Monday, September 23, 2013

See It Swatched #1: Anzula Cloud

Welcome to the first installment to what I hope is a regular feature here on this blog - See it Swatched. My goal is to try out new yarns (and sometimes revisit old favorites), sharing my thoughts and feedback as well as showing what each yarn looks knitted, crocheted, and woven; since I'm not a weaver, I'll be using my Schacht Zoom Loom for the woven swatch. I admit that I am not a very enthusiastic swatcher, so I thought that this would be a good way for me to make friends with the swatching process and maybe even learn a few things along the way. I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for this new feature so that I can refine the concept for future posts! 

Anzula Cloud

A few years ago, a friend gifted me a skein of Anzula Cloud. It was beautiful in the skein, but that was nothing compared to the experience of knitting with it, much less wearing the finished garment! I ended up using it for the second Stephen West Mystery KAL, Rockefeller. I paired it with some Malabrigo Sock that I had in my stash, which proved to be a winning combination. The resulting shawl is incredibly soft, yet it hasn't pilled despite being one of my go-to shawls. I was impressed at the crisp stitch definition for the colorwork and eyelets. Talk about a team player - this yarn plays well with others. 

Fast-forward to the June TNNA show this year, where I found myself gushing in the Anzula booth as I squished many a yarn skein. They kindly allowed me to take a skein home, and after much debate, I chose a skein of Cloud in Seaside. I didn't yet know that I would be using it to make several swatches in addition to the design I'll be making, but either way, I don't have to worry much about running out of yarn - each skein boasts a whopping 575 yards. 
I started by casting on for a knit swatch using some US#1 Karbonz fixed circular needles. After working in stockinette for a bit, I began to get bored and decided to pull out a stitch dictionary to spice things up. There was a lotus blossom lace pattern I've been eyeing from The Stitch Collection that was absolutely begging to be knit in Cloud. Again, don't let the softness of the skein fool you: your lace project will look stunning in this yarn. Even as I was knitting it, I had to stop to admire the lovely stitch definition - and then I blocked it and was even more in love!
Next, I decided to try my hand at a crochet swatch. I'm still pretty new to the world of crocheting, and since re-learning via a Craftsy class, I've mostly used my skills to make amigurumi critters and little else. It's been years since I've attempted a granny square, though that is how I originally learned to crochet (never mind the fact that I promptly forgot!). I happened to be leafing through one of my vintage crochet pattern booklets and saw a granny square diagram that I thought I could handle and grabbed a size G aluminum crochet hook. I was a little worried that this would be way too big since the yarn is so fine, but it ended up being absolutely perfect. 

I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed crocheting with this yarn - and again, the stitches all looked so well-defined, only to be helped along by a nice blocking in Eucalan. I haven't published any crochet designs (yet), but I may have to do so soon - with such excellent yardage, Cloud is the perfect choice for crocheters who would like to add a little luxury to their routine. 
Finally, I broke out my Zoom Loom to whip up a quick woven sample. Since the other two swatches showed hints of subtle color variation, I thought for sure this would be the case for the woven swatch, but Cloud surprised me yet again: the color variations appear to blend in to create a nearly uniform-colored woven swatch. If I look closely enough, I can begin to see hints of variances, but the overall effect is surprisingly consistent. Of course, a small 4" woven square will behave much differently that a larger woven piece, but I still think it's an interesting phenomenon, especially alongside its knit and crochet cohorts. 

The Stats:

Fiber Content: 80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon
Yardage: 575 yards
Weight:  Light Fingering/3-ply
Recommended Needle Size: US#1-US#4

Click here to visit the Anzula Yarn website

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