Vacation Knitting Projects for the Summer
Vacation and knitting go hand in hand. Knitting is a simple, meditate act that promotes the vacation mentality, allowing you to check out and relax. I always have knitting with me on vacation, and I’m specific about the types of projects I take with me. I don’t like to bring anything too complicated or fiddly: no difficult charts or patterns that require too much attention. If there’s a pattern to your fabric let it be something that is easily to memorize and that you can read easily, so if you get lost in conversation or have to put you knitting down, it’s easy to pick back up and figure out where you are.
Also, don’t take anything that will be tricky to correct, so no Fisherman’s Rib or Brioche Stitches (unless you’re adept at these stitches and use your lifeline!). As an experienced sweater knitter, I often bring a no-brainer sweater project on vacation with me, so if I get lost or make mistakes, I won’t be too consumed when I have to correct it. Make something that, if you do make a mistake, is a forgiving pattern (meaning that you can just move on and ignore the mistake) or that is easy to rip out. Having said all that, I have some fun recommendations for vacation knitting for all of you.
I’m all for making big wraps or scarves on vacation. Lots of knitting free of shaping, and if you’re lucky enough to complete it during your travels, you can easily press it into service, especially if no blocking is required.
Blue Sky Fibers just put out a number of great new patterns, perfect for travel knitting. The St. Cloud Scarf is a simple, garter stitch scarf that adds shaping on the ends to give it a beautiful design. At the end, some tassels (perhaps in a contrast color) add the zing needed to make this scarf special and distinctive. This is lots of relaxing and easy knitting. Being made in Woolstok, this piece is also easy on the hands.
I particularly love the Weldon Alpaca Wrap is dreamy to knit and wear. We saw this piece at TNNA and I desperately wanted to wrap myself in it and walk away with the sample. Made with Blue Sky’s Baby Alpaca, this piece is incredibly soft and easy on the hands. This piece is knit flat in a simple garter ridge pattern, and then seamed to join as a large, cozy loop. This is a great gift piece, perfect for a daughter (or son!) or a beloved sister or friend. If you’re like me, you’ll make it for yourself!
The last new and gorgeous piece from Blue Sky Fibers is the Windom Silk Wrap. This simple striped scarf is worked with simple stripes of Blue Sky’s Alpaca Silk or Metallico. Use 5 colors, working back and forth along LOOONNNGGG rows, leaving long tails on each end for fringe. This is an easy way to work stripes and the finished piece can be anything from subtle to dramatic in your color choices.
Similarly simple are some lovey and user-friendly patterns from Churchmouse. The Airplane Scarf is called just that because it’s meant to travel easily. Churchmouse has thoughtfully chosen light-weight yarns for this pattern as they pack well and take up less space in our luggage. This pattern calls for a gorgeous silk-mohair like Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze or Shibui’s Silk Cloud, but you should feel free to use something like Shibui’s lace-weight Lunar (a heavenly blend of silk & wool), Juniper Moon’s Findley (similar to Lunar). Add more texture with Ito’s Kinu or Shibui’s Pebble. All of these choices will yield a gorgeous and light project that is easy as pie – to knit and wear.
I also love the Before & After Scarf from Churchmouse. This is a simple bias scarf, and their version calls for a lace-weight yarn as well. That will give you a light and diaphanous piece. I’m incredibly enthusiastic about this simple shape (made with an increase on one end of the piece, and a decrease on the other), and I’ve sold it to our knitters using the Transitions ombre cakes, to effortlessly give the piece some color. I recommended keeping the needle size and cast-on number the same, knowing that the dimensions would be wider (which I like, more is more when it comes to scarves).
For more experienced knitters, I still think you should keep it relatively simple. Churchmouse’s Polka Dot Scarf requires a bit more of your attention to add those chic dots to this wrap’s light & lovely fabric. This is another pattern that calls for Kidsilk Haze or Shibui’s Silk Cloud, but also consider knitting this in Juniper Moon’s Herriot Fine or Findley, or in Shibui’s Pebble or Lunar.
Cecelia Compochiaro’s new pattern in the new issue of Amirisu is another beautiful, easy to memorize lace pattern. Isshoni uses about 650 yards of a fingering weight yarn, and uses the easy to memorize sequence knitting to give you this lovely and modern lace pattern.
For sweater knitters, keep it easy and allow yourself lots of stockinette stitching, so you can watch your kids playing in the sand or carry on with loved ones at the end of a long dinner. For the past two years, I’ve taken projects by Carrie Bostick Hoge with me. She gives is simple, seamless construction in straightforward shapes. This year, I’d consider Liv Light, a swingy, open and lightweight cardigan. Knit up this beautiful and versatile cardigan in Blue Sky’s Metallico (which the pattern calls for) or try something like Blue Sky’s Alpaca Silk or even HiKoo’s Sueno.
For those planning for Fall, Churchmouse’s Better than Basic Pullover is a simple sweater made in pieces, with simple modifications for length, neckline and such. Make this sweater in any number of worsted-weight yarns. Try a soft and lofty version in Katia’s Cotton Merino. Falkland from Pure Bliss will give you an incredibly soft and classic sweater. Personally, I want a rugged sweater in the likes of Woolstok – something that can repel water and handle a lot of wear.
For my vacation knitting, I’ll be working on a wrap and it’s a little surprise for all of you! It’ll be a great learning project for our graduating Beginner Knitters, or a classic piece for our seasoned knitters. I will also be taking some needlepoint on vacation with me. Stay tuned next week for some recommendations from a non-expert but very enthusiastic stitcher!
I hope we’ve given you some ideas for your knitting projects, and if you have questions or comments, please leave them. We always have tons of ideas to find something perfect for you.