Meet the Yarn: For Better or Worsted

For Better or Worsted is so yummy to knit!  Again, we find that 10% cashmere, blended with 80% superwash Merino and 10% nylon.  This yarn is cushy and so soft a couple times I had to actually look at my hand to make sure I had the yarn tensioned in my fingers!

exploration.jpg

As I look at the yarns on my yarn shelf, there isn’t much in the way of worsted yarn.  I love DK, sport, fingering, lace.  I think of worsted as being best for hats, mittens, and other accessories. Because I like stitch patterns, worsted is sometimes just a touch too large for what I want to accomplish, but really, I have nothing against worsted; one of my favorite projects is done in a worsted weight!  When I make something out of worsted I wonder why I don’t use it more, but for me it is primarily best in accessories.  

For Better or Worsted is a 4-ply yarn, with a WPI of 11.  If you look at the other other yarns I’ve introduced here, the WPI is between 13 and 23, and this is the first 4-ply yarn.  It isn’t the first round yarn, but I don't believe it would be as round and cushy without that fourth ply. 

FBorW-WPI-card.jpg

This got me really curious about plies.  It isn’t easy to find information on more than 3-ply yarn, so I appreciated the concise information I found here on Yarnsub.com:

Four-ply plus
The more plies in a yarn, the stronger, more durable and more rounded it becomes, giving good structure to textured stitches and cables. The more plies you add, the more dense the yarn becomes, as all available space within the column of yarn is used up.

I was also  curious about twist per inch.  I count 14 or 15 TPI in For Better or Worsted. Comparably, Cricket has 11 TPI and Lucero (washed) has 10 TPI.  Here’s some information on twist which is useful, even if it is related to thread/yarn for textiles:

Twist may be defined as the spiral disposition of the components of a thread which is usually the result of relative rotation of the two ends. Twist is generally expressed as the number of turns per unit length of yarn, e.g. turns per inch (tpi), turns per metre (tpm), etc. 

What exactly does twist do a yarn?

  1. The twist in a yarn binds the fibres together and helps to keep them in the respective positions. It thus gives coherence to yarn.
  2. Twist gives sufficient strength to the yarn.
  3. Twist is also used to bring about novel effects that are prominently visible when the yarn is converted to fabric. This is achieved primarily by having a combination of yarns with different twist levels and twist directions in the fabric.

As I finished my first swatch I grabbed my yarn tail and attempted to break the yarn as I always do (unless fiber content tells me it won’t).  That was not possible and I had to reach into my knitting box for scissors.  This is a strong yarn!

Here are the results from my exploration swatches and my project swatches.  I got curious about the garter stitch because there was so little row change.  I put my swatch up with a small amount of weight on the blocking wire and left it to hang for the weekend.  The Garter/Dressed numbers in the Blocked and Difference columns tell the result.  The difference is from Unblocked.

JillWolcottFBOWStitchTable.png
Garter Stitch Blocked vs. Unblocked

Garter Stitch Blocked vs. Unblocked

Garter Stitch Dressed

Garter Stitch Dressed

Stockinette Stitch Blocked vs. Unblocked

Stockinette Stitch Blocked vs. Unblocked

Seed Stitch Blocked vs. Unblocked

Seed Stitch Blocked vs. Unblocked

Double Seed Stitch with 1x1 Rib, Unblocked

Double Seed Stitch with 1x1 Rib, Unblocked

Cross Stitch

Cross Stitch

I made my long-time favorite shawlette, Taos, in For Better or Worsted.  Taos in its original design is easy to wear as a flat small rectangular shawl or with the drawstring at the neckline pulled up.  I always wear it with it drawn up just enough to bring the ends to the front of my shoulders so I don’t have to worry about Taos staying in place.  While working on another design in worsted weight yarn I became enamored of making large buttonholes by increasing, so I did a version of Taos with that option, which will be added to the pattern soon.

Taos by Jill Wolcott

Taos by Jill Wolcott

The problem with buttonholes in knits is 1) finding the perfect button, and 2) getting the buttonhole to the right size and having it do its job without gaping, pulling, or coming undone. The buttonhole can be used with a shawl pin too!  The buttonhole closure option gives a little different feel to how Taos is worn. 

