How to Crochet Traditional Japanese Motifs

Written by sofia de jesus
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How to Crochet Traditional Japanese Motifs
Crochet doilies made with fine crochet thread. (multicolour cotton crochet serviettes image by Maria Brzostowska from

Japanese crochet and traditional crochet have one major difference. Japanese crochet patterns use an adjustable ring and are almost always written in a circle pattern. There are many types of motifs, ranging from small flowers, butterflies, and toys, to stuffed animals called Amigurumi. Another type of Japanese crochet is Ondori, and you an find patterns for Ondori crochet available online. Japanese motifs can be challenging to execute, even if you have a pattern written in English.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Motif pattern
  • Crochet thread
  • Crochet hook

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  1. 1

    Choose a Japanese motif pattern. The pattern can be in English or Japanese, as you can follow the counts and symbols, even if you don't have any knowledge of Japanese. When choosing a pattern, think about the purpose of your project. For example, decide if you are making the project to decorate your home or as a gift to someone.

  2. 2

    Identify all the symbols in the pattern and the stitch they represent. Typically, if the pattern is in Japanese, an oval represents a chain stitch, an arc represents a slip stitch, a "T" shape represents a double crochet (US) or treble crochet (UK), and a cross "+" represents a single crochet (US) or double crochet (UK). Make note of the symbols in your pattern if this is the first time using them.

  3. 3

    Choose your thread and hook. For delicate motifs, use size 30 extra fine crochet thread and 1.0mm or 1.1mm steel hook. If you have not practised with extra fine thread before, you may want to start with a thicker thread and larger hook as practice.

    How to Crochet Traditional Japanese Motifs
    Extra fine thread will give you a more delicate motif. (Garn image by Yvonne Bogdanski from
  4. 4

    Start working the pattern from the centre. Keep in mind that a Japanese pattern may require use of an adjustable ring for circular patterns. If you have never worked with adjustable rings, take some time to familiarise yourself with the use of the ring. Use online video tutorials to help you practice using a ring if this is your first time doing so. Once you are comfortable using the ring, you are ready to start working on your motif project.

  5. 5

    Continue working each line of the pattern until you complete the motif. If you have practised with thicker thread, move to the finer threads and repeat the project. Japanese motifs make for excellent heirloom pieces and gifts when made with finer threads. They are also great additions to the decor in your home.

    How to Crochet Traditional Japanese Motifs
    Motifs can be used as decoration. (hand crocheted lace with green background image by AardLumens from

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