Knitting: The way of Japanese Knitting


The way of Japanese Knitting!


Last week I realised

that it was probably about time

I stopped ‘winging’ it with my crochet projects.

I have been lucky so far with my yarn choices,

but there comes a point in a woman’s life

when she really must get grips with yarn

& their many qualities .


Especially, if that same woman wants

to crochet her own cardigan!

Knitting: The way of Japanese Knitting

Plus, I reckon that if I take the

time to learn about yarns that I will

a)  reduce the awkward silence I get in yarn shops 

when I explain that I have in fact been working with yarn

(crocheting) for 4 years.




b)  I might be more inclined to continue with that

other yarn munching hobby – knitting.

(I learnt to knit last month)

 But, more importantly it gives me a great excuse to  

buy new books.


Book of Yarn by Clare Parkes



Having recently discovered  Amazon Kindle,

This is where I headed  and bought two books.

 Thinking my brain was ready for ‘written instructions’,

I bought a knitting book and one yarn.

 But, I was wrong – very wrong.

As soon as I opened my new knitting book
to the

‘Reading Written Instructions’

  chapter and saw this

 (k2tog, sl 1, k1, psso) 3  

my brain yelped and promptly shut down.



When my brain finally decided it was safe again,

I found myself at the cash register at Kinokuniya (bookstore)

paying for two Japanese Knitting books.

Some habits are hard to break.


Knitting: The way of Japanese Knitting



One of my ‘newer’ of new books teaches you

the basics of knitting.


(isbn: 978 457 911 4016)

It’s great.

I have learnt that just like Japanese crochet books,

symbols are used to represent

the different stitches.



that the Stocking & Garter stitch patterns are

visually condensed down to a single symbol, making for some very nice

clean looking diagrams (knitting patterns).







Knitting: The way of Japanese Knitting



Of course what I didn’t pick up (because I don’t read Japanese ),

is the fact that there are RULES to reading

Japanese knitting patterns.

It took me the better part of two hours studying a basic

striped stocking stitch scarf pattern

in my other new Japanese knitting book

(isbn: 978 483 473 4300)


 to realise I had missed something important.

 But, thanks to the ABSs of Knitting site

and yet another Kindle purchase


I finally found the missing link.

It turns out that

there are  two different ways to read

a Japanese knitting pattern!


Knitting: The way of Japanese Knitting



HOW you read a Japanese knitting pattern

apparently changes depending on whether you are  flat knitting

or using circular needles.


 (Good to know)

If you are using circular needles you read

ALL pattern rows from RIGHT to LEFT

(dead easy).


if you are flat knitting you read

ODD numbered rows from RIGHT to LEFT &

 EVEN numbered rows LEFT to RIGHT 

 (a little less easy).


Knitting: The way of Japanese Knitting



To make things even more interesting, 


If you are flat knitting you also need to know that as

ODD numbered rows refer to the  

front of your knitting,


EVEN numbered rows refer to the

back of your knitting

you need to do the OPPOSITE of what the symbols say on EVEN rows.

That’s right, you need to reverse the symbols on EVEN rows.

 Knitting: The way of Japanese Knitting



It’s actually a lot easier

and less frightening than it sounds.


If you remember this other vital bit of information

about Japanese patterns; 

 Stocking Stitch


ODD Rows always = Knit Stitch

EVEN Rows always = Purl Stitch

 Garter Stitch


ODD rows = Knit Stitch

EVEN rows = Knit Stitch

(or Purl, Purl if that’s YOUR way).

Knitting: The way of Japanese Knitting

 The way of Japanese Knitting

was hard learning, but I got there in the end.


I am now happily (flat) knitting a lovely striped

Baby Alpaca scarf with ribbed edges.



7 Comments on Knitting: The way of Japanese Knitting

  1. Heidi, you had me chuckling!! I remember the first time I tried to read a charted knitting pattern (we have them in the English speaking world too!) and getting totally confused. Now, I’m odd and prefer the K2tog, Sl1, PSSO type instructions (or whatever!) … that’s just how I was taught to knit and it makes perfect sense to me (er … well, mostly). Have fun with those patterns!

  2. Confession: I love to crochet but I find knitting really difficult. After reading your post, though, I would really like to give it another try! And maybe those Japanese knitting books will do the trick for me as well?
    I look forward to seeing your final results!

  3. Just FYI, that’s how you read a knitting pattern in English as well, it’s not just how you read a *Japanese* knitting pattern.

  4. You definitely give Japanese Knitting books a whirl.
    I am sure ‘English’ charts are just as beautiful, but as a Japanese craft book fan I prefer their books.
    Learning from them takes a little effort & courage, but I am sure we can both do it.

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