This book lets you peek behind the scenes at secret sock societies--23 women's sock patterns that were originally designed for sock clubs and KALs. There are a tremendous variety of patterns and yarns used. Because independent designers designed the patterns and many of the yarns used are from independent dyers, there is a remarkable variety of patterns. My favorites are Acorn Stash by Anne Hanson, Ariel by Debbie O'Neil and Reims by Alyson Johnson--all wonderfully lacy, complex-ish socks, my personal sock obsession right now.
A huge, helpful section in this book talks about the different ways to adjust the sock patterns for size. Most sock patterns, in general, are written for one size. These clever authors give us 6 ways to adjust for our own feet from changing gauge by changing needle size to adding a small repeat between pattern repeats. --Jillian Moreno, knitty.com
This week's review brings me to a new sock knitting book: Sock Club
by Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrott. The first thing that grabs me right away are those socks on the front cover. I definitely want to be knitting some of those! Once I opened the book, I found there were many more patterns that I want to knit. In fact, I counted ten patterns that on first glance I wanted to knit. That's a lot of patterns to love in a book of 23 patterns ... I can't think of another sock book I have ever seen that I have wanted to knit so much out of. That's saying a lot, because I am kind of picky when it comes to sock patterns!
In addition to all those patterns, there are also a few pages on making socks your own size. I always appreciate this kind of information with sock patterns, because I don't think my size 11 feet are going to be shrinking any time soon! Some of the details this section goes into are changing the number of pattern repeats and adding a small motif in between pattern repeats. I also appreciate that the patterns give directions or options for making the socks bigger.
After all the patterns in the book, there are a couple pages with techniques, useful info, and foot measurements. I was so happy to see the foot measurements in the book. I mean, when you are trying to surprise a friend with birthday socks, it kind of ruins it if you take a tape measure to his or her foot. Hooray for the chart that at least gives you some average numbers to shoot for when knitting those gift socks!
The other thing that is making me totally in love with this book is the fact that several of the patterns featured indie dyer yarns. Makes me hopeful that someone will be designing sock patterns for books with one of my yarns one day!
So, I guess it's pretty obvious that I am in love with this book, huh? --Jennifer Hansen, Knitting Like Crazy
Yes, of course, it IS a book of sock patterns. Twenty-three of them. Most of the patterns were available as part of a "sock club." You know the kind, where a designer or yarn-seller sets up a club where, once a month, every member gets specially-dyed yarn and a brand-new, exclusive pattern, just for the members. Most if not all the patterns in this book saw light of day in just that way.
Except ... most sock patterns come in one size. Maybe two, but here? The authors tell you right up front that they wanted to do better than that because one has a narrow 5.5-shoe foot, and the other wears a 10.5 EE. They've obviously been frustrated over the years over the lack of fitting patterns and wanted to make sure that the patterns in their book would fit just about everyone.
So, the patterns themselves not only come in several sizes--most of them, anyway--but they are sorted into groups by what you would need to do to change the size. That's practically unheard of! (In fact, I can't think off-hand of another sock book that does that.) As a perennially "loose" knitter with narrow feet, whose standard stockinette socks are knit over 44 stitches, believe me, it's nice to have someone who's already thought through the sizing options and can give me hints to make socks that actually fit.
Each sock comes with a "skill level" and gives the finished circumference and size right up front. They cover the gamut of sock methods, too. Cuff-down, Toe-up. Short row heels, traditional flap heels, etcetera, etcetera. That makes for a lot of variety. Most of the patterns come with sidebars with suggestions about how to re-size if necessary, or about construction, how to choose the right kind of yarn for that pattern ... helpful stuff.
The patterns themselves? Not only are the construction techniques varied, but so are the socks. Lace, cables, color, texture--they are all here. All the socks are for women, in theory, though they could easily be adapted for men, if you so desired. (See? Those sizing options are already coming in handy.)
The pictures are good knitting-book pictures, in that they show the items in a graceful, tasteful, attractive way, without looking like they're trying to hide something. (I admit that's actually harder to do when photographing socks, but I have seen suspicious sock photos!) The patterns are listed out in the Table of Contents, though there's no Index. The section on techniques in the back is only four pages long, but I think this book assumes you've already knitted a sock or two and focuses on providing new patterns, rather than detailed instruction about the concept of turning a heel--nothing wrong with that.
My Gush: Creative, attractive, with a nice variety of techniques--plus sizing options. Good book. --Deb Boyken, knittingscholar.com