Simple Sweaters for Spring and Summer
It’s hard to imagine, but spring IS on its way. I’ve been busy prepping for spring with warm weather knits – I usually start in January because I’m a crazy person. Given that one of our knitters asked when I’d start talking about easy sweaters for spring and summer, I feel obliged to indulge! Lots of the new patterns for the warm weather seasons have not yet been released, so I’m going to discuss some old favorites and some new pieces worth looking at.
I just cast off a great, simple sweater that will take me into spring quite nicely. Holiday is a simple v-neck sweater knit up in a fingering weight wool. I knit mine with Baah’s La Jolla. Not only is this super-wash wool incredibly soft, but Mira (Baah’s fantastic dyer) put together a special color called Les is More, in honor of their lovely rep, Les. I think I admire Les as much as Mira does, and I wanted a Les is More sweater! Holiday is a simple top-down, v-neck construction. There are no flourishes, so this is a wonderful opportunity to play with fun yarns (like hand-dyed yarns like La Jolla and TML). There is also plenty of room for modifications. I made mine much shorter than called for in the pattern (11.5” from the armhole) so it’d be easily worn with lots of my spring and summer pants. In a fingering weight, this is a lightweight sweater that will transition beautifully from the last days of winter and throughout the spring. Don’t be deterred by using a fingering weight wool: the gauge is 21 stitches/4” and it’s knit on a US6 needle, so it moves along like a typical sweater. Also, don’t be tempted to use a heavier weight wool unless you want it to be a warmer sweater. The beauty of this one is using a lighter weight yarn at that looser gauge, and it’s draped and light fabric. I’ve already mentioned TML and La Jolla as gorgeous options for this fabric, but also consider making it in something like Shibui’s new Fern, HiKoo’s Sueno or even Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft!
Another piece I recently finished is the Katherine Sweater, which is a very boxy, cropped sweater. This sweater was written for the snugly Cotton Merino from Katia, but I thought it’d be perfect in Pure Bliss’s Sita (and I was right!). Sita is a soft and smooth combination of cotton and silk, and it’s chainette construction makes it incredibly easy to work with. By this, I mean that this is a great cotton option for new knitters. Katherine plays on the cropped look that is so big, and it really requires that we think about different ways to wear this sort of piece: wear it with a tailored shirt, over a sheath dress, with a high-waisted trouser or skirt, etc. This silhouette is not just meant for lithe teenagers; it’s a look worth exploring for all ladies. Plus, Katherine is EASY to knit, just a simple layer to pop on, and it’ll make you feel great while you wear it.
Last year Julie Hoover came out with two new patterns through Purl Soho, Addison and Goode. These are both easy layers that are going to look great over a pair of leggings, skinny jeans, shorts etc. Both have a nice bit of ease, meaning they’ll be easy to layer. Goode is a boxy v-neck pullover knit in a fingering weight fabric. It exudes a lot of cool-girl effortlessness and will look polished without trying too hard. You can have a lot of fun deciding on yarns for this project. Of course, try TML or La Jolla for some hand-dyed fun. Fern will make this piece look sophisticated and sleek. Knitting it in Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft or Shibui’s Birch will make it an all-seasons piece, just to get you started.
Addison is a ¾ sleeve piece, similar in shape with a crewneck, a dolman sleeve and a seed stitch worked throughout. Written for a DK-weight yarn at a generous gauge, this piece will have beautiful drape and lightness making it perfect for the summer months. I first imagine making this in something like Zooey, Savanna or Neve. I also think it would be super fun to mix some yarns up to make a more luxurious version of this sweater – combining something like Shibui’s Reed with Cima or even Vale (from Brooklyn Tweed).
Another super simple shell comes from Diana Walla, called Vasa. Construction of this lightweight, draped tee couldn’t be more simple. It’s knit as two rectangles that are seamed at the shoulders and sides. Play with the arrangement of your stripes to add your on sense of style and creativity. Knit in fingering weight wool, I can’t imagine anything better than La Jolla or TML for this piece. Once again, Fern would be delightful in this piece. Also, consider using Shibui’s Reed to make a chic and slinky layer for this piece.
Going back to some old favorites, I think it’s important to mention how fantastic projects like Slope and Insouciant are as summery knits. When I first knit Insouciant years ago, we had less of a selection of lace-weight yarns to make this. Now my wheels turn, imagining knitting this with a combo involving the likes of Lunar, Cima, Reed, Pebble or even Ito’s Kinu. Since this pattern calls for two lace-weight yarn held double, there’s a lot of room for creativity and versatility. you can also choose to knit this up with a DK-weight yarn held single, like Savanna’s DK (that would be dreamy!).
Slope was my first Shibui pattern, and it really opened the door for me, making me understand that all of their patterns are meant to be simple to construct and wonderful to wear. With the arrival of Fern, I can’t help but think that a Slope made in Fern would be perfect for my wardrobe. However, so would a Slope knit in La Jolla or TML. With the new collection of Shibui patterns just out, give all of these patterns a look as beautiful, simple sweaters to knit. While the fibers sometimes require our patience in knitting, the techniques are simple and the finished product is always absolutely divine.
All of these suggestions are meant to be easy sweaters to knit for spring and summer. Simple shapes are often the easiest to wear during those hot months, and I think all of these fit the bill. As new patterns come out, I’ll pepper our blog with more suggestions, and I’ll always like to pick out things that I know our knitters will find accessible and that they can be successful at!