japan knitting

the thrill in teaching

Finally I’ve roped in one of my friends into knitting! My friend A really needed something to distract her from some stuff, and told me she was trying to knit. She actually tried a bit by herself, with 100-yen-shop needles (actually, they’re quite good quality), and 100-yen-shop yarn (meh, but it’s better than Red Heart Super Saver). It wasn’t going so well, since she’s knitting left-handed, so I tried to teach her.

I ended up teaching her all backwards, since I don’t knit left-handed myself (and it had been a while since I had knit English style to boot).

Anyway, I tried again, after watching some Youtube videos on how to knit left-handed (which I guess is not a bad technique to know in general). And I’d say she’s pretty much got it. The way I had taught her before resulted in her twisting stitches, and she’s got an tight gauge to begin with, so she was knitting acrylic scrubbies you could scratch car paint off with. I gave her some old bamboo straights I had that are size 7mm (not size 7s, but 7mm! When could my loosey-goosey ass ever knit with one of those?), made sure she knew what a twisted stitch and non-twisted stitch look like, and she’s been off at the races ever since.

She wanted to try a garment (so brave!) so she’s knitting a simple ribbed rectangle pattern that will be sewn up at the end like a shrug. It looks great and I’m honestly so proud of her. I didn’t feel brave enough to try something like that until like, two years of knitting. She even figured out a k2tog decrease by herself. I’m just so happy to find someone else that knits (there are a few of us foreign ladies in Iwate who do knit, but we all live pretty far from each other so can’t exactly meet often for stitch’n’bitch sessions).

japan knitting

knitting podcasts!

I always tend to watch Youtube or something else online when I knit, which works especially well since I can memorize a pattern and just watch the screen instead of my knitting. But with my Sari stole, I can’t really watch many tv shows or let’s plays because I can’t pay attention to anything else but the pattern. So I’ve been turning on podcasts instead, just to have some sort of interest for my brain. Lately, I’ve been watching knitting podcasts, which is a little bit funny for me. Thus far, I haven’t been interested. Most podcasts I’ve seen follow the same pattern: “Here’s what I’m knitting! Here’s the tea I’m sipping! Here’s my huge stash of ugly sock yarns! (lol)” I’m a judgemental bitch, I know!

Well, I’ve found some I like. They’re still pretty much the same format, but the hosts are all so delightful that it doesn’t matter! I actually like these ladies because they talk about their own lives as well, instead of only cooing over some godawful lime green-pink-lavender striping yarn.

Ruby Moss Cottage

It’s so relaxing to hear Joyce’s lovely voice as she talks about her latest knits. Honestly, I just really love her accent, and how positive she is about everything. Plus, it’s adorable how much she loves Stephen West.

The Grocery Girls

Oh, I know everyone else loves them too. But they’re just so funny together. Their podcasts are LONG but don’t feel that way because of their snappy banter. I want to be like Jodie when I grow up. (I agree with everyone else that their new Crafty show is not near as good as their podcast)

The Girls in the Yarn Cafe

This mother and daughter team sells their own dyed yarn and so they talk a lot about their dyeing process which is pretty interesting even though I wouldn’t use that yarn. (It’s just my own bias, I know) But also, I love how much they talk about their jobs (they’re both in the psychiatry field), and their philosphies about things. It’s pretty fascinating! I’d like to take Christy’s “I’m the CEO of my own life” for my own purposes, thanks 🙂


in progress

slow progress

I have to knit about another inch before moving on to the ribbing, but here’s the body of the Charlestown Pullover! The past few weeks have been slow going, since I’ll knit my Sari stole and then not feel like knitting anything else. Plus, it’s getting warmer, so even if I finish this sweater quickly I don’t think I’ll be able to wear it this season. Maybe if I didn’t have anything else on the needles I could have finished this by now… I still enjoy the knit, but I’m antsy to start the sleeves.

Once I finish the body I’d like to block it out wider first, just to make sure it’s okay. It’s quite tight – it doesn’t look bad, but I’d like to block in a bit more looseness to the lower body. But I’m actually quite confident that I can get a few more inches on each side, because it’s SO stretchy. If this works out well, I’ll now know to knit things with a few inches of negative ease going forward.

I just love those zig zags. Ugh!!

in progress

repeat 20

This is the Sari stole, now 20 repeats in. I only have enough purple yarn for about…. 3-4 more repeats? Not sure. Maybe a little bit more. And I think that will be enough. It’s long enough now to wrap around the neck though still a bit short.