Taos with buttonhole by Jill Wolcott

Taos with buttonhole by Jill Wolcott

Notice how the roundness of the yarn works with the tonal coloration and what high relief there is in the garter, the eyelets, and the cross-stitch pattern.  Whatever you make in For Better or Worsted, these are things you can easily take advantage of in your knitting.

Meet the Yarn: Lucero

Getting a new yarn in the mail is always fun.  I didn’t mind a bit that it was coming “au natural”, or what is called griege goods in the textile/fashion industry.  

This is the latest yarn in the Anzula Luxury Fibers yarn catalog, Lucero.  You may have seen it making appearances on social media.  Always beautiful in dyed yarn, the Stellina adds such depth to the soft natural color that this yarn is just beautiful au natural.  You can imagine it in your favorite Anzula Luxury Fibers color.

I took a photo of the skein when it arrived:

Yarn-Arrives.jpg

then threw it on the swift and made cakes:

Lucero-on-the-Swift.jpg

I knew what I wanted to do with it, so I went directly to a swatch of my project concept.  You can read about me blocking it here.  I didn’t like the gauge I got with a US size 6[4mm], so I started over on a US size 5[3.75mm].  If this makes you sigh, you haven’t knit with this yarn!  I am always happy to be knitting with lovely, soft, enjoyable yarn, so I really didn’t mind redoing my swatch at all.  I was actually disappointed that I couldn’t redo it right away, but I had other knitting to do.

Since I was enjoying this yarn, I decided to undo my swatch and wet block the yarn so I could reuse it.  I love it when it is all crimped up, and it looks kind of disappointing when it nearly smooth again.

swatch-undone.jpg

Ever wonder why we do that wet blocking to yarn after we rip it?  It is so the crimps don’t inhibit the yarn when you are re-knitting it.  If I hadn’t wet and steam blocked it I wouldn’t have bothered to wet block the yarn before reusing it.  I hung it with a tiny bit of weight hanging from it, and I could steam it if I wanted to smooth it more.

blocked-lucero.jpg
unblocked-swatch-lucero.jpg

In the meantime, I worked on my usual flat gauge swatches, just to get a feel for Lucero in a variety of stitch patterns.  I used a US size 3[3.25mm] needle.  There were really no surprises in this DK weight, 3-ply yarn, except maybe how much texture there was!  I decided to work my main project stitch pattern flat on US size 5[3.75mm] needles.  This eyelet pattern [you can get the instructions and chart to swatch here] works up nicely; I think I favor seed over stockinette on the larger needles though.  We’ll see when it is blocked.

So the numbers are in.

blocked-exploration-lucero.jpg

There isn’t a lot of change from unblocked to blocked.  When I picked up my blocked swatches, I nearly swooned with how soft my knitting felt!  I noted how the garter didn’t stretch out as it often does.  I also noted how smooth and lovely my Stockinette now looked on the swatch using larger needles.

blocked-eyelet-lucero.jpg
JillWolcottLuceroStitchTable.png

I pulled out the in-the-round swatch I am working on.  There is the tiniest bit of difference in the unblocked and blocked feel of the swatches.  Cashmere does love a good bath!  I took my gauge on that unblocked swatch just out of curiosity.  At this point I only have Stockinette.  I used the same needles as I did for the flat swatches, using the magic loop.  

These are the numbers:  25 sts and 30.5 rows to 4” OR 6.25 sts and 7.625 rows to 1”.  If I get the same sort of shift as I did on the flat swatch, I think my blocked numbers would be 6 sts and 7.5 rows to 1”.  So if you have ever wondered why your gauge taken flat did not foretell your in-the-round gauge, there it is.

Have you been following my Meet the Yarn posts?  Do you ever look at the WPI and ply information?  Lucero is 16 WPI and a 3-ply yarn.  Remember, I am working with Au Natural, which means the yarn hasn’t been dyed.  I decided to do a WPI card for the yarn I blocked, which might be similar to after dyeing.  That yarn is 13 WPI.

