Using a Japanese Pattern

I am not going to try to recreate the Japanese characters and their translations, but here are some tips from Margaret Heathman’s out-of-print Knitting Languages (p. 81) about using Japanese knitting patterns. (For a more complete discussion, at the end of this post are links to two well-laid out sources on using Japanese knitting patterns.)

  • They are presented graphically.
  • They have 3 main sections: (1) introductory material (e.g., yarn requirements etc.); (2) schematics for each garment part; and (3) stitch charts (using symbols).
  • You will need to determine which numbers on the schematics refer to stitches/rows (followed by me or dan) and which refer to garment measurements (usually followed by “c” or “cm”).
  • Patterns are shown in only one size. You will need to adjust for your sizes.
  • Measurements are always given in centimeters.
  • Watch for arrows on the schematic which indicate the direction of the knitting.
  • Shaping is shown in the direction of the knitting and given as rows/stitches/times.

Remember that Japanese needle and hook sizes differ from UK, metric and US sizes. (See SweatyKnitter’s Needle/Hook Comparison Chart.)

Useful sources you may want to check out:

So … What tips or resources have you discovered that are helpful when using Japanese patterns?!

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Crocheting, Knitting, Pattern Construction and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Using a Japanese Pattern

  1. I forgot, when I come to your blog, I have to bring my brain, lol! I am going to have to look some of these links up…Never have tried a Japanese pattern before, though I love the style of just about everything Japanese knitting I’ve ever seen. Now, I have seen and tried patterns made by americans that are inspired by Japanese origami. I love those too!

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  2. Thanks for the suggestion … I will google! 🙂

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  3. Yes, that is not fun for a lot of people … I wonder if that’s because it slows them down?!

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  4. Well, if not, there are certainly hundreds of other patterns vying for your attention. 🙂

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  5. Yes, I have heard from other non-Japanese speaking knitters and crocheters who have said similar things! I guess I just haven’t gotten to that point yet. 🙂

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  6. textilesheds says:

    Japanese knitting patterns really suit my style of knitting and understanding patterns! The most useful resource I have come across to interpreting the schematics is a pdf that will pop up when you google ‘Linda Lanz and Japanese knitting’ – url is too long to put in here.

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  7. HannahDavis says:

    Japanese crochet patterns are similar in that they are mostly charts, which frustrates many people. I like the visual representation but having to figure out the measurements and their requirements on my own is not my fave.

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  8. monsteryarns says:

    I’ve looked at Japanese patterns and I’ve always admired the intricate garments but simplicity in the written instructions. I wonder if my brain is wired so that I will ever “get” it?

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  9. I purchased Mitsuki Hoshi’s book Ami Ami Dogs, back in the days when I needed patterns. I learnt so much from that book. This book is in japanese, but between the photos and schematics, I found it pretty easy to follow. I remember googling a couple of words but after a while the brain gets into the swing of it. I do like the schematic way.

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