Monday, October 30, 2006

Petrol Crochet Hat from Japan and Amigurumi heaven!

I went to Japan a few weeks ago. It was a long trip with a lot of work and very little free time. But on the final day we got 2 hours to do what we wanted to on the streets of Tokyo. What did I do? I ran to the Tokyu Hands department store (via Kiddieland to pick up some Totoro toys) to buy some crochet books of course!

As we all know, the Japanese make excellent crochet patterns and the books they have are just so much better than the ones I can get in the UK. They just seem so much more creative - and cute - which is why I was determined to get some books before I went back. I ended up having about 10 minutes to decide which books to get, but thanks to my pidgin Japanese ("Sumimasen, Amigurumi?") I managed to find what I was after.

I got this absolutely lovely amigurumi book from Ondori, which contains a lot of patterns that are already available online for free (courtesy of some helpful translators). But it was only 280 yen and it seemed only right to hand over that small sum for the such great patterns. Can't wait to make some of the kawaiiii toys.

I also got this book from the Let's Knit series from Tezukuritown (click on the second button down and you can check out some of the patterns it includes). And the first thing I did when I got home was to sit and make this hat. It was too big when I made it the first time so I did it again with a smaller hook. Then it was too small, so I split the difference and did it again. But it was too small again. So I decided to go back to the original size and just do it tighter. But it was still too small. Just what kind of dark forces were at play here?

It was only then that I went back to the original hat (thankfully, I hadn't unpicked it) and realised that I'd put in two extra rows by mistake. After taking those out I was left with a hat that was the right size. I try not to think about the 4 evenings I wasted doing all those retries... It's best not to dwell on the lost hours... :(

But the fact that I did keep trying it is testament to the simplicity of the pattern - super quick to crochet and drawn in that excellent Japanese stitch diagram. So much easier than a written pattern - why don't we use them?! I love this hat - and after last year's hat making debacles, I think I deserve to have one success at last!

The two books together came to around £6 I think! Unbelievably cheap - and so much nicer than most of the stuff we have.

4 comments:

*evestar* said...

Hi there!

I found your blog through Crafster and I LOVE the hat you made. I was wondering if you can give me the ISDN no of the hat book maybe they sell it at yesasia.com...

Thanks *Evestar*

Leigh said...

Lucky, you! Going to Japan is something I would really like to do someday.

I'm a Japanese craft book junkie for the reasons you stated -- so many of their designs are nicer than what I generally see in the states. And the patterns are easy to follow even if you don't speak Japanese to boot. Too bad nutting out needles/hooks/yarn/other supplies can be tricky.

Anyhoo, cute cap! I really like the baby cap in a previous post too, I bet she looks darling in it.

sarachan said...

I'd go crazy buying totoros, crochet books, and yarn in Japan too!! Can't wait til the day I finally get to go. I just resorted to buying a couple online from amazon.jp last month and I'm still trying to learn the instructions... It's not too bad, but still have to decipher through it.

Lily said...

I agree with you. Why don't we use japanese stitch diagram for pattern. Reading pattern in english instruction is so confusing.