Sunday, 15 February 2015

Summer and knitting; are they mutually exclusive?

My Judith Shrug originally knit to wear at my brother's wedding last January
This may surprise some people but I love to knit all year round. For some people knitting is thought of as something only done during the autumn and winter. Admittedly getting all cozy on the couch with a bundle of soft, warm yarn is a very inviting idea during the cooler months of the year, but I cannot hold myself back and restrict this craft to the cold half of the year.

So, what do I knit during the summer? Well, let's be practical about it and choose projects wisely. Knitting a large blanket should be a project saved for the coldest part of winter so that you can snuggle under the blanket as you progress through it. Small projects like socks, hats and baby items are suitable summer time knitting because you are less likely to get swamped by masses of knitted fabric while you are trying to stay cool.

Chibi Maruko cowl I knit as a last minute gift 
This summer I have worked on a pair of Rye socks, a Chibi Maruko cowl, an Ava beret and a High-Water jumper for Sir S. The jumper has been the only slightly bigger project that I didn't feel like picking up during a hot and humid spell.

Another tip for comfortable summer knitting is to select a thinner yarn or one made of cooling fibres such as cotton, linen, bamboo or hemp. I have knit two projects with fingering weight yarn (4ply) and they have been light to touch merino yarns that haven't left a clamminess on the hands as I worked with them. I also have in my stash some lovely Quince & Co. Sparrow which is an organic linen yarn which I'm keen to try knitting with some time this year.

Quince & Co. Sparrow in my stash
You can also knit a lace project during the summer time. The lightness and airiness of many lace patterns will help you to avoid that uncomfortable bulkiness often associated with cold weather yarn craft. Casting on a lacey linen project such as the Nyanen Tee would make an exciting summer knitting experience in my humble opinion.

When it comes to wearing knitted garments I don't restrict that to the winter months either. We have had a very cool summer this year in Melbourne and that has allowed me to dress both the kids as well as myself in woollens on occasion. It has been possible to throw a Clemmentine Shrug or Immie Tee on Miss L as we head out the door on a cool morning or dress Sir S in his Purl Soho Easy pullover during an outdoor birthday party. Even today with a forecast of 36 degrees Celsius I comfortably wore my Judith Shrug to church in the morning.

Wearing my Judith Shrug to church this morning.
These items are all pretty trans-seasonal but since I love playing around with different types of garment construction and different types of yarns I have my eye on some summer specific patterns too. You can knit lightweight tees and singlets with linen, cotton or bamboo. Pretty little dresses and tunics for little girls such as Hannah Fettig's Sweet Pleat is perfect for adventures in the sunshine.

Miss L getting another year out of her Immie Tee
Do you wear knitted garments during the warmer months too? What craft activities do you prefer to do during the summer?

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