Thursday, May 24, 2007

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  • More Thoughts on Summer Knits

    Summer afternoon - summer afternoon;
    to me these have always been
    the two most beautiful words in the English language.
    -Henry James

    Let's ponder some more the paradox of summer knits. Some of us were discussing this at knitting group last week. And we came up with some discussion points:
    1. Who hasn't seen adorable summer knits? (Or Sknitty's list here)
    2. Who isn't drawn to the concept of a top that doesn't take three months (or more) to knit?
    3. Who doesn't envision some kind of alternate universe where they are dancing around in cute skirts and adorable tops and don't have to go to work?
    And then there's the reality:
    1. When it is hot enough to wear sleeveless, isn't it really too hot to wear worsted weight, or - worse - bulky?
    2. Why do so many of these adorable and even lightweight tanks have lace all over, thus (in my world, at least) necessitating a camisole underneath? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of a summery little top?
    3. What do the sleeves of short sleeve sweaters really do for anyone? Anything good?
    Any thoughts? Please share your successes and failures with summer knits. Those of you who have made Picovoli - was it as good as you thought? And Green Gable - it looks so cute. Is it? And the $60,000 question - how often do you wear your summer knits?

    While waiting with baited breath for your thoughts, here's a much better photo of the Rice Stitch Sweater in progress: I think this has great potential as a summer knit given that it is lightweight, 3/4 length sleeves, and a perfectly summery shade of blue. But time will tell.

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    15 Comments:

    Blogger The_Add_Knitter said...

    Green Gable was a fun project in the beginning, the front part was especially fun, but then prepare yourself for the stockinette slog...but worth it in the end!

    5/24/2007 10:05 AM  
    Blogger Kim said...

    Don't forget the fact that in my (possibly your) climate, it is often cold and foggy in the summer, necessitating the wearing of our heaviest, warmest sweaters in the morning.

    I am almost done with Green Gable. It wasn't the stockinette, it was the sleeves. But this is my first sweater for me - you wouldn't have lingered as long as I....I am hoping to wear it this summer, as I have lots of similar store-bought sweaters.

    5/24/2007 10:19 AM  
    Blogger Faith! said...

    Good question! I never knit for the summer- I wouldn't buy a sleeveless sweater, so why should I knit one, you know? But I looooove lace knitting in the summer. It's not too hot to work with, and sometimes a lacy shawl is just the thing for summer evenings.

    5/24/2007 11:06 AM  
    Blogger Liz K. said...

    I really do wear my summer knits. A lot in fact. I knit my Picovoli in a worsted silk and I wear it a lot, especially if I am going to be inside. And it does fit beautifully, really, and I do have an hourglass figure. I've also made both Green Gable and Orangina, and I love them.

    I used to have a decided bias against short sleeved sweaters, but now I just consider them "tops" instead of sweaters. I think a knit summery top is the perfect thing for when you want something a little nicer than your standard t-shirt.

    5/24/2007 11:50 AM  
    Anonymous Rachel said...

    Okay, well, I just made Green Gable, and with the exception of the curling neckline, I think it actually does look cute.

    On the other hand, how often have I worn my summer knits? Well, I've made Green Gable, Knitty's Honeymoon Cami, and Tivoli (before it was Picovoli). I have never once worn any of them.

    5/24/2007 12:58 PM  
    Blogger Jenny Raye said...

    See, I've been thinking the same thing. We are in VA, and it gets HOT. AND. HUMID. Worsted weight, no way! And again, I can't wear a summer top with a cami under it--totally defeats the point of a lightweight summer top. So, I am search of the perfect summer tank or top, too. I'm totally thinking of going with Picovoli or Tank Top Chic or Isabella in the new Knitty. The latter may be the one I land on this summer. I'm getting some CotLin from KP. It's an adorable top, and I may omit the yo's in the stomach area. Good luck in your search!

    5/24/2007 2:34 PM  
    Anonymous Emily said...

    Well, short sleeves cover up where your shoulders don't match the tan on your arms...

    I like summer knits (erm - spring knits) but I would never make them in heavy weight yarn - that is just crazy.

    5/24/2007 2:52 PM  
    Blogger knotology said...

