Monday, June 8, 2009

Zen and the Art of Wabi-Sabi

Today, a quick round up of a few knit-related Japanese thoughts. I was in the store yesterday, looking around to see what was new-- or at least new to me (which is often a lot of stuff since you can usually find me with my blinders on, my face planted in the Wall-o-Noro). Come to think of it, Noro is Japanese, which might be part of the reason I love it. I am a huge fan of many Japanese things, styles and philosophies. I've been to the country twice. I've made instant, deep friendships that lasted the length of two train stops with little old women with whom I did not share a common language but, they made it clear, I did share a passion for knitting. I have such happy memories of my travels there, and my hours knitting on trains, that I often gravitate toward Japanese influenced whatever wherever I go, and I especially gravitate toward Japanese influenced patterns and yarns. .

Which is likely why the book Japanese Inspired Knits nearly jumped off the shelf at me. I've seen this book several times-- online, in regular bookstores. It keeps popping up. So I finally got a copy, brought it home, and took a look. Not everything in the book is my cup of (green) tea, but I really dig the sweater on the cover and also I am feeling a growing urge to knit one of two sweaters featured inside, which involve intarsia (!) and which results in very cool circles that sort of call to mind the Japanese flag.

And if I, an intarsia virgin, mess up? Well, there's more good news, this too from our Japanese friends. I was thinking about the concept of wabi-sabi. The very short version of wabi-sabi, my interpretation, is that it is about seeing the beauty in the imperfect. So if something isn't perfectly symmetrical or exactly this way or that, no big deal, love it for what it is, the "mistakes" aren't mistakes, they just add to the overall loveliness. DON'T YOU JUST LOVE THAT PHILOSOPHY? Sure keeps me from getting too fussy about the notion of ripping out small mistakes-- usually I just forge on ahead.

So there you go, a few thoughts on my Japanese passions. Domo arigato for following along.

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