Circles + Dots

When I think of the time Pam Allen has asked me to design a collection for Quince & Co I kept telling myself “is this real life”? I suddenly got transported back to the times when I was starting my knitting career and looking forward to every issue of the IK that she curated at the time and browsing through numerous books that she authored in the the local yarn stores. And now I get to do this! This excitement is quite often followed by some amount of self-questioning – would she like these sketches or not? To work with someone who has been in the industry so long has tremendous amount of my respect and reverence and I certainly didn’t want to disappoint. When all the sketches got accepted (!!!) and the next stage was to pick the colors for the whole collection I couldn’t contain myself as things just got even more real.


The inspiration for the Circles + Dots palette served this image for the Finch release as it comprised a harmonious combination of brights and neutrals, especially those hues of turquoise and orange, the colors that my blog used to be. And although I studied art at school for several years my sketching skills often leave much to be desired, however they conveyed the intent.


As you can see some designs went through transformation. The entire process is about making decisions what to add or what to get rid of in a finished design and it is done so to improve the wearability of the actual knits.
My initial idea was to make this collection a story of exploration into knitwear where dots and circles are represented in all kinds through various knit techniques. My interest in polka dots in particular started back in 2011 when I designed my Mizutama shawl in search of wanting to create a polka dot looking shawl without going the obvious route of intarsia. It got me thinking that there are more ways possible to create circular shapes with various looks and patterning in knitwear and I wanted to gather them together for a collection in such a manner that would show the correlation but have different placement, yet feel cohesive and “together”. 2 garments and 3 accessories comprise this collection. I thoroughly enjoyed working the gradually decreasing in size eyelets for Flotilla Mittens and working the three-dimentional texture of Cowry Hat. Even more so developing a special stitch pattern for Effervescence Cardigan, the stitch that looks both eyelet and cables at the same time.
This creative process is slow and lengthy but all the efforts are worth it in the end. When I saw the final images, I was really stunned by the great light , composition and complimenting styling done by Quince & Co that brought the entire collection together in a beautiful narrative that I am very proud to be a part of.

I will let the images speak for themselves though, you can view an entire lookbook to enjoy pretty photography here

Compass Pullover




Cowry Hat




Effervescence Cardigan




Flotilla Mittens




Gyre Scarf




You can queue and favorite all the garments and view the collection on Ravelry here.
And please share your thoughts and impressions about Circles + Dots with other knitters in Olgajazzy designs group on Ravelry. I would love to hear some feedback and color choices for your own knits from this collection!
This collection is available as eBook for USD 18.00 and all patterns are also available individually.



All images in this post are © Quince & Co/Carrie Hoge



Winter walk in Enoshima. Part 2

To continue the story of our walk on Enoshima island…


Ever since starting to notice the amazing designs of manhole covers in Japan, now a mandatory photo of the manhole cover on the island. Looks like cypress trees.


Our visit coincided with winter tulip festival at the garden and it was truly great.


To view all these vibrant colors among dull colors of winter.


The Sea Candle is what they call the lighthouse atop Enoshima Island. Since the island itself it quite elevated, we could see Landmark Tower all the way in Yokohama. Which is amazing, it’s almost across entire Kanagawa prefecture.


Linear texture on the observation deck is quite modern and minimalistic.
But the sun was going down and once it was gone it got quite cold.


So it was time for some jasmine tea and a french toast in a neatly located cafe by “Miami Beach Square” in the garden.


And as we were leaving the dark grew thicker around and the lights came on. I know Xmas and New year holidays are all over, but the illumination still remains to cheer up visitors.



As we were walking away from the island, the view of the lighthouse became even more spectacular. So it was great to explore the entire island through day time and enjoy its appeal during night time.

Winter walk in Enoshima. Part 1


Last Monday was a US holiday, but it was a normal work day in Japan, so using an excuse of sunny weather (at least it was when we left) and hoping for little crowd (a rarity in Japan) we decided to explore a place we never been to before. Enoshima island. Lighthouse on it can be seen even far from outside our window. And on a very clear day there is a great view of Mt. Fuji. Alas not this time.


The trip starts with a walk from a train station on Enoden line, where I discover these cutest and I think first time I have ever seen actual yarn bombing in Japan. These little birds were all donned in capes and little berets.


It’s common in Japan for a building to get “dressed-up” if it’s being repainted. This tower in particular had a huge installation that created a really cool geometric pattern.


The knits for sale, I wouldn’t dare to spot their origin, but it looked very Peruvian/South American. But knowing it is not likely to be locally made. Just happy to see knits.


The bridge that connects mainland to the island has ornate marble lanterns. Just look at the eyes of that dragon.


The view of the island opens up to a interesting statue, which actually hosts a full spa right behind it.


Patina-ed old Torii gate starts the main market street leading up the ascent and numbers of shrines.


Must be a very popular spot for street food.


Later, when the crowds dissipated, I got one too – tako sembe (flat bread with octopus). Ones with jellyfish and shrimp were also available. But believe it or not… I broke mine in half not even a minute later (it’s very thin) and that half floated down the street like a frisbee.


