As our summer days (and evenings, and weekends in general) get busier, we’re always on the lookout for projects that can be picked up and put down without fear of losing our place in a chart or ending in the middle of a long row. These kinds of projects are perfect for summer, and generally end up littered around the house — something near the couch, something by the front door, something else in the car, you know how it goes. This summer, we’re turning our attention to patchwork of both the knitting and sewing variety. It’s the perfect take-anywhere, pick up and put down project, and best of all, it means that when the cold weather returns we’ll have blankets all ready to go.
One of the most fun aspects of a patchwork project is the planning! Choosing a palette is so much fun, and then, once you’ve got your fabrics picked out, you get to choose how to arrange them! For a really simple project, patchwork-squares (either arranged in a perfect grid, or with alternating rows like bricks) are about as basic as it gets. Once you know what size you want your finished quilt to be, you can cut your squares and plan your rows. They stitch up very quickly on a machine, or for a more portable project, you can draw your seam allowances on and sew them by hand.
Of course, that’s just the starting point, we have lots of books and patterns that take patchwork to a whole other level: Working with different shapes, organizing your colours, creating blocks — the sky really is the limit. We’re also converts to the art of hand quilting, which is such a peaceful process, perfect for summer evenings when you finally get a minute to slow down.
If sewing isn’t your thing, though, knit and crochet patchwork blankets are fantastic summer projects. Individual blocks are relatively quick to finish, and until the sewing up (which you can save for the fall), you never have a big project heating your lap. Our current favourites are tincanknits’ Fly Away, which offers so many possibilities for design, and the gorgeous African Flower Hexagon crochet pattern by Heidi Bears. If you want something scrappier (for leftover skeins from other favourite projects, or just an excuse to indulge in some Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails), Kay Gardiner’s Mitered Crosses pattern fits the bill nicely.