Meet the Yarn: Meridian, part 2

Next up in my crochet explorations of Anzula yarns, it's time to turn to a lace-weight, Meridian. This blend of 55% Tencel, 35% Alpaca, and 10% Nylon arrives in skeins of 812 yards per 114 grams. The fiber combination creates a yarn that produces the best qualities of both the tencel (lightweight and slight sheen) and the alpaca (warmth, slight halo).

  Meridian swatches

Meridian swatches

In my experience, Meridian is prone to splitting and somewhat sticky. These are two characteristics to think about when choosing your needle or hook and as you're ripping back to fix a mistake or start over. The hook I chose, wasn't the best choice and the lack of consistency in the blocked swatches proves that. I think a tip that is more pointed would have helped to reduce splitting and even my tension. For these swatches, the result is ok as I'm not stressing about accurate gauge. My goal for this project is to work with the yarn and get to understand it in different situations.
 

As Jill explained in her post, Meridian looks a complete mess before blocking! Be strong and reserve judgment until after the swatches dry, the result will be pretty. Even though my gauge is all over the place, the simplicity of the stitches highlights the characteristics of this blend.

  Meridian swatches, knit

Meridian swatches, knit

Crochet, by both tradition and the nature of how the stitches form, loves a lace weight. While my tension and blocking leaves much to the imagination, the fabric of simple stitches is gorgeous. Process note: this is one of the last swatches for which I did a combination of stitches in one swatch. I've found single stitch swatches work better for these explorations. My photos don't do this yarn or fabric justice. 

  Meridian swatch, crochet

Meridian swatch, crochet

Comparing the knit and crochet fabric highlights the delicate beauty this yarn can create. I love the single crochet fabric and hope to explore it at different gauges soon. 

  Meridian swatches, knit and crochet

Meridian swatches, knit and crochet

Both the motif and lace stitches create fabric beautiful drape  -- the granny square is incredibly light and the lace fabric wants to drift away! The granny square is small because I stopped after I completed  four rounds, otherwise I may have continued for all 812 yards in my skein!

 Meridian swatches, motif and lace

Meridian swatches, motif and lace

While the stitch definition during the making process leaves much to the imagination, I persevered. It should be no surprise that I am continuing my texture love in this Meridian swatch!

 Meridian swatch, texture

Meridian swatch, texture

Can you substitute Meridian for any lace weight in a crochet pattern? There will be subtle changes to the fabric you create as it will behave differently than a 100% merino or other combination. The alpaca creates warmth with a bit of loft, the tencel is strong yet light. This is why swatching to learn the characteristics of a yarn and blocking is important.


All Meridian swatches are in the Sexy colourway, any perceived differences 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

Meet the Yarn: Squishy, part 2

Squishy

80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon
+/- 385 yd / 352 m
7.5 sts / in US #2

Squishy the fingering weight sibling to For Better or Worsted is a crocheter’s dream yarn! It takes all the wonderful parts of that worsted weight, 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon in a 3-ply blend, and spins it out to a finer more crochet-friendly fingering weight.

  Squishy swatches

Squishy swatches

While the exclusive LYS Day kits are for knitters, please crocheters, don’t feel left out! This is the first year for LYS Day and everyone (yarn companies, designers, and yes, your LYS) is still figuring their way around! Anzula's kits are made with exclusive colorways and all include yarns that work beautifully in crochet projects, including Squishy. Should you pick up a skein or three of Squishy on LYS Day? YES! 

This yarn provides shine, warmth, and wear in a generous skein, 385 yards for 114g. There are now new Squishy options including 25 & 50g skeins and the Skeinette 5-packs there are many color combination possibilities!

I initially brought home the skein featured in the samples last June from TNNA, our industry trade show, with a plan to pair it with a braid of merino fiber and ultimately weave it. I'm happy I haven't yet had a chance to spin for that project and instead discovered how lovely Squishy is to crochet. There will be more in my future!

It feels as lovely in the skein as you think it would – that’s the fiber content. This is an essential yarn for the crocheter who wishes to add a little cashmere to a project without breaking the bank. It's easy to wind and holds its shape in a ball or cake well.

For these swatches, I used a 3mm (D) hook or a 3.75mm knitting needle. I urge you to play with different size hooks and find the fabric that makes you excited for Squishy.

  Knitted Squishy swatches

Knitted Squishy swatches

Every single stitch I put Squishy through was a delight, from simple to texture to lace. No splitting as I worked stitches. I can attest that it can put up with both indecision about gauge and disagreement as to stitch counts. In other words, it holds up well to multiple experiences with frogging and being reworked.

I was surprised to discover that there weren't as many designs in Squishy as I expected. This yarn begs to be crocheted. I know because I had to pause in the writing of this post to sketch a design and work up a swatch!

**Charlie sticks her nose in Penny's post** "Calling all crochet designers, Anzula wants to see your proposals! Email me here"

  Crocheted Anzula Squishy swatches in SC, HDC, and DC.

Crocheted Anzula Squishy swatches in SC, HDC, and DC.

It’s well known that I prefer half double crochet, but as these swatches show, it looks great in each of the standard three, single crochet, half double, and double crochet stitches.

My granny square threatened to eat the entire skein -- it was difficult stop! It's stunning next to garter stitch. Again, if you know how to knit and crochet, what's stopping you from working up Miriam Felton's Granny Log Cabin?

