5 Things to Consider When Summer Crocheting
Are some yarns seasonal? Is cotton better than wool for summer crochet? Susanna Tobias, project editor at Interweave, and I love to debate these deep yarn-related questions. More often than not, we disagree (respectfully, of course). And summer yarns are no exception.
Susanna believes that yarn is seasonal (certain yarns are better for certain times of the year) while I’m more of a free spirit and think any yarn can be used any time of year. Our argument discussion sounded kind of like this …
Is Yarn Seasonal?
Dana: Why don’t you like to work with wool yarn in the summer?
Susanna: Despite it not being plant related, working with wool in the summer gets me sticky (haha—sticky)!
Dana: If not wool, what fibers do you recommend for summer?
Susanna: Cotton, linen, silk, rayon, tencel, bamboo, and some acrylics. Something about the fibers makes them slide off my fingers better.
Dana: What type of projects do you think are appropriate for summer?
Susanna: I’d stick with lacier, more open projects. Shawls, tank tops, summer scarves—the flowier the better!
Any Yarn, Any Time
Dana: While I agree with what you are saying, I have two big letters that throw all your arguments out the window: AC.
Susanna: Air conditioning is wonderful; don’t get me wrong. However, you’re less likely to have fuzz flying in your face with cotton, linen, silk, etc. whereas with wool, it can be a little fluffy.
Dana: Air conditioning in the summer often makes me feel just as cold or colder than I feel in the winter. I am forever lugging around a sweater or jacket when I go out to eat. Not only that, I do most of my crocheting indoors. And I live in a dry climate, so I don’t have to worry about yarn sticking to my fingers.
Susanna: That’s when you wear the project you crocheted with wool yarn during the winter. For all those who love nature, or who like to hang out with outdoorsy types, crocheting outside may be a necessity. If it is, so is crocheting with yarn that doesn’t stick to you.
Dana: Not to say I told you so, but I was recently chatting with Meghan Babin (editor of Interweave Knits) and Hannah Baker (editor of Knitscene) and they both told me that they use wool yarn year around! Not only that, but Meghan confided in me that she hates knitting with cotton.
Susanna: Maybe knitting is more difficult with cotton, but cotton is a great fiber for crochet. In fact, Sara Dudek (associate editor of Interweave Crochet) loves cotton. She is often seen around the office wearing sweaters and skirts she crocheted from cotton yarn.
Dana: True. I have to admit, I do love working with non-animal fibers in the summer. I love to make lacy scarves with bamboo or wool-blend yarns. But more often than not, when I’m yarn shopping, I tend to be more drawn to the softness and color rather than fiber. I do consider yarn content when I’m concerned with drape, but the season of the year almost never enters my mind.
Susanna: Sigh—some things never change. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I’ll be outside, crocheting along, and you can stick with the air conditioning. Ooh—open the window so we can have a conversation!
5 Important Questions to Ask When Summer Crocheting
While I may say fiber doesn’t matter, it kind of does. Ask yourself these 5 questions before you start a new project or pick up an existing one:
1. Will you be crocheting indoors or outdoors?
If you’re crocheting outdoors and the summer weather is swelteringly hot, consider yarns that use plant fibers such as cotton or linen. If you’re crocheting indoors, then fiber content doesn’t really matter too much.
2. Is the climate humid?
If your climate is humid, then working with animal fiber in the summer time becomes more of a challenge. It can stick to your fingers and cause a bit of resistance when crocheting. Again, consider working with plant fibers. If humidity isn’t an issue, then any fiber should do.
3. Is the project small or will it drape across your lap?
Small projects are generally preferred in the summer time because they are quicker to crochet and because they don’t take up much lap space (think amigurumi vs. afghan). There’s no law against making a blanket in the summer, but you’ll probably only want to work on it while you’re indoors.
4. Is the project for use in the summer or winter?
It’s fun to work on summer projects in the summer because you can visualize yourself using it right away. But summer is also a great time to start on winter projects so that when the weather cools, you have that project ready to go. If your project is a large one, then starting in the summer will give you the head start you need. It can be done for the winter months when you’ll be wanting or needing it.
5. What yarn weight does the pattern call for?
Regardless of fibers in the yarn, thinner yarns like lace-weight and fingering-weight are great options for summer because they make it feel like you’re crocheting with air. Finished projects tend to be more lightweight as well.
Susanna and I reviewed several yarns from Cascade Yarns that we think are great options for summer. Read our blog post “Summer Yarn Recommendations ” to see what they are.
There is one final trump card to all our arguments and opinions and that’s the “Want To” factor. Nothing really matters more than the desire you have to make a project. If you want to make a blanket in the middle of summer, then you should. If you want to make something thin and lacy in the winter, then by all means go for it. The best season to work on any project is less about the season and more about how much you want to make it. The rest is just details.
Follow your heart: it knows that any time is the right time to crochet. Sure, you might consider the questions above for more enjoyable stitching, but the heart wants what the heart wants.
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