Knitting a kimono, Part 2

Because great weebs knit alike, of course there is someone who’s published books on the idea of knitting your own kimono. Twice.

Knit Kimono and Knit Kimono Too by Vicki Square, lays it all out with about ten times the historical research and technical vocabulary that I managed. I just want to knit a sweater out of rectangles, but Square has patterns for all kinds of shit based on historical wear, with some yofuku (western clothing) ideas thrown in for good measure.

Knit Kimono is mostly about shape, while Knit Kimono Too is mostly about color. Since I am fairly shit at color schemes on my own, I will totally steal ideas from a thousand-year-old tradition made by people way more sophisticated than I am.

“Stealing the best ideas wherever they come from” is the working definition of multiculturalism that I like best.

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Knitting a kimono

“Kimono” in Western fashion basically means “relatively unstructured sweater without fasteners.” But being weeaboo hipster trash, I actually mean kimono when I look for kimono patterns (or at least a haori). I get disappointed a lot.

But at one anime con, I found a fellow fiber weeb who did a short demonstration on how REAL kimonos looked and were assembled, and I felt two steps closer to Enlightenment after it. (Her pro-tip was to buy one and disassemble it yourself.)

Traditional kimonos are pretty cleverly designed for maximum efficiency of fabric use, which is a long goddamn lost priority for Western fashion. I can’t be too angry about it, because I do like tailored clothes that are easy to move around in, but there is a sort of practical elegance to kimono and bog coats (no, Google, I don’t mean dog coats, jeebus).

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Reviewing ‘200 Crochet Blocks for blankets, throws, and afghans’

“200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans” by Jan Eaton is another one I found in the library and that I’m probably going to own at some point.

One thing that bogs me down about motif projects is when the thing happens where you go oh gawd I have to make fifty more of these gawdforsaken exact same things. I get tricked into thinking that motif blankets have to be made up of all in one or two motifs. Or that only motifs worked in the round are the what “real” crocheters do.

Thankfully that is a dirty, filthy lie, and “200 Crochet Blocks” reminds me of this.

200 crochet blocks quilt logic.JPG

This is an excellent example of what I’ve come to call “quilting logic.” You can do something as simple as turning your blocks to get sawtooth, diamond, or windmill patterns just like in quilting. Or you can make geometrics within the geometrics of the squares by using corner blocks, borders, and bands. Or mix busier or more intricate patterns with plainer blocks of color. Mix open work with tighter textures.

One thing I haven’t seen much in other books (at least not for blankets) is incorporating bobble or popcorn stitches. Not just adding a row or two to a stripe pattern, but using the popcorns to make shapes like diamonds or arrows within a solid-colored square. Or maybe that’s sweater logic rather than quilting logic.

In conclusion, good book, creative stuff, and yay libraries.

This Week in Moe Shit: ‘Umamusume’

High school girls — animal-eared girls, no less — with an earnest transfer student who wants to Be the Best. And they race in stupidly kawaii outfits that probably create a lot of wind drag. And at the end of the races they have an idol-style concert. This feels like the Triple Crown for moe trash.

All that actually doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that horses’ ears do not work like that. I don’t know why the hell the animators insisted on having the girls’ horse ears squinch at the middle. Horse ears swivel at the base and tend to point more out than down.

horse ears

Sadly, this sample is missing the most popular moe expression, “kawaii dismay.”

But this series DOES actually have something resembling a character arc for our main girl Special Week and a few other characters. Especially since this seems to be based on a mobile game. They doubt themselves and get disappointed and we’re shown and not just told how much hard work they do rather than stupid random power-ups.

Still good for happy nice time watching, but still…

umamusume ears

This Week in Moe Shit: ‘School Babysitters’

The moe in this one is less about high school girls and more about toddlers. And our main character is actually a dude, which makes this a rather unusual piece of moe shit, but there’s not much plot beyond slice-of-life and there’s little to nothing by way of character arcs, so I feel very comfortable in calling this moe shit.

So our main duo, high schooler Ryuichi and preschooler Kotaro, are conveniently orphaned by the plot and are taken in by the chairwoman of a private academy who makes Ryuichi earn his keep by watching a bunch of the teacher’s kids as part of the “Babysitting Club.”

Now, I’m a soulless monster who doesn’t like kids. Theoretically I like babies — like, other people’s babies who go away before too long — but toddlers are right out. Probably even laid-back toddlers like Kotaro is supposed to be. So it’s a backhanded sort of endorsement that I did not find these fictional toddlers either too annoyingly saccharine or annoyingly implausible.

Some of the side characters are one-trick ponies who aren’t really worth the plot making an effort to include them once their schtick is up. Or their schtick isn’t that funny.

There’s a guy in Ryuichi’s grade who’s fallen in love with one of the teachers and claims her kid as his “future daughter.” Except that teacher’s not a single mother, it’s just that her husband is an archaeologist who mostly works overseas. The joke should stop there, but the show insists on keeping it running, so it comes off as creepy and no-longer-funny. It was kinda charming in an awkward way when you thought this guy was just too earnest rather than delusional, but after a certain point I was half-expecting him to kidnap the baby or some shit, and that is not what I want for my happy-nice-time watching.

Luckily there is some decent humor in this to distract from off-key notes like this, and side characters who aren’t gross.

Like another classmate, a girl with a crush on Ryuichi, who wants to be good with kids but sucks at it. I kinda relate to her, but I’ve had more time to come to grips with the fact that I am crap with kids and nothing’s really gonna change that.

After being low-key terrorized by the kids being the gross little horrors that they are, Ryuichi makes her feel better by telling her that he doesn’t like gross things either, but that he puts up with it because the kids aren’t just a faceless mass of snot and bugs to him, they’re Taka and Kirin and Takuma and Kazuma.

Which is very happy nice time-making, but my mileage has varied considerably on that theory in regards to kids. Pets, yeah, I can apply that to, so the sentiment isn’t entirely lost on me.