Tag Archives: japanese stitch dictionaries

December VKL: That’s a wrap!

I had a whirlwind of classes with Virtual Vogue Knitting Live, both as a teacher and as a student. I took the morning after to knit in bed with the cats.

They didn’t seem to mind.

I taught four classes, and took three more. My first class was Exploring the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible with Gayle Roehm. I’ve used Japanese stitch dictionaries for years, but it’s so great that Gayle has translated some of Hitomi Shida’s books into English (no more guessing, or avoiding the stitches I couldn’t figure out). And learning about the Nihon Vogue Knitting Dictionary app with stitch definitions? Priceless. But it’s free. Look for Nihon Vogue in the app store, and choose the one with knitting needles.

Knit Companion on my iPad was a perfect way to see and enlarge the class handout, so I didn’t have to squint or juggle pieces of paper. You can open any PDF in Knit Companion, and the basic app is free for iOS and Android. I use it for knitting patterns all the time.

My second class was Short Rows with Bristol Ivy. She’s very detail oriented and nerdy about symmetry, which is perfect for me. We stacked 5 kinds of short rows: No action (holes!), wrap and turn, yarn over, Japanese slipped (with locking stitch markers), and German short rows. I liked the German short rows the best. And this is a sign that I’ve watched too many episodes of CSI: When I hear GSR I think “gunshot residue” before I think “German short rows.” Ha!

I took a second class on short rows with Ana Campos. I wanted to master these silly things that I’ve been avoiding! Bottom to top: Yarn over short rows, wrap and turn short rows, German short rows. All look pretty tidy from the front.

From the back it’s another story. You can definitely see the yarn overs and wraps on the bottom two. The German short rows are tidy, front and back. They take a little adapting when substituting them in a pattern, but that’s manageable. If both sides of the knitting are going to be visible, this is the way to go. If not? I’d be perfectly happy with wrap and turn.

I finished the weekend by teaching a Log Cabin Knitting class. I had a couple students that I know in real life, so that made it even more fun! Now it’s on to Hanukkah and Christmas and New Year’s projects. I have more fairy lights to knit, some baking to do, and calendar and cards to order from Shutterfly. Just keep swimming!

On the nightstand: Stitch dictionaries!

I love perusing the knitting books at Kinokuniya, the bookstore inside Uwajimaya. I’ve picked up a couple stitch dictionaries there, both here and once in Tokyo. It’s usually possible to puzzle out the charted stitch patterns, even though I don’t read Japanese.

I recently picked up this book. There are stitch patterns and edging patterns, and the charts are clear and easy to read. The thought of a Japanese book about Shetland lace was kind of amusing, too.

But the more I looked at the book, the more I wanted to know what the text said. There was some text with each chart, but more intriguing was the text at the beginning of the book. I could see this page was trying to indicate that you could space your stitch patterns so they fit in your repeat. I think. I wanted to know!

I poked around inside the book, and found that the author’s name is Elizabeth Lovick. Hmmm. That’s a pretty non-Japanese sounding name. So I googled her, and lo and behold…

So I bought it! There’s a wealth of information in here. It has taken the place of the Japanese copy on my nightstand.

And apparently her name was on the front of the first book, too. I just couldn’t read it. I asked Son2 if this cover said Elizabeth Lovick, and he said yes. Or at least it was something like “Erizabesu Robikku” using Katakana (phonetic alphabet).

I’m using one of the edgings on a new shawl design. I’m pleased that I figured it out from the Japanese book, so it wasn’t a complete spending fail. (Just the sawtooth edging, not the shells.) More on that, soon.

And look! I have this on pre-order. In ENGLISH. (I must be learning.) Looking forward to receiving it, October 10. I took a class with Gayle Roehm at Sock Summit 2011, and she knows her stuff!

What’s on your nightstand?

Red hot knitting

Usually it’s all about the blues here. Blue is my favorite color, and a lot of my knitting is blue. But not right now. I’m currently in a red phase. The ruffle tank on the needles is red, my current sock design-in-progress (first sock weight yarn sock!) is a shade of pinky red, and I’m about to cast on Annis in red, too. What does this mean? Must be a reaction to our cooler than usual summer. No need to cool down with blues!


I finally sat down and knit the other swatch from my Designing with Japanese Stitch Dictionaries class. I don’t love it, but I’m pretty sure I did it correctly. It looks kind of like…underwear. One of the symbols on the chart was confusing (the slipped stitch), but this page was pretty helpful getting it figured out. Here’s the first swatch again; I still love it. There are four interesting new stitch maneuvers in this piece that I was very happy to learn.


One of my post-Sock Summit purchases has arrived! This is the most gorgeous book, and it makes liberal use of some of the stitch techniques we learned in Gayle Roehm’s aforementioned class. I’m really impressed by how clear the photos of the knit swatches are. This is the best so far of the three Japanese stitch dictionaries that I own.



Here are the other two, just for reference. A lot of the pictures in the last one are a bit overexposed, or maybe just flatly lit (no side light) so it’s hard to see what the swatch really looks like. But it’s a beautiful book, and still useful.



I’m really looking forward to incorporating some of these new-to-me stitches in future designs. I have several ideas cruising around in my mind, but I’m not ready to commit to any of them quite yet. I’ll finish the red projects and then settle into some lovely autumn design work.

Are you looking forward to fall? I’m not ready. Summer came late this year, and it’s a gorgeous August, not too hot, but blue skies and sunny. Are you knitting for summer or fall? I still have high hopes of wearing the red ruffle tank this month!