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The Knitter's Book of Socks: The Yarn Lover's Ultimate Guide to Creating Socks That Fit Well, Feel Great, and Last a Lifetime Kindle Edition

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Length: 208 pages Optimized for larger screens
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Editorial Reviews


In The Knitter’s Book of Wool and The Knitter’s Book of Yarn , Parkes educates knitters on the ins and outs of fiber and makes minutiae interesting. Here, she describes the qualities that make yarn suitable for sock knitting, explores the different types of fibers that can be used in sock yarn, and analyzes stitches and stitch patterns commonly used in sock knitting. There’s also a beautifully curated selection of sock patterns, including new designs by some of the biggest names in the field. Though the instructions are clear, the majority of the patterns are best suited for those with sock-knitting experience. An essential addition. -Library Journal

About the Author

A lifelong knitter, Clara Parkes has spent more than 10 years immersed in the world of yarn and fiber as the publisher of A frequent contributor to Interweave Knits and Twist Collective, she is also the author of The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and The Knitter’s Book of Wool. She lives on the coast of Maine in a farmhouse full of yarn.

Product Details

  • File Size: 33580 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Craft (October 25, 2011)
  • Publication Date: October 25, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,771 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

"Quite possibly the only writer you will ever read who can make a discussion of micron counts absolutely riveting." - Mary Mooney, The Oregonian

Over a decade ago, Clara Parkes abandoned San Francisco's high-tech hubbub to build a quieter creative life on the coast of Maine. Since then, she has become a trusted voice in the knitting community. "Clara Parkes is the MFK Fisher of knitting: unflinching, all-seeing, mysterious--and also kind," writes Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting.

Named by Vogue Knitting as one of knitting's "New Wave" along with Debbie Stoller and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Parkes is also the publisher of, has appeared regularly on the PBS Television series "Knitting Daily TV," and is a frequent contributor to Twist Collective.

In her spare time, Clara loves to putter in the kitchen and is a huge fan of butter.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Lynne E. TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Exactly what you would expect from yarn expert Clara Parkes: a sock knitting book that focuses on yarn selection! The book starts with an explanation of what a sock needs. This is (1) lasting elasticity, (2) strength (tensile strength and ability to withstand abrasion), (3) moisture management (absorption and wicking), and (4) a willingness to be worked and worn. With these requirements in mind, Parkes then talks about the structural differences in various fiber types (protein, plant, regenerated cellulose, synthetic); and about the role that yarn construction (singles, 2-ply, 3-ply, 4-ply, S-on-S cables, true cables, core spun) plays in the choice of good yarns for socks.

Parkes includes a full chapter on stitch tricks for maximizing elasticity (using ribbing, stretchy increases, cables, faux cables), and for maximizing strength (using twisted stitches, fine gauge, slipped stitches, stranding and double knitting). In this chapter Parkes also discusses (1) the pros and cons of using nylon reinforcing yarn; (2) the choice of heel types for greater or lesser durability; and (3) the basics of ease required for proper sock fit.

In the remaining three quarters of the 208-page book, Parke presents 20 wonderful sock patterns, mostly charted, by famous sock designers: Cat Bordhi, Jane Cochran, Cookie A., Stephen Houghton, Jennifer Hagan, Norah Gaughan, Marlaina Bird, Anne Hanson, Jayme Stahl, Melissa Morgan-Oakes, Sivia Harding, Nancy Bird, Sandi Rosner, Cirilia Rose, Jared Flood, Lucy Neatby, Kathryn Alexander, A. Karen Aifke, Ann Budd, and Clara Parkes herself. There are descriptive introductions to each pattern, and there are brief designer biographies in the back of the book.

The most common size is Women's Medium, but many patterns include more than one size.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Darinka D'Alessio on December 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been wanting this book for months and Santa obliged. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice book with some lovely info, but I had hoped for a more comprehensive tome. A lot of time is spent on the qualities of yarn. I had hoped an equal amount of space would be spent on components of socks---say a summary (with instructions & illustrations) of various toes and heels. The index is poorly done. For example, there aren't entries for each of the sock designers, nor is there one for toe-up or magic loop to name a few. For Judy Becker's magic cast on there are no illustrations, just suggestions to check Youtube videos. I'm considering returning this.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Aanzhen on October 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hard to top the two reviews up - Lucy Neatby"s double knit socks - worth it for this pattern alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Best sock book I've bought since The Enchanted Sole! I've been knitting for 44 years and I'm a sock junkie and have well over 30 sock books.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love to knit socks and I just love a good sock knitting book. I can't think of anyone who could do a better job with this book than Clara Parkes. Her past two books are winners and I look forward to her blog, Knitter's Review, regularly. The book is a bible for anyone who knits socks or has wanted to try knitting them. It starts out with what a sock needs - lasting elasticity, brute strength, and moisture management. It then goes into Fiber Foundations - the language of sock fibers, protein fibers, silk, plant fibers, regenerated cellulose, and synthetic fibers. Then we come to the Yarns - Getting the right twist, singles, two plies, three plies, four and more plies, s-on-s cables, true cables, and core-spun. The knitter is then shown Stitch Tricks - Tricks for Elasticity and Tricks for Strength. Then come the wonderful patterns that Clara has put together and which I'll share with you a bit later. There is a section on Resources - Caring for Socks, Foot Length Tables, Materials Resources, Standard Yarn Weight System, and Recommended Reading. Last, but not least, is a section on the pattern designers.

Common questions for the sock knitter are answered such as Nylon Reinforcement or not, what kind of toes should be knit, how do we get the right fit. Clara goes into tricks for making the best socks. My favorite one is the part on how to use ribbing for elasticity. As she says, "A well-wearing sock will hold snug to your foot, minimizing any slippage in the shoe, so that foot, sock and shoe can move as one."

The patterns start out with the easiest and move on to the more advanced. My favorites are the following:

Hickory designed by Jane Cochran. It looks a bit like a basketbeave pattern and is knit in a lovely red out of fingering-weight yarn.
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Format: Hardcover
Most knitters are already familiar with Clara Parkes, editor of the popular "Knitter's Review" newsletter and website/message boards. Parkes loves yarn and has written two prior books -- The Knitter's Book of Yarn and The Knitter's Book of Wool -- delivering valuable technical information about yarn, along with an excellent collection of patterns putting her advice into practice. Parkes hits another home run with The Knitter's Book of Socks, again combining several introductory chapers full of technical information about sock yarn -- how it's made, what qualities are desirable in a sock yarn, how different fibers behave, how to compensate for potential problems in a sock yarn -- with a selection of 20 sock patterns from top designers like Ann Budd, Cookie A and Melissa Morgan-Oakes.

This is not a book which teaches you how to knit socks, but rather a book for you to enjoy and peruse once you've already been bitten by the sock knitting bug. You will learn a great deal about the construction and behavior of sock yarn, enabling you to make better choices when it comes to purchasing sock yarn and matching a specific yarn with a specific pattern. You'll also undoubtedly have great fun trying out some of the creative and lovely patterns in the book, using all sorts of techniques from lace to cables to colorwork. Photography by Alexandra Grablewski is excellent and perfectly accentuates Parkes' accessible, clear writing style.

It's not an exaggeration to say that every seriously-obsessed knitter needs to own Clara Parkes' books. And certainly every seriously-obsessed sock knitter should own this book in particular, both for the information it will impart about yarn and for the terrific selection of patterns.
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