This is a book filled with 26 attractive socks designs. Most of them are done in stranded colourwork (sometimes referred to as fair isle), and a nice variety of heel turns (a lot with short rows, some with a square heel). This isn't a book overly concerned with technique and how to knit different toes and heels, it's a sock design book. Also its focus is not on original (de)construction, (although there is one pattern that is very unusual). And that is not to say that the patterns are not gorgeous, because they are.
It isn't much of a global effort, Northern Europe inspired the bulk of the patterns, but it is hard to complain when the designs are so pretty and interesting. The author shows a real flair with her personal touch on what might be deemed traditional patterns. The colour assortments are nice too. There are lace stitch patterns, travelling stitches, knit and purl combinations, stranded colourwork, sashiko inspired embroidery, argyle socks, and one pair that doesn't quite fit in any category of socks knitted on the side with (it looks like) decreases on each side of the heel, and it looks as though the toe and the ribs are picked up afterwards.
Which brings me to a possible improvement of the book. I understand this is originally a German language book, and it's not unusual for German patterns to be a little more direct, but a few patterns (the argyle and the "missoni" inspired sock could have had a diagram to show the direction of the work, it would have improved the reading comprehension a great deal. Of course, it's not as though the instructions are not there, they are, but it is nice to be able to understand before casting on how the pattern works in a glance. There's a number of socks books out there to set the good example.
Another important aspect of the book is its relentless focus on women's sizes. None of the patterns are written for anything other than European sizes 36-41 (ie, US ladies' sizes about 6-10) and in three increments. Of course, a ladies size 10 would work for a men size 8, but clearly it was never intended for men. Another drawback is that the only thing that adjusts the size is the length of the parts between the shaped sections. At least one of the patterns, the Austrian alpine lace, is only given for one size. Of course, one has to be indulgent considering that almost all of the socks have a lot of patterning, but it's still a bit disappointing.
The technical section is short and rather to the point (which is a very good thing) with explanations on different techniques, notably how to knit in the round, with three or four dpn or two circulars, travelling stitches, stranded knitting of course, beading and a very nice explanation on perfecting the short row heel. (Unfortunately, for the short row heel section the pictures are not the clearest with stitch detail obscured by the way the needles are held, and also because of the weird choice of yarn colour, namely white, on multicolour needles)
Observant yarn insiders might notice that the whole book was designed on Regia sock yarn, and I suppose it might make some sort of artistic sense considering so much of the book is actually done with solid colours and actual in-the-stitch colourwork, but usually a little diversity is nice. Oh well, the author thanks Coats for help in getting the book published, so I suppose one shouldn't wonder too much.
Still a gorgeous collection of patterns, and most sock aficionados should be able to find ways to enlarge the socks if necessary, even if only by adding non designed stitches in between the designs.
on August 7, 2012
I just received the book today, and I've already picked out 12 patterns I'd like to knit. The only thing is that almost all of the patterns are cuff-down, whereas I prefer toe-up, so I'll have some work ahead of me to convert them! There is a nice variety of different styles of cuffs that look interesting, too. The other issue is that none of the patterns are larger than a women's size 10, so if you want to knit these in larger sizes, you're on your own. It's a shame, because some of these would make nice "guy socks".
on December 27, 2010
I want to make almost every pair of socks in this beautiful book. There are lace, colorwork and traveling stitch socks, each one a work of art. The pictures are beautiful, the instructions are clear and there is supplemental instructions at the back of the book. The short row heels are worked in a new manner that turned out the neatest and easiest short rows I have ever worked. There is even a sock worked side to side. Various sock sizes are achieved by changing gauge (different needle sizes). I'd recommend this book for experienced knitters or adventurous beginners.
on November 19, 2015
I don't usually purchase books of knitting patterns, but after browsing Ravelry for interesting colourwork socks (so warm and cushy!), I found a disproportionate number of the ones I was obsessing over came from this book. It took me a while to hunt down a relatively inexpensive hard copy (curse you, shipping costs to Canada!), but I found this copy from one of Amazon's resellers. I gather that the eBook version doesn't come with the charts, so caveat emptor.
I'm already very committed to making toe-up socks with the Fish Lips Kiss Heel, but the charts in this book work well with that method. So far, I've only made the Herringbone from Kiel socks, but they're lovely. I intend to also make adaptation of Classic Kilim, Route 66, Riot of Color and Traditional Stitch Motifs.
This is a beautiful book to browse. Worthwhile purchase.