Category: knitwear design

Tools of the trade. Part 1


I know many of you who knit are always in search of better tools and things that make our knitting life easier as in our stitches more even and knitting itself smoother. I am always on a hunt for new tools that makes my knitting process enjoyable and finished garments a success!
During my life in Japan I have discovered several interesting items that I haven’t encountered in the US market before and I thought today I would share my new finds as well as my old favorites. With the impending move back to us I made sure to stock up on some, but I really hope that these products will be available in the future in the continental US as well.

As any ideas start from a sketch or a doodle in a notebook, I found these particular notebooks extremely convenient. The dot grid inside allows you to build a grid if you like or to draw a chart or to create a schematic for your design using dots as visual points. A5 compact format allows me to always have it with me. They are from Muji, a Japanese chain store that literally is translated “No Brand”. There are 3 stores and online store in US already, so hopefully you can get your hands on them too.


Erasable pens! Maybe many of you have heard about those, but I discovered them only recently. They are tricky though – make sure you do not expose what you have written to extreme heat, as Wendy of Knit’n’Tonic blog discovered for herself – your writing will vanish!
But these are great “pencils” as they are smudge-proof and have great line definition. Pilot Frixion gel ink in a pen tends to run out quicker than any normal pen, so make sure to get plenty of refills!


Pilot Frixion also has an erasable highlighter marker – isn’t that awesome?! Mark what is necessary and when you are done, just erase it!
And for more permanent result I use Pilot Jetstream. All of the pens above are of my favorite 0.38 mm line gauge. Thin yet, not too thin.

Knitting needles are the #1 tool of any knitter. I have about 60 different kinds and materials and last year I met their replacement. Certainly, I still have the old ones sitting in their case all neatly organized, but I haven’t been using much of them except for the very small sizes since I got my hands on Addi Click Long Lace Tips Interchangeable Needle set.
Holy motherload of knitting needles! Skacel did it!
Besides a fashionably trendy hot pink case there are 8 needle sizes of shiny, smooth, long and POINTY needles. Ranging from size US 4 to US 11 which includes mostly used sizes by me I do not need to use any other needles! It’s so compact that it’s easy to travel with even for a short distances. Interchangeables make life so much easier!


The shiny army of pointy needles is crucial to my knitting because I am a combination knitter or “picker” and having a slick sharp point makes my knitting significantly faster. Skacel created Clicks with several options for the sets, there are bamboo, regular and shorter lace tips  – to each their own depending on your preference and needs.


And the cords.. the cords are magical and smart! The tiny holes on both ends of the cord allow you to pull through a strand of yarn if you need to create a lifeline. Just knit a row and the strand of yarn “lifeline” is simultaneously being carried through that row of stitches. Saves time and headache when it comes to ripping lace in case of a mistake.


Skacel has made it available for anyone to purchase extra cords and tips if necessary. My Long Lace tips Clicks set came with SOS cords of different lengths and a connector, but I decided that I needed more cords and the extra cord sets come with an extra connector. Connector essentially helps to create a longer cord in case you need one and you don’t have a 60″ cord in your set, for example.


But I see more useful applications for those connectors. Something that comes in very handy if you need to use that size needle tips for something else but they are occupied in another project. All you need to do is take the needle tips off and secure your stitches by locking the cord with stitches on it into a loop with the help of the connector! Voila! And you have a makeshift stitch holder! Or a funky necklace! 😀


And you bet that me and my Addi Clicks are inseparable! I think regardless the price if you knit a lot and realize how important it is to have quality tools that feel great in your hands, better your knitting experience and result they are worth every penny!

When it comes to notions I am a known fan for Clover products and I use many of them on a regular basis. I have been using Locking stitch markers for years and they are my “work horse” markers as they serve as markers and can be used as pins when I need to hold knit fabric together when seaming.
However, I was given as a gift these Merchant & Mills black bulb pins , that I use to attach tags for my garments during trunk shows, but their unusual shape actually allows me to use them as a handy stitch marker if I don’t have others on me. There is a limitation of course what size of the needle they would fit, but I thought it was cool way to utilize the “universally useful” statement on its box.


The Clover affair continues into my collection of crochet hooks that are either teflon-like covered hooks that come in many sizes and steel hooks that are sometimes are also called “needle hooks” for finer gauge crochet. Or as I discovered they are great to use when you work with beads in your knitting. A while back when I got the steel hooks on etsy they were only available in Japan, but now I know they are widely popular and sold in US. I don’t crochet much these days except for cast on and borders, but their ergonomic handle is quite comfortable!


I prefer to use good old double pointed needles when it comes to knitting in the round of small tubular parts of the garments or accessories. And although I have several Clover Bamboo Takumi Velvet DPNs, I have been using a lot and enjoying my set of Blackthorn DPNs made out of carbon fiber composite. Carbon fiber composite that is used in making some of the jets and airplanes and I guess living on a Naval Air facility for the past 3 years satisfied the geek in me when I am using these. Light as wood but behave like metal, they are very unusual and certainly hoping to grow my collection of these through time.



More about my favorite tools of the trade tomorrow!

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



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!

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

Geometry giveaway winners!

It took me a while to get back to drawing winners, please forgive me because I got 9 lbs of yarn last month and have started working on a new exciting collection. While it’s already under way I thought it’s about time to have some joyful news announced:

Congratulations to Brigi who won an entire set of 8 Shibui Geometry patterns of the collection!

Congratulations are also in order to Gyorgyi, Lisa (ElloKnits) and Leigh Forsstrom – you each won a copy of Hypotenuse cowl pattern!

Please send me a PM on ravelry (my id is olgajazzy) or email with your snail mail information.

Thank you all for participating and remember there are more exciting patterns and giveaways coming ahead!

Congratulations and Happy Knitting!

Lesson on geometry


Last year I was asked to be a part of this exciting new project for Shibui Knits yarn company, following the release of my Shibui Silk booklet.
Shibui Geometry is a collection of single printed leaflet patterns with a stunning visual and carefully selected palette.

A range of interesting garments is comprise of 8 patterns from different designers.

My design contribution is Hypotenuse.
Hypotenuse. The longest side of a right triangle, opposite the right angle.
This funky accessory with three dimensional texture can be styled in several looks. Loop style cowl is bouncy and is reminiscent of armor. The Staccato yarn used double contains silk that makes light reflect the highly textured surface. The construction is relatively simple, yet makes knitter polish their techniques and possibly learn a new one. Eye-catching yet dramatic way to exhibit your taste. Pairing it with your favorite tailored jacket or coat or to compliment your favorite layered outfit.


Now something special for all of you!

I am giving away a whole set of 8 patterns (1 of the pamphlets contains 2 patterns inside) for the whole Shibui Geometry collection!
And 3 copies of just Hypotenuse cowl to 4 lucky winners!

What do you need to do to enter:

Tell me in the comments below which is your favorite Shibui Knits yarn to work with!

And Join Olgajazzy designs group on Ravelry to increase your chances of winning!

Please leave your comment with your Ravelry ID or email or other way of contacting you.

Entries will be open till Tuesday, October 2, 11:59pm EST.
Thank you everyone for participating! Entries are now closed and winners will be announced later this week!

Good luck and Happy Knitting!!!