the fabric in your final piece.  Do not think that the result you achieved with another yarn is going to be achieved identically in Croquet.  I’m very pleased with the stitch definition, the ability to work cables, and the openness achieved in the garter lace I’ve worked up in Croquet.  The light plays wonderfully with the silk and the signature tonal dying from Anzula Luxury Fibers.

I made the Lisse Hat from Croquet about 18 months ago.  I loved knitting with the yarn—so much so that I was willing to rip out the top of the hat and shorten it to a better length.  To me that is always a good sign.  It means I like working with the yarn, I am happy with the results, and I get to see what happens when the yarn gets reknit.  It is an informative process for me.  

The hat used smaller needles, US 3(3.25mm).  I used 88 sts instead of 96 sts (to fit my stitch pattern repeat).  You can download the information pdf for the original hat so you can plan. And you can find the Lisse pattern on Ravelry here. I don’t have unblocked gauge numbers for this, but based on the numbers above, expect a little contracting for the stitch gauge and slight expansion for the round gauge.

Do your homework in a swatch so that you will love your result!  Look at my blog post for information on customizing this hat pattern to work with Croquet. There is plenty of yarn in a single skein to swatch and to make the hat!

Note on Tussah silk.  This term generally describes non-cultivated silk. It isn’t a particular type of silk or silkworm, just that it is wild, not cultivated.  There is surprisingly little good information on silk online, so I can’t give you good links to more information.

Keep up on all things Jill Wolcott:
Contact: jill@jillwolcottknits.com
Blog:  http://www.jillwolcottknits.com/category/blog/
Twitter: @jillwolcottknit
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www.JillWolcottKnits.com

Pattern Spotlight: Fissure

I have had this pattern in my head for a while now, and was just waiting for the perfect yarn to come along, and then I was able to get a preview of Anzula's new yarn Gerty and knew it would be perfect! I love Anzula's colors, and no different on this base, they have a very tender quality to them. The yarn itself is crisp, bouncy and has a very natural feel to it.

But I bet you probably want to hear about the shawl.

Fissure knit with Anzula Gerty in colorways Victoria, Gravity, and Herb.

This shawl is about change. Letting change happen and making change happen. Change that takes place in nature and in our lives everyday.

In nature change often is seasonal and cyclical and ever repeating in a never ending dance. Fissure can be the dry earth cracking open in the hot summer sun, or concrete giving way to roots pushing up from below the sidewalk. The change of spring sprouting to the surface, or the change of cracks when something has been stagnant and there too long.

 

Looking at the word, it evokes some mixed feelings, a disconnect perhaps, a break in our relationship with nature, a weakened area. But a weakened are can be a good thing, if it breaks you free from an unjust place. And in this way it can be a reminder that something is shifting, stirring. Change will happen, needs to happen, and perhaps we need to help it along.

Where ever in your life or the world you may want to move and shake things, and have real change happen, I hope this shawl can be a reminder to you, that even the smallest crack can point the way for major shifts!

The shawl uses 3 colors in subtle contrasts, and a slip stitch and slip stitch 'pseudo' cable pattern. I call it that, because you can easily manipulate these stitches without ever using a cable needle. (I didn't use one for the entire shawl even though the pattern calls for one). 

You can get your own copy of the Fissure pattern on Ravelry here. Now through November 5th you can use the coupon code "Change" for 25% off.


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Gerty is available in the shops listed below, all of whom are happy to ship!

Baskets of Yarn - Charlotte, NC - (704) 733-9053
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Knit One Purl Two - Rockford, IL - (815) 904-6030
Harps & Thistles Yarn Emporium - Cuyahoga Falls, OH - (234) 208-9482
Avenue Yarns - Albany, NY - (510) 526-9276

Special orders only: Swatches - Fresno, CA - (559) 435-2813
Special orders are dyed to order and are typically ready in 3-5 weeks.You can place a special order for Gerty (or any of our yarns) at your favorite local shop. See a list of shops here and our map here