amirisu 2 day retreat at the heart of historic city Kyoto


Knitting is my passion, but I do love all kinds of fiber crafts. Natalie Miller is an Australian textile artist that I have been avidly following in the last few years.  Her work often combines different techniques including weaving, macramé and Chinese knot making, using colorful yarn and ropes that she dyes herself.  Her color is amazing - very energetic and inspiring.

So when I found out that she was traveling in Japan, I instantly reached out.  From there, things happened so fast and we found ourselves hosting a series of workshops at both of our shops!

Natalie will be visiting Japan with her Japanese Textile Tour (as expected - already been sold out) in November. Our workshops are planned before and after the tour.  Anyone who can speak either English or Japanese (or both) are welcome to join.

Tokyo workshops

Venue: WALNUT Tokyo in Omotesando
Max capacity: 7 students

Friday, November 11th. 10 AM - 4 PM (6 hours)
Fee: 25,000 JPY (+ tax) - All tools and supplies are included.

Saturday, November 12th. 10 AM - 2 PM (4 hours)
Fee: 16,500 JPY (+ tax) - All tools and supplies are included.

*Lunch is not included, but there are many places to buy lunch in the neighborhood. We will be flexible.

amirisu 2-day retreat in Kyoto

Instead of hosting our regular retreat, this year, we will have a short overnight retreat to wrap up with Natalie's weaving workshop in Kyoto.
The venue is limited to 10 participants. We rent a 120 years old Japanese machiya house, renovated into a fancy guest house and event space. Participants will be sleeping on futon with a few other people in a same room, like  a traditional ryokan style.
Dinner will be served by a unique caterer in Kyoto, who is known by her organic and healthy Japanese fusion food.
On the second day, the workshop will be held at WALNUT Kyoto in the neighborhood.

Date and Venue
Saturday, November 19th, 2PM ~ Sunday, 20th, 6PM

Venue: Machiya house in Kyoto, and WALNUT Kyoto
Fee: 55,000 JPY (+ tax)
Included: 3 meals, lodging, workshop fee including all the necessary materials, translation fee

Tapestry Weaving Workshop by Natalie Miller
Students will make approx. 25cm width x 30 cm height tapestry.
Ashford weaving frame, tools, and warp and weft supplies are all included.

It is possible to stay at the venue on the night of the 18th for an extra fee. (Two persons: 25,000 yen each, 4 person, 13,000 yen each.)  Considering the lodging cost in Kyoto, this is fairly reasonable. Meals are not included, but we can have dinner together at our favorite restaurant.


Slow Fashion October - SMALL

In Kyoto, it is easier to find independent makers than in Tokyo, or in fact, than anywhere else I know.  There are lots of crafters' ateliers and select shops that sell locally produced clothes and crafts.
One of such places is Tezomeya, a dyer's atelier and shop at the heart of the city.  I have found their online shop several years ago by chance, when I was doing some research on organic cotton and decided that I need an organic cotton T-shirt myself.  I became truly excited when I realized that they dye those T-shirts with traditional Japanese natural dyes.  All of their colors are based on what Japanese people have been wearing for hundreds of years (some were only accessible to noble or rich people in the old days).  Their products are not cheap, or I should say, their products are fairly priced, but I went ahead and ordered one.
My first purchase was a long-sleeve indigo-dyed T-shirt. It's thick and warm, and very comfortable.

A couple of years ago, while I was traveling, I remembered about their shop and decided to drop by.  They are located on the second floor of a small building, a little out of the way from the main shopping area.  I wanted to look at the colors in person, and wanted to pick the right fitted size for me.  This time, I decided on Kakishibu (persimon dye) color.  In Japan, you can find indigo-dyed T-shirts here and there, but Kakishibu one is pretty rare.  It smells like (relaxing but strong) ash, and the color faded quite a bit over time, while the fabric became softer.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that their atelier/shop was actually on the same street as our shop (before we moved a couple of weeks ago), and it was on my way to work.  Naturally, I bought another indigo one, this time, a short sleeved one.

The fabric of this T-shirts is reversed and biased jersey, and does not stretch very much.  It's sturdy and endures many years' of wears.

(On the front is indigo-dyed one, and the brownish one is very faded Kakishibu. It was burned dark brown color before.)

What I like about them even more is that they over-dye your old Tezomeya T-shirts for free, as any times as needed (and it doesn't have to be the same color).  It's a small operation of a few people, so sometimes it takes months until you get your T-shirts back, but that's not a big deal. Slow fashion, right? It's like, you grow old with your T-shirts, and occasionally, they take care of you and your clothes. They are like your partner, connected through your T-shirts.

The idea fascinates me.

I already have enough, so from now on, I'll just return to them with my worn-out cotton tees many many times, I expect.

(On behind is my newest T-shirts, and in front is the oldest one I own.  It used to be the same/similar color!)

Slow Fashion October - ME

As I've written at the end of Karen's article in the Fall Issue of amirisu, we'd like to contribute our little stories (more or less my personal stories, since I'm the only one writing them), and a lot of thoughts around the topic.

