Episode 25 – Japanese Knitting and a little EYF

In Episode 25 of the Fruity Knitting Podcast we are meeting Gayle Roehm, who will introduce us to the pleasures of Japanese knitting design and give us some insights into reading Japanese knitting patterns.  Our guest on Knitters of the World is Georgie, joining us from the Staffordshire Moorlands in the UK.  We report back from our wonderful trip to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2017 with some footage and some purchases.  We have a winner for our Cable Garment KAL, one finished project, one new project and one ongoing project, and lots more!  

Fruity Knitting Podcast Episode 25 - Click on the image to play - Gayle Roehm - Instructor for Japanese Knitting

Fruity Knitting Podcast Episode 25 – Click on the image to play

Gayle Roehm on Japanese Knitting

Gayle Roehm has lived and worked in Japan and speaks Japanese, and so has a natural advantage when it comes to reading Japanese knitting patterns.  However, because of the way they are presented, Gayle says that any competent knitter should be able to work from a Japanese design.  Gayle now holds classes on interpreting Japanese designs, opening up a world of new stitches and styles to English-speaking knitters.

Gayle Roehm with the President of Pierrot Yarns, celebrating the Year of the Sheep

Gayle Roehm with the President of Pierrot Yarns, celebrating the Year of the Sheep

Whereas English patterns typically depend on a lot of text, Japanese patterns focus on a graphical representation, using stitch charts and standardized symbols to describe the stitches required and the construction of the garment.  Gayle showed us the three main components of a typical pattern – a short description (in Japanese), schematic diagrams, and the stitch chart.

Example pattern provided by Pierrot Yarns., showing the text description, schematics and stitch chart.

Example pattern provided by Pierrot Yarns, showing the text description, schematics and stitch chart.

Japanese designs are often original both in their stitches and in the garment construction.

Hitomi Shida design, showing asymmetrical construction

Hitomi Shida design, showing asymmetrical construction

Names

I have some names of designers who may have been mentioned by Gayle, but I can’t guarantee that it’s a complete list.  If you need more information, then you could turn to Gayle or the Japanese Knitting and Crochet group on Ravelry.

  • Ayako Sasatani
  • Chie Kose
  • Fukiko
  • Hitomi Shida
  • Michiyo (Check the Hikari collection, done with the Fibre Company, in four sizes)
  • Siachika
  • Mitsuharu Hirose
  • Yoko Hatta, also known as Kazebobo
  • Mariko Mikuni

Further tips from Gayle

Using Charts

  • Find a good way to keep track of where you are: post-it notes, magnetic board, or my personal favorite, highlighter tape. Whatever works for you.
  • Mark up the chart if necessary: arrows showing which way to read a row, for instance.
  • SymbolCraft on Ravelry
  • Stitch Maps on Ravelry
Charts Made Simple: understanding knitting charts visually

Charts Made Simple: understanding knitting charts visually

Clear & Simple Knitting Symbols (in Japanese but still helpful!)

Clear & Simple Knitting Symbols (in Japanese but still helpful!)

Sizing

  • Do a swatch!  Do the maths, and see whether re-gauging will be enough.
  • Description from Pierrot yarns of adding width at underarms and/or across the shoulders.

Other resources

Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible: 260 Exquisite Designs by Hitomi Shida

Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible: 260 Exquisite Designs by Hitomi Shida

Find Gayle and more information

You can find Gayle Roehm at:

Georgie Vinsun – Knitters of the World

Georgie lives in the Staffordshire Moorlands in the UK.  It sounds very Jane Austen to me, but I’m not strong on literature or geography, so you probably shouldn’t take my word for it.  Andrea called Georgie a beautiful English rose.  I couldn’t say that, but I can say that Georgie has an extensive portfolio of beautiful creations.  The idea of a Kate Davies colorwork blanket is lingering in our lounge room.

Georgie's Colorwork Cardigan, inspired by Susan Crawford, supported by Kate Davies

Georgie’s Colorwork Cardigan, inspired by Susan Crawford, supported by Kate Davies

Georgie documents her knitting work on her blog at birdsongknits.blogspot.co.uk, with beautiful photos and writings on her projects.

