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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2005, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Japanese cast off woolly souvenir
Beatrix Potter
Souvenirs reflect Beatrix Potter's love of Herdwick sheep
Woolly souvenirs on sale at Cumbrian tourist attractions are failing to make a hit with Japanese tourists.

Beatrix Potter is a huge draw and National Trust shops sell packs of wool from her favourite Herdwick sheep complete with a pattern for a jumper.

However, whilst large numbers of Japanese tourists pick up the souvenir, they end up leaving it on the shelf.

It was found that whilst knitting is popular in Japan, patterns cannot be translated in the usual way.

'Pictorial knitting'

David Townsend, Herdwick project officer for the National Trust, said: "The Japanese don't use knitting patterns in the normal way, they tend to go for a more pictorial way of knitting.

"You can't just translate English knitting patterns into Japanese. They have to be completely redesigned from scratch."

He added that the National Trust would continue to monitor the situation.

"We know the Japanese are buying wool from us, we know they are buying patterns, but we have never before tried selling them together," Mr Townsend said.

There are also plans to blend wools, to soften the distinctive roughness of Herdwick wool, and if the Japanese like that enough it could become an export as well as a tourist souvenir.

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