We are so excited to congratulate our very own La Bien Aimée team member, Hiroko Payne on the release of her new pattern, Kote! After the success of Sode, also a top-down open cardigan with beautifully intricate cablework, Kote delves even deeper into the organic beauty of geometric motifs and natural, rustic yarn.
Sode and Kote are the first two patterns of a three-cardigan series inspired by the Samurai armor of feudal Japan. In traditional suits of Japanese armor, known as Gosuko, the pieces which protected the shoulders were known as Sode. In this newest addition to the series, Hiroko focuses on the Kote, the skilfully crafted gauntlets that would cover the warrior’s arms.
I sat down with Hiroko to discuss the inspiration behind this exciting new design, and learn more about her design process…
Thank you Hiroko for sharing some of the magic behind the curtain with me today. This design is a true work of art, what made you turn to armor as inspiration for designing cardigans?
“I like the idea of protecting yourself against the world, wrapping yourself up against the cold. I also like the organicness of cables, when cables look like bones or ribs, that kind of thing. The idea of it laying over the body and being an exoskeleton or a carapace.”
I love that, and your approach to knitting as a sort of architecture. What draws you to design and create such clever knits with such complicated motifs?
“Cables are not actually that complicated once you’re doing them. What I’m more attracted to is the technical aspect of making something that is well thought out as a garment. Something like grading a hand-knit design isn’t just about adding stitches, it's about adjusting each element in proportion to one another. Then, there's the element of customisation introduced by the knitter. That's why I've included multiple simple calculators on my website and a short guide to help knitters modify their cardigans to suit them.”
What exciting things do you have planned next?
“Well I have some extra modifications to the collar and shaping of Kote that I chose not to include in the original design, but that I will be releasing at some point as a little bonus for people. I’m also going to be releasing a Corrie Worsted version of Sode, which was originally designed in Merino Aran, and I will be re-releasing the original design too. Lots of exciting things that I’m going to be sharing updates about on my blog and my Instagram, @thehareandthecrow.”
Kote features La Bien Aimée Corrie Worsted, our beautifully soft and cozy worsted spun blend of Falkland Corriedale and Gotland Wool. This best-best selling base, which featured throughout the book Worsted, blooms beautifully when wet blocked without growing at all, making it the perfect yarn for sweaters and cardigans. You can purchase this yarn by clicking here.
Kote is now available to buy now on Hiroko’s Ravelry page, as well as on her website. We are so excited to see which colors you choose to make your very own Kote cardigans. Be sure to tag us in your projects on Instagram and Ravelry!
Bundle release: Stratified Printemps
In Paris, many things are certain. Lovers will always kiss on bridges, red wine will always be fantastic, violinists will always play La Vie en Rose to passing tourists. One thing that is never certain though, is the weather.
After almost a month of beautiful sunshine, we now find ourselves at the end of June shaking the rain off our umbrellas at the end of the day. With the climate feeling more like spring than summer, we’ve decided to embrace it…
Classic Pattern, Fresh Palette!
We’ve gathered some of our favorite new Corrie Worsted colors from Spring 2022, such as Peach Sweater, Lichen, and Seaglass, and curated a Stratified palette that oozes bright mornings, baby ducklings, and fresh rain on blooming flower beds.
You can find the pattern for this beautiful knit in the book Worsted or on Tif Neilan’s Ravelry page, and you can purchase your yarn bundle on our website here. We have stocked this color palette with a limited quantity, so hurry, as this bundle will not be restocked until next spring!