12 May 2014

Summer Knitting starts here

Photo of Hever Castle by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

In the USA, many summer activities start on Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) and end on Labor Day (the 1st Monday in September). That's 26th May to 1st September this year, so is only a few weeks away. 

For many people that means a welcome end to the cold weather and the start of a whole raft of activities - the arrival of the kiddies home for the holidays, summer camps, school catch-up programs and long car journeys to the beach or the mountains. However, that poses some problems for us knitters - how do we manage all our regular interests so that we can keep knitting wherever we are?

Well, the good point is that we're ahead of the game right now and have enough time to prepare. So, I have put together a Guide for the Summer Knitter to help make this the best knitting season of the year!

#1 - Get ready for selfish knitting 

Sarasota Shopper by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

Yes, you can do it! Knit something just for yourself. You know that by the end of August or beginning of September you will be starting your holiday knitting projects, so now's the time to focus on you. Choose a pattern for that summer scarf you've always fancied. Or how about a canvas-lined bag such as the Sarasota Shopper – perfect for your next long road trip.

#2 - Download an armful of patterns

You won't have time to look later on, so choose 3 or 4 knitting patterns now that will give you a whole range of projects for the summer, such as the Ryedale Bracelet pictured here. Then you can go ahead and load them onto your iPad or print them out ready to go.

#3 - Click on the on-line yarn stores 

Many yarn stores have offers at this time of year and they often choose the summer season to introduce new yarn lines too. So it's a great time of year to see what is available and get stocked up. Try to get all the yarns you need for the patterns you have downloaded and place each pattern with its relevant supplies in a bag ready to grab and take with you. 

And if you want a suggestion for a wonderful summery yarn, then how about Knit Picks "Shine" Cotton/Modal yarn. This soft and silky yarn drapes beautifully, as you can see in the Kimpton Scarf pictured above. 

#4 - Hunt out yarn stores along your route 

There is a brilliant website called Knitmap which will give you lists of yarn stores in the area. You can enter just a town name or a whole state and see what's around. 

And it's not just for the USA as they have international offerings too. The map above shows listings for London, and new stores are being added all the time. It's a great resource and will enable you to top-up your yarn purchases as you go along. Just be sure to call ahead and make sure they haven't moved! 

#5 - Remember the notions 

It's so frustrating when you come to the end of your knitting and don't have the right bits and pieces to complete an item. So gather all the zips, buttons, closures and so on for each of your projects and put them right into the bag with the yarn and needles all ready. Then when the knitting is done it won't be long until the item is finished!

#6 - And that goes for knitting tools too

Have you ever been on a plane and dropped an interchangeable needle end down the side of the seat? Or been unable to find the crochet hook you need right now to catch that dropped stitch? 

So, check your tool supplies and make sure you have spare needles and all the other essentials. Then put them into a bag so you know exactly where they are. I have an old US Airways travel bag with 3 mesh pockets and it goes everywhere with me. 

However, if you can't remember the good old days when airlines used to give away freebies, then how about buying a new notions bag to carry all your essentials. The one pictured above is from the OceanPatch Etsy store and is even made from organic cotton. What could be better. 

#7 - Look out for the #summerknitting hash tag! 

Yes, you can't escape it. Twitter hashtags are making their way into mainstream knitting. However, the #summerknitting tag is a great way of finding some inspiring summer projects. In addition to Twitter, look in Pinterest, Instagram and even a general Google search for some great ideas. 

Then you'll be set for a whole season of knitting and will hopefully have a large number of completed projects by the end of the summer. After that, you'll be able to contemplate your holiday gift-list in a refreshed state of mind. But that's for another day! 

Happy Knitting! 


NB: The photo at the top of this blogpost shows Hever Castle in Kent, with the beautiful rose garden in full bloom. 

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