One Trip, Two Books, Countless Projects

This past week, after a morning appointment in downtown Seattle, I found myself free!  Me, free, for a whole hour in downtown Seattle, what to do, what to do.  So I ended up driving to one of my favorite parts of Seattle, to the International District.

I stopped by Uwajimaya, an Asian grocery store with an adjacent book store. Uwajimaya in Seattle  I wanted to get some much needed (hah!), tea paraphernalia. Uwajimaya in Seattle  While I was there I decided to stop in the book store, Kinokuniya, just to look at the pens and other paper goodness.  But before I could look at anything else I saw that the book store had created a craft section right in the front. Books at Kinokuniya Bookstore 

Books at Kinokuniya Bookstore I saw many cute books and but was drawn to two.  The first one is called the Handmade Felt Book, an unusual choice for me as I have not felted for ages. Hand Made Felt Book  In addition, this book utilizes carded wool/rowing to felt with rather than first knitting and then felting.  If I could make an analogy I would say that this form of felting looks like free-form felting and the book is very illustrative with a large number of photos and not much text – no matter, I cannot read a word of Japanese text but I so wish that I could.

The fact that I cannot read Japanese text does not mean that I will not be trying to make the hats that I came to adore and the beautiful bags that I want to felt. Felted Flower Bag The book also has two felted tea cozies that are begging to be made.  These projects are destined for my desk for later in the year, possibly mid-summer to early fall.  I have yet to decide which will be my first…most possibly the bag with leaves.  Felted Bags  Then the hats, I hope I can make one that will fit my head the right way. Felted Hats - Must make one for self  I have quite a bit of research to do.  I need just the right materials; for the wool I am thinking that the fiber should have some mohair to give the felted fiber texture.  In addition, I need some molds so as to make sure both the bags  and the hat come out right and fit.  Do you have any ideas as to what I can use?

The second book I purchased was a complete surprise because of the range of projects that it has within.  It is called Vintage Knitting in Tradition and has beautiful color work and lace. Vintage Knitting in Tradition  In my opinion a unique combination and a lovely one at that.

I am determined to make at least two of the patterns a part of my current projects.  The first one is Myrthen, a triangular lace shawl worked in a solid dark color. Myrthen, A Must Make Shawl  I have different ideas as to choice of color but I intend to cast on and make this shawl but I need help!  As with most Japanese pattern books this book is also very illustrative with multiple charts and lacks in instruction – again, not like I can read Japanese text. Myrthen, A Must Make Shawl  If you are reading this post and you have knitted Myrthen please help; if you know of someone who has knitted Myrthen please forward this post to them, and if you know of resources that could help me decode Myrthen please let me know.  And, finally, if you would like to knit Myrthen with me please let me know so that we can start a KAL and support each other through out the project. :)

The second project that is calling me is Der Blumenbrief, The Message of Flowers. Der Blumenbrief, The Message of Flowers  It is easy to see why it is called the Message of Flowers and I think it would be beautiful if knitted with Kauni with the assumption that I can manage the gauge.  I think Der Blumenbrief is simple, clean and beautiful. Der Blumenbrief, The Message of Flowers  The above request for help applies to this project as well as the invite to start and knit it with me.  I probably will not start this project until well after I have casted on Myrthen and have made some progress.  Fair warning I am a slow knitter.

Just a couple of final notes, I have no affiliation with Uwajiyama or Kinokuniya bookstore.  With that, I found their books well priced and the service courteous.  I will be making a trip to Kinokuniya again later next week to see if they have other goodies waiting for me.  Plus, I was told that I could search through and special order from their home base in Japan!  So there you go, I have started collecting knitting books that I cannot read – smart move on my part but I cannot seem to help myself.  So please help, I am collecting a series of resources online and otherwise that would be helpful in decoding these lovely books.  Don’t be shy please write with any suggestion you may have.  You know you want to knit one these projects, you know that you do. :)

10 thoughts on “One Trip, Two Books, Countless Projects

  1. Wow! That lace shawl is gorgeous! I’m going to get that book. You should definitely carry the book, so that those of us who don’t have a Kinokuniya Bookstore nearby have a ready source ;) Perhaps a kit, with the yarn we would need (several different options for yarn, clearly) and the book? I’d love to do a KAL!

  2. I learned to make felted hats by felting them and pulling them down on my head straight out of the washer to make them fit (a somewhat wet process, but it works) but then I found a wonderful glass head form on EBay that I am now using for my felted hats. Not only is it utilitarian, but I also love the look of the head and sometimes just put it in the center of my table as a centerpiece. The head form is slightly smaller than a lot of peoples’ heads, but works well for me as my head is small.

  3. Ha!! There are many great resources for Japanese knitting on-line, including a Yahoo group. I don’t have time to link them now, but I’ll send you an email later with some. You and I must be following the same path…

  4. A suggestion about a form for the hats: How about a child’s beach bucket? The kind that are usually sold from Easter onwards for coming trips to the beach. They normally measure (I think) about eight to ten inches deep and are made of plastic. And when they’re not used as a mold, they can hold extra yarn and rovings.

  5. I adore Uwajimaya! I can get most of the local kine (Hawaiian) food that I grew up with there. A trip there is like a trip back home. I haven’t spent much time in the bookstore though, but now I think I’m gonna!

  6. I’ve seen so many beautiful Japanese craft books, they’re just gorgeous. There are several good Japanese knitting/crochet symbol pages around (on some friendly, helpful knitters’ blogs). I have to finish some WIPs before I give any of this wonderful Japanese stuff a try, but I certainly will.

  7. I love Kinokuniya in San Francisco! I have a few Japanese knit and crochet books from there. I haven’t made anything from them yet, but I recently found a Ravelry group for Japanese fiber arts, with lots of resources like chart interpretations and translation of common knitting terms. If you’re going to find people who have made those patterns, that should be an excellent place to look!

  8. I LOVE anything made in fine yarn so that would include shawls. I would be up for the challenge of knitting the shawl along with you but I’m afraid I just maxed out on my knitting budget for awhile so I won’t be able to pick up the book :-(

    Maybe that is a good thing as I already have a lace shawl on needles at the moment and should really focus on finishing that one. It is 2 ply cashmere/silk on 2mm needles that I stared in 2003, so needless to say it has taken awhile. (It is like knitting with thread so that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it).

    In any case, I came across this link and thought it might be helpful for you in decoding the Japanese symbols.

    http://www.needleartsbookshop.com/InterpretingJapaneseKnittingPatterns.pdf

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