Round ups

Wearing your knits: 5 lessons I've learned

Every month of May for the past eight years, Me-Made-May has been a big movement in the crafting community. It's not really a make-a-long per se, it's more about actually wearing the things you've made.

Tatie cardigan -- Pattern by  NCL Knits

Tatie cardigan -- Pattern by NCL Knits

I have to admit, I don't wear my knits consistently.

I have phases where I will wear something I've made over and over, like this Old Growth cardigan by Tin Can Knits. When my daughter was little and still nursing, I barely left home without it (and wore it around the house as well!)

Old Growth cardigan by Tin Can Knits

Old Growth cardigan by Tin Can Knits

Love that side buttoning!

Love that side buttoning!

I actually tested the pattern for them way back when, and I love how comfy and easy to wear it is. 

Meanwhile some other gorgeous hand-knits have been languishing for years at the back of my closet. Wondering why exactly that is, I studied them carefully and thought about each one's perceived shortcomings. And I had a few epiphanies:

Wearing Your Knits: 5 lessons I've learned by Frogginette Knitting Patterns
  • The sleeve shaping type: I've realized that raglan generally works well for my shape. I like set-in sleeves but I am very particular about the way they should fit on my body, and I'm often disappointed in the way my hand-knits sit in the shoulder area. Very often I feel like the top of the sleeve cap is too narrow, and the seam where the sleeve attaches to the body is placed too far on the outside, towards the very edge or the shoulder or even beyond. (I have pretty square shoulders, too!) This results in the garment constantly feeling like it's slipping, not sitting well, and just not comfortable to wear.
  • The sleeve ease and length: I've learned that I shouldn't just follow directions when I knit sleeves. Instead I should study the schematic a bit more carefully make sure the sleeve ease and length will work for me. I have yet to knit a sweater where the sleeve didn't turn out a bit too tight or a bit too wide. To be fair, I think I'm quite picky there as well. And perhaps I have non-standard arms :D
  • The color: Have you ever noticed that the colors you are attracted to at the yarn store are not necessarily the ones that look the best on you? I love very muted hues, greys, faded lilacs, soft blues... (I mean... just look at that pile of knits above!) Yet I notice that I look much better when I wear jewel tones, deep or bright greens or reds. 
  • The buttons: I have more than a few cardigans that just don't get worn because I made the wrong button choice. Annoyingly heavy buttons for a comparatively thinner yarn. Too-small buttons that slip through the buttonholes easily (this happens too if the yarn is slippery, for example if it has silk content). Cute or fancy buttons that end up distracting from the knit itself.
  • The choice of yarn: Selecting the right yarn for a sweater is no small feat. I've noticed that if the yarn is too precious and delicate, I will simply not wear the garment for fear of damaging it during my day-to-day activities (my kids LOVE to yank on my sleeves to get my attention and they routinely attack me with spiky toy dinosaurs. Ouch!). On the other hand, if I'm going to invest lots of time knitting a sweater for myself, I want the yarn to be special enough. So there has to be a balance. For me, that means using a relatively rugged yarn: Malabrigo Rios, which I used for my Old Growth above, or perhaps Madelinetosh Vintage or Cascade Eco... 

What about you? What are your tips for creating wearable knits?

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!

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!

 

 

 

Round up: My go-to yarns for kid clothing

When creating children's clothing, I have pretty definite tastes when it comes to the yarns I like to work with: they needs to be low-maintenance yet scrumptious, and the colors should be really special. Oh, and they need to not break the bank ;)

This means that I tend to gravitate towards the same yarns over and over again, and usually choose one of the following, depending on what I need for a particular design. 

  • For everyday wear and to make a simple design shine: Malabrigo Rios

Malabrigo Rios in colorways Plomo, Lotus, Teal Feather and Lettuce

Malabrigo Rios in colorways Plomo, Lotus, Teal Feather and Lettuce

This is * such * a great yarn, and a real pleasure to knit with. Worsted weight merino is hands-down my favorite for kids' clothing. It's soft and squishy, and works up so quickly! This kettle-dyed yarn is also Superwash (which means that it can grow if you dry it flat so be careful and swatch and block first!) and comes in many vibrant hues.

