SUMMER KNITTING… with surprise!

Knitting has been a big part of my creating output in the past couple of years, which is also testifies by the fact that it has slowly made more and more its way onto this blog.

I might have mentioned before, but I have always loved knitting. It was what my mom gave me to do when we were watching telly in the evening and I was constantly pestering her for attention (she herself was knitting probably). So at first she’d give me a little ball of scrap yarn and a crochet hook and freedom to do with it what I liked after giving me the basic instructions.

We soon moved onto knitting when I realised I enjoyed the fabric resulting from kitting more than crochet (still applies…) and I found making accessories less interesting than making garments. Certain things never change!

Since that time, knitting has been a winter hobby. It’s what I would do during the long dark evenings to wind down and watch tv, and it was also my very first experience experimenting with making my own style. In hindisght, those duds are helping me massively in making more sensible styling choices with garment making today. Hurray for experimenting!

However, I don’t know about you, but there’s somethign not particularly appealing when sitting in the sunshine at 30+ degrees celsius knitting with half a chunky merino wool cardigan in your sweaty lap. I believe with the wonderful sunshine we’re having in the UK these days quite a few knitters must be struggling with the same conundrum: the desire to keep your hands busy whilst out bathing in wonderful sunshine whilst our favourite wolly yarn suddenly becoming the most unappealing company ever.

Enter summer knitting!

Giorgia is standing making a silly face and wearing the brand new jumper, paired with a pleated button down skirt.

The pattern

I am not sure why summer knitting has never made an entry in my early experimentations. For some reason cotton yarn was a crochet thing in my head, and as I said, I am not a fan of the fabric that results from crochet for making garments.

Portrait of Giorgia sitting in the garden wearing the jumper. This shows the stitch and the overall shape of the garment, as described in the post

This year though I have kept an eye on the Mode at Rowan collection and immediately feel in love with this sweet little number!

The pattern is the Ribbed Tee, from the SS20 collection. There are so many excellent patterns in this collection that I have had to seriously restrain myself, guilty of a small collection of UFOs already cluttering my knitting stash. However, when the team of Quail Studios, the design entourage behind Mode at Rowan, got in touch offering to provide materials for a project of my choice I simply pounced*.

Sideways look. It's a close up of the side, showing the side slit and the cropped cut of the garment.

The pattern is a boxy, and yet very shapely, cropped jumper with dropped shoulders. Major brownie points in a pattern? Having sleeves you don’t need to knit separately! Sleeves always seem to be where I get stuck with my projects…. so a no-sleeves project is quite literally the best thing ever. 

The instructions are very clear, even though admittedly they are different than the very hand-holding patterns produced by indie designers as they don’t include tutorials.

All the same, I think any knitter with a couple of projects under their belt would be perfectly at ease tackling this project, and it would actually be a great way to explore to knitting in the flat. I will be linking a couple of videos I have used myself later in this post!

The Yarn

Close up of the neck and shoulder seam.

Now, if the pattern had already stolen my heart I simply cannot compliment this yarn enough. 

It’s the Rowan Cotton Cashmere (85% – 15%) in Paper (no 210), and it’s just divine. In truth, I am not a fan of knitting with cotton. Often it results in a stiff fabric that is unpleasant to the touch, albeit not actually scratchy. Now, THIS cotton is a game changer. 

It’s the softest, snuggliest cotton yarn I ever did see – however, as I did mention before, I haven’t spend as much time perusing cotton yarn as I have with wool. I am adamant it’s the cashmere in it that makes it so incredibly scrumptious, and yet I can barely feel it when I wear it.

It has resulted in a cool, soft and extremely snuggly jumper. Now my only concern is that I will wear it so much my skin will inevitably stain the high-rubbing areas… so please if you have handwashing suggestions send them my way.

Almost full length picture, shows a slightly 3/4 view of the same project.

Kitting it up

The Tee is knitted in the flat, and in only two pieces: front and back. Ribbing for the neckline and sleeves is added when front and back are completed, using a clever construction tecnique that would allow you to knit the entire thing on straight needles if you so wished.

close up of Giorgia knitting in bed. This is to show the stitch texture of the fisherman rib.

