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._

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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 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

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