summer knitting

plans for summer knitting

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Smocked tunic by Michiyo

My Purl Soho tank is coming along very quickly, so I’m trying to figure out my next project. I figure another summer-y linen top will be nice, though I never would have guessed when I started knitting that I’d be so in to linen. Knitting a linen top last year really got me into the fiber – and who couldn’t love a fiber that keeps you knitting in the sticky summer months?

Recently, I bought シンプルなのに仕掛けが光るニットのふだん着 (“Simple and ingenious knit daywear” on Ravelry) by michiyo. I don’t normally pick her books up, because her designs are not really my style, but there are a couple of tops in this book that are just out of these world. Number one being the picture up top. I LOVE the smocked details, especially the tiny braid that lines the neck. The tweedy linen-cotton stockinette (from Hamanaka’s new Flax Tweed line) is also very nice. I would cut off the extra length and make it a more normal shirt, but keep the extra ease.

Just bought the tweed linen at Himawari today!
Just bought the Flax Tweed at Himawari today!

The best part? I already have plenty of navy linen yarn leftover from the Vasa I knit last year, so the smocking part will officially use up part of my stash! I’m actually very neurotic about stash, as I live in a Japanese apartment and have limited myself to two baskets and no more. I really try to limit my buying to stuff I know I have a project for…and still I always have leftover from projects that I don’t know what to do with. Lately I’ve been knitting stuffed animals, but I don’t have any more room for stuffed animals than for yarn, so.

My other idea would be a grey, white, and orangey striped Vasa by Dianna Walla. I have some Hamanaka Flax C in a number of colors that I played with to get this combination of stripes, which I quite adore. The C is for crochet, meaning it’s fingering weight. K would be knit, in DK weight, and I just can’t decide which weight to knit with. Fingering would be so light and breathable…and then I’d have to wear a tank underneath, defeating the purpose. I could knit it with size 0 needles, but my fingers can’t really tolerate size 0 for more than socks. So I’m leaning toward the Flax K weight. But then I start waffling on the colors… They have some pretty new colors this year, with sunflower yellow and coral and a wealth of greys. Ackkk…

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Color line for Hamanaka’s Flax C/K (not shown: their Lamé line with the orange I’ll be using)

Well, I should count myself lucky that Quince & Co and some of the other yarn companies with huge color selections are all hard to find here. I’ve become a Hamanaka queen, which is nice because my choices are limited. Like, 75% of their yarn is variegated fingering weight for classic 70s crochet vests.

You know, every time I go into a yarn store here, the staff is always surprised by how “young” I am? (I’m almost 30…) I think because knitting hasn’t caught on with young people in Japan like it has in the west. There are of course places in Tokyo and Osaka to get fancy foreign brands of yarn, from MadTosh to Malabrigo to Quince, and there are a ton of online stores. But I try to support the places in Morioka, and what they carry is Hamanaka, Diakeito, and other Japanese brands. I really appreciate being able to walk into a physical location and touch the yarn. Because that’s the best part of being the knitter, isn’t it?

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