As much as I love cozy winter knits, the change of seasons makes me yearn for fresh, pretty confections that are as easy to wear as they are chic. The top trends for spring are linen and linen-blend yarns that drape and feel cool on your skin; and an endless variety of lace mesh and semi-transparent styles. The humble tee-shirt is the perfect canvas for any of our new spring yarns, and a quick flip through summer pattern books shows that knitwear designers have been busy creating many beautiful variations of this wardrobe staple. At the same time, yarn manufacturers are making plant fibers easier to work with than ever, with new fiber blends and spinning techniques. Your favorite summer top is just waiting for you to pick up some needles or hook!
Tee for You
The knitting would be just as much fun as the wearing of the Eldora tee (Rowan 55), with its spicy combination of Rowan Cotton Glace colors and artful mix of textured and openwork stitch patterns. If your vibe is more earthy and toned-down, the Cottesloe tee (Pure Linen Collection) shows off the natural, irregular beauty of Rowan Pure Linen. I was happy to see how comfortably the Pure Linen knit up as a stockinette swatch, and amazed by the transformation after blocking a mesh-pattern swatch. Don’t overlook this ancient fiber!
Crocheters have their pick of glorious openwork this season, like the Trellis tee in Rowan Silkystones (from the Silkystones Collection). A blend of linen and silk, Silkystones has the cool drape and rich color of those fibers, but is magically spun to have the loft of wool–a real treat for your hands! I’m tempted to remake a favorite winter pullover, Il Grande Favorito by Isabell Kraemer, in Silkystones for an easy, lightweight layer on summer evenings.
Deconstruct your tee and make the most of every cool breeze that comes along! The Donna Poncho Top from S. Charles Collezione is spare and sophisticated in soft heathered neutrals of Nina, a light linen/cotton chainette. Nothing looks fresher in hot weather than a crisp white tee–I love how the lace mesh pattern on the #02 Cap Sleeve Tee from VK Spring/Summer 2014 is both dramatic and modest (the cowl is a separate piece.)
For subtle texture and punchy color, try Lang Ella–an airy blend of cotton, polyester, viscose and nylon that knits up quickly on size 7 needles. It’s just as beautiful in neutral shades, and would make a quick, elegant summer cowl in simple stockinette. (Tee below is #50 from Lang #205.)
Cool and Covered
Whether your style is sporty, romantic, or sophisticated, a lacy summer cardigan or shawl will add personality to your basics while giving you just enough coverage to stay comfortable all day long. Be warned: the lace mesh patterns are addictive to knit and might lead to delusional project queues! Lang 205 has dozens of desirable, wearable cardigans–below are #92 and #18.
Classic Elite’s new DK-weight Bella Lino takes those same fibers and adds gentle stripes and speckles for beach-inspired designs. Cordelia (below) is gorgeous as a traditional shawl, but is also generous enough to tie at the waist for a swim cover-up. Finally, I have to include #05 Fine Mesh Pullover from VK Spring/Summer 2014 for its exquisite classic elegance… French Riviera style is at your needletips!
For still more projects featuring linen yarns and lace or mesh patterns, pick up the summer issue of Knitscene–too many beautiful choices to list here!
Yarns in Season
Starting May 1, we’re bringing back Fresh Picks to celebrate the delectable variety of summer-weight yarns. Every Thursday through August, we’ll highlight one yarn with pattern suggestions, and you’ll save 10% on that yarn all day. If you’re not ready to buy, enjoy a “taste” from our sample skein. We’ll kick off Fresh Picks with Rowan Summerspun, a vibrant wool/cotton blend that adds zest to simple shapes like the Marilyn top below (Rowan 53), or an unexpected twist to a popular shawl such as Color Affection. The complete calendar is listed on the website you won’t miss out on your favorite yarns.
Our classes are still going strong into spring and summer! Learn the basics of weaving or try woven pickup patterns with Laura in May and June–we have two shop looms available for use during class time if you don’t have your own. Newer knitters can join Shellye for more What’s Next projects, including stitch pattern scarves in April and simple cowls in May. Intrepid novices can finish their first sweater with Jean’s Harvest Cardigan Knit-a-long in June and July–make one for yourself or for a new baby in your life! And for the last Small Project Saturday of spring, knit up a charming Ilene market bag in Berroco Linsey for your farmers market treats.