I'm so excited to have Meghan of Pom Pom Quarterly here today to chat with us all about choosing yarns for warm weather for our Tops, Tanks & Tees Knit Along! Pom Pom Quarterly is one of my favorite knitting mags! It's definitely a treat for any knitter! Pom Pom Mag is filled with fun patterns, great styling, articles and more! It's the type of mag you will keep for years to come! They are beautifully put together and I highly recommend them!
Now let's hear from Meghan!
We do four seasonal issues of Pom Pom every year, and every year each season presents its own unique set of benefits and challenges when it comes to choosing yarns for our patterns. Autumn and winter are usually the easiest, with so many wool and animal-based fibres to choose from, but recently summer yarns have been just as much fun to consider!
This summer, we really wanted to make our summer collection as wearable in a real summer as possible. And that doesn’t just mean in air conditioning – we’re talking out in the sunshine in July kind of summer. We have readers all over the world and realize that climates can vary pretty wildly from mild London summers to Southern U.S. summers, so we included a range of patterns and yarns that can work in that range.
This KAL is all about Tops, Tanks, & Tees so you’re off to good start in terms of choosing a pattern for summer knitting already! So let’s talk about choosing yarns. Our regular columnist, Anna Maltz, talks about all the aspects of summer knitting in her article Some Are Knitting (geddit?!) in the new issue of PomPom, but I’ll expand a little for you here.
Depending on where you are, you may or may not be able to get away with some wool content in your summer knits. Northern European climes usually allow for this. In London, where Pom Pom HQ is located, you can definitely rock a lightweight wool or wool-blend and you might even need it on some days! We’d recommend not going heavier than a fingering/4ply weight if that’s your game. Even if you’re in a much warmer climate, you might consider knitting your top, tank, or tee in a lightweight wool to wear to an overly-air conditioned office! Michelada, pictured below, is a great example of a wool sock yarn (Life in the Long Grass Superwash Merino Sock) working well in a summer knit. Keep in mind that it’s knit at a pretty loose gauge so there’s some breathability there!
Along the same lines, Alcomar (below) is knit in Madelinetosh Dandelion, which is an amazing mix of merino and linen – it has this unbelievable glow to it. The wool-linen mix, plus the lacy back allow for some breathability and would be perfect over leggings.
Now let’s get to the non-woolly fibres, which contrary to popular belief, can be really wonderful to work with. No, they don’t “give” as much as animal fibres, but if you pair them with the right pattern, they can be drop-dead stunning. Quince & Co Sparrow is up there at the top of the list of fave Pom Pom plant-based yarns (though we didn’t use it for a garment this year). This yarn, like most plant-based fibres will mean drape. And drape is great for summer knits! If you’re wanting to try a plant-based fibre for the first time, then it’s definitely a great one to start with. It’s smooth texture and sheen ensure it feels lovely and silky against your skin in the heat, which is no bad thing!
Another PPQ fave is BC Garn Allino. It’s a 50-50 cotton/linen blend and it’s super soft. We don’t normally think of plant-based yarns of being so soft, but it truly is. It’s also great if you’re not into shiny yarns as it has more of a matte look to it than Sparrow, for example. Check out your LYS for other cotton/linen blends as they really are worth trying out! We used Allino for Greco (below) and it works so well. This is a nice, boxy tee with a lot of breathing room in it, and also some discreet lace so you can have some breathability without having to worry about putting too much skin on show AND not having to layer, which is pretty important in summer. The cotton/linen blend drapes well (but not too much) and still holds it shape.
Of course there are patterns that can really benefit from quite a lot of drape. One of those patterns is Talavera! We used Kismet Fiber Works Refuge, which is 50% camel and 50% silk. It’s gorgeous. If that bit of camel is going to be too warm for you, especially since this is a layering piece, you might want to think about using something like the 100% linen Sparrow, or branch out into pure silk, or even bamboo or a milk protein yarn. Another great, drapey linen is Shibui Knits Linen, which has a chainette structure which provides it with a little “give” making it really nice to knit with.
All in all, I would say the two main things you’re going to want to consider when you’re choosing yarn for your summer knits are:
1) how realistic you can be about your own climate (i.e. how much wool content you can tolerate)
2) how much drape you really want in your knit.
Chances are if you’re choosing a non-animal fibre yarn, you’re going to get some drape – you just need to consider how much your pattern can handle.
And finally – just to give you some new yarns to explore on your summer knitting journey – here are some great super-summery yarns to take a look at - Quince & Co Sparrow and Kestrel, BC Garn Allino, Shibui Linen or Twig, Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton, Karin Oberg Kalinka, Susan Crawford Coquette Vintage Cotton, and Artisan Linen. Habu make a stunning range of cotton, linen, bamboo, and silk yarns, and we also love the linen threads from Namolio, which could be used as lace weight.
Thanks so much Meghan!!! So much great info!!! If you are interested in subscribing to Pom Pom Magazine or looking to just pick up one issue (digital/printed/both) click HERE. You can find all things Pom Pom Magazine below:
Do you guys love Pom Pom Magazine too? Do you have some warm weather tips to share?