  Squishy swatches, a granny square next to garter stitch.  

Squishy swatches, a granny square next to garter stitch. 

This texture swatch is super squishy and lovely. I enjoyed it so much that I worked up another one and sent off a design proposal! We’ll see what happens with it!

  Squishy, crocheted texture swatch

Squishy, crocheted texture swatch

The lace begs to be tossed over the shoulders as a simple shawl. The Harwinton Easy Lace Boomerang by Tian Connaughton is stunning in one skein of Squishy!

  Squishy, crocheted lace swatch

Squishy, crocheted lace swatch

I think two skeins would create a nice interpretation of my VLSI stole -- I started a swatch using only one color and I think it's lovely. If you would like to use Squishy, two skeins should create the shawl. Feel free to experiment! I have a soft spot for Dark Matter that I love to pair with a grey! it's up to you if you wish to work it all in one color or find a pairing of a 114g skein and a skeinette pack, please be aware that this yardage combination hasn’t been tested!

  Squishy crocheted swatch for VLSI by Penny Shima Glanz

Squishy crocheted swatch for VLSI by Penny Shima Glanz

What do you plan to make with your LYS Day Squishy purchase? With this yarn, the possibilities are yours!

  Squishy swatches

Squishy swatches

All Squishy swatches were worked in Lapis colorway.


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

Knit Notes Revisited: Hunter Hammersen

Hunter Hammersen is one of those designers that has an Instagram that you can scroll through alllllll dayyyyyy loonnnnggggg. Her designs, the yarns she works with, and her photos just take your breath away. If I scroll long enough, sometimes I can feel the cold and smell the salt air of coastal Maine. 

 Consilience by Hunter Hammersen in Anzula Cricket

Consilience by Hunter Hammersen in Anzula Cricket

Her new cowl design, Consilience, made out of Anzula's Cricket, is no exception to her long line of beautiful patterns. I decided to sit down with her over a cup of tea (with lots of honey and half and half!) to discuss it. Okay, we did an email exchange, but the illusion is much better!

Becca: What inspired you to create Consilience? Tell us a little about its creation.

Hunter: This is actually the second iteration of this cowl.  The first I knit as a present for someone, but it was in an absolutely eye-searing shade of blue.  It was the sort of color that is flat out impossible to photograph, so I didn't do a pattern right away. But I liked the piece enough that I really wanted it to be available, just in an ever-so-much-more-suitable yarn!

I especially loved the shape of the cowl.  I have the best time with cowls that are wider at the bottom than at the top (think upside down ice cream cone with the tip cut off) rather than the ones that are a perfect cylinder.  I love that shape because the taper means it sits nicely on your shoulders and chest, but you don't end up with lot of extra fabric bunched up around your chin.  And it's fun to find a way to incorporate that shaping in the stitch pattern.

 Consilience (Short) by Hunter Hammersen in Anzula Cricket

Consilience (Short) by Hunter Hammersen in Anzula Cricket

Becca: Simple in the round cowls can get boring, so that shape does sound way more interesting! I also love the math part of knitting, so I'm right there with you on making the stitch pattern work.

I know you've worked with Cricket before to create socks; how did you like using it for a cowl?

Hunter: It's delightful.  It really is one of those super versatile yarns that will do whatever you ask it to do.  It's nice and round and sproingy, so it's going to work for pretty much any stitch pattern. And you can work it at a wide range of gauges and still get a lovely fabric.  It's totally one of those yarns I'm happy to have in my stash, because I know it will work for so many different projects.

Becca: My first skein of Anzula yarn was Cricket in 1 Red Shoe. I frogged it a bunch because I didn't really know what to do with it. It was still wonderful to work with and the kinks blocked out so easily!

Do you have a favorite Anzula colorway? A favorite yarn?

Hunter: I like Cricket best of the ones I've played with so far.  But I've officially got Silken on my list of yarns I want to use in the future.  And have a fondness for those colors that you can't quite place into just one category...like Nimbus or Seafoam.

Becca: I love being able to use one color in several different settings. Those sort-of-neutrals are really fun to pair up with either bright, poppy colors or those darker, sultry colors.

I noticed on Ravelry that you don't have any patterns for clothing, like sweaters. Do you ever dream of designing a sweater or are you perfectly content making accessories?

Hunter: I'm a slow knitter with a short attention span, and I've never managed to actually /knit/ a sweater.  So I sort of suspect I'm not the best person to design them.  But if I ever get a few of them knit, I suspect I'd have fun designing them!

Becca: I know EXACTLY what you mean. I tried knitting a sweater last year... I think I got through 40 rows of a sleeve. I've made lots of hats, shawls and gloves since then!

Last time you chatted with us, you were in the process of moving. How did that go? How is your new place?


Hunter: We're all settled in and I love it beyond all reason.  I'm staring out at the water (and the rocks and the trees  and the snow) as I type this, and it's just beautiful.  Totally worth all the hassle (and all the boxes...so many boxes) to make it happen!

Becca: You mentioned on social media that this pattern is available for free, how can we get it?

Hunter: Yes! People who subscribe to my newsletter will receive this pattern as a free gift. You can sign up here - https://pantsvillepress.com/freebie/


You can keep up on all things Hunter Hammersen on Ravelry and on her website

Find a shop near you on our shop list or shop map. You can see online shops here.