Pattern Review: Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible by Hitomi Shida

Not too long ago, I received a knitting pattern book as a gift from a Secret Santa gathering (thanks Huy!). I had this book on my wishlist for about a year now and completely forgot about it until it was gifted to me.

I usually find patterns online (which ends up being a painstaking process that I willingly bring upon myself), so it was nice to have a physical copy that I could flip through.

More recently, I’ve had a difficult time trying to find advanced knitting patterns that both suited my taste and didn’t charge me $5 for a single one. I noticed a few floating around on Ravelry and Etsy, but I’d rather have access to a larger array of patterns if I wanted to seal the deal (as a college student on a tight budget)!

Hitomi Shida’s Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible takes the cake in terms of level and variety. I’m a huge fan of Japanese Knitting because of its intricate and delicate patterns, coupled with knitting diagrams that are easy to follow (once you figure out what each symbol means).

The Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible by Hitomi Shida, translated by Gayle Roehm.
The first pattern that I attempted!

The book features a variety of patterns that are categorized based on its characteristics and potential use (e.g. lacy patterns with bobbles, pattern panels, edging). The diagrams are clean, featuring numbered rows and columns to show how the pattern repeats.

Each stitch symbol can be found in the beginning of the book that defines each knitting abbreviation and how to make each type of stitch. The back of the book provides visuals for more complicated/non-conventional stitches (such as the one seen in row #13 centered on stitch #10 in the pattern I followed).

The patterns are not exactly for the faint hearted, as many of them have multiple left/right leaning decreases and yarn overs scattered everywhere with the usual knits and purls. It took some time to adjust to reading each row without flipping back to the stitch guide every two seconds, but once you get into the groove the process feels seamless (no pun intended)!

First repeat of the pattern. Features eyelets along knitted columns (look was achieved by knitting in the back loop instead of the forward loop) followed by a leaf-like pattern on top.
Another view. Bobbles were made using a crochet hook.

The pattern I attempted had eyelets everywhere, so blocking the fabric was a crucial step to do the final product justice. I never made bobbles before, let alone with a crochet hook, so attempting these for the first time was pretty fun to figure out.

I found that most of the patterns were extremely decorative and would make gorgeous pillow covers, scarves, and shawls. There is also a great selection of pattern panels that would be perfect for a sweater. The end of the book has a number of edging patterns which I’ve never incorporated in a project before, though they can definitely add an extra layer of intricateness and dimension to any kind of project!

I’d say that I’m pretty satisfied with the variety of patterns that the book offers. I was pleased to see that the diagrams translate well into the expected appearance of the fabric. I would strongly recommend checking out the book if you’ve been knitting for a while and are itching for a challenge (or if you’re new to knitting, it can serve as a motivation for you to continue knitting)!

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