Meet the Yarn: Breeze

I popped onto the Anzula blog in late May without a proper introduction.  It actually didn’t occur to me until after I noticed how monochromatic the post was.  I tend to choose color that is either neutral or colorful and that was decidedly neutral.  So a bit about me, and a photo which shows me as my neutral and colorful self. 

My favorite thing about knitwear design (which includes crochet, although I don’t do that) is that I get to design the textile and the shape.  I have been doing fashion design as long as I can remember.  My passion shifted to knitwear in the 90's.  I have never been bitten by the spinning bug, and I am really only interested in yarn construction because of the impact it has on my designs.  Beginning in 2000, I began teaching design, merchandising, textiles, and product development classes at FIDM in San Francisco.  I have never let go of my interests in basic garment construction and pattern making, I have added a fascination with hand knitting and yarn.  Today those interests have me teaching others what I know, while I pursue an even deeper understanding of the inputs into knitwear design.  Look for classes on my website.  I sell my designs on Ravelry, Jill Wolcott Knits, LoveKnitting, and Craftsy. You might also see me on Instagram, where I have been having fun with the Pantone Color of the Day.

Breeze

65% Silk, 35% Linen
+/- 750 yd / 685 m
Lace Weight

Do you ever pick up a yarn and get truly surprised by it? I was so when I started to swatch in Breeze. When I am testing a yarn I knit up an introductory swatch in four stitch patterns to get a feel for what it does—or doesn’t—like to do. I’ve been doing this a while, and I love to swatch, so I am rarely very surprised by what happens on my needles, or even afterwards when I am blocking.  I might change my mind about the needle size, and occasionally the stitch pattern, but I am rarely surprised.

 

I sat down one evening to do my introductory swatch.  Good for me on US size 3(3.25mm) needles—I am a loose knitter.  Lots of rows in garter. Then I embarked on Stockinette.  I like texture and I am not a real fan of Stockinette. I’ve already chosen Breeze for a pattern that features lace and cables (mixed) in an otherwise Stockinette tank.  In another piece I’m throwing some rib into the mix.  But Breeze in Stockinette just took my breath away. 

What Makes Breeze?

Breeze is a pretty simple two-ply yarn.  It is a blend of silk (65%) and linen (35%).  Silk is the only filament fiber that is a non-manufactured fiber.  Produced by a silkworm, the fiber is protein based.  Linen is a long-staple cellulose fiber.  Breeze looks matte, and a little fuzzy, in the ball.  When handling a single length of yarn the subtle luster becomes evident, and you can feel the interest in the fibers.  In Breeze the silk seems to be staple lengths rather than a filament. The fiber blending creates a simple yarn that drapes beautifully, and is quite flat (not bouncy).  

What to Look For in Breeze

I went on to work seed stitch and 1x1 rib before embarking on my lace and cable pattern, first on US size 3(3.25mm), then on US size 5(3.75mm). In all stitches I got lovely drapey fabric. Although it can be pulled back into shape, this is yarn that is going to stretch. Work it to be very flat, almost like a woven fabric. It is going to stretch, and when doing so it will become narrower. This was proved in my swatches, after wet blocking and steam blocking, grow differently in each stitch pattern. The ribs I did, 1x1 and 2x2 looked great, but aren’t elastic. Seed stitch was quite pretty, but when I tried moss as a trim, it became meh and almost nonexistent.

A quick perusal of Ravelry shows 533 projects in Breeze.  Most have happy smiles! There are a few mis-matches of gauge or design, but mostly knitters and crocheters seems to appreciate the nature of this yarn and choose projects that would make them happy working it, and wearing it.  There are fabulous lace shawls, and some garments. Take the time to check your gauge.  Block it to get the real sense of what this yarn will do, then proceed to your own happy ending.

 

And just because, here’s a happy cat, enjoying a nice Breeze shawl!

Do you have a favorite thing you've made with Breeze or are you dreaming of using Breeze in a future project? Tell us about it in the comments below!

You can find more from Jill using these links:

Meet the Yarn: Milky Way
Jill's Ravelry page
www.JillWolcottKnits.com
Jill's Instagram 

To always be in-the-loop on all things Anzula, follow us! You can find us in all these places:

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Pinterest
Ravelry
Events Calendar
Facebook Events Page

Pattern Spotlight: Blithe Dress or Tank

When I think summer and knitting, I immediately think of Breeze. Our laceweight linen and silk blend is perfect for delicate and airy pieces like the new garment from Laurinda Reddig that is featured in the new issue of Interweave Crochet

© Harper Point Photography, courtesy  Interweave Crochet .

© Harper Point Photography, courtesy Interweave Crochet.

The Blithe Dress or Tank can be modified to the length you'd like and takes just one or two balls of Breeze. Laurinda blended several different lace patterns in creating this top-down, seamless garment. It can be styled quite elegantly as shown on the left above, or in a little more fun and casual way as shown on the right. 

You can find the summer issue of Interweave Crochet at your LYS or bookseller on June 16 (in just one week!) or if you can't wait, you can download it now. You can also find Breeze at your LYS or favorite online yarn shop. If your LYS doesn't carry it, ask them - they can place a special order with us. 

Warm Days, Cool Knits with Corrina Ferguson

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional kick-off of summer in America. Some of us have been experiencing summer-like weather for a while, while others still have a little while to go before they're ready for summer activities. Moving into the summer season, we are all probably looking for lighter knits and lighter projects - but we still want a full range of options.

I've been perusing Corrina Ferguson's new book, Warm Days, Cool Knits, for a little while. (You may remember our interview with her here on the blog earlier this year as we were releasing the pattern books from Stitch Sprouts.) Corrina is a designer who lives in the South, so her need for lighter knits is a year-round one. She's collected twenty beautiful patterns to complement the seasons of the South. But don't feel that you have to have year-round sunshine to use this book - with the variety of the designs and a lightweight knit's innate layerability, you'll find reasons to grab this book again and again. 

Two of the patterns in the book were created in our yarns. The Alliemay Tunic was knit in Breeze. It's a lovely open piece that's very versatile - you could wear it over your bathing suit, over a tank top and leggings, or over a fitted dress. The belt can be adjusted to be worn at an empire waist, natural waist, or drop waist as shown. And you'll need no more than 2 skeins to create this. 

© Joe Hancock

© Joe Hancock

The other pattern is a brilliant sweater with coordinating cowl. Zolena sparkles for the holidays in Nebula. The cabling in the cowl matches the cuffs of the sweater for a really pulled-together look. 

© Joe Hancock

© Joe Hancock

Corrina's designs are classic without being stuffy (and a couple are downright fun), and each time I flip through the well-designed book I notice another great detail. If you haven't checked this book out at your LYS or bookstore, I highly recommend picking it up.