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kathleen dames | knitwear design

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Matryoshka Japonais

from Kathleen Dames
(6) Name: 'Knitting : Matryoshka Japonais
Matryoshka Japonais

Basic Skills Necessary:

  • knit
  • purl
  • increase
  • decrease
  • work in the round
  • read charts

Pattern Description:

Who wouldn't love their own set of soft, woolly, knitted dolls? My daughters can't keep away from these three. They are based on the traditional Russian nesting dolls known as Matryoshka, which were in turn inspired by a set of Japanese dolls representing the Seven Gods of Fortune. The blue and white colorwork was inspired by Japanese indigo resist-dyed fabrics.

These dolls are a wonderful way to try intarsia and stranded colorwork techniques on a small scale. If that is too much, the dolls could also be worked plain with their faces added afterwards using duplicate stitch and their skirts embellished with embroidery.

This pattern is for all three dolls and includes five charts.


18 stitches x 24 rows = 4 inches square in stockinette stitch

Sizing / Finished Measurements:

  • Mother: 9-inches high, 16 1/2-inch circumference
  • Daughter: 6-inches high, 11-inch circumference
  • Baby: 3 3/4-inches high, 6 1/2-inch circumference


  • 100 yds Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Buscando Azul
  • 100 yds Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Natural
  • 75 yds Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Shocking Pink
  • 5 yds Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Paris Night
  • US8 double-pointed needles

You Will Also Need:

  • stitch markers
  • tapestry needle