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Knit Kimono


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Table of Contents

Introduction- From casual to formal, the kimono shape has transcended time and for centuries has been a fashion cornerstone for peasantry and nobility alike. Projects Kimono Basics- The Japanese kimono is a timeless garment that is based on the simplest construction involving nothing but rectangular pieces of cloth. Design Your Own Kimono- The basic rectangular shape of a kimono makes it the easiest of all garments to design for knitting. Katsuri Sodenashi- Ikat is the Malay word known worldwide for the process call katsuri in Japanese. Dogi (Vest)- Stunningly beautiful striped patterns have woven their way through kimono fashion for centuries. Indigo Noragi- Indigo is a common dyestuff, but the colors it produces are anything but commonplace. Waves- Uchikake is an elegant outer robe worn unbelted over kimono, a style that originated during the Muromachi period. In a blending of attributes of various time periods of kimono history, this kimono has clean graphic images of water in kata suso with a hint of the formal padded hem of the uchikake. Reeds & Grasses- During the Edo period (1600-1867), the chonin, or urban artisans and merchants, expanded their wealth through commerce in the burgeoning seaport of Osaka in western Japan. This is when the sogisode emerged, an excessively long sleeve design with machete-shaped curved outer sleeves. Noragi- Noragi, literally field wear, were rural garments woven from bast (plant) fibers such as hemp and ramie, known collectively in Japan as asa. Suikan- The Kamakura period in the late twelfth century was an age of military efficiency rather than courtly luxury. This kimono has a simple texture and unusual shape. Iki- The Meiji Restoration (1868-1912) marked a return to understated elegance following an era of colorful flamboyance and extravagance. This expression of style called iki emphasized muted colors and elaborate but barely visible woven patterns. Dofku- Dofku were short jackets worn by samuri generals over their amor on the battlefield or over kosode at home for relaxation. Komon- Komon are small, textural pattern repeats worked in a single color or small-scale stencil-resist designs worked in subdued colors. Medallions & Scrolls- During the Kamakura period (1185-1333), extremely skilled artisans wove rich brocade fabrics featuring small repeating patterns. Haori with Crests- A wafuku jacket, or haori, is shorter version of kimono that originated for males. The exquisite hand of the bamboo fiber in this knitted version lends itself well to the formal type of kimono. Fan Kimono- Hitoe, similar to the older term katabira, is an unlined robe. In modern terms, it is reserved for the summer months and is made of cotton or silk. Bold Chevron- Noh drama emerged in its present form in the late fourteenth century. Textile artists for Noh theater combined themes from nature and used geometric shapes with extraordinary sensitivity, at times bold and others delicate. Water & Sky- Japanese architecture harmonizes with the environment, weather, and geography. This kimono is a blend of pale natural colors that represent the reflection of sunlight as water trickles over a rocky steambed. Taiko Happi- Happi coats originated as Japanese loose overcoats of unlined cotton with the family crest or emblem on the upper back. They were everyday short coats worn by workers with somewhat fitted pants for men or with very loose pants and aprons for women. Kabuki Theater- Kabuki theater originated from kabuki odori, a kind of dance performed in Kyoto in the early Edo period (seventeenth century). The rich opulence of the stage found its way into everyday wardrobe. Samurai Jinbaori- The jinbaori started as surcoats worn over armor by military commanders during the Warring States period from the late fourteenth to the nineteenth century.

About the Author

Vicki Square of Fort Collins, Colorado, learned to knit from her grandmother more than 30 years ago and has been designing her own garments ever since. Her designs have been both self-published and featured in Spin-Off and Fashion Knitting magazines. She won the 1990 National Knitting contest sponsored by Fashion Knitting and has shown her pieces in juried art shows in Colorado, Oregon and Illinois. Vicki has taught knitting for more than ten years, as well as painting and drawing at Colorado State University.


With its simple approach to garment making, this book shows you how to create a kimono from rectangles and just how varied the style can be. The book begins with a basic introduction on kimono, beautifully illustrated with line drawings. I do like the patterns, however, in most cases I feel the choice of yarn is too heavy to imitate that flowing, lightweight look of a kimono. Useful for styling and how to use a basic design and present it in numerous ways but I would want to change the yarn. These versatile designs should be achievable to a broad range of knitting

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