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Tuesday, November 1, 2005

All Swag Great and Small

I’ve been having a LOT of fun on my job lately. At this time of the year, that has not always been my song du jour. The weather can make le travail un jour sans joie. Or the politics, a filibuster of pain.

Well, this was NOT an election year and I wasn’t stuck with the candidates on the trail. It Was a World Series year ( for the first time in 88 ans) and one could revel in the faces, etc. of players in their prime, fans estatic and yes, off topic discoveries.

While shooting a profile on the fellow quite possibly Rookie of the Year, White Sox player Tadahito Iguchi, a new mall was discovered out in the near Northwest Suburbs. This was not a super mall but had a lot of spice on its own: grocery store, fine liquours, gifts, large food court, a miraculously incredible Dollar Store AND a book store. What made this mall so enticing to me?

It was entirely Japanese…

This merited a trip back this weekend when I could look for what I just thought might be hidden treasure socked away in the realm of the bookstore itself: White Gold! Printed Page! JAPANESE KNITTING MAGAZINES!!!

I was not disappointed!

There was a Whole Section of Books and Magazines devouted to our beloved stitch craft. I was so ecstatic but so spent by the display that within a few minutes, I had to go devour a Bento Lunch Box Special in the food court and fuel up for a second round of pleasure.

Once again energized, I returned to make my selection and here’s what I came away with –


the freshest selection awaited…


I was prepared for the difference in format in these mags because I have a couple of others, sent to me by the lovely Ms. Cruz…


They are read back to front, left to right and have the entire pattern, given graphically on one page. All the statistical information is in the area of the graph – I love this – wonder if it will ever catch on here? What’s really appealing to me is that it appears to this eye to be a fusion of trad written pattern with machine instructions…

But of course, one only has to go mining online to find a plethora of tips about reading and using international patterns. I found these links to be very helpful…

— Tata-Tatao’s Tutorial (wander around this site and you will be greatly rewarded in other ways as well!)

— Clearwater Knits Fabulous Lessons

— Practice your graph skills on these hat patterns from *Puppy*

— Knit Japan Links

Asahiya Bookstore
Mitsuwa Marketplace
100 E Algonquin Rd
Arlington Hts, Illinois

13 responses to “Tuesday, November 1, 2005”

  1. terry in sf says:

    Merci beaucoup! (& that’s about the extent of my written Francais!) I really do appreciate the links. We have “Kinokinuya” here in SF – in the city’s Japantown – I like to get the beading books. How are you doing reading the patterns? A bit of a job for me but hope to get the hang of them. The Super Eggplant knit blog has some links too. thanks for the wonderful blogging you do –

  2. Therese Cruz says:


  3. Cathi says:

    Those look like some great finds, Bonne Marie. I really need to check out some of the shops in Denver, but we don’t have many ethnic areas. Can’t wait to see what you are inspired by!

  4. knit chick says:

    Isn’t that a great strip mall? I used to work by there and it’s a great place for lunch. Now I have to check out the bookstore!

  5. freecia says:

    Do you read the Crafting Japanese blog? They have tons of ISBNs and previews :)

    Japanese Dollar Stores are wonderful… You simply MUST go in next time. The one in SF near the Kinokuniya bookstore is called Ichiban Kan and I swear, it is tough getting out of there without buying a few containers, notebooks, or other Japanese goodies for a reasonable price.

  6. Chelee says:

    I’m currently taking college French and was delighted to see you use it in a post. Even more delighted that I could understand it.(-:

  7. Brenda says:

    I can’t wait to see what you knit from these magazines. Recently, I have begun trying to translate patterns in French–I speak no French. It has been a challenge but a pleasant one, with a little help from my friends. Good luck!

  8. maria says:

    Wow, seems a lot of us SFers are replying to this post!

    Before I even finished reading this I somehow knew that you had gone to the Mitsuwa Marketplace. I’m not sure I’m right, though. I spent a year and a half in Schaumburg, but my memories are hazy. I didn’t wander much because it was too cold for me most of the time!

    I think that Japanese craft books are so much clearer than American ones. They all seem to have schematics and most have charts. (Their crochet books are especially good.) When are English-speaking designers going to jump on that bandwagon?

  9. Bonne Marie says:

    Yes, Yes, YES! It’s the Mitsuwa Marketplace! I forgot that part – thank you thank you!

    There are also Asahiya Bookstores in New York, NY on 360 Madison Ave; in Torrance, CA; and in Los Angeles…

    I love the way these patterns are written too – I’ve been writing my personal patterns (non-published) that I use with that type of charted/graphed system with great pleasure for awhile. I wasn’t aware it was just the ticket in Asia and I’m not sure why it isn’t more widely adopted here. IMHO, it is so much easier to use. :)

    Maybe I’ll get all cabin crazy this winter and come up with a little experiment…

  10. claire says:

    Merci beaucoup for the Japanese pattern links. I bought a kit from a Japanese yarn company in NY (I don’t even know if I am supposed to say the name, LOL). Anyhow I was surprised to see the pattern it came with, it hadn’t occurred to me that it would be written differently than the American patterns….but I think with a little practice it will work out fine. Especially with the extra info you have noted here.

  11. Meg says:

    Oh, I’m so jealous! (blushes green) What a fun shopping trip!

  12. monica says:

    The bookstore will also special order knitting books for you if you want. I brought in a picture of a knitting book that I wanted and they didn’t have it and they ordered it for me.

  13. sahara says:

    Wow, what a great world! I live in New York and go to the Kinokinuya Book Store, but I didn’t know about the Asahiya Bookstore on Madison.

    I tell you, this is one more reason why I check your blog regularly. Thanks!

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