Sunday, January 22, 2012

Japanese Wedding Socks

In the summer of 2010 two of our fabulous friends got married. It was an amazing wedding - on a ranch in Colorado! All (well, most) the guests stayed, cooked, hiked, rode horses, hung out at the ranch for a weekend. These are two dear friends, so unsurprisingly their families and friends are also wonderful, and we really enjoyed to get to know some of them, and other better than before. We also, of course, pitched in to help cook the delicious wedding feast - designed by the groom and bride.This included four vegetarians following with fascination as my Fuzzband cut up the lamb for the lamb and flower stew while I sat around the fire singing American folk songs...

As a wedding gift we gave them hand knit socks in IOU form.

The bride and groom headed to Yokohama/Tokyo Japan for a year in the fall for her research on select modern Japanese female poets, and so we decided to go visit them for American Thanksgiving later that same year! It was an amazing trip filled with food, friends, and exploring. Combining wedding gift with Japan, I decided to use Japanese knit patterns and give the happy couple the option of tabi or ordinary socks. The plan was to have enough knit when we got to Tokyo so I could at least complete one sock per spouse for sizing purposes. I, of course, finished the socks on the flight home... But that way we could send them a little package of toe-warming love from The Have.

Here you can see Hers and His socks in action - photo kindly provided by the happy couple who shall remain anonymous.

I wanted bamboo yarn - the whole Japan theme, and who would not want an excuse to knit with bamboo yarn? I searched high and lo, even recruiting the patient Miss Knitter to look for it. Finally, at Stitches East 2010,  we found it! The divine Bamboo Baby hand dyed yarn by Miss Babs: 60% Wool, 30% Bamboo, and 10% Nylon which makes it sockable, so to say. The yarn was one of my all-time favorite yarns to knit with. 

  Her Socks:

The pattern is VĂ©ronik Avery's "Tabi Socks" from Knitting Classic Style: 35 Modern Designs Inspired by Fashion's Archives (New York, NY; Stewart, Tabori and Chang (ABRAMS), 2007), 81-85.

The leafy pattern, according to the pattern notes "echo the lacy knitting patterns favored in contemporary Japan" (p. 82). While the socks are specifically tabis in the pattern, the bride asked for non-tabis, which is what she got. A great fun knit, and it of course made me even happier to make them for a unique and dear friend who - and I hope you are sitting down - had never had hand-knit socks before

  I really like the lace line that separates the lace panel of the instep from the sole of the foot and traces up the sock to the cuff lace

His socks:

This pattern is  Ann Budd's "Undulating Rib Socks" from Favorite Socks. 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave (Loveland, CO; Interweave Press, 2007), 92-95. This pattern is also Japanese in influence: 

"Inspired by a stitch pattern found in a Japanese knitting book, these socks feature an easily memorized pattern that alternates increases and decreases to create columns that widen and narrow."

The groom wanted his as tabis, so I used the instructions from Avery, and I am pretty pleased with the result.

Both have reportedly been happy with their socks, here shown snuggling in Yokohama. This is also a photo courtesy of the happy couple.


  1. I really love both pair, but the blue ones are very lovely. You did a fine job on them...

  2. Thanks! That means a lot to me! And the yarn... Ooo! So nice to work!