Just got back from a whirlwind two weeks in Japan (Tokyo > Kyoto > Osaka > Hakone > Tokyo) and thought I’d share some of the treats I brought back.
Okadaya Shinjukuis a multi-level shop that carries SO MUCH CRAFT STUFF. I somehow managed to miss all of the fabric they clearly offer, but did have a lot of fun wandering the floors of buttons, notions, yarn, sewing machines, etc. I bought some bias and knit tapes and some cute embroidery stickers (top row).
Pigment Tokyo is a really cool art supply store that also hosts workshops. I refrained from buying all the things and just walked away with this little paint dish (bottom row).
WALNUT Tokyo + Kyoto are stores by the brand Amirisu. I bought a couple skeins of hand-dyed worsted weight yarn and then one skein of this baby yak yarn that I thought was DK but is actually worsted weight… oops (bottom row).
Nippori Fabric Town is a whole dang district of textile stores. Truthfully, I get very overwhelmed in stores like these, so I didn’t end up buying any fabric on this trip. These are some pics of fabrics I thought about though.
I bought these little money envelopes near the Nishiki Market in Kyoto. They’re from the early Shōwa period (~1930s) and I think they’ll look cool framed together.
We also took a very guided ceramics workshop at Kiyomizudera Studio near the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. We’ll get our goods in 10 weeks!
I packed a mostly me-made suitcase that featured this new waffle Marlo cardigan, Shop pants, Drew headband, and multiple Orlando tops. I also made 3 Dawson tops out of Merino jersey for the trip.
We did a lot more, but I’m limiting this post to making-related stuff… except I’m gonna tell you to go visit the Asakura Museum of Sculpture before I end this post!
Welp, I had two sweater projects going at once, all while my knitting supplies are a complete mess because of this project at the bottom of the post. I have misplaced some needles and I’m big mad about it. But anyway, about the sweaters…
I started this Petite Knit No Frills Sweater in December – using the most expensive yarn I’ve purchased to date – and then signed up for a 4 week workshop at Ritual Dyes for the Ozetta Lakes Pullover. Before starting the Lakes, I got all the way to the hem on the body and then didn’t feel like tackling the sewn tubular cast off. I’m glad I didn’t, because I learned about some set up rows while knitting the Lakes that really helped with sewing the super fine to almost bulky yarn during the cast off.
I still have to visualize short row instructions with diagrams and notes. The BOR marker being at the center back really tripped me up.
I got a head start on the Lakes Pullover before the workshop began and I tried something out that I’m still not sure was the best idea. The construction on this sweater is so interesting – you start with the saddle shoulders and then build the sweater down from there. Because I’d need to pick up the same number of stitches for the neckline as the short ends of the saddles, I decided to use a provisional cast on instead of a long tail cast on.
The pros of this approach are that it made picking up those stitches super fast. Prior to this workshop, I didn’t really understand how to read the stitches and pick up in the “correct” spots. Thanks to the numerous tips from the instructor, I feel pretty good about that task now.
The cons of this approach are that it made picking up the first few stitches along the long edges of the saddles a little challenging/hard to see and it required more ends needing to be woven in. But hey, I can crochet a chain now.
In this workshop I learned how to knit a swatch in the round, how to calculate gauge, a neat trick for keeping track of sleeve rows, and so much more. In-person knitting workshop are so valuable.
The instructor recommended twisting stitches on the 1×1 rib by wrapping the yarn clockwise on the purls, which I tried but it felt so awkward I tinked back and did regular purls. I want to try this again on my next sweater since I want really tight hems and collars but don’t want to stress out my hands.
GAH! Look at this sweater! I’m so proud of it. Such a cool pattern and I feel like my skills are really improving. Just look at my first folded collar on the Towns Sweater. I think I might actually redo the neckline since I don’t wear it very much because it’s so… rustic.
I accidentally used a size US 6 needle for the body (remember my previously mentioned supplies mess?) when I meant to use a US 7. The recommended US 8 produced a pretty loose fabric that I didn’t like the look of on my swatch, so I sized down. After realizing I’d accidentally knit a lot with the US 6, I figured it would be fine since that’s the size I had used for my popcorn sweater and the fabric was looking nice.
The only changes I made to the pattern was to crop the body by an inch and half and I created selvage edges on the parts that were knit flat. I’ve worn this a ton and I’m just the tiniest bit bummed that we’re approaching warmer weather here in Portland.
Once my Lakes was blocked and on my body, I could work on the No Frills sweater again. This was the project I finally understood how to read my sleeve stitches and use those locking markers. This method meant I could knit anywhere without dragging around a row counter and obsessively taking notes on a piece of paper.
For the XL, you’re supposed to repeat the sleeve rows 21 times, but I had to stop after 16 for my short arms. The sleeves have a slight balloon to them because of that. I had 65 stitches and needed 52, so I *K2tog, K3, K2tog, K3* before starting the 1×1 rib. I was pretty pleased that made all the decreases perfectly spaced.
I like this yarn a lot but holy hell, I overbought. Like I could almost make an entire identical sweater overbought. The pattern only gives the amount in grams so I estimated 6-7 skeins. Under the guidance of a LYS, I purchased 8. I used 4.25. 💸💸💸💸💸 Guess I’m making a matching shawl?
I sewed some black elastic thread into the neckline before blocking because it was definitely a lot wider than I wanted and knew it would only get bigger once wet. I think if I make this pattern again, I will do a folded collar following the instructions in the Ozetta Seasons Pullover.
And here they are all together! I have two almost finished sweaters in these, plus yarn for my next project.
And I’ve been working on an ultimate needle / tool case to replace the hideous things that came with my Chiaogoo needles. I’m still noodling on one of the page designs, so it’s been taking longer than planned. VERY excited about it.
My husband is very particular about his clothes and will only wear this one hat he bought in college. So when he asked if I could recreate this unicorn hat, I thought it might be a fun puzzle to solve. After all, even if I could find a pattern for a similar style, the odds of him liking it would be pretty slim.
After a lot of counting, I was able to write up a simple pattern, but I had my doubts. Did I actually get the yarn weight right? Is my math correct? If it’s not an exact copy, will he even wear it?
I’m sharing the pattern here mainly so that I can reference it later. Feel free to use it but I’m not responsible for the outcome!
It only took a few hours to knit up and it’s pretty darn close to the original! The original also has a micro fleece band on the inside – one of the reason’s he loves it – so I’ll be stitching that in as soon as my order arrives.
I am pretty pleased that I was able to look at a knit object, read the stitches, write up a pattern, and achieve a very similar fit. I have another skein to make Version 2 and I’ll make the following changes. All of these changes are reflected in the pattern above.
Use a smaller needle for 1×1 rib. I used US 6 in Version 1 and it looks too loose.
Add in the 5 rounds that were omitted in Version 1 (3 in the 1×1 rib, and 2 in the body). These rows were omitted because I miss-measured while knitting.
Pull the 9 stitches at the top of the hat together tighter. After blocking, the opening relaxed a bit.