Meet the Yarn: Dottie

Are you looking to knit with a new and different yarn? Anzula's newest, Dottie is for you!

It is 420 yards of a fingering/sock weight that is a blend of 80% Superwash Merino, 17% Acrylic, and 3% Polyester.

Dottie in Gravity

Dottie in Gravity

What?! Acrylic? Polyester?

Dottie is special, there is a tweedy effect created by the neps of black Acrylic. It creates a very unique fabric, as you'll see in the swatches below.

Dottie swatches

Dottie swatches

I personally find tweedy yarns very difficult to work with as I want to re-spin it into a smooth yarn. As they aren't a yarn I tend to choose on my own, I don't have much experience with them. That made this post much more educational for me than I expected when the yarn first arrived on my doorstep.

Tweed yarns sing best with simple stitches. We'll change things up in this post and I'll begin with crochet before I share the knitting.

My first swatch was a large one worked in single crochet. The structure of crochet traps the tweed neps into each stitch.

Dottie swatch, single crochet swatch

Dottie swatch, single crochet swatch

The effect changes slightly half-double and double crochet. While there is some stitch definition, it's subtle.

Dottie, crochet swatches

Dottie, crochet swatches

So what if you were to work different stitches? What happens with lack of sharp stitch definition?

I personally don't find the effect of combining this tweed yarn with a motif stitch exciting. That could change with a different hook or blocking. I sprayed this lightly with water and finger pulled it to its roughly square shape. This is why swatching is important!

Dottie, granny square swatch

Dottie, granny square swatch

Does it work in a texture stitch? This is the same stitch I've worked for all my other texture swatches. It's ok, however I feel the essence of the texture is lost in the tweed. Does that matter? Maybe, maybe not. If you enjoy this stitch why not work it?

Dottie, texture crochet swatch

Dottie, texture crochet swatch

Ok, lace. I think in a certain design, and at a different gauge and with attention blocking, it could work as an accent (or edging) to a piece worked in a more basic stitch.

Dottie, lace crochet swatch

Dottie, lace crochet swatch

What have I learned from these few humble swatches? That it's very important to swatch. Maybe you’ll love the look in a very different stitch, such as crocheted (post-stitch) cable. Maybe you'll decide that single-crochet is the way to go. This is a very different yarn in Anzula's current line-up and I think you'll be able to have lots of fun with this yarn.

Next up: knitting!

It looks different than when crocheted. There is still stitch definition in the stockinette section and the garter stitch looks very different.

Dottie, knit swatches

Dottie, knit swatches

I'm surprised by how much I want to squish this garter stitch swatch. I find the tweed neps fun in this swatch in a way they weren't in any of my crochet swatches.

Dottie, knit garter stitch swatch

Dottie, knit garter stitch swatch

The same is also true in this stockinette. It's a more subtle effect than in crochet in a way I'm not yet able to articulate.

Dottie, knit stockinette swatch

Dottie, knit stockinette swatch

Dottie is a unique yarn that I think will entice you to swatch (in either knit or crochet -- or both) to find the combination of stitch and gauge that speaks to you.

If you'd like to try Dottie, head to your favorite local yarn store on April 27th for Local Yarn Store Day and pick up a kit for a gorgeous knit shawl by Jen Lucas! It features stockinette and some slipped stitches in a contrast color for a unique look. Crocheters, as each kit includes 420 yards of Dottie and 3 mini skeins of Squishy, why not combine a simple crochet stitch with your favourite scarf or shawl recipe and have some creative fun?

Click this photo to find a list of shops!

Click this photo to find a list of shops!

All swatches are in the Teal colourway with 3.75mm needles and hooks, any perceived differences in shade are due to the photographer.

