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Introduction- In its first decade of publication, Interweave Knits has published dozens of sock designs. The second issue, published in the Spring of 1997, included our first sock pattern by sock designer extraordinaire Nancy Bush, a lovely pair of Estonian-inspired lace socks called Meida's Socks. For the first few years, socks appeared sporadically, but soon we realized that these were among the most popular projects each issue. Projects Retro Rib Socks- Simple knit and purl stitches are bordered by a neat twisted rib in these easy unisex socks with retro appeal. Elegant Ribbed Stockings- These elegant stockings taper from knee to ankle by decreasing the needle size instead of changing the stitch count. The simple but distinctive cable pattern, reminiscent of antique stonework, makes these socks fit closely but comfortably. Ilga's Socks- Common Latvian mythological symbols inspired this design. Uptown Boot Socks- A versatile designer, Jennifer Appleby blends style with practicality to create knitwear with rustic elegance. Priscilla's Dream Socks- While studying hand knitted socks from around the world, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts always hoped to find the perfect structure: a well-fitting sock that is durable, flexible in design, and easy to knit and repair. Embossed Leaves Socks- Mona Schmidt combined the Embossed Leaves stitch pattern with a smooth two-stranded tubular cast-on, a rib pattern with knit stitches worked through the back loops for crisp definition, to create an elegant sock. Ute Socks- These patterned socks were inspired by traditional Ute beadwork. This Native American culture, located west of the Rocky Mountains, is known for highly decorated beaded clothing and accessories. Merino Lace Socks- After reading stitch dictionaries and thinking about Aran sweaters, Anne Woodbury was inspired to combine four complementary eyelet and lace patterns the way that Aran knitting combines cable patterns. Flame Wave Socks- This intriguingly sinuous stitch pattern is paired with a stretchy yarn to create a versatile sock. Two-Yarn Resoleable Socks- After knitting many pairs of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Moccasin Socks, Wayne Pfeffer developed this ingenious technique to incorporate a conventional heel flap into a resoleable sock. Austrian Socks- Candace Eisner Strick drew on her love of traditional Austrian textural patterns to create these bold socks. Padded Footlets- Indulge your feet with Mary Snyder's short socks knitted with a double thickness of yarn to cushion the soles. Mock Wave Cable Socks- Ann Budd designed these classic socks to have the look of cables without the bulk. Meida's Socks- On her first visit to Estonia, Nancy Bush received a pair of lacy socks from her friend Meida Joeveer, who explained how she had made them. Nancy studied the socks and has reproduced them here. Cable Rib Socks- For Erica Alexander, handknitted socks top the list of life's little pleasures. The leg and instep of these socks are ribbed and decorated with a single classic cable at each side. Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks- For these handsome socks, Ann Budd used a diagonal cross pattern that is achieved by knitting a simple twist every other row. Anniversary Socks- Although readers of Knits know and love Nancy Bush's sock patterns, they probably haven't seen these delightful "party socks." Nancy is the treasured knitting contributor to PieceWork, an Interweave publication dedicated to a variety of traditional needle arts. Go With the Flow Socks- A pair of warm, pretty socks is an undeniable pleasure. In a soft, luxurious merino, this pair would make a great gift for a friend, or yourself! Hidden Passion Socks- Depending on the light or angle of view, Jaya Srikrishnan's illusion socks reveal colorful stripes or "hugs and kisses." Undulating Rib Socks- Inspired by a stitch pattern found in a Japanese knitting book, these socks feature an easily memorized pattern that alternates increase sand decreases to create columns that widen and narrow. Eesti Trail Hiking Socks- These men's hiking socks were modeled after a pair of socks Nancy Bush purchased in a village market in Kuressaare, on the island of Saaremaa in Estonia. Lace-Cuff Anklets- Linen might sound like an unusual choice for a sock, but this merino/linen blend brings out the best in both fibers. Waving Lace Socks- A simple lace pattern waves back and forth along the length of these socks, creating a lovely and comfortable sock that designer Evelyn Clark finds particularly soothing to knit. Eastern European Footlets- After researching the methods Eastern European folk knitters use to work seamless intarsia in the round, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts continues to discover new techniques. These footlets are worked from toe to cuff in typical Eastern style. Up-Down Spiral Sox- These comfortable roll-top socks are an adventure in unusual construction: they can be knitted from the toe up or the cuff down, and they feature an "afterthought heel" worked from held stitches after the rest of the sock is completed.
Ann Budd is a best-selling author of many books includign The Knitter's Handy Book series, Getting Started Knitting Socks, Sock Knitting Masterclass, as well as co-author f a variety of books in the Style series. She teaches workshops throughout North America and beyond. Anne Merrow is a book editor for Interweave Press and a devoted knitter. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Socks are enjoying a bit of a revival. In fact, judging from your letters they're one of the most popular knits - and we can see why!
Whether you want to try out some easy patterns, or a new challenge such as rib, cable or intarsia, you can do it faster on a sock than a jumper, and whatever your taste, there's something for your here.
Along with the usual pattern details, each design has a short introduction providing information about the yarn, designer and how to wear the socks, while on the opposite page the finished design is beautifully photographed.
We love the spiral-bound spine too. There's nothing more annoying than a book snapping shut while you're knitting!* Simply Knitting *
I have a confession to make. I have never met a sock knitting book I didn't like.
