knits by sachi

Looking back

Noah’s ark with my Safari book animals

Christmas came and gone. I hope everyone had a lovely time.

With a new year approaching, we think back on the events this year has brought and start making up the resolutions for the next year.

I received fantastic gifts this year; my achievement of publishing two books!

My idea of making knitted safari was born during the last trip to Japan which was taken place four years ago. The book has come a long way. I had brought oddments of yarn to knit on the airplane and at my parents’.

My attempt to make animals started in much larger sizes. They look all right as an individual toy, but my Safari park would end up very big with them.


I had many many trial and errors.

I remember the camel I made. I spend hours making it, but it turned out hideous. At one stage of making up, it resembled a human male organ, and my mum and my boys had a good laugh.

Well, someone found it amusing at least.

I decided to make all animals much smaller than usual toy knits. That way, I could use good quality yarn for nice finish. I so dislike buying cheap yarn for knitting toys.
This one is my very first set. I listed on Etsy and it was sold on the same afternoon. This is also the very first item I ever sold on Etsy.


I knitted animals again and again with improvements made here and there. I also knitted the entire mat again to let the animals stand out more. It was my editor’s suggestion and I think she was absolutely right. Spot the difference in the photos below.

The book was finally published this summer.
When I found problems with some of the patterns in the Safari book recently, although minor, I was utterly disappointed and distressed. I could not look at the book for a while. But I do believe this is still a fantastic book and I love it even more for it like a problematic child. (Please consult correction page on my website or Search Press website if you have a copy of currently circulating printed book.)

And my second achievement; Mini knitted woodland followed.

And this is the highlight of my year.

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I cannot tell you how excited when I saw this poster!

And thanks to the hard work by the sales team, the safari book’s German rights has gone through. The book will be published in German, too!

And of course, I would love it so much to be translated into Japanese. It is my dream, but I think dreams do come true if you want it bad enough to happen. It has to happen!

I would like to thank God and everyone who involved in making these fantastic books this year.

And everyone who has been supporting me with kind comments through social networks!

Thank you very very much!


Japanese Christmas cake

This cake was done by my 17-year-old nephew in Tokyo. How lovely!


In Britain, we like fruity, boozey and dense Christmas cake, but in Japan, light and fluffy cake is favored.
It is a sponge cake covered with whipped cream. We have a tradition to have this on Christmas Eve.

You can make one at home. Icing it nicely takes some practice, but the sponge is made from a simple recipe.

Ingredients to make 18cm (7 in) cake

For the sponge
3 eggs, separated
100g flour
70g sugar
20g powder sugar
1 tbsp water

For the cream topping:
500ml double cream or whipping cream
4 tbsp sugar
Around 20 strawberries

Line the cake tin with baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 c).
Beat egg whites with electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until stiff.
Add egg yolks one at at a time, beating well each time. Beat further 5 minutes or so until the mixture is smooth and bubbles less visible.
Add 1 tbsp water to the mixture and stir lightly with a spatula. Shift flour and powder sugar into the egg mixture and stir with a spatula until just combined.
Insert a wooden skewer and move it up and down from right to left, left to right from bottom to top just once. This is to even out and take some air out from the sponge.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

You can’t go too wrong with this recipe. Just one thing; DO NOT open the oven door the first 20 minutes.

You might have noticed that there is no fat added to the sponge. Fat comes from egg yolks. It is low fat and very light sponge.

You can decorate it however you would like. Instead of whipped cream, you can cover it with 100g of melted chocolate of chocolate flavoured whipped cream. You can enjoy this cake not only for Christmas but for any occasions.

This one is from the previous year. You see the same Santas on the cake. They are very well loved by the family and appear on the table every year.



Christmas Eve!

The busiest person on earth tonight.


Santa is the symbol of dreams, generosity and happiness. We all love him very much.

I made this Santa inspired by an antique drawing I found online.
The Santa has a huge bag full of toys. They are not wrapped, but I like it that way.

And no computer games.

These are his gifts.


I stuffed the bottom of the bag with wool to give it the volume.
I really enjoyed making these small toys. That was a lot of fun. I could go on and on making these.

I am sure he will be making many children happy tonight.


Christmas baubles

I have this beautiful bauble I got from a friend a few years ago.


Isn’t this pretty? It has London scenery picture. I think it is hand painted.


Maybe I should keep it in my room all year around. It is too nice to keep it in the box.

I love London and everything British. I have lived in New York and Tokyo and I like them both. You can live very interesting and exciting life there, but London has gorgeous scenery and I absolutely love it.

There are many ways to hand craft baubles. You can paint, felt, crochet or knit. You may have seen the ones designed by the world famous Arne and Carlos. Those baubles are delightful, and I think it is a very good way to practice fair isle knitting.
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You can get the book from Search Press website.

