Go-Hitoe by Vicki Square
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November 2010
Worsted (9 wpi) ?
17 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette on larger needles
US 8 - 5.0 mm
US 7 - 4.5 mm
2028 yards (1854 m)
49" (124.5 cm) in circumference and 25" (63.5 cm) in length
This pattern is available from interweave.com for $6.50.

Interweave SKU: EP9738

Finished Size: About 49” (124.5 cm) in circumference and 25” (63.5 cm) in length

Yarn: Worsted weight (#4 Medium)

Yarn Weight: #4 - Medium

Needles: Body and sleeves: size U.S. 8 (5 mm): 24” (60 cm) circular (cir). Edging: size U.S. 7 (4.5 mm): 24” (60 cm) cir.

Notions: Stitch holders; removable markers; tapestry needle.

Gauge: 17 stitches and 24 rows = 4” (10 cm) in stockinette stitch on larger needle.

Juni-hitoe, or twelve layers of kimono, was favored in Heian society (794–1192). The elaborate presentation of a color palette was determined foremost by rank and, perhaps secondarily, by season. Color guidelines were based on the cycles of nature and changes in the landscape. The sumptuary laws of the Edo Period (1600–1867) standardized the number of layers to five, or go-hitoe.

Heian layers revealed their colors at the front opening, lower hem, and sleeve cuff . Sometimes a final outer robe or ceremonial apron called a mo (commonly white) was added to formalize the ensemble. I did not adhere to strict rules of color set for this kimono but chose four colors that I admired in Japanese kimono and “topped“ it with off -white.

Reverse stockinette-stitch bands highlight the color changes, and short-rows shape the colorwork at the center front. The yarn blend of merino and linen combines matte and shine that emulates tone-on-tone woven work.