Category: inspiration

More FW2017 runway knitwear

Today’s post is about probably one of the exciting colors that was seen on the runway – ORANGE! It is among my favorite colors, but even that doesn’t mean that I wear it a lot. I personally prefer to have it in the accessories, that’s why I unearthed my stash of now discontinued Shibui “Merino Alpaca” and in their now discontinued color “Jumpsuit” to work up some sort of accessory for the next season for myself to wear. It’s a tough color for many, or as me and my friend like to say that it’s all about the “good orange” that works. And to me this is in the top of the best oranges! One may find that it’s much easier to style the slightly subdued and sophisticated rust orange, which brings back memories of the origins of knitting for me. The color of yarn that my mom gave me when she taught me how to knit when I was 4… now that’s the color of orange many can wear in a sweater or other larger sized garment.

 

All images from vogue.com

Pre-Fall & FW 2017 trends

FIERY RED SWEATER

The anticipation of this time of the year when all designers finally start showing their new Pre-Fall and Fall Winter collections for the upcoming season. I haven’t had that much time to keep a closer look, but after scrolling through several of them it became obvious that in mostly dark and somber colors this year there is at least an outfit or two in a shocking fiery red. Some have more of the orange hue, just like my beloved, but now discontinued color “Jumpsuit” that Shibui yarns used to have and I am proudly hoarding some of “Merino Alpaca” in that.
I am glad to see that many designers chose to show that color off in their knits! It’s not exactly my thing personally – never owned or wore a red sweater, as I just don’t look good in red but I can definitely appreciate the  statement color! Then there are some who picked rusty orange to apricot orange as a softer color which is quite pretty as well, but I will post those next!
Here are some of the faves so far:

J.Crew

Agnona

Hermes

Ulla Johnson

Ryan Roche

Lacoste

Altuzarra

Some yarns that have that perfect hue of red came to my mind, those would match perfectly well:

Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in color Firebrush

Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in color Cinnabar

Quince & Co Chickadee (sport) or Lark (worsted) or Osprey (aran) in Peaks Ferry

yarn images by Brooklyn Tweed and Quince & Co
all runway images via vogue.com

TETRAPODS KAL

My recent travels and adventures were so inspiring and eventful that on my last flight I had decided instead of pining after the quiet days being at home, I must cast on something selfish that will help me reconnect with my love for knitting and make something I am proud of and something new to me to explore. To remind me why I do what I do. Selfish knitting it is!

Being naturally curious, my eye occasionally wonders as the trends evolve to a certain color or color combination and ever since Pantone announced 2 new colors for the year, I have been thinking how can I find a way and incorporate it into my wardrobe. Which hue I can have it a bit more fitting… I have been noticing this chameleon of a color. The quartz indeed, but glowing and barely there color, yet quite elusive when viewed under different lighting.

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Having gone back to sewing again majorly thanks to this amazing make space shop that opened up on the same block as my local yarn store, I thought this is a perfect opportunity to pull out that fabric stash or overhaul it and get maybe something new, while having something fresh to break apart my routine. I happened to buy some of the amazing Italian linen fabric just in that similar color, the glowing color which changes whether you are outside or on the inside. Between barely there pink and lavender and even a stark white when you look at it outside.

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I have had a privilege of seeing Jared’s progress developing PLAINS yarn, the new limited edition Brooklyn Tweed yarn using 100% American Rambouillet Wool and when the final palette was launched the color Flurry really stood out to me as the color I was very much intrigued and excited by! And I absolutely had to make something with that color and a way to try this yarn.

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©photography Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed

I do not work lace often myself, but I did decide to make something different. For my selfish knitting project I have chosen something easy and hard at the same time. As Japanese say “natsukashî” (なつかしい), meaning that it brings back memories, being nostalgic. With this project I am remembering days of living in Japan and the beaches full of concrete geometric figures everywhere. Tetrapods come in all shapes and forms and sizes there. And I used the tessellation of their shape as my inspiration for designing TETRAPODS SHAWL in my Capsule Collection by Brooklyn Tweed.

