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Knit Kimono 18 Designs with Simple Shapes

In Knit Kimono, author Vicki Square has created 18 unique designs, each illustrating a knitted interpretation of a style or feature of traditional kimono.

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From casual to formal, the kimono shape has endured for centuries as a staple form of dress for peasantry and nobility alike.

The classic boxy shape is recognized worldwide as an icon of Japanese life and culture and is used as a canvas for color, pattern, and design. In Knit Kimono, author Vicki Square has created 18 unique designs, each illustrating a knitted interpretation of a style or feature of traditional kimono. The styles and shapes of the garments run the gamut from short to long, rectangular sleeves to shaped, straight to overlapping front opening, with sleeves or without, casual to dressy. The knitted fabric matches traditional kimono design as much as possible - yarns are composed of natural fibers like silk, cotton, linen, bamboo, and wool, and stitch patterns are chosen that drape and move much as their woven counterparts.

In addition to 18 kimono projects, Knit Kimono offers a brief history of the traditional kimono shape and how it has endured through centuries of political and social change. Although the projects may look difficult, they are based on simple rectangular shapes that require very little shaping on the knitter's part. These are ideal first-garment projects for knitters wanting to venture beyond scarves. These are also ideal projects for experienced knitters wanting classic, wearable garments. Create your own timeless and wearable work of art with Knit Kimono.

Reviews: "This lovely little book features 18 designs, all with minimal shaping. The beauty of each garment is in the stitch pattern or colorwork.... there’s something for everyone here."-Planet Purl

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.

  • 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 is the author of Knit Kimono, Knit Kimono Too, Folk Bags, Folk Hats, and the best-selling The Knitter’s Companion. She is also a contributor to Lace Style, Simple Style, and Knitting Green. Vicki regularly designs knitted pieces from elegant basics to unique art to wear. Her artistry in color and aesthetic are stated boldly through her engineering of unusually shaped garments and accessories. Magazines such as Interweave Knits, Knitter’s and Spin-Off have featured her work, and she has won awards for her innovative designs. Vicki has been designing and teaching knitting for more than twenty years, and cross-trains her creative passions with drawing, painting, and mixed media pursuits. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.
“An amazing variety of classic and comfortable wear-to-work sweater.  Visual learners may want to buy the book just to get the DVD!  New and intermediate knitters will be delighted to find they have the skills they need to create fabulous garments.” – Creative Knitting

"A stunning collection...natural fibers and stitches were carefully selected to reflect the movement and drape of the traditional garments." — Monsters and
"If you'd like to embrace the popular trend...Knit Kimono offers a selection of patterns to suit any taste." — The Detroit News
"Knitters in search of adventure will find much of interest." — Bangor Daily News
"Square's designs are elegant and most are accessible even to beginners." — News-Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina)
"This lovely little book features 18 designs, all with minimal shaping.  The beauty of each garment is in the stitch pattern or colorwork.  There's something for everyone here." — Planet Purl

SKU: 06KN1

Author/Speaker/Editor: Vicki Square

Format: Paperback

ISBN 13: 9781931499897

Number Of Pages: 128

Customer Reviews

This Book is Excellent Review by Melanie

The fresh designs in Knit Kimono are based on all types of Japanese garments from waist length hapi jackets to full length kimono type coats. There are projects for every level and the instructions are clear and accurate.

I have proof of how wonderful this book is. I was shopping at my favorite knit shop and I had this book with me. I accidentally left it on the checkout counter. When I went back the next day to retrieve it, the owner told me several customers had tried to buy it. She ended up ordering seven copies and thanked me for my forgetfulness! I can't think of a better recommendation than that.

(Posted on 7/22/14)