malabrigo

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).

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

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?

Hyphen

I am so grateful for the unbelievable response you guys have given my newest release, Hyphen!

As always I was trying to come up with an effective, practical, well-fitting design that was free of fiddly techniques and potential headaches. The circular yoke is worked seamlessly from the top down in worsted weight (I used Malabrigo Rios) so it's a breeze to complete. The button bands are worked as you go, too. The textured stitch is incredibly easy and fun to knit, and it make semi-solid colorways really shine:

The result is a very comfy everyday cardigan that works for babies as well as bigger kids. It's distinctive-looking in an understated way, and it's gender-neutral, too, so it's the perfect gift for any baby shower. The sizes go from 3mo to 8yo.

If you're thinking you'd like one in your size, you'll be pleased to know that I'm working on a grown-up version! If you'd like to make sure you don't miss its release (or any of my new pattern releases) you can sign up to my newsletter (the sign-up form is in the right sidebar) and you'll be notified right away.

I've decided to host a knitalong for it in my Ravelry group, Club Frogginette, as well as on Instagram. It's started already but feel free to join, there's still plenty of time until May 20th. To participate either join my group or follow me on Instagram (I'm Frogginette on there too) and make sure you use the tag or hashtag "HyphenKAL" so everybody can see your progress! I will select 5 winners from the pool of finished, tagged projects, and those winners will receive a prize!

 

Lenny

I knit this sweet little Lenny by Heidi Atwood-Reeves a while back as part of Ravelry's Indie Design Gift-A-Long (you can still join in and knit holiday gifts using patterns by eligible designers -- if you join one of the KALs, there will also be tons of prizes to be won at the end of the year).

I waited and waited for better weather so that I could take a modeled photo that would do this little top justice, but alas it's just not in the cards. So blurry yet sassy photos it is:

IMG_5504

This is such a fast and pleasant knit, and I think the result is great. I love the modern t-shirt shape paired with a bold lace pattern in the front. It's also a very practical garment, which adds a layer of warmth when hanging out indoors in the winter, but I could see it working just as well for a beach day. Add long sleeves, make it longer for a tunic/dress and pair it with leggings... tons of possibilities.

About the designer: I've been following Heidi Atwood Reeves on Instagram for a while now and I enjoy seeing her design process so much. I'm very envious of her pretty sketches and gorgeous swatches. I feel like such a disorganized slob in comparison! And her sense of color and style is just lovely. So I wanted to do a little Q&A with her. Thanks, Heidi, for giving such thoughtful answers!

·         Tell us a bit about yourself…

I live in the Washington DC metro area with my daughter and my husband. When I’m not designing I am either at my day job or spending time with my little family. I love living where I do – there are lots of great yarn stores and plenty of worthy coffee shops to knit in (not that the latter happens often, but when it does, it is pure bliss). Knitting has been my creative outlet since I first took up the needles ten years ago. Very few days pass without me sneaking in at least a couple of rows.

·         How and why did you become a knitting designer?

I’ve always had an interest in craft. Starting when I was very young, my mother made a point of immersing my siblings and me in arts and crafts.  I still remember sitting at the kitchen table and printing with potato stamps and spending a Saturday afternoon making dolls from wooden spoons. Eventually my interest led me to earn an MFA in bookbinding and letterpress printing, which is when I discovered my love of fiber. A few years out of school, I found myself working in finance as a new mom, with little time or space to pursue bookbinding and printing at all. I had, however, been knitting clothes for my little girl without patterns. It was an incredibly satisfying process, so I decided I was going to learn about knitwear design. The more I read, the more I knew that it was something I needed to be doing. It was also great because I quickly learned that all the time I spent working with spreadsheets and formulas at my job would be incredibly useful for designing.

·         What is the most rewarding thing about being a knitting designer? What is the most frustrating part? What have you discovered along the way?

Almost without exception, I do all of my grading and pattern writing before I knit up a sample, so it always amazes me when these seemingly abstract numbers knit up into exactly the thing I imagined. I also love seeing others knit and enjoy my patterns.

One of my biggest frustrations is finding the time to work on all the designs I have planned. I keep a little schedule of planned pattern released dates that goes out several months, and it can be frustrating when I know I’m not going to meet the deadline I had planned for myself. It’s something I need to learn to let go of, especially while designing is not my full time job.

·         Can you describe your design style?

I love designing for children, and particularly for my daughter. I love vintage-inspired children’s fashion, so many of my designs are very classic shapes.

I’m also a knitter who loves to learn new techniques, and that carries over into my designs. Many of my patterns incorporate one or two interesting technique, or a construction that is a little less typical than the top-down raglan.

·         Which one of your designs are you the most proud of and why? What is your most under-appreciated design?

I’m pretty proud of my most recent design, Spruce Island (which, coincidentally, is one I don’t think has gotten the love it deserves.) It is my 9th published pattern and the one where I feel that I have really come into my own as a pattern writer. Plus, it features an unusual top down construction and some interesting details. For me, it hits all the marks.

·         What can we expect to see from you design-wise in 2015?

I’m already working on the first batch of 2015 patterns. I have a couple of girl’s cardigans planned for release early next year. Both draw on vintage children’s wear for inspiration. I also have plans for more designs for adults, and some accessories too. Mostly, I am excited to see how I develop as a designer over the next year!

A bouquet of daisies

Now that my latest design, Miss Daisy, is available in my Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy stores, I thought I'd share a few of my test-knitters' versions. This round of test-knitting was a real treat, and I'm so pleased with how the pattern works out in all different sizes! (all photos are used with permission. Clicking on photographs will take you to each project page on Ravelry). Image

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When yarn and pattern click

malabrigo Some yarns are so pretty, you just have to have them. You don't think much about what you'll make with them. That's what happened with my Malabrigo Worsted in Alpine Pearl. It was so pretty as a skein, so I just bought it. But when I used it a few years ago to make a Trendy Shawl I ended up feeling that it wasn't the best use for it. Knit up in garter stitch, it seemed a bit muddled or messy to me. Not to mention, the yarn was too bulky for a shawl and I barely wore it. So my shawl got frogged and my beautiful Alpine Pearl lay dormant in my stash.

I was looking to knit a goodbye gift for a friend, and needed something practical, a useful item that wouldn't be too high-maintenance but still would feel luxurious. I thought about my Alpine Pearl and searched Ravelry to see what others had made with it. I came across a beautiful project on Ravelry, which highlighted the variegation of the yarn perfectly, without  the elegant design being obscured by the color changes. A match made in heaven!

photo (43)

Pattern: A river runs through Mitt by Aimee Pelletier

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (Alpine Pearl colorway)

Time to Knit: a couple of days per mitten

My mods: no mods!

What I thought about the pattern: Great. Well written, good layout, easy yet interesting to knit. Thanks to this pattern, I learned how to cable without a cable needle finally! I love it!

What I would do differently next time: nothing! This is a great go-to pattern for gifts. Very nice.

Name that shrug contest!

Image EDIT: Thank you everyone for your suggestions! I have selected MISS DAISY to be the name of this new pattern, after a suggestion I got on my Facebook page. Congratulations to the winner!

Ta-da!! Look what just fell off my needles. Do you want to help me find a name for it? If I select your suggestion, you win a copy of this pattern AND any other one of my patterns!!

Here's how to participate: either follow this blog, "Like" my Facebook page, join my group on Ravelry, or follow me on Instagram, and leave me your suggestion in any of these places. If I select your idea, you win a copy of this pattern AND any other one of my patterns!!

Contest closes on Friday, Feb.7th.

(Please allow until the end of the month for this pattern to be written up, edited and tested)