Dottie, yarn ends

Dottie, yarn ends

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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

Meet the Yarn: Serenity

My dictionary defines serenity as the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. It is true, I found that while working with this new 100% Cashmere fingering weight yarn all my worries disappeared, at least for a few moments. What is Anzula's new yarn, Serenity ? It is 185 yards (169 meters) of four softly plied strands of creamy white 100% cashmere. The bare fiber takes the dye beautifully and looks stunning in all the colorways that make Anzula yarns pure luxury.

You'll find a handy list of shops below.

Serenity in Au Natural

Serenity in Au Natural

As we've seen already from several designers, the stitch definition for knitted cables is stunning . It is also true for stripes and slipped stitch colorwork , I'll discuss lace later (spoiler -- it's lovely). Looking at beautiful photos and working with this yarn are two very different actions. I wish technology was at a point I could let you feel the swatches. The stockinette is soft and lets you see the hint of halo. The garter stitch is pure squish and in my opinion is pure serenity! My swatch became a micro (3.5in/9cm) comfort blanket.

Serenity, knitted swatches

Serenity, knitted swatches

So now that I've gushed about the knitting, how is the crochet? Does the slight halo of the lofty cashmere fibers adversely affect stitch definition? How does it drape?

Go get your crochet hook. You will want to work with this yarn and it loved every stitch I tossed at it. My stitch definition ranged from about 4-5 spi for my swatches and I need to figure out how to photograph the drape. I'm in love!

Serenity, crochet swatches simple stitches (single crochet, half-double crochet, and double crochet)

Serenity, crochet swatches simple stitches (single crochet, half-double crochet, and double crochet)

I apologize that these simple stitch swatches are flat, and you can't touch them. I wish I could capture them in a way to excite you. The depth created by the crochet stitch creates a warm texture without adding unwieldy bulk. The single crochet swatch (at 4in/10cm square) has given the garter stitch a fierce challenge to become the swatch I carry everywhere.

Serenity, crochet swatches simple stitches (single crochet, half-double crochet, and double crochet)

Serenity, crochet swatches simple stitches (single crochet, half-double crochet, and double crochet)

When I make the swatches, the granny square is most often made first. It took control to stop, which was true of every swatch. A draft of this post was delayed because after laying it out on my desk, I rested my head and took a quick nap.

Serenity, crochet swatch - granny square

Serenity, crochet swatch - granny square

If the depth of the plain stitches or the granny square didn't impress you, let me offer this textured swatch. It is not bulky and offers as beautiful a drape as the single crochet.

Serenity, crochet swatch - texture swatch

Serenity, crochet swatch - texture swatch

I'll confess that the swatch I love the least is only because it's late November here in the Northeast. I gravitate away from delicate lace this time of year. From my tiny swatch, I know that it is stunning, and know it could be scrunched in the morning when it's extra chilly. As the warmth of the day arrives, the lace could emerge. It looks beautiful in open knitted stitches too.

Serenity, crochet swatch - lace

Serenity, crochet swatch - lace

The nature of crochet stitches mean yardage for a project is always a concern. While I've not completed final maths, my 4in/10cm single crochet square weights 5.22g. By my quick estimates that means you could make a small one skein project! In single crochet you could make a cowl of approximately 6in/15cm width and 26in/66cm length.

Yes, gauge and stich choice will influence what you can make but one skein projects are possible!

With that generous yardage I urge crocheters to feel confident to pick up a skein of this luxury yarn their crochet hooks and give it a try.

You will find Serenity in all of these shops:

California

Twisted Skein

Connecticut

Stars Hollow Yarns

Florida

Castle Creek
Dixie Knits
Four Purls
Knitting Garden
Knitty Gritty

Illinois

Knit One Purl Two

Michigan

Crafty Lady Trio
Knotted Needle
Spun
Woolly & Co
Yarn Garden

Minnesota

Amazing Threads

Missouri

The Village Yarnery

New Jersey

Wool & Grace

New Mexico

Yarn Store at Nob Hill

New York

Brooklyn General
The Knitting Room
The Knitting Store

North Carolina

Bella Filati
Silver Threads & Golden Needles

Oklahoma

Loops

Pennsylvania

Knitting to Know Ewe

South Carolina

The Needle Tree

Tennessee

Bliss Yarns

Texas

McKnittey

Serenity, knit and crochet swatches

Serenity, knit and crochet swatches

All swatches are in a one-of-a-kind colourway very similar to Orchid, worked with 3.75mm needles and a 3mm crochet hook. 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 Serenity in our gorgeous Nubivagant Kits, shop list here.

