Meet the Yarn: Ava

It's delightful to write about a lovely yarn in a very happy colourway as a contrast to the frigid weather outside. What yarn is that?

It's one with perfect twist, bounce, drape, and most importantly smoosh. I want to do more than introduce you to my favourite sport weight yarn, I want you to meet and get to know Ava. Let's get swatching.

Ava Au Natural in all of it’s pure, creamy, bouncy perfection.

Ava Au Natural in all of it’s pure, creamy, bouncy perfection.

Before we get to the fun stuff, let's get some numbers out of the way. Ava is 330 yards of the same 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon blend you know and love in Cloud, Squishy, Cricket, and For Better or Worsted. What makes it different? It's a sport weight. Ok, I hear you say, Squishy is fingering weight and Cricket is DK. Do we need this sport weight?

Yes.

Let me show you why.

Ava knitted swatches

Ava knitted swatches

Look at these knitted swatches. I'm sorry that technology is what it is and you can't feel them. The round yarn sings and begs to be worked.

As I spent quite a bit of time squishing my garter stitch swatch, I knew it would work well for crochet.

But before I show you my standard swatch views, I want to show you something else. On the left is the knitted garter stitch swatch. On the right is the single crochet. Look at the smoosh!

Ava swatches. Garter Stitch on the left, Single Crochet on the right.

Ava swatches. Garter Stitch on the left, Single Crochet on the right.

Look at that height! The nice thing about crocheting a sport weight -- there isn't heavy bulk.

Ok, let's look at the basic stitches in Ava, single crochet, half double, and double crochet. Isn't it stunning?

Look at that stitch definition!

Ava crochet swatches in single crochet (front), half double crochet (middle), and double crochet (back).

Ava crochet swatches in single crochet (front), half double crochet (middle), and double crochet (back).

Stitches sing in this yarn. Choose your favourite music. It works in everything I tried!

Ava crochet swatch, granny square

Ava crochet swatch, granny square

Based on this granny square, don't you want to treat the granny square crocheter in your life to an upgrade to a cashmere blend? With so many colors to choose, I'm sure you'll find one for them.

Want to be more adventurous with your stitches?

Look at Ava in a simple lace. Stunning. It's not bulky. Add a little picot to that stitch and it'll take a star role.

Ava crochet swatch in lace stitch

Ava crochet swatch in lace stitch

Want texture? I'm out of adjectives. Sorry. I really wish you could touch this. It's squooshy.

Ava crochet swatch in a textured stitch.

Ava crochet swatch in a textured stitch.

I think Ava is a great yarn for crocheters who want something a bit heavier than Squishy but don't want their fabric to be bulky.

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I want to take one more moment to wax poetic about this beautiful colourway. I love it against the endless grey that is winter. This colourway feels as if Opal asked if was ok to turn up the bright dial to max and Sabrina said yes. I've surprised myself by loving this colour. I don't think I'd wear it in anything I'd make as the primary colour, but it would love to be an accent/highlight.

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

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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

Meet the Yarn: Dreamy

What happens when you create a fingering weight yarn that combines Merino with Cashmere and Silk? The result is definitely Dreamy! I loved working with it so much I made a few extra swatches! My experience with Dreamy was extra special as I was able to work it up in one of my favourite colourways, Dark Matter! Every speckled skein is unique!

The 3-ply yarn structure creates a very round stitch that looks beautiful knit in stockinette and in garter stitch. I think it can be worked into anything, the pattern ideas show how it knits into stunning lace, textures, cables, and more. The silk and cashmere beg to be worn! When knit into garter stitch, the combination of fibers does something superb to it that I can't find the words to adequately describe.

Dreamy swatches, knitted garter stitch and stockinette

Dreamy swatches, knitted garter stitch and stockinette

Dreamy swatches, granny squares

Dreamy swatches, granny squares

My granny square swatches show what happens when I don't take notes! I crocheted the first granny square (the one that is 4 rounds) with a 3.75mm hook, the other (5 rounds) with a 3mm hook. Ok, 0.75mm does that make a difference? Yes! It is apparent that both squares are almost the same size! What hook should you use? It depends on what you're crocheting, granny square or otherwise.

The stitch definition on the simple stitch squares shows how wonderful this 3-ply is for crochet. I haven't figured out how to photograph it, please believe me that the swatches have beautiful drape. The stitches are defined yet graceful.

Dreamy swatches, simple crochet stitches

Dreamy swatches, simple crochet stitches

The windchill is fierce as I write these words, so I'm struggling to say much about my lace swatch. I've been abusing it as it's sat on my desk waiting for me to finish this review. It still looks as good as the day I blocked it. Maybe I'll wait and rereview all the lace swatches when it's warmer outside.

Dreamy swatch, crochet lace

Dreamy swatch, crochet lace

The swatch I love best, is the textured swatch. I spent all my time oohing and aahing over it instead of mining the thesarus for new words to use to describe why. Look at the colours and the stitch definition!

