I’m sliding into summer feeling super relaxed. I’m shifting into low gear and looking forward to slowing down for a couple months. My kids are still young, and we’re not doing as much camp as in previous years. I’m looking forward to more time with them, flying by the seat of our pants, and lazy days. A creature of habit, this change in routine is going to disrupt my normal productivity and my knitting habits. Rather than struggle against the change, I like to go with the flow. I pick projects that will be forgiving to my jumbled mental state and my stop-and-go activity flow. This means picking projects that don’t require tons of attention to a written pattern, that will be forgiving of mistakes and that are relatively mobile.
My primary knitting project last summer was Rivage, my beloved blanket wrap knit up in 3 colors of Brooklyn Tweed Loft. After completion it turned into one of my favorite pieces to wear. It’s a warm muffler on the coldest of days or an effortless wrap to protect me from air conditioning or a cool breeze. The knitting itself was incredibly relaxing, with a garter stitch border to anchor a sea of stockinette stitch. The stripes are planned to perfection. That said, if you err and make a stripe a row or two long or short, it’s not noticeable. If you want it to be just right, this is a good opportunity to learn about counting rows as it’s easy to see your stitches in this fabric. I love my Rivage in Loft unconditionally, but it would be fun to play with color combinations in a hand-dyed yarn like Tosh Merino Light or Baah La Jolla.
This summer, I’m looking for something similarly relaxing. I want to be able to put my project down and pick it back up easily, without being perplexed about where I am. I don’t want to be working with too many tools or balls of yarn at once. I also don’t want to belabor mistakes – I want to pick something that will let them hide easily.
There are a few samples around the shop that are ideal summer knitting projects. The Simply Irresistible Wrap is a favorite. For one, a Tuesday knitter of mine is working on it right now and raving about the project. We knit ours up using Madeline Tosh Vintage, which is delightful to work with and easy on the needles. This versatile wrap can be worn so many ways. Big bands of stockinette are punctuated by a bit of eyelet, making it ideal for a hand-dyed yarn like Vintage. Also consider knitting it up in a hand-dye like Rios. I also think it’d be lovely in the fleckled Kenzie (which blooms beautifully with blocking). This yarn as enough character and drape to complement the simplicity of this wrap.
Our Akari Wrap is another effortless and easy piece for some relaxing knitting (with a satisfying result). Akari softly knits up into a tonal, bias wrap. This piece is primarily knit and purls, with an increase and decrease at the edges of every other row. There’s not a lot to think about with this one, and two balls of Akari make up a wrap that is satisfying to wear throughout any season.
Thinking about summer knitting brought me back to an old favorite pattern that I’ve never gotten around to knitting: Ships & Seaside by Tiny Owl Knits. This cowl is knit as a long tube with two neutral base colors adorned with small stripes of contrast colors. I like the unexpectedness of the various stripes in this cowl. I particularly like her chosen color way: and the way the neutrals anchor the bright stripes. This cowl starts with a provisional cast-on and ends with a kitchener stitch, but the rest is straight-up, straightforward knitting. If these are new techniques for you, stop by one of our drop-in knitting classes throughout the summer to kick-off and/or wrap-up this project! Ships & Seaside calls for a worsted or aran-weight yarn. There’s tons of color fun to be had with something like Simpliworsted or Sueño Worsted. Also consider Shepherd’s Wool, Herriot, Kenzie or make up a cotton version with Cumulus!
Boom! is a simple garter stitch, triangular shawl by Playing with Fibre. Use a worsted or aran-weight yarn on a US10 needle to knit up this simple project, and be prepared for absolute simplicity. It’s even better if you consider knitting up with Noro’s Ito or Akari. These variegated yarns bring a different life to this simple piece and effortlessly give it personality. One ball of these yarns will do the trick and you’ll have yarn to spare, so you can make it even bigger. If you want something with less color (but still some color) consider knitting up with Madeline Tosh Vintage. Two skeins of this lovely, buttery yarn will do the trick of this project. Oh, and Boom! is a free pattern, which is just a little icing on the cake.
Working with lightweight yarns is great for summer knitting. It’s cooler than its worsted-weight cousins and it’s less to carry. A big shawl project can keep you busy for a long time, or you can knit up a fingering-weight hat or socks with just one ball of yarn.
I’m loving the new Split Rib Hat from Blue Sky Fibers. This simple-but-different hat is knit with Blue Sky’s Baby Alpaca, using just two skeins of this yarn. A project like this is an ideal diversion project. With its split hem, it’s a novel and timeless take on a ribbed beanie.
I love the idea of carrying around two balls of fingering weight yarn and making something substantial out of it. That’s why projects like Emiliana, Kline, Exordium and Girl from the Grocery Store are so appealing. You can get a lot of look out of not-a-lot-of-yarn. For the same reasons, I love Laylow by Shannon Cook. The name of the pattern itself begs to become a summer knitting project. Garter stitch and dropped stitches work together to give two colors of hand-dyed yarn a ton of character. Pick two colors of Tosh Merino Light or Baah La Jolla (and don’t think about it too much) and start having fun with this project. When you’re done with a fun project like this, it’ll be just as effortless to wear.
We’ll touch on summer projects again before the season has passed.We hope this will get you started thinking about what you’re going to knit this summer, and that you’re a little closer to casting on a relaxing and satisfying project for the summer months.