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Folk Socks: The History & Techniques Of Handknitted Footwear [Paperback]

Nancy Bush
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Folk Socks: The History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear, Updated Edition Folk Socks: The History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear, Updated Edition 5.0 out of 5 stars (2)
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Book Description

Jan. 23 2003 Folk Knitting series
Eighteen patterns for handsome knicker socks, sturdy boot socks, lively Birkenstock socks, lacy stockings, kilt hose, cabled socks, clocked socks, and more are at the heart of this charming book inspired by a host of folk knitting traditions from Europe and the British Isles.

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Join the sock knitting revolution! Many knitters today, too pressed for time to knit large garments, are turning to knitting socks-- thanks in part to this lively book with its easy-to-read directions for socks from many European traditions. An hour with this book will have most knitters hunting up their needles to begin a pair of Scottish kilt hose or colorful Estonian socks. Includes precise techniques for various heel and toe shapings, along with a wealth of information on the history of sock knitting. A wonderful book for your collection or as a gift for the knitter in your life.


"These aren't just any old socks!" - Knit Today

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - The Title is Misleading Dec 2 2003
By Lilinah
I bought this book hoping to learn the traditional techniques involved in the production of the wide variety of beautiful socks from many cultures featured in tantalizing color photographs. I was deeply disappointed to find that this was not the case.
The first edition had many factual errors in knitting history, of which some were corrected in subsequent editions. And Bush teaches few of the actual traditional techniques. In fact, her "reproduction" socks were all highly simplified modern inventions, based only in part on some of the colors and patterns of the original socks, but not truly involving their techniques.
While many of the socks were traditionally knitted from the toe up, in every case Bush knits them from the cuff down. The photographs are just teasers that left me frustrated and unfulfilled. I finally stopped looking at her directions for her simplified socks. Instead I analyzed the socks in the photos to attempt to knit them as they were originally made.
While it is a good book to learn modern sock knitting and in it Bush does cover a wide variety of techniques, it doesn't cover what its title says. If you want to knit modern socks, you may like this book. But if you're looking for the traditional knitting techniques of other cultures, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' book "Ethnic Socks & Stockings" will actually teach you how, while Bush will not.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good for the experienced sock knitter March 25 2002
By M. Cain
The book is beautiful, and has great history. The patterns are very interesting, but if you don't have sock experience I don't know how you'd work them. I have experience, but have never had this many problems. My first pair (light blue and white ones) had the weirdest heel. It made the sock almost completely straight, but since my foot bends at the heel, it was horribly uncomfortable. My local yarn shop couldn't understand how it would ever fit a normal foot so I rewrote the pattern and ripped back. The second pair (grey with off-white heel, toe, and top) was huge, although my guage was correct, and I had to restart that one, too. Then I did the ones on the cover, and the heel, though very interesting in concept, is way too big and forms basically a bubble jutting out from your foot (I just knitted every other row and it came out great). The last ones I did, the red cabled pair, came out very well (but cables give a sock more 'give,' so it's easier to fit them correctly). I'm tired of knitting 3 socks every time, so I'm going to be very careful about the patterns in the future. Here's what I suggest: knit a pair that fits your foot (preferably from a different book), and get the measurements of it, especially at the top and at your ankle. Then figure out the measurements of the pattern as it's written in this book, and change the pattern liberally until it is in normal human proportions.
They are beautiful when you finally get them right. My feet are always the prettiest in the room!
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5.0 out of 5 stars How This Book Changed My Life Dec 19 2001
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.
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In the past few years there has been a world wide knitting explosion, with particular interest in socks -- as those of us trying to get ahold of some of the popular and out-of-stock yarns well know. Folk Socks: The History and Techniques of Handknitted Footwear, by Nancy Bush is without a doubt the book I would grab and clutch to my chest if I had to choose one sock book for the following reasons: (1) Bush does a more than adequate job of researching the history of knitting with emphasis on the evolution of footwear, (2) the photographs are all in gorgeous color, and (3) her instructions for knitting socks are excellent. She includes a basic sock with the option of trying several variations of heels and toes, and includes modern adaptions of traditional Old Worldy socks for the more adventurous. Plain color, multicolors, stripes, fingering weight, sport weight, etc. -- you are given a choice.
The only criticism I have of the book is that a few of the patterns don't designate whether they are for a man or woman. If you are new to sock knitting, stick with the patterns that tell you the wearers' gender, and then try the "mystery" socks.
Bush's "Folk Socks", and her second book "Estonian Socks" are instant classics and destined to become premier collectors items.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all-time Favorite Knitting Books
I love this book! I'd never knit a sock before I bought it and ended up making almost every pair in it. Read more
Published on June 17 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book
This book is inspiring. The photography is outstanding! The patterns are lovely.
Published on Feb. 28 2002 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Best I've seen for new sock knitters
When I bought this book, I had never made a pair of socks. Now I've done dozens. The instructions in the front part of the book were just what I needed. Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2002 by Margaret L. Solomon
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful stockings from the beginning of time...........
This book is also one of my favorites to knit from. Each of these socks I have knit have come out perfect and each with a history lesson to boot. Read more
Published on Dec 24 2001 by Betsy Blueberry
5.0 out of 5 stars Past to Present
In using this book I found the history information very interesting for socks around the world. At the same time the book also showed current patterns for the original socks found... Read more
Published on July 8 2001 by Lynette Croskey
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of sock phobia
After 25 years of knitting sweaters, this is the book that finally convinced me to try socks. The "basic sock pattern" is very clear and easy to follow, and provides... Read more
Published on March 28 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting.....
This book will tell you more about socks then you ever thought you wanted to know. History (with cool pictures), styles, techniques and just general information. Read more
Published on March 19 2001 by C. A Scovel
5.0 out of 5 stars great for beginners
This book is interesting and informative. My first knitting project ever was a sock (!), and this book led me through it step by step. Read more
Published on March 13 2001 by Audrey Nicolas
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worthwhile to buy.
The book is visually wonderful. The socks are very cute and there's a lot of history too. I've tried two of the patterns so far, and one worked out well, but the other came out... Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars What! YOU don't own this book? This is THE sock book
The title is misleading in a way; while the book really does have genuine folk designs (and lovely ones too, I might add) the real value of this book is the beginning pages. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2001 by Joanna Daneman
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