It sort of feels like we’re slipping into this summer quietly. Slowly. And perhaps a low-key entry into what we usually think of as a busy, travel-packed season is just right after the year we’ve had! We’ve got a pretty perfect method to slow down, too. We just need some yarn, needles or a hook, a frosty glass of iced tea, and a comfy place to sit. It doesn’t matter much what we’re making—the act itself is where we find comfort and satisfaction. But if you’re interested in what the Mice are up to this summer, we’d love to share!
Most of us do a little bit of making every day, all year long—for work or pleasure, knitting or crocheting or stitching. Even brewing a cup of tea counts in our book! For a few Mice, summer is the season to switch from working with wool to working with lighter, plant-based yarns. Stella says, “In the spring and summer I definitely put down my woolen projects, completed or not, and I pick up cotton and linen projects.” She’s knitting the Striped Chevron Scarf in warm-weather classic, Berroco Modern Cotton DK. Lisa is also working with cool cotton—she’s knitting Block Stitch Washcloths in a scrumptious shade of Berroco Pima 100.
LOOKING FORWARD TO FALL
Some, like Kit and Leila, cast on their fall knitting in the summer. “I love doing it this way,” Leila says, “because I can wear my knits right away and enjoy them throughout the season without the stress of deadlines.” Kit also likes to enter fall with her woolly knits all ready to go. She’s working on another Ribbed Pencil Skirt using Brooklyn Tweed Arbor for herself and a Saddle Shoulder Men’s Pullover (reimagined as a cardigan!) in Jamieson Shetland Heather Aran for John. Next, she’s daydreaming about a cashmere-blend Everyday Pullover knit in gorgeously cozy Shibui Haven!
TIME WELL SPENT
For Freshy and Lauren, the arrival of summer doesn’t alter their making habits too much—other than enjoying the long, light-filled evenings! “I find that I knit with wools or wool blends more than plant fibers in general,” Freshy says. “So I will often be knitting on something woolly for fall and winter no matter what time of the year it is.” Like Kit, she’s knitting a Saddle Shoulder Men’s Pullover in Shetland Heather Aran for her husband, Rob (it’ll be his third, lucky guy). As for Lauren, she just likes to go with the flow, working on whatever catches her eye. Recently, it was a mustard yellow skein of Brooklyn Tweed Peerie—she’s knitting up a Ribbed Watch Cap for camping trips and early morning beach walks. Lauren is also working on the second half of her pair of abbreviated Basic Socks. Using Koigu KPPPM, she’s given them a cute, below-ankle-length rolled cuff.
Lauren and Freshy love the long days and slow evenings of summer—more knitting time!
SWIFT AND SWEET
These warmer months are also perfect for quick, easy projects—either because we have so much going on, or because we’d like to relax with some instant gratification. Kit and Leila have turned to simple little crochet projects. Leila’s whipping up a batch of Crocheted Coasters using Wool and the Gang Ra-Ra Raffia—they’ll be a pretty, pink gift for her sister. Kit’s trying her hook at a wee, phone-size version of the Crocheted Crossbody Bag (helpful for when your trousers or sundress don’t have pockets).
Leila takes her project into the sunshine of her backyard.
GOOD THINGS IN SMALL PACKAGES
Mice are also happily knitting baby gifts for friends—cuddly blankets abound! Leila is playing with bright, cheerful colors of Blue Sky Fibers Organic Cotton Worsted in a Garter Blocks Baby Blanket while Lauren has chosen one of the colorways of Berroco Ultra Wool Handpaint for a Picot-Edged Baby Blanket. Kit’s queue also contains cute little gifts—perhaps something from the Bloom at Rowan collection? (Erika Knight has such a beautiful touch when it comes to baby sweaters!)
The kettle is always singing around Churchmouse—even in the summer we love a hot cuppa! But we also adore tea on ice. Lisa tends to find light, fruity teas the most refreshing way to beat the heat while Lauren loves gently sweetened black tea. John, however, has been the most dedicated to finding the perfect brew! Here, he shares an experiment, gives an important making tip, and lists a few teas we carry that are super tasty iced:
“First, I filled a half-gallon jug with water and 16 bags of Barry’s Gold Blend and let it steep overnight in a refrigerator. Next morning, a beautiful color. And quite tasty! But better than brewed?
Had to know, so I brewed 16 bags with boiling water in an 8-cup Brown Betty, poured it over ice and compared each version side by side. The fridge version was full-bodied and velvety smooth; the Brown Betty was also deeply flavored but had that extra “bite” that I enjoy. Which is my fave? Whichever one you’re serving to me on a shaded porch on a hot sunny afternoon.
The tip? Note above that I used 16 bags in an 8-cup pot. Always double the amount of tea leaves because the ice will dilute it.
Which teas to try? I’m a black tea fan, so any of our full-bodied blends from the British Isles and Ireland. And if you want to drink iced tea long into the muggy evening, choose any of our caffeine-free Rooibos blends, especially the Mango. Yum!
A final note: I recently iced Churchmouse Summer (a caffeine-free herbal infusion), added a squeeze of lime, and swizzled languidly with a spear of cucumber. Oh, and I also added a jigger of Bainbridge Gin, which did not go amiss—a “G and Tea” as Kit calls it!”