knits by sachi

Woodland music band

I think we had a lovely summer this year in the UK. We even had a heatwave quite recently.

It isn’t too easy to let the warm and sunny weather go, but autumn is surely arriving.

We have a few phrases related to autumn in Japan and one of them is ” Geijutsu no aki “, the autumn of artistic inspiration.

So, here are my animals all ready for their music concert.

I have bear, vox and badger;


And little ones like these;


When I first thought about the project, I wasn’t too sure how I could make string instruments. First I tried to make the shape with increasing and decreasing stitches as I usually do, but that over complicated the pattern and the result wasn’t too neat. Then, I thought of knitting a quite simple piece and cover a cardboard cut to the shape. That worked much better. A bit cheating, but never mind.

I have made a series of many woodland animals in different sizes and styles. I do like more realistic ones as in my Mini Knitted Woodland, but I enjoyed making these guys, too.

I hope I made the right instrument choices for each animal.

Here is the full cast. There is a deer playing a drum in the back.


I don’t have much regrets about how I raised my children. They are fit, artistic, academic and the best of all,they are nice boys. But I wish I have given them opportunities to learn a music instrument or two.

I took piano lessons for 18 years from the age of 5. I made some attempts to play quite complicated pieces of Beethoven and Chopin at some point. I guess in 70’s and 80’s, parents were very keen to educate their children to have better lives than they had themselves. My dad bought me an upright piano even before I started school. It must have cost him a fortune!

The piano still sits in my parents’ living room. It is usually forgotten, but my kids did enjoy banging on the keyboard when the were little.


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Okonomiyaki; Japanese savoury pancake

I was looking through my boys’ photo albums and found this photo the other day; My boy enjoying cooking (?) Okonomiyaki at my parents’ house.


What a precious memory.

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “how you like” and yaki meaning “grill”. Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with the Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan, but is widely available throughout the country.

I am from the south west of Japan, so that I am more familiar with Osaka-style okonomiyaki which is the predominant version of the dish found throughout most of Japan. The batter is made of flour, water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage, and usually contains other ingredients such as green onion, thin pork belly, seafood and vegetables. Some like to add mochi rice cake or even cheese.

There are restaurants that specialize in the dish.
Some okonomiyaki restaurants are grill-it-yourself establishments, where the customer mixes and grills at tables fitted with teppan hotplate. They may also have a diner-style counter where the cook prepares the dish in front of the customers.

However, it is not at all complicated dish and my mum always cooked it at home.

Ingredients (for one pancake)

100g all purpose flour
1 tsp Bonito Dashi granules
1 tsp baking powder
100ml water
1 egg
2 pointed cabbage leaves

This is the basic dough. Cabbage always goes in the mixture in Osaka style.
Dashi granules are available at Asian supermarkets or online shops.

When I first arrived in the UK, I couldn’t find the right cabbage to make okonomiyaki. White cabbage is too hard and tightly wrapped and savoy cabbage is too different from what we have in Japan. Pointed cabbage is similar in taste and texture to Japanese cabbage.

Suggestion for additional ingredients

1 spring onion, finely chopped
prawn, squid or octopus
crab sticks
pork meat, finely sliced
bean sprouts
bell pepper
pickled ginger
cooked egg noodles

This is “How you like” pancake and you can add what ever you fancy.

1 tbsp Okonomiyaki sauce
dried bonito flakes/powder
Aonori seaweed powder
Some like adding Japanese mayonnaise, too

Okonomiyaki sauce is a Japanese BBQ sauce. If you cannot find it, you can substitute it with ketchap and soy sauce mix (1:1). I also found that the popular Caribean BBQ sauce works.

How To Prepare

1. Shred cabbage leaves finely. Mix flour, dashi granules, egg and water. Add cabbage leaves and set aside.
You can add your additional filling at this stage except raw meat if you are using some. Take care not to overwork the dough.


2. Heat up a frying pan with a little oil. Pour okonomiyaki mixture into a round pancake shape. If using meat, start cooking your meat strips separate from the pancake.

3. Once the underside of the pancake is done, add the cooked meat to the top and flip over to finish cooking.

I am making two at a time for my boys here. I am making one with egg noodles. Strange? but it works.


When both sides are golden brown and cooked through, spread sauce and sprinkle with bonito flakes or powder and Aonori seaweed powder. Cut the pancake into 4-5 pieces.



If you are nervous about flipping over the pancake, slide it off from the pan onto a large plate with the uncooked side up and then, flip it over.

I cook in frying pan like this, but we use our electric hotplate sometimes, especially when we need to serve many people. Place the hotplate in the centre of the dining table, and we all cook Okonomiyaki together. We can have a Okonomiyaki party! It is fun!