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©photography Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed

This stitch pattern is also something that to this date makes me excited! It is the first lace stitch pattern of such complexity that I ever designed. In my aspiration to be authentic and find the unique way of translation my inspiration into my work. Even though original TETRAPODS samples are made using Brooklyn Tweed LOFT, the crisper and finer gauge of PLAINS promises to make for a great summer project even when the humidity is making it hard for us here. And because the pattern comes in a variety of 3 different sizes, one can choose which suits them best! I am particularly excited to use lighter color and finer gauge for a more open fabric that I can get away wearing even during cooler summer evening.

And yet again, photographed in a slightly different light and it is showing absolutely different hue, this pale bluey grey. All 3 images of the yarn are of the color Flurry, haven’t I said how elusive it is!? And I really love that about it! And just because it has been a while….

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JOIN ME FOR TETRAPODS knitalong starting July 4th! This KAL will continue through end of August, to make sure all of us can enjoy this lace project at their own pace!

Yes, for many it’s a holiday and vacation time, but it is also the best time to get some selfish knitting done! I have just gotten my 4 skeins of PLAINS to make the biggest version of the Tetrapods. My US 5 (3.75 mm) needles are ready to make my swatch! BROOKLYN TWEED yarn company has been kind to offer a special discount for my KAL participants! When you place your order for the Capsule Collection Book and PLAINS yarn you will get a $10 off your yarn purchase! It may be just the right opportunity for you to finally try PLAINS as well! Just include  Olga_Lace_KAL_2016 coupon at the check out and later join me on Olgajazzy Ravelry Group for a roll call and general chatter for all participants to connect!

At the conclusion of this KAL there will be giveaway prizes including more exciting yarn and patterns! Can’t wait to cast on!

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I have been seeing the new pieces from Junya Watanabe’s Fall collection popping up here and there at online retailers and every time I could not stop admiring them as they resonate so highly with me. And no wonder, about 5 years ago I have published several knitwear patterns while still living in Japan and that were very much inspired by it. And I couldn’t help but share today these amazing Junya Watanabe pieces for their unique architectural looks. And how slashed fabric is creating “mesh” and adding dimension with positive and negative space for the unusual pieces for one’s modern wardrobe.

In fact I do covet several of them, which only makes me yearn to knit Hari (jap. needle, spike) again on a larger scale with worsted yarn for a more dramatic effect

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and create Ami-Ami (jap. knitted net) on a larger woolen scale for a malleable yet warmer piece to drape over my coat this winter.
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And please enjoy the genius of Junya Watanabe below, courtesy of net-a-porter, nordstrom and farfetch websites.

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Spring is in the air

Growing up, Spring’s arrival always coincided with the meteorological spring, but what has always stuck was the first spring holidays every year falling on March 8th, International Women’s Day. Men hurrying with tulips, cakes and chocolates trying not to leave their colleagues and loved ones out, that was sort of what we celebrated first before any Valentine’s day was introduced into our culture.

This year East Coast has been served an obscene doze of snow and harsh weather, but at least it wasn’t snowing that day here! I was treated to my most favorite Lavender Moon cupcakes as I got to pour over the pages of the new issue of now my favorite magazine – The Gentlewoman. A true collective of great journalism covering stories of different and amazing women around the world. I really was hoping to spend that weekend in New York trying to attend Bjork exhibit at MoMA, but decided it was still too cold for a field trip and should wait until the madness around the exhibit dies down a bit and the temps warm up, that is probably wishful thinking.

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With Spring’s arrival many of us are longing to put away all those heavy knits and jackets to think of lighter garments and accessories we can enjoy wearing when the warmer weather finally arrives. One of the most gratifying knits I have found are accessories as they are fast and pretty and can use up small quantities of yarn. I have knit and designed several necklaces before and which brought me back to one of my all time favorite ones as it was inspired by something when I still lived in Japan. Swirl Necklace was commissioned by Blue Sky Alpaca‘s sister company, Spud & Chloe for their “On the Run” Series. Patterns for smaller projects that can be easily carried around and worked on while you on your way some place or have time on your hands in a waiting room. And all with a quick result!

Ever since creating the sample for this, I have been missing having one for myself. So I have picked a skein of Spud & Chloe Fine in Hippo colorway at Fibre Space, my LYS, and my tiny dpns just for the convenience of carrying small needles around to work on this. Later, I have found a cool 3 eye sliding lock clasp for it for minimal finishing and here it is!

