Dresses

From Japan with love: Hanami

Hanami is the second pattern in the “From Japan With Love” pattern bundle. Additional patterns in this bundle will be released throughout the year.

The design:

I've you've been following me for a while, you probably know that I have a special fondness for swingy garments for little girls. While the yoke and sleeves are designed to be relatively fitted, the skirt portion of Hanami flares out rather dramatically for a good dose of whimsy. Let's just say that this particular dress is sure to be a hit with twirly dress enthusiasts ;) As always, it's also a practical, comfortable garment that looks really special with its neat finishing touches.

The stitch pattern featured in the front yoke produces a rich and visually striking texture that is reminiscent of blossoms or snowflakes (I actually think Hanami would make a fantastic winter dress! It would be stunning in white, red or speckled yarn). The wide skirt is intended to have a gauzy feel and float about in the breeze.

The inspiration:

As I explained in the blog post I wrote about Sagano, another Japan-inspired design, my recent trip to Japan brought back so many memories and emotions.

One of the most special experiences that I had there as a teenager was to take part in Hanami, a traditional Japanese custom that involves sitting under cherry-blossom-covered trees in the Spring, and watching the exquisite, fragile blossoms fluttering away. There's something bittersweet, almost poignant about it, and it's in my view very reminiscent of those beautiful, fleeting moments of childhood. I tried to capture this mixture of excitement and nostalgia with this design, imagining little girls twirling about in the sun, in an exuberant explosion of joy and life.

  This wonderful photograph was captured by one of my test-knitters,  Raveler Flerpy . She knit the "top" version and I think it's just delightful. (photo used with permission)

This wonderful photograph was captured by one of my test-knitters, Raveler Flerpy. She knit the "top" version and I think it's just delightful. (photo used with permission)

About the yarn:

I used Leizu fingering by Julie Asselin for the sample, which is a merino blend containing a small amount of silk, creating a lovely stitch definition and subtle sheen. The soft pink colorway is called Romance and I find it perfectly evocative of delicate cherry blossoms. 

While this design calls for a fingering weight yarn (by the way, a "sock yarn" should work great and be durable, too!), I would steer clear of "light fingerings," which might produce a fabric that is a bit too loose. Actually, the gauge would allow you to get away with using a slightly thicker yarn, such as a sport, but in that case, the garment wouldn't be as breezy/floaty, it would end up being a bit "denser", so, warmer and more structured. Just a matter of personal preference ;)

My week in knitting

Hi knitters! It's Monday! What is on your needles this week? 

Over here, things are transitioning into Spring/Summer knitting. I'm preparing a few samples for my Entrechat KAL. It will start in June and I thought it would be fun to feature so-called pattern "hacks," which are just fun mods that you can do using my pattern as a jumping board. I always like to encourage creativity and I can't wait to see what everybody comes up with.

So: here is my bicolor Entrechat, which is blocking nicely as I write. Can you guess which button I ended up chosing? Do you tend to agonize over button choice too by the way? It's kind of ridiculous how much hemming and hawing was involved in this small decision.

Entrechat by Frogginette Knitting Patterns

This week, knitting-wise, I'm planning on focusing mostly on this little number: a Colorplay Dress for a friend's soon-to-arrive baby girl. I might just do some stripes or very simple colorwork for the body, and then do the flower motif at the chest only. But I'll probably be figuring it out as I go along :)

What are you working on this week?

Knitting for a new baby by Frogginette Knitting Patterns

Here are the winners of the Easter / Spring Dress knit-along!

