Noriko Takamatu




Knitting & Stitching Show

The 2001 Knitting & Stitching Show:

exhibited work

'Striped Pattern in Motion'

'Striped Pattern III'


'Fun Jacket'


'Striped Pattern in Repose'


My Aims in Knitting: All my knitted pieces - from my earlier works, which were influenced by knitting patterns from the Fair Isles, down to my current works, which explore stripes, are functional clothes made for the pleasure of being worn in everyday life. Each piece has to be comfortable to wear and to keep its shape well, even after a fair amount of use. Those are the essential elements to my work. 

I have been putting most of my effort into developing an interesting and comfortable shape for the collar and experimenting with the methods of finishing various edges and front openings. I like to think of these edge details as like a frame around a picture. Even after all my long experience of knitting so many pieces, I still find myself struggling to find the right colours for these 'frames'. Without making a successful selection, the piece appears unsettled and unbalanced in its colour coordination.

My approach started to change when I realised that I must manage to think of the two elements - functional purpose and design - at the same time.

My next target will be to create a 'simple' jacket that will be based on these ideas of which qualities good wearable clothes should have. Before meeting this target, however, I need to learn how to simplify - to decide what should be taken out, what should be left and what should be added. 
Theme: My main theme is the stripe pattern. This is one of the simplest and oldest forms of design, yet always seems modern. I like the feeling of sharp tension, rhythm and movement. Although striped patterns have generally a positive and dynamic feel, they have occasionally had disturbing connotations, especially in Europe where they have sometimes been associated with penal uniforms. 

I enjoy looking at striped patterns from different regions and periods in Japanese history. 
One of the oldest examples, with their the beautifully coordinated colours, are the 'Kumihimo' from the 7th and 8th centuries stored at the Shosouin Temple in Nara. Examples from the 16th and 17th centuries show some influences from foreign cultures, such as Holland and Portugal, as Japan was actively trading with overseas countries during this period. When I see the striped kimonos worn and used for everyday work in the regions I feel a close sense of the struggle of women down the ages to support their families, despite working so hard all day long. These historical pieces give me many ideas and a particularly sense of Japanese style in which the four seasons are reflected in colour and pattern.
Colours: Colours form an important component of my pieces. My colour selections are based on my surroundings and my reactions to nature.
Knitting: My main challenge has been to find my own style of creating striped patterns, using coloured woollen yarn. Unlike the surface of woven fabrics, which produce dense and smooth striped patterns, hand knitted wool produces a much looser surface that is often dominated by the characteristic appearance of each stitch. On the other hand there are many advantages to clothes knitted with wool, such as their light weight, warmth and airiness. I particularly like the way that knitting builds the structure of stitch by stitch, making it a simple matter to change colour, alter the pattern or to easily return to any point in the process and begin again. I am fascinated by all these magic qualities of Hand Knitting.
Message: I am very happy to be given this wonderful opportunity to show my work at the 'Knitting & Stitching Show'. I have been knitting sweaters and jackets for many years, all made for the simple enjoyment of them being worn. I am looking forwards at this show to meeting other craft-loving people and seeing their handiwork.