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Even though the original necklace is not seamed to allow for movement of the “curls” in the circles, you can definitely make it more permanent by overlapping and stitching it up invisibly in several points as shown with some pins in a photo below.

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And even though the holiday has passed I think Spring is the time for renewal, new expectations and beginnings. You can continue celebrating Spring and women in your life or simply treat yourself this small Swirl Necklace that can make as a simple yet curious addition to your spring outfit or as a gift brighten the day of a woman you know! Or simply let you practice and learn some new skills while working on a small project with a gratifying and wearable result.

Team at Blue Sky Alpacas/Spud & Chloe kindly donated 3 skeins of Spud & Chloe Fine and 3 copies of Swirl Necklace patterns for me to giveaway to 3 lucky commenters!

Please leave your comments by end of Monday, March 16th while I go dig out some spring clothes from my closet and hope for those temperatures to keep climbing up!

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Happy Spring, Everyone!

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Let’s start this year with luxury! Isn’t that a good New Year’s resolution, especially if you are all about new yarns and new adventures and other things new! Even though this yarn and collection were launched late last year, I feel like right now is the time I can look back and reflect on this whole process and development of how it came to be.

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Around May last year, Kristin Ford, who I have worked with previously, shared her ideas for a new venture and quite unique fiber that she has discovered and that noone in the North America was offering to hand knitters. I was thinking we were already quite spoiled here with a wondrous fibers available in yarn form, so this was very intriguing. I think the moment I have touched the skein, my words faltered in trying to describe the feeling. It was just undecipherable “Ahhhh!” and “Mmmm” followed by questions in my head – How?? How?? How is this just a merino!? I have knit with fair share of merino yarns before and they have been very soft but nothing felt like this. I don’t think cashmere yarns I have knit were often even this soft before wash. To learn the why’s and how’s of this amazing fiber Ultimate Merino® please head over to the WOOLFOLK’s website to read and watch a beautiful video about Patagonia region and the efforts for the grassland regeneration. To add more, each company that is part of this project is paying back the farmers to continue helping them to continue maintaining sustainability and quality of the fleece. So when you pay for it, you contribute to that as well!

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Now as for the yarn, Clara Parkes of Knitter’s Review was among the very first people to touch and graciously review the yarn and you can read her detailed description of experiencing Får here.
Woolfolk yarns currently come in 2 different weights – FÅR is a Worsted weight, chain-like construction and TYND is a fingering weight is a nice 2 ply twist.

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When approaching ideas for designs in these yarns, I tried to go a different route than I usually pick when designing olgajazzy patterns. The quality and luxury of the yarn itself was dictating or even demanding the minimally textured, classic, yet clean and conservative modern knits approach. With well-thought out details through medium of construction to keep any knitter’s brain occupied, but not requiring every bit of concentration, so knitting itself is enjoyable. You and your Woolfolk yarn need some quality time to truly appreciate the tactile enjoyment of working with this yarn. And with a great knit result that can be worn on any occasion when you wish to wrap yourself in a cloud.

(Click each image or design’s name above it to see more images of them).

KNUS

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FLET

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BYGGE

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Small details and accents that draw the eye, but are not distracting from the fiber of the yarn and overall look of your knit.  These knits have no time, no age, they are the kind of knits most of us want to wear or do wear every day, Woolfolk just adds that doze of scrumptiousness.

KNOP

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SKYGGE

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As I was editing through my process I have found it quite satisfying. The yarns  and the collection read very Scandinavian-style to me just like the founder’s ancestral roots  and make me proud to have created something absolutely new to me. And reminded myself why I collaborate on projects like that, to make me step out of my comfort zone and learn something more about myself as a designer. As the moment we stop pushing ourselves and trying, creativity tends to stagnate.

RIBBE

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FURE

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VINKLER

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I want to thank everyone who has already knit many many sweaters and accessories and wrote about this collection,  I am truly humbled that you love it so!
I want to thank Kristin for creating such a unique opportunity and for her unique vision and my brilliant friend and Ori Ami Knits co-author, Vanessa Yap-Einbund, who did an amazing job on the collection’s photography as well as Woolfolk‘s  (and mine!) websites.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! And in celebration of it – the luxury giveaway!

