Meet the Yarn: Luster

Jill Wolcott
passion.fashion.knits

Miles Davis said he had to quit playing ballads because he loved them so much.  Not sure what a ballad is?  Check this list, you have probably heard many of them. I had to step away from Luster in the same way!  Luster is a fingering version of It Could Be Worsted. As much as I enjoyed It Could Be Worsted, fingering is more my gauge.  I almost lost myself on the swatches of twisted stitch rib with cables and lace from the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible.

I have done my usual exploration swatch of garter, stockinette, seed, and 1x1 rib. The yummy blend of 50% super wash merino and 50% tussah silk means it looks good in all types of stitches. Tussah silk is not as refined as some silk filaments, so you get little bits of variation in the fiber.

The yardage for Luster is 405 yards or 370 meters to 114g or 4 ounces.  I used a US size 3(3.25mm) needle.  The exploration swatch used 40g, I have approximately 36g remaining unknit, and so my other swatches used about 38g.  I know what I’m going to do with the unknit Luster—because I have an other skein which I’m going to knit up — it will become accents.

So let’s get to the details so you can start having Luster-ous dreams:  

Do note that there isn’t a lot of change in gauge from unblocked to blocked, but that the stitch pattern gauges vary quite a bit.  I used the same needles throughout my swatches.  Every stitch looks great in this yarn.  Knit it tight enough to counteract the in-elasticity of the silk, and to insure even stitches.  I love it in the twisted stitches, but I need a different skein for that because the other one I picked up is multi-colored.  This is a yarn worth waiting for!

 8 rows of stitch pattern 162 from the Japanese Knitting Bible.

8 rows of stitch pattern 162 from the Japanese Knitting Bible.

I love looking at the projects and stashes on Ravelry.  Prices online vary from $33 per skein to close to $37 per skein.  A shawl or project taking two skeins will cost about $70-75 and to my thinking, that is a nice price for the hours of knitting pleasure you will get.  Then, of course you get to wear it!

I do a cost analysis for my yarn based on knitting time.  I recently worked up a project in 1 skein of Sport with similar yardage and spent about 12 hours knitting.  Double that if you use 2 skeins.  That means it costs $3.125 an hour.  About the same as the cost of my Saturday double espresso.  That does not take into account the future wearing.  

Seeing photos of a yarn worked up is always a good way to take its measure.  Here are some Luster projects I selected from the 158 listed on Ravelry.  I added the number of skeins used — so you can do the cost math.  There are 203 stash entries on Ravelry, and of the six listed for sale or trade, two are just the remainder from projects knitted. 

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/panfila/ever-again 1 skein plus a second yarn
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/MelKnitsInOly/zucchero 6 skeins (5 colors)
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/sixfoursgirl/kiss-me-romper 2 colors
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mysisterknits/purless 1 skein
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/rindab/hitofude-cardigan 3 skeins, size small
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/Summ/santa-rosa-plum 4 skeins
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/hellogirl100687/im-winging-it-sweater-xxxvii-discreet-faux-isle unknown, but sweater appears to be an XS.

Looks like there is plenty of user satisfaction!  Take a look, then purchase a skein or two and set sail on your next beautiful knitted thing!

You’ll find more great pattern ideas for Luster on our Pinterest page!

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

Meet the Yarn: Squishy

Jill Wolcott
passion.fashion.knits

 Squishy in 1 Red Shoe

Squishy in 1 Red Shoe

I left TNNA in late January with a lot of skeins of Anzula Luxury Yarns.  I had a list of what I needed for my 2018 yarn reviews, so I chose colors and checked things off my list.  Somehow I also convinced myself that I needed an extra Squishy.  I loved it so much in Endora (for the review) and 1 Red Shoe, that I took both, knowing I would make something for myself from the 1 Red Shoe.

If you haven’t tried Squishy, I would move this one to the top of your list.  It is the yarn featured in the Anzula kits to be offered to local yarn stores for Local Yarn Store day.  This is clearly a Ravelry favorite with over 3300 projects and yarn in over 3200 stashes.  I got curious about that stash number, so I looked more closely (my numbers are approximate).