I have a strong preference for circular needles, since they are short and much more portable than long needles. Also, I can knit AND slouch in bed , which is a massive plus in a shared house where hogging the sofa for hours is really not ideal

The stitch is what I believe is called a Fisherman Rib (funnily enough, my mother told me that in Italian is called “English rib”). I had gotten massively confused at the beginning, completely misinterpreting the instructions which in hindsight are actually very straightforward. As a result, my swatch was not making any sense!

Close up of the jumper worn by Giorgia, but from the other side.It shows the neck detail and gives an idea of how much ease is involved.

I knitted it and frogged it several times, until I just gave up and, for the millionth time, Google came to the rescue… I found this super short clip showing how to work that stitch and since then I was able to pretty much knit this in my sleep. In terms of complexity of execution vs results, I have to say this fisherman rib is brings a LOT of value, giving softness, volume and drape.

If you are curious to learn a little more and perhaps incorporate it into other projects you’re working on, I have found this very interesting article which explains simply but in detail the explains incredibly well the history of both stitches and the differences between brioche and fisherman rib.

Out in the wild

This is to display the back. It's the same figure length view of above, but from the back.

In all honesty, I could have knitted this jumper up in a week, especially since I’ve been out of work and in full self-distancing mode. However, I chose this as my Me Made May project (the idea is to work on a me made garment a little every day, and my garment of choice was this!), so I tried to space it out, avoiding obsessing about it and simply enjoying the hour a day I dedicated to it.

Now, however, perhaps because of the long wait, perhaps beacause I’m really aching to dress “sociably” again, I cannot wait to have this sweet little jumper on me all. the. time!

Here’s a few more outfits combination I can’t wait to try

Also, as I try to organise my knitting projects, as I find particularly useful to refer back to gauges, needles used and techniques, I’ve been trying to tidy up my Ravelry page… so you can find all the info about this make here – and lease, please free to add me to your friends! I’d love to grow my Ravelry buddies!

…and finally, THE surprise!

Finally, and for the first time since I’ve had any sort of online presence, I’ve decided to arrange a tiiiiiiiny giveaway!

the picture illustrates the catalogue in the giveaway.

Since quite a few people over the course of May, as I was sharing my knitting progress throughout the month, have gotten in touch to ask me where they can get the pattern, I thought of asking Quail Studio for help! They have very generously donated me a brand new copy of their Summer Knits 2020 collection. Following the link you can have more information on the pattern book and see the four projects included.

To keep things simple, and life a little easier for myself, I’m keeping all the entries in the same place. So please feel free to hop over to my Instagram profile and get an entry to the giveaway by commenting on the relative post! 

The giveaway will close a week from now, on Sunday 7th June at 12:00 UTC+1 (London Time). This will give me time to estract the lucky winner and post the book the next day! 

Good luck! 

*Disclaimer: I was offered pattern and yarn in exchange for a blog post. All ideas expressed are utterly my own.

Huge black and white close up go Giorgia wearing big sunglasses and another silly face - for good measure! God forbid people start taking this seriously.

6 thoughts on “SUMMER KNITTING… with surprise!

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  1. Gorgeous and yes, I’ve had the same issue with cotton knits – also they grow wider over time which is annoying. I am machine knitting and there is a beautiful yarn I’ve purchased which is cotton and bamboo, I feel that would give it swish since here in Australia, heat is not usually warranted in summer! I’m tempted to give this a go, it’s so pretty on you. X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am a little worried this will stretch over time actually! The fisherman rib is usually knit in much smaller needles than the yarn suggests to compensate for the fabric being so loose… but this is fully seamed, and I hope the seams will “keep it together”. I would LOVE to try machine knitting one day. How did you find your knitting machine? They’re not the easiest to acquire I’ve heard!


      1. Actually he machine knitting community is pretty active in the UK I think. There are plenty of options to choose from but first you need to decide on a standard gauge, fine gauge or chunky gauge. There are shops there that sell refurbished machines. Good luck w your search.

        Liked by 1 person

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