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Knitted Socks East and West: 30 Designs Inspired by Japanese Stitch Patterns Paperback – September 1, 2009
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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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have not yet knit any patterns from this book. I usually read through the book first before beginning a project. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amber S.
What a great bunch of patterns! Now I know what I've been saving my stash for, as I just must try nearly all of them. Thanks, Judy Sumner.Published 10 months ago by Jane Wicherski
All the patterns are beautiful and the execution is diagramed and explained clearly by the author. Probably a good book for people who have already knit a few pairs of socks. Read morePublished 14 months ago by J. Grimshaw
Just what I expected. I am looking forward to knitting a number of the patternsPublished 16 months ago by Scott Kaufman
Great patterns for the experienced knitter. Some very unusual, very beautiful designs not found in other books. Read morePublished 16 months ago by rik
I loved all the patterns. I have been looking for a pattern for knee sock for awhile and this book has several. They are all gorgeous! Read morePublished 19 months ago by Kindle Customer