10 Reasons Why Japanese Knitting Books Are The Bee's Knees
Japanese knitting books are my obsession. I didn't realise just how many of these things I had until we moved recently. Boxes and boxes later, I finally came to the conclusion that I have a problem: I think all knitters know 'that' feeling! But I admit it's a good problem to have. These books are SO worth the post-move backache; I look through them regularly and they never get 'old'. So, today, I thought I would share with you 10 reasons why I think these books are the bees knees.
The first thing that always takes my breath away is the photography. Every Japanese knitting book that I have ever seen has beautiful photos, with simple yet stylish backdrops. Their use of light and props gives such a fresh modern look; it's total eye candy and very inspirational.
The second thing is the styling. I love perusing the outfits and the way the knitwear is incorporated into a 'look'. If you're ever after ideas about how to wear your knitwear, check out these books - they are full of inspiration.
The layout of these books is always so pleasing: simple yet organised, making them easy to navigate.
Oh, and let's not forget about the knitwear! Interesting design elements, style, stitch patterns - makes you want to knit EVERYTHING!
Crochet is featured heavily in these books; usually there is an equal number of knitted and crochet items. There are always beautiful garments, shawls and cowls which will make you want to get out the crochet hook and cast on!
Each book has its own self-contained instruction section, which is usually located at the back of the book. There are LOTS of detailed diagrams showing you how to do all the stitches mentioned in each pattern, as well as special technique diagrams.
Unlike the western use of written instructions, the Japanese use symbols and graphs for all of their knitting and crochet patterns. This means that their patterns can be read universally with no language barriers.
There are always lots of detailed schematics which provide a wealth of information about size and shape. It's also very handy if you need to make pattern alterations.
There is a HUGE variety of these pattern books available: basic knitting, fair Isle, cables, children, babies, men, blankets, slippers, amigurumi - the list goes on. There's also fabulous stitch dictionaries for both knitting and crochet.
So, if you haven't yet discovered the wonderful world of Japanese knitting books, here's where you can find them!
- Japanese Amazon (you can search in English).
- YesAsia - great shipping rates if you live in Australia.
- Kinokuniya - both online and in store.
- Etsy - I highly recommend Pomadour's Craft Cafe
(I have found that it is easier if you have a book's ISBN number when searching amazon.jp and YesAsia.)
And, if you want more information about how to read Japanese knitting and crochet patterns, check out these links:
- Dancingbarefoot blog
- ABCs of Knitting
- Knitting and Crochet Symbols and Video Guides (scroll to bottom of page for links) from Pierrot Yarns.
Plus if you're keen to tackle a Japanese knitting or crochet patterns, I highly recommend these two books, both of which cover all stitches and symbols that you will find in a Japanese pattern:
- Clear and Simple Knitting Symbols (ISBN 978-4-529-02413-6)
- Clear and Simple Crochet Symbols (ISBN 978-4-529-02412-9)