Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A Rosetta Stone to Japanese Patterns

Everyone is making unseemly noises over the Japanese pattern books I have been talking about, but most non-Japanese knitters don't much care for the fact that they are written in Japanese. So narrow-minded of them, don't you think?

The good news is that there's at least one book that was published by Nihon Vogue and translated into English. Thus, if you purchase this book, you can compare English and Japanese pattern setups and you should have a minimum of trouble figuring out how Japanese patterns in other books are presented.

Naturally, you will still have to do a little work, especially if the size you want differs from the size the Japanese pattern thinks you ought to be. But as you can see from the pictures below, the directions are really written in English! (Click on the pictures for a high-resolution view).

In the back of this book is a small, but refreshingly comprehensible, section on Japanese knitting symbols, short-rowing, and casting on/off.

If you have yen (sorry!) to dig into those Japanese books I keep posting about, you ought to invest in White Sweaters.

The patterns, as always, are elegant and attractive. Of course, the anti-boxy folks might find the lack of bust darts annoying, but you can't have everything. Japanese ladies tend to be on the slender side in all respects, so you will have to add short rows where you might need them.

There are 28 patterns, divided about equally between cables and laces. Several of them are simple enough for the advanced beginner, too.

White Sweaters is available from Lacis and Velona, among other sources such as eBay. Price is around $18.


Lacefreak said...

Dear fleeegle,

Do you know I have owned this book for years and I totally forgot that the symbols were translated in the back? I've knit sweaters from it but so long ago that I simply didn't connect the dots. I walked over to the bookcase and pulled out a copy of "Knitting Lace", also a Japanese publication. It has no English but has photographys and diagrams of the stitches and symbols, also really good for those visual learners out there.I guess I will spend some of my penance time looking at these. Maybe I can finally get up the nerve to try one of the lace patterns from them. Thanks for the nudge.

Lorette said...

The schematic for that sweater is unbelievably helpful in translating other Japanese patterns. It helps a lot to see what their "code" means. I think you really could knit a whole sweater just based on the schematic and directions for the pattern stitches that they use. Thanks!

Batty said...

Thank you so much! I've been drooling over Japanese knitting patterns for a while. You truly are the Champolion of my Japanese knitting experience!

Denise said...

Thanks for the insight into Japanese knitting books! I love the fact that the patterns are more complex, especially the lace ones. I had been concerned about being able to read the schematics and figure out critical things like gauge, and today's entry set my mind at ease. I can tell I'm going to need some online shopping time tonight when I get home. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information about the Japanese book. I just placed an order for it. I seem to be collecting Japanese books and patterns, and Habu yarn. I'm currently working on a Habu jacket in merino wool, silk and stainless steel. A whole new world of knitting has been opened up to me!

Experimental Knitter said...

It's good to have your blog, Fleegle, to run to for help. To date I have 4 Japanese knitting books: Guernsey and Aran Sweaters, New Style of Heirloom Knitting, Knitting Patterns Book 300, and Clear & Simple Knitting Symbols. My Japanese colleague, who promised to translate them for me, moved to Boston in September. :-(
I'm staying away from and for a while.

bunchkin said...

I just started a blog tonight for all of us who love Japanese knitting patterns. Anyone can join and post projects, links, new patterns, etc. I am going to list links as I find them to helpful sites, etc. I'm trying to bring all of the information to one place instead of scattered all over the internet. Come check it out!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to stop reading your blog if you don't stop showing all the nice patterns and books! :)

Dave mentioned Sandra in a previous comment. CoC carries it if you want to take a look. Last I saw they were on the wall behind the table in the room with the Noro.

Experimental Knitter said...

Dear Fleegle,
Forgot to ask, is this book bi-lingual (1 page japanese, facing page english)? would be so nice.

Treesa said...

"...unseemly comments..."??????Don't people know how much we can learn about ourselves, let alone other cultures and places by at least looking and trying to understand how they do the same things we do, but just their way???? It is way too much fun to see how other people do it, what ever IT is. I ordered the white book and 2 others, just to see and to satisfy my curiosity about japanese knitting patterns. I have french, german and spanish knitting and crochet patterns, and each country has its own 'flavor'.

Anonymous said...

Found your blog today and my copy of "Whitesweaters" is already on it's way for $7 (including shipping) from an seller. They have a number of sellers with copies of this book, just be careful to notice the "condition" ratings as it varies quite a bit.

Thanks here also for the nudge!