Saturday, January 15, 2011

Japanese Knitting Resources

Japanese knitting patterns and symbols

Japanese Knitting Groups

Knitting Blogs

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Knit Japan Style Flickr Group

A new Flickr group for Japanese Knitting and Japanese Crochet patterns has been created, Knit Japan Style.

Pictures of finished items complete with the ISBN of the Japanese Knitting Book or Japanese Crochet Book for the pattern are included. Join and share your own creations.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Japanese Knitting Flip-Flop Book

I came across this Japanese Knitting Flip Flop book on Amazon Japan. I must make some of these!

Cast On For Japanese Cable Vest

I cast on for my Japanese Cable Vest for the KAL that is going on at the Japanese Knitting and Crochet site on Ravelry the other night. I was a little stumped about the stitch pattern for the bottom band since I can't read Japanese and the picture isn't big enough to really tell.

Luckily, I have a friend, Emiko, at my regular Wednesday night knitting group who speaks and reads Japanese. She was impressed with how much of the pattern I could desphir without knowing Japanese. But, of course, the Japanese make it really easy to do that with their great charts and schematics.

But sometimes it is nice to have some things translated. And what Emiko told me was that the bottom border is Garter stitch. This makes sense since the rest of the vest is in reverse stockinette. The two stitches look relatively similar so they are a good match.

I did the math so I knew how many stitches to cast on. Here is what I figured for a size 44 inch bust measurement:

Instead of casting on 70 stitches for the back and 39 stitches for the two fronts, I need 84 stitches for the back and 41 stitches for the two fronts. I've decided to knit the fronts and back all together instead of separately so that I'll have less seaming to do. So in all I needed 166 stitches for my cast on.

I used a cable cast on because I like how it looks compared to a long-tail cast on, plus you don't have to guess how much yarn you need for the tail.

The other thing I realized about the pattern once I got the 4 rows for the Garter stitch border done is that the charted cable pattern is flipped on each of the front sides so that they are a mirror image of each other.

This makes it a little more tricky, but I've been using the top diamond as a guide on how to mirror the bottom diamond and vice versus. Plus I have my swatch as a reference.

Another change I made was to do the main body of the vest in stockinette instead of reverse stockinette. I am purling the two stitches after the chart on one front and two stitches before on the other, so that the twisted knit stitches on either side of the diamonds on the chart are more pronounced.

The last change I'm making (for now ) is that I'm not going to do waist shaping on my vest. I'll be knitting straight up to the armholes without any decreases. At that point I'll separate the fronts from the back and work on each separately.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cable Vest KAL Swatch

Here is the swatch I did for the Japanese Cable Vest KAL on Ravelry.

This is my second attempt. I had a hard time with the chart for the top diamond because one of the symbols used wasn't in either of the Japanase symbol books I have. Luckily, I was able to figure it out and this swatch looks much better.

I'm using Lion Brand Wool Ease on size 10 1/2 needles. The yarn is little more of an oatmeal color then this picture shows.

Next up: converting the pattern to my size.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Figuring Out Yarn Requirments

Yesterday, I wrote about the new Japanese Vest KAL that is going on at the Japanese Knit and Crochet board on Ravelry for a Japanese Vest Knitting Pattern. One of the questions that came up was how much yarn is needed to make the vest.

There are several challenges in determining how much yarn to use to knit the vest with the language barrier being the biggest! But even if you get past that, there are still several other challenges. First, Japanese knitting patterns are usually sized for one, at best 2, sizes. Second, the yarn that is used in the patterns is typically not available in the US. And third, the needle sizes used in Japan are different then the metric or US sizes.

To get past the language barrier I use the translate feature on the Google toolbar on IE to help me. Here is what I get when I translate the page:

For the yarn requirements it states that you need 7 balls of the yarn used for the pattern. The yarn is 40 grams with 54 meters. So to knit the pattern for the size on the pattern you will need about 280 grams or 378 meters. So converting 378 meters to yards, I get about 413 yards.

413 yards doesn't seem like a lot of yarn. But then you have to remember that this is for a size 36 inch bust or really smaller because you have to figure in ease which in this case should be 2 to 4 inches. So we are talking a 32 to 34 inch bust measurement. I wear a 42 inch and with 2 to 4 inches ease, I need a vest that is 44 to 46 inches so that I can wear it over shirts and still be comfortable.

The yarn that is used in the pattern appears to be a worsted weight yarn. I can only guess this based on the needle size recommended for the yarn which is an 8 to 10 Japanese. Using a needle conversion chart, I see that an 8 to 10 needle is similar to 7 to 8 US needle. If I look on the Standard Yarn Weight chart, it suggests that a 7 to 9 US needle is used for #4 Worsted, Afghan, Aran yarn.

So knowing that I need to use worsted weight yarn, I need to figure out how much yarn to buy for this pattern. I could convert the pattern and try to estimate based on that, but I'm not ready to do that. So instead, I'll use a yarn estimator from

The chart is the amount of yarn needed to make a sweater and they suggest using 20% less for a short sleeve one. Since this vest has cables on it which uses more yarn then stockinette stitch, I'll use that to make a conservative estimate.

So for me, using worsted weight I need 1800m to 1600m for a sweater and 20% less is 1400 to 1280 meters. In yards this is 1531 to 1400 yards. If I use Aran weight I need 1600m to 1425m for a sweater and 20% less is 1280 to 1140 meters. In yards this is 1400 to 1247 yards.

So now I know that I need about 1300 to 1400 yards worsted weight yarn. I'd like to find one with wool/nylon blend like in the pattern but I don't know of one off the top of my head. But if I was to use a 100% wool yarn like Cascade 220, I'd need about 6 skeins.

Okay, enough for the match today. I started on a swatch of the chart last night and ran into problems with one of the symbols. So I need to figure that out next.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Japanese Cable Vest KAL

On the Japanese Knitting and Crochet Group on Ravelry a KAL has been proposed for this cabled vest knitting pattern which is a free Japanese knitting pattern available on the Woolmark Company, a Japanese yarn company, website.

I haven't started the first vest I thought I'd would yet, so the idea of a KAL to get me started and motivated seems like a good idea. The pdf for the pattern is only one page! It still amazes me that the Japanese can write their patterns in so little space. The same pattern written out in English would be at least 3 pages.

Here is a picture of the chart:

Now, really it isn't as scary as it looks. Luckily, I have a couple of Japanese knitting symbol books to help me out.

The space on the graph that has a has a smaller chart to the left of the main chart

This means that those 2 blocked out stitches are work as the smaller chart. It looks like some kind of bobble. We've decided that we are not going to do this part of the chart. I'm not much into bobbles plus if you look at the photo, the bobbles land right on the bust of the model and look like nipples! No, thank you!

The first thing I'm going to do for this pattern is find some yarn to swatch the chart. But that means I need to translate the chart. So I'm off to find those Japanese knitting symbol books now! Oh and a yarn that gets gauge of 15 stitches and 22 rows in 10 cm as the pattern calls for.

Feel free to join the KAL even if you aren't on Ravelry (they are still in beta and you need an invitation to join which you can get by signing up from a link on the main page of the site). You can post comments here and on future posts that link to your progress on your blog.