Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

I’m Going To Jinzenji World

Dear Ann,
If you believe in the concept of yin and yang, and the importance of keeping them in balance, you and I are in grave danger of being over-yinned, or over-yanged, on the stuff we’ve been knitting. (The other grave danger, for me personally, is a life-threatening Pedicure Status. My feet are a danger to myself and others. The Department of Homeland Security has declared my trotters a threat to national security. But enough about my feet. So sorry.) What is needed is a big shot of yang. Or yin. Something completely different.
Which is why, as soon as possible after you pushed the “SEND” button, I made a bee-line to Purl. I didn’t even stick my ragged head in the yarn shop. (For me, at this moment, yarn is just….yarn. I know that is FREAKY.) I went straight to Purl Patchwork. Such was the strength of my determination to buy fabric that I had a 16 year old boy in tow. “I’m going in,” I said. “If I’m not back in 20 minutes, it’s a credit card situation.” (Afterward, the 16 year old told me, “It was kind of cool seeing you in there.”)
simplequilt.jpg
This time, in addition to a life-giving stack of half-yards, I got a chance to look at Yoshiko Jinzenji’s 2005 book, Simple Quilt. I was familiar with her English-language book, Quilt Artistry, which is so inspiring yet so out of reach to a journeyman patcher like me. Simple Quilt is different. Although the text is in Japanese, I can see how these smaller, more basic quilts are made. Jinzenji’s striking results are attainable, skill-wise if not eye-wise, to an ambitious beginner. As a side benefit, I think that some of her graphic effects are adaptable to knitting, which will be good for getting Cara all fired up, if nothing else. (It’s been a year since we found the knittable Nancy Crow, Cara, and I’ve kept looking the whole time. This is IT.)
One thing I like about Simple Quilt is that, although there are English words here and there (like many Japanese craft books, there are random English phrases that read like poetry), the author’s name does not appear in English transliteration. The quilts speak for themselves, and are instantly recognizable as the author’s work.
There are a few images from Quilt Artistry here. (I can’t find anything on the Web that shows a lot. If anybody knows of some images out there, let me know.) Here is a 2003 interview with Yoshiko Jinzenji. Here is her website. If you need to reach me, this is where I’ll be for a while.
(Cara! I have already figured out how to knit a couple of them! She MIXES the FIBERS, including the SYNTHETICS. All crazy-like! If she were knitting a blanket, she would mix lurex and dishcloth cotton! Are you in the car yet, or WHAT?)
Love, Kay

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Wow! Knitting AND quilting — I wish I could do more than one sort of needlework :) I walk into fabric stores and get all excited by the thought of actually making something with all of the beautiful things I see around me (and there’s an amazing quilting store down the street from me that I can’t walk into lest I buy something just because I like to look at it), but somehow little pointy needles and I don’t get along quite so well as the knitting sort. Have fun!

  2. So glad to see and hear you two back to your fun and creative selves. I know how hard you have worked to get the book to bed… now to the fun stuff again! Please show us some of your quilts, too!

  3. I got me that Quilt Artistry book. And I work way, way, way too close to Purl, at which Patchwork I also dropped $5 yesterday.
    The question is: what will be more painful? The daily, killer yearning for the book? Or the intense desire to make all that stuff, if as you say, it begins to seem so acheivable and yet, life, work, eating always Get In The Way!
    Or the pain of surviving the tears of the husband when he finds that I’ve spent my entire monthly paycheck on Nani Iro fabric from Superbuzzy?
    Crafting as masochism. I’m not sure I’m ready. How much is the book? (I’m off to check)

  4. Also? She uses natural dye on her synthetics. No frikkin joke. And she “dyes” things white with her special mix of boiled bamboo. She is mad, mad, mad crazy.

  5. The simple fact that you are into this particular quilt book leads me to believe that we could be very good friends. I haven’t dyed or quilted in a while due to life (and baby!) getting in the way, but I’ll be back at it soon enough. Visit http://www.jenniferschmitz.com to see what I was up to quilt-wise a couple of years ago. Now I seem to have gotten sucked in by knitting…

  6. Christmas is coming, is all I’m saying. Feel free to Jinzenji in my direction any time you’re in the mood . . .

  7. Just what I need. A new obsession. Are you my friend at all?!?!?!
    By the way, I’m going to Kabuki tonight! How apropos!

  8. you people keep this up and not only am I going to start to think of knitting again (sweet jesus in this heat and with no airconditioner) maybe even blogging. But also start buying fabric (Id say quilting, but Kay… I think that might be a step too far :)

  9. She mixes fibers – is that the knitting equivalent of using fun fur and hand dyed silk and alpaca to knit a blanket???

