Introducing: Serenity

We're so happy to introduce Serenity!

Serenity in Hippo, Freesia, Charcoal, and Saffron

Serenity in Hippo, Freesia, Charcoal, and Saffron

Serenity is a fingering weight yarn made 4 plies of of creamy white cashmere. We had it twisted just enough to create a yarn that will be more durable than many cashmere yarns, yet still unbelievably soft, and also plump and round so that every stitch pops.

We made this yarn with stitchers of all types in mind. We wanted it to be a dream to work with. (And trust me, it is. I stretched out my secret sample knit for as long as possible).

The stitch definition on this yarn is incredible.

Serenity knit.

Serenity knit.

Just look at those cables! 

Are you dyeing to try out this yarn? (We really can't help ourselves).

You'll see this yarn appearing in shops this month, just in time to start making luxuriously cozy treasures for fall and winter. We recommend keeping these for yourself, although a particularly knitworthy/crochetworthy/weaveworthy loved one would treasure whatever you make from Serenity for-ev-er. Maybe you should make two... ya know, just in case. ;)

Serenity in Hippo, Lapis, and Elephant.

Serenity in Hippo, Lapis, and Elephant.

You can find Serenity at these shops:
McKnittey.com - Online only
Amazing Threads - Maple Grove, MN
Bliss Yarns - Brentwood, TN
Knit One Purl Two - Rockford, IL
Knitting Store - Oceanside, NY
Knitting to Know Ewe - Newton, PA
Needle Tree - Greenville, SC
Spun - Ann Arbor, MI
Woolly & Co - Birmingham, IL and online
Yarn Garden - Charlotte, MI

We have more Serenity in the dye pots for Loops and Yarn Kandy, and more shops so check back for updates.

As always, you can place a special order at your local Anzula shop for any of our yarns, we will dye it just for you and send it to your LYS.

Let's dream about what we'll make. What's your favorite type of project for super special skeins? Tell me in the comments!

Meet the Yarn: Milky Way, Part 2

Milky Way

80% Milk Protein, 20% Superwash Merino
+/- 500 yd / 457 m
8.5-9 sts / in US #1

Milky Way in Au Natural

Jill introduced Milky Way last May. In this post, I'll investigate how it behaves with a crochet hook.

What is Milky Way? It's categorized as a light fingering weight; Anzula creates skeins that are generous, about 500 yards (114g)! The fiber composition is 80% Milk Protein, 20% Super-wash Merino and it's a multi (four)-ply yarn.

This is also the first Anzula yarn I began to work with, so it is my favourite. Ok, one of my favourites--in truth I love them all. When I first saw it I knew it begged for a crochet hook. I enjoy knitting with it, but I think this yarn really shines in crochet.

While the milk protein creates quite a bit of grab when worked up, I found this yarn can be prone to more slipping than I expected. Yes, hand winding 500 yards sounds tedious, however I now recommend it. Why? I often mistreat my working yarn and it gets tossed in a project bag and while protected, those bags often get shoved into other bags. That can very quickly create a tangled mess that I've found doesn't happen with hand-wound balls. This is, in my opinion, a feature of the yarn and once I knew to work with it I no longer ran into issues. I'll post a photo of that further down in the post. It's not pretty (or fun to untangle).

The four plies of this yarn can split, but I found I was less likely to cause this with a pointed hook than a rounder one. I can attest that you can work and rework and rework the yarn again. I have a design I've been working on for almost five years that has survived a significant amount of ripping and do-overs.

What is this yarn good for? Any project where you want beautiful drape. Should you measure hanging gauge for this yarn? This will change depending on many factors from your basic gauge and stitch pattern to the construction of your project. If you are concerned, then I urge you to measure your swatch! I plan to cover a comparison of hanging gauges for different yarns in a future post (I need to figure out how to photograph them). With the high percentage of inelastic milk protein, if you are expecting ribbing to behave, I would call in some supplemental elastic to reinforce it.

I love this yarn in a half double crochet; that's my default crochet stitch though it's also lovely in both single and double crochet. It creates beautiful drape at 5 spi in single crochet. I love how the yarn takes the dye and works into crochet stitches. How does a simple crochet stitch compare to a knit swatch? I have a certain reputation as a "tiny knitter" and couldn't resist working it up on 2mm needles creating a stockinette fabric of 9 SPI. Wow. It's lovely, and the drape is amazing at this gauge.

Knit and crochet swatches of Milky Way in simple stitches: stockinette, garter stitch, single, half-double, and double crochet.

Knit and crochet swatches of Milky Way in simple stitches: stockinette, garter stitch, single, half-double, and double crochet.

How is this in a tried and true granny square? It pops next to garter stitch. I worried the motif would be flat and lifeless. It isn't. Do be careful when trimming yarn ends after working them in, I almost nipped the motif and the wayward ends want to be in the photos.

Milky Way granny square swatch next to garter stitch.

Milky Way granny square swatch next to garter stitch.

When I created my texture swatch I discovered a new love. Because this is a light fingering weight you can play with textured stitches that otherwise might add unwanted bulk or warmth to a project. I know this will create lovely garments and accessories.

Milky Way crochet texture swatch.

Milky Way crochet texture swatch.

This simple lace surprised me. This is the swatch where I had some issues with split stitches and a hook switch solved my problem. While this swatch is unimaginative, upon blocking my apathy to this particular swatch grew into adoration. I think it would be great for transitional and warm weather wear. The merino adds a hint of warmth without being overbearing.

Net stitch in Anzula Milky Way.

Net stitch in Anzula Milky Way.

The slight issue with my slippery yet sticky yarn? Here's a nice picture of a mistreated yarn cake. I found if I wasn't paying attention to my work area and some cat fur wound its way in, the result was super sticky stitches.

