By Patricia Belyea
NEW YORK NY When the used copy of A Year in Japan arrived at my home, I gobbled it up. Author and artist Kate T Williamson filled her book with quirky vignettes and delightful illustrations about life in Japan that truly charmed me.
Below is Kate’s watercolor painting of a local tofu maker who pushed a cart down her street in Kyoto everyday at 12:30, ringing a cow bell. He was selling tofu that he’d made earlier in the day.
Instantly converted to a Kate T fan, I found her website and learned that she lived in New York City. Soon to be in the Big Apple, I made arrangements to meet Kate.
Kate attended my talk at The City Quilter, then we walked to Penn Station to enjoy a casual dinner together. Sitting outside on a warm spring night, I learned what Kate has been doing for the last decade since her book released.
First all of all, her stint in Japan was through a university scholarship where she could pick anywhere in the world and do almost anything she wanted for a year. Kate chose Japan—a place she’d always wanted to visit.
After her Japanese experience, Kate returned to the US and started on her book. Working from her personal diary filled with watercolor paintings and observations, she refined her artwork and stories. This was a big project for a first-time author and illustrator. From start to finish, it took Kate two years to publish A Year in Japan.
Kate moved back home into her very pink, childhood bedroom. This spawned a second book: At a Crossroads: Between A Rock and My Parents’ Place.
In each book, socks starred in some of the illustrations. In fact, A Year in Japan devoted four pages to sock paintings where Kate wrote “Japan is sock paradise.”
Her book on living at home and beginning to find her way as a young adult ended with Kate seeing a sock-shaped cloud in the sky. So gentle, insightful Kate did something very brave: she started a sock company.
This Night, Kate’s petite sock company, makes the softest socks that stay up and don’t grab your legs. Kate has US-grown, ringspun cotton yarn custom dyed in North Carolina. Then the mill in her hometown of Reading, PA, knits the socks to her specs. A sock aficionado, Kate explains, “They are the perfect socks.”
A one-woman enterprise, Kate created a website where folks anywhere in the world can buy her high-quality, US-made, artist-designed socks.
There’s no end to this story yet. Kate got married last year (yeah!) and she's working on a new season of sock designs.
If you want to buy some of the best socks in the world +click here
If you want to visit Kate’s website +click here
Photos of socks in tree and Reading PA mill by Kate Williamson.