I am giving away the entire (8) printed  patterns WOOLFOLK COLLECTION FW 2014 as well as a skein of Woolfolk Får and a skein of Woolfolk Tynd to 2 lucky winners!

Please leave a comment below until end of Tuesday, January 6th (which is going to be my Xmas eve) and I will draw the winner the following day!

Good Luck and Happy Knitting!!!

 

all of the elements

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Almost a year ago, Carrie Bostick Hoge of Madder asked me to join an exciting project that she has been thinking of along with some of the other wonderful designers called ELEMENTS. When I joined in, FIRE was among remaining elements and although I do wear and love an obscene amount of grey in my wardrobe, orange is my favorite color. I am just very particular about the shade of it, I like it on the red side more than yellow as that is the orange that looks best to me. And at that time I had just discovered that Quince & Co came out with a stunning new shade called Poppy and this cardigan was destined to be in that color and I have picked Quince & Co Lark, I lovely worsted weight 100% American wool. Which joined in harmoniously with the other ELEMENT yarns already lined up with the other designers.

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I have worked previously with Carrie as you might have recognize her signature and style of photography from my “Circles+ Dots“collection that I have created a while back. True to her vision, she has created a wonderful story and a dreamy visual to show off the knitwear at it’s best, including my Fire Cardigan.

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The stitch pattern for Fire cardigan took some time to develop as I wanted a stitch pattern that would translate not just through color but possibly texture. And in the end the textured meandering pattern of this oversized cardigan was created to correlate with the element of fire. It reminds me of the tongues of flame, licking at the air on that last summer campfire as cooler weather sets in. Being a cousin to the stitch from my Moko-Moko Cowl design it has the unusual modular process of building the knit fabric which creates the intricate surface design, juxtaposing positive and negative spaces of knits. Culminating when the stitches are dropped at the very end, revealing the true texture of the cardigan. The uninterrupted mold of stitches continues to form neckline shaping while keeping ribbed edges intact.

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Drop sleeve construction and positive ease allow this boxy cardigan to drape loosely over the body, allowing for layering as well as fitting in a way that creates slightly raised front hems without requiring extra shaping.

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ELEMENTS is currently available for purchase in a variety of options:

Limited Print Edition + eBook Package

eBook Only

All of the patterns are available as single pattern pdfs as well.

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Today I am also excited to be giving away a copy of the limited print book edition of ELEMENTS.

The rules are simple, for the next 5 days just remember to leave me a comment on this blog post. The entries will close by the end of the day on Friday, December 12.

Good luck and Happy Knitting!

 

ONPA

It feels like forever. I have been working and waiting to publish these designs for a while now.  Meeting all the deadlines I’ve committed to, preparing, re-organizing. Waiting for that perfect moment.  One may wonder why it takes me this long to “birth” pattern designs into the world, but I feel the further I work with knitwear design, more I strive to perfection. And end up spending more time concentrating on quality of my patterns, editing and testing them and then editing again. And all of those things take time.
I have been exploring combining colors for ombré / gradient effects before via use of solid yarns. If previously, in Aranami, I used a modular technique worked up into a design, for these new designs I have been wanting to try another technique I’ve worked with before! Would some of you recall my Trace vest from Wool People 3? Similar, but not the same. And that’s why it’s new. But first I will start at the beginning of this story.

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Rewind back to Summer of 2013, when we just moved back to DC area from Japan and dear friend Emily invited us to the friends and family day at new NPR – National Public Radio – headquarters in Washington, DC. Besides the privilege of visiting and touring this new building, it was a fun experience on its own – seeing the studios, people at work at news station, the Tiny Desk and enjoying stellar views of DC. It was great to see one of nation’s respected news channels from the inside and a spectacular view of the newsroom floor from the bridge.

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While exploring around the building and its new, minimal and fresh hallways, my eye caught upon a certain wall decor simply depicting the sound waves.  My friend told me, that her work a lot of times consists of staring at those “waves” on her computer day in and day out. So seeing that sound wave graphic incorporated into interior design felt like a great idea. The subtle changes of grey into white and going back to grey which triggered my thought of using similar pattern in trying to depict ombré, color gradient in knitwear and in this case by using colorwork technique.

