Summer is approaching and you’re searching Pinterest for your next summer make. Or you already have many ideas of roaming your head but don’t know the right yarn to bring it to life. Either way, you shouldn’t have to put your favorite hobby on hold because the weather is warmer. With the right yarn, you can keep crocheting and knitting through the hotter months of the year.
Just as animal fibers are for colder weather, plant fibers are best for spring and summer.
Plant fibers help keep you cool in the warmer months. Yarns and blends with bamboo or cotton are best for projects that will be comfortable to work on and you’ll be able to wear or use right away.
Cotton and Cotton Blends
Cotton is a seed fiber produced from the cotton boll. This type of yarn can be easily found at LYS, most large yarn companies and online yarn shops. There are a few things to keep in mind when using cotton. Cotton is stronger and less itchy than wool, providing a good alternative for those who have allergies to animal fibers. However, cotton yarn is inelastic. Cotton can be blended with other fibers to provide it with a certain level of elasticity.
If you’re looking for kids friendly makes, the Horse Stable Adventure Bag is a must!
Look for organic cotton yarn whenever possible.
Flax and Linen
These fibers are stronger than cotton, however, like cotton they are inelastic. They are easily found in local yarn stores and online yarn shops. The downside to using linen is that it wrinkles a lot.
Hemp is a very strong fiber, is 100% bio-degradable and like other bast fibers, is inelastic. It can be very stiff (you’re probably familiar with hemp’s use in ropes) therefore it is somewhat difficult to work with. It is also expensive to produce thus, you’ll find it more often as part of a blend.
Ramie yarn can be stiff and brittle, on the other hand, it can also be very lustrous. Another downside to this yarn is that it does not dye as well as cotton, is not as durable. On the upside, it holds its shape well and resists wrinkling. Since it is not as durable, it is most often found in blends.
This one is a bit tougher to find since most local yarn stores do not carry it. Most large brand yarn companies do not create yarns with ramie and the majority of suppliers are importers from China.
If you have found ramie yarn suppliers in the United States, Canada and online, please let us know and I will provide updates to this blog.
Bamboo is a biodegradable, antibacterial, hypoallergenic and eco-friendly yarn when not blended with man-made fibers. It is often found dyed with natural dyes at local yarn stores, especially eco-friendly ones.
Besides its beautiful luster, bamboo yarn has ultraviolet protective properties that may protect wearers from harmful sun rays. Fabric crocheted with bamboo is breathable and has great drape. It is also a strong, flexible, and can be softer than silk when spun into yarn.
Bamboo yarn can, however, swell up when wet and thus lose some of its strength. In most cases, your finished object will have to be hand-washed. Some brands of bamboo yarns tend to split more than others.
Jute is very similar to hemp however it is not as strong and dense. It is great for projects such as baskets and outdoor rugs. Jute can be scratchy and also have a strong smell when new. When a more rigidity, durability, and strength then jute may be the right choice.
Yarn made from raffia palm leaves is biodegradable, vegan and eco-friendly. It is great for summer hats, home accessories, and bags. The greatest thing about this type of yarn is that it is water resistant and dries relatively quick.
It can be found at your local eco-friendly, vegan, yarn shop. Some online yarn retailers also carry raffia yarn.
Make your wintery patterns heat friendly!
Just because a pattern is designed in an animal or man-made yarn doesn’t mean you can’t make a summery version. Look for yarns in the same or similar weight. There is a great website called Yarn Sub Yarn Sub where you can research yarn based on fiber content, gauge, brand name, weight and more. Be sure to read more in yarn substitutions before making a switch.
Choosing the perfect yarn for projects in the hotter months
When it comes to choosing the right fiber for your crochet or knit project, think of the use of your project. Cotton and some the other yarns listed above offer great drape which makes them perfect for wearables. Hemp and jute are great for baskets, outdoor mats and other home decor projects that need durability and strengths.
Plant-based fibers are often blended with others to increase their durability and longevity. If you are planning on using any of the fibers listed above but is worried about their “weaknesses”, look for blends. Your local yarn shops are a great place to start and many online based retailers offer wide ranges of selections to satisfy almost every single one of your fiber needs.
Stop by next month, for a guest post from Arunima Goel. Arunima is a crochet designer who is also a software engineer. She is sharing her Doppelganger Cowl, a beginner friendly tunisian crochet pattern perfect for spring.
How do you choose yarn for your spring and summer projects? Do you have any tips on crafting in the summer? What are your favorite projects for the warmer months? Leave a comment to share!