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Design Spotlight: Japanese Stitches Unraveled by Wendy Bernard

September 13, 2018
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We are excited to welcome our longtime friend, Wendy Bernard, back to our blog! She's just released another fabulous stitch dictionary featuring our yarns, this time it's Japanese Stitches Unraveled. This comprehensive book (288 pages of stitches we can't wait to try) will provide you with endless stitches to play with and a handful of beautiful patterns to knit. We couldn't be more honored to have her knitting in our yarns. Learn more about her book and process with our interview - enjoy!

What inspired you to create a knit dictionary devoted to Japanese stitch patterns?

After writing Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary and The Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary, I looked to my favorite Japanese stitch resources for inspiration and new direction. Looking through them, it struck me that they were not too easy to decipher despite being charted in reasonably familiar symbols. Not only that, but many of the stitches in the books were totally unique—even odd—to my eyes. I approached my publisher (Abrams) to see if they’d like another stitch dictionary, but one that contains mostly Japanese stitches, and they agreed that it would be a good next book.

Do you have a favorite stitch pattern that's featured in the book? If so, which one?

Yes! It is called Gothic Seeded Arches and appears on page 208 in the Lace chapter. It is quite a big stitch pattern being 38 rows/rounds tall and a 12-stitch repeat, but it is such fun to work and it is so graphically pleasing.

Wendy is offering a special bonus stitch pattern just for our readers! See the pattern at the bottom of the blog to try it out for yourself!


Green Swatch 4-Column Snake Cables knit in Woolstok No. 1309 Earth Ivy, Pink Swatch Figs stitch, knit in Woolstok No. 1319: Quartz Crystal, Tan Swatch knit in Suri Merino No. 430 Haze, Blue Swatch knit in Woolstok No. 1305 October Sky

Photos of swatches by: Theron Tan

What's your process for selecting yarn that will be featured with each stitch pattern?

I have been working with Blue Sky Fibers for many years, so I’m pretty familiar with how the yarns act and which ones will work for lace, cables, or ribs, etc. I knit all the swatches myself—that’s how I figure out how to convert them to in the round—so I can switch out the yarn choice if I need to.

Blue Sky Fibers yarn has been featured in your last few books and in Japanese Stitches Unraveled. What do you enjoy most about partnering with Blue Sky Fibers for your projects?

First, I love the yarn! Ever since I started knitting in 2008, Blue Sky was my go-to yarn for almost all of my projects. As the years went by, I started working with Blue Sky more and more on single design projects. When I began writing books, it made sense to request support. The wonderful and broad selection of colors and yarn bases made it a no-brainer to use Blue Sky yarn in my stitch books.


Oversized Cowl knit in Woolstok No. 1307: Pressed Grapes, 3-Stitch Twisted Rib Slouch Cap knit in Royal No. 709: Primrose, Crossed Blanket Stitch Mittens knit in Woolstok No. 1308 Golden Meadow

Photos of knit patterns by: Lesley Unruh

What's currently your favorite yarn to knit with?

Hands down, the Blue Sky Fibers Royal Fingering. My favorite color is Cameo even though I never wear pink. I also love working with the Organic Cotton and Woolstok.

What's next for you? Can you share a bit more about your newest project/initiative?

Right now, I’m in talks with my publisher about another book. This time, it’ll be a little different from my last three. I’m also doing some other crafts to try to unleash new ideas. I’m a firm believer that creative people need to continually try new things to stay “fresh,” so I’ve been doing some painting and sewing in addition to my usual knitting.

Bonus Stitch Pattern: Small Basket Stitch

FLAT  (multiple of 10 sts + 5; 8-row repeat)

Row 1 (RS): [K1, p1] twice, *k7, p1, k1, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1.
Row 2: P1, [k1, p1] twice, *k5, p1, [k1, p1] twice; repeat from * to end.
Rows 3 and 4: Repeat Rows 1 and 2.
Row 5: K6, p1, k1, p1, *k7, p1, k1, p1; repeat from * to last 6 sts, k6.
Rows 6–8: Knit the knit sts and purl the purl sts as they face you.
Repeat Rows 1–8 for Small Basket Stitch Flat.

IN THE ROUND  (multiple of 10 sts; 8-rnd repeat)

Rnd 1: *P1, k1, p1, k7; repeat from * to end.
Rnd 2: *[P1, k1] twice, p5, k1; repeat from * to end.
Rnds 3 and 4: Repeat Rnds 1 and 2.
Rnds 5–8: K5, p1, k1, p1, *k7, p1, k1, p1; repeat from * to last 2 sts, k2.
Repeat Rnds 1–8 for Small Basket Stitch in the Round.


Learn more about Wendy Bernard and her book on her website Knit and Tonic.



Find the stitches & patterns in: Japanese Stitches Unraveled

By: Wendy Bernard

Published by: Abrams

Photos of swatches by: Theron Tan

Photos of knit patterns by: Lesley Unruh

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