The Easter/Spring Dress KAL that I hosted in my Ravelry group came to an end earlier this week. Many participated, and it was so fun to see everybody's little sweet little dresses pop up in the thread. As promised, prizes were awarded for the following projects:

SpinnyGonzalez won one of the two grand prizes! I selected her Tutu Top because her choice of colors was just so fresh and spunky. I think this bright green paired with acid yellow is the perfect combination for a Spring tunic that's just the thing to wear while exploring nature:

 Tutu Top by SpinnyGonzalez on Ravelry

Tutu Top by SpinnyGonzalez on Ravelry

I also chose this pretty Broderie as the recipient of the second Grand Prize! I think that Dye2Knit's project is beautiful in this classic blue with subtle tonal variations. Very romantic and sweet:

 Broderie by Dye2knit on Ravelry

Broderie by Dye2knit on Ravelry

Pennster managed to whip up THREE Honey Pie dresses during the KAL! Impressive, right? Two of her projects were randomly selected and she won two of my patterns :D

 Honey Pie by Pennster on Ravelry

Honey Pie by Pennster on Ravelry

 Honey Pie by Pennster on Ravelry

Honey Pie by Pennster on Ravelry

Another winner was Angeldogknitter, who came up with this really gorgeous combination of colors for her Tutu Top. While the body of the sweater is purple (you know that tends to be a winner for little girls!) I love that she paired it with a more subtle powdery mauve, it really gives a nice sophistication to the project.

 Tutu Top by Angeldogknitter on Ravelry

Tutu Top by Angeldogknitter on Ravelry

Another really sweet version was Alisa01's Honey Pie. I love this shade of Malabrigo Rios (Archangel), an unusual red/purple hue. And look at those sweet flower buttons she picked out!

 Honey Pie by alesa01 on Ravelry

Honey Pie by alesa01 on Ravelry

Last but not least, Kimzboyz made this beautiful, bright blue Honey Pie with really special buttons:

 Honey Pie by Kimzboyz on Ravelry

Honey Pie by Kimzboyz on Ravelry

So that's all for this KAL folks! Are you ready for another one in June? I am planning to host an Entrechat-hack knit-along so if you know of (or are envisioning) any fun variations of my best-selling design, chime in in the comments!

Tutu Top Hack: ties instead of button closure

My daughter is three. At this age, she is naturally verrrry particular about many things, not the least of which is clothing. She loves purple, pink, and black. She has a fondness for tights and rain boots. All pretty par for the course. But the one thing that has been a real challenge is that she is deathly afraid of buttons. Not on other people's clothing (she loves playing with my own buttons) but on her own clothes, it's a huge no-no. I think maybe her hair got tangled up in one at some point, and she is now firmly anti-button. 

I knew I wanted to make her a Tutu Top for the Easter / Spring Dress KAL (you can still participate by the way! Here's where it's happening). It's such a quick and comfy design. It's very play-friendly, lasts forever (you can make it with a bit of room to grow, and still use it as a tunic many months down the line), and IT TWIRLS!! So, a no-brainer. 

BUT, it was designed to close at the back with a button (fastened with an I-cord loop closure.)

Tutu Top knitting pattern closure hack

I knew that wouldn't fly. Thankfully it's extremely easy to turn this type of closure into simple ties.

Tutu Top closure hack

The way I did it is I started off creating a 3-stitch regular I-cord:

Cast on 3 stitches using two dpns (of the same size as used in the pattern for the attached I-cord of the neckline), slide these 3 sts to the other end of the dpn without working them, then, without turning your work, knit them (make sure the first stitch you work is nice and tight). Slide the 3 stitches again to the other side of the needle without turning your work and knit the stitches once more, keeping things nice and tight. Keep going until you have an I-cord that's about 8 inches or 20cm long.

Then start working the attached I-cord along the neckline as explained in the pattern (naturally skip the "cast on 3 sts" part). Then, work the unattached I-cord on the other of the back neck opening, as explained in the pattern, but this time make it 8 inches or 20cm long, so that it matches the other side. And of course, no need to form a loop or anything :) Voila! Easy-peasy:

And here's a happy girl in her new Tutu Top!

Tutu Top by Frogginette Knitting Patterns
Tutu Top by Frogginette Knitting Patterns
Tutu Top by Frogginette Knitting Patterns

If you'd like to make your own Tutu Top, you can find the pattern here.

For mine, I used Malabrigo Rios in the Lotus colorway for the body, and the "tutu" part is made with some fuschia-colored Lana Grossa Silkhair (which is a bit too thin, but it worked out fine).