So where is my original bauble? I thought about knitting a simple ball and embroider cute flowers or stars, but I decided to make this one.

I added a little baby. I was going to make a Santa, but I think I like this little baby.


I made another one.



But my boys’ favorite is this one we got from my sister-in-law in Japan.

This is not only pretty, but has chocolates inside.

Christmas is full of fun. Don’t we just love it?


Mini Santa puppet

Many of us are getting super busy with last minute shopping and preparing for the big day feast.

But if you have one hour that you can relax, you can make this little finger puppet.
I just came up with the design a couple days ago.


Size: 5cm
• Small amount of red DK
• Small amounts of fair skin colour, dark brown, white fleecy chunky yarn
• Stuffing

a pair of 2.75mm (US 2) knitting needles

Body and head
With white fleecy yarn, cast on 18 sts, break yarn.
Rows1-8:join red and st/st
Row9: (k1, k2tog) to end (12 sts)
Row10: change to skin colour and p
Row11: k3, (kf/b) six times, k3 (18)
Rows12-14: st/st
Row15: shape eye line; k3, (k2tog, k1) four times, k3 (14)
Rows16-18: st/st
Row19: (k2, k2tog) to end (11)
Break yarn, draw through sts, pull tightly and fasten off.

Cast on 16 sts with white fleecy yarn. Break yarn.
Row1-5:join red and st/st.
Row16: p1, (p2tog, p1) to end (12)
Rows17-20: st/st
Break yarn, draw through sts, pull tightly and fasten off.

With white fleecy yarn, cast on 6 sts.
Row1: skpo, k to end (5)
Repeat row1 until there are 2 sts remain. Fasten off.

*skpo: slip1, k next st, pass the right st over

To make up
Sew the head seam, using the fasten-off end yarn. Stop at the neck. Stuff the head and work a gathering thread along the neck line. Pull tightly to shape. Do not stuff the body since this is a finger puppet. Work a gathering thread along the row15 of the head for eye dent if desired. Sew the rest of the body and hide the yarn ends.
With dark brown DK (8-ply) yarn, French knot the eyes. To create the nose, make short backstitches the same spot two to three times.

That is all.
I hope you will enjoy.


My handmade Christmas tree

Come December, I am busy knitting Christmassy items.

I usually do not mind knitting things out of season. My knits are all small, and I can enjoy knitting Easter bunnies or Halloween monsters in summer. I just made summery nautilus items for Knit Now magazine coming up issues. But there is something about Christmas. I cannot get into the spirit until December.

This year, I made lots of human figures. I think I have finally succeeded designing knitted dolls I am happy with. I do like Waldorf inspired simple style, but it has done by many. My knitted figures I created this year have more distinctive features and easily recognizable as mine. I always wanted to create something unique.

I have posted this photo last time; Girls with Christmas tree. I have used Rowan Fine Tweed, my favorite yarn.
With Rowan, you cannot go wrong.

Then, I made a bigger tree with children decorating it.


I have three children, big sister, little sister and a baby boy.

I also have a dog. You have to have an animal or two to go with a fun scene. I thought dogs are more keen on celebrating than cats but I may be wrong.


The tree has a knitted trunk in the middle. I just wind yarn around a card and sew one end, cut the other end and released the card. Then, I attached the yarn tuft to the trunk. I started from the base and moved on the top, using less yarn. The decorations are secured with one or two stitches because they kept falling off the tree.

You can enjoy this tree if you can spare a little corner. Isn’t this lovely?


Our Christmas food shopping


Celebrating Christmas is a tough job.
Shopping can be fun but stressful at the same time.

I do not enjoy supermarket shopping at this time of the year and I know I am not the only one. Crowds and the quantities everyone buys is utterly amazing. For every Christmas, many of us over buy, over stock, over eat and drink.

Since all my relatives live in Japan, we don’t need to stock up food for holidays, but to avoid the hassle of food shopping, I decided to visit a Chinese supermarket. I cook Asian most of the time, and my boys love going there, too.

We have Wing Yip superstore about an hour away from us.
It was a lovely, sunny day.
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They have rows of frozen ingredients. We usually buy Natto (fermented soy beans), Wanton wrappers, Udon noodles and seafood. You also see very interesting things here as pigs’ feet (!) and chicken feet(!).

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And here are my boys’ favorite, instant noodles! They are considered to be a junk food but very tasty.
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Biscuits and sweets,
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and more interesting dried ingredients for cooking.
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You can get large bags of rice here in the warehouse. They have a variety of rice from all over the world, but we like Sushi rice and bought 20 kg bag. That will last us a while.
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My younger son is a very fussy eater and doesn’t eat much veggies or fruits, but he eats some of the Asian vegetables happily.

