Knitted Socks East & West: Why isn’t anyone talking about this book?
Posted by Amber on January 6, 2010
Okay, I know, I’ve been a terrible blogger. What can I say? I put my nose in a book (where have we heard that before?) and whenever I wasn’t in a book I was nose to nose with da bunnies. (Two more weeks and I’ll be head down in statistical inference. I’m going to try to be a better blogger this year, but no promises.)
But! This isn’t a bunny blog! It’s a knitting blog! And let me tell you about a book everyone needs to check out straight away!
Knitted Socks East and West by Judy Sumner
(photos shamelessly stolen from MelanieFalickBooks.com; but not hotlinked)
The book begins with a nice intro about socks, Japanese stitch patterns, and all that good jazz at the front of a sock book. Then: Techniques! There’s a handful of stitches more common to Japanese patterns, that aren’t used often (ever?) in western books. The written directions are excellent, as are the diagrams. You’ll be doing a PKOK (peacocks!), 3-stitch lift, and fancy twists in no time.
Then: Patterns! 30 of them! And such a great mix: there are slipper socks, knee socks, leggings, dainty relaxing socks. They’re all cuff down, which doesn’t bother me – it’s what I’ve been doing lately. But more on that later. I want to make just about every sock in this book – I’m already on my 3rd pair, and I just got the book for Christmas.
Tsunami, p 77
One thing I really like is that on the cabled [shoe] socks (as opposed to [slipper] socks) – she doesn’t have you carry the cable down the foot, in order to have it be more comfortable in your shoe! What a great idea!
Kimono, p 109 (in Fiber Optic Foot Notes)
I know some people say that they don’t like sock patterns that are pretty much just a stitch pattern slapped into a basic sock form, that is, if they’re paying for a book they want it to be innovative. But I think it really works here (you’re more or less repeating a chart X times, and then keeping it on the foot or not) because some of the stitch patterns are so complex – adding funky shaping and what not could make it a little unreachable. Plus, as my friend Judy says, sometimes those innovative designs are more works of art, and less something you’d want to make and wear. These are all so wearable.
Not to mention, since the patterns are derived from Japanese stitch dictionaries, you probably haven’t seen them before (unless you’re a connoisseur of the Japanese books, and if you are, can you suggest places I might find of them for myself?). I’d hate to spend $20 on a book, just to find that it’s basically straight from Barbara Walker or Charlene Schurch.
Bonsai, p 61
The other thing I like about the basic chart repeating X times down the leg is that you can adapt it really easily. I’m never going to make slipper socks out of Thick & Quick Bulky (Sumo, p 133) – but I love the cable and I’m totally in love with the cable and I can’t wait to do it in a thinner yarn. Likewise, I’m not really a knee-sock person
Karatsu, p. 81
I can’t wait to make these! Me! Bobbles! That’s how awesome the patterns are – the biggest bobble hater of them all is converted. But I don’t really want to make a pair of knee socks, so I can take the main 16-stitch repeat and do 4 repeats around (for 64 stitches) and 2 vertical repeats (instead of 4). See! Easy to adapt!
Ninja, p 31(in Dream in Color Smooshy)
The vertical repeats tend to be longish (most of them are more than 10 rows) but very fairly symmetric, and it’s easy to tell if you’ve gotten off course. The other great thing about the symmetric repeats is that you could do most of the patterns toe-up if you wanted.
So in short: GO GET THIS BOOK!