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: It Could Be Worsted, part 2

In the Northeast, as summer draws to a close, the heat and humidity fades and the foliage begins to hint at its beautiful autumnal colors. That's a verbose way to say that the desire to knit and crochet is returning. I want to finish projects fast, so I often turn to heavier yarns. As a crocheter, I don't often think of worsted weight yarns but as I discovered when reviewing For Better or Worsted I shouldn't discount them.

It Could Be Worsted is a worsted-weight blend of 50% superwash merino and 50% tussah silk. Don't fret that there's no cashmere, the silk is luxurious and as this is a rounded 4-ply, you get a yarn that is very squishy and soft. I was eager to swatch with my 190 yards (173 meters) and love how it works up in crochet -- even at this bulky-for-crochet weight. When paired with the shape of crochet stitches, the squishy round yarn begs to be worked. I found it hard to stop swatching!

Let's first look at the knitting. I apologize that tactile touch screens aren't a technical reality - you can see the depth of stitches! I had difficulty finishing the garter stitch swatch as I kept pausing to pet it.
 

 It Could Be Worsted swatches, knit

It Could Be Worsted swatches, knit

In basic crochet stitches, by contrast, this yarn highlights the need to find the gauge (stitch tension) that creates a fabric you love. I'm not enamored by what my 4.5mm hook achieved but I know I want to explore this yarn further.
 

 It Could Be Worsted swatches, crochet

It Could Be Worsted swatches, crochet

The same is true for my net lace swatch. It's nice, but I'm not sure it's right. I think in this sort of stitch, it's best as an edging. While it would reduce the weight of an accessory, I'm not confident it would maintain its shape if it were the all-over stitch for a design.

 It Could Be Worsted swatch, lace

It Could Be Worsted swatch, lace

The texture swatch shows promise, though I do think a hook adjustment is in order. I often stopped to squish this swatch. Can you feel the texture? 

 It Could Be Worsted swatch, texture

It Could Be Worsted swatch, texture

What made my heart sing? This simple humble granny square motif! What does this mean to me? I don't see a 70's granny square vest in my future for this yarn, but it shows me in a way the previous swatch didn't that it's important to explore textures. I also think short rows and exploring the direction the fabric is worked is what makes this swatch work so well for me. Do you agree? 

 It Could Be Worsted swatch, motif

It Could Be Worsted swatch, motif

Is this yarn better suited to some projects over others? I think accessories for a special event which highlight the silky shine are best. A garment at this weight would be very warm and, depending on the stitch pattern, dense and heavy.

How does it compare to For Better or Worsted? You can't swap yarn for yarn without adjustment. They're not quite the same grist and that slight difference could add up if you're making a large project. For a small accessory I'd make sure to purchase extra yarn, swatch, and know that the fabric will be different as silk isn't the same as a cashmere/nylon blend.

My swatch photos comparing For Better or Worsted and It Couldn't Be Worsted aren't quite a fair comparison. As I promised in that first post, I tossed the For Better or Worsted in the washing machine (with my weekly load of laundry) and laid them flat to dry. The result is that the stitches are no longer as round as they were after a gentle hand wash.

 It Could Be Worsted swatches

It Could Be Worsted swatches

_All swatches of It Could Be Worsted are in the Nimbus colourway with 4.5mm 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 cat. www.pennyshima.com

You can find It Could be Worsted at these shops:

Admit Ewe Knit - Raleigh, NC
Amazing Threads - Maple Grove, MN
Baskets of Yarn - Charlotte, NC
Do Ewe Knit - Westfield, NJ
Fiber Artwork - Huntsville, AL
Harps & Thistles - Cuyahoga Falls, OH
KnitKnit - Couer d’Alene, ID
Knitorious - St Louis, MO
Knitting Garden - Coral Gables, FL
Sated Sheep - Dripping Springs, TX
Swift Stitch - Santa Cruz, CA
Online @ Kitterly.com

You’ll find great pattern ideas for It Could be Worsted on our Pinterest page here!

Meet the Yarn: It Could be Worsted

Jill Wolcott
passion.fashion.knits

Hi there!  I’m back after a hiatus, and there are still fabulous Anzula yarns to be reviewed, so let's leaping back in.  Next in the lineup is It Could be Worsted.  

“It could be worse” than this soft, yet strong worsted blend of 50% silk and 50% merino.  I have to admit that I love this yarn and wasn’t at all upset when I realized I had to reknit my Tangiers sample because I had failed to return to seed stitch after completing the moss stitch neckband.  Yup, I ripped it back to the end of third Arabesque, then decided to just go all the way back and reknit the whole thing.   

I also did my standard gauge swatch, beginning with garter, moving to stockinette, on to seed stitch, then rib, and on to moss stitch.  Unblocked, there was some biasing in this yarn.  I used US size 6[4mm] needles, but liked the fabric I got, so don’t think that was a problem. Although there was some biasing, I was able to block it flat so it wasn’t a long-term problem.  It did unsettle me though!  Biasing is leaning in one direction and is usually the result of the way the yarn was spun.  If it blocks out, it is usually not a problem.  I just caution you to do a swatch and to block.  Having noticed these things swatching, I might not knit a large piece in the round.

standard-swatch-and-teaser-yarn.jpg

I’ve looked through the projects on Ravelry, and don’t see anyone with problems, although there are not many comments.  I was amused to see my notes were equally incomplete!  There are 58 stashes, and 53 projects.  Such a great yarn needs more love!  Looking online, it sells for about $38/skein, so a single skein project might fit into a lot of budgets.  My new Tangiers pattern is made with two colors in It Could be Worsted (shown in Gumball and Aqua), and a version in a single color (sample uses For Better or Worsted).  

ICBW-WPI-card-.jpg

The yardage is 190 yards or 174 meters to 114g or 4 ounces.  There were several games of yarn chicken, probably owing to the 10 yard difference between It Could be Worsted and For Better or Worsted!  Judging by what I have remaining one could knit opposites of Tangiers.  If needed, some fudging could be done to make it work.

So let’s get to the details:  

Do be sure to take extra time on the blocking.  Pinning it to shape should do the trick.  I also steam blocked mine.  The Tangiers 2-color Scarf just needed a little patting into shape when I steam blocked it after wet blocking it.  Due to the small number of stitches, no biasing occurred.

Worsted is a great weight for knitting gifts—the knitting goes pretty fast and in this yarn, it looks super impressive—everything we want in our gift knits.  The colors are sharp and clear in this yarn,  I thoroughly enjoyed Gumball and Aqua both.

Tell me why—in the comments—you think there are 10 fewer yards in a skein of It Could Be Worsted than in a skein of For Better or Worsted.  I’ll do a drawing and give away one Tangier’s pattern for every 50 comments.  Deadline for comments is October 9, 2018.

 

You can find It Could be Worsted at these shops:

Admit Ewe Knit - Raleigh, NC
Amazing Threads - Maple Grove, MN
Baskets of Yarn - Charlotte, NC
Do Ewe Knit - Westfield, NJ
Fiber Artwork - Huntsville, AL
Harps & Thistles - Cuyahoga Falls, OH
KnitKnit - Couer d’Alene, ID
Knitorious - St Louis, MO
Knitting Garden - Coral Gables, FL
Sated Sheep - Dripping Springs, TX
Swift Stitch - Santa Cruz, CA
Online @ Kitterly.com

You’ll find more great pattern ideas for It Could be Worsted on our Pinterest page here!

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