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

43 Responses to “It all started with a manhole cover”

  1. Katie says:

    What a neat place to find inspiration! I think it would make it in gray.
    katieemma on Ravelry

  2. Silvia M. says:

    It’s lovely and it’s been added to my Ravelry queue already! I already like your Facebook page too. 🙂

  3. mly says:

    Wow. Yet another project I want to knit from Olgajazzy. Sigh.

  4. Romi says:

    Wow! The manhole covers are amazing! And that’s a lovely new sweater. 🙂

  5. sooz says:

    Olga, I absolutely love it!

  6. lories says:

    Since I work for a public works department, this sweater design has extra special meaning! I love it!

    Lories on Ravelry

  7. cathy says:

    I’ve always admired the manhole covers in Japan but had no idea the designs were unique to the location. That is a gorgeous sweater and I love that it was inspired by something as simple and quirky as a manhole cover.

    cmunoz on Ravelry.

  8. marilena says:

    certo è che resto sempre a bocca aperto quando vedo le tue creazioni:) complimenti!!!

  9. sunny-lark says:

    The cardigan is beautiful and the inspiration story is really interesting.
    ulca on Rav

  10. futuregirl says:

    I love the story about the inspiration for this cardigan! It’s a beautiful sweater. 🙂

    futuregirl on ravelry

  11. Inspiration is everywhere if you are able to see it.
    Lovely pattern.

  12. Lisette M says:

    What a lovely design! I am LisetteM in Ravelry.

  13. Love the cardigan. Am so happy that its knit top-down, as that’s my favorite to knit!

  14. rubiatonta says:

    Wonderful pattern — I’m looking forward to making it!

    Rubiatonta on Ravelry

  15. Unknown says:

    I also commented on twitter…but everything about this sweater is perfect…and shouts “ME ME, I want to wear this!”

    Congrats on another amazing pattern!

    choochooknits :o)

  16. april2929 says:

    Love the sweater… and I love the story behind it even more! april2929

  17. Annika says:

    I love it so much! I would love to knit one in dark grey.

    noirbettie on Rav or noirbettie@gmail.

  18. YOUR HAIR! So unexpected and pretty! Love it!
    maventheavenger on ravelry

  19. aikelsey says:

    Love pattern! Looks great on and like it would be great fun to knit!

  20. Dea says:

    Wonderful sweater, glorious color! I too love looking out to the world for inspiration.

  21. em says:

    Olga your designs account for so much of my queue I only wish that I could make more time to knit them all right now! This is just beautiful!

  22. James says:

    Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Knitting Community? Our members will love it.
    Members include: knitters, knitting enthusiasts, experts, groups, circles, organizations, etc.
    It’s easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also add Photos, Videos and Classifieds if you like.
    Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
    Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
    The Knitting Community:
    I hope you consider sharing with us.
    Thank you,
    James Kaufman, Editor

  23. Glana Ricci says:

    Olá Olga!
    Uma única palavra: MARAVILHOSO!!
    Glana on ravelry

  24. Ana Rosa says:

    The cardi is gorgeous! Lovely design.

  25. Unknown says:

    Another gorgeous design, congrats again! I love the idea of being inspired by such unusual pieces of street-art… wow!

  26. vanessa says:

    Inspiring as always! Thanks for sharing your pattern and story!

    VanessaE on ravelry 🙂

  27. Hélène says:

    Wow! Absolutely stunning! Would love to win the pattern…
    I’m EclatDuSoleil on ravelry.

  28. Unknown says:

    What a GREAT pattern!
    Can’t wait to start it

  29. Me says:

    This is so beautiful!

    Ravelry ID: jukeboxheroine

  30. Lindsey says:

    I am LindseyAdelaideOZ on ravelry. I found Ayase Cardigan on “What’s Hot” today on the ravelry pattern page. A man-hole cover, yes indeed, a great source of inspiration. You are very creative, I will keep checking on your designs! Lindsey

  31. lacey says:

    Gah this is wonderful! My parents installed a manhole cover in their back patio as an access point for their rain barrels, and now I totally want to knit this as a gift for my mom. Lovely design 🙂 On ravelry as volkstricken

  32. Lovely sweater and thanks for the manhole link. Japanese manholes are so much lovelier than American ones.

    My ravelry ID is gsp1066 and I put the sweater in my queue.

  33. Lovely cardi. I love the different looks that you can play with. Congrats on a beautiful pattern.

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. kayteau says:

    I see why your mother snagged this one – it is gorgeous! The inspiration is wonderful. My partner, who grew up in Japan, will love the story when I knit this.

    kayteau on Rav and most everywhere

  36. Lovely cardigan! And wonderful to hear the inspiration for the design.

  37. Mary says:

    prettiest thing EVER, I’m sure, that was inspired by a manhole cover! thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of the pattern; I’d love to knit this one!

  38. Miwaneko says:

    I never paid much attention about the manhole cover while I’ve in japan, nice outfit in my favorite color in red!
    Miwaneko on rav.

  39. Brigi says:

    Manholes are fascinating, and they do hold the characteristics of the city they are in.
    Love the cardigan and your hair!!!! what a subtle yet fun way to show of your creativity in both fields 🙂

  40. emy says:


    handworks on Rav

  41. Melissa says:

    Wow! I saw your Aranami Shawl in Vogue Knitting this morning, and had to check out your blog… your stuff is amazing! I LOVE this sweater pattern, would love to win a copy, but if I don’t I’m sure I’ll buy a copy…! I want to make about 5 of it in different colors… Thanks for sharing your designs with us!
    (Rav ID mkdpage)

  42. Patricia says:

    Fabulous design!

  43. OLGAJAZZY says:

    Entries are now closed! THANK YOU!

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