  10. holy crap!!!!!
    you know I am a knitter.
    I am also a quilter.
    I live in Japan and I spend all my money importing books from America to inspire my knitting and quilting. And from YOU!!!!! I learn that there is good stuff right in front of me. I will go and look for that book TODAY!!!!
    I do have some really great Japanese quilting books, I just dont know all the greats though and dont usually have info about websites and stuff…… and I dont read Japanese knitting books… I cant figure out the patterns!!!
    thanks for the tip, I will check out the book today.

  11. That’s a big shot of ‘gin’, Miss Kay. Thanks for the heads up on the book. I’ve been smitten/bitten by the whole crafty-Japan thing for a few months now, but it’s tough to source some of these items in the stagnant heat of an Indiana summer. I’m going to go make myself a yin-&-tonic, now. Can’t wait to see what comes of your Purl Patchwork purchase, all alliteration aside. Knitterly/quilterly regards, Cami

  12. You! Last year you pointed out that block swap to me, and this spring it was the doll quilt swap. So now I’ve made three little quilts and one lap-sized one, the fabric stash threatens to exceed the yarn, and it’s all your fault. Can you imagine how envious I was yesterday of the friend who told me she’d attended design camp in Chiacago with Weeks & Bill? And now you’re turning Japanese! Am I going to have to unsubscribe MDK from my Bloglines? Nah . . .

  13. You! Last year you pointed out that block swap to me, and this spring it was the doll quilt swap. So now I’ve made three little quilts and one lap-sized one, the fabric stash threatens to exceed the yarn, and it’s all your fault. Can you imagine how envious I was yesterday of the friend who told me she’d attended design camp in Chiacago with Weeks & Bill? And now you’re turning Japanese! Am I going to have to unsubscribe MDK from my Bloglines? Nah . . .

  14. Oh, no! You’re going over to the dark side!
    I’ve lured most of my friends to knitting, away from quilting and papercrafts. I have a quilt that’s been in progress for four years, because I’d rather knit.
    Save yourself!
    PS: I just got your book, and I’m in love with the log cabins. Kinda late to the party, but better late than never! I’m knitting a log cabin, obsessively, but have no ultimate plan for it; it’s just fun.

  15. Kay! Get thee to Pinky at 80th & B’way. I was recently forced to have an intervention there for my hobnail heels. The spa pedicure – get it. Just don’t look at anything other than your knitting because it might scare you what they will have to do to your feet to resuscitate the flesh. I honestly thought my feet were long gone. (An unrelated note: I owe you a photo but the seaming is slow-going. Soon though.)

  16. A comment for the sidebar snippets:
    I sent an email to Honest Tea about the UK Big Knit project. I’ll let ya’ll know if I hear back. Even if it is a just a form letter and a 25 cent off coupon. Maybe we should ALL email them. (Wonder how big they’re server is?!)

  17. Dear Ann and Kay – I’m a regular reader of the blog and love it! Wanted to mention one teeny-weeny thing which is that your type-style as it shows up on my computer is now truly teeny-weeny! Don’t know if it’s this way for others to read…? A month or so back it changed to being about a zillimeter high when it had previously been fine. My middle-aged eyes are about a foot closer to the screen now to read it. Might there have been a stealth techinical change?
    Best,
    Linda “K”

  18. Dear Ann and Kay – I’m a regular reader of the blog and love it! Wanted to mention one teeny-weeny thing which is that your type-style as it shows up on my computer is now truly teeny-weeny! Don’t know if it’s this way for others to read…? A month or so back it changed to being about a zillimeter high when it had previously been fine. My middle-aged eyes are about a foot closer to the screen now to read it. Might there have been a stealth techinical change?
    Best,
    Linda “K”

  19. I can totally relate to the pedicure thing. It is a new luxary I have allowed myself in the past 22 months–along with an occasional professional massage.

  20. thanks for the new links on the right: such fun to *discover* new reads on the *knitting blog from which so many have sprung*. –fangirl

  21. I am Japanese.I came Troy in NY since last summer. I enjoy your knitting book and blog every day!! I knit lots of dish cloths for my family and friends in Japan from your knitting pattern, and they love it. My blog is written in Japanese, but I wrote about you as American great knitter. I am glad that you are inspired by Japanese craft! If you need help to read Japanese, I will be glad to do.

  22. I am Japanese.I came Troy in NY since last summer. I enjoy your knitting book and blog every day!! I knit lots of dish cloths for my family and friends in Japan from your knitting pattern, and they love it. My blog is written in Japanese, but I wrote about you as American great knitter. I am glad that you are inspired by Japanese craft! If you need help to read Japanese, I will be glad to do.