A recipe for a pair of cherry blossom inspired socks with two detailed charts and tons of pictures
Did you know I studied Japanese science in what feels like a different life. I actually do speak the language, as well. Originally my plan was to visit the land of the rising sun for hanami this year. Kyoto is one of my favorite cities in the world. But sadly, things didn’t work out due to the travel restrictions. So, I decided to knit some cherry blossom socks to keep up my spirits.
When I was knitting the samples for my tutorial on how to knit socks, I instantly had to think of these delicate sakura blossoms languidly dancing in the wind. It was a sheer coincidence but it really made me start this project. Especially since plain vanilla socks are not exactly the most challenging project for a knitter at my stage, and I constantly kept on thinking about what else I could do with this beautiful yarn.
I still had plenty of scraps, and what better way to use them than on an intarsia project. And that’s probably a good time to share another little tidbit about me. I do collect Japanese woodblock prints (so-called ukiyo-e – pictures from the floating world). The bold designs of Utagawa Hiroshige and his contemporaries served as inspiration for this design.
Experienced knitters will know that you should never get carried away when designing colorwork. There are certain rules you should observe to make it much easier to knit. Needless to say, I ignored them all and I ended up with a very ambitious design for intarsia in the round.
Before you stop reading, I do have to say that this free sock recipe also comes with an alternative design in Fair Isle which should be muuuch easier to knit.
The challenges of knitting my ambitious designs
Anyway, I really wanted a lovely cherry blossom bough to branch around my leg, and that doesn’t work without adding multiple petals side by side. As a result, I ended up with quite a lot of color changes. There is one round with 12 bobbins, and I sincerely regret that decision.
When knitting flat, everything up to 10 bobbins is actually fairly easy to handle. But for such a small diameter project it was beyond challenging. In fact, I was very close to throwing my second pair into the trash bin after I ended up with a major mistake and had to frog 10 of the most complicated rows.
I was so relieved when I was finally past that section (you know the kind of: I turned the heel kind of elation. Think that times 10). But, I’m a well-behaved child and second-sock-syndrome scares me, so I endured. And when I made a second mistake I took a deep breath and decided to live with it, lol.
So, kindly note that this is a project for advanced knitters.
In a way, this experience had me quite hesitant if I should even bother to publish a pattern. After all, juggling all these bobbins is one thing. Ending up with something that also looks neat, is another thing. And with all my knitting patterns, I strive to designs things that other experienced knitters can easily finish as well. I could be knitting all my little flower patterns on 1.00mm needles – but who would be able to recreate them then?
And I do want to be honest here. I literally spent 2 hours manually fixing individual stitches after I was done. It’s very easy to mess up transitions, create ladders, etc. with that many little color blocks (by the way, here are 10 advanced intarsia knitting tips).
You constantly need to shuffle stitches around so you don’t end up with a color change close to the gap between needles, and so on. That being said, quite a lot of people wrote to me that they would love to see the chart/pattern. So, I thought I’d wrap it in an entertaining little story so everyone can look at the pretty pictures, and those who feel up to the challenge are free to download the chart.
A couple of my newsletter subscribers wrote that they would love to see the chart but they’d do it using the Fair Isle method. I know some people are extremely skilled at stranded knitting but the original designs had you bridging 20 stitches and I thought that can’t be a good idea for socks.
So, you will also find an alternative Fair Isle chart as part of the recipe. I want to be very clear here that I did not test-knit the full chart. I really like the idea and I think I want to use the design to knit a little cowl with it. I have the feeling that could look extremely rad.
Of course, you can also just use my charts as a basis for your own design. I would love to see what you guys come up with. A lot of you have tagged me on Instagram or post your projects on Ravelry, and your creativity always blows my mind.
Anyway, go download the recipe. It’s for free.
Read it all and then decide for yourself how and if you want to use it. I’m very positive you will come up with something breathtaking yourself.
Knitting materials you need for this cherry blossom pattern
- Fingering weight sock yarn suitable for needles size 2.5 mm. I am using a very lovely yarn by Samelin Dyeworks in altogether four colors, though you only need scraps for the red tone, and around 25grams each in brown and pink. Don’t underestimate the yardage for the pink, though, as you will probably end up wasting quite a bit for bobbins.
- Double-pointed knitting needles size 2.50 mm. I am using these Knitter’s Pride Karbonz needles. The best sock needles on the market, in my opinion.
- A tapestry needle and scissors
- A crochet hook 2.00 mm for picking up the stitches for the heel and adding the bobbles. I used the Knitter’s Pride Waves here.
- (optional) Stitch markers
- (optional) bobbins (or create your own using scraps of cardboard