And he loves this. Wasabi peas! I have never seen such a large jar of Wasabi peas. It is £11.00 worth.
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Maybe I should have gotten him one for Christmas.

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Lovely and girly

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It was my favorite story as a young girl, Anne of Green Gables.

I didn’t like Anne’s personality at first. She is too talkative and uses big words too much which I found a bit annoying, but gradually, she grew on me. She is very interesting and charming.

But what I loved about the story was her life and everything girly in it; baking biscuits and cakes for tea, stroll in the woods looking for berries, yearning for a dress with big balloon sleeves.

And having a best friend and a boy who teases you.

I grew up in Japan, and my life was very different from hers, but I felt very close to her. I had a very close friend and a boy who liked teasing me.

In one of the chapters, Anne accidentally got Diana drunk off of red current wine. Anne thought that the wine was raspberry cordial, a drink suitable to teenagers.
It is funny that I had a similar episode. I was invited to my friend’s house and she gave me Japanese plums which had been used to make plum wine. Japanese plum wine, called Umeshu is often made at home. It is a liqueur made from steeping ume fruits (while still unripe and green) in strong alcohol and sugar. You get alcohol soaked plums which are delightful to eat if you make Umeshu at home.

The plums were sweet and so yummy and I had a whole lot with my friend. It must be a shock to her mum when she found us in her kitchen, all drunk and giggling.

I always wanted to create dolls inspired by Anne story.

Anne is often depicted in a little dull coloured clothes, but I dressed her in fresh green and white.

The bike has two knitted wheels with light weight cardboard inside. They are connected with garden wire.

And Diana. I liked her personality in the story very much. I tried to make Diana’s sleeves a little bigger which were then ‘ in style’.

Picked up from the young readers’ section at the library, I read the book again recently. At one point, I realized that I was reading it from the foster parent’s point of view. How interesting.

I think I want to create more scenes from the lovely story.


My knitted yarn shop

I wonder how it is like to have your own yarn shop.

It is my dream, my fantasy.
And I think I want to keep it that way. To run a shop for business involves hard work and dedication. I am like a little child who wants a candy shop so that she could have candies every day.

So, I knitted myself a yarn shop.

I started with little human figures. Because they are yarn shop keepers, I dressed them nicely in cardigans and jumpers knitted with Rowan fine tweed, my favorite yarn of all.
I bought these balls just to knit these tiny jumpers.
I can knit hundreds of little outfits for my dollies with them.
I have a knitter, a spinner and a little lady.
The hardest bit for this project was this spinning wheel. I could not work too much in details, but I tried to make something simple with a knitted wheel and light weight garden wire. The wheel has a cardboard inside.

I made a little dog in Rowan, too. He is looking posh.

And what does a yarn shop need? Shelves full of colours!

This knitted shelf has light weight cardboard to keep the shape. Separations are removable. And for the yarn balls, I wind a bit of tapestry wool around a tiny card, cut into 1 cm x 0.5 cm or so. It took me a while to fill the shelf, but it looks nice and make this project more complete, doesn’t it?

I feel lucky that I know how to have fun with very little materials .


Mini knitted toys book

Recently, my book editor did a photo session for my third book, “Mini Knitted Toys”.
This is just one short session for the provisional book cover. The book is not scheduled until next year, and it is still at the very early stage, but we needed a photo for the Search Press book catalogue. We decided to shoot a book cover looking photo. I appreciate their extra time and effort very much.

This book contains many many patterns. Originally, we started with the 96 pages format just as the Safari and Woodland book, but there are too many projects that we just couldn’t drop. The pages have been increased.

Since the toys are in different sizes in different styles, it is quite a challenge just to shoot a fake cover page. But Search Press art team is fantastic, and I know I am in good hands.

See them working very hard.

You know you will get patterns for the items you see here of course, but the book has so many patterns, about 30 of little toys. And there will be another mini book, “20 to make tiny toys” from Search Press 20 to make series. That makes 50 patterns all together. I have been submitting patterns to Knit Now magazine on top of these and that is why I haven’t released any individual PDF’s on my web shops although I get requests here and there. I hope my readers will understand.

I enjoy writing patterns, but it isn’t an easy job.
I just found that my first book, “Mini Knitted Safari” contains errors. Majority of the readers have found the way around, but if you are having trouble, please see the correction page on my website; or on the on the Search Press website. This is a bit of an accident occurred during the editing.

if you are already working on animals from the book and pulling your hair out because of this part of the pattern, please forgive me. I made many animals over and over again to check the numbers of stitches and rows, and we did work very hard to make the patterns error-free, working with a pattern checker.

And I will keep on making progress.

It is a lot of fun creating books. I am looking forward to be working with the art team again.


Oops, I just noticed the bunnies are fallen.