Monday, October 13, 2008

Japanese knitting

What a weekend! I've been teaching Japanese knitting techniques for three days. It is the first time I've done this professionally, I've only hosted free evening seminars before and never about this subject. Now that I've worked through the material and tried it out I can't wait to get a chance to do it again. I only had four students, but they were all hard working and enthusiastic and they kept me busy. I hope they are as pleased with themselves as I am with their work.

So what is Japanese knitting? The story behind this goes back to the eighties when Mieko Yano from Japan started giving classes in her new homeland, Sweden. She spread the innovative and modern way of knitting that has been developed in Japan, were there is little tradition and much creativity on the subject. She also taught new instructors who spread the techniques all over the country. Unfortunately she died after a few years, and the eighties knitting boom came to an end soon after. Now when knitting is growing in popularity a new generation is starting to show an interest in all aspects of knitting, and Japanese knitting books are becoming available again. A few months ago I heard that Medborgarskolan was looking for a new teacher. Since I learned the basics a few years ago and was eager to learn more, I vounteered to do it.

I looked through the material I had, and went to see a former teacher who worked on this in the eighties. She had a lot of material, samples and advice and lent me some books. I picked out the sections that felt most useful and interesting to me and created my own plan and material. The first half of my course is about basic techniques, like casting on and binding off, finishing and reading charts. The second part is more about decorative patterns and new ways of knitting. In the next picture you can see some of my samples, such as double knitting, pleats, illusion patterns, mosaic patterns and short rows.

Finally I want to thank Mr P, who has been very supportive and provided me with the perfect soundtrack for the weekend. He gave me "The Knitter" by Cheri Knight, a collection of rock ballads with a great cover and a song all about knitting.