WPI-Cards-Lucero.jpg

I think we should be paying a little more attention to the yarn ply when we are looking at yarns and what we think they will do.  I am noticing a distinct difference between 2-ply and 3-ply yarns.  Look for more on that on my blog on January 31.

Look at my blog on January 24 (it always posts just after 5 pm PST) for a sneak peak at my Lucero project. 

What's New!

    As we pack for TNNA we want to make sure you know all the exciting new things we've made, just for you!

    We have a new yarn, Lucero, a DK version of Lunaris. It's 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere and 10% Sparkling Stellina and 250 yards of super soft, sparkly goodness!

    Lucero in Dany

    Lucero in Dany

    Lucero is in a kit of one skein each of Seaside and Au Natural with a shawl pattern called Earthshine by Hilary Smith Callis and will be available at the Winter 2018 TNNA.

    Earthshine in Anzula Lucero, Seaside and Au Natural. Photo by Hilary Smith Callis

    Earthshine in Anzula Lucero, Seaside and Au Natural. Photo by Hilary Smith Callis

    You asked and we are delivering: Smaller skeins of Squishy!

    We now have Squishy available in 25 gram and 50 gram skeins.

    Squishy in Teal, 50 g, Squishy in Aqua, 25 g

    Squishy in Teal, 50 g, Squishy in Aqua, 25 g

    Squishy Skeinettes

    A 5 pack of 67 yard skeins in perfectly coordinating shades. Each pack has 335 yards. They are perfect for colorwork, socks, and in combination with your favorite full sized fingering weight skeins to make amazing shawls.

    Clockwise from top: Wuthering Hanks, Citizen Skein, Knitting in the Rain, Ocean's Anzula, Rebel Without a Stitch, Somewhere Over the Skeinbow, and Dr Strangeskein

    Clockwise from top: Wuthering Hanks, Citizen Skein, Knitting in the Rain, Ocean's Anzula, Rebel Without a Stitch, Somewhere Over the Skeinbow, and Dr Strangeskein

    We're pairing up with 4 other yarn companies (Lorna's Laces, Oink Pigments, Sweet Georgia, and Knit One Crochet Too) to do a mini yarn crawl at TNNA. Each of us will have a skeinette for you to pick up at TNNA along with a pattern for a gorgeous Shawl by Simone Kereit, of Owl Cat Designs. Start in rooms 509 & 510, we'll have a list of stops for you so you can collect them all!

    Sneak peek at Vegas Nights!

    Sneak peek at Vegas Nights!

    We have 4 new colors, Sophia, Endora, Blanche and Dany which you can order in all of our yarns. You can also get them in a new Squishy Skeinette pack, called Knit at Night. We added a skein of Au Natural because we love how it makes the other colors pop. 

    Squishy Skeinettes in Au Natural, Sophia, Endora, Blanche, and Dany

    Squishy Skeinettes in Au Natural, Sophia, Endora, Blanche, and Dany

    We have kits for Local Yarn Store Day on April 21st! They will include:

    • Stitch markers from Stitch Sprouts
    • Shawl pins from Lickin' Flames
    • A Shawl pattern by Heather Zoppetti, Mirtillo
    • And 5 skeinettes from us, in Charcoal, Aqua, Lottie, Gravity and our exclusive speckled colorway for Local Yarn Store Day, Nessie
    LYS Day Kit 2018

    We have also paired up with Slipped Stitch Studios to create a Mr Rogers themed Trolly colorway to pair with her Mr. Rogers project bags. Their Sock+ Bags are my favorite because they don't choke my wrist when I am knitting about the town.

    Slipped Stitch Studio Anzula Trolly

    And last but not least, we have a brand new yarn that we are debuting at TNNA. She doesn't even have a name yet. A DK yak and merino, in 50 gram skeins, 98 yards. Because the yak is a dark rich brown and the merino is cream, the yarn takes the colors super deeply and saturated, I just love it!

    Yak & Merino in Chiva

    Yak & Merino in Chiva

    Here's Cricket in Chiva for comparison. They're so different, and both so beautiful!

    cricket chiva anzula

    We can't wait to see you at TNNA in Las Vegas! We'll be in rooms 509 & 510. Cash and carry will be available. You can also see samples in every one of our yarns in every colorway.