in progress · japan knitting

Different ways of joining together

togetherI’ve done the three needle bind off at the shoulders, and joined in the round!! This top will now be on auto-pilot, pretty much, for the rest of its life. I just have to knit until about an inch before the length I want, and hope it grows! If it doesn’t, I can always block it – the yarn is pretty malleable, and even has some cotton in it.

It’s huge, by the way. I tried it over my shoulders and it just is way big. My plan was to do the embroidery in bits and pieces, when I felt like it, as I figured I could use periodic breaks from the miles of stockinette. But I do want to make sure it fits before committing to another month of straight knitting. I think I’ll stay with the linen yarn in blue, and make sure I’m pulling tightly during the embroidery to bring it all together.

Still, I absolutely love the sleeve treatment of the pattern. How cute is that garter stitch? Er, would you call it garter? It’s just the last few stitches in two rows knit, two rows purl. I knitted the edges in pattern, without any sort of selvedge treatment, because I figure that would go best. I like it so much I might incorporate it into my next Vasa.

hagiBy the way! Right here is a typical knitting instruction you’ll find at the end of knitting books in Japan. It’s three needle bind off, except using a crochet hook. Judging from the illustration, it’s pretty easy to figure out what’s going on, but it’s best if you know a few kanji in order to make sure. It says at the bottom, “A common way to connect at the shoulders. Face the two front sides together, and use a crochet hook to bring the yarn through one stitch at a time for bind-off.” In Japanese, this method is called hikinuki-hagi. You can also see at the bottom meriyasu-hagi, which is basically the mattress seam for horizontal seaming. I’m not sure if there’s a proper English term for it, in fact! It’s like grafting, except it’s two bound-off edges instead of two live stitch edges. By the by, meriyasu is the Japanese word for stockinette! You’ll see it everywhere.

It’s super common for Japanese knitting books to have two-three pages at the end detailing every technique you’ll need for the entire book. They’ll give one cast-on method (long-tail), one bind-off, a few seaming methods (as most Japanese patterns are seamed), and then instructions for the knit stitch, purl stitch, and things like k2tog, skp, etc, and other special stitches they may use. When you look at a knitting chart in a Japanese book, if there’s a symbol you don’t know, 9 times out of ten it will be listed in the back of the book. A new knitter will have trouble deciphering the graphics, but someone with experience should be able to tell what stitch is being described through the pictures.

I find that Japanese pattern books don’t often use very complicated stitches anyway. Cabling, knitting/purling through the back loop, and yarnovers are about as hard as it gets!

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