Saturday, 21 July 2018

Knitting... Japanese style

A little while ago the lovely Rachel from New South Books got in touch with me to ask if I'd be interested in reviewing a couple of books for her - OMG can you hear me trying to be all cool and calm and oh yes I suppose so and if I must?  Yes, it was nothing like that.  I love craft books.  You can never have too many, in case you have the odd day where you've got nothing to do, all the yarn and fabric in the world, and the right zips, needles, thread to make your masterpiece.  

incidentally, did you know that the original intent of the word 'Masterpiece' was to describe the piece of 'whatever' made by an apprentice to signify that he'd (because they were usually male) finished his training and was ready to go out into the world & actually be let loose on your Cuban Mahogany, your Brazilian Rosewood, your Australian Jarrah to make the most magnificent pieces of furniture?

18thc Apprentice Walnut Chess Table

Anyway, I'm sure that learning knitters do the same thing, if some of those magnificent Japanese shawls are anything to go by:

218s-08 Graceful Linen Shawl - free Japanese charted crochet pattern by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd)

So, when the this book arrived, I was interested to find that all the patterns were charted.  

It's a lovely solid book, with clear pictures, beautifully laid out with a Symbol Glossary at the beginning, and a 'How to knit these stitches' for some of the more complex stitches at the back.


I have previously found charts difficult to follow because I'm usually sitting on the sofa, in front of the TV, trying to multi-task, and the symbols jump around a bit.  I made this a few years ago from a chart, and vowed never to do it again because I had to frog it a lot of times to get it right, and the act of unpicking, counting & translating the symbols into words then the pattern itself nearly undid me!

This book has, as advertised, 260 knitting patterns, some of which I've seen similar cleaned-up versions of, in various other books, and some I've never seen before:

The book is divided into sections of 'Lacy', 'Lacy With Leaves', 'Lacy With Smocking', 'Bead Embroidery', 'Overall Patterns', 'Crossing Stitch Patterns', 'Panel patterns', where the hard work has been done for you & a beautiful end result is almost guaranteed, then 'Pattern Arrangements', where elements are swapped around to increase the variations.  

There are patterns for yokes (beautiful for kid's cardigans!), and then a huge selection of edging patterns.  There are also some full garment patterns.  

At the back of the book is a really useful section which shows you how to knit some of the more complex stitches, such as Butterfly stitch (5 stitches slipped and lifted over 9 rows, ooh tricky). 

And here's my worked piece - it's hard to see because of the three colours, but I'm going to finish the scarf with this pattern, so I'll post a bit more as it gets closer to the end.

So! If you're looking for a book which will challenge you a bit, but provide you with a great result, this could be the place to start.  Go forth, knit!


  1. Oh my. You say charting and discuss, and beginner me who is frogging frantically the charted High Pines cowl in dark wool utterly unsuited to #beginnerbeforethetelevision does suddenly see the possibilities. What a delightful and informed review. Thank you! I shall have to continue my frogging being the creature that I am but tis a shame.


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