I’m pretty lucky: I love knitting, sharing my joy with others and working with splendid yarns. There’s been a lot of lovely stuff coming into Wool & Grace lately. My exuberant sample knitting has a lot to do with my own selfish desire to play with these lovely fibers. Recently we received a heaping load of fingering weight yarns from Anzula, and being wrapped up in other projects, I haven’t had a chance to delve into these lovely yarns.
That is about to change. Right now, I’m just considering what I should knit up with these special yarns and I’m about to share that with you. Before I get started, let’s talk about our new fibers from Anzula: Squishy and Serenity.
Squishy is Anzula’s workhorse fingering weight yarn. It just happens to be a delicious and luxurious workhorse yarn. Squishy is a blend of mostly merino, with a dash of nylon (for durability) and cashmere (for sublime softness, of course). Squishy is soft and round with a lot of twist. It’ll give you great stitch definition, which makes it a great candidate for lace, color-work and cables. It’ll also be a breeze to knit. We have hand-dyed solids that give a bit of depth to the fabric you knit up. They happen to be solid enough that their hand-dyed quality won’t interfere with any stitch patterns you knit up. That said, this yarn makes stockinette stitch look like a ball gown. Squishy comes in plump, 385-yard skeins and they are $36 a skein.
Serenity has so many of the same qualities as Squishy: it’s soft, round with a ton of twist. It’s good for all of those same things that Squishy is good for. The thing is, it’s 100% cashmere. I mean, it’s 100% scrum-diddlyumpious, indulgent, beautiful and yummy cashmere yarn. Remember all those nice things I just said about Squishy? They all ring true for Serenity. The difference is that it’s cashmere, and you choose to indulge because you love yourself and you know you deserve it. Serenity skeins are 185 yards and $48.
Having said all of that, most of the patterns I mention below are great for Squishy and Serenity. There are a few that, IMHO, should be made in cashmere because they are timeless and lovely smaller pieces that would be treasured heirlooms for yourself or for loved ones. Now, let’s jump in.
I wrote about Carina Spencer’s designs last year, and I can’t remember if I mentioned her Rochambeau Cowlette. I like this lace cowl, which gets its edge from its shape. I like the idea of it worn like a piece of jewelry, and it’s light enough that it can be worn throughout the year. Using under 350 yards, one skein of Squishy or two skeins of Serenity will get this project done. I love that you get a lot of look with not-a-lot of yardage.
I love Crofton. It’s a modern triangular shawl, and it makes use of Squishy’s full skeins, but you add those pops of stripes with Squishy Skeinettes! That means, if you’re having trouble deciding between a big Squishy skein or their adorable Skeinettes, Crofton solves your problems. Having worked this sort of shawl before, I can also tell you that this is a fun way to learn and play with intarsia.
By the way, another great way to make use of the Squishy Skeinettes is with Aeque, a gradient cowl from Hilary Smith Callis. She wrote this lovely, wearable and simple cowl just for Squishy Skeinettes.
I’ve loved Julie Hoover’s wonderful vest pattern, Découverte, for a long time. It’s one of those pieces you can throw on over anything to add a distinctive and stylish touch to your look. Plus, it will wear all through the year. This piece is elegant and simple, which makes me think it might be my next sample-knitting project.
When our immensely talented Sarah came in wearing her Boxy sweater (pattern by Joji Locatelli) a couple a weeks ago, this family of sweaters jumped back on my radar. Joji has written this classic in a fingering-weight yarn, worsted-weight yarn, with buttoned sleeves and as a cape. I really like the v-neck version, which feels like a piece I could wear over shorts for a breezy evening at the beach just as easily as I could wear it in the winter.
Fresh off an entirely delightful Isabell Kraemer project, it’s easy to find lots of her patterns that would be fabulous for Squishy or Serenity, but I particularly like the various textures involved in her Plein Soleil shawl. There’s always a little something going on… but not too much. In the end, you’ll have a scrumptious and chic shawl to wear and love.
When I do my holiday shopping, I often come across absolutely beautiful cashmere beanies at boutiques and department stores that are $150 or more. Of course the first thought to run through my head is “I could make that” and you could do. These hats are always elegantly simple, and therefore easy to knit. Maybe you’ll make something simple like Ann Patterson’s Morning Walk Hat (pictured above). Or consider adding some texture or color with something like Jared Flood’s Treefolds or add in some color-work like that of Contrariwise from Elizabeth Elliott (pictured below).
Squishy is soft and lovely, but it’s a yarn that works hard and plays hard, too. While everything about it is lovely, don’t be afraid to put it to work! As for Serenity, Anzula has created a yarn that is every bit of scrumptious in one of the finest fibers out there. If you love knitting and crochet, you’ll love this yarn. We hope this has you feeling inspired, and ready to come see these lovely yarns for yourself!