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Bringing Japan to Your Knitting Needles

Jun 3, 2009

In a world full of knitting books, sometimes one book in particular captivates you, drawing you into its pages with something more than just instructions and photos, something that makes you read it cover to cover, like a story book. It's a rare knitting book that has this power over me, and Marianne Isager's new book Japanese Inspired Knits, is one of these captivating few. The book is extremely evocative, both in its beautiful photography and in the gentle storytelling accompanying each design. The designs are arranged according to seasonal themes; there is one for each month of the year. I've chosen three to share with you, three designs that touched me in a way that goes beyond knitting.

 

The Carp Pullover

I have never lived in Japan, but I did live in Hawaii, where there are many Japanese with a vibrant sense of their mother culture. Every spring, carp-shaped windsocks would swim in the breezes everywhere. I never knew why until I read Marianne's description of the May 5th celebration of Boys' Day, where the carp symbolize strength and independence. Seeing the delicate mitered squares that make up the Carp Pullover, I find myself remembering reaching in and stroking the giant koi kept in garden ponds, feeling their cool silken scales.

 

 



The Maple Leaves Cardigan

I never saw the glory of maple trees in autumn until I moved here to Eastern Canada. My husband and I took a drive through the Escarpment Country, where the road is a tunnel of blazing leaves turned to fire by the sun beyond. I saw the photo of the Maple Leaves Cardigan and I thought, "Yes! That's it, exactly." Autumn fire turned to stitchery...

 

 

 

 


The Sun Sweater

It was the story that was the magic for me on this one: "Tanabata, the star festival, is celebrated on the seventh day of July. According to legend, the sky god separated his daugher Weaving Star from her beloved Cowherder Star. They were placed on opposite sides of the Milky Way where their intense love couldn't interfere with their daily tasks. Since then the two stars are allowed to meet only on the seventh of July. If rain prevents them from meeting on this date, they have to wait another full year." And so the Japanese pray for sun, for luck, for love...

 

 

To see more of Marianne's gorgeous designs inspired by cherry blossoms, sake and soba, stone gardens, and more, look for Japanese Inspired Knits at your local yarn shop, or purchase it online here.

 


 



Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles? Finally! A decision has been made in the what-to-knit-for-Baby-Delaney. (Laura and Matt, avert thine parental eyes, please.) I've got the yarn on order for the sweetest baby blanket made of lace stars: Star Light, Star Bright. Look for the pattern as part of our new free Baby Knits ebook this Friday!


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Comments

PatriciaH wrote
on Jun 10, 2009 4:48 AM
Been busy and just realized I haven't rec'd a newsletter since June 3rd. Do I need to re-subscribe??
djbseb wrote
on Jun 3, 2009 3:38 PM
Gorgeous patterns - but no plus sizes - oh the disappointment!
RuthS@5 wrote
on Jun 3, 2009 10:36 AM
I do so wish you folks would do something in either knitting daily or in the magazine about Japanese knitting patterns (the ones in Japanese). I work right next to the Kinokuniya Bookstore in Seattle and they have some of the most beautiful Japanese knitting books and magazines I have ever seen. Some folks are using Google translation or cheat sheets on websites to translate the patterns and follow the knitting charts to make these lovely items. Heck, I think Interweave Press could even do a book translating some of the best Japanese knitting patterms for an American audience in cooperation with a Japanese publisher. I'd even write it for you! Seriously, let me know if there's anything in the works over there to bring Japanese knitting patterns to the US.
MarianS wrote
on Jun 3, 2009 9:25 AM
The designs are lovely, but both my Japanese daughter-in-law and my daughter wear Size 0 so finding patterns to fit them seems an impossible task. Any advice?????
MarianS wrote
on Jun 3, 2009 9:23 AM
The designs are lovely. My Japanese daughter-in-law and my daughter are both very petite wearing Size 0, but finding any knitting patterns small enough to fit them seems an impossible task. Any advice for finding such patterns????
JillW wrote
on Jun 3, 2009 9:16 AM
I don't buy many knitting books (not in my budget), but this is one I did buy. Love the patterns, especially the Carp! I don't know what CateF was looking at, but most of the patterns do have at least 3 sizes, given in inches/cm, not child and medium adult. I agree, it doesn't include extended sizes - for example, the largest size for the Carp is 42", so I may have to upsize it a bit too! I did wonder why only 2 1/2 stars rating for the book . . .
CateF wrote
on Jun 3, 2009 6:06 AM
The patterns are very inspiring but I was extremely disappointed to find that they are only given in two sizes - child and medium adult. If extended sizes had been included I would have purchased the book immediately. As it is, I haven't decided whether to buy it and make the effort to convert the patterns to my size. At least I have the skills to do that, some wouldn't even bother.
DorisW wrote
on Jun 3, 2009 5:53 AM
I just love this site, It brings to my day new ideas of items I want to knit!! I have a question. I bought the yarn to make the Pearl Buck jacket, but for the "life of me", I can't find the pattern that was in one of your magazines. Do you remember the item and where I can find it? I even scanned the patterns and it wasn't there. I just loved the look of this jacket.