The Little Red Dress

Tanya Singer

About Tanya Singer

I am a media industry veteran with a passion for knitting and social justice. I currently serve on the Board of Green Bronx Machine, a non-profit school-based gardening program, where I first taught knitting to children. I run a knitting lesson business in Scarsdale, NY. I teach adult knitters how to teach children to knit at Vogue Knitting Live and Knit + Escape. I am also a Contributor to Modern Daily Knitting (MDK) where I write about teaching and about knitting and the Holocaust, with more on Knitting Hope.I shared the story of Kolb’s Little Red Dress along with a pattern by Melissa Shinsato for knitters to create a dress for the loved one, or to donate to the Holocaust Museum in Skokie, IL. I am a community partner to the museum and organized a private tour including Judy Fleischer Kolb.Before I became immersed in the world of knitting, I had a long career in media. I was general manager of Bloomberg Politics through the 2016 General Election. I worked at Yahoo! and was an executive director of Real Simple’s digital business at Time, Inc. I hold a BA with honors from Wellesley College.

About The Little Red Dress

The Little Red Dress of Hope ran on Modern Daily Knitting ahead of Lunar New Year 2021. In it, I share the story of a red baby dress on display at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Knit by Martha Frankenstein for her Granddaughter Judy Fleischer Kolb, the dress was made in Shanghai. Judy’s family fled Germany following Kristallnacht, when the courageous Omi (grandmother in German) Martha liquidated the family fabric store, bought tickets to Shanghai, and convinced the SS to release her husband. Kolb says “The dress IS my Grandmother” as it embodies her great love and optimism. Judy says “the idea that she was able to do something for her first grandchild was something special. The fact that I was born put an extra emphasis on needing to lead a life that seemed normal, in some respect. And you know, my grandmother didn’t have a lot of extra time, because they worked very hard, but she took the time to knit this red dress.”The dress inspires school-children and museum visitors alike, 80 years later. Knitting it was an observance of Shmita in that Martha gave herself the time to pause in order to create something sustaining and nurturing. A testament to her faith, the dress evokes feelings of enduring love and strength, across the reaches of time and geography. The little red dress invites us to take the time to make life special for others, to release ourselves from the strains of survival, just as Shmita reminds us to slow down and trust that the work of our hands will invite creativity and growth. More information available at Knitting Hope.