Dreamy swatch, crochet texture

Dreamy swatch, crochet texture

What can you crochet with Dreamy? Whatever you wish ! This is a versatile yarn for crocheters. The fingering weight can work up quickly without adding too much bulk. The blend combines the different fibers special qualities without overpowering any one element. This is a yarn that I now dream about!

Dreamy in Aqua

Dreamy in Aqua

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Dreamy

75% Superwash Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% Silk

+/- 385 yd / 352 m

7.5 sts / in US #2

All swatches are in the Dark Matter colourway , any perceived differences in shade are due to the photographer (Penny).


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

Meet the Yarn: Serenity

My dictionary defines serenity as the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. It is true, I found that while working with this new 100% Cashmere fingering weight yarn all my worries disappeared, at least for a few moments. What is Anzula's new yarn, Serenity ? It is 185 yards (169 meters) of four softly plied strands of creamy white 100% cashmere. The bare fiber takes the dye beautifully and looks stunning in all the colorways that make Anzula yarns pure luxury.

Serenity in Au Natural

Serenity in Au Natural

As we've seen already from several designers, the stitch definition for knitted cables is stunning . It is also true for stripes and slipped stitch colorwork , I'll discuss lace later (spoiler -- it's lovely). Looking at beautiful photos and working with this yarn are two very different actions. I wish technology was at a point I could let you feel the swatches. The stockinette is soft and lets you see the hint of halo. The garter stitch is pure squish and in my opinion is pure serenity! My swatch became a micro (3.5in/9cm) comfort blanket.

Serenity, knitted swatches

Serenity, knitted swatches

So now that I've gushed about the knitting, how is the crochet? Does the slight halo of the lofty cashmere fibers adversely affect stitch definition? How does it drape?

Go get your crochet hook. You will want to work with this yarn and it loved every stitch I tossed at it. My stitch definition ranged from about 4-5 spi for my swatches and I need to figure out how to photograph the drape. I'm in love!

Serenity, crochet swatches simple stitches (single crochet, half-double crochet, and double crochet)

Serenity, crochet swatches simple stitches (single crochet, half-double crochet, and double crochet)

I apologize that these simple stitch swatches are flat, and you can't touch them. I wish I could capture them in a way to excite you. The depth created by the crochet stitch creates a warm texture without adding unwieldy bulk. The single crochet swatch (at 4in/10cm square) has given the garter stitch a fierce challenge to become the swatch I carry everywhere.

Serenity, crochet swatches simple stitches (single crochet, half-double crochet, and double crochet)

Serenity, crochet swatches simple stitches (single crochet, half-double crochet, and double crochet)

When I make the swatches, the granny square is most often made first. It took control to stop, which was true of every swatch. A draft of this post was delayed because after laying it out on my desk, I rested my head and took a quick nap.

Serenity, crochet swatch - granny square

Serenity, crochet swatch - granny square

If the depth of the plain stitches or the granny square didn't impress you, let me offer this textured swatch. It is not bulky and offers as beautiful a drape as the single crochet.

Serenity, crochet swatch - texture swatch

Serenity, crochet swatch - texture swatch

I'll confess that the swatch I love the least is only because it's late November here in the Northeast. I gravitate away from delicate lace this time of year. From my tiny swatch, I know that it is stunning, and know it could be scrunched in the morning when it's extra chilly. As the warmth of the day arrives, the lace could emerge. It looks beautiful in open knitted stitches too.

Serenity, crochet swatch - lace

Serenity, crochet swatch - lace

The nature of crochet stitches mean yardage for a project is always a concern. While I've not completed final maths, my 4in/10cm single crochet square weights 5.22g. By my quick estimates that means you could make a small one skein project! In single crochet you could make a cowl of approximately 6in/15cm width and 26in/66cm length.

Yes, gauge and stich choice will influence what you can make but one skein projects are possible!

With that generous yardage I urge crocheters to feel confident to pick up a skein of this luxury yarn their crochet hooks and give it a try.

Serenity, knit and crochet swatches

Serenity, knit and crochet swatches

All swatches are in a one-of-a-kind colourway very similar to Orchid, worked with 3.75mm needles and a 3mm crochet hook. Any perceived differences in shade are due to the photographer.

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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 Serenity in our gorgeous Nubivagant Kits, shop list here.

You will also find individual skeins in all of these shops (links to online shops where available):

Florida

Knitting Garden

Illinois

Knit One Purl Two

Michigan

Crafty Lady Trio
Spun
Woolly & Co
Yarn Garden

Minnesota

Amazing Threads

New York

The Knitting Store

North Carolina

Silver Threads & Golden Needles

Oklahoma

Loops

Pennsylvania

Knitting to Know Ewe

South Carolina

The Needle Tree

Tennessee

Bliss Yarns

Texas

McKnittey