Somewhere in between

There may be practical reasons for dividing the year into 4 separate seasons with beginning and end dates, but real world weather doesn’t always seem to get the schedule. No sooner had east London got its first dose of proper coat-free warmth this year, than it seemed to turn its back on spring, for another go at being winter again.

This forward backwards shuffle suggests that it’s probably a good time to look at sweaters that can swing both ways – light enough to be worn as a shirtish-blouse, warm enough to keep off the chill of our pretend-spring.

So we’ve gone in search of patterns that want fine gauge yarns, knit on medium gauge needles, making airy and warmish fabric, which won’t take forever to knit. Here’s where we got to..

Raglan Lite by Tori Yu
The cut and shape on this tee-sweatshirt are a nod to easy-to-pull-on raglan baseball tees, the kind that go with everything and always feel comfy to wear. The lovely curve on the hem is balanced with a simple construction which means you’ll be home and dry without any hiccups in good time to decide if you want the sleeves long or short. Use Madragoa or Kalinka to keep cool, or Fyberspates Vivacous, Wool Kitchen sock or silk or Igneae for something warmer.

Say Hello by Rie Vive
Rich with enchanting details, there’s more to see each time you look at this as-lovely-in-the-back-as-the-front sweater. Especially for knitters who are tickled by the going as much as the getting-there, added to which, if you choose the lace-weight knitted at a sport gauge, you’ve got just the right sort of warm to see you through the summer.
For lace choose Garthenor Number 1, or go slightly plumper with JC Rennie’s Supersoft Lambswool.

Facette by Faïza Mabazaa
Fresh from the latest summer issue of Laine Magazine, Facette is the one I want to make next. Something about those short-but-not-short sleeves plus tapered plant stem-striped cuffs. Can you tell I’m smitten? There’s a lackadaisical doodle-like quality to the colourwork and raglan detail which is as summery in mood as the gauge is for evening warmth. I want to make mine in Pastoreta because I’m impatient to knit with it. But J&S, Darnie or Mondim would be equally good.

Volia Blouse by Teti
Whilst Teti’s designs can tend to lean in more of a capital F-for-feminine direction than I’m generally up for, I feel like I can get on board with this one. Loose, blousey and wearable, I might leave the tassels off, but hey – that’s the beauty of knitting it yourself right? I think a sheepy 4ply like Pastoreta, JC Rennie or the Garthenor Number One plus Mohair would be perfect.

Ilha by Orlane Sucche
Essentially a beautifully textured yoked sweater, but because it’s a Tête Bêche design, there are also treats in the shaping and the hem-cuff details, meaning that there’s something to look forward to all the way down. Orlanne’s signature 4ply-at-a-DK-gauge, means it will be light, good value and very knittable. It’s another obvious candidate for the Pastoreta, but the Exmoor, Mondim or Darnie would all be lovely alternatives.

Nine Patch by Julie Weisenberger
This is on my needles right now, and works on so many levels. Those perfectly conceived little squares of colour will hoover up your scraps and deliver all the colourful decoration without any of the bulk you get from stranded knitting. And how to decide the colours? My advice – just lucky-dip it and see. It’s fun and it’s quick and it’s going to be just right for the weather too. Choose your base colour from Darnie, J&S, Mondim, Pastoreta, Exmoor, Garthernor Number 2

Moncha by Ailbiona McLochlainn
Described by the designer as exuding “an unkempt elegance as she makes her way through the brambles of abandoned orchards, or collects driftwood by the shore”, Moncha has the shape, fit and mood of an everywhere-always sweater to me. Thoughtfully written with a choice of sport or DK gauge instructions, it’s also pretty seasonless. I’m tempted to make mine with 1 strand of Manchelopis (DK but super light), although Cautiva or Ulysse would give you proper best of both worlds options.

Gr8 Gingham by Jessie Maed
Fun to make and groovy to wear – especially under a pair of dungarees. Yes, it’s stranded so probably the warmest of this crop of patterns, but the vibe feels summery so we’re allowing it. Any sport or plump 4ply will work. My first choices would be Cautiva, Ulysse or the Darnie.

Blouse Number One by My Favourite Things
A decidedly un-sweaterish, sweater that is definitely speaking to me in linen, silk or cotton. The gauge is loose so you can have it done by this side of the summer and it’s the kind of shape that works like an underneath layer, or an on-its-own cool blouse. 2 strands of Madragoa silk will give you a look just like the one in the picture. And the vegan alternatives would be cool Kalinka linen, also double stranded, or a single strand of Re-Use cotton.

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