January 18, 2010

WTF was I thinking? And a good thing.

For about a week now I have been obsessing over a Japanese crochet pattern, so the other day during lunch, I buzzed up to Kinokuniya to look for it.  If you're unfamiliar, Kinokuniya is a Japane-based book store with several outlets around the world.  I first discovered it when I worked in  30 Rockefeller Plaza, which was just down the block from their NYC store (which has since relocated).  Like many other people, I really grooved on the paper products, and ended up buying a refillable metal ring notebook and paper.  The paper was special, of course, having many, many holes along the left side, requiring that I return to the store for the next three years whenever I needed to stock up.  But that notebook and the special paper, which came in pastel shades of peach, green and blue, made me happy at a time when not much else about my job did, so I gladly made these special trips.

These days I have less of a need for paper, but I still have an appreciation for modern Japanese aesthetics, especially Japanese crochet.  It's often pretty and lacy without being twee, and they do innovative things with interesting fibers, like paper and stainless steele.  In any event, I saw a beautiful crescent-shaped scarf on Ravelry that I couldn't get out of my head, so I decided to track down the book from which it came.  I knew the name of the book and I knew that Kinokuniya had a large selection of craft books, so merrily off I went.

Only I didn't really know the name of the book. I thought it was called "3 Day Crochet." In fact, it's called "Easy Crochet, Complete in 3 Days!"

Also, I didn't have the author's name. Or the book's ISBN.  These mistakes made it impossible for the nice clerk to locate the book in the store's system.  Also, Kinokuniya has a couple hundred knit and crochet books, including special sections for lace, amigurumi and children's wear.  All in Japanese.  I tried browsing the books' covers, but there were so many and I had so little time.  I'm not sure what I was thinking, heading off, essentially to a foreign country with no map, no language skills and no real plan of attack.  So I didn't get that book, (I see Amazon.jp in my future), but I did get this one:

It is so exciting!  Poking about for a good while online (again, I can't read Japanese), I learned that it's called Motif Book, vol. 4, by Nihon Vogue (ISBN 978-4-529-04442-4, in case you're interested).  I love how it's shot and styled as much as I love the patterns, and it has me inspired to get back into crochet, which was rather neglected by me in 2009.  To wit:

Pattern: Improvised
Yarn: Frog Tree Brushed Suri
Hook: 5.5mm
Started: January 13
Finished: January 16

I've been wanting to make an airy stole in neutral colors for a while now, so this fit the bill rather perfectly.  I hate, HATE knitting with lace weight yarn, whether the needles be big or small; it makes me feel that I'm losing my mind. Crochet, on the other hand, is completely lovely with super fine yarn.  This improvised pattern is a riff on the traditional knitted feather and fan pattern, and I have to say I'm really very happy with the result. It's soft and pretty and feminine and traditional, not words I typically use to describe myself.  Perhaps that's part of the allure? The result also has a very "knitterly" look, but was done in a fraction of the time it would have taken me to knit it for real. And that, as Martha says, is a Good Thing.


Lissa said... Best Blogger Tips

Love the stole. As soon as I saw the first shot I was all, "Rebecca used feather and fan -- I could do something similar with my new afghan!" I won't, of course, as I'm very intent on using up a bunch of worsted weight so I can stock up on lighter yarns for spring and summer projects. But the style was so beautiful, and clearly recognizable, that I was inspired. :)

If you do find the first book, would you mind bringing it to a Wednesday gathering? That cover photo is reminiscient of the air I'm looking for in pattern books, and haven't been able to find. I'd love to look through (and possibly order a copy of my own.

Sayschnicklefritz said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks so much. If, nay when, I get this book, I will definitely bring it to a Wednesday meet-up. I'm excited to see what you're planning for all of your worsteds. Hmm . . .

littlebirdbigcity said... Best Blogger Tips

I can't wait to start to crochet. I'm supposed to start this winter. tick tock tick tock. I imagine it will happen once I get through this first pair of socks. If i ever do.

Oiyi said... Best Blogger Tips

It's beautiful! I love the colors you chose and that it's luxurious looking, but light.

Frk.Badegakk said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, that´s pretty!
I really like that pattern, it can be used for everything and it always turns out wonderful!
Thank you so much for that lovely comment on my blog, lovely to hear that my pattern is somewhat useful, and that my english isn´t too bad!=D