"In a different form" Knitting memories Sweater production diary (5)
STORY | 2023/01/31
The day the knit sample arrived at the atelier. Before the meeting started, Yuki bought me a rice ball. On that day, we had promised to get together when the sun went down, so he thought that everyone would be hungry, so he bought rice balls made from rice at a nearby specialty store. Surrendering ourselves to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we tend to forget about such considerations. I have a strong memory of the time when everyone stuffed their mouths with other rice balls before the meeting started.
On that day, the atelier table was lined with not only knit samples, but also baked pottery buttons. These are the buttons I made in Mr. Takemura's atelier last fall. Mr. Takemura selects a glaze and bakes the buttons, each with a slightly different finish and a slightly different color. The result was even better than expected, and the sweater design was reworked to create a knit that could be buttoned up.
Round buttons weren't the only thing on the table. There was also a button with a butterfly motif and a button with a clover motif. Mr. Yuki told me that he plans to use a different motif every year, with the button on the top being the " ear button " for the new knitwear from now on.
“At YUKI FUJISAWA, we often use the motif of butterflies, and when I think of the scenery of the Aran Islands in summer, the atmosphere of living creatures living in good health left an impression on me. I wanted to use motifs with vitality.”
At the stage when he started making buttons, the motif of "tree branches" was also a candidate, and Yuki picked up tree branches that could be models. There was also a clear reason why the tree branch was a candidate.
“Knitwear is a matter of course, but isn’t it made from sheep’s wool? , Don't look at it and think, ``There's garbage on it. I chose the button motif so that the story would continue.”
According to Kanae, there are quite a few foreign yarns that still have wood chips on them. However, in the case of yarn produced in Japan, complaints will be made if all such substances are not removed. “I hope to convey the generosity of nature,” says Yuki.
The knit this time uses yarn from a Japanese spinning company, so there won't be any complaints about "wood chips attached!" However, even if domestically produced threads are used, there are problems. It's whether it irritates or not.
“I like turtleneck sweaters, so I wanted to make a turtleneck this time as well, but it was difficult to balance the firmness of the sweater with the comfort around the neck. I'm verifying the thread with Mr., but we haven't found the optimal solution yet."
Kanae-san told me that most of the knitwear produced by major domestic companies is made from raw wool so that it doesn't irritate them. The area around the neck tends to irritate, so sometimes a different thread is used for that area.
“Nowadays, sweaters that don’t irritate are scarce. In Japan, people want something softer, lighter, and nicer to the touch, so I think sweaters that don’t irritate are becoming the norm. When you use thread, the tension in the sweater disappears. If it's tensioned, warm, and 100% wool, it will inevitably irritate you."
Come to think of it, the knitwear I wore when I was little was much more itchy than it is now. Compared to that, I have almost no memory of being scratched by recent knitwear. Instead, rather, thin and light things stand out. Like the Aran knit, tight knits are no longer seen compared to the past.
“When I was dealing with vintage knitwear, I gave up on many things, in a good way.” Yuki says. “The itchy texture, the slightly strange shape, the stretched and shrunk sweaters, I have enjoyed sending them all as individuality. Should we match the standards ? "
Mr. Yuki said that he has valued " uncomfortableness " since the early days. However, in this day and age, there is a risk that " discomfort " will be dismissed as noise.
"To be honest, I've been at a dead end since I came back from Europe." Yuki said frankly. “What I am going to express from now on — there is a time that Aranseta has traced, and with the help of unraveling its history, it has somehow taken shape. I can get over it by interacting with Chiyoko and Chiyoko."
“Even though we communicated on LINE , there were times when Yuki-san’s impatience came through, so I sometimes sent samples like, ‘Just check it out!’” Kanae laughs.
“When the pullover sweater was knitted, it was really good, but I was worried that it might not be as stiff as the Aran sweater,” says Yuki. “The appeal of this yarn is its soft and comfortable feel, but I have always seen vintage knitwear with a hard texture, so I have never been able to get away from that image. I hurriedly sent a LINE message saying, “Maybe I should change the thread!” Then Kanae-san contacted Chiyoko-san and sent me a knitted sample. When I saw it, my worries were groundless.The strength of the pattern reduced the looseness of the knitting, and most of all, the power of the handwork that I was aiming for was conveyed straight, so I was relieved that this would be fine. That's right."
Three years have passed since Yuki started working with Kanae and Chiyoko. Over the years, we have come to understand each other, and new doors are opening.
"This time, I asked him to knit a list of grains to make a sweater from scratch." Saying that, Yuki-san showed me a nice knit. There were many grain-like patterns woven into it. This grain pattern is called "bobble". Yuki-san likes this grain pattern, and asked him to knit it using various techniques to find out what kind of grain would suit his new work.
The grain patterns lined up in a line have a different expression one by one. However, Kanae told me that the items lined up side by side were woven using the same technique. Yarns include straight yarns and slub yarns. The straight yarn has a uniform thickness, while the slub yarn has a thick and thin part because it is interwoven with undulating yarn. That's why bobbles knitted with the same technique have different shapes. Chiyoko said that she knitted several grains of the same weaving method as samples to convey the variation.
"Chiyoko-san, that's amazing. You understand all my requests," said Yuki-san happily as she looked at the samples.
“Ever since I started making knitted accessories, I wanted to cherish the traces of handwork. I asked Knitter to write his signature on the tag, and that's enough to make people realize that it's hand-knitted. By using it, even if someone is good at knitting, there will be parts that dance to the left and right.I think it would be nice to see that kind of distortion.
Even if the knitting pattern is based on the same knitting pattern, hand-knitted knits have slightly different finishes depending on the knitter. Also, if you look closely at old aran knits, you may find that they continue knitting from where they made a mistake along the way. However, compared to when the Aran sweater was born, it has become difficult to get people to accept the fact that it is uneven.
“I really think it would be great if more people could enjoy this kind of unevenness.” Kanae says. “I think that when you live in a daily life where you always say, 'You can never make a mistake,' you become more sensitive to mistakes and irregularities. Instead, I hope that people will enjoy the irregularities and the sense of incongruity, and that they will find it comforting. right"
There are many jobs in the world where mistakes are not allowed. However, I think that a world that is intolerant of other people's mistakes and irregularities is a difficult world to live in. It's okay if the fried egg is a little distorted, and if it takes a while for the food to come out, you can just wait. The store clerk who runs the cash register doesn't have to stand up, just sit down and do the cash register.
In an era where homogeneity is required, there will surely be someone who seeks a different form. Chiyoko-san and Kanae-san, who Yuki works with, must be one of them. Yuki is making a sweater while racking his brains for that person.
Photo Kazuhei Kimura