Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Your cheat sheet to Japanese patterns

The beginning of my shawl.  Pretty!
My personal project for National Crochet Month has been to learn to read Japanese patterns.  You'd think this would be pretty easy... not only are they completely charted, but I speak fluent Japanese!  Peace of cake right?  Well, it turns out that crafting uses words I don't know, and words I thought I knew but to mean something completely different, so I thought I'd share my little key with you.  I'm working from the pattern Outing Shawl by Pierrot Yarns.
  • 約143c: any time you see this character, followed by a number, followed by a "c," it means "about (number) centimeters."
  • 110段 : this symbol, preceded by a number, is the number of rows.
  • 1模様 : these two symbols together, preceded by a number, is the number of pattern repeats.
  • 12目 : this symbol, with a number in front of it, is the number of stitches. 
 Those are the very basics.  They also combine to make some slightly more complicated directions:
  •  12目1模様 : this one is "(number) of stitches equals one repeat."  In this example, 12 stitches is one repeat.
  •  8段1模様 : this is a lot like the last one, but notice the second character is the "row" character - so, in this example, "8 rows equals one repeat."
  • 49目作る : this is where it tells you how many starting chains to make.  In this example, 49.  Note that this number does NOT include the turning chain.
Is there more to it?  Yes.  Yes there is.  That being said, with that much knowledge, and knowing the standard charting symbols, you can read and execute a Japanese pattern.  So go forth!  Expand your knowledge of crochet!  Japanese patterns can look intimidating at first, but they really are pretty manageable.  Even if you don't speak Japanese.

1 comment:

  1. OMG!!! You are the best! I have a pattern book that I purchased on because I loved one particular pattern soooooo much. I knew that Japanese patterns are heavily charted which is why I took the plunge and ordered the book. When I received it, I was a bit intimidated because some of the instructions were written, and I have no clue how to read Japanese (would love to learn though!) This post has answered some of my questions, so a huge thank you!!!