Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Scrappy Summerfly

There’s nothing like having to pack up the house to make one realize the extent of one’s stash. Our recent move has made me keenly aware of how much yarn and fabric I have. It's not an extensive supply — I’m nowhere near SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) — but it bothers me to have supplies that I liked enough to purchase yet haven’t managed to use.

Leftover scraps present a different type of stash-busting challenge. I’ve already used them in a project so any urgency is gone. I often need to combine colors, which means I need to make projects that highlight the colorwork.

Back of Knit Wool Summerfly Shirt

I found the free Summerfly pattern by Alisha Bright, and thought it would be ideal for using up some leftover fingering weight wool yarn. I rotated through the following colors by knitting two rows of each:
  • Superwash merino handspun in midnight blue
  • Self-striping cool grays, ranging from off-white to dark slate blue
  • Light beige wool. After that ran out, I switched to Regia 4-f├Ądig Patch Antik Color in the colorway Beige, which self-stripes in various shades of beige with accents of white and gray.
  • Barber pole self-striping warm grays, ranging from ivory to dark gray

Detail of Stripes Knit with Four Colors of Scrap Wool Yarn

I used the pattern only as a guideline due to a combination of personal preference and unclear instructions. I decided against knitting the side panels in a contrasting color because the stripes seemed busy enough. I knit the body in the round. The Extra Waist Shaping sounded optional; I skipped it because I wanted a loose top. In retrospect, I could have included the shaping without sacrificing the desired fit.

I thought the last shoulder decrease step was unclear. After completing the decreases, it says to knit in stockinette stitch for four inches. I read this as knitting an additional four inches; instead, since the height was already about 3 1/2 inches (just under 9 cm), I knit until I reached four inches total (just over 10 cm). I like the size of the armholes on the finished top, so I think my interpretation was correct.

Front of Knit Wool Summerfly Shirt featuring Armholes

For the front scoop, the instructions say to increase by two stitches on the right side, purl back, then increase every other row followed by every row. I wondered whether this meant a true every other row increase — all right side rows — or every other right side/wrong side repeat. Because the last step says every row and the previous instructions don’t include increases on the purl rows, I deduced that the designer must mean to increase on every other right side/wrong side repeat.

The scoop shaping is created by knitting full rows, not short rows, which means that each row adds to the size of the armholes. This left me questioning whether to knit 20 rows total or 20 increase rows plus additional rows without increases. The scoop doesn’t drape as well as it might, but I’m still not certain whether I knit that section incorrectly because the armholes are an appropriate size.

Front of Knit Wool Summerfly Shirt featuring Scoop Cowl Neck

There was a chance that the warm and cool grays wouldn’t play well together, but I really like these stripes. I’m a little disappointed that I only managed to use up the light beige and Regia yarns, but my supply of the other yarns is much smaller than when I started. And I have a comfortable summer top, which is preferable to a pile of mismatched yarn in the cabinet!


  1. I know nothing about such complicated knitting, but the resulting top is stunning!. Patterns that are unclear are so frustrating, whether knitting patterns or quilting patterns. Anyway, love your knitted summer top.

  2. Well done, but oh the joys of questionable pattern instructions!!

    1. Thank you! And considering the price of the pattern (free), I think it went pretty smoothly. I've purchased patterns that gave me more trouble!

  3. Such a great top! Your leftovers look so beautiful together, it's like you planned it that way originally!

    1. Thank you, I guess that's the upside to being drawn toward certain colors again and again!


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