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Dear Kay,

Somebody asked me recently how many projects I’ve got on the go right now, and I just looked at him and said, “Almost enough.”

It’s true that I’ve got a bumper crop of almost-ripe, juicy stuff nearby. I’m starting to want to finish some of them—the change of season always perks me up when it comes to unfinished objects.

So when the words Junko Okamoto floated across a Zoom call the other day, I zombied over to a treasured work in progress.

Papa is the Junko Okamoto design that has launched 400 projects on Ravelry—have a look if you want to see a lot of beautiful doodles.

Here’s where I am.

The chart is 50 rows x 90 stitches.

It repeats four times around the sweater. I decided to go with duplicate stitch rather than stranding this.

The long floats would not be a terrible thing to fool with, but I didn’t want the double thickness of stranded knitting. Also: I happen to like duplicate stitch and the slightly embossed look of it.

It’s counted cross stitch, basically. I basted the 50 x 90 rectangles for each repeat, then dove in.

This isn’t fast work, particularly, but it’s perfect with a good audiobook. (Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather is in my ears right now. Who knew Willa Cather wrote a novel of 17th-century Quebec City?)

Duplicate stitch also means I’m not constantly spinning the work to do the rounds of stranding. I can keep it pretty still as I go.

I made four copies of the chart so I could cross off flowers as I finished them. (I’m telling you all this stuff because I know you’re just itching to start a Papa sweater yourself, and I want you to succeed.)

For those of you who don’t know Junko Okamoto, I heartily encourage you to go take a ramble through her designs. They’re incredible. I have a stretch goal of knitting them all, which puts me at .5 out of 44 at the moment.

I may just start wearing this thing around town. Add a stitch or two at a stoplight, whatever.

I kind of don’t want to finish it, I love this project so much.




photo of finished papa sweater: Junko Okamoto


  • This is incredible. I was thinking about this project for the last week or so. I wondered if you had finished it.

  • Duplicate stitch: brilliant!

  • Been on my list for so long. Duplicate stictch! So clever. It’s beautiful, Ann.

  • Every time Junko issues a new pattern, I am gobsmacked. Her work is so consistently unique, surprising, and beautiful. And the use of duplicate stitch for this pattern is genius.

  • Bravo, Ann. I’ve always thought of Papa as a work of art, and am in awe of your skills. Both stranded and duplicate stitch are beyond me at this stage. I can only sit back and admire.

  • Brilliant idea! Fabulous color!

    A perfect balance of boldness, simplicity, and comfort.

    PS: The link is not working. It is telling me I need permissions.

    • Thanks for the heads up, everybody! The Joji link is now all fixed up. Hope you can join us, really looking forward to this.

  • Lovely!

  • Ann,
    I absolutely love this. I love cross stitch but don’t do a lot because I am always knitting or spinning. Also the comment about Willa Cather’s book is a find. Quebec City—one of my favorite places.
    And your humor just starts my day. Thanks

  • Same comment about the link for zoom with Joji, says i need permission.

    I’ve wanted to make Papa since i saw it irl at Rhinebeck afew years ago!

  • The sweater is beautiful! I love the colors you chose. It is great with your hair and complexion. I’m checking this out now. Thank you for the information.

  • What a beautiful project. I really appreciate learning about the way you tackled the colorwork by using double stitch and just as important the process for applying it – the basted separation f the repeats and crossing off stitches as they are completed.

  • I have that same sweater in the works. I am doing the pattern with knit stitches. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it!

  • The zoom link is not working

  • I was not able to sign up for Joji’s web cast. The message said that I need permission from the owner to sign up.

  • The included link isn’t working for me.

  • The link does not work for the upcoming zoom It says “need permission “ ‍♀️

  • Great idea! Stranded colorwork is too dense for my climate—wonderful solution.
    Maybe a video tutorial for this conversion technique would be possible…?

  • I bow to you! Genius and beautiful ❤️

  • Great idea! I’m falling behind. I only have 5 WIPs….

  • What a smart idea. I’ve resisted Junko’s stranded designs because I couldn’t really wear them much in my hot, humid climate. But this opens up all kinds of possibilities. Thanks!

  • Glad to know the idea about duplicate stitch for this sweater. I love her designs but probably would look awful in silhouette. What with my lack of height. Doesn’t stop me from favoriting them.

