Meet the Yarn: Haiku

Jill Wolcott

Casting on with Haiku

I picked up Haiku with a specific project in mind.  That isn’t usually the case, but the yarn spoke to me when I first saw it.  I reverse my usual process and I went right into a large swatch using the stitch patterns I needed for that pattern.  

Medallion swatch unblocked and blocked

Haiku fit my project perfectly.  After swatching and adjusting my numbers, and making a few changes, I sent my pattern off to a knitter to do the knitting.  Then I made my usual exploration swatch.  These swatches tell me so much about each yarn and usually help me decide what to do in terms of stitch pattern and project.  I don’t necessarily use the four stitches, but they give me an idea of stitch definition, how the yarn and color interact in them, and what type of background seems to make the yarn sing.

I have wet and steam blocked my swatches and have these observations.  Overall, there was little gauge change in my swatches—just a tidying up of stitches and rows.  I used Addi Lace cable needles, US size 3(3.25mm).  I am generally a loose knitter, so you may need to go up a size or two to achieve the same gauge.  

Details of Medallion

Central medallion at back of neck

It goes without saying that this fingering weight, 3-ply yarn, was a pleasure to work with.  The bamboo and merino combine to give it a lovely sheen, making this a yarn entirely appropriate for shawls, shrugs, cowls, scarves, and garments!  With 10% nylon, I think this would make lovely, transitional socks.  

I did some research on bamboo fiber.  I have seen a lot of change in this fiber since first seeing it in yarn in the early part of the 2000s.  Bamboo is noted for its smooth, soft, and luxurious feel, derived from its round surface.  Bamboo fiber breaths well and has micro gaps and holes which lead to excellent moisture absorption and ventilation.  It is comfortable in both warm and cold weather.  Bamboo has a naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-static bio-agent called “bamboo kun”.  This bio-agent is retained in the process of becoming a fiber and has been found to remain after a high number of washes.  The process of creating bamboo fiber is done most often by a chemical process using caustic soda or lye, followed by a bleaching and carbon disulfide process.  This is not necessarily environmentally friendly.  Organic bamboo is processed mechanically, at a higher cost.

Center back bottom lace 

This process is something to consider when choosing manufactured fibers, but should also be weighed by the positive attributes it brings.  Bamboo has plenty of attributes:  renewable fiber source with short growing cycle (4 years), plus antimicrobial and comfort.  Although the process of making manufactured fibers has some drawbacks, having good inputs counts in its favor.

Back and buttoned cuff

My Haiku Medallion shrug was the first piece in the TNNA Fashion show at the Summer 2017 show.  I have no photos, and didn’t see it because I didn’t get to TNNA in time.  I did snag the sample to wear in a class I was teaching the following day.  Wearing the sample was when I learned the most about this yarn!  It was so comfortable I forgot I was wearing it.  It was warm, but not too.  It looked great too!

Looking at photos I’ve now taken of my shrug, you can see how nicely it works in lace, which is pleasantly offset by the plainness of the stockinette.  I like to liven this piece up with a lot of buttons too.  Medallion Haiku will be released in December or January. Want to know when it is getting published?  Sign up for my bi-monthly newsletter here.   You can get swatch instructions for the small medallion pattern on Jill’s blog.

Keep up on all things Jill Wolcott:
Twitter: @jillwolcottknit
Instagram: @jillwolcottknits
Pinterest: Jill Wolcott Knits

Haiku can be found in these shops:
Jessica Knits in Scottsdale, AZ
Purls of Wisdom in Pheonixville, PA
Row One Yarn in Sherman Oaks, CA
Salty Sheep in Swansboro, NC
StevenBe in Minneapolis, MN
Yarning for You in San Marcos, CA
Yarns to Go in Alpina, MI
And many more!

You can also special order Haiku from any shop that carries Anzula yarns. You can find a list of shops here.

Pattern Spotlight: Phaeodaria Socks by Hunter Hammersen

Hunter Hammersen joins us this week with the inspiration behind her newest pattern, Phaeodaria in Haiku:

I'm easily distracted. I'm sure it says something unflattering about my character, but if you ask me to do the same thing all the way down a sock, there's every chance I'll get bored and wander off somewhere around the first heel turn. Given what I hear from other knitters, I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way. These socks are my answer to that little problem.

Photo: Hunter Hammersen

The leg is one big, twisty, unapologetically intricate chart full of all sorts of cabled goodness. Now of course i understand that keeping those sort of shenanigans up through a whole sock might be a bit much (even the easily distracted among us want a break from time to time), so things do calm down a little on the foot. There you switch to a slightly more subdued cable that repeats every few rows (even then you're working a nifty center cross cable that I find unreasonably satisfying, so you won't wander off). The combination makes for a sock that holds your attention with out ever being too hard. 

