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 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 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 Anonymous 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 Anonymous 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  

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