Just because summer is here, it does not mean you should put down your crochet hook. Take a break from hats, afghans, and scarves. Instead, whip up a cute, breezy tunic from Crochet! magazine. The pattern is free. Unlike many patterns, this one covers sizes up to 4x. Grab some cotton yarn from your stash and whip up a couple of these for yourself and as gifts.
The Summer Breeze tunic pattern was designed by Shannon Mullet-Bowlsby for Shibaguys Designz. It is featured in the summer 2014 edition of Crochet! magazine. The tunic has a beautiful open pattern. Mullet-Bowlsby plays on a cable stitch creating an airy tunic. The tunic has kimono style sleeves and a ribbed hem. These features work together to create a very comfortable top. The lightweight yarn makes this perfect for summer time. Wear it as a pool cover up or over a camisole for casual wear.
What you need
To start, grab a size F/5/3.75 mm crochet hook. Then you’ll need any DK or size 3 cotton yarn. The pattern calls for Premier Yarns afternoon cotton colors in number 2312, Caribbean. This is a variegated blue/green yarn, but any color will do.
Depending on the size, you will require 11 to 19 skiens. The Premier Yarn brand is a 1 ¾ ounce, 136 yard, 50 gram skein. If you are using a different yarn, make the appropriate adjustments.
Can I wash it?
Cotton yarn is washable. Always look on the yarn band for washing instructions. Usually, you can run garments made with cotton yarn through the delicate cycle on your washing machine. Do not put it in the dryer. Lay it flat to dry and pin it back to shape, if needed. Hand dyed cotton should be hand washed with a very gentle detergent.
Check the yarn for colorfastness before you make the garment. To do this, take a small sample of the yarn and soak it with warm water. Look to see if the water changes color. Even if the water is clear, the yarn might not be colorfast. Take the wet sample, roll it up in a white towel, and squeeze it. If color transfers to the towel, the dye is not colorfast and it will run or fade if machine washed.
Modifications and other ideas
Instead of using plain DK weight cotton, try a DK weight yarn with sequins or metallic thread. That changes the tunic from casual to evening wear. Whip up one in white and give it as a wedding gift. Try going a size larger for a comfy pool cover up.
If you are knowledgeable about pattern modifications, you can take this pattern and change the sleeves from kimono style to a tank top. Another easy modification would be to change the neck to a scoop neck.
Want to go longer? This is easy to do. The pattern starts with the bottom ribbing. Make the foundation crochet longer by adding more stitches. It will not impact the rest of the pattern, but the longer hem will hug your curves.
Another option for adding length is to add a pattern repeats to the cable stitching. This loosens the fit through the buttocks but it drops the ribbed hem to the thighs.
Not a fan of tunics? Drop a few cable rounds and you have a sweater length top. When adding or subtracting length, make sure that you do it by adjusting for a complete cable repeat. Otherwise you might end up with awkward looking partial cables.
If you are uncomfortable deviating from a pattern, then crochet as instructed. The tunic is beautiful without making changes.
Lynda Altman has learned to crochet and embroider as a child. Crochet, beading and needlepoint are some of her favorite needle work pastimes. You can see her work on Etsy. She writes a crochet blog called The Granny Squared. Contact Lynda via email or @fusgeyer on Twitter.