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Knitted Socks East and West: 30 Designs Inspired by Japanese Stitch Patterns Paperback – September 1, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Judy Sumner, a lifelong knitter, has been designing socks for over a decade. Her designs have been published by a myriad of magazines, including Interweave Knits and Knitter’s, and by yarn companies. She teaches sock design and sock knitting in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she lives.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584797991
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584797999
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a sock book for experience sock knitters or those looking for a challenge. Most of the patterns involve following a complex graph that spans 10-21 stitches and 15-30 rows. The socks require many different techniques, such as bobbles, cables, traveling stitch, lacework, wrapping groups of stitches and several techniques that will be new to most western knitters (pkok, twist/slip, and three-stitch lift). Most of this socks will look best with solid or nearly solid yarn to show off the complex stitches, although some of the all lace ones would be quite interesting with a variegated yarn. All but one of the socks is intended for women, with one pair written for men, and another written for both an adult and child. This are all standard socks, except for the one pedicure style pictured on the cover, a yoga sock, a leg warmer and a toe sock.

If you are a fan of complex socks, such as those of Cookie A, as I am, then you will love this book. My one criticism is that many of the socks would only fit a very large foot as written. The author noted that due to the large repeats she could only write them for one size but stated that they were really stretchy so they would fit most feet. Oddly she choose to make that one stretchy size for quite a few socks 8.5" circumference and a 10.5" length, and even a pair of leg warmers that are 9.5" at the narrowest point. This explains why most of the socks look so terrible on the model's feet, bagging and sagging everywhere. In comparison, a typical medium sized women's sock is usually knitted to 7-8" circumference and a 9-9.25 length. Many of this socks would benefit from a small stitch gauge, so resizing by going down needle sizes should work fine. Many of the socks are written to a 7.5" circumference that will work for most women's feet.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Judy Sumner doesn't claim to be an expert in Japanese knitting style; the thirty sock patterns in this book are the result of the years she spent puzzling over Japanese stitch dictionaries. While most of the designs incorporate different ways of working familiar stitches, several of the designs use techniques that will be new to most Westerners.

In the first dozen or so pages of her book, Sumner explains these techniques, allowing a full page for each with large, clearly drawn illustrations. Her directions are similarly clear and she includes the names and page numbers of relevant sock patterns.

This is not, however, a book for beginners. Early on, Sumner jumps right into the patterns. There are no notes for beginners, no glossary, no discussion of yarn weights, needles or basic techniques.

All patterns are both charted and narrated. Roughly two thirds of the thirty patterns call for fine yarn and small needles (1-3 U.S.); the remainder recommend worsted yarn and medium needles (4-6 U.S.) with one (named Sumo!) specifying bulky yarn and size 9 needles.

One thing I like in a book of knitting patterns that is missing here is a binding that will lie flat. My other criticism is that many of the socks in the photos don't seem to fit the models. Toes look bulky, heels wrinkle, and cuffs bag at the ankles. But don't be put off by the occasional mismatch of socks to foot - the socks are beautiful, and I found nothing in the patterns that would inherently produce droops and sags.

I repeat: this is not a book for beginners. But for the experienced knitter in search of something new, it is excellent, with fresh designs and clear instructions.
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Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful book and a wonderful addition to the library of anyone interested in knitting socks. It has a number of beautiful sock patterns that are Japanese inspired and that are bound to pique your interest. I know that there are already three pairs of socks that I want to knit from this book! The photographs are beautiful, the patterns are unique and easy to follow and the socks themselves have an ethnic quality that make them much more than run of the mill.

The names themselves conjure up Japan in the spring: Chouwa, Origami, Japanese Garden, Bonai, Hanami Lace, Biw, Kaiso, Tatami, etc.

The origami socks in red are one of my favorites. It is worked from the toe up and "the sock appears to have 'folds' where it goes in and out, much like the ornate folds of origami." (p.27). The 'Ikebana' socks are incredibly lovely. 'Ikebana' "is an ancient form of flower arranging" (p.35) and the socks conjure up this art. Dancers will appreciate the 'shiatsu' sock which is actually a leg warmer with a small strip under the foot to hold it in place. The 'bonsai' socks are delightful. The designer actually "attempted to re-create the feel of a decorative tree" in her design. (p. 61) I love the wavelike look of the 'Tsunammi' sock which the designer describes as "peaceful little islands of purl stitches interruped periodically by large cables, moving like waves" (p.77) My favorite may be the 'Karatsu' sock. It is modeled after a style of Japanese pottery that is noted for its glazes. "Like the pottery they're names for, these socks appear sophisticated, without being too fussy". P. 81). They are knit in a beautiful cobalt blue. The 'Karate' socks are near the top of by 'to be knit' pile.
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