Japanese knitting patterns and knitting stitch patterns have become popular in the rest of the world over the last few years, and more books are being published for a non-Japanese audience, which is great for those of us who might be a little intimidated by the charts and a foreign language explaining what the charts mean.
Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible: 260 Exquisite Patterns by Hitomi Shida, is just one such collection, and it’s a beauty. The book includes an English introduction by Gayle Roehm, which talks a bit about Japanese knitting in general, working with charts and deciphering the symbols used in the charts. Within the patterns themselves, Japanese patterns do not usually provide a key for what the symbols mean, but there is a thorough chart of the symbols at the beginning of the book that explains what they mean and which patterns in the book use them.
The stitch patterns themselves are presented in large photos (with two or three patterns presented on most pages) with the chart presented beside it. The patterns also indicate how many stitches are used in a repeat, so you can easily add them to garments or other projects.
These stitches are gorgeous and cover a variety of styles including lacy patterns, overall patterns and crossing stitches, panel patterns, pattern arrangements (which play with different variations like adding bobbles, changing the vertical alignment of a pattern or changing the direction of the twist in a twisted stitch pattern), circular yokes and edgings. (Those last two the photos are in a gallery with the charts printed together after.)
There are also five patterns in the book: a mini scarf with frill, socks with cables, a hat with cables and eyelets, fingerless mitts and a lace collar. These patterns include more text than traditional Japanese knitting patterns, which might be a good way to practice if you haven’t worked a pattern like this before.
I tend to think Japanese knitting patterns are not the best for beginners, but if you are more visually oriented, comfortable with reading charts and confident in your ability to translate the symbols, these designs are a lot of fun.
About the book: 160 pages, paperback, 260 stitch patterns, 5 projects. Published by Tuttle Publishing, 2017. Suggested retail $16.95.