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Luce yarn from Red Heart – An Italian Story continues

Yesterday I reviewed Ora, a bulky weight yarn from Red Heart An Italian Story. In this post, I’m continuing An Italian Story with Luce, a fluffy, shimmery yarn that blends nylon, acrylic, mohair, and polyester fibers.

Luce is Italian for light. This yarn shines with the addition of tiny sequins, just ⅛” [3mm] in diameter. The yarn has three strands of brushed plies that give it a soft halo. The strand that has the sequins in it is a smooth, shimmery strand, the sheen of which can be seen in the ball.

Luce has both a shimmer and a halo, a combination that will make elegant knits!
Luce has both a shimmer and a halo, a combination that will make elegant knits!

Luce is attractively packaged in “European” style balls, which are intended to be drawn from the outside. A piece of twill tape threaded through the center of the ball attaches the “ball band” to the ball of yarn.

Luce comes in 8 colors. I chose Notte, a midnight blue (in the photo above), and Rosa, a dusty rose with a hint of peach. The other colors are Bianco (white), Granite (a light gray), Pietro, which means Peter in Italian, but the color is actually a rich medium gray, Sabia, a soft light caramel color, Verde (a rich green), and Vino, a deep red that, with Verde, would make great Christmas knits.

These two strands of Luce show it all: the shimmery polyester and nylon strand, the sequins, and the halo from the brushed mohair and acrylic plies
These two strands of Luce show it all: the shimmery polyester and nylon strand, the sequins, and the halo from the brushed mohair and acrylic plies

The best way to work with a ball of yarn that’s prepared in this way is to use a yarn bowl. A yarn bowl is usually made of wood or pottery, and it has a “J” shaped cutout on the side (sometimes it is a reverse “J”).

Place the ball of yarn into the bowl and take the yarn from the outside of the ball. Tuck the strand down into the hook of the “J” shaped notch. I find that some yarns tend to pop out of the notch, and have learned that when this happens, I can minimize the problem by turning the bowl a quarter turn away from me.

This yarn is ready to knit! The color is called Rosa.
This yarn is ready to knit! The color is called Rosa.

The recommended gauge for Luce is 19 stitches to 4″ [10cm] using size 6 [4mm] needles. This gauge is between Aran and worsted weight yarn. I chose size 7 [4.5mm] needles, and cast on 40 stitches, thinking that I’d get a worsted weight tension of 20 sts to 4″ [10cm]. I actually got the 19 stitches recommended on the ball band! I have to say, this gauge is exactly right for the yarn: it gives a fabric that is firm, with a soft drape.

This sample shows Luce in garter stitch, stockinette stitch and reverse stockinette stitch. It was interesting to see how the sequins catch the light differently with the 3 stitches.
This sample shows Luce in garter stitch, stockinette stitch and reverse stockinette stitch. It was interesting to see how the sequins catch the light differently with the 3 stitches.

Luce is not an all-purpose yarn – for example, the sequins might be scratchy on the forehead if it was made into a hat. Still, a hat can be lined!

Luce will shine (pun intended) in other applications, though. I ordered Rosa and Notte (rose and navy) in my order. At the time, I didn’t have a purpose for it, but as I knitted my swatch, I was reminded of a cotton and silk stole I brought back from China for a friend several years ago. If I do stockinette stripes in rose and reverse stockinette stripes in navy, make the stripes wider (in rows) than the ones in my swatch, and make the whole piece wide enough, I can make a stole or even an afghan.

Well, would you look at that: my swatch inspired a complete pattern! As I knitted, other ideas came along: do I want to make side borders in the same color as the top and bottom borders, or do I want to flow the color of each stripe right to the edges?

I really like the idea of making an afghan out of Luce. It will “glam up” your living room, whether you make it in stripes as suggested above, or in a solid color. The 20% mohair content of Luce will make it a cozy piece to snuggle under while watching TV or reading a good book.

So, here’s my “instant design” for a stole. I’ve added cues in { } brackets in case you want to make an afghan. If you don’t want color stripes in your piece, buy the total number of balls for A and B and ignore references to the color changes.

I took this project with me on my recent trip to Australia and New Zealand. It drew several conversations, and I was able to knit about 50” [125cm] while waiting in airports and riding in coaches.
I took this project with me on my recent trip to Australia and New Zealand. It drew several conversations, and I was able to knit about 50” [125cm] while waiting in airports and riding in coaches.

Luce Stole {and afghan}

materials

3 balls Luce in Col A (Rosa) {6 balls}
3 balls Luce in Col B (Notte) {6 balls}
Size 7 [4.5mm] circular needles or size needed to obtain gauge

gauge19 sts to 4″ [10cm]

dimensions 18” [45cm] x 80” [200cm] approx. {48” [165cm] x 60” [150cm] approx.}

Note: pm stands for place a marker. The marker is placed to remind you to work the border stitches.

instructions

Cast on 80 {200} sts Col. A.
K 32 {44} rows (16 {22} ridges). Break A, Join B.
*Row 1: K across.
Row 2: K10 {15}, pm, p to last 10 {15} sts, pm, k to end.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for 4″ [10cm] {5½” [14cm]}. Break B, join A.
Knit 1 row.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for 4″ [10cm] {5½” [14cm]}, ending with a Row 1. (RS facing for next row.) Break A, join B.
CHECK: At every color change, there should be the same number of garter stitch ridges on the left and right borders on the right side of the work.
Rep from * until piece is 4″ [10cm] {5½” [14cm]} shorter than desired length, ending with Col B. Break B, join A.
K 32 {44} rows. Cast off all sts and weave in all ends.

It’s always fun when inspiration strikes as hard and as fast as it did for me with Luce. In my next post, we make a hat with Ombra, another chapter in Red Heart An Italian Story.

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: Ora – An Italian Story in a bulky knit

Go to part 4: The River Rib Toque in Ombra yarn

About Cynthia MacDougall

Cynthia MacDougall is a multi-discipline craft artist who teaches knitting. She has taught at venues from Kingston, Ontario to Olds, Alberta. A designer and technical writer since the mid-1990s, Cynthia is currently a contributor and knitting editor for A Needle Pulling Thread and KNITmuch magazines. She is also the owner of Canadian Guild of Knitters which she operates for the love of Knit!

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