  • 6 pages of Traded/sold/gifted
  • 12 pages of All used up
  • 107 pages of In stash (not for sale)
  • 3 pages Will trade or sell

Exploration - Blocked, Jill Wolcott

I began my Squishy research without my usual exploration swatch because I was creating a project for an Anzula kit and time was short. I dove right into the swatch for that project, which was based on a shawlette I’d done for myself in a plant-fiber yarn. I did a swatch, the knitter did a swatch, and that project got going.  The shawlette project is done on US size 3 (3.25mm) for the 2x2 Rib Collar and the Drape (body) is done using a US size 8 (4.5mm).  

Blocked Savoie Swatch, Jill Wolcott

Then I went back to my exploration swatching.  For that I used US size 3 (3.25mm) needles.  After washing, drying, and steam blocking my exploration swatch, I decided to weight the garter section for 24 hours because the garter was quite stretched out after washing and drying.  I was able to use the steam blocking to get it back into shape, but then I worried about whether it would stretch out again.  So let's look at the numbers.

Squishy Stitch Pattern Table, Jill Wolcott

Complete Exploration, Jill Wolcott

By the time I got to my exploration swatch the yarn I used had been wet blocked, steamed, then frogged. Then the yarn was wet blocked and steamed.  I knit, and frogged again, and did my swatch without more blocking.  The blocked swatch from the yarn that took all that use is just as lovely as the one knitted from the fresh skein.  The photo of the unblocked swatch shows it was not in perfect shape when I knitted it.  Frogging has so many learning opportunities and I love knowing that a yarn stands up well to a little exploration.  I do not hesitate to reuse yarn!

Seeded Chevron, Jill Wolcott

Squishy is an affordable luxury yarn.  It will stand up to use, and makes yummy projects.  It is a joy to knit and works in seemingly anything.

Ravelry Projects

There are so many!  I got through about one third of the pages.  This is a nice representation of what you can do with Squishy—which is almost anything.

  1. Wonder Woman Wrap (3 colors) 
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/FishWithSticks/wonder-woman-wrap-knit
  2. Verdon (color block shawl/4 skeins)
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/aladner/verdon
  3. Celtic Climbers (sock/1 skein)
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mnelder/celtic-climbers
  4. Ravello (pullover/4 skeins)
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/sockfiend/ravello
  5. Twisted Tracks (pullover/4 skeins)  
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/KayGee64/twisted-tracks
  6. Breathing Space (pullover/1 skein/also uses Cloud)
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/Sit-N-Spin/breathing-space
  7. Close to You (1 skein)  
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mishmash/close-to-you
  8. Vintage Prim hat  
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/emilyconnell/vintage-prim
  9. Misty Lily (baby set/1 skein)  
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/Laephi/misty-lily
  10. Loasa Latieritia (sock/1 skein) 
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/dwolverton/loasa-lateritia-sock
  11. Shetland Shorty (cropped /1.25 skeins)
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/sharkfoot00/shetland-shorty
  12. Netty Cowl (3 skeins) 
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/Ozette/netty-cowl
  13. Banyan Tree Scarf (1 skein) 
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/marthajane73/banyan-tree-practice-dishcloth-afghan-square-block-4
  14. Copilot Cowl (the kitty!/1 skein)
    https://www.ravelry.com/projects/kittyknitty/copilot

Shops where Savoie will be available for Local Yarn Store Day:

Savoie Shawl by Jill Wolcott

Ewe Knit It
eweknitit@midco.net
South Dakota

Hook a Frog
hookafrog@gmail.com
Alabama

Knitique
knitique@gmail.com
California

Personal Threads
Joe@personalthreads.com
Nebraska

Tinsmith's Wife
tinsmithwife@hctc.net
Texas


Meet the Yarn: Meridian

Jill Wolcott
passion.fashion.knits

I have been waiting for my chance to work with Meridian.  I like smooth-ish lace weight for shawls, and this one featuring Tencel and alpaca couldn’t be prettier.  It has sheen and matte combined and a fine halo of delicate fibers rising from its surface.

