I asked a friend of mine a few months ago...what is the "image" of "warm" here in Japan. In America, we like to reach for a nice mug of hot cocoa, a warm cookie straight from the oven, or a thick comforter from our mother's linen closet. My friend replied promptly, and without hesitation...we like taiyaki. I giggled a little because the particular sweets in question are always a bit hot for me to eat the moment they are handed over from the cook, and yes, they are a nice hand warmer on cool days.
I wanted to incorporate two things...a nice image of something warm, and a "Hokairo" which you can carry easily in your pocket when the crisp cold hits and you find yourself grasping for a little bit of warmth. Thus, I created "Hoka Hoka", the taiyaki shaped Hokairo cover.
cm long cm wide
100% Merino in “taiyaki” color DK weight 3 ply 1 skeins
5 mm dp needles
5mm straight needles, but if you don’t want to use regular straights, you can use 2 dps with tip protectors
1 darning needle
1 button or ornament for the eye of the taiyaki
Gauge isn’t terrib ly important here, as you won’t be wearing this garment. As long as you stick to the needle size you should be ok.
3-into-3 star: K3tog without dropping sts from left needle:
yo, k same 3 sts together again and drop from left needle. Number of Sts has not changed.
For the back fin, top and bottom fins: it is important to pick up stitches on both sides of the pocket. To do this, with the working yarn to the back, pick up one stitch, then move the working yarn to the front, purlwise, and pick up another stitch. Repeat this until you have picked up the desired number of stitches.
C/0 21 stitches. Work 5 rows in k1,p1 rib
Row 6: purl
Row 7: (this becomes the right side) *3-3 star* until the end of the row
Row 8: Purl
Row 9: Knit 2, * 3-3 star*, Knit 1
Row 10: Purl
Repeat rows 7-10 7 more times. You should have 16 rows of star pattern.
Return to k1,p1 rib and knit 5 rows. Bind off loosely.
Fold the strip of knitted fabric so that the right side is overlapping the left side. You should only see one rib section. This is the hokkairo pocket.
Tail section: After you have folded the pocket section you may want to secure it so you can pick up stitches for the tail. Going through all layers of the folded pocket, pick up 10 stitches. When you pick up stitches, you should yarn over in between and pick up the stitches from opposite sides of the pocket.
Row 1: k2tog, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, k2tog
Row 2: k1, p1, until the end of the row. Continue in rib pattern
Row3: P1, K1 until the end of the row. Continue in Rib pattern
Row 4: m1, k1, p1 until the last stitch, p1, m1
Row 5: m1, p1, k1 until the last stitch, k1, m1.
Row 6: m1, k1 p1 until the last stitch, p1, m1 (14 stitches total)
Bind off loosely
Pick up 24 stitches around the left side of the pocket with DPNs. Mark the beginning of the row and begin knitting in the round
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: knit
Row 3: SSK, knit 10, k2tog, Knit until the end of the round.
Row 4: SSK, Knit 9, K2tog, Knit until the end of the round
Row 5: SSK, Knit 8, K2tog, Knit until the end of the round
Row 6: SSK, Knit 7, K2tog, Knit until the end of the round
Row 7: SSK, Knit 6, K2tog, Knit until the end of the round
Row 8: SSK, Knit 5, K2tog, Knit until the end of the round
Row 9: SSK, Knit 4, K2tog, Knit until the end of the round
Row 10: SSK, Knit 3, K2tog, Knit until the end of the round
Row 11: using a darning needle, sew through all remaining stitches with your working yarn, pull until closed.
Top fin: Pick up 10 stitches along the top of the pocket, starting at the middle of the fish, and ending at the head.
Row1: P2tog, k1, p1 until the end of the row
Row2:k1, p1 until the last two stitches, ssk
Row3: p2tog, k1, p1 until the end of the row
Row4: k1, p1 until the end of the row, ssk
Row 5: p2tog, bind off the rest of the stitches
Trim the thread and thread through the last stitch. Weave in the ends.
Bottom Fin: pick up seven stitches starting from the middle of the pocket, ending just before the beginning of the tail. Pick up the stitches from opposite sides of the pocket as you did with the top fin.. Knit as follows.
Row 1: p1, k1 until the last two stitches. K2tog
Row2: ssk, p1, k1, p1, k1
Row3: p1, k1, p1, k2tog
Row4: ssk, bind off the last two stitches. Trim the yarn from the ball and thread the yarn through the last stitch. Cinch tightly.
Your fins should be roughly triangular but slightly curved…as fins are.
Center fin: Choose a spot in the center of the body that feels right to you. I chose the lower left corner where a fish would normally have such a fin, but once again feel free to take creative license in your own taiyaki.
Row 1:Pick up 3 stitches.
Row 2: K1, m1, k1, m1, k1, m1
You should now have 6 stitches.
Row 3: k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1
Row 4: k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1
Row 5: k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1
Row 6: Bind off all stitches.
Trim the yarn from the ball and thread the yarn through the last stitch. Cinch tightly.
Feel free to tack the fin down, or let it flap freely for extra cuteness.
Now that you have a fish like shape, lets give it some personality:
Sew on your button, bead, or what ever you like to give the fish an eye. I used a button with a flat bead over top for extra dimension, but a wooden button would be lovely as well.
Mouth: Use a crochet hook and make a chain stitch mouth with the same color yarn you used for the body. I used a v-shape, but feel free to give your fish any shape mouth you like...a smile, a frown, a surprised mouth, etc.
After you have sewn in all of your loose ends, tuck a hokairo in the pocket and enjoy your new wooly fish!
Cassandra Harada is a knitting addict, a spinning nerd, a wife, a mother and lots of other things, in her adopted hometown of Tokyo Japan. She blogs here