Current Class Offerings
Knitters have been discovering the intriguing world of Japanese hand knitting in recent years. Japanese designers are creative and innovative, and their designs use beautiful stitchwork and impeccable details. You’ll see that a Japanese pattern is presented in an almost entirely graphic format, which is quite accessible to a western knitter once certain conventions are explained. This full day class is aimed at those who would like to make a garment from a Japanese pattern. We’ll learn how to “read” a schematic, and how to find basic information such as gauge, yarn requirements and needle sizing. We’ll also examine the symbols used in stitch charts, which are standard among all Japanese publishers, and we’ll make some swatches to become familiar with Japanese symbology. Bring any Japanese patterns that you may have questions about.
It seems every knitter loves to discover new and interesting stitch patterns. This class gives you a chance to try out a few unusual stitches that I’ve found in Japanese garments. We’ll review the symbols used in these designs, then swatch four or five stitches that you haven’t seen before. You don’t need to know how to read a Japanese pattern, but you do need to be comfortable knitting from charts. Some of the charts are difficult to interpret, and some of the stitches may be complicated to execute, so bring an adventuresome attitude — but keep in mind that these stitches are fun! The class aims to remove the fear from tackling complex charts, so you can approach just about any Japanese chart with confidence.
Ready for a real challenge? Join me to experience at least eight more complex and (possibly) daunting stitch patterns drawn from Japanese garment designs. You don’t need experience with Japanese patterns, but you should be comfortable knitting from charts. We’ll review the standardized symbols used in the selected patterns, with further explanation for a few that require clarification. Then we’ll go on to swatch at least eight stitch patterns; for each one, we’ll consider what’s hard about the chart and we’ll take a look at the original garments. They’re really fun to knit, and you’ll have several new techniques for your repertoire or to use in your own designing. Bring a really adventurous spirit. These are all different from the 3-hour “Challenging Stitches” class.
More and more knitters and designers are finding inspiration in Japanese stitch dictionaries. They’re entirely accessible to any knitter, even if you don’t know a word of Japanese, because they’re charted with a set of standardized symbols. If you want to expand your horizons with some of these beautiful stitches, come learn the ins and outs of using the books in your own knitting. We’ll cover charting conventions, identifying stitch repeats, demystifying complex symbols, where to get help when you’re stuck, and more. We’ll also swatch two or three patterns from a selection of stitch dictionaries. If time permits, you can start a design using a pattern of your choosing.
Japanese knitters are discovering the joys of knitting socks, and more sock patterns are appearing in Japanese publications. Try your hand at a fairly straightforward one! Like all Japanese patterns, it’s almost entirely graphic and easy to follow once you’ve understood how to interpret the schematics and charts. We’ll use (with permission) a free pattern to get you started. It’s a cuff-down basic sock, with a short-row heel that you may not have seen before. We’ll swatch a heel and a toe, and review the conventions of other kinds of heels and toes that you may encounter. None of these techniques are new to experienced sock knitters, but you’ll be interested by the way they’re charted, rather than written out. Bring in any Japanese sock or slipper design that you may have questions about.
Japanese designers create beautiful lace patterns, many of which are adapted from traditional European styles. In this mini-class, we’ll swatch a couple of lace stitch patterns that I’ve selected from Japanese designs. We’ll look at what might be considered typically “Japanese” about a lace stitch. We’ll also cover some tips on interpreting charted lace patterns, as well as variations you might encounter.
Japanese knitting patterns often include an interesting and useful technique. This mini-class will introduce you to an assortment of techniques from Japanese patterns or technique books. Most of them are variations or refinements on techniques that every knitter knows. Among other things, we’ll look at variations on three-needle bindoff; two vertical buttonholes; a ribbed tubular cast-on; and Japanese bobbles worked with a crochet hook.
Complete your Japanese knitting experience with crochet. Japanese designers are creating some of the most beautiful crochet garments around, and many designs combine knitting with crochet. Crocheters are lucky, too, because Japanese crochet symbols have been adopted around the world as the standard for representing crochet stitches. In this class, we’ll learn the basics of understanding the schematics and stitch charts that form the basis for a crochet pattern. We’ll cover hook sizes, gauge, yarn requirements, garment shaping and the other basic information you need, as well as where to go for help when you’re not sure. We’ll swatch an overall pattern, a center-out motif, and an edging from a free online pattern.
Do you have a Japanese pattern that you’ve been wanting to make, but you need to customize the fit? Bring along the pattern AND a swatch of the stitch pattern inthe yarn you want to use (this is important, because the new schematics will be based on your gauge). We’ll develop a revised design based on your personal measurements, with new stitch counts and shaping. Yes, some math involved, but it won’t be daunting.
If you’d like to get started on a Japanese design that you love, and you’re somewhat familiar with the graphic format of Japanese hand knitting patterns, these two days will give you a chance to make some real progress. We will review pattern notation, sizing, symbols and any other problems that you’ve found. We’ll also do a quick review of key information and symbols, and work through the steps to re-size for your personal measurements. Then you’ll have time to start knitting. You’ll go home with a good start on a sweater for yourself. Bring a pattern for something you’ve always wanted to knit, or choose from an assortment of free patterns.
Sit back and enjoy the eye candy! Join me for a slide show introducing you to the world of Japanese hand knitting designers. No swatching, no homework, no symbols — just pretty pictures of the work of some of Japan’s prominent hand knitting designers and artists. They show a flair for beautiful stitchwork and unique variations on traditional techniques. Few of these designs could be called “Asian,” but they’re all interesting and sometimes far out. All you have to do is sit back and be inspired by these intriguing ideas – some of which you surely haven’t seen before. You’ll be inspired, amazed and occasionally appalled!
There’s a fad in Japan for making “room shoes,” which are slippers to be worn indoors on tatami mat floors. These are a fun variation for your sock knitting. We’ll use a free online pattern as a basis to practice crochet stitches and understand the construction of the slippers. This class will introduce you to the conventions of Japanese charted crochet patterns, which use international crochet symbols. You should have intermediate crochet skills.
This class will introduce you to several textural embellishments. Have fun embellishing sock cuffs, hats, bags and other projects with dreadlocks (with beads if you like), twists, blisters, crosses, nubs and other methods of adding texture and dimension. They’re all knit in as you go and don’t require breaking your yarn; you can even unravel them if you change your mind.
A fringed border can be a nice finish for a scarf or other garment, but cut yarn fringes tend to wear out quickly. Try three fringes that are actually knitted onto your garment as you work. They add a nice embellishment, they wear well, and you don’t have to cut your yarn! You’ll find that the techniques are useful for garments other than scarves, too.