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:
- Japanese Knitting Patterns (a blog)
- For the Adventurous Knitter Interpreting Japanese Patterns (a free PDF from the Needle Arts Book Shop in Ontario, Canada)
So … What tips or resources have you discovered that are helpful when using Japanese patterns?!