We don’t carry very much Lana Grossa yarn at Wool & Grace, but when a couple new arrivals came in for fall, we all stepped back for a moment to go “ooooh” and “aaaah.” Fusione and Mary’s Tweed are two new yarns from this line. Both yarns come in a rich, autumnal color palette and each colors – for both yarns – have interest flecks of color and texture that add to their richness. I’ve just completed a sample using Mary’s Tweed and Carrie has just completed a sweater using Fusione. Since we seem to learn most about a yarn and understand its versatility best when we spend some time with it on the needles, we each have something to say about these yarns and all the different things we can imagine them to be.
Fusione is easy to appreciate in a ball. Technically, it’s an aran-weight blend of cotton, alpaca, wool and nylon. It comes in squishy and soft balls of yarn, 155 yards each. It has a loose twist to it, and this gives you a lot of flexibility when choosing gauge with this yarn. Carrie made a gorgeous version of the Cocoknits sweater, Emma – and this is at a gauge of 12 stitches/4” – much looser than the typical 16 stitches/4” I think of for most aran-weight yarns. By the way, Carrie’s Emma sweater is beautiful, and there’s a light and feminine quality to the fabric of this sweater worked at this gauge. Carrie observed that holding this yarn at this gauge makes a fabric that is less bulky (and ultimately more flattering to wear) – a point concurred by Julie Weisenberger in her Cocoknits Method Book.
Meanwhile, our innovative Maggie has been coming up with her own pattern using Fusione and and she remarked to me the other day about how light and soft it is. She’s coming up with a two color cow, and we can’t wait to see how it all pans out.
When I asked Carrie about this yarn she noted that it was really soft on the hands and that there was a lot of depth to each color. If she had all the time in the world, she’d make a Carbeth cardigan or a Chunky Walnut using this yarn.
She’s right on the money, and we’ve had a lot of our knitters snatch up some Fusione for their own Carbeth. Remember last year’s Turtle Dove that was so popular (a free and flattering pattern from Espace Tricot)? Fusione would be a fabulous choice for that sweater, as well. And given how much you can play with Fusione’s gauge, you could make either version of Turtle Dove (it’s now written for 2 different yarn weights, Turtle Dove II is the lighter weight) – depending on whether you wanted your fabric to have more lightness and drape, or a more substantial and dense fabric.
I have a crush on Hinterm Stein’s new Big Flower Hug, and Fusione would be perfect for this. This triangular shawl is mostly garter stitch, with floral motifs stitched in throughout.
Amy Christoffer’s Felix Pullover has been hugely popular and is getting a ton of attention as a great “first sweater project.” This pattern is another beautiful choice for Fusione. Meanwhile, I’ve been stalking Petite Knits patterns over the past month, and I think a Sunday Sweater knit up in Fusione sounds like the right amount of cozy for this cold-weather season.
Since a big part of me wants to carry a ball of Fusione around with me all the time just for snuggles, I also think it’d be a great yarn for a cowl, cape or poncho that you can throw on over a sweater or jacket. I think Fusione would make a fantastic Two Point Cowl or Half & Half Cowl, two patterns from Churchmouse which are cozy and simple to knit.
I mentioned that I’ve just completed a project in Mary’s Tweed and that happens to be Andrea Mowry’s Weekender. Patty narrowed in on this pattern because, in essence, Mary’s Tweed functions as a really lovely, workhorse worsted-weight yarn, and the Weekender kind of asks for something like that. I’ll be the first to point out that in the ball, it’s hard to see all of the qualities of Mary’s Tweed. While it feels a bit stiff in the ball, it softens substantially with knitting alone. A good wet-blocking brings out all the beautiful qualities of this yarn. It’s incredibly soft with flecks of tweed. It reminds me of HiKoo’s Kenzie (another yarn I love), but it feels less wooly and more light. It’s a light worsted-weight blend of alpaca, wool, silk and nylon, and it really feels like a fabric that you could wear comfortably throughout three seasons. It has great stitch definition so it’ll do beautifully with lace, cables, color-work or other texture. And because I see it as a “very lovely workhorse worsted-weight yarn” I think it has infinite potential about what it could knit up into. It’s obviously a wonderful sweater yarn, but will also make beautiful scarves, hats and mitts – and it just so happens to lend itself nicely to masculine knits, as well.
Beyond the Weekender, I think Mary’s Tweed would knit beautifully into a Cedar Point (a free pattern from Espace Tricot) or a Stalactite (a cozy sweater by Camille Rosselle from Laine’s Issue 4). Both of these patterns have a hint of color-work and Mary’s Tweed has a sophisticated palette that will bring a so much to these projects.
I wear my Guernsey Wrap (a classic Brooklyn Tweed pattern) constantly, and I think Mary’s Tweed would highlight the texture of this project beautifully. I also love it for Laura Aylor’s January Thaw or Bough by Janina Kallio.
For some masculine scarves, check out the Dudester Scarf by Jana Pihota or The Bernard Scarf by Knox Mountain Knit Co. Both of these scarves have a handsome and straightforward texture, and Mary’s Tweed will bring each out so nicely.
Have some cable fun with this yarn while you’re knitting some hats – and give it a whirl making Whitney Hayward’s Brackett or Jared Flood’s Skiff. These are fantastically fun projects for someone who wants to dabble in cables and this better-than-basic tweed yarn. Mary’s Tweed really has the qualities to make a ton of beautiful stitches and you can definitely try to many interesting techniques and types of pieces with this yarn.
These new yarn from Lana Grossa feel like wonderful surprises at Wool & Grace. We didn’t really expect them or know what to expect of them. They’re really showing us that that they have a ton of potential and there are endless opportunities of knitting with them.