dress

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 ;)

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.

Broderie

I wanted a romantic little girl dress, something with a hint of nostalgia but not too fussy. Think English garden tea parties! Something you could play croquet in :)The embellished bottom hem adds a bit of lightness to a clean, polished design but the dress is still comfortable and easy to wear. Two lengths are suggested: top or dress.

Broderie calls for sport weight yarn and comes in sizes 3 months to 8 years. You can find it in my Ravelry,Craftsy, and Etsy stores.

Tutu Top

Sweet and simple and super-swingy… The idea was to give that gauzy, “tutu” feel while keeping this top modern and practical.The result is not too frilly but definitely girly!

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Tutu Top calls for aran weight yarn and comes in sizes 3 months to 8 years. You can find it in my Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy stores.

Catch Up post: Summer Into Fall

DSC_0500 This design has been in my head, pretty much exactly as you see it above, for years. The ruffles on the straps, the V-shape of the straps at the back (cute but also ensuring the straps do not fall off of the shoulder!), the side tabs and A-line shape...

I am not sure why it took me so long to knit it and write it up. It's the perfect instant-gratification project: a very easy knit, it also includes a few "tricks" to make it look polished and practical. It calls for aran-weight yarn, so it knits up extremely quickly, and uses very little yarn. It's a versatile garment, which could be a worn as a back-to-school jumper/pinafore dress over a shirt and tights, or as a simple summer dress.

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I was so impressed with the versions that my test-knitters made that I made a little collage (the photos were used with permission): doesn't it look completely adorable on all these sweet little girls?

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Summer Into Fall calls for aran weight yarn and comes in sizes 3 months to 6 years. You can find it in my Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy stores.