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Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet Paperback – August 7, 2015
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"Socks are a go-to project for many knitters, and this detailed yet user-friendly guide demystifies the process of custom-fitting socks--meaning no more droopy or too-tight socks." --Library Journal, starred review
"...with a near encyclopedic amount of detail on everything you need to know about hand knitted socks. Kate takes the measurements and the good fit of socks very seriously. By telling us how to measure our feet, what to measure, and what amount of ease to allow for, she really helps us get on the right path to well-fitting socks." --Knit and Travel
"I've looked at a LOT of books... and I can say that this is the first book that made me consider designing socks." --Kyle William
"Kate Atherley has done a massive amount of homework, here, to give you step by step instructions about everything you need to know to make a good, perfectly fitted sock. She tells you how to measure your foot correctly–and what measurements to pay attention to. She talks about the right yarn, and how to make adjustments for everything from a shallow arch to adjusting the shape of the toe to fit most comfortably." --Knitting Scholar
"Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet (F&W, 2015) is an invaluable resource for knitters, crocheters, and sock makers in general. While the information is knit focused (and some only applies to knitting) the information on sizing, measurement, and yarn is information every maker should have." --Rohn Strong Designs
"...if you knit socks, you NEED this book. True to the title, this book gives you everything you need to knit socks that fit--whether you have 'average' feet or unique feet, Kate gives you all the tools you need to create a great fitting sock, either from someone else's pattern or when creating your own." --Media Peruana Designs
"Custom Socks is filled with a huge amount of wisdom, technique, inspiration, great patterns and more! If you're a sock knitter I really think this is one book that will be much loved...each chapter includes sub-topics and TONS of helpful information!... Kate's written a book that is designed to allow the knitter to learn how to make a stylish and great fitting sock without overwhelming or intimidating them! She breaks it all down in an approachable yet educational manner. A great gift for any sock knitter this holiday season!" --Very Shannon
"Kate is smart, and witty and does a lot of math for you! One thing I love about this book is that if you are the kind of knitter who cares about how the math works to achieve perfect fit Kate dives deeply into all her formulas. On the other hand if you want the calculations taken care of so you can get knitting, she's done that too!... This is really a sock encyclopedia!" --Laura Nelkin
"Perhaps my favorite aspect is that it is equal parts textbook and bathtub knitting, which speaks volumes about the versatility and usability of this treasure. Kate provides infinite resources and tips, but also offers a knitterly escape into juicy details of patterns and unique inspiration--which is perfect for a few stolen moments of tub soaking!... Custom Socks is full of hard data, numbers, and charts that make it a handy go-to and essential tool. I've knit over 50 pairs of socks in 12 years, and believe me when I say that I learn something every time I pick up this book. Custom socks with no bunching, no slipping, and no guess-work!... Custom Socks may be my 10th sock book, but it definitely ranks #1 on the shelf!" --Knitty Magazine
"...if you are interested in becoming a master sock knitter, I think you will learn a great deal about the craft from this book." --My Central Jersey's "In Stitches" column
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True to the title, this book gives you everything you need to knit socks that fit--whether you have "average" feet or unique feet, Kate gives you all the tools you need to create a great fitting sock, either from someone else's pattern or when creating your own.
She starts with the basics--how socks are supposed to fit, and what parts of the foot you need to measure to size your socks. She talks you through the process of determining whether your feet are average--in which case most sock patterns should work for you with little to no adjustment--or unique, in which case you may need to make adjustments.
Of course, she doesn't just leave you stranded there. No, she goes on to address some of the circumstances that might require pattern adjustments--slender ankles, shapely calves, high arches, even long toes!--and explains how to make those adjustments. Is it a lot of math? Yes. But it's worth it for socks that fit!
Two of my favorite inclusions in the book are an extensive yarn requirements chart, where Kate indicates approximately how much yarn you'll need to knit socks sized 5"-10.5", at gauges from 4-9 sts per inch (finally, you'll know if you have enough yarn leftover for another pair!); and shoe size charts, where she provides approximate sock measurements for womens', mens' and childrens' shoe sizes (if you've ever tried to measure a child's foot, you'll know how valuable that is).
But don't let the title fool you. This book isn't just about knitting socks that fit. It's about knitting great-looking socks that fit. In addition to the truly exhaustive information Kate provides about sizing, measurements and customization, this book is full of tips and tricks about how to make your socks look good.
Those holes at the gusset? Kate tells you how to get rid of them. Blocking? Covered. Keeping your socks from wearing out? Check. Stretchy cast-ons and bind-offs? Yup. Avoiding or fixing those darn ladders? That's here too.
And if that weren't enough, she's also included both top-down and toe-up plain vanilla sock patterns (that she talks you through adding your own stitch patterns to, I might add!), PLUS 12 original sock patterns! Even better, 5 of the patterns include instructions for working both top-down and toe-up, and several of the designs are unisex--something the knitting world is truly in need of.
If you're a sock knitter, clear a space on your bookshelf and order this one right away!
Atherley’s bio will tell you that she’s in a unique position as a knitter, having a degree in mathematics as well as fashion design, and also having worked in the tech industry “translating” between the nerdy coders and the muggles. She’s not just boasting here; her experience is pivotal to her ability to accurately connect between written pattern and finished object, and how to manipulate the pattern to affect that object. I remember when I first began knitting and finally felt adventurous enough to modify a pattern to fit me better… and I also remember how dismayed I was when I realized that I had, yet again, picked a hobby that involves a f***ton of math.
Custom Socks is written for every knitter that has had that realization and experienced that dismay. Some of us just aren’t good at math, and that’s ok. That doesn’t mean we’re not good knitters, and it doesn’t mean we’re not good people, it just means that we’re not good at math. Or maybe some of us are okay at math, but overwhelmed by what seems like an insurmountable amount of math needed to design custom piece. Custom Socks is geared to help. Not only does Atherley explain, in detail and with diagrams, how socks are constructed; what the purpose of each section of a sock is; how best to make it fit your foot; and, yes, both from a toe-up and top-down method, she has done the math for you. Let me repeat: SHE HAS DONE THE F***ING MATH FOR YOU.
You can’t help but notice the tables when flipping through Custom Socks. Tables upon tables upon tables, extrapolating data from hundreds of foot measurements (gathered by Atherley over the course of many years from volunteers of all shapes and sizes) into your own personal number of cast on stitches, gusset sizes, leg circumferences, and more. These tables essentially turn her toe-up and top-down simple sock patterns into plug-and-play bespoke sock patterns: take your own measurements and follow the instructions. That’s it. Really. No, really!
And lest those knitters with math prowess (you lucky b******s) think there’s nothing in this book for them, Atherley’s in-depth technique explorations on making gussets, casting on and binding off, knitting fabric that is hard-wearing, and spicing up her basic sock recipes with texture and colorwork make this book a must-read. In addition to the two simple sock patterns, there are eleven case studies in making socks with varying degrees of complexity that will satisfy knitters ready to take their sock designing to the next level.
What knitting skills are needed to truly make Custom Socks a worthwhile purchase? If you can knit, purl, increase, decrease, and knit in the round with your method of choice (DPNs, magic loop, etc.), you can make custom socks. Now go forth and knit!
The ribbed sock pattern does have an errata when switching to the heel-- the RS and WS instructions are reversed. Just stay in pattern and your socks will be perfect. This is my first pair of socks and my husband is dying to wear them!