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Crafty Catch-Up with Sachiyo Ishii



If you're a fan of the best-selling Mini Knitted series, then you will be over the moon to discover that Sachiyo Ishii's latest addition to the series has finally landed! 



Mini Knitted Cosmos will take you on a unique journey into a world of galactic knits, accompanied by a whole host of mini knitted astro-animals, from dogs and kangaroos to penguins and giraffes. There are more than 40 quick and easy projects to make in total, including delightful woolly astronauts, planets, satellites, moon buggies and aliens. All the projects are suitable for competent beginners - so it won't be long until you have knitted your very own cosmic collection!



Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing with Mini Knitted Cosmos
and make it your mission to knit these super cute astro-knits. They are out of this world!


Sachiyo Ishii was born and raised in Japan. She worked as a money broker on Wall Street before discovering the joy of handicraft soon after her second son was born. She traded a life of stocks and shares in for needles and yarn and hasn't looked back since. Sachiyo has gone on to author multiple titles for Search Press and her work is regularly featured in knitting magazines. Having covered everything from woodlands and safaris to farmyards and oceans, there is very little Sachiyo has yet to transform into a mini knitted wonderland! 

We caught up with Sachiyo to find out a bit more about the new book and her love for all things mini-knitted.

Hi Sachiyo! We’re very excited about the publication of your brand new book, Mini Knitted Cosmos! You have designed some adorable characters in this one (we particularly love the star babies and astronaut elephant). Where do you find inspiration for your designs? 
Actually, the idea came from the Search Press editorial team. I had knitted some astronauts previously, but they had never been made into a project of this scale. I was a little worried about whether I could come up with enough ideas to fill the pages, but once I started I realised that I had a lot I wanted to create. It was a very fun and exciting project. I found inspiration in children’s books and images on the internet. 

       

Do you have a favourite book in the Mini Knitted series?
I love all of my Mini Knitted books equally. They are all my children.

You've now published 11 books in total with Search Press and have two more publishing in May and June. How did the Search Press editors first discover your work?
When I first made a knitted safari set, I submitted some photos of it to the Commissioning Editor at Search Press. I had never written a book before then. I was extremely happy to receive positive feedback! I feel very fortunate to have been given an opportunity to approach an Editor.

In June, my first ever pompom book is coming out, titled Pocket Pompoms. You can learn to make 35 different projects. It is amazing that you can create such cute creatures so easily with only a little bit of yarn and beads. There is also 20 to Knit: Pocket Pets which is available soon. This is a collection of small knitted animals knitted with fleecy yarn. They are fluffy, cute and very nice to the touch.


        

How old were you when you first learnt to knit? Do you enjoy any other crafts aside from knitting?
I took up knitting in my early 30s after my second son was born. I could not knit a stitch until then! I thought dressing my boys in my handmade clothes was trendy and very Yummy Mummy, although I soon discovered that it requires a lot of effort and patience. I enjoy crocheting, needle-felting, sewing, spinning, doll-making and Japanese paper art. I would love to get involved in even more crafts if I had time.

Did you always plan to become a full-time crafter?
Not at all! When my boys were very young, I was too exhausted to even do a simple Origami project for their toddler group.

Before you discovered your love of crafting you had a very different kind of job working as a money broker on Wall Street. Do you miss your time working there at all?
I left when I married and started a new family. I do not miss Wall Street at all. The last office I worked in was in one of the Twin Towers, so I have no regrets about leaving.

You've lived in the UK for a while now - do you think your work is still influenced by your time growing up in Japan?
I grew up in the ’70s in Japan when Sanrio products were becoming popular. I used to collect Hello Kitty stationery and school supplies. I had and still have a weak spot for small cute items. My childhood in Japan has certainly influenced my crafting style.


'Edamame Babies'. Image taken from www.knitsbysachi.com
                                      
Have you noticed any Japanese crafting trends that aren't as popular here in the UK?
Tatting lace! I think it is such a pretty craft. It can be used to make lace edging as well as collars and accessories but I don’t see many people trying this craft in the UK.

Who are your crafting heroes?
Debbie Bliss. I fell in love with her Toy Knits book a few years ago and that is how I first got into knitted toys.

What is your favourite piece you have ever designed? 
I have lots of favourites, but I must say that the one I treasure the most is a knitted carousel. It has a knitted platform and a roof and comes with four horses with children riding on them.


'Carousel'. Image courtesy of Sachiyo Ishii.


Do you have a favourite room at home to work in?
Our dining room has become my workspace now and I love it. I can chat with my family while I work. I can also keep my eye on the cooking if I need to.

Is knitting still a source of relaxation for you when it is also your job? How do you like to unwind when you aren’t busy crafting?
It is certainly a source of relaxation. It does become a little hectic when I am flooded with magazine commissions but I enjoy every minute of working on them. I feel very lucky. I enjoy swimming and fitness classes to unwind.

What are your top tips for those who are just starting to learn how to knit?
Try not to be too critical of your work and enjoy the process of improving yourself. Everything you knit is precious and unique.
                

2 lucky winners will win some delightful cosmos characters, made by Sachiyo herself. For more details on how to enter, head over to our Facebook page.

Mini Knitted Cosmos is available to buy here.

Discover Sachiyo Ishii's best-selling Mini Knitted series - over 40,000 copies sold!

     

Coming soon!
 
  


To find out more about Sachiyo's work visit www.knitsbysachi.com or follow her on Instagram @knitsbysachi.

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