Knitters everywhere make beautiful things the same way: with pointy sticks and string. Geographically-speaking, though, knitting often takes on a slightly different feel or focus, like Estonian lace or Scandinavian colourwork. For texture, Japanese knitting is the first thing that comes to mind. With a refined complexity, the patterns are often an interplay of cables and lace, place a heavy emphasis on twisted stitches or bobbles (or all of the above).
For designers, there are a handful of Japanese stitch pattern dictionaries available. A new one hit the newsstands last year specifically for the English-speaking market: Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible, 260 Exquisite Patterns By Hitomi Shida (translated by Gayle Roehm). I pre-ordered it with much anticipation.
I was not let down.
Japanese stitch pattern dictionaries typically only include charts and photographs. The only written instructions are at the back of the book and those are to explain a few specific stitch techniques. Hitomi’s book follows this standard, though she includes a short book guide and a detailed chart of what the stitch symbols mean.
This and the other available Japanese Stitch Dictionaries aren’t for beginners. Or for those evenings when you loosen up with a bit of wine with friends. With several elements at work in any one pattern, they might seem a little overwhelming, but oh-my-goodness, are the results worth it!
Flipping through the pages emphasizes just how worth it is. Like works of art, the arrangements are stunning, with detail not found anywhere else.
Whether you plan on using a small section or an all-over design, experienced knitters will love putting this to the test. Chart-readers, too, will be in their element. Heady texture, fascinating combinations, and an inspiring prevalence of twisted stitches, bobbles, and nupps are the stuff of knitter’s dreams.
Even if you aren’t a designer, this level of book is a wealth of unique arrangements that increase your skills. Even if you aren’t a strong knitter, this book opens a whole new world of methods and techniques that enhance and strengthen your knitting practice. You can’t go wrong with this book in your library.
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