Summer knitting

summertime and the living is easy

I grant you that summer has been a bit reluctant to give us the full ‘barbecue’ yet (and did you see last week’s phenomenal downpour…seriously, where does all that water come from?) but the calendar now says summer (even if the weather hasn’t caught on yet)

Sticky needles and a permanent fug of sweat are not conducive to a good knit, and if you’re knitting something big, woolly and voluminous it’s all going to get a bit steamy (and not in a good way)

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I am clearly going to try and persuade you that you can still buy yarn – I have a shop full of the stuff and bills to pay, but I’m a knitter first and foremost, and for me, there are no seasonal out-of-bounds.

A year or so ago you would have found me sat on a warm balcony in Dubai, sun beating down patiently knitting (yet) another pair of socks. A month or so before I’d completed this jumper by Kate Davies with the air conditioning turned up (& while wearing shorts). I can’t not knit, it’s the only thing standing between me and….. well, let’s just say you wouldn’t like me when I’ve not got a woolly project.

This year I’ve decided to get a wee bit more sensible – the family is ok for socks so I’ve been looking out for projects that a bit more summer friendly, to wear and to knit. Or crochet, because a hook and cotton yarn are much more manageable when it’s a bit sultry outside. I’m currently making this beautiful shawl by Sandra ‘Cherry Heart’ in a silk mix from deep down in my stash, but it would be lovely in any cotton or bamboo 4 ply too. It’s just the right thing for working on while the football/tennis etc chunters on in the background.

Making squares for a blankie would be a good project too (just leave the final construction until the first frost!). Or why not make your own beach bag? There are some lovely patterns around and of course you can really crank up the colour scheme! I gather some people like to make their own bikinis and swimsuits……eeeeeekkkk!

 

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`nope…

 

But seriously, if you do fancy knitting something to wear, I’ve got some lovely yarns and a great range of patterns of course, but you’ll have to get cracking before the monsoon season starts again!

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The blankie: making it your own…

So you’ve decided to make a blankie and you’re ready to commit to quite a big project – it’s the fun bit next – making it yours.

rose garden blankie - 3 of 3

I adopted a classic combination of pretty sunshine colours and an easy-going cream background for my blanket: it’s destined for the conservatory which has no particular colour scheme (to say the least) and I thought that in Winter, when the garden was at its most drab, a splash of colour would be welcome.

But if your project is destined for a lounge where the colour palette is restrained, you’ve already nailed your aubergine and pink scheme or you simply don’t ‘do’ colour, you’ll need to pick out yarns that complement where you live. If you’re going to spend quite a lot of time making little flowery squares, it’s essential that you love the finished project and you want to see it draped over your sofa, not bundled away in a cupboard.

I speak from experience: many of you will have seen my sock-yarn blanket.IMG_2368 It’s gorgeous, colourful, heavy, snuggly and luxurious. And when I finished it I draped it over the back of my sofa and stood back. Yuck, I thought, yuckity yuck. The blanket was lovely, but it didn’t fit in with the style of the sofa, or the lounge, or indeed the house. It clashed with more or less everything. I use it of course, but it’s neatly folded in a basket out of sight. Which is a shame….poor blankie.

 

So make your blanket your own: I’ve made a few extra squares to illustrate the difference you can make with a slightly different range of colours, but your yarn choice is important too. Wool and wool mixes produce a lovely soft blanket, but cotton gives a superb drape and weight (plus the stitch definition is excellent). If you have a lot of odds and ends to use up, you can give your blanket a bit more ‘design’ by choosing a complementary background shade.

And look around for colour inspiration: autumn leaves, greek tiles, favourite pictures, treasured pottery, or even just a stunning blue sky and a pretty spring garden

Of course, a work of love and patience will always be beautiful, but you don’t want to tie off that last end, sew it in, press it out, drape it lovingly over the back of your sofa….. and then give it to the dog.