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Transitioning from Summer to Autumn Knits

knitting making process

Even though the weather here in Minnesota hasn’t quite reached peak autumn temperatures, there have been enough cool days or evenings that I’m starting to think of transitioning to fall knits. I wanted to walk you through my process using three key elements to transitioning knit seasons: layering, yarn type, and garment density.

Disclosure: These are all tricks that work for me, that I have discovered over years of trial and error (or just plain miscalculation of weather in some cases). You might have completely different thoughts on these topics, allergies to certain types of yarn, or live in a climate where these tips aren’t as useful. What I offer is suggestion and my own experience - use it to help you find what works for you. Or don’t if it doesn’t apply.



If you’re from Minnesota, or have spent any amount of time in a region that experiences cold winters, you’ll know the power of layering. This skill isn’t limited to winter, however, as it can be equally powerful in autumn.

When temperatures reach between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit, I can’t pull out my sweaters fast enough. For me, it’s the perfect temperature for wearing either a t-shirt or tank top under my sweaters or cardigans. This allows me to regulate my temperature fairly easily while enjoying my knits. Another trick I use is to wear a lighter top (a t-shirt for example) and a shawl. Again - I can regulate my own temperature pretty easily with this layering combo.

That summer, cotton tank top you knit? Perfect underneath a warmer cardigan. I have seen more t-shirt sweaters popping up on Ravelry (Mary Persis' Fossil Frenzy Tee is on my list); what a perfect autumn knit! And as the weather continues to cool - layer a t-shirt sweater with a cardigan! Endless options.


Yarn Type

Firstly, what do I mean by yarn type? For this section, I’m specifically talking about what the yarn is made of: wool, wool blend, cotton, acrylic, etc. Knowing what your garments are made of will help you choose appropriately for either standalone garments or for layering.

If you’re layering, a cotton base is a great option. It will help keep you from sweating too much if you get warm, as it has moisture-wicking properties and breathes. On top, add a wool or acrylic layer. Both will help keep you warm, and the wool breathes in a comfortable way. If you want to go with just one garment, acrylic is a good choice. Modern acrylic yarns are soft and keep in heat, so they wear well next to your skin.

I take yarn type into consideration when picking out accessories too. If I’m wearing a factory made sweater, I’ll likely choose a wool cowl over an acrylic one because I feel it breathes better. Or, if I know it’s a little windy out, I’ll choose the acrylic one instead because I want to stay super cozy.


Garment Density

Is your sweater made with fingering or worsted weight yarn? Is it open lace or straight stockinette all the way? Garment density, as I’m using it here, refers to how heavy your garment or accessory is. Knowing the weight will help you decide what to wear (or not) for the weather.

For example. I made Boyland Knitworks’ Techumseh Sweater this summer. It’s a fairly bulky sweater, made with worsted weight, 100% wool, yarn. So it keeps me comfortably warm. However, I’m not going to layer it with one of my factory-made sweaters…I’d get far too warm in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And I might look more like a puffed marshmallow - which is a look reserved for colder weather in my opinion. Instead, I would wear a lighter layer underneath the wool sweater to optimize temperature and reduce marshmallow puff.

However, if I have a two lighter garments (where one is more form fitting and the other, a looser fit) then I can easily layer them to stay warm, without worrying about the garments bunching.


Final Thoughts

These three elements all work together, and if you take the time, understanding how to use them to your advantage becomes second nature. Knowing yourself, how you like to feel in your clothes and how you want to feel in different temperatures, is the real key to transitioning from summer to fall knits. I hope my process has given you inspiration to try something new, notice how you dress for cooler temperatures, or reaffirm that what you do is perfect for you.

Are there elements of seasonal knit transitions that I missed? What do you do that’s different? I’d love to know! Stay cozy, friends.


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