Friday, November 06, 2009

Reading Japanese Patterns and

What a great little bit of knowledge!
It's amazing though, that this information isn't more readily available to Americans and that we need to take a class to find out something so logical and easy.

Yesterday I mentioned that I was taking a class in reading Japanese knitting patterns given by Takako from Habu yarns.
It was interesting! And she is delightful.
It's also so logical and easy to read the basic schematic armed with just a little bit of information. Takako explained that they (the Japanese) had to come up with a way to write patterns because they don't have the ability to abbreviate their written language the way we do. We can read K1P1 Dec 1 st eor and know what it means. They can't. So they came up with a way to abbreviate the directions on a schematic, in a box, and then they use a chart that can be easily generated on any excel spreadsheet, or for that matter written in any sheet of looseleaf or a spiral binder. Easy Peasy.

The following schematic is from one of the books that I own, not the schematic we worked with in class, and not a schematic designed for Habu yarns.
direction arrow
See the directional arrows? (I've drawn a red box around them, in the center of the page). Those are the direction that you knit. Which is interesting. They have you start then with either a provisional cast on and then later knit your ribbing on, or else do a regular cast on and pick up stitches to knit your ribbing. She did explain that they don't hand hold - no directions for which cast on, no directions for which method of decrease. Basically their patterns are written expecting you to know how to knit, and how to choose the correct techniques.
reading the box
See the box with those 3 rows of numbers? Again, I've drawn a red box around it in the upper corner of the schematices. That tells you your frequency of decreasing, or increasing, for shaping.
Starting reading from the bottom of that box, it reads on row 2 (of this section) decrease 3 st, one time). It's abbreviated 2-3-1

But, of course she is with Habu. Habu has incredibly interesting yarns, but they don't do anything that even remotely resembles texture work. So, what information I still lack is a key to reading those charts for cables and textures. Kim, I'm going to take you up on your offer of a key.

Now, I'm certain there is just as easy a key to understanding the schematics in books such as
Pattern Magic
And, have you seen the books Cidell just got? Ohhhh my, I'm covetous.


Lisette M said...

Hi Marji
I have a couple of questions about the Japanese knitting patterns. First are the sizes small? I recently read an article about a Japanese RTW line of clothing which only goes up to a size 6.
Second, are the Japanese knitting patterns different enough from the more easily available and easy to comprehend american and european patterns that gets you excited to go through the extra trouble?
I have seen the sewing books (well through Cidell posts) and I have found some designs that I really liked, but I still can't bring myself to go that out of my way to sew one.
Of course the books she just got are another story, I would love to find those!

fabricfan said...

Hi Marji,
I have books with Japanese knitting and sewing patterns as well. I sit there and study them, thanks to you now I'll be coming from a place of knowledge. I have seen crochet patterns as well but I haven't tried to knit, sew or crochet from any of them yet.

Mardel said...

I have a bunch of Japanese knitting patterns and some sewing books as well. I did knit a sweater years ago, which unfortunately is now way to small. Lately I have been too distracted to even consider starting again. That box about the increasing or decreasing is great, I didn't know about that, how much easier it would have been.

That class sounds like it was fabulous.

I haven't been to Habu in years and would love to go again. So far I just talk about it though.

knittinbrit_in_wi said...

Here's the book -

Very helpful!

I have found a lot of great info online. Have you checked this link out too

knittinbrit_in_wi said...

Me again!

This is great. This was one of the most helpful things I found on the web - really helps with the whole sizing thing.

Trudy Callan said...

Marji, I wanted to welcome you as one of my new followers on my blog. You are an incredible seamstress. I am honored that you would follow me. I am now following you, too.

Lina said...

Hi Marji!
I like Japanese craft books,specially crochet books.Since I am impatient to read written patterns those charts in Japanese books are perfect for me,and easier.
For sewing I usually use Burda patterns-magazines (in German language-and I do not understand German at all)So for me Japanese books are better-they have more pictures.LOL

cidell said...

Quite interesting. I was wondering how they came up with the schematics and ideas behind drafting!

I have both PMs, yours for the borrowing.

Nancy K said...

You'll have to hit the Japanese bookstore on 6th Avenue when you're in NYC. It's only a few blocks from where you've got your class. It's is really gorgeous and they have all the craft, knitting and sewing books you could want. Of course, Cidell got the Bunka books for an amazing price. Now if only I could convince my dd to take the ferry over to Japan and buy me a set of those books!

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