Knitty: little purls of wisdom
Miss Babs Hand-Dyed yarn & Fibers



My interest in knitting has been kept alive over the years by the almost infinite variety of color, pattern, and texture that is found in collections of knitters and museums around the world. Although I love the smooth, quiet repetition of knitting a rectangular scarf in garter stitch using a luxurious yarn, it is the endless diversity of technique and style that keeps me interested in knitting as more than a way to keep my hands busy while watching TV.

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
--from The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Zen Yarn Garden

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beauty shot

by Donna Druchunas


Named for Giant Wisteria trees at the Ashikaga Flower Park in Japan, this shawl is worked with a main pattern and a border from different sweater patterns that I found in my collection of Japanese knitting books. The color and the wavy lines of the lace pattern came together and said wisteria to me. Fuji is the Japanese word for these plants, and Naga Fuji is a specific species that is large with long tendrils of flowers. The shawl is knit from side to side in one piece with a border added by picking up stitches along one of the long sides of the shawl and knitting outward.

OK! Let's go through the project and compare the written instructions to the Japanese-style schematic.

spacer model: Donna Druchunas
spacer photos: Dominic Cotignola
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Width: 9 ins at CO and BO ends, blocked, excluding border.
21 ins at center, blocked, excluding border.
Length: 72 ins long, blocked



spacer Miss Babs Northumbria Fingering [100% Bluefaced Leicester wool; 437 yd/100m per 3.5 oz/100g skein]; Hanashobu; 2 skeins

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer US #6/4mm circular needle, at least 24" long
spacer US #7/4.5mm circular needle, at least 24" long
Note: Look in the middle of the schematic and at the border portion, noting that both sections use the same size needle, but the border switches to the larger needle after 6 rows have been worked.

Remember that Japanese needles are not exactly the same sizes as US sizes. In this case, the equivalent is close enough because a Japanese size 6 needle is 3.9mm, size 7 is 4.2mm and size 8 is 4.5mm.

You will determine if you need straight, double-pointed, or circular needles based on the project. In this case, I chose a circular needle because the border is knitted across the entire width of the shawl.

spacer 4 stitch markers, 1 removable marker
spacer yarn needle


22 sts/24.5 rows = 4 inches over garter stitch, blocked (note the garter stitch is stretched to match the row gauge of the lace)
22/24.5 rows = 4 inches over Chart A, blocked

You will find the gauge by looking for "10cm" in the text on the Japanese patterns.
Also look for the sts and rows symbols and the name of the pattern stitch used to work the gauge swatch.


[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]

Chart A
This chart was used in a sweater pattern for the body and sleeves. Note that I added 2 sts to the left edge of this chart to center the pattern for the shawl. In addition, the "pass the 3rd stitch over, k1, yo, k1" symbol does not exist in American patterns, so I substituted a general symbol that was available in my charting software.

Chart B
I created this chart from scratch to fill in the center of the middle pattern of the shawl.

Chart C (Border)
This chart was used on a sweater pattern as a bottom edge.

The charts for this pattern are very large and fit on a letter-sized page.
Click here and print the resulting page.



Look at the bottom of the drawing to see the total number of stitches to cast on. Notice the first 2 rows of the chart are not numbered. They are the cast-on row and the setup row. The chart is 39 stitches wide and there are 4 sts on either side, which will be worked in garter stitch, as indicated in the schematic. The pattern does not specify a specific kind of cast-on. I almost always use long-tail, so that's what I used here.

Cast on 49 sts, placing markers 4 sts in from each end. Note: this corresponds to the first row on the Japanese charts, but it is not included on my revised chart.

Set Up Patterns
This section is worked with garter stitch on the edges and Chart A between markers.

Note: The blank squares on the Japanese chart represent the purl symbol, which means purl on right-side rows and knit on wrong-side rows. Remember to read the wrong-side chart rows from left to right.
The second row of the chart is worked between the markers as follows:

Row 1 [WS]: K4, k4, (p3, k2) to 2 sts before marker, k2, slip marker, k4.

Row 2 [RS]: K4, work Chart A to marker, k4.

Increase Section
Continue working patterns as set and at the same time begin increasing before first marker in the garter stitch section on RS rows as follows, reading the instructions on the diagram from bottom to top, to match the direction of the knitting.

Note: The type of increase to use is left to the discretion of the knitter in this case. Sometimes, when increases or decreases are worked in a pattern stitch, the shaping is charted and indicates the specific type of increase to work. I used knit front & back to add stitches) because it does not show in garter stitch.

Inc row [RS]: Knit to last st before marker, kfb, work as charted to next marker, k4.
Following row [WS]: K to marker, work Chart A as set to next marker, k to end.

Repeat the last 2 rows 15 more times. 20 sts in first garter stitch section.

Work Inc row followed by 3 even rows 38 times. 58 sts in first garter stitch section; 103 sts total.

Work 10 rows even (until 7 repeats of charted pattern have been worked)—197 rows total, including setup row after cast on.

Center Section
Next row [RS]: K4, place marker, work 41 sts of Chart A, place marker, work 13 sts of Chart B, work 41 sts of Chart A as set, k4.

Place removable marker at beginning of next row (WS).

Work even in patts as set until 70 rows (rows 1-28 twice, then rows 1-14 once more) have been worked after placing removable marker.

Decrease Section
Next row [RS]: K58 removing first 2 markers, work 41 sts of Chart A as set, k4.

Place removable marker at beginning of next row (WS).

In this section, you will reverse shaping of increase section, reading the instructions on the diagram from bottom to top, to match the direction of the knitting, as follows:

Work 12 rows even.

Dec row [RS]: Knit to last 2 sts before marker, k2tog, work Chart A as set to next marker, k4.

Work 3 rows even.

Repeat the last 4 rows 37 more times 20 sts rem in garter stitch section.

Work Dec row followed by 1 even row 16 times. 4 sts rem in garter stitch section.

Bind off rem 49 sts loosely.

With RS facing, pick up and knit 96 sts to first removable marker, 39 sts between markers, and 96 sts to end sts (approx. 1 stitch in each garter ridge) along the lace side of the shawl, as shown on the schematic. 231 sts total.
Setup row [WS]: K3, [p3, k3] to end.

Work all rows of Chart C. 535 sts

Bind off loosely in [k1, p1] ribbing.

Weave in ends. Wash and pin to dimensions to block.
Donna Druchunas escaped a corporate cubicle to honor her passions for knitting, world travel, research, and writing. She teaches in the United States and Europe, offers online sock-knitting classes at, and holds retreats at her studio in Vermont. Her newest project, Stories In Stitches is a pattern line featuring stories about knitters and their lives, traditions, history, and travel, all tied together with gorgeous knitting patterns and projects.

Visit Donna's website at