This weekend I finally watched the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“. While there’s no knitting in it, I found a lot of similarities between sushi and the fiber arts.
This documentary is about 86 year old Jiro Ono, a three Michelin star sushi chef. His restaurant seats 10 people and the sushi there starts at $300 US a plate. He serves no appetizers, no dessert, and no sake. Oh and it’s located in a subway stop in Tokyo. His sushi is praised for being simple, elegant, and delicious. Jiro talks about the secrets of his success both in the business and in preparing his sons to follow in his footsteps.
Mr Ono humbly attributes his success in sushi to practice. While he may be the world’s best sushi chef, he says he’s always pushing himself to improve. He also says that while practicing he also pays attention to all the details, no matter how small. He says, “I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is.”
So what does that mean for us, the humble maker? It means that our craft only improves the more we work at it. The stitches in your swatch don’t become even over night, it takes practice. I hear people say, “Oh I can’t do that. It’s t
oo hard.” Of course it’s difficult to knit up an Alice Starmore Fair Isle sweater the first time but you still need to try.
Buy the best you can afford and buy it from the experts
Secret number two is having the best materials. For Mr Ono and his sons, it’s buying the best quality fish from people they trust. The price of wool and cotton is rising seemingly every year. For me, I derive greater pleasure when I’m using quality yarns that I can afford. I’ve also noticed that my finished objects look and feel better too.
Mr Ono buys from the same fish mongers because they know what quality he’s looking for. In many cases, he’s now purchasing from the sons and grandsons of his original suppliers. Our experts would be our local yarn stores and their owners. Find a store you like with staff you love. By building a relationship with them, not only are we helping them to grow, they’ll be able to guide us in finding the best materials for the right project within our budget. Fresh Stitches has a great post on patronizing your local yarn store.
So go out there and elevate your craft. There’s an 85 year old out there in the world doing the same.