J is for Japanese influence
This blog is about the things I love, bunnies, crochet, cross-stitching, crafting, knitting, life, j-pop, DIY, and things japanese so when I discovered that Japan has influenced crochet and cross stitch I felt happy.
I L O V E japan, I love the language, the music, the anime/manga (cartoons, graphic books) the place, the style, I love Hello Kitty, Studio Ghibli, Japanese drama and history and I was so happy when I realised all of these are integrated into the crafts I love so that I could combine my loves.
Japanese influence in crochet and cross-stitch takes many forms, you can't not talk about amigurumi but there is more like pixel arts, kawaii style, kokeshi dolls, japanese flowers and japanese style.
First things first: Amigurumi meaning knitted stuffed toy, although ami actually mean both knitted and crocheted because the japanese don't have a word for crochet they use knitting for both. Knitting with needles and knitting with hook which is the crochet one. Amigurumi took the world by storm so you must have heard about it. I have only made one amigurumi which was a Star Trek Enterprise toy for boyfriend. But I really want to make a bunny one day.
Pixel art is something else completely, you can use cross stitch patterns to do this or graft your own. Pixel art is usually squares that you crochet and together they turn into a picture, like this:
She also made this cupcake blanket Also I own this book from Hannah Meur and there are lots of wonderful fun patterns in this.
What I think makes Pixel art japanese is because a lot of the games used in pixel art like Zelda are japanese and the use of kawaii style (more on that later) and Hello Kitty sort of makes it Japanese style I think.
Kawaii is japanese for cute, adorable and in crochet and cross stitch the kawaii style usually means bold colours or pastels, cute motifs, often with big heads, big eyes and eyes on inanimate objects like cupcakes, making something odd cute like poo, Here are some examples.
I love carrot by Soda Stitch
Playful Kitten by Soda Stitch
Sweet tea by Gorjuss
Was all the fad a few years back and you could get them with everything, in wood, sewn, crocheted, cross-stitched or drawn. I designed one of my own.
Kokeshi dolls of my beloved j-pop group W
Were also quite popular for a while and I think they are timeless. I have no idea why they are called japanese flowers, when I think of japanese flowers I think of Sakura (cherry blossoms) and these don't look like that. But I do think they fit with the timeless yet modern Japanese style.
You can also see the japanese influence in crochet in the more modern, classy, adult, lacy, subdued style in their patterns, they are divine. First of all they are all charted so you don't have to read japanese, second they well thought of and planned, third they look very chic and modern and something you could easily wear to the office or to a party. Often in greys, whites, black, browns and blues they look so soft and wearable. I love japanese crochet patterns. Most of all I love the ones from Pierrot yarns, after all that is where my wedding dress pattern was from and my dress was delicate, elegant and cute, the pattern was easy to understand, they had included both cm and stitches so it was easily customisable.
So what do you think of the japanese influences? Which one do you like? Kawaii or the more softened Japanese style? I like them all and can't choose^^