The 1970s classic children’s book series Frog and Toad is a tale of two friends—conveniently named Frog and Toad—and the close bond they share. You might remember reading it while growing up. Artist Kristina McGowan did, and she’s created a charming knitting pattern inspired by the titular characters. The DIY project features Frog and Toad dressed in attire similar to what you’d see in the books. McGowan has captured their eyes and expression, making them recognizable to fans of the books and offering some welcome nostalgia.
McGowan had the idea for the pattern a few years ago while visiting her family during Christmas. “I hadn’t looked through the books in ages and the magic of it just all came back,” she tells My Modern Met. “My father likes me to make him a Manhattan after dinner so I’d had one myself, sitting by the wood stove as everyone had gone to bed. I had yarn with me and just started to imagine what a knitted version of a frog might look like.” During this time, she let experimentation and joy be the driving force behind her creation. “Usually when trying to create a pattern, I’m careful to take notes and write things down, but that evening was more about good feeling and not overthinking or being too careful.”
Creating a DIY pattern is a complex endeavor. “For me, an idea for a design might start with something I see in my neighborhood, a particular color combination or texture that catches my eye and starts my imagination going and seeing things in a knitted form,” McGowan explains. “I'll then start creating samples, trying different yarns and gauges, and figuring out how things might actually work. Garments especially can take many months to develop and get right. You have to be very used to abandoning something that isn't working even if you've spent hours on it. Instructions are then written and carefully tech edited, checked, and tested.”
But when a project is done right, knitting can be completely engrossing. “I can look at the time and it will be 7 am and then in a blink, it is 9 pm and it almost feels as if no time has gone by. It is such a satisfying feeling when that happens.”
The Frog and Toad knitting pattern is now available on McGowan’s website, Frog and Cast. She advises that the project is for those with “advanced intermediate” skills. “There are techniques required (working in the round on smaller double-pointed needles, short row shaping, and a variety of increases and decreases) that beginner knitters might find daunting,” she says, “but the nice thing is that unlike a larger project like a garment or blanket, the gratification of completion comes far sooner.”