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Summer sweaters and curling stockinette

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I love summer time -- it's so relaxed.  Dinner is usually something on the grill, tossed salad, and sliced tomatoes.  Everything is light and casual.  The cooking is easy, the clean-up is easier, and everyone is happy - especially me! 

Summer sweaters are much the same - light fibers, relaxed fit, and easy construction with minimal finishing.  Lots of summer tops are designed with an un-finished edge that curls slightly. Look at the Nauset Tee above by Hannah Fettig for Quince & Co.   It's a very J-Crew look, and it works with summer sweaters.  Not just because summer looks are relaxed, but because summer yarns allow it.

Here's why.  Stockinette fabric curls.  It's a fact of life knitters learn early on.  All stockinette curls, but not to the same degree.  Lots of factors govern how much your fabric will curl, but two of the main factors are the bounciness of the yarn and the knitted gauge. 

Wool yarns are very bouncy - it's why wool is so nice to knit and so nice to wear.  But it will roll up into a tight little tube without substantial borders of ribbing or seed stitch.  Summer yarns, on the other hand, have very little inherent stretch.  Cotton, linen, hemp, and rayon are notoriously inelastic, so there is not such a strong tendency to curl.  Don't get me wrong, these fabrics do curl a bit, but nothing like fabric knit with wool.  They don't need heavy elaborate borders to keep them flat, so they can be lighter and less constructed.

The other factor influencing  curl is knitted gauge.  The tighter the fabric, the more it will curl.  Winter garments are knitted tightly to be warm, but summer garments can be knitted a little more loosely, and they will curl less.  They will also be lighter and more comfortable.  Bottom line is that you can get away with minimal edging on summer tops.  A single row of garter stitch is often enough.  To me, it feels like it It all works out, the way nature intended.  Like summer food cooked outside.  

Come let us help you choose a relaxed summer top to knit.  I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table.  You are always welcome here.

 Back to 26 May newsletter

Comments on this post (4)

  • May 27, 2015

    Thank you, Linda! It’s nice to hear from you. Thank you for reading, and for taking the time to write!

    — Ellen Lewis

  • May 27, 2015

    Hi Lin — Isn’t that a great sweater! It’s called Nauset, and it’s by Hannah Fettig for Quince & Co. Here’s a Ravelry link.
    It would be lovely in Hempathy!

    — Ellen Lewis

  • May 26, 2015

    Love the little V-neck top in photo. What is the pattern?

    — lin moos

  • May 26, 2015

    Ellen, I love reading your Blog. Always a wonderful combination of insight, philosophy, inspiration, education, and style. Thanks for taking the time to write.

    — Linda Williams

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