Meet the Yarn: Lucero, part 2

Do you want some sparkle in your life? Lucero takes the good parts of a superwash merino and cashmere blend and to that adds 10% sparkling stellina. If you know me in person, you know that I'm not into anything bright or flashy. My wardrobe is black, black, and more black; however, there's something about the stellina sparkle in yarns that I love. It's the understated subtly that challenges you to take a second glance. I might be bold and go on record that I find it creates fabric more luxurious than cashmere.

  Lucero Swatches

Lucero Swatches

The sparkle takes simple stitches--and if you'll excuse me I need to get this out of the way--helps them shine! The twist of the yarn made knitting or crocheting it a dream.

But what about a motif you ask, wouldn't it be garish? I think it's lovely. The stellina plays hide and seek and the result is effective. I could see accent motifs paired with Cricket. Don't worry, it's in my queue for a swatch review!

  Lucero Swatch, motif

Lucero Swatch, motif

But the stellina will be too much in a heavily textured swatch right? No! I love how my stitch count and gauge combined to make a subtle shade diagonal in this swatch. Again the result is directing me to the thesaurus -- it's divine. I think the added depth of crochet texture stitches makes the sparkle more mysterious.

  Lucero Swatch, texture

Lucero Swatch, texture

And lace! Oh my the lace! The stitch definition here made me swoon.

  Lucero Swatch, lace

Lucero Swatch, lace

This is a new-ish yarn to the Anzula lineup so there aren't many exclusive designs for it yet, but I think you could swatch and then swap for a design calling for Cricket or a sport/DK weight. I'd be wary to work it into items that need to be hardwearing such as socks, but that's a personal preference. So what else could you make? After what I thought would be a brief spin around ravelry I discovered I'd fallen down a rabbit hole. My pattern advice is: swatch and sample potential stitch patterns. You will find a combination of colourway , stitch, and type of project that speaks to you.

All swatches are in the Sophia colourway with 3.75mm needles and hooks, any perceived differences in shade are due to the photographer.


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 two resident cats. www.pennyshima.com

Meet the Yarn: Meridian, part 2

Next up in my crochet explorations of Anzula yarns, it's time to turn to a lace-weight, Meridian. This blend of 55% Tencel, 35% Alpaca, and 10% Nylon arrives in skeins of 812 yards per 114 grams. The fiber combination creates a yarn that produces the best qualities of both the tencel (lightweight and slight sheen) and the alpaca (warmth, slight halo).

  Meridian swatches

Meridian swatches

In my experience, Meridian is prone to splitting and somewhat sticky. These are two characteristics to think about when choosing your needle or hook and as you're ripping back to fix a mistake or start over. The hook I chose, wasn't the best choice and the lack of consistency in the blocked swatches proves that. I think a tip that is more pointed would have helped to reduce splitting and even my tension. For these swatches, the result is ok as I'm not stressing about accurate gauge. My goal for this project is to work with the yarn and get to understand it in different situations.
 

As Jill explained in her post, Meridian looks a complete mess before blocking! Be strong and reserve judgment until after the swatches dry, the result will be pretty. Even though my gauge is all over the place, the simplicity of the stitches highlights the characteristics of this blend.

  Meridian swatches, knit

Meridian swatches, knit

Crochet, by both tradition and the nature of how the stitches form, loves a lace weight. While my tension and blocking leaves much to the imagination, the fabric of simple stitches is gorgeous. Process note: this is one of the last swatches for which I did a combination of stitches in one swatch. I've found single stitch swatches work better for these explorations. My photos don't do this yarn or fabric justice. 

  Meridian swatch, crochet

Meridian swatch, crochet

Comparing the knit and crochet fabric highlights the delicate beauty this yarn can create. I love the single crochet fabric and hope to explore it at different gauges soon. 

  Meridian swatches, knit and crochet

Meridian swatches, knit and crochet

Both the motif and lace stitches create fabric beautiful drape  -- the granny square is incredibly light and the lace fabric wants to drift away! The granny square is small because I stopped after I completed  four rounds, otherwise I may have continued for all 812 yards in my skein!

 Meridian swatches, motif and lace

Meridian swatches, motif and lace

While the stitch definition during the making process leaves much to the imagination, I persevered. It should be no surprise that I am continuing my texture love in this Meridian swatch!

