Knitting for the Winter: Koto



Pattern:  Koto, by Olga Buraya-Kefelian, available from

Yarn:  Umpteenth recycling of a worsted weight yarn from Beaverslide yarn.  Each time I reuse this yarn I tell myself it is the final incarnation.  Maybe.

Modifications:  I reduced the number of stitches — who can actually carry off a size small at 45″?  As it is, it is still a tad too big and the sleeves too long, so there is that Michelin Man thing going with the sleeves.  If I were more industrious, I would unravel the sleeves (which I was clever enough to pick up and knit downward from the top) and make them an inch shorter, but that probably isn’t going to happen

I also used my usual tried-and-true method of short row wraps.  I tried out the “shadow wrap method,” and while I understand the idea behind it and its application in sock knitting, I think it is overkill for this particular pattern.  Perhaps if I had used a smooth yarn, the shadow wrap method would have been more appropriate.  The Beaverslide yarn I used is rustic with a certain amount of thick-and-thin, and the shadow wrap did not produce a particularly neat finish.

Thoughts:  This was an interesting knit: I love the construction and the cool retro-future feel of the finished sweater.  I also liked the fact that the name of the pullover actually makes sense: I see the Japanese-inspired simplicity and elegance of shape, and of course I see the strings of the koto in the articulated ribbing design.  One of my pet peeves is the randomness of names assigned to patterns; I want to see a connection, I want to see the inspiration.  I recently came across a series of patterns from Carol Feller named after the seven hills of Rome.  I did my best, but I just could not see the connection between names and designs, although I appreciated the fact that she at least went for a Latin rather than yet another Gaelic word.

As with many recent patterns, I think Koto was over-written.  This may be good for novice knitters, but it was surprisingly irritating for old hands.  And while I am being grumpy . . . .  If you (that would be you, the designer) know that what you are calling the Joinery Bind Off is in fact “commonly known as the ‘Three Needle Bind Off,'” then why not just call it that?

All complaints aside, Koto is a wonderful design, and if a friend wanted one for herself, I would be happy to knit it again.

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