Pattern Spotlight: Juniper Spur by Taiga Hilliard

Every now and then, a designer creates something totally and completely perfect. That’s how I feel about Juniper Spur by Taiga Hilliard. A couple of months ago she asked if she could design something with our Squishy Skeinettes and asked for a couple of different sets. I was a little confused about the packs she chose. I couldn’t see how they were going to work together.

juniper spur taiga hilliard anzula squishy rainbow mini skeins skeinettes shawl

She used all the right colors, and left out all the ones she didn’t need. A couple of weeks ago she send us this shawl and we were all instantly in love. Sooo, Becca and I realized we needed to make a new pack of Skeinettes especially for this shawl.

Squishy Skeinettes Chain in Rainbow

Squishy Skeinettes Chain in Rainbow

And because Becca is obsessed with blue, she put together these gorgeous Ocean Blues…

Squishy Skeinettes Chain in Ocean Blues

Squishy Skeinettes Chain in Ocean Blues

You can find the pattern for Juniper Spur on Ravelry here. Make sure to check out how amazing that fringe really is.

I love Taiga’s original combo, but I know I have some dark side friends, so I paired them up with Charcoal as well. Which one is your favorite? Tell me which one and why in the comments!

If you’re ready to cast on you can find Squishy Skeinette Chains at these LYS:

Four Purls in Winter Haven, FL

Yarn Refuge in Reno, NV

The Knitting Store in Oceanside, NY

Knitting Off Broadway in Fort Wayne, IN

DMarie Knit & Fiber in Prairie Du Sac, WI

Yarning for You in San Marcos, CA

If you don’t see a shop near you give one of these shops a call. I’m certain any of these shops would be more than happy to mail yarn to you!

Pattern Spotlight: Zora by Jennifer Wood

I’m one of those knitters that always has at least 2-1,000,000 things on the needles. Of course, there’s always one project that pulls my attention more than the others, and Zora has been one of them.

I. Love. This. Shawl.

I only had to cast on a few stitches to get started, one the reasons I love shawls so much. There’s enough going on to keep me interested, but not so much that I can’t take it with me. Once you get it going, it’s so easy to “read your knitting” which means I can look at the pattern less. I don’t get to completely ignore the pattern, but I’m not staring at it counting every stitch. Some good stitch markers and I can even watch some not-too-intense TV. (GoT might be a bit much for this pattern, but honestly, who can knit while watching GoT?!)

zora jennifer wood woodhouseknits wood house knits anzula squishy miniskeins mini skeins skeinettes temperance citizenskein yellow grellow gray grey

Jennifer started with our Squishy Skeinettes in Citizen Skein, our gray gradient pack, and added a skein of Squishy in Temperance for a pop of color. I put together more color combos I thought would work really will with this pattern; Citizen Skein and either Alice, Au Natural, Garnet, Poppy, or Temperance. What do you think?

You can find Zora Yarn Bundles in these shops:

  • The Tinsmith’s Wife in Comfort, TX

  • Knitique in Elk Grove, CA

  • Swisher’s Yarn Basket in Danville, PA

  • The Nifty Knitter in Issaquah, WA

You can also special order these from any shop that carries Anzula. We have a few ready to go, so if you’re quick, there’s no wait! (Shop owners, you’ll find these in stock now in our wholesale shop here. Shoot me an email if you need access).

The best thing about this shawl is how easy it will be to wear once it’s done. This shape is so comfy and easy!

zora shawl03.jpg

We love working with designers, so if you have an idea, tell us about it here! We welcome submissions from all levels in any fiber craft.

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!