Monday, September 12, 2005

ISBN 4-529-03300-7

Kinokuniya, San Francisco, 1999.

Back then, I erroneously believed I was the only non-Japanese crafter interested in such books. This was my first. To this day, I haven’t made a single thing out of it, however, I regularly imagine myself doing so.

I’ve conducted some preliminary research. In 2000, I tried to convince a professor of Japanese at the prestigious liberal arts college in my town that we ought to co-teach Japanese for Knitting. She would teach the Japanese required to read patterns, I would teach the students to knit. Assessment would be based on the completion of a garment from this book. Needless to say, my idea never made it to Faculty Council.

Sometime later, I bartered some custom letterpress stationery for translations by a Japanese friend. Unfortunately, said friend is not a knitter, and the text is annotated with translations such as “rubbery knitting” and “try not to bent at the center or fall them apart.”

In 2004, I completed “Reading a Knit Pattern – Without Words” at Habu Textiles in New York City. Again, much was lost in translation. It became clear early on that the successful interpretation of Japanese charts involves a level of math skill rare in the Western world. There was some productive miming of short row technique by the wonderful Setsuko Torii, and I left inspired to forge ahead, newly cognizant of the vast terrain of information embedded in those impenetrable symbols and marks.

2005: Still no progress. I am, however, gearing up to undertake the Habu Textiles Linen Paper & Silk Mohair Jacket kit, currently a misleading #2 on my To Do List. This will be my trial run, a Japanese chart with English instructions, before I dive headlong into the free-form, right-brain, devil-may-care interpretation required by the beauties above.


Blogger jacqueline said...

you know i remember you telling me about trying to get the faculty to teach japanese knitting when you came to melbourne for your brother's wedding. it has been fascinating reading about your progress in this area.

10:42 PM  
Blogger JinxedMinx said...

That... is some cool stuff. I hope you eventually get to make something from it - I am sure it would be fascinating to knit!


4:53 AM  
Blogger Di said...

very very cool- I love those spiral scarves! You were way ahead of your time- I'm looking forward to hearing how the Habu kit goes!

9:45 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

love that book!

11:35 PM  
Blogger Kitty Kitty said...

OH my.... That book is truly amazing. What a lovely find. To bad you couldn't convince them to teach Japanese for Knitting.

3:25 AM  
Blogger kat said...

Wow, that sounds like the perfect job. Japanese knitting teacher. I've mastered a couple of Japanese knitting patterns - it really is a different language. I had to head to my LYS here in Kichijoji to have them help me decipher Japanese short rows. You are really lucky to have a copy of that book. It's out of print now, so copies are rare. Every now and again you get lucky at second hand bookstores. I'd love to open a Japanese knitting related store in Australia.....Friday afternoon dreaming!

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Alison said...

I love this post - it captures everything about 'process' and the creative urge. In approx. 65 days time I'll be at Habu (possibly bankrupting myself) but definately picking up a kit. Habu-along?

9:41 PM  
Anonymous valentina said...

Ooooooooooh. I adore those spiraling scarves. But am I getting this right: they're actually two giant circles, that cascade into spirals?

12:16 PM  
Blogger kris said...

i am very interested in that rubbery knitting. please let me know if you learn more about it ;-)

personally i fell in love with the bottom design, the fairisle vest. incredibly cute! hmmm could it be as easy as just knitting a tube with horizontal arm holes and then doing some shoulder decreases?

10:11 PM  
Blogger Mamie said...

More more more! I love every one of these! I wnat to knit them now! I also love the color of the dress/shirt on the cover... how fabulous is that! Can't wait to see how it goes. Thanks for sharing!

4:50 AM  
Blogger Mamie said...

Hi There!
Have you been here?:
This could be our answer! We should do a knitalong! I really love these patterns!!

4:06 AM  

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