 Anzula Meridian by Jill Wolcott

Anzula Meridian by Jill Wolcott

One of the problems with a true lace weight is that it is almost weightless, which can make getting traction on a project a little difficult.  There is no weight to hang off the needle and the fabric ends up looking like a mess.  It is really hard to see where things are going to end up.  In fact, my exploration swatch looked so miserable that I didn’t bother taking gauge before I blocked it because I just assumed it was going to be unworkable.

 Jill Wolcott

Jill Wolcott

But this was the result of my swatching on US size 3(3.25mm) needles.  The garter stitch is still pretty meh, but the Stockinette couldn’t be prettier.  Arguably the Seed stitch might not be worth the trouble if you are a thrower, but the texture is perfect.  Before I blocked this swatch I started a swatch in a couple of lace patterns I had adjusted to be worked together.  

 Jill Wolcott

Jill Wolcott

I first used Garter for the border pattern, but changed to Seed because it looked horrible. Although the Seed made it a little harder to keep track of the pattern, the resulting border is quite nice really showcases the yarn.  The first 20 rows of the eyelet pattern were hard to keep track of as the stitches curled around each other.  A lot of markers kept the pattern on track, although again it felt like it might be nothing.  Every time I looked at it I thought "scrubby”.  I did this swatch on a US size 4(3.5mm) needle.  

 Jill Wolcott

Jill Wolcott

The end result of both swatches, after blocking, are completely worthwhile and I’m glad I didn’t completely abandon hope too early.  Although I went ahead with blocking my exploration swatch, I really didn’t think it would be a success, so I didn’t take the pre-blocking gauge.  I was so happy with it that I am redoing a swatch on wood needles to see if it is easier.

 Meridian Exploration Swatch, Unblocked and Blocked, Jill Wolcott

Meridian Exploration Swatch, Unblocked and Blocked, Jill Wolcott

Whatever stitch pattern is worked, there is a marvelous halo around each stitch after blocking. I will be quite honest in saying that this is a more challenging yarn to knit.  At one point my needle kept slipping out while I was counting, which was vexing.  So it is slippery; there are some comments on Ravelry about it being split-y, but I didn’t have a problem with that.  My main issue was that it was entirely impossible to tell what the end result was going to be.  It seemed quite slow going (but look at the changes in blocked gauge), and I expect it will go more smoothly using  a non-metal needle.

 Eyelet Pattern Blocked, Jill Wolcott

Eyelet Pattern Blocked, Jill Wolcott

I love poking around the projects posted for a yarn on Ravelry.  Here are a selection of favorites.  

  1.  Used with Shibui Knit Pebble in stripes.  https://www.ravelry.com/projects/lismete/textured-stripes
  2. A beautiful (if small bit of it) crocheted lace https://www.ravelry.com/projects/clare6/oswin
  3. Another crochet.  Lace, sleeveless duster  https://www.ravelry.com/projects/opportunityknits/crochet-duster-coat
  4. A good representative example of the many Meek’s Bay shawls.  https://www.ravelry.com/projects/sabews/meeks-bay
  5. A gorgeous shawl from Mindy Wilkes  https://www.ravelry.com/projects/Mindy/brunswick
  6. A nice version of a Stockinette cardigan  https://www.ravelry.com/projects/knitandmiss/featherweight-cardigan

I had lots of ideas while making my swatches, which tells me Meridian was nudging me in a creative way which I love.  I am more excited about my ideas now that I have beautiful blocked swatches to look at.  I am going to redo the lace swatch too.

My initial idea was to work a wingspan shawl.  I like the components I chose for stitch patterns, but seeing how the fabric drapes and holds body gives me ideas for design tweaks I can make before embarking on the shawl.  Using a twisted knit between the YOs in both patterns will enhance the overall pattern and perhaps a modification to the YOs.   

I finished off my shawl swatch with a stitch that looks like buds, which goes very nicely with my other pattern, but it looked sloppy and sad before I wet blocked.  It was helped by the wet block, but like everything, the extra polish of steam blocking and stretching to final shape made a complete, and positive, difference.

 Jill Wolcott

Jill Wolcott

If you are interested in knowing more about this, I’m redoing swatches, and you can follow my latest results on my GMT project page on Ravelry https://www.ravelry.com/projects/JillWolcott-Knits/gmt.

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