Quick Yarn Porn and Japanese! Stitch! Dictionaries!

See all this yummy yarn?

Prize yarn, Pangea KAL

It’s the prizes from the Pangea KAL, finally getting ready to be shipped.

The past two weeks have been crazy. Partly, it’s the normal end-of-the-quarter business, which in fall is complicated by writing placement tests for over 1,100 students and appeals for another 400+ of them. And, of course, I have been wrestling with the obligatory worst-possible-time-to-get-it head cold—which is, i am glad to report, just a head cold and not the flu that’s going around (huzzah for flu shots!).

I have been doing relatively little knitting: a row here and there on my current shawl design project, but I’m in a long, uninspiring stretch of one identical row after another. The final effect will be lovely, but the knitting is getting a bit tedious.

The bright spot knit-wise has been the arrival of a trio of Japanese stitch dictionaries, which I ordered from the Needle Arts Book Shop in Canada. There’s Knitting Patterns 300, Knitting Patterns 300 Lace, and Knitting Patterns 500.

All I can say is Wow!, Wow!, and Wow! Some of the stitches are familiar, but a great many of them are not. Many of the stitches combine multiple elements, so that a single stitch can actually offer two or three possibilities. What I love most about these books is that they’re entirely charted—and the charting is straightforward enough that most of them are easy to figure out. Both 300 books include a visual glossary in the back that demonstrates the stitch corresponding to each symbol in a very clear step-by-step manner.

Part of me would just like to stay all hush-hush about these books so that I could draw on them and amaze people with the innovative stitches I’m working into my designs, but that wouldn’t be fair. So—if you like playing with stitches and want to break into new territory—hurry and pick up one or more for yourself.

These dictionaries have inspired the little bit of knitting I’ve been doing lately: swatching variations on interesting charted stitches. I’ve tried substituting plain rows into a true-lace design, so as to avoid the challenge of YOs and decreases on every row. I’ve staggered motifs to see how this alters the line of the stitches between the motifs.

I love using a variety of stitches, but up to now I’ve felt limited by those I can find in a dictionary. Playing with these new dictionaries is giving me a tantalizing glimpse into the magical world of stitch design. I’m just at the beginning, but I’m starting to feel deliciously carried away by the possibilities that await.

If you haven’t tried stitch design, give it a go. Take a motif you like and ask yourself,
What if I lengthened it?” “What if I doubled the number of increases and decreases?” “What if I alternated it with another motif checkerboard fashion?” Finding out the answers to such questions is a delight.

December 08 2008 10:00 am | Uncategorized

One Response to “Quick Yarn Porn and Japanese! Stitch! Dictionaries!”

  1. Lin on 09 Dec 2008 at 4:13 am #

    I very much want those stitch pattern books, they look lovely!

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