Back in 2001, Interweave Press published a book of knit stocking patterns, Christmas Stockings: Holiday Treasures to Knit, edited by Elain Lipson. That book is no longer available, but the publisher has produced an electronic book that includes seven of the original 18 patterns in the printed book.
While the transition is a little rough in places (the introduction describes parts of the book not included in the electronic version) if you're a fan of stockings and don't have the original book, this ebook is worth checking out.
The introductory material of this 40-page ebook explains a bit of the history of the Christmas stocking, as well as explaining that the projects are just like knit socks, but on a larger scale.
It goes through many of the basic techniques required to successfully knit a stocking, from casting on and making increases and decreases to picking up stitches and working with two colors of yarn at once.
The patterns specify a generic weight and approximate yardage of yarn, so you can use whatever's in your stash. (The end of the document includes the actual yarns used as well, if you want to make a closer replica of the pictured stocking).
The electronic book includes seven patterns, ranging in difficulty from relatively basic to advanced. There's a sock inspired by the iconic craft sock monkey, a stubby sock with a short section of Fair Isle, a colorful pattern inspired by an Estonian knit, a bobble-filled lacy stocking, an Aran stocking, a Fair Isle beauty and a gorgeously complex pattern using Austrian traveling stitches reminiscent of trees, streams, and a day in the Alps.
My favorite pattern is probably the Celtic Christmas Fair Isle Stocking by Ron Schweitzer, which reminds me of a classic Christmas sweater with its stylized tree motifs.
The sock monkey stocking is a good basic design that would be perfect for adding your own embellishments, whether a duplicate-stitched design or your favorite Fair Isle design.
If you love knitting stockings and want to see some designs that move beyond the basics, this small collection is worth checking out, especially if you'd like to make some heirloom level stockings that provide a fun challenge in the knitting.
Publication date: Holiday 2008.