Friday, 5 July 2013

Easing into summer with wool/cotton yarn

The first day of summer was several weeks ago, but until just recently it was hard to believe it was really summer. Following on from an extremely cold and late spring, I haven't been eager to put aside wool, as I usually do around this time of year. Instead I've been easing into my summer knitting gradually, working with wool/cotton yarn*.

I think wool/cotton blends are a perfect marriage of fibres. The cotton lends softness, the wool contributes shape and durability. It feels nice when knitting too - it has that slight stickiness of cotton, paired with the stretchiness of wool.

My first wool/cotton project for the summer was Olgajazzy's Compass pullover, a fitted ballet-style t-shirt with 3/4 length sleeves and lace eyelet detailing around the yoke neck.

I knit mine from a nice bright poppy Rowan wool cotton 4-ply. Rowan wool cotton is a high twist yarn, which made the pullower slightly stiffer than I would prefer (and maybe, just maybe, I knit it a bit too small). But it's still very wearable. It seems from the project list on Ravelry that this yarn is more commonly used for baby garments, but I would highly recommend it for adult garments as well - especially in places where you can use a hint of wool, even in the summer.

After knitting with Rowan wool cotton, I was ready to switch to a softer, gentler yarn. I knew exactly where to turn - to Holst garn Coast, a delightfully fluffy, yet sturdy yarn in a wide array of soft, dusky colours. I knit a colour affection from khaki shades of this yarn last year, and was delighted with the result.

My first Colour affection,
aka Colour disaffection, aka Zen garden

And since you can't possibly knit just one colour affection, I had to make another, to match a new jacket I've been wearing a lot this spring.

Colour infiltration, aka Rock garden

I've become completely obsessed with the darker shade I used in the shawl, called 'cobble' - a greeny-grey that reminds me of the rocky beaches in Maine where I spent a few idyllic childhood summers. I'm knitting it into a simple pullover, perfect for cool summer evenings - be they in England or New England.

Maine rocks © morpholux

* wool/cotton blends are the best argument I know against calling all yarn "wool", as is the British habit. To call it wool/cotton wool is highly confusing. I guess not all "Americanisms" are useless.