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.

--

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

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: 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