Meet the Yarn: Katara

Autumn is in the air, at least where I live in New York. Mornings now have the beginnings of a crisp touch and my thoughts have returned to serious knitting and crochet. I made all the swatches for this Meet the Yarn post back in June. The summer heat made it difficult to shift my brain to a delicious blend of Superwash Merino and Yak. I'm so happy it's time for cooler temps and cozier yarns.

Katara end showing three plies

Katara end showing three plies

Katara is a round, soft, and squishy yarn. This 3-ply DK weight yarn consists of 50% brown yak fiber and 50% superwash merino. Each 50g skein is 98 yards (89 m). The brown yak takes the dye of Anzula's many colors darker than their other yarns. In my opinion it helps make it even warmer and more special!

This round yarn loves to be knit and crochet.

I thought about writing a post that just said "squish. smoosh. sprong." For several hundred repetitions. It appropriately describes this yarn, what more do you need to send you to your local yarn shop in search of a skein (or three)? It is squishy (but not the yarn Squishy). It has smoosh that is apparent in the simple knitted stitches of stockinette and garter stitch and for simple crochet cables. It also works for lace and cables and texture. This is a yarn with character, thanks to the yak fibers.

What is special about yak fibers? Their coats are multilayered and can range from soft down to coarse outer coat. Depending on how it's spun and which part of the fiber of the coat is used, it can create a sleek, dense yarn or a fluffier, downy yarn. Blending with Superwash Merino and finding the right magic formula for spinning is what makes Katara so special. (Do you want to learn more about Yak and other fibers? I recommend The Fleece & FIber Sourcebook by Deborah Robson & Carol Ekarius. Storey Publishing, 2011.)

My crochet swatches were made during an industry trade show this past June. They prove that I can't talk and count at the same time -- some of the swatches are incredibly small ! It's ok. They work for what I call "fun" exploratory swatches as I get to know a yarn. Not every conversation needs to be a 6 inch (15 cm) square swatch!

Because Katara is so round and smooshy, I find it difficult to believe it is a DK weight. While it performs well at DK gauges, the loftiness definitely allows for larger gauges. The warmth provided by the yak fibers (along with the darker take of the dye) is probably why I wasn't ready to be excited about these swatches when the thermometer soared. It’s so wonderful that changing seasons can totally change your outlook.

Now? I've been carting them around as I edit this post. I would love a shawl crocheted in this yarn, in any stitch. I think it is a yarn suited for a range of special accessories, from shawls to hats, cowls and mitts. This yarn works with the simple stitches and the complex. I believe the lace stitch combined with Katara means business -- creating a fabric that is delicate yet warm without being extremely heavy and overbearing. Great for during a seasonal transition such as humid summer into breathable autumn.

Pattern Ideas

Acatalepsy by Heather Zoppetti · Iliamna by Jen Lucas · Sokolata by Hilary Smith Callis · Katara shown in Petunia

Acatalepsy by Heather Zoppetti · Iliamna by Jen Lucas · Sokolata by Hilary Smith Callis · Katara shown in Petunia

Crocheters, now’s your chance to create a design specific for Katara! You can send a Yarn Support Request to Anzula here.

—Charlie interrupting this post to let designers know that we are accepting requests for crochet, knitting, and weaving in a variety of bases. Email me your ideas! I love all of you!—

All swatches in this post are shown in the Boysenberry colourway with 4mm needles and hooks, any perceived differences in shade are due to the photographer.

Pile of Katara swatches

Pile of Katara swatches

Penny Shima Glanz spends her days spinning yarn and code into memorable projects. Small businesses rely on her for smart technology decisions. Designers rely on her to sample, test, and edit their hand-knit and crochet patterns. She loves muddy trail runs, fosters kittens, and lives in Westchester, NY with her husband and cat.

Pattern Spotlight: Juniper Spur by Taiga Hilliard

Every now and then, a designer creates something totally and completely perfect. That’s how I feel about Juniper Spur by Taiga Hilliard. A couple of months ago she asked if she could design something with our Squishy Skeinettes and asked for a couple of different sets. I was a little confused about the packs she chose. I couldn’t see how they were going to work together.

juniper spur taiga hilliard anzula squishy rainbow mini skeins skeinettes shawl

She used all the right colors, and left out all the ones she didn’t need. A couple of weeks ago she send us this shawl and we were all instantly in love. Sooo, Becca and I realized we needed to make a new pack of Skeinettes especially for this shawl.

Squishy Skeinettes Chain in Rainbow

Squishy Skeinettes Chain in Rainbow

And because Becca is obsessed with blue, she put together these gorgeous Ocean Blues…

Squishy Skeinettes Chain in Ocean Blues

Squishy Skeinettes Chain in Ocean Blues

You can find the pattern for Juniper Spur on Ravelry here. Make sure to check out how amazing that fringe really is.

I love Taiga’s original combo, but I know I have some dark side friends, so I paired them up with Charcoal as well. Which one is your favorite? Tell me which one and why in the comments!

If you’re ready to cast on you can find Squishy Skeinette Chains at these LYS:

Four Purls in Winter Haven, FL

Yarn Refuge in Reno, NV

The Knitting Store in Oceanside, NY

Knitting Off Broadway in Fort Wayne, IN

DMarie Knit & Fiber in Prairie Du Sac, WI

Yarning for You in San Marcos, CA

If you don’t see a shop near you give one of these shops a call. I’m certain any of these shops would be more than happy to mail yarn to you!

Pattern Spotlight: Zora by Jennifer Wood

I’m one of those knitters that always has at least 2-1,000,000 things on the needles. Of course, there’s always one project that pulls my attention more than the others, and Zora has been one of them.

I. Love. This. Shawl.

I only had to cast on a few stitches to get started, one the reasons I love shawls so much. There’s enough going on to keep me interested, but not so much that I can’t take it with me. Once you get it going, it’s so easy to “read your knitting” which means I can look at the pattern less. I don’t get to completely ignore the pattern, but I’m not staring at it counting every stitch. Some good stitch markers and I can even watch some not-too-intense TV. (GoT might be a bit much for this pattern, but honestly, who can knit while watching GoT?!)

zora jennifer wood woodhouseknits wood house knits anzula squishy miniskeins mini skeins skeinettes temperance citizenskein yellow grellow gray grey

Jennifer started with our Squishy Skeinettes in Citizen Skein, our gray gradient pack, and added a skein of Squishy in Temperance for a pop of color. I put together more color combos I thought would work really will with this pattern; Citizen Skein and either Alice, Au Natural, Garnet, Poppy, or Temperance. What do you think?

You can find Zora Yarn Bundles in these shops:

  • The Tinsmith’s Wife in Comfort, TX

  • Knitique in Elk Grove, CA

  • Swisher’s Yarn Basket in Danville, PA

  • The Nifty Knitter in Issaquah, WA

You can also special order these from any shop that carries Anzula. We have a few ready to go, so if you’re quick, there’s no wait! (Shop owners, you’ll find these in stock now in our wholesale shop here. Shoot me an email if you need access).

The best thing about this shawl is how easy it will be to wear once it’s done. This shape is so comfy and easy!

zora shawl03.jpg

We love working with designers, so if you have an idea, tell us about it here! We welcome submissions from all levels in any fiber craft.