By Diane Welch
The simple eloquence of haiku poetry ignited an idea within fiber artist and designer Tanya Alpert that has since turned into a book on Japanese design-inspired knit-wear.
"The concept of the book is that less is more; that was the goal. I was initially attracted to the simplicity of the kimono and combined that idea with elegant design, and haiku describes that best," said Alpert, a Del Mar resident, in a recent interview.
The book, titled "Haiku Knits," was released in October through Watson-Guptill, which is now a part of the Random House group of publications.
Each of the book's five chapters has a different theme based on the seasons and nature. It covers evening wear, casual wear and accessories inspired by the ocean, wind and snow. And for each chapter there is a haiku poem that augments that theme.
Haiku poems are made up of three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second has seven, and the third, five. It's a balanced, delicate form of creative expression that supports the concept of simplicity in design, Alpert explained.
Alpert's studio, Knitting by the Beach, is at 616 Stevens Ave., Suite B, in Solana Beach. Signed copies of her book are available at www.knittingbythebeach.
com or (858) 509-9276, and in bookstores everywhere. Visit her blog at www.
theknittingsommelier.com. to see other designer knit wear.
The 25 designs that Alpert created for the book each display a simple elegance. And each design includes the level of difficulty to knit or crochet, the schematic pattern and how-to step-by-step instructions. There is also information on suppliers for the materials used.
It was the Japanese yarn that Alpert, a Del Mar resident, carries in her Solana Beach-based knitting store that first led her to this type of design work. Habu Textiles is the company that manufactures the yarns which sparked Alpert into action to compile her book.
"These yarns are very distinctive. They have exciting textures that come from combining unusual fibers like silk with a stainless steel core, paper-linen and mohair," Alpert said "And what attracted me to these yarns is that they create a very unique look."
When Alpert studied the Japanese system of knitting with these specialty yarns the process was cumbersome and hard to follow.
"Their designs are very austere, not so feminine, and it is hard to interpret their numeric system. It is not easy for American knitters," she said. So the idea to write her own book came to mind and after a proposal submission to the David Black Agency in New York, Alpert soon landed a book deal. "Very quickly I got two interviews and within a week I had an offer from Watson-Guptill."
While Alpert's creativity is multi-faceted it is her Solana Beach knitting studio that is her deepest passion.
"Knitting is a way for women to connect," said Alpert.
Her next book in the works is based on the concept of a knitting sommelier, a term trademarked by Alpert.
"There are so many similarities between fine wines and chic knitwear that the idea came to me to combine the two words," she said. Alpert has started a blog of the same name and welcomes posts by others. A member of the Knitting Guild of America, and the Craft Yarn Council of America, Alpert is already inspiring other knitwear designers, some of their completed designs may be viewed on her blog.
Tanya Alpert's studio, Knitting by the Beach, is located at 616 Stevens Ave. Ste B, in Solana Beach. Signed copies of her book are available online at www.knittingbythebeach.com or by calling (858) 509 9276, and in bookstores everywhere. Visit her new blog at www.theknittingsommelier.com to see other designer knit wear.