Japanese pattern-reading tutorial: Lesson 4a crochet

For the final lesson, I’ll assume you’ve worked through the entire circular chart and are now ready to move on to the brim portion of the chart. The crucial part is knowing how the circular chart (the top of the hat) and the chart arranged in straight lines (the sides of the hat) are connected. It’s shown with dotted lines, which I’ve augmented here with orange lines:

how charts are aligned

The reason the pattern switches to showing symbols in rows rather than in a circle is that for several rows, you’re just going to work even (i.e., no increases), and then you’re going to decrease. It’s hard to chart both increases and decreases in a circular chart, hence the switch to lines. Anyway, just trust the chart! After slipping to join the last round of the circle chart, chain 3 as shown in the first round of the straight chart (labeled 9 over on the right side of the chart). Then dc in each of the next 4 stitches, work your bobble cluster thingy (yes, very technical, aren’t I?), and continue. You should see that the stitches align exactly with the pattern stitch you’ve already established for the top of the hat.

Decreases begin on round 14 and continue in round 15. After that, the chart lines have been renumbered, starting with round 1 and going up to round 5, presumably to show that this is a new section (the edging). Renumbering just seems to be up to the whim of the pattern designer – sometimes they’re renumbered when a new section starts, sometimes not. Anyway, the important thing here is that we have four rounds of single crochet (just the plain X on the chart), followed by one row of crab stitch.

This isn’t a terribly good photo, but this is how the edging works up:

side view of beret

When it’s finished, it should look something like this (although I didn’t have a kid’s head handy to model it, sorry):

finished beret

Up until I did the rounds of single crochet, this hat actually fit my huge head. I didn’t cast off, actually, because I’m planning to undo the single crochet and leave this as a beanie so that I can wear it myself.

The only thing left in the chart is the pompoms. I’m not planning on making the pompoms, because I prefer a plain beanie look, but this is what we’re shown about a) where to put the pompoms and b) how to make them. These aren’t the typical pompoms made by wrapping yarn around something a bazillion times, cinching the middle, and then cutting the edges. Instead, they’re crocheted spheres that are stuffed with fiber (or waste yarn). The first image is a simple diagram of the hat showing that you need two pompoms and where to place them. Underneath that is a simple crochet chart – again, with international crochet symbols – showing how the pompoms are made. (For crochet symbols, please see: Hass Design | Craft Yarn Council of America | Select Yarn | Tezukuri Town | Two Radiant Is.)

chart for pompoms

On the left is the chart, and on the right, they’re showing you to stuff the pompoms. The messy lines I’ve circled in pink represent the stuffing, with a helpful arrow showing where it goes (although I’m pretty sure we can all figure out where stuffing goes!). The blue line is showing that you’re supposed to use your working yarn to pull the sphere shut. No detailed information is given on how to attach the pompoms to the hat. The Japanese text in the diagram merely says “attach pompoms”, so the designer assumes you’ll choose an appropriate method. Personally, I would either sew it on or slip stitch the pompom to the hat before cinching it shut. It’s really up to you, though.

So that should be everything you need to know to work on this pattern or nearly any Japanese charted pattern. Please let me know if you have any questions, and thanks for tuning in.

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5 thoughts on “Japanese pattern-reading tutorial: Lesson 4a crochet

  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain how to understand those marvelous Japanese patterns. I’ve been wanting to knit some of them for a long time but could not figure them out. Your simple explanations are going to be very very useful indeed, I am looking forward to reading the next messages !!

  2. hi dear dancingbarefoot! thank you so much for these instructions, real good for begginers with the japanese crochet.

    the other day i came up with a challenge that i couldn’t deal with, and when i see your post i thought maybe you could help me, if you have the time and opportunity of course.

    there are two japanese crochet collar patterns and charts which i am not sure where to start and which way to continue. could you take a look at them and tell me if you have any ideas? here below are the picture. thank you for your consideration. looking forward to hear from you. have the nicest day.

    https://s-media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/11/64/45/1164451ecc46fee12a79ffcf20d0e0c1.jpg

    http://klubka.net/uploads/posts/2012-11/thumbs/1353405453_0_1925b_b8c43e90_orig.jpeg
    http://klubka.net/uploads/posts/2012-11/1353405387_gocuqmf8b1e.jpg

    • I’d love to help, but I have a policy of not helping when illegal scanned copies of patterns are involved. I’m sure you have the best of intentions, but the sites you linked to have posted those patterns without permission.

      • oh, i feel so bad now. i’ve never thought of this way, i don’t know why. i would love to buy those japanese books and magazines if i had the chance, they are the best. thanks anyway and also for reminding me :)

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