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.”)
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?)