Forget about that myth that knitting is just for winter. Sure, cozy scarves and hats are nice, but summer sweaters can make a statement without making you overheat.
Pick up those knitting needles and head to the pool or park! Here are a few tips for knitting all summer long.
1. Choose a loose gauge.
Save those tiny stitches for the winter and instead opt for a sweater that has loose, open stitches that will let a bit of air in. And the added benefit? A loose gauge like this works up super fast!
2. Layer it.
During the summer you won’t need a heavy sweater. But, consider the times when you do need a sweater: Chilly restaurants, movie theaters, late night campfires and early morning walks. With a knit that can be layered, like a cardigan or shrug, you’ll be ready for any type of weather (including A/C!).
Plus, you can extend the life of the sweater by wearing it well into the fall. Throw your summer sweater over a tank when it’s hot, and opt for a long-sleeve shirt when the weather cools off again.
If you’re not afraid of a little wool on a steamy summer’s day, consider making a piece that will transition well into fall. Three-quarter length sleeves, for example, will still look stylish layered with sleeves of any length.
3. Consider a loose fit.
Close-fitting sweaters with negative ease are cozy in the winter, but the only thing you want sticking to your skin in summer is sunscreen. To get the right fit, look for patterns that mention a positive ease of several inches. The more positive ease, the looser the fit of the sweater.
4. Find a summer-perfect yarn
The pattern you choose will, of course, offer yarn suggestions, but it’s possible that you’ll want to substitute the yarn.
It goes without saying that wool and other animal fibers are not a great choice for summer sweater yarn. Those woolly sheep even know that. They get sheared for summer for that very reason!
Think about what your store-bought summer clothes are made from and you’ll quickly get an idea of what type of yarn works well for warm-weather projects. Silk, cotton and linen don’t cling to your skin like an animal fiber would.
While many patterns call for 100% cotton yarn, keep in mind that there are a few limitation to working with cotton:
- Cotton doesn’t have a lot of give, so if you’re sensitive to the tensions of certain yarns this may not be the yarn for you.
- Cotton can get really heavy when wet and can stretch out of shape, so it’s important to be careful when blocking and washing.
- Cotton can also lose its shape after multiple wears and washes, so consider a pattern that isn’t too long in the body, and avoid a pattern that has thin straps, which won’t provide much support for the body of the garment. Full shoulders have more support and tend to sag less over time, so if you’re worried about support, choose a sleeveless top over a strappy tank.
5. Go for short sleeves.
If you’re trying to avoid long sleeves in the summer, look for a pattern that has short sleeves! Whether it’s elbow length or cap sleeves, it’s always fun to work on a project that gets finished quickly: Once the body is done, simple stitch up the sleeves for a beautiful new sweater to show off!
6. Check out arm and yoke measurements.
We frequently knit sweaters with an upper arm measurement that’s relatively fitted. However, when knitting a summer tank or sleeveless tee, the upper arm and yoke depth measurement will be important to comfortable wear.
Before you start knitting, decide if you’ll be wearing this top layered with something other than an undershirt. If you will be, then you needn’t worry too much about the armhole depth. However, if there’s the possibility that you won’t be, don’t knit an armhole that’s too deep.
So, before knitting (or at least before getting to the armhole) check the pattern schematics. Compare the yoke depth or upper arm measurement to the same measurement on a well-fitting tank or sleeveless top, and decide if you will need to make adjustments.