Featured: Azure by Yuko Shimizu

Featured: Azure by Yuko Shimizu

Today we’re talking with the designer of Azure, Yuko Shimizu. Her colorwork designs are popular with knitters around the world, but for amirisu Issue 20, she designed a lightweight cardigan with plenty of special details using our Wanderlust Linen yarn.

Azure is featured on the cover of the English edition of amirisu Issue 20.

amirisu: What was your inspiration for this design?

Yuko: I enjoy sewing as well as knitting, and in the summer in particular, I often wear clothing I’ve sewn for myself. When I pack for a summer trip, I always make sure to include a dress – it makes looking put-together quick and easy. I personally like fit and flare dresses that are a little retro, and I had been thinking for a while that I wanted something to wear with this type of dress.

When I heard the theme for Issue 20, the first thing that came to mind was a memory I have of walking in the sun on a stone path while wearing a summer dress and a pair of espadrille sandals. The brilliant summer sun and a warm, passing breeze… This memory took shape as the Azure cardigan.

amirisu: If you were to knit this design in another color, what would it be?

Yuko: Actually, I’ve already made another in mustard using amirisu’s Parade yarn in Denali. The suggested yarn for the pattern is Wanderlust Linen, but I also recommend Parade! If I were to make yet another one, I think I would pick navy and use some square black buttons. I can imagine wearing the light blue one on the beach, the mustard one around town on a sunny day, and the navy one out at night.


amirisu: How did you start your knitting journey?

Yuko: When I was a child, I enjoyed looking through my mother’s sewing books and letting my imagination wander. My mother sews and my grandmother crochets and knits, so we had lots of crafting books around the house. When I was 5 years old or so, my mother gave me a needle, thread, and fabric and taught me how to embroider. I think I’ve been enchanted by making things ever since.

I still do this now and I suspect I’m not alone, but I would often visit the crafting section at the bookstore and check every book on the shelf. One day I picked up a book on lace crochet and brought it to my grandmother to ask her to help me. That’s my first memory of creating with yarn.


amirisu: Could you tell us about any shops or places you recommend in your area? (We may need to avoid travel for a while longer, but we are dreaming of places to go and things to do.)

Yuko: I live in the eastern part of Fukuoka, and when the weather is nice, I like to take a drive to the western part of the city. I like to cross the Aratsuo Bridge to visit Itoshima. (Aratsuo Bridge spans Hakata Bay. The bridge itself has a cool design, but it also offers a stunning view of the sky and ocean.) An indulgent weekend for me is when I can take my time exploring Humming Joe, a European antique shop by the ocean in Itoshima. I enjoy their beautiful selection of Scandinavian antiques and furniture, but I also love finding rare crafting books and fabric, doilies, Tyrolean trim, and other crafty things.

There are great oyster bars, restaurants, stylish cafes, and pottery shops in Itoshima, too. No matter when I go there’s always something new and refreshing. You need to go by car to get around the shops and restaurants, but I highly recommend this area. I’m looking forward to being able to take enjoy some short trips again once the spread of COVID-19 is under control.

Thank you for your time, Yuko!


Azure, buttoned-cuff detail

 今日はAzureのデザイナー、Yuko Shimizuさんをご紹介します。編み込みのセーターは海外のニッター達にも人気ですが、20号では素敵なディテールが詰まったカーディガンをデザインして下さいました。

amirisu: このデザインのインスピレーションはどこから得ましたか?

Yuko: 私は編み物の他にお裁縫も好きで、夏はよく自分で縫ったお洋服を着ています。特に夏に旅行するときに欠かせないのが、一枚でコーディネートが完成するワンピース。ちょっと昔風のフィット&フレアのワンピースが好きなのですが、そういうワンピースにあう羽織りものがあるといいなとずっと思っていました。

そんなわけで、20号のテーマを聞いた時にすぐ、眩しい太陽の下、石畳をワンピースにジュートサンダルで歩いた記憶が思い浮かびました。きらきら輝く太陽に、風がさっと通り抜けて。。。それを形にしたのが、今回のAzure cardiganです。

amirisu: もう1枚編むとしたら何色で編みますか?

Yuko: 実は既にマスタード色(amirisu ParadeのDenali)で一枚編んでしまいました。指定糸はamirisu Wanderlust Linenですが、Paradeで編むのもオススメです!更にもう一枚編むとしたら、ネイビーで編んで黒いスクエアのボタンをつけたいですね。水色は海辺で、マスタード色は燦々と輝く太陽の下の街歩き、そしてネイビーは夜の街で着たいです。

amirisu: 編み物を始めたきっかけは何でしたか?

Yuko: 物心ついた頃から母が持っているお裁縫の本を引っ張り出してはあれこれ妄想するのが好きな子供でした。母が洋裁、祖母が編み物が得意ということもあり、そういう本が家にはたくさんありました。そんな私が確か5歳の頃、母は針と糸と布を与えてくれて私に刺繍を教えてくれました。それから「何かを作ること」の魅力にとりつかれたような気がします。


amirisu: ご自宅の近くのオススメのお店や場所があったら教えて下さい (自由に旅をできる日々が戻ってくることを夢見ています)。

Yuko: 私は福岡の東の方に住んでいるのですが、お天気のいい日は車で西の方までお出かけするのが好きです。荒津大橋(博多港に架かっている橋です。橋自体のデザインもカッコイイですし、何よりそこからは空と海がとても綺麗に見えます)を渡って糸島まで。海のそばのHumming Joeというヨーロピアンアンティークのお店をのんびり見てまわるのが今の私の一番贅沢な週末の過ごし方。美しい北欧アンティーク家具はもちろん、珍しい手芸本や布、ドイリー、チロリアンテープなどの手芸関連の品にも心奪われます。


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