Friday, August 17, 2012

Summer Knitting

The temperatures here in the Portland area have skyrocketed.  I have always been a Summer knit/crocheter.  I think it must harken back to my teaching days where I didn't really have time to knit during the school year but Summer..well Summer meant free time.  I still have the urge to get a good project on my needles during the summer but..when it is this hot the idea of a wooly item in my lap is the furthest thing from desirable.

This of course got me to thinking.  What are the really good Summer things to knit and crochet?  One could go cheeky and think Bikini..but I really (and I mean REALLY) do not have the figure for that kind of item.

The blog included the pattern for each.  Don't let the Italian scare you off!

In the end I rejected the swim suit area all together and am going with small things, light weight yarns, fibers that speak summer to me and accessory making. 

1.  A cool Linen Stitch Scarf: Schafer yarns has a really lovely selection of Sock-Weight yarns containing wool and silk named Heather.  the fiber is light and smooth and cool to work with.  The resulting scarf is also perfect for summer evenings.  The pattern (linen stitch) is super easy to work on and provides a semi-mindless pattern to use when there are distractions but the inclusion of steeking and striping adds a bit of interest and challenge that many long-time knitters find interesting. 

 The scarf (read the previous post for more photos and discussion about this scarf).
This kit comes with enough yarn in three different colors, the pattern and a project bag.  The variegated yarn is called Elizabeth Zimmerman in tribute.  One of my customers is currently working on this scarf  and has added a beautiful shimmery gold yarn.  It looks lovely.

There is a linen stitch that exists in both knitting and crochet both are really easy stitches:

K:  The knitted linen stitch:  knit one, bring yarn forward as if to purl, slip stitch, move yarn back to knit.
C:  In Crochet the linen stitch: single crochet, chain one for one full row.  On the next row single crochet into the chain one stitch, chain one.

2.  Lace: There is something about the airy quality of lace knitting that makes it feel summery.  Several of my customers are working on lacy shawls while I chose another scarf.  Although Lopi yarn is rustic I love working with it as it reminds me of our vacation to Iceland last summer.
 Lopi laceweight yarn and free scarf pattern.  This scarf would knit up nicely out of any laceweight.
 In reykavik at a yarn bombed tree.  They take knitting seriously in Iceland!
An Icelandic horse.  Iceland is dedicated to retaining local breeds of their livestock. Horses and sheep are very visible as you travel around the country. 

C: Here is a nice pattern for a crochet scarf that would look nice out of a laceweight.
K: Come on in for a free pattern with purchase of any lace-weight yarn.

3.  Light-weight yarns in my book are anything from spiderweb lace weight yarns up to sport weight.  Even the wool in these yarns are easy to work with when it is hot.  Of course combine these weights with such summer breezy items as shawls, scarves, socks or fingerless gloves and you have a nice collection of things to work with poolside, in the car on road trips or even out with friends for drinks (yes I am that lady you see knitting outside even when it is not national knit outside day).  Here are some photos of good light-weight yarns:

 I am currently working on a white baby bonnet using Cascade Superwash Sportweight in white.  it is soft, light and cool.
 Our grandmothers used crochet cotton but it somehow went out of fashion.  The lovely colors in high quality thread are difficult to find these days.  These are great to tat and crochet with.  I have not yet tried any knitting but they should be good for that as well.
 Cascade Alpaca Lace weight is so soft and each little skein hold yards and yards of yarn.
 Alcidina is a hand-dyer who knows her stuff.  She dedicated her designs to the Hubble spacecraft.  I have seen some of the socks made up from these and they are gorgeous.  The color subtleties are lovely.  She also makes some sparkly lace weights!
 On the right is Jitterbug yarn from Collinette (a Welsh company) provides Summer eye candy.  To the left is Heritage Silk Paints sock yarn from Cascade.
 Cascade silk and wool blends have a summer softness but with the small crisp feel that linen has.
Shiny, smooth cotton!  Cascade does it so well and they are a regional company.

4. Finally lets talk knitting/Crochet accessories.  If it is just too hot why not make stuff to get ready for wool season?  There are many things that a fiber lover can use.  Bags, stitch markers, place holders.  Each of these things are relatively easy to make and fun too.

Bags-Where does one start!  There are so many bag ideas and patterns out on the web that I find myself spending more time pinning them on my Pinterest board than I ever do making any.  Here is my top 237 favorite bags, boxes and bins Ideas.  Some of these have tutorials while some just provide inspiration for the eye.

Stitch markers are a knitter's and Crocheters necessity.  Interestingly my favorite stitch markers are a pair of earrings I once pulled out of my ears in a pinch while traveling.  They are simply a wire twisted into a loop design.  These 'markers' were great at hooking into projects but would come out easily whenever I wanted them to.  Knitters are OK with fixed loops while crocheters need a more flexible clasp on their stitch markers.  Whichever kind you choose to use there is no reason they cannot be pretty as they are knitting/crochet project jewelry.
We are making these at the shop tonight but the Craft Floozy has a good tutorial online.

Place Holders:  My friend Barbara is one of the bear knit-along members.  When we were pulling our hair out with counting she showed up to our meeting with a handy-dandy device for keep your place on a pattern.  It was simply two pieces of magnetic strip.  She bought the adhesive kind.  Barbara glued two 1/2' pieces of ribbon down on her magnetic strips and voila she had  a handy dandy Place holder.  I love, love, love mine and it took all of 5 minutes to make.

Superior Creations has a picture guided tutorial with hers although I didn't use a glue gun.

Enjoy the Summer Sun!

1 comment:

  1. That Alcidina yarn is goergeous. Totally to die for!!