Keep knitting all summer long

There are lots of reasons knitters and crocheters slow down on their projects during the summer; but there are just as many, if not more, reasons to continue practicing your craft year-round!

  1. Nothing is worse than abandoning a project and trying to resuming it weeks, months or even years later having no idea where you left off.
  2. Running out of time to complete Christmas presents and other gifts can be frustrating and, let’s be honest, embarrassing.
  3. There are so many boat rides, soccer games, outdoor music events and hours of travel during which your hands could be active instead of idle.
  4. With the prevalence of audio books, there’s no reason you can’t accomplish your projects AND your summer reading simultaneously!
A beautiful triangle shawl with a stockinette base and lovely leaf motif, the Gingko Shoulderette is a lovely and lightweight shawl in Alpaca Silk from Blue Sky Alpacas.

The Gingko Shoulderette by Maggie Magali is a beautiful triangle shawl with a stockinette base and lovely leaf motif, shown in Alpaca Silk from Blue Sky Alpacas.

Of course, not every type of project is summer worthy. What you need is something lightweight, portable, and engaging without being too challenging. Here’s what I like to work on in the summer:

Shawls or wraps

Most shawls and wraps are worked in lightweight yarns to provide a little extra coverage for your shoulders on sunny days and cool nights. Lace designs generally require a needle or hook that is several sizes larger than is normally recommended. This creates an open, airy fabric that drapes well; plus, it helps the project move along a little faster. Choose a pattern with a simple stitch pattern repeat or basic chart to avoid a lot of confusion and constant review of the instructions.

Smocked Fingerless Mitts in Cascade 220Mittens, gloves and hats

Small, portable, with variations ranging from basic to almost baroque in design, mittens and hats are a fun way to practice, at the very least, working in the round, increasing and decreasing. They are also a low-commitment way to practice more advanced skills like cabling, color work, reading charts, and even lace. The best part is that you can use the fruits of your labor as gifts, whether for yourself, a friend or loved one, or a local charitable organization.

These adorable crochet baby booties (design by Bonita Patterns) are especially charming in a self-striping yarn.

These adorable crochet baby booties (design by Bonita Patterns) are especially charming in a self-striping yarn.

Socks

While they may seem intimidating to beginners, socks are a great project to have on the side during the summer. Not only are they extremely portable, but a basic sock only requires your undivided attention at the heels and toes—the rest is a matter of knitting round after round after round, pausing occasionally to gauge the length. Alternate your socks with other projects so you can continue making progress until you have time for the parts that demand more attention.

Ria in Berroco Weekend

A fun shrug with just a touch of beading and cabling, Ria is lightweight, simple and engaging.

No, I’m not crazy. (Well, okay, MAYBE . . . but not about this.) When the weather outside is unbearable for days on end and all I can do is take refuge in an air-conditioned environment, I tackle that for which only the leisure of summer allows time—
garments. For me this typically involves a sweater, but it might also be a coat, tunic or skirt. Usually I have several ideas of projects I’m dying to try, and I choose the one that fits my summer criteria: lightweight, portable, and engaging but easy. The best part of doing this is that I have something ready to wear when the weather finally cools down.

Colorful stripes make this simple shell an ideal layering piece for summer.

Colorful stripes make this simple shell an ideal layering piece for summer.

Seamed garments are ideal because knitting the parts separately prevents the project from becoming unbearably heavy; however, with an extremely lightweight yarn, a seamless design will spare you of all the finishing so you can hopefully wear the garment sooner. After all, the goal is to finish the project so you can wear it, right?

What are you working on this summer? Feel free to comment here or post your photos and ideas to the Yarn Soup Facebook page.

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