Easter / Spring Dress KAL knitting pattern ideas: Summer Into Fall

Are you looking for the perfect knitting pattern to join the Easter / Spring Dress Knit-a-long? This little pinafore dress is a great option.

Ok so right now the name of this pattern makes more sense for Southern Hemisphere knitters ;) This pinafore dress is what I'd call a "vêtement de demi-saison" (you didn't know you'd learn some French reading this blog, did you?), which basically means something suitable for either Spring or Fall, not-too-warm, not-too-light. A great layering piece that can be used as a tunic as the child grows, a fast and fun knit, what's not to love?

This design is all about the lovely details: the side tabs, the straps and the sweet ruffles.

For the sample, I used Gilliatt by De Rerum Natura, which is light but warm with a rustic feel. I wanted a slightly nostalgic, timeless, schoolgirl look and I think Gilliatt conveys this perfectly, but any other worsted weight yarn (including superwash options such as Malabrigo Rios) would work well, too. For a warmer weather garment, a cotton/acrylic blend would be perfect.

You can buy the Summer Into Fall pattern here, then take part in the Easter/Spring Dress KAL here on Ravelry. Don't forget to use the hashtags #easterspringdressKAL and #frogginette on social media so we can follow your progress.

Easter/Spring dress KAL!

In case you missed it I just kicked off a KAL over in my Ravelry group!  There will be amazing prizes so don't miss out and join in on the fun :) To participate you just have to tell us which dress, tunic or pinafore pattern of mine you want to knit, and post some nice WIP photos in the KAL thread. Once you are all done, take some nice photos of your finished project and post them in the "KAL FO only" thread in my group.

Be sure to use the hashtag #easterspringdresskal and #frogginette on social media so we can follow along.

Here are some ideas of patterns you could knit (from top left clockwise): Tutu Top, Colorplay Dress, Summer Into Fall, Claudine, Honey Pie, Broderie.

Which one will you knit??

Instagram photo-a-day: Yarnlovechallenge Day 28: Favorite Thing I've made

Colorplay dress in action!

My daughter is 2.5 years old and very opinionated about clothing. Lately, she decided that whatever I make for her is not worthy of her time. She'll run away screeching as soon as she sees me coming towards her with a hand-knit in hand. 

So it was a bit of a miracle when she finally adopted this little Colorplay dress last weekend. She even hammed it up for the camera. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

This is the first sample I made for the Colorplay dress pattern. As you can see, I didn’t “sandwich” the flower pattern with the arrows on this one and that bothered me after all was said and done, so I re-knit a sample in 3mo size (you can see it on the pattern page). The arrow pattern is also a bit taller in this version. Oh, and I made a mistake in the hem flower pattern! There’s an extra row in there and the top petals are not the same size as the bottom ones.

For all these reasons, this sample did not end up being the featured sample on my pattern page, but I’m really in love with the colors, very Mini Boden I think! I am usually into muted color palettes for kid's clothes but once in a while I have a longing for a big pop of color. Probably a sign that I can't wait for the winter to be over! This dress still slightly long on my daughter (she wears 3yo clothing and this is a 4yo) but I think the fit is quite good anyway. I could see her getting a lot of use out of it.

Colorplay

Many knitters are intimidated by colorwork -- I know I used to be, until very recently! But as it turns out, it only takes a few tricks to get a beautiful result. I think a child-sized garment is always a good choice to venture into a new technique, too!

My Colorplay Dress is meant to be used like a coloring book: consider my own choice of colors as an example, and then just select your own yarns and color away!

When this pattern was tested, it was so incredible to see how different the same design looked depending on how muted or vivid the testers' color combinations were, or how contrasting they were, not to mention the choice of background color or yarn type. You could go from a sweet and traditional schoolgirl look, to a super-bright and modern jumper to wear with glitter sneakers or rain boots ;)

Colorplay Dress calls for sport weight yarn like Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and is available in size 3mo to 8yo. You can purchase it here.