Thursday, 31 March 2011

Japanese for beginners

I finished this tank top for my daughter a few days ago: 

I am going to make the bold claim that the tank top is the best garment ever. Such a cool shape, you can wear other colours and prints with it, it keeps vital organs warm, you can't get baked bean juice on the sleeves because there aren't any sleeves. And, and, because it has no sleeves it does not take as long to make.

Ravelry had just the right one, in the Japanese style (diagrams not words).  And so it came to pass that I learned how to crochet, Japanese style. I searched and found a chart that was very clear and helpful, and I was off.

You must undergo a sort of brainwashing, a crochet year zero re-education programme. Everything you know is wrong. Symbols not words. You can read Japanese, you just think you can't.

And, I have to say, it really was not too hard. Yes, there were times when I got lost and had to stare very, very hard at the diagram until it unscrambled itself. And, a couple of times when I took an executive decision to just do it my own way. But all in all it was straightforward once I got started.

I found a nice rhythm, my new ergonomic hook was a delight (I found it far easier on the fingers). The alpaca yarn I chose was soft and warm and a pleasure to work with.

I made some changes to the pattern. I followed the advice of the other Ravelry users and decreased one scallop from the width and added a button as I did not want the neck to become too tight in a year. I also simplified the edging.

So I'm rather pleased with it meself. And the wearer? She likes it too. Accessorised with cake, a swing and an ice cream van. Last Saturday it kept her warm from Embankment to Hyde Park. A placard: the best accessory of all.

I cannot order beer in Kyoto, I would stumble asking directions in Tokyo, but at least I now understand the crochet.


  1. Daugher no.1 is always so well turned-out. But with this post, she's taken it to another level. Gingham, Japanese crochet, polka dots: this really is next level stuff. She should have her own style blog.

  2. Love it, the button makes it extra special. X

  3. Rad. Can I put an order in for one for me please. xxx

  4. wow, yours turned out so pretty a well!!


a year above the shop

a year above the shop