Knitting for Warm Weather

What do I make when it’s too hot for wool?

Since it’s kind of sort of almost a little warm and springy out, it’s not really feasible to wear alpaca scarves anymore (though those were amazing when it was -7 outside). But if you’re an obsessive, hardcore crafter like I am, impracticality has never stopped you before. But who wants to wait six months to wear something? Fortunately, there are things to make that can be worn through the spring in most areas.

Light, Airy Scarves

Scarves are always in style. I mean, come on, in some places you see hipsters in little sundresses still wearing them in 90 degree weather. I’m not going to judge whether or not that’s a good idea, but I will say that the scarf is something that can span seasons, so if you go for something light and lacy, and use a breathable fiber like cotton or linen, you can get a lot of mileage.

(Note: linked patterns may require a Ravelry account, but it’s free to join.)

A close-up of a lace scarf in blue and brown silk yarn.

Pictured above is the Seafoam Scarf, which, thanks to dropped yarn-overs, knits up pretty fast and is super loose and light. I’m making it out of silk, but cotton, linen, or bamboo could also work. It’s easily adjustable for different yarn weights.

Spring Leaves looks like it would be like wearing a cloud. Again, pick a lighter yarn than wool for a springy feel. Bubblemania is really floaty and nice. And if you’d prefer a shawl, the Spring Thaw is beautiful to block out some overzealous air conditioning.

It’s Always Time for Hats

You can have bad hair days any time of the year. Plus, a hat can help if you’re pasty like me and get gnarly scalp sunburn. So you definitely want to have a few on hand for the warm season.

Mostly I’m going to suggest lace (again), but make the Plumeria hat from light, bright cottons for something solid that’s still not too warm. The Gwen Slouch is nice and loose while still looking cute and a little fancy. The loopy Vivonne Bay hat is really fun and lets the breeze in. The Soft Linen Lace Beret also uses a nice breathable fiber to keep things cool.

Clothes that Show a Little Skin

Shrugs are great to wear over a tank top when it’s just not quite warm enough, or when you have to cover your arms (at work, for example). Embrace is really cute, as are Sagebrush and Shetland Shorty. Somewhat early in my knitting career, I made the Ribbed Lace Bolero, which is really easy and loopy, plus it’s simple to customize the size.

A picture of a knit bra top on a mannequin.
Photo credit: © Joan McGowan-Michael for

If you’re looking for pieces that can stand alone, the Coachella is a really cute racerback tank, or you can do what I’m doing and extend the Zaftig bralette (pictured above) into a tank top. If you want sleeves that still allow for some breathing room, Day Dreams is adorable (note: the pattern is only for one size, but a message I received from the designer swears that it’s easy to adjust). Fifteen Love is a simple and cute little tank top. If you want to show a bit more skin, the Tantric Puzzle Top is really lovely.

Your other options for spring and summer knitting are to either work on long-haul projects (like the complicated sweater that has been staring at me for a couple of years) so they’re done in time for winter, or get a massive jump on holiday presents. But come on, we all know that a little instant gratification is fun, so I’d recommend taking a little time to knit something selfish and springy.

By [E] Liza

PhD student. Knitter. Brooklynite. Long-distance dog mom. Reluctant cat lady. Majestic unicorn whose hair changes color with the wind.

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