This book is really three books in one: A History of Socks, How to Knit a Sock, and Great Sock Patterns. I could knit (sort of) before this book, and I had made socks before but, truly, this book changed my life. I do Living History as a volunteer, and I use information from the history section all the time when I am talking to visitors to the event or museum. The How-To section was very clear and helped me to enhance my technical skills with respect to stockings, and knitting in general. The best part are the patterns. I focused on lace patterns, but all the patterns are beautiful, some more challenging than others. All skill levels are represented. One of the patterns I made because I thought it was very close to the kinds of stockings that would have been worn in the 1600's, and I sure was looking for something to keep my feet warm when I was doing Living History! And, indeed, I came to find out later, that pattern was almost exactly the pattern of stockings that came out of a bog burial, on the woman's feet, from early 1600's in northern England. So I started making these stockings for other Living History people. Then I started making changes to the designs and creating my own stockings. When I lost my job, I even kept food on the table for myself and my child for awhile (I don't recommend that path, however). So I have gone on to research other period stockings, and design them if there is no extant pattern. Of course, I have worn my "historical" stockings as much in modern times as I do in past times because they are comfortable and they keep my feet warm! The book is really a treasure.