The relocation of our shop and office at the beginning of October caused this delay, but here I am, finally on a few days of vacation, having plenty of time to wander my mind over and around the slow fashion movement that is happening everywhere.

As an owner of a knitting company (whatever that word entails), we come across the question many of you may have been asked at least once - "why do you bother to knit? "
Why we bother to knit or sew our own clothes is the question we ask ourselves almost everyday. Thanks to Uniqlo and Chinese manufacturers, a price of a decent quality 100% wool sweater became so low that most people buy and throw away sweaters almost every year.  This is the reason why we want to design the whole experience of knitting more worthy and enjoyable - from choosing the yarn, choosing tools, to finishing and caring them. Yarns need to be pleasant on our hands, while at the same time create better fabric than store-bought sweaters that last longer.  

Up until a little over a year ago, I worked in a corporate environment and my everyday attire were grey and navy suits.  I had my suits made a couple of times (I still keep them for rainy days - if our current business should go astray, at least I have well tailored suits) and learned a shocking and sad fact. My tailor told me that women's clothes never use good quality fabrics, even very expensive suits and jackets sold at high fashion brands, because the trends change every year and it's wasteful.  This confirmed my suspicions. At boutiques, I always wanted to buy clothes that last longer, as my male friends did, but I rarely find things that satisfy me. Why women cannot enjoy well made clothes with quality fabrics? What's wrong with the fashion industry?

This was about the time I picked up knitting, and soon afterward I really got into spinning and yarn making.  This new skill, which is very flexible, mobile and forgiving, excited me more than anything, and opened my eyes. I learned to sew my own clothes back in high school, and now that I can knit, I can make any clothes I want.

I have been knitting quite intensively in the last 10 years while spending very little time on sewing, made only two dresses perhaps, and the last time was at least three years ago. My personal goal for this Slow Fashion October is to reconnect with sewing. And I know what I want to make - a set of pajamas.

Well designed and comfortable sleeping wears are hard to get these days, if you ever noticed. I imagine most Japanese people are wearing things from Uniqlo or other fast fashion brands. Proper pajamas became very expensive, while we were not paying any attention.
I saw this set of pajamas on a cover of a Japanese lifestyle magazine, and was fully intended to buy them however expensive they might be (indeed, they were expensive), but alas, they were already out of stock.  Then I remembered - I know how to sew them myself! The first thing we made in high school Kateika class were pajamas. Kateika is a subject taught in Japanese schools, generally only for girls, to train them to become effective and capable housewives. We learn about our bodies, nutrition, cooking, sewing, how to wear kimonos, etc. Although the idea is quite outdated and frustrating, I quite liked the class, especially because the teacher I had was totally a woman rib type of a person. She was a part of the movement to push Kateika to be for both genders, so that men can also become independent and educated.
Anyway, making pajamas was a memorable project for me, because I changed the basic pattern provided by the school to have a proper collar and shirt cuffs with buttons. The alterations had taught me a lot, which became a basis for my sewing skill.

So, back to the pajamas on the cover, I have found 5 meters of red plaid cotton fabric on the Internet, and let it collect dusts for almost a year. I see this is a great opportunity to get started and have my hand made pajamas for the first time in this 20+ years.

Craft City Guide: Portland, OR

Photo courtesy of Wildcraft Studio School.

In the latest issue of amirisu, I was able to realize the idea I've been wanting to try in the last couple of years - a craft city guide. I have been pretty crafty all my life, and knitting is not the only craft I keep my hands busy with. Majority of our readers are similarly interested in diverse types of crafts. That's why our guide is not a yarn shop guide.
I've been to Portland, Oregon, a few times in the recent years, and always felt truly inspired just by being there and walking around.  During the recent trip, we had lords of fun taking the macramé workshop and a day trip to Wildcraft Studio and spent a day with Kayla and other fellow participants.  This is the fruit of such inspirational trip.

You can view the full list of shops and places to visit in Portland, but for those of you who wish to have a more "readable" map, here are the download links.
Hope they help your travel planning.


マクラメやWildcraft Studioの織りのワークショップ、実際に自分たちで受けてきました。観光地やお買い物も楽しいけれど、新しいことを学び、いろいろな人とコミュニケーションすることで、旅も一層思い出深いものとなります。


Portland Map

Seattle Map

amirisu Issue 8 !

Issue 8 is out (for a few weeks now - we had been super busy)! For this issue, we came up with a collection of knitwear in neutral colors. The feature article is on craft travel to Portland Oregon. It's a great companion for your travel!
Copies are available at our Etsy shop, as well as from your local yarn shops (list of stockists here).

To celebrate the launch, KALs are ongoing at amirisu group on Ravelry. This time, there are two KALS - one for garments, and the other for accessories.  
These boards are for general chats. If you have any question while knitting these patterns, please feel free to ask here.  Our staff will answer them.  

There is a separate FO board to post your photos - and there will be prizes! 
Prizes are:
- Garment KAL: amirisu project bag (1 winner) / Patterns of your choice from UandIknit and Lete Knits (2 winners each)
- Accessory KAL: amirisu project bag (1 winner) / Patterns of your choice from Melanie Berg (3 winners)

We look forward to seeing your FOs!

