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A Socktoberfest Book Review October 18, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in Knit Alongs, knitting, Socktoberfest.

I have been doing tons of reading this Socktoberfest. I have now gone through every book on sock knitting in my local library, and I thought it might be worth sharing some of that information with the rest of you. No one really needs every sock book in print on their shelves, so I am hoping that these reviews might save you from taking too much money away from The Yarn Stash. If you have other books that you want to review, please leave a link in the comments so the rest of us can benefit. There are indeed other sock books out there. Unfortunately I returned several before thinking of doing this, so there are some great texts that have gone unfairly unnoticed. Please help me to correct that. 



Vogue Knitting Socks

Color, color, color! This little book (just bigger than an outstretched hand) is full of color work and interesting little details. With only three lace patterns and a scattering of textures, these patterns mainly focus on using color in creative and traditional ways.


The Vogue sock book has what I would call a medium-low level of basic sock knitting instructional detail. It includes some advice on sock construction, yarn types and substitutions, very general descriptions of color work methods, and a few diagrams of casting on methods and the
Kitchener stitch. Also the familiar U-shaped pompom template for those making golf socks. There is some also some advice on gauge, blocking methods, and useful crochet stitches. But nothing is covered in great detail.


To be honest, this book is pretty low on my list of possible purchases, but it would travel quite well if you are looking for a pocketbook sized sock book.

Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles 


This book by Cat Bordhi is a well known classic that many have used on the journey away from dpns (I know, I know, many of you love them). If you have longed to work your socks on two circulars, this is the book for you. The Magic Loop method is not covered in this book.

This is not a very full volume. It contains mainly an overview of the technique (with very useful photos), some tips and tricks of the trade, and also some sock patterns formulated specifically for use with two circular needles. I found the section on translation a traditional pattern the most useful. The patterns in this book did not wow me, but the technique itself is one that I prefer, so if you have not yet ventured into this method of sock knitting, give Cat’s book a whirl.


Knitting Vintage Socks



This is just one of Nancy Bush’s well known knitting books. She is our resident historian, celebrating the methods and traditions that are still inspiring us unto this day. What I appreciated most about this book was its focus on the history of sock knitting. There is a great deal of information on the many and varied ways that socks are put together. Dutch, German, Welsh, or French? All of these heels types have diagrams, instructions, and advice. There is equal diversity among the demonstrated toes. This book definitely helped me to better understand why we do the things we do when we knit socks. Well… not everything, but you understand.


There are also many beautiful patterns in here with a classic feel. There is a great deal of texture and lace, with less color work than some other books I have seen. In these patterns you will find the foundation of many that are published in places like Knitty or MagKnits.


Knee-high lovers will find some great stocking patterns in this collection. If you are looking for timeless, traditional looks and a better understanding of the essence of sock knitting, this is the book for you.


Sensational Knitted Socks



This book has been much touted in the socktoberfest flickr group as a favorite in our community. I have to agree with everyone else. If you can only purchase one sock book, this is the one I would recommend.

What I love about Charlene Schurch’s work is that it contains more practical information than any other I have read. Everything from shoe sizes to knitting techniques to troubleshooting can be found within these pages with clear, helpful diagrams.


What makes this book so versatile is that every single pattern is given with instructions for 4dpns, 5dpns, and 2 circulars. There is something to learn from each sock project, and the range is wonderful. You will find lace, color work, and texture in these pages. And every project has a variety of possible patterned stitches within it.


This is a treasure trove! As the back of the book says, “This is the only book on sock knitting you’ll EVER need! Choose virtually any yarn, gauge, stitch pattern, and size you like – with nearly 1000 variations, the possibility for knitting fashionable to funky socks will last a lifetime.”


Socks Socks Socks



This book is a close close close second to Sensational Knitted Socks. What I love most about this text is the surprising collection of patterns; most of them bringing a new spin on a timeless article of clothing.

Here you will find 70 winning patterns from the Knitter’s Magazine Contest, edited by Elaine Rowley. There are things I had never dreamed of in here – from knitting socks with licorice laces, to embedded poetry, to piggy toes, and back again. I love the dragons whose tails wrap all the way around the sock leg. This book is a must have for lovers of knee-highs and those who like a little adventure in their knitting.


Who knew that socks could be constructed of colorful blocks, or that pattern’s for kids could be so wonderful (I am going to have to covert some of these for larger feet).


You will find very little sock knitting technique taught in this book, so if you are looking for help with basic sock construction I would look elsewhere. But if you are ready for new patterns to inspire your knitting… look no further.



1. Lolly - October 19, 2006

Thanks for your reviews! I have glanced through the Knitter’s Socks book, but I definitely need to give it another look – it sounds very interesting!

2. Kristina - October 19, 2006

Wow – great review. Thank you! I have Knitting Vintage Socks, but I am not really thrilled with it. There are nice sock patterns in there, but I think that there are equally nice free sock patterns available. After reading your review, I think I will look into Sensational Knitted Socks. Thanks!

3. Sharon Hurlbut - October 19, 2006

Great reviews! This is an invaluable resource in finding my way through the maze of sock books. Thanks!

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