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Toe-Up Socks for Every Body: Adventurous Lace, Cables, and Colorwork from Wendy Knits Paperback – March 23, 2010
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About the Author
WENDY D. JOHNSON is the renowned knitter behind WendyKnits.net and the author of Wendy Knits and Socks from the Toe Up. In addition, her work has been featured in many major knitting magazines. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
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The subtitle on the cover says it all: "Adventurous Lace, Cables, and Colorwork" - yup, got that right! The lace patterns are lovely, there are Austrian twisted stitch patterns, and some really beautiful stranded knitting...including argyles, which I've always wanted! One of the things I particularly like is that the photography showcases the socks which are knit in solid or semi-solid colourways, so that the stitch detail is wonderfully visible, unlike some sock pattern books which feature socks in patterned yarns where the design pattern is lost completely.
Are you are a fan of short-row heels, or do you prefer the look and fit of the heel flap style? These heels are in here. There is also a short-row heel with a mini gusset...something I've been curious to try. And while there is a great deal of valuable information and lots of helpful advice, as with her other book, Socks from the Toe Up: Essential Techniques and Patterns from Wendy Knits, this book isn't a rehash of that book. Rather, this is the next step in your toe-up sock knitting process!
The layout of the book is very nice. In Part One, she provides basic information, including tips for designing your own socks. Part Two covers the patterns, which are nicely divided into types of patterns: Lace, Cable and Colorwork. The Appendix covers knitting and finishing Techniques. And finally, the Index includes small photos of each of the completed socks and the pages where they can be found...a very handy and thoughtful addition. Clearly, this woman has put herself in the position of the reader/knitter and knows what we would like in a book.
I've bought, and returned, toe-up books from other designers, but Wendy's are definitely keepers! And if you would like to know Wendy a bit better, then read Wendy Knits: My Never-Ending Adventures in Yarn. Not only is it a hoot, it's also got patterns for socks, sweaters and more!
The author gives a short section on how to start the socks - at the toe! She offers four different cast-ons for the toes and explains the three different techniques: double pointed needles, two circular needles and one long circular needle. The gets you off to a good start.
Wendy provides some beautiful sock patterns, 21 in all. There are seven each in lace, cable, and colorwork. All of the colorwork are called Fair Isle by technique in that there are only two different colors worked in any one row. In each of the categories given there is one in the easy, some in intermediate and some in higher areas of knitting ability.
I have given a brief breakdown in what is in the book. The cable area covers mostly stitches that only reliant on two stitches to be worked. If you are competent in doing cables without the cable needle, this would be a good time to do it since most of the socks use 2 stitches in making the cable. If you are not familiar with cables or are able to handle cables well, both ways are easy to use in this section. I would suggest that you look up the no cable needle needed method because the cables used are simple.
I would like to see one of Wendy's socks incorporate using three colors in any single row. Most of the cable patterns also include lace in them. But she has given you great value in this book. The organization is excellent, the charts are included, and the pictures given tell you what to expect as an outcome. I think all skills in knitting will find this a fun book to have and use.
There are two patterns sized for men, but my spouse said he wouldn't wear them :)
I bought the book primarily for the brown and green Norwegian rose pattern. I was disappointed that this pattern was only sized for a 8.5 or 9.5 inch circumference sock. I have a smaller foot, 8 inch circumference, and this would be too loose. The book gives tips for converting sizes but I'm not sure how this would work out for the color work patterns. Most of the other patterns come in a wider range of sizes. I took off one star for this, since that is my favorite pattern in the book.