knitting

Breaking the Curse of Summer Knits

I’ve written here several times before that I’m not that into summer knits. It’s not for the lack of trying – I’ve tried repeatedly, and I’m just not feeling it. Maybe it’s the summer yarns, mostly cotton, linen, or other plant fibre based? They are not as flexible and forgiving as wool, and very often the patterns for summer clothes call for thicker yarn, and I don’t feel comfortable in thick summer tops, even if they are made of “breathable” cotton. Of course, I could always adjust the patterns to thinner yarns, but I’m umm, let’s say not into that either.

How can I resist springtime knits with such beauty outside my windows?

Having tried and failed in the past, it doesn’t mean that I don’t keep trying each year as it gets warmer in the Spring! And this year, I decided to tackle two challenges at once, summer knits and linen. And feeling bold and brave, I ordered some Lithuanian linen thread on Etsy, in a variety of different pastel shades.

I have some mixed feelings about linen in general. I love THE IDEA of linen – a natural fibre, it feels so rustic and pure, it’s durable and works great both for clothing and for home accessories and decor. But wearing it is a challenge as it wrinkles so easily and while some people can still pull that look off (like my brother who loves his linen summer shirts and even trousers and looks good in them), I’m not one of them. When it comes to knitting or crocheting with linen, it’s just so unpleasant on the fingers: it’s not a soft, silky yarn, but rough and stiff. I’d had a painful encounter with it before and have never tried to repeat the experience since then. That is, until now, I figured that, since the thread is so thin, it should be softer or easier to “break” it and make it a little less stiff.

The thread I bought is a 3-ply yarn, and it’s somewhere between lace and light fingering in thickness, but it knits more like fingering or sport. I have enough of it to last me for a while and knit or crochet a few different projects (I already have some stuff planned for it).

And as my first knit, and a warm-up of sorts, I decided to knit a simple, classic sleeveless top: the pattern is called Ombre Tank Redux, from the Espace Tricot collection. I liked the idea of combining different colours in large stripes/ colour blocks, and the tunic style. It is also simple enough not to require any lace knitting since I didn’t know how I’d feel working with this yarn.

It took me a few days to knit the top, and I really enjoyed the process. It turns out that thinner yarn is indeed softer and less harsh to work with, even when held double. I’m going to continue to experiment with it and find the best ways to use it. I’m also going to find out how to block it best after washing because it’s not a forgiving fabric: if it’s not shaped perfectly after washing, it ends up looking a bit crumpled and wrinkled and stretched in all the wrong places. I hope that once I put it on, it will stretch out on my body and looks nice and even. And if I ever knit the top again, I’m going to make it longer, to be more like a tunic.

But all in all, I’m happy with the result and looking forward to wearing it in the summer – I’m really curious if it makes a comfy warm-weather top! And in the meantime, I’m going to keep experimenting with the remaining thread. And enjoying the beautiful nature outside, within the government-approved two km from home of course πŸ™‚

15 thoughts on “Breaking the Curse of Summer Knits

  1. It’s really lovely, Kat ! You were brave: I would never even attempt that kind of knitting/
    But then, you’re young, and I’m not: maybe that’s the difference. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the color gradation. The pink and brown bit reminds me of this coconut candy called “neopolitan” that Brach’s makes. It was a cube that had brown, pink and white stripes through it like neopolitan ice cream. It was also delicious.

    You know, you could make it even longer than tunic length and wear it as a dress. It would also work worn over a long sleeve blouse or shirt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, I also thought it looks like some kind of candy, or ice cream! Something with various berries πŸ™‚
      The dress would be nice but it’s a little more see-through than it shows on the photos, I think I’ll spare the world this view πŸ˜‰

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  3. It’s so pretty and in such beautiful shades. Please let us know how you like wearing it – I’ve never done a summer / lightweight knit but this is really beautiful and I’d give it a go if you enjoy the wear! xo

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  4. Love the colors! This top definitely looks like a summer top, and I hope you enjoy wearing it. The tunic would be wonderful too. (More colors? Yes please!)
    And I really like the view from your window. I’d stay there all the time… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      You’d also have to hear all the birds singing, especially in the morning and at dusk. Something amazing! I love this time of the year, even if I can only access such a limited area now πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was actually about to ask you about birds earlier, but I forgot. I do hear a lot of birds at my home, and I’m so grateful for that! πŸ™‚ The covid situation has either strengthened the bird chorus, or made me more attentive towards it. No complaints either way! πŸ˜€

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  5. I love the tunic! The colorblocking is so pretty, and looks like a really versatile piece you can wear throughout the seasons! πŸ™‚

    Gorgeous photos of the trees! It reminds me of some I’ve seen in our neighborhood…I think the ones in our neighborhood are Callery Pear Trees? The buds have already disappeared though, booo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here right now everything is in bloom and the weather is amazing for Ireland, pity we can’t really go to the seaside or to the mountains and enjoy it all. But even close to home it’s wonderful!

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    1. I can always just sit on the balcony in it, recently I got sunburn after I’d spent the afternoon reading a book on a balcony πŸ˜‰
      But indeed, let’s hope we can just go out again:)

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