Wall of o-mikuji.


Path map of the island between shrines and lighthouse.


Wooden boards with wishes for love written on them.


The island is a popular residence for many cats. They are all domesticated, they will let you pet them.


Nearby food stalls feed them and I saw some cats even sleeping in people’s laps. It was cold, so I am sure they could use some warmth.


To be continued…

Rakurai Winner!


Congratulations to Jennifer Sadler !!!!! You have won the Rakurai giveaway bundle!!!
Please email me your snail mail information to infoATolgajazzyDOTcom
Meanwhile please stay tuned, more surprises are coming!


Past December marked my 3 years of living in Japan. In a way it feels that time flew by so fast and at the same time I can’t grasp all I have seen and done while living here. Not that I have done a great amount of traveling around the country. But there are these weekends and holidays in this freelancer’s world when I get a chance to get away and appreciate what surrounds me and marvel at it!

Not to be rude, but I think many visited 1 day tours take us to popular touristy spots so I lost count of all the castles that we got to visit and I can’t identify many of them because their architecture quite honestly the same. Kakegawa castle or Odawara castle.
However, being me as someone obsessed with details I always tend to remember surroundings and the grounds more vividly. In this case, I just love these geometric streamers that most sacred places in Japan are decorated with. To my westerner eyes they look very origami and very Japanese – called “shide“. In Shinto they represent a lightning, sacred trees and many places are marked with a thick piece of rope and shide. Then last year I happened to visit famous Ryōgoku Kokugikan Stadium in Tokyo for sumo wrestling and I noticed that these same streamers are decorating the belts of most prized fighters, but in this case they are called “gohei“. In either case those lightning looking streamers are used to bless and cleanse.


To embody this geometric detail into my work I have decided on the zigzag looking scarf that is made in an unsual sort of way. 落雷 RAKURAI (jap.) (noun) – means “thunderbolt”, bolt of lightning”.
It’s a fun scarf that is worked in the round while those hills and valleys are shaped at the same time. It’s completely reversible and is worked using only a single skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in this gorgeous color called Tomato. A vibrant orange with enough red to make this accessory pop! Winter in Japan in most parts is very grey and snowless and it gets dark very early, so the need for brighter object around to liven up an eye feels like a necessity.


My main goal while working this fabric was to try to keep it flat and pointy just like a piece of paper would. But it would still look great if you try to wrap it around your neck and not just look decorative on your coat. And voila – an origami, or in this case more 2 dimensional kirigami for your neck!


Here are some pattern specs:
Beginner Intermediate

Width 3.75”
Length 56”

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (100% superwash merino wool; 420yds/384m; approx.115g);
1 skein in Tomato
OR 420 yds of any other fingering weight wool

US 3 (3.25 mm) dpns or 2 circulars

28 sts and 36 rnds in 4”/10cm over St st swatch worked in the round

On Ravelry

USD 6.00

And to kickstart good will of this New Year (even though the Holiday festivities and gift giving season is already over for most part) the upcoming posts featuring my 3 different scarf designs are going to have a giveaway attached to it!!!


The haul to the winner!
A pdf copy of Rakurai Scarf pattern
1 skein of Madelinetosh TML in Tomato (original yarn and color used for Rakurai scarf)
A set of US 3 double pointed wooden DREAMZ needles by Knitter’s Pride
A tape measure from Namaste
A needle gauge wheel from Craftsy

What do you need to do to enter?

Leave a comment on this post telling me what was the scarf pattern you knit last or knitting at the moment with valid contact information (Ravelry ID, email)

Like Olgajazzy page on Facebook and remember to mark to get notifications

If you are already a fan of my FB page, join Olgajazzy group on Ravelry

Make sure to do all that by end of Saturday, 11:59pm EST,  January 12, 2013. Thank you all for participating! Entries are now closed!
And I will announce the winner Monday!

Good luck and Happy Knitting!

Season’s Greetings!

Since there is no snow in this part of Japan for Christmas here is some white 🙂
Hope you all enjoy wonderful Holiday Season with your loved ones surrounded with many many knits!


Ayase winners


Congratulations to Annika (noirbettie), Melissa (mkdpage) and Kay (kayteau)!!!
Each of you have won a copy of Ayase cardigan pattern and you should check your Ravelry library since the pattern pdf was conveniently stored in there for you!
I can’t wait to see your yarn and color choices for your Ayase cardigans!
Happy Knitting and Thank you everyone for participating!

It all started with a manhole cover

When we just moved to Japan 3 years ago and settled down into the place we are calling home we were too busy with unpacking. Once things gained their normalcy, the real Japan has started to sink in every time we went outside. The way I am, the things I notice often are ones that we skip or don’t notice in our fast-paced lifestyles, those things draw my attention quite often and inspire me now on the daily basis. I try to document it and remember. Every single corner is full of inspiration here, whether it’s a tile pattern or a design on a grocery bag or something so trivial as a manhole cover by my house.
Japan is notorious for their manhole covers – each city, location has a different design and makes it so unique yet decorates a plain street in an unusual way.
Several years ago I joined this flickr group – Japanese Manhole Covers. There are really some amazing works of art there!


