Skip to content

Short sleeves, please.

All I’m thinking about lately are short sleeve knits. My summer uniform consists of capri pants or full skirts and knit tops. Knit tees and tops are some of my favorite things to make because you’re never stuck on sleeve island and you can wear your gorgeous knits in the summer. In May, I’m still able to wear some of the lighter knits in wool with short sleeves but as summer heat and humidity rolls in I’m all about cotton/linen yarns and breezy knits. Here’s what’s on my radar this month as the temperatures continue to rise.

My Boy Lollipop


I love a knit with an ultra-feminine vibe, and Nancy Ricci’s My Boy Lollipop top is a super cute, cropped feminine piece. I think it would pair perfectly with a full skirt and a pair of sandals. The kind of outfit I envision myself wearing while riding a bike with a baguette and my mini-chihuahua Jellybean in the front basket—if only I had a bike! It’s knit top down with a DK weight yarn; for summer I’d totally knit this with a lighter weight cotton blend yarn.

As If Tee


Every time I see someone make Shay Johnson’s As If Tee, I wonder why I haven’t made one for myself yet. I love the sheer mohair panel at the top and how you can dress it up or down. It also looks good on varying body types because you can modify it easily to fit your shape. Make it cropped, knit it a bit longer, pair it with mohair in the same color or make a bold contrast—there are endless possibilities. I have to make myself one by the fall because it’s a great piece for transitional weather, and it will be my go-to top for every holiday party.



If you haven’t knit a sweater sideways, I suggest starting with Amy Christoffers’s Cosette top. It’s knit from arm to arm, and seamed up the sides. The construction is so clever that I wonder why more sweaters aren’t knit this way. I knit this top two summers ago using six different shades of cotton yarn from my stash for fun vertical stripes, but it’s just as beautiful as a solid. I also love the shape. It’s a perfect crew neck tee with a curved hem that you can wear with everything. I live in this top all summer.

North Fork

I’ve knit Melissa Schaschwary’s North Fork top several times. It’s the knit piece I turn to on a hot summer day when it’s going to be humid and gross out. It’s light and breezy when knit with a cotton or linen tape yarn. You can keep the sleeves short or add on a bit more length if you’re in a cooler climate. You can also create fun color combos with the stripes. I made my most recent version with a bit more ease than previous versions, and found that I loved throwing it over a bathing suit at the beach or just paired with shorts and sandals.

As the temperatures go up, make cooler yarn choices to help expand your summer wardrobe. You’ll thank you me when you don’t have to worry about sleeve island.




About The Author

Dana Williams-Johnson knits every day. Knitting is what brings Dana joy, and she shows that through her use of color (hello, rainbows) and modifications of favorite patterns into replica sweaters for her dogs.

You can read about it all on Dana’s blog, Yards of Happiness, and watch her video podcasts on YouTube.


  • Love these sweaters!

  • Dana, your models are so beautiful – especially you! Thanks for this perfectly timed information; here in Maine a few towns actually hit 70F yesterday for the first time since October – summer is coming!

    • Oh man! 70! I wish! Meanwhile, Florida is already hitting 90… makes even hot weather knits hard to wear. 😉

  • She is an inspiration to me! I’m still working on my first sweater but I remember reading her post about how she decided to tackle sweaters! Thanks for sharing her again !! Can’t wait to try one of these !

  • Thank you for this post and the great recommendations for summer tops. Your posts always help me to feel that anything is possible and o see my knitting with a more fun and relaxed attitude. I may even try some stripes myself!

    • I agree — love those vertical stripes. It gives me the kernel of an idea of a way to use up those 2 or 3 skeins of different colored yarns, not enough of one to knit an entire sweater. At my age, 79, however, I would have to make those sleeves a bit longer. Arms not so firm any more!

      • Gotta love 3/4 length sleeves
        I’m 79, also ❣️❣️❣️❣️❣️

  • Brilliant as always!!! I’ve never knit a summer top because I always thought they’d be too hot. You’ve changed my mind!

  • Great post! I’ve been eyeing Dana’s short sleeve cotton Guthrie sweaters recently and thinking about making one. These are all great ideas too!

    • Great post! I have a question about wearing wool short sleeve sweaters in fall and winter. Do you wear a tank or tee under them or just the wool right against your skin? They look so cute, but I can’t imagine wearing wool as a first layer. Should I just try it?

  • Thanks for the inspiration Dana! Added Cosette top to my favorites At the speed I knit, I probably won’t get to it till next summer;) working on 3 WIPs now

  • I love those sweaters! Why oh why are they not made for bigger busted women? We deserve the sweaters too . I need a 48 bust without ease ,as my bust is my biggest measurement. So needs a larger pattern range.

    • Have you checked out Cocoknits sweater workshop or Amy Herzog’s books? As someone with a 50” bust and a 35” waist, they helped me learn how to quickly adapt a sweater pattern to fit my bust but not be a shapeless sack otherwise.

  • Gorgeous!

  • Dana, these are all so light and breezy—I don’t tend to think of making summer sweaters because Nashville in July is a sweltering place. But you’ve really got me thinking. Thank you!

  • I haven’t knit a summer top before but have been contemplating a linen one this year. I was thinking one of Quince and Co’s patterns as I love their linen colors— Dekla or Cullen are my current favorites. But that North Fork top makes me want to play with all the colorblocking options! It is a great fit and looks beautiful on Dana.

    Also, can I just say how much I love this series? Seeing Dana’s smile always means I’m in for a treat of colorful, stylish, beautifully knit tops. So happy she’s an MDK contributor!

  • Dana, inspiring article!
    I’ve not knit a sweater side-to-side
    COSETTE ❣️❣️
    There are several HazelKnit Skeins in My Stash …….

  • Dana! All gorgeous choices!!❤️

  • Summer sweaters where I live – New England – are a must, and as always, Dana’s pattern and color choices are so inspirational. Her knitting photos make me smile, they are so happy!

  • Love the colors of your North Fork, Dana. Love ALL your colors. The green one looks refreshingly cool in that color. For hot weather, everyone, don’t forget tank tops. They can be really elegant. Someone was wearing a stunning one in just-the-right-novelty yarn in a grocery store parking lot. It looked like Neiman Marcus but she knitted it herself. Five years later I still remember it. (I chase down handknit wearers as a hobby.) Chloe

  • Short sleeves & heat-friendly yarns – love it! Thank you. There really is more to knitting than wool.

  • Do you have any specific yarn recommendations for the North Fork sweater? I once tried to knit with Quince Sparrow and it was so stiff it made my hands hurt!

  • Hi Dana, thank you for terrific ideas for summer sweaters! Cosette and North Fork are speaking to me…

  • Hello! I love your suggestions! I checked out your blog and IG. I will be following! I am participating in the MBL KAL. I think I read somewhere (and cannot find) making the sleeves longer. Do you just continue in pattern to get the length you want? Thank you.

  • Thank you for this inspiring post. I need to stop browsing and get knitting!

  • What a lovely woman! Will be seriously contemplating knitting more than a few of these tops…

  • I’m a little bit of an uncertain knitter. Is there any way at all you could create a north fork with your modifications added in set of instructions? The swingy top you made is SO flattering and wearable. The original seems more sausage like. Thanks! Barbara

  • I live in SoCal, so these are good year-round (with a cardigan over top sometimes.). Thank you! 🙂

Come Shop With Us

My Cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping