knits by sachi

All British Yarn

In February every year, Knit Now magazine publishes the all British issue.

It is to offer readers a chance to get to know yarn produced in the UK. Many designs are also related to something British.

Last year, I did this one: St. George and the Dragon.


This is from the issue last February. I am very fond of this photograph. It came out very nicely.

This year, I decided to submit our Queen’s favorite corgis, which I have posted some photos previously. The pattern includes two cushions and the rug. The cushions can be used to keep your pins and sewing needles.


I suggested some yarn to the editor, but the ones I believed British all turned out to be non-British. That told me how little I knew about British yarn! The editor’s choice was this yarn; Jamieson’s.


I did not know this wool at all. You don’t see them in high street shops or online yarn retailers very often. However, I was so excited when I opened the link the editor sent me.

So many colours! They also sell as little as 25g. It is perfect for mini toy knitter like myself.

The yarn is 100% wool produced in Shetland.

It is not silky, baby soft wool like Merino, it is more robust. I found that it gives firmness and clean finish to knitted toys. It is lovely.

When I went to Tokyo recently, I visited the yarn shop owned and managed by Nihon Vobue-sha, one of the leading craft book publisher.

The shop is called Keito, literally meaning yarn.

And in the shop, I found these.


And these.



I cannot tell you how excited I was to see these displayed! So far away in Japan, the Shetland wool is loved very much.

The shop was full of beautiful coloured yarns and knitted samples. Knitters or non-knitters, you would want to pick up yarn and try to think what you can create with it.


I am currently working on another project using Jamieson’s. I would love to run a workshop at Keito shop one day. Surrounded with all these lovely colours, that would be fantastic.

Keito shop:

Leave a comment »

Mizuko statues and the Tokyo tower

My younger son is very fond of observatories. He wanted to go up on both the Skytree and the Tokyo tower. I said to him ‘Could we just do with either one? maybe the Skytree since that is much taller?’ and he said no. He wanted to take photos of the Skytree form the Tokyo Tower as well.

But this turned out to be a rather interesting journey and I am glad that we made this extra effort.

On the way to the Tokyo tower, we came across this temple, Zojo-ji. It is a Buddhist temple built in the year 1393.


In their premises, there is a Mizuko garden. Mizuko, literally “water child”, is a Japanese term for a dead fetus or a dead baby. There are rows of stone statues of children represent unborn children, including miscarried, aborted, and stillborn children. Parents can choose a statue in the garden and decorate it with small clothing and toys. Those statues are called Jiz┼Ź, the guardian of unborn children. They are to ensure that Mizuko are brought to the afterlife.

I knew there are temples which specializes Mizuko kuyo or fetus memorial services, but hadn’t seen a garden like this before. I thought these statues are very sweet.

The little statues, Jizo, are often dressed in red. It is believed that the red has the power to expel evils. What I liked the most about this temple’s Jizo was the red crocheted hats of course.


I wonder if they are made by local volunteers.


And we found a rather unique one among them. We found it amusing.


It was a nice sunny day and I felt such a peace looking at these little ones with toy pinwheels by their sides.

Zojo-ji is on the way to Tokyo tower if you take a subway.

We had visited The Skytree in the same morning so that the Tokyo tower was not too impressive for its height but it is still a famous landmark of Tokyo. I also found a funny sign at the entrance.


I didn’t know you could walk up the Tower! I understand that you shouldn’t make an attempt under the influence of alcohol, but I don’t think anyone with right mind would even think of trying it.

The first time I visited the Tower was 30 years ago. I had just been accepted by a university. I was young and so excited about the prospect of living in a big city. This time, I was standing the same spot with my two sons who were the same age as I had been then. I felt extremely lucky.


Leave a comment »

Visit to Keito dama

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had nice holidays.

We certainly did. We spent two weeks in Japan and it was just amazing.

Apart from the recent emergency trip in November, our last visit was in 2011. My mother was still well so that we traveled Kyoto and Osaka together. It is a shame that she is in hospital now and probably, she will never get to travel with us again.

However, I was determined to enjoy this trip and had planned many things to do during the stay. First, we visited Tokyo.

My in-laws live in Tokyo but hadn’t seen us for quite some time. Father-in-law had gotten us to stay in a nice hotel with a fantastic view of the Skytree.


One of the exciting event in Tokyo was visiting Nihon Vogue-sha, one of the leading craft book and magazine publishers in Japan. I always wanted to get in contact with Japanese publishers. I was delighted when I received a message inviting me to visit them.

The office I visited was their knitting magazine, ‘Keito-dama’ (translated yarn ball) editorials. Interestingly, the editor I met was a man who is a keen knitter himself. I know there are many male knitters out there, but never had have seen one in person.


I had brought all my book titles and many issues of knitting magazines. I also gave him one of my little knitted work.

This little cat.


We talked about knitting and crochet extensively and that was such a joy. Time flew by very quickly.

He gave me a couple of knitting books and the latest copy of their magazine which is full of beautiful designs.

Among many interesting articles, I found this one. It features crochet beaded handbag.


The article is about how these bags are made with many hours of effort and are treasured by many, quite often handed down from a generation to a generation. What a coincidence! I thought, because I was just given a crochet bag from my mother a few days previously.



This bag was made especially for my mother as a wedding gift. It means it was made fifty odd years ago!

It is beaded and crocheted. I cannot fathom how many hours are spent to create this. It is a handbag to go with a Japanese Kimono. Although my mother is very well aware that I do not own a single set of Kimono, she thought I would appreciate it since I am a creator myself. I am very honoured.

Mum thinks her life is approaching toward the end. She has given me all her precious jewelries over the last few years. I used to get upset and became teary every time she did this, but somehow, I learned to accept them with a smile.

I will certainly treasure this beaded bag.