Thursday, October 30, 2008

Japanese Crochet Books

The tabby shawl is pretty much done, although I still need to do the fringe at the bottom edges. I stopped it because it was getting too long (as some of the reviewers did say that the actual pattern is way too long for someone under 5'6"). So, as I finished one project, another one starts.

So, this past weekend, I picked up a Japanese crochet book that had a couple of patterns that I was very interested in making. To my delight, the rest of the patterns are also pretty darn good.

Obviously, I can't read Japanese (despite taking two semester-long Japanese classes in college although I can still read *some* basic Kanji including the numbers), but they do use the international crochet standard symbols and they provide a nifty diagram with all the stitches outlined.

Unfortunately, the web was only able to provide some of the basic stitch symbols. There are two symbols that I can't seem to find, but I had to guess what they meant based on the diagram and color change (it was either switch colors here and continue or completely end color and start a new one -- which is a slight semantic difference, but is different in how you treat the stitch). I opted for the latter option, which seems to have worked relatively well. Later, it turned out to be *almost* correct in my interpretation; the symbols actually meant, "cut yarn" and "start yarn" (thank you ravelry.com!)

After a couple of initial attempts at the pattern (and the subsequent frogging of the first few attempts), I finally figured out the best way to approach it. It was pretty easy once I got the hang of it, and have aving been flying through the pattern with relative ease.

The pattern takes 7 different colours of yarn.
Each motif takes 4 different colours.
There are 10 motifs, each with a completely different colour order.
Each group of 10 is arranged in a different order.
The pattern rotates the colours in a specific order such for one group, no one colour touches the same colour nor is the order of colours the same.

I can easily see variations of the pattern in a single motif.

Now, I find myself actually preferring the diagram method with symbols versus the American style of written rows. I'm actually a pretty visual person, so I can easily compare where I am in the pattern to the diagram, which lets me know immediately where I am versus having to somehow *mark* the pattern at which row I have finished.