As the weather gets warmer is your knitting getting cooler? Mine is because I'm working on designs that are lose and airy. And they're paired with yarns that result in light summer knitting projects. I was inspired by what people are wearing on the street and the current hot fashion trends—sailor boat neck and tennis sweaters. So, I started with ideas for sweaters, tops, wraps, dresses, socks and even belts. Then went looking for the perfect yarns to make these ideas really work.
My search led me to organic and recycled cotton where I found just what I hoped for. Yarns that keep the skin cool because they move heat away from your body and they make a contribution to the health of our planet. Some knitters feel cotton does not knit up as evenly as animal fibers. However, I find it blocks out nicely. If you're concerned that it may be true for you try recycled cotton—it is a dream. Also note cotton doesn't pill much and it is a bit slick so use bamboo or wooden needles. Of course your finished projects will be easy to wash. You may find they behave like your favorite jeans that tighten up when washed, then loosen up when worn.
Are your favorite summer shorts, dress or suit in linen? It has been the classic summer fiber for centuries. I suspect when the first settlers arrived a few hundred years ago, on my home turf in the Caribbean, they were wearing linen. This is due to the fact it doesn't retain heat. What a blessing in July and August. If you wonder why linen yarn is a bit more expensive, it's because the process of extracting the linen fibers from flax plants is long, hard work. They have a natural coating that produces a nice sheen, it softens with each washing, absorbs moisture and it is much stronger than cotton. If you've found linen yarn stiff when knitting, look for recycled linen. It is remarkable—beautifully soft and silky. Linen has natural anti-fungal and antibacterial properties so it doesn't require a lot of pesticides, which makes our planet very happy.
My third favorite summer yarn is hemp. Yep hemp. If you think you'll get high from knitting it you'll be disappointed. It's in the hemp plant family but a variety with very little of the THC compound. The plant has short fibers used for twine and rope, while the really long, strong fibers are ideal for making yarn. It is similar to linen because it is not elastic, is much stronger than cotton, has a little sheen, a nice drape and gets softer each time you wash it. Hemp also keeps you cool during the summer, but surprise it also keeps you warm in the winter.
So, in the coming season instead of looking for light summer reading, check out my light summer knitting. Just click here to discover my designer knitting patterns.