"In the new winter" Knitting memories Sweater production diary (1)
STORY | 2022/10/03
The seasons come and go, and winter comes again. Even in the same winter, this winter is only once. A new initiative has begun for the winter of 2022 . YUKI FUJISAWA, which has been dealing with vintage items, is trying to make a hand-knitted sweater from scratch.
"It's been 10 years since I started the brand, and I counted and made about 800 sweaters. I think it's amazing that 800 people are wearing the sweaters I made. It feels like a whole school. At the same time, I felt that I had done everything I could.On the other hand, there were some problems with vintage items, and as I mentioned in "Aran Knit Production Diary" , there were times when the leaf changed in quality. I've been plagued with it for a few years, and I've come to think that there might be a way to create something new based on what I've seen, rather than vintage."
However, I was a little confused about making a new sweater all of a sudden because I had been dealing with vintage items. A knit that was worn by someone is reborn and passed on to someone else.I felt a romance in that and continued to create, but I couldn't switch my mind to suddenly making a new sweater. . That's why, instead of jumping right in to the challenge of making sweaters, she decided to make accessories like mittens and scarves, says Yuki. Working together with Chiyoko, a knitter, and Kanae, who is involved in production management, gave me time to reconsider my handiwork.
“Recently, I had the opportunity to visit a certain factory, and it was a large factory that adopted the Toyota Production System . It is rationalized by calculating how many steps it is better to walk in that section. When I saw it, I thought again how inefficient what I always do. But I wonder if that's interesting. Hand-knitting something that can be knitted by machine is the most inefficient thing, isn't it? I thought that Chiyoko and her friends would be doing hand-knitting because they love the things that are left behind.”
Yuki herself can't knit knits, and the designs she proposes sometimes seem unrealistic to knitters. However, even in such a case, Kanae was amused and said, "I'll think about it." We had a meeting like that, and two or three weeks later we received a small sample from Chiyoko, and we had another meeting. Over time, I felt that I had a friend who I could share my heart with, and this gave me the push to start making sweaters.
The original plan was to announce it by the end of the year.
“For the past one or two years, we have been busy all the time. We have held events in Osaka and set them up ourselves, and we have turned this into an atelier shop and regularly hold order fairs. On the one hand, it makes me happy, but on the other hand, I'm just trying to put out all sorts of things from within myself, and there are times when it becomes difficult. "Let's think about it in the context of the situation."So, I reconsidered the question, " What is an Aran sweater? " I wondered if I could make a sweater with something like the spirit that led to it.”
Arannit was born in the Aran Islands in Ireland. As the Gandhi sweater originated in the 19th century on the island of Gandhi in the English Channel spread among British fishermen, it was introduced to the Aran Islands, where there was a fishing base, and eventually developed into a unique knitting method.
“When I looked into what happened before Aran Knitwear entered the mass production phase, there were of course no books like 'Aran Sweater Patterns' at that time, and the pure motives of the creators - 'I want to make good things.' More than 70 years ago , a contest was held on the island, asking people who were good at knitting sweaters I have a sweater from that time that still exists today, but the yarn used is very thin, the design of the sleeves is different, and the front and back are different. The patterns are different, and it's really interesting.It wasn't made for mass production, so I didn't expect anyone other than myself to knit it.There is creativity in that, and you can't forget that it's reproducible. I thought it was something."
The sweaters of those days were made with the passion of the knitters, regardless of profitability. By going back to the history of Arannit, I realized that I had been deeply conscious of " cost " before I knew it.
"I always think it's really strange to get paid to make things. After I started holding order fairs at my atelier shop and started selling my own creations directly to customers, It was really good to think that I should make it for that person, but on the other hand, I thought, "Isn't this difficult to use?" In terms of durability, it might be questionable,' and I started to put restrictions on myself. I'm afraid of that, and I'm telling myself not to put a limiter on it."
Yuki-san recalls that when she first started making things, her motivation was to "want someone to notice me." As the number of people who receive the work increases, the feeling will be satisfied little by little. Then, the thought of "for the customers who buy it" became my motivation. In facing the new challenge of making a sweater from scratch, he continues to ask himself, "Why do I make it?" The answer I arrived at was a simple desire to make something good.
“Actually, I was planning to hold an order fair by the end of the year, but while I was worrying about it, it ended up being October . I don't think it's going to be okay, so I'd like to make the first announcement before it gets really cold."
It's the end of October , and the cold days continue. While arranging the wardrobe for winter, I imagine what a sweater would look like.
Photo Kazuhei Kimura