Photo:Hunter Hammersen

The lovely stitch patterns (and of course the name) were taken from the drawings of Phaeodaria (tiny marine organisms with amazingly complicated mineral skeletons) in Ernst Haeckel's 1904 book /Kunsformen der Natur/. I'm a sucker for old scientific illustrations and find them a marvelous source of design inspiration!

So if you're looking for a lovely sock that will keep you entertained, Phaeodaria might be just the ticket. And if you're looking for something a bit more subdued, you can totally come raid my knitting basket. I've got a whole stack of half knit socks that would very much love to be finished!

Photo: Hunter Hammersen

More patterns by Hunter featuring Anzula yarns: 

In Case of Draughts

What keeps you going on a project? Tell us in the comments!

The new kid on the blog

Greetings, earthlings!

I'm Kim and I'm the newest voice on the Anzula blog- so if things go from 0-Quirky real fast, you can probably pin most of that on me. I've been a pretty huge fangirl of Anzula for about 5 years now, and have had the pleasure of traveling with Sabrina on a few cross country road trips (The delirium is REAL) so I'm pretty familiar and obsessed with Anzula's line of luxury fibers for those of us who like the super-fancy cast-on. 

I started out as many of us did, by bugging my poor grandmother relentlessly to teach me how to crochet. Finally, she gave in and pacified me with a hook and teeny-tiny ball of leftovers from a baby blanket or flouncy toilet paper roll lady and I was, ahem, hooked. Well, at least for that afternoon. 8 year old attention spans, whaty'gonnado?

I picked the hobby back up in college while I worked a receptionist job that had a lot of downtime and not enough work to fill it with. Instead of sitting up front with a gossip mag I crocheted my first afghan. I tweaked it as I went, based off of this Skullholders pattern, then found historical pirate flags and mapped them out on graph paper with pencil. I didn't use much math- which accounts for the edges not really matching up and there being a pretty major difference in the gauge between the first square and the last one. 

I've gotten better at gauge since this photo was taken... and photography. Yikes! Hello, bare mattress?

I've gotten better at gauge since this photo was taken... and photography. Yikes! Hello, bare mattress?

Crochet was my jam, I was a machine. Oh, it's Christmas? Congrats, you all are getting coasters that look like lime wedges. Hey! It's your birthday? I hope you like the taste of amigurumi cupcakes

Sabrina and I at  TNNA  in 2011.

Sabrina and I at TNNA in 2011.

Then I met Sabrina while standing in line for a food truck, and got sucked out of the world of Wal-Mart yarn and down the rabbit hole of Anzula. I learned to knit in the truck with Sabrina on a trip to Ohio, she dictated what I should do next from the driver's seat and I would do it. I was successfully doing entrelac before we were out of Utah. 

Entrelac on the road. And the yarn is  Haiku  in Poppy. How I remembered that, I'll never know.

Entrelac on the road. And the yarn is Haiku in Poppy. How I remembered that, I'll never know.

Eventually, I moved onto another job- cause a writer's gotta write, write, write, write, write, but the surprisingly glamorous world of indie yarn has stuck with me. It's been 4 years since I worked full time at Anzula, and the growth the company has experienced has been awe inspiring. Even though I wasn't physically helping to produce the product and get it out the doors anymore, I still had this very strong sense of pride for Anzula.

Three across in the truck all the way to Portland. You gotta love what you're doing to get that snuggly with each other!

Three across in the truck all the way to Portland. You gotta love what you're doing to get that snuggly with each other!

So fast forward to two Tuesdays ago- picture this. I'm actually sitting on my bed, my baby asleep for the first time in what feels 12 months and staring at my long abandoned collection of hexipuffs for my Beekeeper's Quilt. I'm thinking "Ugh, I wish I had time to actually finish projects and get some more one-on-one with my real true love- cashmere." when I get a text from Sabrina asking if I'd be interested in blogging. 

Show of hands, who else has a billion jars, vases and other receptacles around their house filled with their WIP hexipuffs?

Show of hands, who else has a billion jars, vases and other receptacles around their house filled with their WIP hexipuffs?

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR, of course I said yes! I can only sneak in so many hours a week to knit and crochet, but writing is different! I can do that without worrying about a tiny baby pulling the needles out of my project and having to pick up stitches. There's a lot less cursing involved in holding a skein of yarn and harnessing its power to share with the world. Game-changing opportunity.

So you'll be hearing from me, hopefully frequently, and I'm excited to be able to get a toe back into the waters of the knitting scene again. Is there a topic you're interested in hearing about, a yarn you want to know more about, pattern ideas, close parallels drawn between worsted weight and your high school crush- hit me up in the comments and I'll do my best to make it happen!