Have you lost your knitting mojo because you can’t bear to work on bulky hats and heavy sweaters while it’s hot and sunny outside?
Worry not; in this post, I’ll give you a few ideas for great summer knitting projects. And in the end, if you still prefer bulky hats, I am sure winter will be back!
General Tips For Summer Knitting
Material & Fibers
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about summer knitting are natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, or linen. They are often lightweight and less insulating than wool, making them great for hot days. I especially like bamboo yarn, it’s very smooth and feels actually quite cool on the skin. The downside with natural fibers is that they do not have the same springiness as wool, and because of that are a bit less forgiving when knitting and don’t retain their shape quite as well.
And now, let me make my case on why wool is also great during warm days:
- Natural Breathability: Wool is a natural fiber that possesses excellent breathability. It has the ability to absorb moisture vapor from the skin and release it into the air, keeping you cool and dry. This makes it a suitable choice for hot and humid climates.
- Temperature Regulation: Wool has unique thermoregulatory properties, meaning it can help regulate body temperature. It acts as a natural insulator, keeping you warm in cooler conditions and cool in warmer conditions. It helps maintain a comfortable body temperature regardless of the external environment.
- Moisture-Wicking Properties: Wool has the ability to wick away moisture from the body, pulling sweat away from the skin and allowing it to evaporate. This helps in keeping you dry and preventing that uncomfortable clingy feeling associated with perspiration, making woolen clothing a smart choice for hot and sweaty days.
- Odor Resistance: Wool has inherent antimicrobial properties that prevent the buildup of odor-causing bacteria. Unlike synthetic materials, which can trap odors, wool naturally resists odor absorption, keeping you fresh and smelling better for longer periods.
I have a few woolen T-shirts and love to wear them on hot days! Although it does have its limits, anything above 32 degrees C (90 F), wool does feel too warm, and I go for the thinnest, lightest, woven linen shirts I can find.
And if you want the best of both worlds, there are a lot of great natural fiber + wool blend yarns out there, which are also perfect for all summer knitting projects!
Because airflow and breathability are especially important with warm temperatures, favor projects with loose stitches or lace patterning. Loose stitches (aka fewer stitches per cm/inch) also mean the fabric will be more lightweight. And speaking of lightweight, choosing thinner yarn over bulkier weights is always a good idea.
Same as for all summer clothes: a loose fit is much more comfortable when it’s hot, so make sure you knit your summer projects with plenty of positive ease (aka making them larger than you are). Well, except socks, of course – positive ease will just make them fit badly, but there are other ways to adapt them for summer. I’ll talk about that in a bit more detail further below.
Socks: The Ultimate Portable Knitting Project!
Socks are an absolute delight to knit, and they make the perfect companion for your summer adventures. Whether you’re lounging at the beach, picnicking in the park, enjoying an open-air concert, savoring a cup of coffee at a café, embarking on a road trip, or soaring through the skies on a plane, socks are there to keep you company.
What makes socks so versatile? First, they require only one skein of fingering-weight yarn, and sometimes even less! This means you can pack light and avoid the hassle of lugging around excessive amounts of yarn. Plus, their compact size allows them to effortlessly fit into most purses or project bags.
Imagine the joy of working on your sock project while feeling the sand between your toes or basking in the shade of a leafy tree. With socks, you can indulge in your knitting passion wherever your summer adventures take you, all while creating a wearable masterpiece that will keep your feet cozy and stylish.
And there are a few ways to make summer socks – yes, even wooly ones!
Firstly, make them ankle socks. Instead of knitting a long leg, only knit a few rounds of ribbing right above the heel turn. For example, the Shorty Sock Set pattern by Summer Lee contains three different ankle socks.
Secondly, use a lace pattern, especially one with many ‘holes’. The stitches are less dense on lace patterns which allow for great airflow. Branches by Amanda Jones, published in 52 Weeks of Socks, is a gorgeous example of a lace sock pattern that has been sitting on my to-knit list for a while.
So, grab your favorite skein of yarn (or a sock set 😉), and your trusty set of needles, and let the rhythmic clickety-clack of your stitches accompany you on your sunny escapades. Whether you’re soaking up the sun or embarking on a thrilling journey, socks are the ultimate knitting project that ensures creativity is never left behind.
Breezy and Stylish: LightWeight Knitted T-Shirts
While not quite as portable as a pair of socks, a t-shirt knitting project is still pretty light and compact. With a wide range of patterns available, you can create t-shirts with various necklines, sleeve lengths, and decorative details, catering to your individual style. Woolen yarns (merino, yak, camel, or silk) and plant-based yarns (e.g., cotton, linen, or bamboo), and blends of both work great for t-shirts.
And, knitting summer t-shirts is not only a creative and enjoyable project but also a sustainable choice, as handmade garments promote slow fashion and reduce environmental impact.
Prepare For Next Winter
I tend to pick knitting projects that match the current season, so in summer, I will be working on summer clothes; during deep winter, I might make mittens or scarves. That has the downside that I often finish projects ‘too late’, like the lovely heavy colorwork sweater I finished this spring and haven’t worn once yet because it’s just too warm… So maybe this whole post should actually be about how now is the perfect time to make that fair isle cardigan!
It Doesn’t Have to be Knitting
When it comes to summer crafting, knitting isn’t the only option at your fingertips; crocheting opens up a world of possibilities. With just a small travel bag, you can create an array of cool and practical items. Here are two delightful ideas to kickstart your summer crochet adventures:
Last spring, I fell in love with the French market bag I crocheted. Not only does it occupy minimal space in my bag when empty, but it also proves incredibly handy when I head to the market (or let’s be real, mostly the supermarket). Whether it’s carrying fresh fruits, veggies, or a loaf of bread, this crocheted bag is both stylish and functional.
Ever heard of Amigurumi? These adorable crocheted, three-dimensional objects, often featuring animals or dolls, are perfect for summer crafting. Their small size makes them highly portable, and the joy they bring during the creation process is unmatched. Moreover, they become fantastic subjects for your travel photos. If you’re like me and prefer not to be in front of the camera, a handmade amigurumi can steal the spotlight and add a touch of whimsy to your pictures.
I hope I have given you some inspiration for summer knitting! What are you knitting this summer? Let us know in the comments!