  • Sewing……

  • I love this one, I thought about how long the strands would be and might get weirdly off gauge (for me anyway – my stranding has a way of getting too tight) and foolishly didn’t think about duplicate stitch. I love duplicate stitch – it can fix many wrongs. 😉 I made Hana last winter and loved every stitch of it. Her patterns are insanely well written. I have had Boquet as next up, but you’ve made me reconsider Papa….

  • Asking for a friend: 33 WIPs are not too many, right?

    • I posted elsewhere that I had 31 (I’m down to 26 now!) and felt shamed. Thank you for you “friend.”

    • Tell your friend she’s made me feel much better about my wips. 😉

      • I’m here to help! 🙂

  • It’s a beautiful design, and I like your colors! And I too like the look of duplicate stitch.

  • Just studying her patterns will take me the better part of a week! This is a rabbit hole I’ll happily enter. The initial search led to notes, short rows, embroidered knitting, the Andy made with various colors, the Andy made in Noro, reading more about Noro, and I haven’t even gotten past reading about three of the patterns. See you next year………

  • “Almost enough” WIP’S. Love it! I have MANY also, maybe “almost enough “. My daughter (a teacher) refers to the inactive projects as being in time out.
    Love the idea of duplicate stitch, as any stranded colorwork I’ve done looks, umm, wobbly/tipsy/so inconsistent that the project ends up in time out! Inspiration strikes! Duplicate stitch to the rescue!

  • I love this! And I have an old postal sweater that was my father-in-laws. I started doing creative mending on it when Covid started. Still a work in progress. This would be an awesome addition!! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • That’s so beautiful! And I love that you’re duplicate stitching instead of stranding. That gave you the zen knitting all at once, and now you’re at the mindful part. Lovely!

  • Well, that’s cool. Creative! Good share!

  • I started the Papa sweater about 6 months ago and for some unknown reason, I keep putting it aside and starting new things…. the other day I looked at it and realized I only have 1/2 of a sleeve to finish!! ….and then I promptly put it back down again.!?!? I don’t know why I haven’t finished it yet. I am using Ullcentrum in lavender for the body and white for the flowers. It is just beautiful… if only I would just finish it!

  • Wow ! The duplicate stitch is a great idea ! Good job

  • What a delightfully fun project! Love your cheery contrast color, too. I remember really enjoying counted cross stitch back in my pre-knitting era!

  • I love her designs but have only made one which I frogged almost immediately. Andy. So cute, but the type that falls off your shoulders.

  • I love this pattern and would also choose to do the flowers in duplicate stitch

  • I love your article’s last sentence! I’m knitting so much these days because I enjoy the process.. the finished project is just the cherry on the sundae!

  • I feel compelled to point out the MDK effect on this pattern’s rankings. As of 11:19 GMT, it is #5 in Rav’s hottest patterns.

    I hope you always use your powers for good, as they are fierce!

  • Papa is one of my most favourite knits. Like you I’m not a fan of stranded knitting, much prefer intarsia and using bobbins. So I had fun with about 40 of them hanging around for the colourwork. My Papa is black with the pattern in red, tempted to do a light coloured one as well……

  • I’m in love! So beautiful and I love the duplicate stitch. I agree about the embossed effect; it will be even better than the stranded version. And… your description of your approach made me think, not so bad, maybe worth trying! Happy knitting and stitching and, ultimately, wearing. It will be a treasure!

  • So glad to see you making this sweater with duplicate stitch – I faved this pattern when you highlighted it a couple years ago (in March Mayhem?), and I was intrigued by the possibility to use duplicate stitch. My question has always been: what is the best way to secure the yarn ends? Do you weave them in under the duplicate stitch, or do you tie the ends off with a knot?

    • Hi Anne! 

      I treat duplicate stitch as embroidery, so I start a new length by running it under five or 6 of the duplicate stitches on the back, not weaving like we do with knitting. And when I finish a length, I do the same thing. 

      Go for it! It’s amazing! And slow!

  • I made a Papa and agree that duplicate is the way to go. For all that work, the flowers don’t stand out as much as they could if embroidered. I did a few ‘fixes’ with duplicate and still consider going over all that colorwork again!

    I also downsized it a bit, as it is too huge and the sleeves are dropped quite low. So I used Knit Companion to make custom charts where I decreased the stitch count and modified the pattern to work for me.

  • Very cool! There are so many cross stitch designs. There’s a new Christmas collection that’s just been published in a magazine.

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