We love these yarns for Summer! T-shirts, tanks, cardigans, all the things we love to knit for Summer. Cool breathability and lovely drape. These yarns come in various blends, cotton, linen, silk, hemp, bamboo, and even nettle!
Cotton is an easy yarn to knit with, comes in an array of colors, and there are many to choose from. Simple open-air shawls and shrugs are great summer knitted items in cotton yarn. Cotton is breathable, more so than synthetic yarn like acrylic. So it’s some of the best yarn for beginner scarf in the warmer seasons.
I experience sweating on warmer days. If you’re anything like me, Cotton Yarn is a perfect choice. Knitted items made with this yarn are absorbent and dry quickly, a winning combination! Other fiber yarns tend to trap sweat against your body. This can irritate your skin. No-one enjoys being hot, sweaty, and irritated. If you like natural/synthetic fiber blends, try a cotton/viscose blend.
Long fibers from the flax plant are used to create linen. The names flax and linen are interchangeable, the plant is flax but the fiber from the plant is linen. This is a fiber that has been harvested for thousands of years. Extracting the linen fibers from the flax plant is an extremely long process, hence it is a more expensive yarn.
Linen is a great choice for the summer months because it does a poor job at retaining heat, something we look for in a summer yarn! It is stronger than cotton and doesn’t pill very much after wearing. It softens with age and since the fibers have a natural wax coating, it has a luxurious sheen. It absorbs moisture, has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Linen yarn has a very stiff feel to it when knitting. Yet, that favorite pair of linen pants feel soft and drape nicely, right? The more linen is washed, the softer it gets and many people like that initial crispness that is not found elsewhere. Like bamboo, linen does not have any stretch.
Linen behaves differently on the needles compared to wool. Wool loops like to just lay where you put them and hug the needle nicely. Linen needs a little more coaxing and guidance. Don’t try to do a center pull on this yarn, it will become a hot mess in no time… Center pull, if you aren’t familiar with the term, is pulling the end out of the center of the skein/ball when you being to knit.
Bamboo labeled yarns are actually made from bamboo pulp and can sometimes be called ‘viscose’ or ‘rayon’. These yarns are incredibly smooth and soft to the touch. They are a less expensive option compared to silk. It is nicknamed ‘vegan silk’ because it is not made from animal products like silk is. People who are allergic to wool can likely wear bamboo without issue due to it’s hypoallergenic qualities. Did you know it can also help with UV protection?
Bamboo yarn is heavy, heavier than even wool. Which means the garment you make may slowly get longer and longer with wear. So, don’t hang a bamboo garment when wet UNLESS you want it to grow and lengthen. If you knit something too short, you could always lengthen it this way. A pro for bamboo’s heavier weight is that it drapes nicely. Combine that with the smooth texture and it looks more like silk. Bamboo is known to be a very washable fiber, but always check your labels prior to cleaning. Bamboo yarn is inelastic (doesn’t have any stretch to it) it will not spring back into shape like wool garments.
Since bamboo yarn is so smooth, the stitches love to jump off metal needles. When using bamboo yarn, don’t even bother with metal needles, do yourself a favor and get either bamboo or wooden needles to for the project. Bamboo worked on bamboo needles, how cute! Measure a bamboo garment while it is hanging, it will give a more accurate measurement when gravity is taken into account.
Hemp? Yes, Hemp. No, we’re not going to get high from knitting or handling it. It is the in the same plant family but using an industrial variety that very little of the THC compound that the ‘other’ hemp is known for. There are two parts to the hemp plant, the shorter fibers are used for products like twine and rope while the longer fibers are used for yarn and fabric. The fiber to make yarn is collected from the outer ‘shell’ of the stalk of the hemp plant. The fibers are really long and strong, making them ideal for yarn production.
Hemp keeps you cool during the summer, but did you know it can also keep you warm in the winter? WOW. When thinking about hemp products, we often think about the hard, scratchy stuff that is used in twine. Like cotton and linen it is inelastic. It is noticeably more durable than cotton and has a gentle sheen too. It is also similar to linen because it has a nice drape and gets softer over time.
Tips for using summer weight yarns:
They feel different when knitting compared to wool and alpaca. They behave differently, too. We recommend that the first time you use cotton/bamboo/linen/etc., use a pattern written specifically for that fiber. Then once you are comfortable with it, go ahead and experiment with substituting yarns. As a bonus they don’t weigh a ton on your lap to make you hot while knitting them.
There are different yarn weights, not just super fine, in these fibers. Adjust the thickness of the yarn to suit the project. The finer the yarn, the lighter the result. Summer fiber yarns in a thicker weight can be a nice bridge between summer and fall garments. Lacey patterns for better airflow and less weight
Pattern needs to be well fitted since you most likely won’t be wearing too much underneath it. Layering can work but see how the pattern deals with bodice length and strap length. These are things that can be adjusted as you go. Is it soft or going to be soft? Most of these yarns will be soft eventually. If you have sensitive skin you may want to skip the ones that require time and wear to get soft. Or you could wash it and move it around, beat it up a little bit, to simulate wearing it.
Washable yarn: Get something that you can wash the way you want to. Don’t like hand washing, get something machine washable like certain linen yarns. Make sure the yarn suits the end use of the garment by making the most out of the fiber properties.
The bottom line after all this information is......Summer is here and we still LOVE knitting!