knit | look

The Marvel of Japanese Knitting

August 7, 2018

This is a wonderful, fascinating book.

The patterns are extraordinary and require lots of gazing upon and wondering at.

But this is the bit that truly amazes me. Have a look at these knitting symbols.

Now consider these words from the introduction.

Unlike other stitch pattern charts you may have seen, Japanese charts do not provide a key for how to work the symbols. The symbols are standardized, and every Japanese publisher uses the same symbol set. A Japanese knitter is expected to know them.

Crikey bananas! Japanese knitters must the Übermensch of the knitting world, or more appropriately the Überstrickennen. The level of knitting expertise and knowledge that is assumed in Japan is awe inspiring. Fortunately for those of us who are not Überstrickennen, Hitomi Shida’s Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible (2015) explains every symbol. Phew!

There are even wonderful explorations of how patterns might be rearranged or altered. It is a rare insight into an designer’s mind space. Even if you never knitted from this book, it would still change your knitting life.