It's summertime, and (as the song goes) the living is easy... but very, very hot! It's time for summer knitting. Yes, "summer knitting", it's a thing, especially in places where they have seasons. In New Orleans, it's summer all the time (or almost all the time) and I do summer knitting all year long.
"Summer knitting" usually means one of the following: (1) knitting smaller projects to avoid having piles of warm fabric resting in your lap while knitting; (2) knitting garments that call for fingering weight yarns, or yarnsknit at a looser gauge than you might expect to produce a lighter, airier fabric; and/or (3) knitting patterns designed to be knit in yarns made from predominantly plant based fibers which result in a fabric that is more breathable. I use all of these ideas to keep knitting no matter what the temperature.
While it may seem counterintuitive to think of knitting blankets while it's hot outside, many blankets are knit in pieces small enough to qualify as "summer knitting". 64 Crayons is knit in strips, while Picket Fence is made up of squares. Choose the right yarn (Taiyo by Noro for 64 Crayons or Ella Rae Denim DK for Picket Fence) and either of these pieces can be knit up quite cooly. Right now I'm working on a simple hat and scarf; both are samples for an upcoming beginning knitting class. (Idea #1).
One of my most recent finishes was Navelli by Caitlin Hunter, a cropped Tee knit with fingering weight Teeny Button Soft Sock in Golden Oak, Pontchartrain and Audubon. (Idea #2). In the rest of the world, this is considered a summer top, but I should be able to wear this pretty much year round, but maybe not in the hottest part of the summer.
To see some similar "summer" sweater patterns that call for fingering weight wool yarn, you might also look at Summer Sorrel from Wool & Pine and Caitlin Hunter's Misurina. I have plans to knit both of these.
On my needles now is the Outline Tee from Jessie Maed Designs.
This pattern is designed to be knit in a cotton/linen blend (now you're talking wearable in the summer in New Orleans), and I chose Juniper Moon Farms' Zooey, a great cotton/linen blend that I go back to over and over again for summer tops. (Idea #3)
Derecho is another top designed to be knit in a yarn made from a blend of plant and manufactured fibers.
But sometimes a pattern speaks to you and you have to knit it, but it's just not climate appropriate as designed. To me, the Super Simple Summer Sweater by Joji Locatelli is just such a pattern. The design calls for worsted weight 100% wool, and it has long sleeves. Who are we kidding? You simply cannot wear something like that in New Orleans in the summer (or at almost any other time really). Time to adjust. I chose to knit my Super Simple Summer sweater in Cumulus yarn, a super soft 100% cotton yarn from Juniper Moon Farms. And just to make sure I could wear my sweater as much of the year as possible, I shortened the sleeves to t-shirt length -- when it came time to slip the sleeve stitches back on the needle, I simply knit five rounds, added some ribbing and bound off.
Lately, I've been drawn to The Easy V from Caitlin Hunter. I'm thinking about adapting it for warm weather knitting/wearing. There are a couple of ways to go. Using a light worsted or dk weight yarn to get gauge (rather than the worsted weight called for in the pattern) would result in a lighter, airier fabric. Either Blue Sky's Woolstok or HiKoo"s Sueno would be good choices. But I love the color combination I put together using Cumulus, so that's the route I'm going.
And definitely shortening the sleeves to 3/4 length will make the sweater more comfortable to wear In Nola year round.
Really, almost any pattern you really want to knit can be adapted for knitting/wearing in warm weather by simply choosing a cooler or lighter weight yarn (and, in the case of a sweater, shortening the sleeves). But if all else fails, you can always lock yourself inside, crank up the air conditioner, and pretend it's cold. Just whatever you do, keep knitting!