Kaizen Cardigan

Good morning!

Today I would like to share the Kaizen cardigan with you. It is one of my favorites in the Zen Variations collection and I hope you like it too!

KAIZEN is a Japanese word for ‘continuous improvement’. It features a traditional cardigan shape, with 4 pockets, garter-stitch collar and pocket flaps.

Zen Variations Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-28

kaizen in kanji

Like so many things, kaizen was big in the 80s; the concept was taken up by big American businesses based on the perceived success of their Japanese counterparts. And although the word may retain the slight taint of 1980s money-based amorality, I think the idea can of continually working toward something better is a worthy one, particularly with regard to craft and something like, say, a handmade wardrobe….

Zen Variations Kaizen Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-27

Kaizen takes the traditional workwear staple, the demin jacket, and translates this useful garment into cardigan that will never lose its appeal. It is a sweater that will be true throughout the decades.

Zen Variations Kaizen cardigan Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-29


79.5 (83, 89, 92.5, 96.5, 102)(110.5, 114.5, 120, 125.5, 129.5)
cm or 31.25 (32.75, 35, 36.5, 38, 40.25)(43.5, 45, 47.25, 49.5, 51)”
The sweater is intended to be worn with 5cm / 2” of positive ease.

kaizen schematic by Renée Callahan


The Fibre Company Acadia (60% Merino Wool, 20% Baby Alpaca, 20% Silk; 145 yards/133 m per 50 g skein) in main colour: Sea Lavender; 8(8, 8, 9, 9, 10)(10, 11, 11, 12, 12) skeins.

Acadia is a DK weight yarn. Kaizen uses approximately:

355 (375, 400, 420, 440, 465)(495, 510, 540, 560, 585) grams

1035 (1095, 1165, 1220, 1280, 1350)(1440, 1480, 1570, 1630, 1700) yards

945 (1000, 1065, 1115, 1170, 1235)(1315, 1355, 1435, 1490, 1555) meters


Zen Variations Knitting pattern by Renée Callahan-44

The Zen Variations patterns are for sale individually for £5 and the collection of all 6 sweater patterns can be purchased for £15.

The Kaizen Pattern 
The Zen Variations 

Happy knitting,


Note: The Zen Variations were beautifully photographed by Tommy Martin for The Fibre Co.



One thought on “Kaizen Cardigan

  1. Pingback: Buji Tunic | EastLondonKnit Shows & Tells

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