I know I’ve written about how much I’ve come to dread knitting this thing, but since I started my system of 4 rows a day, I’ve been able to make peace with how much time and concentration this takes. It’s almost comforting now, my routine of pulling it out for about a half hour a day. I don’t think I’ll miss having it on the needles but it’s not so bad now that I can see the end in sight.

ideas for the future

upcoming knits

Ignore the green tint! I was playing with the colors with the Peach-tone Argyle Cardigan by Yoko Hatta because I’ve admired the pattern for a while but I don’t want any more peach-colored clothing. I’d love to try knitting this with Purl Soho’s Linen Quill, using the lovely kettle-dyed black as the main color, and definitely making use of the Turmeric Yellow. Not sure what other colors I’d like to pair with it, but could see a slate-blue and grey tones going well. Make yellow the only bright color (maybe a brown and taupe thrown in too).

Then again, Purl Soho would be expensive to send to Japan…haha. It’s already getting a bit too warm for knitted sweaters, so this might have to be an idea I juggle for a while.


finished objects

the mountains and the sky

I finished the baby vest I knit for my friend and his wife who are expecting – the Garter Stitch Baby Kimono by Joji Locatelli. It was all stash yarn, and it’s all either linen or superwash wool/sock yarn for ease of care. The linen is a little stiff but I think this will just be worn over other clothing so it should be fine even if it’s not, like, cashmere soft (or will it? I’m pretty ignorant about babies). I love the way the stripes worked up, because it kind of reminds me of the skyline by the mountains.

The baby is actually a girl, too! I knitted this without knowing the sex of the baby, but I had a feeling it would be a girl. Well, I’m sure the baby will be drowning in pink stuff so a nice blue vest might be just what the doctor ordered. I think this would look so cute over a white dress.

(Jk I’m just doing my part to smash the patriarchy >;) )

finished objects

year of the rooster

I finally got around to knitting a zodiac animal for the year. I like to decorate my genkan (front entranceway) with the “Year of the whatever creature it is”, and had a crocheted monkey for the past year. Well, it’s now the Year of the Rooster, and I had some pretty alpaca grey yarn to play around with. I used the Plucky Hen pattern by Claire Garland, which was just massively fun. Knitting short rows to shape a stuffed animal is far more fun to me than crocheting the same sort of thing, even if crocheting is probably easier. I just love this little dude and his fat butt.

in progress

I can see the end…

The roll of silk yarn for the main color of my Sari stole. It’s now about a third of what it was when I first got it. It’ll still take me a while to get through the rest, but once it’s done, my stole is done! It’s so nice when you can actually feel your progress.

In any case, it is a very interesting shade of purple. This Hasegawa Ginga-3 yarn almost looks like a dark grey in some lights, and the tweedy heathering gives it a lot of character. It’s not really shiny like I expected silk to be, though.

finished objects

sobacchi mittens

Emma’s Mittens by Minh Hoang

I found a use for the Iwaizumi Spincraft Yarn I showed off here a few months ago. It’s such an interesting black, with all the flecks of color in it, and I figured it would go well with the plaid crochet hat. I also had a few ideas for it – to knit a liner for it as well as a few extra modifications. One would be a hole for index finger on my right hand (for ease of smartphoning), and the other would be a small pocket that would fit my mp3 player. My mp3 player is close to ten years old, and often shuts off in the cold weather so I need to keep it warm at all times. This way it nestles in a pocket by my hand and I don’t have to think about it!

They are just so beautiful and versatile. I’m very happy I made them, even if one is a looser gauge than the other. The pop of red is so fetching at the edge of the ribbing. I did a provisional cast on and just knit the main pattern first, then knit the ribbing going the other way. Then I just switched to the red yarn and knit a whole new mitten basically. This way I have a soft inner liner (and use up some extra yarn in the process).

The black truly goes with everything, and the knitting process was a joy. Two layers of handknits is even more plush and wonderful. I want to use this technique again!

finished objects

a bit of crochet

This is the Plaid Slouchy Hat by Bethany Dearden, a little crochet number I did with yarn remaining from the colorwork sweater I did in autumn. It’s not showing up too well here in the photo, but it’s pretty cute. I so rarely crochet, but I found I really liked colorwork in crochet. And what an ingenious way to do ribbing! You crochet a small strip vertically and then join that and crochet upwards. That way I was able to fit my head exactly.

This was done over the two weeks I was at home for Christmas, and was a good mindless way to busy my hands while watching a shit-ton of Netflix. Dang, I need to get myself a subscription in Japan.