Don't you love off-season yarn shopping? Fill your stash with the stuff you love at prices that remove all power-shopping guilt pangs. And what about all the summer yarn and fiber fairs, festivals and conferences? You want to buy the yarn you'll use in your favorite fall styles, but you haven't seen them yet! What are the coming trends in fashionable knitwear? There are several, and they're all fun. (Trends in woven fabrics will differ slightly. These are knitwear trends. For trends in off the rack fashion, search "2012 fashion".)
Color: The summer 2011 palate for knitwear is an "opposites attract" theme. Vivid colors in soft, thin yarns, and soft colors in thicker, more structured yarns make garments that look fresh for the season. These color trends soften for fall/winter, with dusty colors in pastel through deep tones. Crayon brights are not featured, but if you really love them, rock your own personal style!
Coming next spring and fall (2012) are the joyful colors of Indian saris. Beautiful jewel tones are blended with one contrasting pastel or light metallic. These pieces will be on trend in the textures listed below. In spring/summer, these shades are sometimes separated into layers, and in fall/winter, vivid tones are highlighted by a pastel in the same garment.
Texture - Summer 2011 is a vista of smooth textures punctuated with a textured statement. Tight clothes are taking a back seat to tailored fits that are close without being clingy. A cabled belt over a smooth blouse, or a smooth tank with a textured crocheted wrap or lacy cardigan would be classic look. Smooth on smooth is always flattering to most figures, but this summer it will look conservative.
Fall/Winter 2011/2012 is moving in the texture direction, becoming more all-over textured, punctuated by smooth, or mixed separates of smooth and textured. Think boucle with satin, or ruching with smooth slacks.
Spring/Summer 2012 stays with the texture/smooth theme, with layers of contrasting light textures and flowing pants and skirts. Lots of open weaves and open lacework make for fabrics you want to touch and caress. Softness rules, with linens and hemps being scrunched, not ironed.
The chunky theme is repeated fall (2011 and 2012) and the trend is evolving. Things have been trending quietly in this direction for quite a while. The new stuff is even chunkier, and relies on a mix of longstanding traditions (cables and lace) and dramatic silhouettes. Think big, dramatic simple geometrics: triangles, rectangles, trapezoids and ovals as silhouettes. The cables should look deeply carved, and the lace focuses on texture over refinement. These looks are made with fat yarns on big needles. (US 11 - 17 and up.) For more fun, hold a strand of two different yarns together.
The fall/winter 2012 theme emphasizes very textured knits all over the place. Keep your smooth knits in the drawer, and celebrate totally textured garments. Ribbing, moss stitch, cables, stripes, lace - anything goes as long as it covers an entire garment. Take the easy way out with this trend, and knit favorite patterns in a more textured yarn - tape, ribbon, faux-fur, beaded, eyelash, boucle, or any specialty finish.
Designers are showing all-over texture in close fitting styles, which separates them from the chunky trend with the big, showy silhouettes.
Shape: Shapes are continuing to emphasize curves, and through 2011 will focus on one statement piece and one lean piece. The statement could be a flowing skirt, with a lean turtleneck, a tailored jacket with a slouchy camisole, or a drapey wrap with an otherwise slim silhouette.
The chunky trend has its own shape, and it's geometric. Very little softly curving work is being shown outside of scarves and wraps. It's all kindergarten shapes of square and boxy, straight lines, triangles both normal and inverted. These garments tend to require only very easy shaping, focusing most of the interest on the wonderful chunky textures. Doubled, and even tripled yarns make these quick knits.
Going into 2012 and right through winter, shapes become more and more contrast-driven: big tops with little skirts, little tops with big skirts, big hats with lean knits, chunky sweaters with tiny handbags... Not quite more is more, the mood is pretty attention grabbing.
Go off season shopping with an eye for what you'll be wearing in the next year or so. Build up your stash on the colors and textures that will work for you. Remember that these textured styles take more yarn, so grab about 25% more yarn per garment than usual. And have a ball!