A Milky Way yarn cake that had a minor mishap.

A Milky Way yarn cake that had a minor mishap.

To end on a positive note, in addition to a baby/child cardigan that I hope to finalize and publish soon, based on the work in writing this post I now have sketches for accessories in textured and laces stitches. I'll try to release them soon!

Pile of Anzula Milky Way swatches.

Pile of Anzula Milky Way swatches.

All Milky Way swatches were worked in the Seaside colorway.

Meet the Yarn: For Better or Worsted, part 2

Hi. I’m Penny. I’ve crocheted for over 30 years. My knitting experience is different—the technique only made sense to me in 2005, and I began to spin two years later. I’ve improved both skills at the same time—how yarn is made and how yarn becomes knit. Crochet wasn’t forgotten and I continued to choose yarns that echoed the characteristics of those I’d always used—smooth thread or fine weights. If I did venture into different yarns, my results didn’t meet my expectations based on my experiences with them knit. I wasn’t able to find an accessible resource explaining how yarns work in crochet.

When Jill began her “Meet the Yarn” series in Anzula yarns, I realized that here was an opportunity to answer my crochet questions. I am delighted to explore how each of Anzula’s yarns work from a crochet perspective.

In this new series, I’ll explore how the different construction of each yarn—the fiber composition, the structure (how it is spun and plied), and the weight—create specific results in crochet. While I am not diving deeply into specific gauges, I plan to answer how the yarn behaves as it is worked-up. Does it split? Is it easy to rip out and rework? Does it shine as one stitch and underwhelm in others or is it one that works with a variety of textures and motifs? Are there projects where I think it works best? I plan to explore the stitches in general, not focusing on gauge, though I may return to explore how extremes may influence a yarn. I believe that rules can be broken, I urge you to explore these yarns on your own and make your own discoveries.

We’ll begin with a powerhouse yarn for knitting—For Better or Worsted. This 4-ply yarn features super-wash merino, cashmere, and nylon. It’s a knitter’s dream, as Jill mentioned, this yarn is yummy, cushy, and soft. So, how is it for crochet?

Traditional crochet projects are often worked in thin, smooth thread. In knitting, the loops form the face of the fabric, so a yarn of this weight is appealing to modern knitters. It will work up quickly and the fabric isn’t burdensome in its bulk. However, by contrast, crochet stitches are stacked, the sides of each loop form the front and back of the fabric, creating a thicker denser fabric when worked in the same yarn.

A swatch of For Better or Worsted in stockinette with a garter stitch border (left), next to a single crochet swatch (right).

A swatch of For Better or Worsted in stockinette with a garter stitch border (left), next to a single crochet swatch (right).

We can see this when we contrast a stockinette swatch with a garter stitch border next to a single crochet swatch. This thickness and density is not necessarily a negative against For Better or Worsted, it is something we need to keep in mind when we choose a project. I think it is also why I personally lean toward lighter weight yarns for many of my crochet projects, though there are circumstances where this is a desired characteristic.

I found For Better or Worsted lovely to work-up, due to the worsted spinning of the yarn (not to be confused with the worsted weight). The four plies combine to add both strength and loft to the yarn and the ten percent cashmere adds a touch of luxury that made it a delight to both knit or crochet. There was no splitting or difficulty working any of my chosen stitches, even if I hard to rip them out more than once.

A swatch of For Better or Worsted beginning with single crochet and progressing through half-double and double crochet.

A swatch of For Better or Worsted beginning with single crochet and progressing through half-double and double crochet.

First is the swatch progressing from single crochet to half-double and ending with double crochet. While it’s worked at 16 stitches over 4in (10cm) I found that even the dense single crochet stitches have a beautiful drape after a light steam blocking.

I find it works in any of these basic stitches and looks great next to knitting too.

A swatch of For Better or Worsted in stockinette and garter stitch border (left), next to a crochet swatch of single crochet, half-double crochet, and double crochet (right, bottom-to-top).

A swatch of For Better or Worsted in stockinette and garter stitch border (left), next to a crochet swatch of single crochet, half-double crochet, and double crochet (right, bottom-to-top).

Next is what I think of as my default crochet motif, a granny square. It was very difficult to stop this one and break the yarn! It is super soft and squishy and begs to be used in accessories. I’d love to explore it in other motifs too.

A granny square in For Better or Worsted.

A granny square in For Better or Worsted.

The same is true for this texture. I was concerned that it might be extremely dense but, like the granny square, it shines.

Textured crochet stitch pattern in For Better or Worsted.

Textured crochet stitch pattern in For Better or Worsted.

Personally I am not a fan of even a mildly bulky net fabric, but this has grown on me. This swatch has only received a light steam block; I’m sure if I pinned it out the fabric would drape and create an accessory that would work during transitional seasons or an overactive air conditioner.

Net crochet stitch pattern in For Better or Worsted.

Net crochet stitch pattern in For Better or Worsted.

Now about that machine-washable characteristic: I am going to get over my fear and toss in all of these swatches the next time I do laundry. They’ll experience my normal choice, a warm wash and cold rinse. They’ll then be laid flat to dry. I’ll report in soon to let you know how they fair!

Crochet swatches in For Better or Worsted.

Crochet swatches in For Better or Worsted.

I could see a beautiful warm jacket with a textured stitch crocheted with this yarn. It is my opinion that it works best for accessories; warm mittens and hats come to mind. Shawls and wraps would be great too. I would love a cozy blanket to curl up with a book and my cats. As an example, Miriam Felton's Granny Log Cabin Blanket highlights the beauty of both knitting garter stitch and crochet; while she’s suggested Squishy or Dreamy I would love to work this up in For Better or Worsted!

This yarn is one that crocheters shouldn’t ignore.

All For Better or Worsted swatches were worked in Keola colorway.


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