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Colorwork can be both – intimidating and frustrating, beautiful and rewarding! I do not consider myself a colorwork connoisseur, but I have turned to it multiple times to reach the desired effect in a knit garment or accessory. And every time it was worth all the efforts and patience. With every project my confidence grew and my skills have been getting more  practice. I have discovered better ways for me of working it and making little discoveries and tips that might help other knitters with their process. I admire designers who are almost exclusively create and design with colorwork and fair isle. They are truly an inspiration to me. One has to have a good eye, taste and knowledge for harmonious color pairings to turn tiny intricate patterning into wonderful garments.

Back when I was working on Trace I’ve been fantasizing to use that similar effect for something else, a different graphic, a different clothing item. So when I had begun my stitch pattern development I have been reverting to the similar color distribution and usage. I’ve had begun by obsessively swatching and trying to find the best possible way to work in more colors. I have knit a shawl prototype with 5 different colors, however the colors I used were not close enough in palette even though they were in the same color family. Their contrast was quite stark and to me it didn’t feel right for what I was trying to achieve. Unfortunately, not all ideas can translate and work out in a different stitch pattern. Now, months later, I know how I might have solved that issue but it would have given me a bit different design than I had originally planned. Thus I have abandoned the idea and decided to go a bit simpler route and work with 2 colors only.

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I have picked an already trusted Brooklyn Tweed LOFT yarn, knowing how reliable and perfect it has been behaving in my hands while doing colorwork. Squishy and lofty, just like a marshmallow, all while having enough “grab” to maintain even floats. Easy to spit-splice and colorwork that will lay flat and even that when done properly would look great on the reverse side.

Other biggest excitement in my process while working on this design was picking color. For triangular version – Onpa Shawl – I’ve chosen a slightly muted burgundy that is called “Homemade Jam” and paired it together with the heathery “Sweatshirt” grey. And for rectangular version – Onpa Stole – I went with the beautifully saturated blue “Almanac” and winteriest color of grey “Snowbound”.

I knew the moment I cast on for the triangular version that I must make the rectangular version available as well.

So what’s the difference,

Onpa Shawl is a triangular version

USD 7.00

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Onpa Shawl is worked flat top down and uses techniques like provisional cast on and working colorwork flat. Meaning that you not only knit, but also purl while maintain color pattern. I am a Continental knitter (the combination kind) and many years ago I’ve taught myself how to knit English style, just so I can use stranded method and work with both hands carrying a color while doing colorwork. But because I am mainly Continental style, I have discovered that use of this nifty little tool – Yarn guide – helped me speed up my process while producing even floats. Mind you, that it does take some time getting used to, but I’ve heard amazing things from Continental knitter friend of mine who works her colorwork in the round now at incredible speed and she helped me in producing of the stole.

Onpa Stole is a rectangular version

USD 7.00

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And that brings me to Onpa Stole. This design has more potential from wearing point and offers more customization options . Because the way this pattern is worked and built, you can make it not just as a stole – you can work less row repeats and turn it into a scarf which would be just as graphic. You can play around with the number of the repeats, work double width, but reverse the orientation to create a beautiful throw or a blanket. You can cast on less stitches and omit the steek and turn it into a cowl. So versatile!

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One of the goals for these shawls was also to discover a better way for trapping my floats in a neater way, I am so glad that I have succeeded and more. The floats trapped in both of these designs in such a way that renders them both reversible, while creating slight patterning of their own. I am especially happy with how the colors look in reverse gradient on the back side of the shawl and I have included all those tips in the pattern.

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Even now I realize that the possibilities are quite infinite for either of these. Imagine using ombré  yarn as a contrasting color all the way through. Or use 3 or 4 or 5 solid colors in a color progression but only use them in a contrasting placement in the pattern. I am currently knitting another Onpa Shawl for me using colors of Brooklyn Tweed LOFT in “Soot” and “Hayloft”, those who know me are aware of my love for all things grellow and I am quite excited as I have chosen to reverse the color placements and made lighter color as a contrast this time. Can’t wait to show you!

I will write more about these designs in the upcoming weeks as I am hoping you will join me in this Winter’s ONPA Knit-A-Long hosted here and in my olgajazzy design group on Ravelry.

