Tag Archives: Japanese knitting

Deciphering Japanese Patterns: an Adventure

My husband has this habit (a bit irritating to me) of watching foreign movies without the subtitles. He’s perfectly happy enjoying the movie by watching and interpreting facial impressions and physical gestures. Sometimes he just likes to sit back and enjoy the cinematography or art direction. I realized the other day that I should be a little more tolerant and sypathetic of this habit of his because I’ve been known to buy books and magazines in foreign language because I simply enjoy the designs, the artwork and photography. Any item that has clearly drawn and organized symbolic instructions just leaves me in awe and appreciation. Perhaps it because these instructions effectively transgress any language barriers and effectively present the task or material in a truly universal language.  Even though Japanese knitting patterns have elements that are indecipherable to me, I still think that a non-Japanese speaking individual can glean more from the design of the object than one could from patterns written in English.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I bought a few knitting pattern books as well as a stitch dictionary (for both knitting and crochet) in San Francisco’s Japantown a two weeks ago. I am planning to attempt one of the hat patterns soon with the help of some of the translation resources (see below) and the stitch dictionary. If I attempt to work on any of the garments in these books, I’ll have to strategically place darts or increases in the patterns to accommodate the ‘curviness’ of my figure. 🙂

The cute little hat, I’d love to make (it’s crochet)

Resources for using Japanese Patterns:

A helpful PDF guide that walks you through the process of understanding and using Japanese Patterns. There are also several web resources on the subject listed at the end of this document.

http://www.needleartsbookshop.com/InterpretingJapaneseKnittingPatterns.pdf

Wonderful Guide including translations of needle sizes and common terms:

http://www.tata-tatao.to/knit/japanese/e-index.html

Legend for Stitches:

http://www.tata-tatao.to/knit/stitches/e-index.html

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