Moder Dy, by Kate Davies

Moder Dy, by Kate Davies

You can find Georgie on Ravelry as georgievinsun, and you can see more colours from Georgie here.

One cosy and stylish bubby there

One cosy and stylish bubby there

Thanks to Georgie for sharing her work with us!

Cable Garment KAL

We had 35 finished garments submitted for the Fruity Knitting Cable Garment KAL.  They are all beautiful so congratulations to everyone took part.  Enjoy your cardies and pullies!

Beverley's all-over cable cardigan - one of three garments completed!

Beverley’s all-over cable cardigan – one of three garments completed!

Norah Gaughan's Knitted Cable Sourcebook

Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook

The winner of the KAL was Beverley – who submitted three garments, including a sweater for her dad!  We are donating a copy of Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook.

Also giving a special mention from the Extreme Knitting department to Sherri of North Dakota for modelling her cardigan in the snow.  Bravo Sherri!

Sherri of North Dakota

Sherri of North Dakota

Catherine Parr by Alice Starmore

Andrea has completed her Catherine Parr by Alice Starmore, and Madeleine took a little time out from studying for her final school exams to do some photos.  All looking pretty gorgeous, really…

Madeleine wearing her new Catherine Parr by Alice Starmore

Madeleine wearing her new Catherine Parr by Alice Starmore

Daffodil, by Marie Wallin

For her next project, Andrea chose Daffodil, by Marie Wallin.  Andrea wanted to use a yarn from a smaller producer, and Marie Wallin suggested the Hampshire 4-ply yarn from The Little Grey Sheep.  Both Marie Wallin and The Little Grey Sheep (in the person of Emma Boyle) were at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, so Andrea consulted with both to make the final decision on the yarn.  Marie Wallin has long been a major influence and inspiration for Andrea, and Emma Boyle is also clearly passionate about her work.  It was great for Andrea to be able to meet them in person.

Daffodil, by Marie Wallin, yarn by The Little Grey Sheep

Daffodil, by Marie Wallin, yarn by The Little Grey Sheep

Other Edinburgh Yarn Festival Yarns

Blacker Yarns – Samite

Samite from Blacker Yarns is a woollen-spun yarn, 30% Blue Faced Leicester, 40% Shetland, 20% Ahimsa silk and 10% Gotland (from Sue Blacker’s Gotland flock).  Apparently worsted-spun silk-blends can pill, and this yarn should avoid that problem.  The silk used is “cruelty-free” Ahimsa silk.

Blacker Yarns – Mohair Blend

The Blacker Mohair Blend is their recommended sock yarn, and is a blend of Mohair and either Hebridean or Manx Loaghtan.  The Mohair is soft but is also very strong, so is a great – natural – alternative to nylon.

Tuku Wool

Just as we were leaving were approached by a viewer and the owner of Tuku Wool, and presented with a bag of 50 gram skeins.  Tuku Wool is made in Finland from 100% Finnish wool – a blend of Finnsheep and a Finnsheep-Texel cross.  It’s a beautiful selection of colors and Andrea is tending towards a Fair Isle vest.

Tuku Wool from Finland

Tuku Wool from Finland

Drachenfels by Melanie Berg

My Drachenfels is coming along – the third color will be making an appearance soon.  I haven’t done any calculations, but I think I’m still on track to complete it in time for my mum’s birthday (late May).

Drachenfels by Melanie Berg, with Rosy Green Wool

Drachenfels by Melanie Berg, with Rosy Green Wool

News

  • Lace Garment or Hap KAL You’ve heard the rules – minimum one-third lace.  No correspondence will be entered into.  (This is serious stuff…)
  • Fruity Knitting Get Together Offenbach, 29 April.  Should be more details at the Ravelry group.
  • Hiking Jacket Pattern Andrea has committed, it’s going to happen.
  • Fruity Knitting Live with Ann Budd Live event for our Shetland Patrons.  Shetlands can get their questions in on the Patreon post.  The recording will also be available for our Merino Patrons.

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