Ann Budd, author of the indispensable books The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns (Interweave Press, 2002) and The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns (Interweave Press, 2004), has written a book after her own heart, Getting Started Knitting Socks (Interweave Press, 2007). Chock full of easily accessible techniques, tips and sock information; this is as much a guidebook for the advanced knitter who wants to fine tune their work or venture into designing socks as it is a manual for the first-time sock knitter.
Ann’s book walks you through a basic pair of socks. Get out your double points or a circular needle or twoAnn tells you how to work with any and all needles that go round--and follow her step-by-step guide to perfect socks. She offers different cast ons, heel stitches, and toe finishes (yes, there ARE alternatives to Kitchener stitch). The book illustrates each step with clear, detailed photographs.
Following the instructions for a sampler sock are a series of template patterns written for yarns that work up to different gaugesfrom four stitches to the inch to eight. If you have a yarn you’d like to use but can’t find a pattern to match your gauge, Ann’s book will give you a place to start. Along with the nuts and bolts of sock numbers, she provides a dictionary of repeating stitch patterns well suited to sock cuffs and feet. Each pattern is shown in color with an accompanying chart. All together, you could knit 35 socks in rib, cable, and lace variations just by working a sock in each stitch pattern.
If color is your thing, Ann shows you how to work with self-striping yarnshow to get them to align on both socksand how to work with your leftovers to create your own stripe patterns. (My favorite pair in the book is the Magic Ball Socks.)
Finally, Getting Started Knitting Socks includes instructions for three non-standard sock styles: almost-no-cuff anklets, cuffs that fall in a frill, and knee socks. Throughout the book you’ll find tips on perfecting your socks: learn how to avoid a gap between stitch columns that break between double-points, how to fix that annoying peephole where the gusset meets the top of the foot, and how to get your socks to fit right.
Socks lend themselves to formula knitting--one of the reasons they’re so popular. But learning to master the different parts while staying tuned into variations is the key to a good sock experience. Getting Started Knitting Socks will get you going on the road to sock mastery without overwhelming you with choices, or making you flip back and forth through a confusing number of pages. Soon you’ll find yourself launching outin an organized fashionon your own sock designs.
Click here to read an interview with Ann Budd.
Alpaca Sox 60% alpaca, 20% merino wool, 20% nylon
Alpaca Sox is a yarn designed to be soft, warm, and caressing on the feet. It’s mostly alpaca, with a little wool and a little nylon. Alpaca fiber is much like wool, although there are differences. Read more about alpaca.
Where to buy Alpaca Sox.
Sock cuffs lend themselves to small stitch repeats, 3, 4, or 5 stitches. The pattern used here, however, is worked in a 10-stitch repeat, so we offer only one size. To make the socks larger or smaller, use needles one size larger or smaller and work the leg and foot longer or shorter as needed. The stitch repeat is made of two vertical panels that alternate a round medallion and a little cable. By staggering the panels, the round motif fits into the neighboring hollow made by the small cable. The foot is worked in a completely different pattern, a twisted stitch rib that echoes the cable crossings on the cuff.