The nearby city is called Ayase, hence the name for my new design – Ayase Cardigan, named after the city where I first saw this manhole cover design.
In fact I knit two of these cardigans – one went to be worn by my mother almost 2 years ago, just because she loved it so much and she couldn’t wait for me to publish the pattern. And I really had to find time to knit a second one so I can release this pattern for all the knitters out there!


I’ve decided to design this cardigan to be knit top-down with the circular yoke and have all increases take place within the actual cabled tiers to create a smooth transition of the pattern from yoke into the body. After many hours of math and brainstorming I am really proud of this pattern. I’ve managed to create 10 sizes and keep the pattern’s cables and texture intact. And the pattern is completely written out for each size, that will make following the instructions much easier for one knitting it.


The cardigan includes short-rows for the back as well as incorporated and applied I-cords as trims, which creates clean finishing lines. I’ve used clothing hooks for closure. While many may choose other methods for closure or just leave it open, I love how cardigan’s silhouette changes if you close different hooks. And I can certainly see it belted with a skinny contrasting belt for a different style look.


Some pattern specifications:

Ayase Cardigan on Ravelry


34 (36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52)”

Bust: 34.5 (36.5, 38.5, 40.5, 42.5, 44.5, 46.5, 48.5, 50.5, 52.5)”
Length from back neck: 23.75 (23.75, 24.25, 24.5, 24.75, 25.25, 25.5, 25.75, 26.25, 26.5)”

Fibre Company “Organik” (70% organic merino, 15% alpaca, 15% slk); 50g/98yd; color Magma; 10 (10, 12, 13, 13, 14, 15, 15, 16, 16) skeins
OR 960 (980, 1085, 1120, 1255, 1315, 1375, 1435, 1490, 1550) yds of other worsted weight yarn

US 8 (5 mm) circular 24”, or size to obtain gauge
US 8 (5 mm) set of 5 dpns or 2 circulars
US 7 (4.5 mm) set of 2 dpns to work I-cord Bind off

Stitch markers, tapestry needle, scrap yarn, crochet hook, 10 hooks and eyes
16 sts and 24 rows = 4” over washed and blocked St st swatch using larger needles

USD 8.00

I am giving away 3 copies of Ayase Cardigan pattern!
Just leave a comment on this blog post with your valid contact information (Ravelry ID or email) by Thursday, November 22nd, 2012. Entries are now closed!  THANK YOU!
And I will draw and announce 3 lucky winners on Saturday, November 24th.
Remember to Like OLGAJAZZY page on FB as well to increase your chances of winning!

Join Olgajazzy designs group on Ravelry



Time to get your needles prepped and ready for a new cowl in town. Meet Moko-Moko! In translation from Japanese Moko-Moko means “fluffy”. That was the first impression my Japanese friend Kumi when she saw me working on it. The dimensional allover texture of this fun cowl looks very intricate, but in fact it’s a beginner project but you still can learn several new techniques by making it!


This pattern is very easy to customize, the most important two aspects when it comes to choosing right yarn is to pick correct fiber content yarns and getting enough yarn for the entire dimensions you are intending. The animal fibers like wool, cashmere, alpaca, camel, bison and their blends are the best since they will help to preserve the usual texture.


And knowing my passion for versatile garments, the cowl is big enough to serve as a capelet or if you work it longer – as a bolero shrug and even a snood.


My yarn choice for Moko-Moko fell on a new-to-me Jones&Vandermeer yarn called Clever Camel, which is 100% camel in aran weight. It’s very airy although it’s plied and very strong. I love how the company site actually gives you description where the fiber for this yarn came from and where it was processed before it finally got into a pretty skein and ended up on your knitting needles.

I am very intrigued by other yarns available from Jones&Vandermeer and I see a sweater in my future made out of Moo Cotton, a heavy-worsted weight yarn of milk fiber and cotton bled which feels amazing in a swatch and reminds me of the discontinued Rowan Calmer only Moo Cotton is without any acrylic in it. Great option for those allergic to wool! And I am still salivating over Minkle (Mink + a bit of Sparkle!) and Real Pearl yarns.

I am currently working on a fingering version of Moko-Moko in Wollemeise Twin on size US 2 needles, but using same cast on instructions as I did for the green one above in Clever Camel. I plan to keep knitting on it till I run out of yarn.
If you are wondering for when you customize a pattern that has a big repeat like Moko-Moko, how would one know if leftover yarn if enough for one more full repeat and not waste time knitting and ending up having only to rip back? My advice is to weigh your first full repeat (take it off the needle or transfer live stitches onto some scrap yarn) and make a note how much 1 repeat weighs. Then when you get close to the end of your skein you weigh the leftover to determine the verdict.

Several test knitters who were kind to give Moko-Moko a try shared with me that the pattern was very addictive and hard to put it down. And as it’s rather a quick knit (even if you to to chunky or even bulky weights) one can certainly whip couple of them in time for more wooly Xmas presents! Pattern, yarn, needles – GO! Happy Knitting!

Moko-Moko Cowl on Ravelry

USD 6.00