 Meridian swatch, texture

Meridian swatch, texture

Can you substitute Meridian for any lace weight in a crochet pattern? There will be subtle changes to the fabric you create as it will behave differently than a 100% merino or other combination. The alpaca creates warmth with a bit of loft, the tencel is strong yet light. This is why swatching to learn the characteristics of a yarn and blocking is important.


All Meridian swatches are in the Sexy colourway, any perceived differences are due to the photographer.


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 two resident cats. www.pennyshima.com

Meet the Yarn: Squishy, part 2

Squishy

80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon
+/- 385 yd / 352 m
7.5 sts / in US #2

Squishy the fingering weight sibling to For Better or Worsted is a crocheter’s dream yarn! It takes all the wonderful parts of that worsted weight, 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon in a 3-ply blend, and spins it out to a finer more crochet-friendly fingering weight.

  Squishy swatches

Squishy swatches

While the exclusive LYS Day kits are for knitters, please crocheters, don’t feel left out! This is the first year for LYS Day and everyone (yarn companies, designers, and yes, your LYS) is still figuring their way around! Anzula's kits are made with exclusive colorways and all include yarns that work beautifully in crochet projects, including Squishy. Should you pick up a skein or three of Squishy on LYS Day? YES! 

This yarn provides shine, warmth, and wear in a generous skein, 385 yards for 114g. There are now new Squishy options including 25 & 50g skeins and the Skeinette 5-packs there are many color combination possibilities!

I initially brought home the skein featured in the samples last June from TNNA, our industry trade show, with a plan to pair it with a braid of merino fiber and ultimately weave it. I'm happy I haven't yet had a chance to spin for that project and instead discovered how lovely Squishy is to crochet. There will be more in my future!

It feels as lovely in the skein as you think it would – that’s the fiber content. This is an essential yarn for the crocheter who wishes to add a little cashmere to a project without breaking the bank. It's easy to wind and holds its shape in a ball or cake well.

For these swatches, I used a 3mm (D) hook or a 3.75mm knitting needle. I urge you to play with different size hooks and find the fabric that makes you excited for Squishy.

  Knitted Squishy swatches

Knitted Squishy swatches

Every single stitch I put Squishy through was a delight, from simple to texture to lace. No splitting as I worked stitches. I can attest that it can put up with both indecision about gauge and disagreement as to stitch counts. In other words, it holds up well to multiple experiences with frogging and being reworked.

I was surprised to discover that there weren't as many designs in Squishy as I expected. This yarn begs to be crocheted. I know because I had to pause in the writing of this post to sketch a design and work up a swatch!

**Charlie sticks her nose in Penny's post** "Calling all crochet designers, Anzula wants to see your proposals! Email me here"

  Crocheted Anzula Squishy swatches in SC, HDC, and DC.

Crocheted Anzula Squishy swatches in SC, HDC, and DC.

It’s well known that I prefer half double crochet, but as these swatches show, it looks great in each of the standard three, single crochet, half double, and double crochet stitches.

My granny square threatened to eat the entire skein -- it was difficult stop! It's stunning next to garter stitch. Again, if you know how to knit and crochet, what's stopping you from working up Miriam Felton's Granny Log Cabin?

  Squishy swatches, a granny square next to garter stitch.  

Squishy swatches, a granny square next to garter stitch. 

This texture swatch is super squishy and lovely. I enjoyed it so much that I worked up another one and sent off a design proposal! We’ll see what happens with it!

  Squishy, crocheted texture swatch

Squishy, crocheted texture swatch

The lace begs to be tossed over the shoulders as a simple shawl. The Harwinton Easy Lace Boomerang by Tian Connaughton is stunning in one skein of Squishy!

  Squishy, crocheted lace swatch

Squishy, crocheted lace swatch

I think two skeins would create a nice interpretation of my VLSI stole -- I started a swatch using only one color and I think it's lovely. If you would like to use Squishy, two skeins should create the shawl. Feel free to experiment! I have a soft spot for Dark Matter that I love to pair with a grey! it's up to you if you wish to work it all in one color or find a pairing of a 114g skein and a skeinette pack, please be aware that this yardage combination hasn’t been tested!

  Squishy crocheted swatch for VLSI by Penny Shima Glanz

Squishy crocheted swatch for VLSI by Penny Shima Glanz

What do you plan to make with your LYS Day Squishy purchase? With this yarn, the possibilities are yours!

  Squishy swatches

Squishy swatches

All Squishy swatches were worked in Lapis colorway.


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 two resident cats. www.pennyshima.com