Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Japanese Diagram Crochet Explained!

Ok, since writing my first post about Japanese Crochet Diagrams, I have had tons of requests on how to read them, try to explain them, etc. The first thing you should know is that I don't read Japanese. I have given some really awesome links on where you can find help with translation HERE.  There is also a chart with hook sizes comparing US, UK, Japanese, & steel hooks within the pages of this same link, so that you can easily use the correct size hooks for your projects.

But what seems to be a continuing issue, is the question of what all those diagram symbols mean, and what stitches do they symbolize? I have several fantastic books that go into great detail regarding stitch symbols, however, I will only cover the very most basic of them for now.

First, I reccomend the "Harmony Guide to Crochet Stitches" as it explains in detail in ENGLISH the diagrams & their symbols, and you should know ~ they do match up with the Japanese symbols. This is an older book, published in 1988, and so it may be a bit diffiucult to get ahold of. I reccomend both &

Second I reccomend this excellent Japanese book called "Basics of Crochet for Beginners".  It very clearly covers almost every single stitch you will run into with these Japanese Diagram Crochet books. 

Just a small sampling so that you can see that even though you may not be able to read Japanese,  there are so many pictures that it explains itself.  This book also covers basic alteration, pattern manipulation & construction.  If you are a visual learner, these two books alone will enable you to easily use the Japanese Diagram crochet books. 

Here is another great tip when looking for more Japanese diagram books on crochet ~ the Japanese also call crochet "knitting".  I don't know why, but they do.  So, if you look up books either on Amazon or eBay, be aware that it really doesn't matter if it says "how to knitting"... it's probably still going to be crochet.  Click on one of the pictures above to enlarge it, and see an excellent example of such ~ you can see in the top right-hand corner that it clearly says "how to knitting", and yet the instructions are just as clearly crochet. 

Also, several of the better sellers on eBay will include many pictures of the contents of the Japanese craft books, so you can tell whether or not it is a "knitting-but really crochet" book or a "knitting AND crochet" book, or even a real knitting book.  Because yes, these awesome diagram books are also for knitters!  There are symbols & stitch examples with a ton of pictures for knitting as well.  And, the Harmony Guide to Knitting Stitches is also available from both &

I hope that this helps all of you with your Japanese Diagram Crochet Quest!  I've said it before, but I think it bears saying again ~ when you have the diagram before you ( I use a printed copy so the book stays nice), and a color pencil in hand, you can sail through these projects!!  Case in point is the three (3!!, three!, THREE!) layette items that I started AND FINISHED last week, shown in my previous post.  These were done, for the most part, while watching my kids do their schoolwork ( I homeschool, for those of you that didn't know that).  The patterns are extremely easy to follow, and I can easily mark where I am at, put it down, pick it up, & regain my place in just seconds.   Kid has a question, needs a bit of "motivation" ;-D, or even just lunch break, & it's that easy! 
Good luck on your Japanese Diagram Crochet Quest, let me know if this has helped you, and above all, HAVE FUN!

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