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Spring has already sprung in Maryland. I was hit with high pollen counts back in February! So as the weather transitions, I usually find that my knitting does, too.

Don’t get me wrong, I will knit a wooly sweater in the comfort of the AC in the middle of August, but around March and into April, I start knitting with more cotton blend yarns and thinking about pieces that will carry me from cooler temps into spring days.

And let’s be honest: I don’t live in a really cold climate, so I often have to alter sweaters and make them short sleeved so I can wear them more than once during the year.

One of my favorite things to knit are vests/slipovers or short-sleeve lightweight knits. I thought I could share a few that might be fun for all the MDK readers too.

The Petal Party Crop by Samantha Guerin

I really adore this little short sleeve and slightly cropped top. I added a little extra length when I knit mine—but it is a perfect piece to throw over a sleeveless dress or a tank top when it isn’t super hot and you just need a little something extra.

I also love the sweet lace detail panels on the sides. Even though you knit it with fingering weight yarn, you knit it on a size 5 (or, in my case, size 6) needle and it moves along pretty quickly.

The Livre Vest by Cadre

I recently finished this vest in about a week—it flew off my needles. It’s a cute slightly oversized vest knit in DK weight yarn on a larger needle. You can add pockets or omit them like I did. You can see it on me at the top of this post.

I wanted to let this very bold Kindred yarn in the Seashell Bra colorway be the star. And if you’re on the boucle yarn bandwagon like I am, I think this would be perfect in boucle to add a bit of texture to your outfit. Especially if you’re a person who loves neutrals. 

Warp Vest by Sara Ottosson

This spring I already signed up for a class on intarsia at my local yarn shop Fibre Space because I’ve had this vest in my favorites for a very long time—and intarsia is the technique I keep saying I want to learn.

Whenever I want to learn, I also go to my LYS to take a class so I feel more confident about my projects. I’m excited to pick the color palette for this one and I really hope that I enjoy intarsia or if I discover it’s too chaotic for my Type A personality.

Blueberry Vodka Lemonade by Thea Colman

This sweater is in my queue to knit with a fingering-weight linen yarn. This is the perfect all-year-round lightweight knit, especially if I knit it with linen. I can layer underneath for more warmth the colder temps. I can wear it as is in the summer with anything in my closet. It’ll definitely be a staple I have for a long time. 

As many garments as I knit, I want to make things that I can really wear. I find that vests and lighter weight knits are becoming some of the staples I reach for in my closet over and over again. What are some of your favorite lighter weight knits?

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.


  • The Summer Fog Vest by Lori Versace is the sweater I’ve nearly worn out. It just feels perfect…..keeps my core warm without overheating me, doesn’t drag in the water when I wash my hands, has two nice little pockets for the tissues I always seem to need. I knit it with Berocco Ultra Alpaca years ago, and I think I need another…..

  • Thanks! You remind me how much I miss the earlier springtime of DC. I like it best when you model the knitwear.

  • I’m planning to knit the Riptide Slipover by Jennifer Shiels Toland, Thanks for sharing the Poppy Party Crop! That might make it into my queue too.

  • There’s a cute textured cotton top pattern called Ketch by Kate Gagnon Osborn that I’m interested in knitting. Love these options too!

  • I absolutely love each and every one of your choices!

  • This inspires me to finish my Trellis vest by Carol Feller. I love the Livre Vest and the Blueberry Vodka Lemonade sweater! Both are so cute!!! I live right across the Potomac River so same weather as you 😉

  • Ooh, I love almost anything by Caidree and that vest looks like a nice fit for me. I also love the fit of the Fall Bluff by Ashley Lillis which I modified into a vest by leaving off the sleeves. It is a perfect template for my body type. It calls for super bulky yarn but something cottony might work since it is a vest. I hope you love intarsia, Dana. I really enjoyed a tiny, very simple, two-color project a while back which I consulted the Internet for. I think the main advantage of a class is learning how to manage all those strands of yarn! If you happen to have a full complement of Interweave’s Knit.Wear magazine series there is an article in there about how to achieve an absolute clean line between colors (using short rows, I believe) which might be used to dazzle ‘em in a diagonally-bisected two-color throw pillow (in my queue). For that Warp Vest, though, all those short rows might be way too much (especially since in the photo those transitions look pretty darn straight anyway). Would love to see if you ever try that one!

  • The light layer I add regularly is my Gloam, by Caitlin Hunter. I knit it in Worthington yarn, in blue stone, which goes with much of my wardrobe. It’s a sort of flyaway short sleeve cardigan with a textured yoke, both front and back. Just yesterday I realized that I need another one in a bolder color for more contrast. And once through a great project, it should be an easy remake!

  • Come to think of it doesn’t that Soho Half + Half Triangle Wrap do the same Intarsia thing? I guess we should just do that.

  • Vests are my favourite! I love your pattern choices, I’m definitely putting a few of them into my queue

  • Thank you for this. I’m putting several in my queue. Vests and tees are really my go-to as I age. Always love Dana’s posts!!

  • Thank you for this timely article! I live in the maritime northwest and would get a lot of wear out of these–and I like them all!

  • I love your choices! I too live in Maryland, so I understand the sweater choices. Thanks!

  • Love these suggestions! Thank you!

  • Yumiko Alexander lives in AZ and designs lovely, unique tops that are wearable in warm weather. Fun to knit! Always receive compliments when I wear one of her designs. Her patterns are on Ravelry. Can also find them by searching DanDoh yarns & patterns.

    • Thank you for sharing this designer. I see several items that have piqued my interest!

  • It’s not new, but I knit Caitlin Hunter’s Navelli out of a linen/wool blend a few years ago and I wear it in all but the hottest weather. It’s a cute short-sleeve sweater but also works under jackets and as a vest over a denim shirt or a t-shirt.

  • Joji Locatelli’s Adriata is a beautiful new summer sweater. I love how the lace flows around the armholes.

  • I wear NellKnit’s Chai Popover in the summer by itself and in the winter over a turtleneck or a blouse. It’s red, which also covers most holidays. I used Cascade Hampton, which is a cotton-linen blend, perfect for Texas!

  • One of my knits for this Spring/Summer is the Tulsa Tank J. H. Walker. I have knit it twice, once in boucle and once in cotton held with a thin strand of mohair It’s a great top on it’s own or under a jeans jacket.

  • Thank you for some great knits , very nice selection.
    I enjoyed all the ideas and patterns

  • OMG that warp vest may just be the thing to get me to face my fear and jump into intarsia!!

  • Thanks Dana for your post! Seeing your vest has me thinking how to use some of my SW stash. I have the Blueberry Vodka Lemonade pattern for my next project in wool, but your idea of linen might make the pattern a repeater, lol. So much inspiration from you and other commenters, bookmarking now!

  • Hi!!! Thanks for these patterns. I love your Livre.

  • Fellow Marylander here! I make a lot of shawls, mostly fingering weight. My all-time favorite knit was Shawlography, a Westknits KAL. I am working on a spinoff which is almost finished.

  • Dana I love these suggestions!!

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