Now that the weather is warm and winter all but forgotten, you might wonder if there is a place for knitting and crochet this time of the year. After all, won’t a project like an afghan be too bulky – not too mention too hot – to work with right now?
The great thing about knitting and crocheting in the warmer weather, in fact, is that you get to try out other projects and yarns that you wouldn’t normally use when you’re making items for the winter. Especially if you live in part of the country that gets very cold!
In this article we’ll look at some of the best yarns and yarn blends for your summer projects and discuss what it is that make them so great to use and wear in warm weather.
The yarns we’ll look at, are:
- acrylic and acrylic blends
One thing to always keep in mind is that you still need to use the correct yarn for your project. If you want to experiment by using another yarn and not the yarn specified in the pattern, you should make at least one swatch of knitted or crocheted fabric to make sure that the texture, gauge and drape of the finished item will be correct. This is especially important when you’re making garments.
Bamboo yarn and bamboo blends
Bamboo yarn, which is made from bamboo grass by distilling the harvested grass into cellulose before spinning, is relatively new on the market, but has already become a favorite for many knitters and crocheters.
A main reason why bamboo is so popular, is that it’s a natural fiber that’s soft, pliable, breathable, and feels great next to your skin. The bamboo grass can also be harvested sustainably without killing the plant and, unless blended with synthetic fibers, it’s a completely biodegradable fiber that can be environmentally friendly as well. This is especially true when bamboo is dyed with natural dyes.
Because bamboo is such a light yarn, is hypoallergenic, and is antibacterial, it makes for a great summer yarn to use for everything from accessories to clothing and home decor accents.
Bamboo is often blended with cotton yarn and this makes for soft, easy-to-care for, and skin-friendly baby clothes, blankets, and accessories. Not to mention it feeling great next to your skin as well!
Bamboo can also be blended with linen and even with animal fibers like different types of sheep’s wool. Bamboo can also be blended with acrylics, making it a very diverse and useful yarn.
Remember to always check the blend and fiber content of the bamboo yarn if you want bio-degradable bamboo yarn. Don’t buy a natural fiber mixed with synthetics like acrylic as it will no longer be fully bio-degradable.
Did you know? Bamboo yarn can be softer than spun silk! It also has the sheen of mercerized cotton, making it extra luxurious.
Bamboo yarn can swell quite considerably in water, which means that, if you want to make something like a bamboo yarn bikini top, you should test the reaction of the yarn you’re using to water first.
Cotton yarn and cotton blends
Cotton yarn has long been in use across the world, not only for knitting light, breathable summer items, but also spun into extremely fine thread for crochet and tatting.
The types cotton yarn are spun in various ways to deliver cotton yarn that can be as rough as twine or as silky soft as bamboo. This means that you can make everything from floor mats to baby blankets and baby clothes as long as you use the correct yarn.
Shawls, when made with fine, lace weight cotton, for example, also makes for great accessories that won’t be too hot in summer and are, in fact, perfect for going out in the evenings (even if it’s just to the garden to watch the sun set).
Although 100% cotton yarn is perfect for the heat of summer, it is good to know that blends with linen and bamboo yarn still gives a very cool and breathable fabric. Like bamboo, cotton can also be blended with animal fibers.
Linen yarn and linen blends
Like cotton and bamboo, linen is a natural fiber that is spun from the flax plant. It is quite hard-wearing and usually also softens with use. In blends with cotton or bamboo it can be very soft and cool.
Used for home accessories or items like shawls and wraps, it can bring a whole new look to your wardrobe when crocheted or a textured knitting stitch is used.
Merino yarn and merino blends
Wool in warm weather? Yes! Merino wool is a thermal regulating material, which means that it will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer – making it ideal to wear year round.
Did you know? KnitPal’s hand-dyed merino yarn is made from some of the finest merino to be found in Peru. This merino is ethically sources from small women farmers in the rural areas of Peru.
Merino wool yarn is also odor resistant, unlike some of the other natural fibers, like cotton. You also don’t have to worry about the garment you make with merino wool being itchy, as the fibers are so incredibly thin – much, much thinner than a human hair! It’s also kind to sensitive skin and non-allergenic.
Finally, merino is environmentally friendly – it takes a lot less water to process merino than cotton, for example – and biodegradable.
Acrylic yarn and acrylic blends
Unlike merino that can regulate temperature or the coolness of cotton, bamboo, and linen, acrylic yarn can be extremely hot to wear in summer. This is because synthetic yarns are usually made from a substance that is, in essence, plastic.
Acrylic blends – like those with cotton and bamboo – can be a lot cooler than 100% synthetic yarns, but those with merino or other animal fibers can be very heavy and hot. If you’re making garments for the summer, therefore, rather choose natural fibers.
As you can see, you definitely don’t have to put away your knitting needles or crochet hooks when the weather is hot – simply through choosing the best fiber and yarn to work with, you can continue doing your favorite hobby all year round!