    I made Picovoli and hated how it fit, it was too wide and squat even though I got row gauge perfectly. I've made other summer items that do get worn, mostly lightweight cardigans to ward off too-high A/C. I have high hopes for Chicknits' Nicole which I'm almost done with . . .

    5/24/2007 5:13 PM  
    Blogger JayJay said...

    I have not useful information about those pattern, because I haven't knit them (yet). I will have to get back to you about whether I wear summer knits. So far, I haven't actually finished a summer knit. I have one that's really close, but I'm feeling lazy, now that the knitting is done.

    5/24/2007 5:43 PM  
    Blogger Pam said...

    I've never had a summer knit top that "worked" as well as expected. I'm still contemplating a "fiddling" with the fit of my finished Lotus Blossom Tank.

    I continue to be seduced by summer tops, but in my saner moments, I think summer knitting might be better served by cotton or silk cardigans for cool evenings. But saner yet I might realize that those cool evenings are usually around a campfire or watching fireworks on the 4th, and I wear a fleece, not a sweater.

    I look at the tanks and camis others have finished and wonder if I were younger or slimmer would I wear them? I don't know . . .

    5/25/2007 9:02 AM  
    Anonymous Cheryl Fuller said...

    I never knit sleeveless sweaters because I only show my upper arms to my husband -- the rest of the world is simply not equipped to deal with them. I even add sleeves to sleveless designs. I have begun to like knitting summer sweaters too -- it helps that I live in Maine where summer is a elusive concept.

    5/25/2007 9:40 AM  
    Blogger Wool Winder said...

    There is really no such thing as a summer knit in my part of Texas. It's too hot and humid in the day and it doesn't cool down much at night.

    5/26/2007 6:49 AM  
    Blogger WandaWoman said...

    This was a good post that made me think, so much that I bookmarked it to read and ponder when I had a bit more time. I do find that I wear my summer handknit tops. I finished Green Gable last summer as well as Picovoli. I really liked my Picovoli and I did like the Green Gable as well, but the yarn called for, Cotton Fleece, was only good to wear in the spring, in the summer, too hot for my climate. And I live in Denver, CO. Tivoli, I do wear quite a lot. I have other tanks that are dk weight that I really like to wear. As far as worsted weight and bulky tanks, that is sheer stupidity to me. When I first started knitting, I thought it was great, but as I started finishing projects and wearing them, I started realizing what gauges are weather-appropriate. DK and finer are good for summer, esp. in work climes. I have on bulky tank that I can only wear if I'm inside in a/c, otherwise I roast in it.

    I didn't mind the short cap sleeves on Green Gable, so I would make a short-sleeved top again, but very, very short, not longer. Otherwise a cardigan for cooler nights is good too.

    Lace, all over a top, is one of my pet peeves for summer tops. Really that is not useful as you state a camisole is required to not make it so revealing. I tend to stay away from those or if it's knitted, it's with the provision that it's a transitional piece from spring into summer and from summer into fall.

    I love to wear my summer knits and do actually wear them. I always think it's sad when knitters say they make something and don't wear it, I guess I don't see the point. But I'm definitely about the finished product, so I suppose that may explain it. Sorry for the long response in the comments.

    5/28/2007 2:27 PM  
    Blogger Kat said...

    I think bulky summer tops are insane. If the weight is DK or less in a summery fiber (cotton, linen, silk, bamboo, ...) then I would probably wear it. That said, I am about to embark on my first summer top (Picovoli in Patina) so I do not have any proof.

    I am a firm believer in covering at least one's bra straps. Covering upper arms is a nice as well. Thus, wide tanks are a minimum and cap sleeves or short sleeves are even better.

    Now, there are other types of summer knits. For instance I have to wear at least one layer of cashmere, trousers and often a shawl to church in summer to cope with the air conditioning situation.

    5/28/2007 5:49 PM  
    Blogger Amy O'Neill Houck said...

    I have to say--I am a fan of sleeves elbow to 3/4 length--even in summer... In this air-conditioned world we all need summer sweaters. That said, I love the way the Teva Durham Ballet T looks even tho' its in bulky I think i'd wear it--that is if I had time to knit for myself this summer ;-)

    5/29/2007 10:51 AM  

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