There are many celebrities who are converted Okonomiyaki lovers. I have seen Jonathan Ross cooks it on one of Gordon Ramsey show. There is also interesting series presented by Ainsley Harriott on Channel 4. He visits Japan and enjoys his first Okonomiyaki (served in Hiroshima style). It is called ‘Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food‘.

Fillings are not mixed in the batter in Hiroshima style. Thin pancake is spread on a pan and fillings are added on top of it.

It is so inexpensive and nutritious. You can be creative and make your own version. Basically, it is a savory pancake with filling topped with sauce. Have a go.



My publisher is running a book offer starting today.


Search Press Art and Craft Books on Facebook

We have a SIGNED COPY of ‘Mini Knitted Ocean’ by Knits by Sachi PLUS a mini knitted toy to giveaway!
To enter all you need to do is:
1. Like our page
2. Leave a comment below
3. ‘Like’ the post
Tell your friends by tagging them or share the post! Winner will be chosen at random on 21st September. Good luck!
For more information about the book click here:

or you can go to Tweeter

Search Press on Tweeter

Singed copy comes with one of these toys;


The seahorse and the sunfish didn’t make it to the book, but I am offering the sample.
Very good luck!


Love to Knit and Crochet interview

The article has this photo, my favorite amusement park train with happy animals.


In the current issue of ‘Love to Knit and Crochet’, you will see my interview article, yes, again!

This time the article goes on two spreads, 4 pages. How flattering!
The first spread;


and the second;


I received the request some months ago by e-mail from the editor. Attached was the previous blogger’s interview PDF as an example. The pages were colourful and beautiful with lots of photos nicely arranged, and I felt a little anxious about accepting the request. I hoped that the editor can work a magic and make me look nice, too.

And I think she did!

I supplied all the photos. The hardest bit was the photos of my working space. I don’t have a studio dedicated to my knitting and sewing, I just work in a corner of our dining room. I wish I had a posh and stylish studio like I often see in magazines, but I do like my corner. I work most of the day but I don’t have to feel isolated.

The problem is the room is between the conservatory and living room and do not have direct windows. It is bright enough for me to work but photos taken in the room usually look too dark with funny colours.

I tried to do without work space photos, but I knew that the editor wanted these the most. That is the whole point of the interview, isn’t it? To show behind the scene?

So I asked my younger son to carry down the large lighting equipment that my husband uses for e-bay photos and there we go, we tried.



They are not brilliant images, but I think it worked.

This shelf was made by my son. He made it for GCSE design tech. He scored very high with this one.

It is supposed to be a coffee table and cannot say it is the most convenient thing for my stash, but I am keeping it. Maybe some day, I can tell his children the story.

The article comes with the knitting pattern of this hedgehog pin cushion.

I don’t like sticking pins to animal toys but this is an exception. Hedgehogs have spiky back and I feel less guilty.



Arrival of the new title and the next book

I have received some copies of my newest title, ‘Mini Knitted Ocean’ the other day.
It is always so exciting to see my work in print. I am certainly sending a copy to my mum and dad in Japan.

We did the photo shoot back in last summer, so the book has come a long way. Some of the projects were very challenging to photograph and took us a very long time to come up with the shot we were all happy with.

This one was the toughest and we worked on it over an hour.


Because of the shape and the size of the photo in the page, it was very difficult to fit everyone in!

To the team I confessed that I am a big fan of Denzel Washington and named after him the officer on the left. Then, everyone started to call him ‘Denzel’.

“Move Denzel a bit forward.” “Move Denzel to the right”….. Amusing.

So what’s next?

My next book will be a sewing book. It is a collection of Christmas felt projects.

When I show my knitting book to my friends, some of them said, “It is lovely, but I don’t knit.”
Now they don’t have any excuse not to get involved creating cuties.

The book will have many projects as always. There are quick and easy individual projects and larger sets with many items and characters. I have posted photos of Christmas wreath and Nativity sets. They will be certainly included in the book.

Poinsettia and Holly leaves fairies for Christmas tree;




My favorite camels will be in it, too.


Writing a sewing book is something new for me. I need to produce templates this time. My younger son has been very helpful and did a fantastic job drawing on Word. It took him over five weeks! I think he has more patience than I do.

With this book, you can have lots of fun not only on the Christmas day but days and weeks before it. Isn’t that nice?

I have entire Nativity set knitted as well. I am sure I will get to share the pattern someday.

My lovely team, working on the provisional cover photo for the Search Press book catalogue last week.