GIVEAWAY

5 lucky knitters will be gifted with a copy of either Onpa Shawl or Onpa Stole digital pattern.

The rules are simple – leave me a comment here at the bottom of this blog post and please follow me (unless you already do) on Facebook and Instagram

I will draw winners on Thursday morning October 30, EST.

Happy knitting and Good luck!

 

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Bubbling up

The whole time while living in Japan I’ve been admiring the abundance of modern architecture that spread throughout the entire Kanagawa prefecture and specifically Tokyo. So when Meri of Amirisu asked me to design a garment for their architectural issue my ideas immediately floated towards my favorite building in Tokyo – Prada building in Aoyama that was designed by Herzog & de Meuron agency in 2001-2002. The unusual structure in itself is the most fascinating thing about it, but for me it is the surface that is covered in convex and concave windows that in a pattern form the random bubbly impression. The thick glass structure captures the light in the most amazing ways, depending on the time of day you are witnessing it. So during most of my day trips to Tokyo if I ever was in the neighborhood, I would visit the building and say hello and snap a photo or two just to admire it once again.
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And as you can see here the building looks so different during the night hours and you can even spot the different colored cells from the inside that allow the company to decorate yet be visible on the outside.
pradayellowblockAlas, delegating can be hard at times when there is a lot at work simultaneously. Unfortunately, I was too late with my cardigan to make the deadline of the architectural issue. So Abuku cardigan (from Japanese meaning “bubble”) was published in the newest woodland issue of Amirisu. Abuku cardigan certainly started as a design from the ways of thinking up of numerous ways possible to translate the impression of bubbles into knitwear.

I have worked with a similar stitch patterning before while developing my Cowry hat design, only this time I took it further! The Bubbly panels are worked separately and grafted together on the back neck to create a seamless, uninterrupted look of the texture and later attached to the fronts and neckline of the cardigan. But what makes this cardigan different and remarkable is that the “bubbles” slightly diminish in size as we progress towards the neckline. Which gives a nice shaping details without sacrificing the overall texture while being reversible in case you chose to flip the collar down.

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The cardigan, worked in Quince&Co Chickadee yarn, used a brand new construction for me – it is worked in one piece till underarms, then the 3/4 length sleeves are worked in the round till underarm as well. The yoke is then shaped simultaneously in 1 piece in a set-in sleeve look, which leaves us only with 2 shoulder seams and 2 underarm seams to take care of. Knowing how much some prefer to avoid seaming at all costs, this design doesn’t eliminate it, but cuts it down significantly. Walnut – a yarn store in the heart of Kyoto and the brainchild of the same Amirisu duo is currently hosting Abuku cardigan Knit-A-Long and you are welcome to join with us to make this light cardigan which would suit these transitional temperatures for a great layering look.

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So why Amirisu and what is Amirisu? Amirisu in translation from Japanese means “squirrel” hence the appearance of it in the logo. They are a bilingual Japanese and English knitting magazine which started as a webzine and now has slowly but surely has expanded into a printed magazine as well! 6 of the patterns from woodland issue including Abuku cardigan are also printed inside the paper magazine accompanied by inspiring interviews,  the distinct style photography and articles. And starting next issue ALL of the patterns are going to be available inside the printed issue as well as continue being available in digital form.
Amirisu is breaking all the rules to knitting pattern style known in Japan. If you are familiar with the ways most Japanese patterns are written, you know that it is a chart and a schematic with numbers on them, which is quite easy to follow and read once you grasp the concept, it is really quite brilliant! But there are several drawbacks – such as those patterns are most definitely ever available in one size only and as much as we might have wished we are not one-size-fit-all people, so a knitter purchasing the pattern is most likely in need of changing and re-calculating and tailoring that pattern to make it fit properly. And ladies of Amirisu are bringing a new era to Japanese knitting world by offering written patterns in several sizes for those who wish to make them without needing to go extra math miles to figure it out on their own.  Don’t get me wrong, the current style of pattern writing in Japan certainly has its benefits and works for many people, but it is also great to see the initiative that is striving to improve and bring the needs of each knitter into modern times with this new format. And now you can subscribe to Amirisu as well!

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 some photography ©Amirisu and Kimiko Kaburagi