December 2021 Meeting Recap: Gayle Roehm presents Hand Knitting Design in Japan, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Melanie Chen
Board President Kimberly Williams opened the December 2021 virtual meeting and explained that in keeping with our mission, we welcome a diverse community and respectfully acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional homelands of a diverse array of indigenous tribes and bands. The greater Portland metro area rests on traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin, Kalapuya, Molalla, and many other tribes who made their homes along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. We recognize Indigenous peoples as the traditional stewards of this land and acknowledge the enduring relationship between the land and the people since time immemorial.
Kimberly announced that meetings will continue to be held virtually through at least March 2022.
As this marks our last meeting of 2021, we really owe a huge thank you to lyric apted, Julie Spellman, and Elle Gough for their service to the Guild in Communications and Events. The past two years have been intense, and the technical wizardry of lyric and Julie has made our virtual meetings run very smoothly. Big round of applause!!
Going forward, we are in need of a video editor to perform basic editing of meeting videos to share clips on our blog (primarily Anna’s member tips), and Show and Tell (adding slides with music tracks), and when we have permission to share, light editing of speaker presentations and full meetings. If you have any skills in video editing, or are willing to learn, please reach out.
For those wanting to show their Guild pride or to help get the word out about the Guild, there is a new online shop located at CafePress, featuring PKG logo clothing, bags, mugs/bottles and accessories. Currently, these items come with no mark-up for the Guild.
Early Bird membership for 2022 is now available. Save $5.00 for individuals or 10% off business memberships when you join or renew by December 31st. See the membership page for more info and a link to pay. If you need a scholarship membership, please get in touch. Gift memberships to give to others are also available. For questions, requests for scholarships, or help with gift memberships contact email@example.com.
Member Tips with Anna Lorton. The tip this month described some ways to use your smartphone to help with knitting: Members suggested using your phone to assess color contrasts, which Anna demonstrated. She showed how to use the black and white filter on your camera phone to verify the degree of contrast among different yarns. There is also a collage app which is quite useful in comparing yarns. Anna also noted there is a site/online yarn shop called KnitPicks (which kindly donates yarn to the Guild for charity knitting) and she recommends checking them out.
Next month we will talk about swatches. As always, please send your ideas and suggestions for future Member Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Programs Chair Sharon Grayzel introduced featured speaker Gayle Roehm, who presented Hand Knitting Design in Japan. Gayle discussed Japanese knitting design and introduced us to some of her favorite Japanese knitwear designers and their designs, highlighting the incorporation of beautiful stitchwork and unique variations on traditional techniques. Gayle has lived in Japan, speaks Japanese, and is the translator of Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible and 250 Japanese Knitting Stitches as well as several other books of Japanese knitting. She is also a nationally recognized knitting instructor and a knitwear designer.
Gayle noted there is quite a range of Japanese designers, and the ones she highlighted were her personal selection. Hitomi Shida is the most recognizable designer now, but there is a lively and active knitting community in Japan, with a lot to explore, and many of these designers are on Ravelry.
Some key distinguishing features of Japanese knit design include:
Gayle gave us a whirlwind slideshow tour of select designers, to whet our appetites. She did note that traditionally, most Japanese patterns were only done in one size, with the knitter responsible for making any size-related adjustments, although this is changing now. Patterns usually are presented in graphs. Designers whose patterns are available in English include Michiyo, Yoko Hatta, Junko Okamoto, Eri Shimizu, Hiromi Nagasawa, Ririko, Hiroko Fukatsu, Yuko Shimizu, Noriko Ichikawa, Mari Tobita, Kineco Yuki, Rievive, Sachiko Uemura, Ayano Tanakaand Yumiko Alexander.
Other famous Japanese designers whose work Gayle highly recommends, although some of their work is only available in Japanese: Hitomi Shida, whose knitting stitch bible has come out in 11 different languages, and whose 250 stitch pattern book was put out 10 years earlier. Toshiyuki Shimada, who was trained as a pianist in Europe, and whose designs tend to follow traditional European styles, incorporating fair isle and lace. And Mitsuharu Hirose, Keiko Okamoto, Jun Shibata (a personal favorite of Gayle’s), Kazuyo Nakamura (sculpted stitchwork), Mayumi Kawai (interesting stitches and colorwork), Mutsuko Kishi, Mutsumi Harada (exuberant colorwork), Mari Abe, Yoshiko Hyodo, Naoko Shimoda, Hikaru Noguchi (pioneer of visible mending technique), Yukiko Kuro (lace), Michiko Narukawa, Kasumi Suzuki (floral themes), Mariko Mikuni, Misako Murayama, Mariko Oka, Junko Okamoto, Saichika Fukiko (avant garde large gauge work), and Erika Tokai. By the end of Gayle’s presentation, we felt we had gained a tiny window into a whole new world—dazzling!
The meeting concluded with Show and Tell, which featured the work of busy Guild knitters as well as presenting Michelle Lee Bernstein’s fabulous Steek with Me free coaster/swatch pattern that is a great way to take the plunge and steek something that does not intimidate.
Join us next month via Zoom on Thursday, Jan 13, 2022 at 7 PM, when Patty Lyons presents Secrets of Yarn Substitution.