To those uninitiated in the ways of sock knitting, it may seem as though all sock knitting books are much of a muchness, and that when you've seen one, you've seen them all. Having quite probably read every book about sock knitting that has ever been written, you must trust me when I tell you that, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
It can be argued that the hand of each designer is present in all knitwear, and nowhere is this more true I feel than in the design of the ubiquitous sock. There is something about the sock - perhaps its small scale, perhaps its utility - which concentrates a design, leaving no doubt of the type of person who designed it. There are, you see, but two types of sock designers in the world: Innovators and Traditionalists.
Patterns written by true sock Innovators are few and far between, and entire books even rarer, though they do exist. They are full of tips and clever techniques, and sock patterns, yes, but not as we know them.They start at the top, or the toe, or somewhere in between and feature sinuous cables, extreme shaping, or complex stitch work. The Gothic cathedrals of sock architecture, they break a lot of sock rules, and are anything but mindless. They cannot be knit on auto pilot, and require frequent checks of the pattern to ensure success. They are not for complacent knitters, are stunning in their originality, complexity and beauty, and they do have a place in my sock knitting world. Like rich dark chocolate, I savour the experience of knitting Innovative socks, though I would never try to make a meal of them.
Sock patterns created by Traditionalists, on the other hand, follow a time-honoured form. They usually, although not always, begin at the top, with directions to CO 64. As a number of stitches with which to begin a sock, sixty-four is admirable. It is divisible by 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32, meaning that any stitch pattern with a repeat of these numbers can be plugged into a standard sock pattern with relative success. When confronted by a pattern repeat requiring a different multiple, the Traditionalist will simply increase or decrease the number of stitches, as well as increase or decrease the corresponding needle size, to arrive at a solution. Heels and toe construction techniques may vary between Traditionalist patterns, but are interchangeable according to preference. An adventurous Traditionalist may throw in a twisted stitch rib, or a patterned heel flap for fun, but there are really no surprises within these types of patterns.
And that is as it should be. While there is, admittedly, nothing the least bit exciting about socks constructed along Traditionalist lines, they are solid, sturdy, and dependable types of patterns, and within them you will find infinite beauty and variety. Experienced sock knitters will need little in the way of pattern prompting, once the basics of stitch pattern have been grasped; most will glance at a pattern and "get it". Far from being boring, however, Traditionalist patterns are invaluable for those times when you just want to get on with it, and knit some socks.
With the word "timeless" in the title, you know exactly what you're getting with Interweave's latest sock knitting book, Favorite Socks - 25 Timeless Designs.It does, as they say in the UK, precisely what it says on the tin. The book features seventeen previously published designs, some from Knits, and others from sister publications, SpinOff and PieceWork, as well as half a dozen brand new patterns, commissioned from some of today's top designers. The spiral binding and clean layout are worth a mention although, truthfully, I've become so accustomed to the high standard of quality and easy-to-follow format in books from Interweave Press, anything less would have come as a surprise.
From Austrian twisted stitch, and Latvian mythological symbols, to Eastern European seamless intarsia, the patterns feature a wide variety of knitting traditions from around the world. In general, the range of stitch patterns is broad and offers much variety, although the balance is weighted a little heavily in favour of lace. I do love lace socks, but I could have done with a few more plain but serviceable patterns. There are, I feel, too few unisex patterns, and I'd have liked to see more than the one pattern featuring toe-up construction, with an afterthought heel. However, these are minor quibbles, based on personal preference, and there are plenty of things about the book left to like.
Modern interpretations on the standard sock pattern include a footlet with a double knit padded sole, and patterns that feature calf shaping accomplished by changing needle size rather than altering the stitch pattern. (I wish you could see me grin while I type this.) This latter technique is one I couldn't wait to try. I used it with a simple broken rib stitch pattern on the last pair of socks I knit and, by golly, it actually works. So simple, so effective. Thank you, Ann Budd. This technique rocks, and I'm kicking myself for not thinking it up on my own.
I suppose little tips and techniques like this are precisely why I'll keep adding sock knitting books to my already groaning bookshelves. A simple, pretty ribbing I can use on any lace sock. A flirty, lace cuff I can use to dress up any any plain sock. A tidy I-cord edging. A twisted stitch technique I've never tried. Good patterns. Classic. Timeless. Traditional. For when I just want to get on with it, and knit some socks.* Cast On *
The quick and practical art of sock knitting is so popular these days that one web-based group devoted to the subject in Yahoo! Groups currently has more than 11,000 members. Budd and Merrow's book will appeal to this fan base and may even convince reluctant knitters to take up the sport. It includes 25 patterns, 19 of which were originally published in Interweave Knits, Spin-Off, and PieceWork magazines. Many of the designs are based on ethnic traditions from around the world, and some of the more interesting patterns-e.g., the lacy Meida's socks, the Embossed Leaves, the Flame Wave, the Austrian socks-sport lavish textural designs that appear deceptively complex. In addition to patterns, the book introduces readers to a variety of sock-knitting techniques, including toe-up sock construction and seamless intarsia in the round. This is an excellent choice for all but the smallest knitting collections. Libraries just getting started in collecting sock-knitting books will also want something for beginners, like Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks.* Fiber Crafts *