WALNUT Tokyo及びKyotoでももちろん販売しています。遠方のお客様はショップからお買い求めください。



・ウェアKAL: amirisuオリジナルプロジェクトバッグ(1名)・UandIknitLete Knitsのパターンが各2名に。
・アクセサリーKAL: amirisuオリジナルプロジェクトバッグ(1名)・Melanieのパターンが3名に。


Free Pattern from amirisu - Broken Stripe Hat

If you are anxious to try out Woolfolk Får but not quite sure what to knit with it, or, if you have some leftover from your previous projects, we have a great pattern for you! A simple unisex hat in navy and white goes with most winter wardrobe.  If you start knitting it now, you can still wear it this winter!

Broken Stripe hat
Slip stitches make simple stripes interesting and fun to knit.
With Woolfolk yarn it is light and feels so good to wear.
It’s a perfect unisex hat!

Design by Miyoko Cancro

Woolfolk FAR (100% Ovis XXI Ultimate Merino Wool 142 yards/130m; 50g) MC 1(2) skein, CC 1 skein; Sample shown in #11 and #02

Any light worsted or DK yarn
135(160) yards / 125(150) m of MC, 10(15)yards / 9(14) m of CC

US6 (4mm) 16” circular needle or DPN’s
US8 (5mm) 16” circular needle and DPN’s
Or needle to obtain gauge

20 sts x 28 rows = 4”/10 cm in Stockinette stitch with larger needle

Kid 18~20”/48~50 cm (Adult 20~23”/50~58 cm)

Finished measurements
17(19)"/43(48) cm circumference un-stretched x 8(9)” /20(23) cm height

12 markers, Tapestry needle

Note : This hat is knitted in the round from brim to crown. If you want to adjust size, CO 4 or 8 sts less/more for brim and increase/decrease the same number of stitches on set up round of main section. Then follow rest of the pattern.

With smaller circular needle and MC, CO 96(108) sts. PM and join in the rnd.
Being careful not to twist.
Work in 2 x 2 rib (repeat K2, P2) for 13(20) rnds or until 1.5(2.25)” / 4(6) cm from CO.

Main Section
Switch to larger circular needle.
Set up rnd : *K8(9), PM; rep from * to end.
Rnd 1 : Join CC, *K7(8), Sl1, SM; rep from * to end. Cut CC.
Rnd 2 : Keep working with MC. K to end.
Rnd 3 : *K7(8), Sl1, SM; rep from * to end.
Rnd 4 : K to end.
Rnd 5 ~ 8 (10) : Rep rnd 3 and 4 for 2(3) more times.
Rep rnd 1~ 8 (10) 3 more times.
Rep rnd 1~4 once more.

Crown shaping
Dec rnd : *K2tog, K to 3 sts before marker, SSK, Sl1, SM; rep from * to end.
24 sts decreased. 72(84) sts remain.
Next rnd : K to end.
Rep last 2 rnds once more. 48(60) sts remain.
Dec rnd : (Kid only) *K2tog, Sl1, SM; rep from * to end. 36 sts remain.
Dec rnd : (Adult only) *K2tog, SSK, Sl1, SM; rep from * to end. 36 sts remain.
Next rnd : K to end.
Dec rnd : *K2tog, Sl1, RM; rep from * to end. 24 sts remain.
Next rnd : K to end.
Dec rnd : Rep K2tog to end. 12 sts remain.
Next rnd : K to end.

Cut yarn, leaving a 6”(10cm) tail. With a tapestry needle pull through remaining sts tightly to close the top of crown. Weave in all ends. Block lightly.

CO : Cast on
K : Knit P : Purl
MC : Main color
CC : Contrast color
Sl : Slip stitch
st(s) : Stitch(es)
BO : Bind off
Dec : Decrease
Rep : Repeat
Rnd(s) : Round(s)
PM : Place marker
SM : Slip marker
RM : Remove marker
K2tog : Knit 2 sts together
SSK : Slip 2 sts knitwise, knit together through the back loops

© Miyoko Cancro 2014
The design and images are property of Miyoko Cancro. Non-commercial use only.





日時:1/24 (土)、25 (日)、27 (火) 13時~18時半
場所:WALNUT 京都

1月17日 16時〜18時

・1月24日 16時〜18時

お好きな編み物を持ってご参加ください。英文パターン推奨。その場で毛糸を買って編み始めることもできます。参加ご希望の方は、 まで「6号京都ニットカフェ希望」と書いて、参加日時、お名前、ご住所、お電話番号などをお知らせ下さい。

日時:1/31 (土) 12時~17時
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ニットカフェ:1月31日 14時〜16時

お好きな編み物を持ってご参加ください。英文パターン推奨。amirisuの作品や英文パターンについてのご質問にもお答えします。参加ご希望の方は、 まで「6号松庵文庫ニットカフェ希望」と書いて、お名前、ご住所、お電話番号などをお知らせ下さい。