Plomo, one of my favorite colorways, has a semi-solid quality that really adds dimension to a sleek, minimalist garment such as my Hyphen cardigan:

Hyphen by Frogginette Knitting Patterns

Other colorways with a bit more variegation, like English Rose or Lotus can also make slipped stitch patterns look amazing.

  • For a rustic outdoorsy feel: Cascade Ecological Wool

This yarn isn't Superwash, so it might not seem like an obvious choice for a child's clothing item. However, it's such a good value and a great workhorse yarn, and I think that it is perfect for outerwear, which - hopefully! - doesn't need to be washed as often as a cardigan does. It's 100% wool and quite warm, and gets surprisingly soft after blocking. I've used this yarn for my Latte Baby Coat:

Latte Baby Coat by Frogginette Knitting Patterns

I love it in natural colorways like the Taupe shown above but the Cascade Eco+, which is the dyed version, has really lovely vibrant colorways too, like the Hot Pink or the Chelan Lake, which I used for these two Tiered Baby Coats:

Tiered Baby Coat by Frogginette Knitting Patterns
Tiered baby coat by Frogginette Knitting Patterns
  • For a soft, light-weight garment: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino

Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino

This is a really good bet when it comes to sport weight yarns. It's very soft against a baby's skin without being overly slippery, it's Superwash and it comes in * many * gorgeous shades. It's also pretty ubiquitous and often comes on sale. I like to use it for lightweight garments that will be worn directly against the skin, for example, a 3/4 sleeve summer cardigan such as Alouette:

Alouette by Frogginette Knitting Patterns

or a dress like Claudine:

Claudine by Frogginette Knitting Patterns
  • For quick summer projects: Spud and Chloe Sweater

Perfect for a no-fuss summer item, this worsted weight wool/cotton blend is organic, super soft and not *too* warm. Like an old t-shirt, it is easy to care for and gets softer with each use. This is a perfect yarn for a summer baby blanket or a quick baby shower gift like the Carousel cardigan:

Carousel by Frogginette Knitting Patterns

 

So that's my selection! What about you? What are your go-to yarns?

Round up: 5 summer projects I wish I had time to knit

When you are a knitwear designer you are always running out of knitting time. 

There are so many other things that must get done besides actually knitting: swatching, pattern writing and grading, photography, photo editing, uploading pattern to online marketplaces, social media management, marketing, pattern support...

So the truth is, it feels like any leftover time should be spent knitting, and any stitch knitted should be going toward a future design, or a potential future design anyway. Otherwise it feels wrong somehow! 

I have a fantasy of taking a couple of months off and knitting only other people's patterns. No guesswork, no note-taking, no calculating, no frogging and re-knitting... Ah, one can dream! ;) 


1) Best lightweight cardigan:

Breiðárlón cardigan by Christelle Nihoul

When this design came out I was instantly smitten. The flirty swingy shape, the flattering fit, even the yarn color is totally my style. 

Breiðárlón cardigan by Christelle Nihoul
Breiðárlón cardigan by Christelle Nihoul

2) Best tank top:

Airgead by Mona C. NicLeòid

This one just came out and boy is it tempting. Sporty and easy yet super sophisticated and well-fitting, I could myself wearing this with skinny jeans for a night out or paired with a long flowy skirt to do touristy things while on vacation somewhere warm.

Airgead by Mona C. NicLeòid
Airgead by Mona C. NicLeòid

3) Best summer shawl:

 Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart

In Northern Germany where I live, the wind can get quite strong even when it's sunny out, so it's always a good idea to have a breezy scarf or shawl on hand. I love the shape of this one and the lace isn't too fussy. I particularly love aqua version below knit in a gradient yarn.

Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart
Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart

4) Best dress up top:

Morla by Jana Huck

I love how flirty and feminine this one is, and I probably would knit it just like that, in grey, otherwise I think it might be overkill for me. But with a tank top, easy loose hair and a pair of jeans, I think it's styled to perfection here.

Morla by Jana Huck
Morla by Jana Huck

5) Best summer stole:

Atlas by Kieran Foley

This one just floors me. There's absolutely no chance that I'd ever have time to knit it and that's unfortunate because how special is it? Incredible.

Atlas by Kieran Foley
Atlas by Kieran Foley

What about you? What project do you want to knit this summer?