Inspiration

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 ;)

From Japan, with love: Sagano

My latest release, Sagano, is the first of a series of Japan-inspired designs, which will be released throughout the year. It's a truly unisex, everyday sweater that looks great on babies and bigger kids alike. I've added a size to my usual range for this one, with sizes going from 3mo to 10yo.

Sagano sweater by Frogginette Knitting Patterns

The design:

The fit is comfy, slightly roomy, which is also a bit of a departure from the close-fitting silhouettes I usually favor. The pattern is worked top-down, seamlessly, and some short rows can be worked after the yoke increased are done, to raise the back neck and ensure a nicer fit. In the pattern, I suggest using German short rows with a variation on how to work the last double stitch when resuming work in the round. The unique textured bands that run down the shoulders and sleeves are very intuitive to work, although a chart and written instructions are provided.

My inspiration:

A so-called "third-culture kid," I lived in several different countries as a child, and Japan was one of them. I lived in Tokyo for a couple of years as a teenager and hadn't been back since I was 16 years old, so it was quite emotional to be back when my husband and I took a trip there last Fall. It was a great opportunity for me to rediscover not only my favorite hang outs (well, the ones that still exist... The house we lived in and my old school have both long been torn down) but also to explore places that I had always dreamed of seeing.

One of these was the Sagano bamboo forest:

Sagano Bamboo Forest

I had not expected my trip to Japan to yield so much design inspiration but it was truly magical. I had to quickly start sketching as every thing I saw evoked a texture, a silhouette, an emotion.

The Sagano sweater was the first design that I sketched in my notebook. My husband and I had just visited the beautiful Sagano Bamboo Forest near Kyoto. We were walking through a quiet residential area, with the feeling of awe still lingering after exiting the forest, when my eye was caught by this humble but beautiful woven fence:

Sagano woven fence

I loved how the strong horizontal lines of the large bamboo stalks helped bring out the woven texture, so I decided to translate that idea and came up with this variation on an existing stitch pattern that I had seen floating around on Pinterest, which I bordered with twisted stitch columns. I had to experiment quite a bit with it until it was just so, but I am SO happy with the result. It turned out exactly the way I wanted:

Sagano sweater texture

I used Leizu DK by Julie Asselin for the sample, which is a merino blend containing a small amount of silk, and the stitch definition really brings out the texture, and this gorgeous nuanced grey captured the moody vibe of the forest.

I hope you love this design as much as I do! You can purchase it here.

Entrechat KAL Sponsor: Kunibag

I first met Judit online when she came up with this incredibly stunning version of my Hyphen cardigan (click on image for the Ravelry project page): 

Stunning isn't it? I had never really thought of using knitting as a canvas for embroidery before! I had to find out more about her (she lives in Hamburg, not too far from me!) and I started following her on  social media.

Her creativity and eye for colors are just brilliant. She has a particular love for colorwork and I love just about everything she comes up with. Her Instagram feed is so inspiring, full of the most enticing photographs of wooly goodness. AND she doesn't just knit, she also spins and sews beautifully, and even sells THE coolest project bags  (she calls them Kunibags) online, in shops around Hamburg and at yarn festivals.

I am so delighted that she agreed to donate one Kunibag as a prize for our Entrechat KAL

One lucky winner will soon receive this beauty! I have to admit I'm a bit jealous ;)

I love the combination of fabrics she picked out, it's super elegant and modern, with a retro twist, don't you think?

Judit has been super busy lately in her studio and will soon open an Etsy shop. In the meantime, make sure you follow her on Instagram and Ravelry so you don't miss any of her beautiful creations. Thanks again Judit!

Instagram photo-a-day: Yarnlovechallenge Days 17 and 18: Fiber Friends and Gratitude

Instagram photo-a-day: Yarnlovechallenge Day 16: Family

Instagram photo-a-day: Yarnlovechallenge Day 14: Yarn Love

Instagram photo-a-day: Yarnlovechallenge Day 5: Community

Instagram photo-a-day: Yarnlovechallenge Day 1: Introduction

Round up of beautiful projects for babies and kids: Hyphen cardigan

When I released my Hyphen knitting pattern 9 months ago, I had no idea that it would quickly become one of my best-sellers. Many knitters have since then made adorable versions of this quick and practical cardigan for lucky babies and children.

I think there's something about the design that really allows knitters to make it their own. The textured yoke can be either a subtle, sophisticated touch that elevates a simple cardigan, or it can really make a statement. The whole cardigan can also serve as a great canvas for some serious creativity. These projects are a few of my favorites, made by very talented knitters (photos used with permission):

By the way, did you know that there is now a grown-up version now as well? It's called Em Dash, which, in case you are wondering, is a large hyphen... Get it? ;)

Did you make a Hyphen? What is your favorite thing about it? If you have a blog, please give us the link to your project so everybody can see!

 

 

 

4 podcasts to listen to while knitting

Watching TV is a perfectly acceptable activity while knitting, but sometimes I prefer to just listen. When I feel isolated working from home all day, it's nice to hear these now-familiar voices chatting away about knitting-related topics. I thought I'd share my favorite knitting podcasts (in no particular order) for your listening pleasure. I've also listed specific episodes that I've found particularly enjoyable when I could remember them off the top of my head.

Enjoy, and don't forget to give me your own recommendations!

4 Podcasts for knitters article from frogginette.com

 

1) Knit.fm

 

Note: This one is unfortunately no longer updated but you can still access the archives!

I really like the easy conversational rhythm that Pam Allen and Hannah Fettig have. You just feel like you're in Maine, sipping a nice cup of tea while knitting and listening to them talking about techniques and discussing their creative process for our benefit. All in a very simple, unpretentious way. They sound approachable and fun and I really enjoy listening to the sound of their voices. Like any real-life conversation this one is full of detours and back-tracking but I think that makes it all the more charming.

Recommended Episodes:

You can find all Knit.fm episodes here.

 

2) Woolful

I absolutely love Woolful. I have discovered so many fascinating personalities listening to it. The host, Ashley Yousling, is a very good listener. She mostly (wisely) lets her guests take the lead, just redirecting briefly if needed or having more of a conversational style if that is what they need to open up. I feel like I've gained much more knowledge about all the influencers and out-of-the-box thinkers of the knitting industry.

Recommended episodes:

You can find all Woolful episodes here.

 

3) A playful day

This podcast transports you into Kate O'Sullivan's world, her crafty endeavors and musings about her daily life, recipes and essays. This is a very rich, inspiring podcast. Kate's voice and tone are very soft and feminine and soothing, and she's got a lovely British accent. But don't let the sweetness fool you. She has a strong point of view and her podcast conveys both her "slow-crafting," creative lifestyle and, through interviews, her ideas about supporting small and local creative businesses.

Recommended episodes: 

You can find all A Playful Day episodes here.

 

4) Truly Myrtle

New-Zealand-based Libby Jonson takes you with her on her creative journey and shares her challenges, doubts and triumphs. In addition to being an accomplished knitwear designer, Libby is a skilled sewer and explores how best to make her own wardrobe, one that will actually fit in with her style and every day life. Her podcast is easy to listen to and can be in turn introspective, informational or downright inspiring, with many great interviews of fellow designers.

You can find all Truly Myrtle episodes here..

Have you listened to any good podcasts lately? What are your favorites?