Meet the Yarn: Luster

Jill Wolcott
passion.fashion.knits

Miles Davis said he had to quit playing ballads because he loved them so much.  Not sure what a ballad is?  Check this list, you have probably heard many of them. I had to step away from Luster in the same way!  Luster is a fingering version of It Could Be Worsted. As much as I enjoyed It Could Be Worsted, fingering is more my gauge.  I almost lost myself on the swatches of twisted stitch rib with cables and lace from the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible.

I have done my usual exploration swatch of garter, stockinette, seed, and 1x1 rib. The yummy blend of 50% super wash merino and 50% tussah silk means it looks good in all types of stitches. Tussah silk is not as refined as some silk filaments, so you get little bits of variation in the fiber.

The yardage for Luster is 405 yards or 370 meters to 114g or 4 ounces.  I used a US size 3(3.25mm) needle.  The exploration swatch used 40g, I have approximately 36g remaining unknit, and so my other swatches used about 38g.  I know what I’m going to do with the unknit Luster—because I have an other skein which I’m going to knit up — it will become accents.

So let’s get to the details so you can start having Luster-ous dreams:  

Do note that there isn’t a lot of change in gauge from unblocked to blocked, but that the stitch pattern gauges vary quite a bit.  I used the same needles throughout my swatches.  Every stitch looks great in this yarn.  Knit it tight enough to counteract the in-elasticity of the silk, and to insure even stitches.  I love it in the twisted stitches, but I need a different skein for that because the other one I picked up is multi-colored.  This is a yarn worth waiting for!

8 rows of stitch pattern 162 from the Japanese Knitting Bible.

8 rows of stitch pattern 162 from the Japanese Knitting Bible.

I love looking at the projects and stashes on Ravelry.  Prices online vary from $33 per skein to close to $37 per skein.  A shawl or project taking two skeins will cost about $70-75 and to my thinking, that is a nice price for the hours of knitting pleasure you will get.  Then, of course you get to wear it!

I do a cost analysis for my yarn based on knitting time.  I recently worked up a project in 1 skein of Sport with similar yardage and spent about 12 hours knitting.  Double that if you use 2 skeins.  That means it costs $3.125 an hour.  About the same as the cost of my Saturday double espresso.  That does not take into account the future wearing.  

Seeing photos of a yarn worked up is always a good way to take its measure.  Here are some Luster projects I selected from the 158 listed on Ravelry.  I added the number of skeins used — so you can do the cost math.  There are 203 stash entries on Ravelry, and of the six listed for sale or trade, two are just the remainder from projects knitted. 

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/panfila/ever-again 1 skein plus a second yarn
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/MelKnitsInOly/zucchero 6 skeins (5 colors)
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/sixfoursgirl/kiss-me-romper 2 colors
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mysisterknits/purless 1 skein
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/rindab/hitofude-cardigan 3 skeins, size small
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/Summ/santa-rosa-plum 4 skeins
https://www.ravelry.com/projects/hellogirl100687/im-winging-it-sweater-xxxvii-discreet-faux-isle unknown, but sweater appears to be an XS.

Looks like there is plenty of user satisfaction!  Take a look, then purchase a skein or two and set sail on your next beautiful knitted thing!

You’ll find more great pattern ideas for Luster on our Pinterest page!

Keep up on all things Jill Wolcott:
Contact: jill@jillwolcottknits.com
Blog:  http://www.jillwolcottknits.com/category/blog/
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