Meet the Yarn: Luster

Jill Wolcott

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. 1 skein plus a second yarn 6 skeins (5 colors) 2 colors 1 skein 3 skeins, size small 4 skeins 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:
Twitter: @jillwolcottknit
Instagram: @jillwolcottknits
Pinterest: Jill Wolcott Knits 

If Billy the Kid can play Croquet...

It's not often enough that Fresno, CA- the home of Anzula, gets into the Trending Sidebar on Facebook. However, over the last few days, sandwiched between the usual Politics + Gossip there has been a story about a photograph of Billy the Kid playing croquet that was found in a Fresno antique shop and is now valued to at around $5 million. 

Now, I'm a fan of the smooth segue, so watch me turn this around to be about yarn.

Wait, those croquet balls look peculiar...

Billy the Kid, an outlaw with well over 15 men who found themselves at the wrong end of his gun, played Croquet. It kind of shakes everything up that you ever thought about Billy the Kid (while simultaneously giving a little more credibility to the goofy Billy the Kid from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure).

If he played croquet, then why not picture him knitting. Can't you see it? After a long, hard day of fighting the sheriff's posse and running from the law, Mr. The Kid kicking back with his boots up and knitting a pair of socks by campfire light. Totally plausible, right? Or do they only do the campfire thing in the movies?

Anyway, Anzula has a line of yarn named Croquet that is simply killer. (see what I did there?) This DK weight made of 50% Superwash Merino and 50% Tussah Silk basically is the sharpshooter of luxury yarns. And just like Billy the Kid, it has a softer side. Okay, so maybe all of the sides are soft. It's yarn. 

From the second your hands touch the skein it feels like heaven. This yarn produces garments with amazing drape and is perfect for sweaters. The silk gives it a gorgeous sheen that rivals the sun at high noon.

While they might be gorgeous, croquet balls made of Croquet by Anzula may not travel very far when hit with a croquet mallet. 

While they might be gorgeous, croquet balls made of Croquet by Anzula may not travel very far when hit with a croquet mallet. 

Unlike a cold-hearted outlaw, Anzula's yarns use only wool from a source that does not participate in mulesing, making our Superwash Merino a kinder choice. 

So what would I recommend to Billy the Kid if he were looking for a pattern to knit in Croquet? 

I would definitely have to be a cowlette like this Camille Cowlette from Taiga Hillard Designs- it looks like a handkerchief, without the potential disaster of coming undone at that moment of really needing it to cover the face whilst train robbing or shooting, or doing any of those other old-timey-wild-west things.

Channel your inner "Billy the Kid, who BTW totally plays croquet" and knit one for yourself!