A couple of months ago I was fortunate enough to visit the recent Yohji Yamamoto exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum, accompanied by Pippa of Sweet Clement Yarns and Ruth aka Rock and Purl. For those of you who don't know this designer, over his 30 year career he has really pushed boundaries and challenged preconceptions of traditional silhouettes, and was a key inspiration to much modern deconstructivist fashion. One of my favourite things about him is the subtle integration of traditional japanese dress into beautiful modern garments.
Specifically, in the construction of Kōhō, I was inspired by his use of back detailing, layered armhole edgings and texture combinations. Additionally, and with help from my boyfriend Andrew (who knows about these things) I was able to develop a pattern piece that could be transformed into a unusual knitted garment.
Kōhō begins with a wide knitted hem, that uses a simple 7 stitch twisted rib pattern and which is shaped between hip and waist. The strap is then bound off and the right front and back are worked as a single piece to the armhole.
The back is then worked and the knit is continued in one piece over the shoulder and down to form the left front. As such, the knit is worked both bottom up and top down.
The next stage is finish the right front. This is knit up and over the shoulder and finished with a decorative shoulder detail.
The piece is finished with two sewn in edgings, which provide a subtle double layered effect around the armholes.
There is one side seam to sew, and in order to achieve symmetry pseudoseams are used on both sides. This enables the real seam to be hidden inside a purl ridge, so even those with less than perfect mattress stitching skills can achieve a professional looking finish.
Kōhō is a new twist on traditional garment construction and provides a challenge for experienced garment knitters wanting something different. That being said, in terms of stitches and techniques used, this knit should not be beyond the ambitious intermediate knitter. The garment uses twisted stitches, extensive shaping, grafting and requires a degree of sewing skill in setting in the edgings.
Kōhō is knit using Sweet Clement Beloved yarn and requires between 3 and 4 skeins depending on the size knitted (pattern is provided as 30"- 44" in 2" increments). It is a great pattern for semi-solid yarns due to the regularly changing stitch count reducing any pooling that may occur.
Kōhō is a lightweight summer vest inspired by the twists and turns found in modern Japanese fashion. Using a unique one piece construction including knitting both bottom up and top down (indeed, Kōhō is Japanese for “backwards”) this knit will have you thinking about the way you knit garments in a whole new way. It is available for £6.00 and you can buy now.