The Bottom Line
Being able to see what is happening in sock construction, especially when it comes to turning the heel, is very helpful for new sock knitters. The Zen of Socks DVD provides clear instructions on how to make a basic sock and shows lots of different colors and sizes of socks so knitters can see the possibilities.
While the birds twittering in the background can be a bit distracting, the instruction on the DVD is great, and the ability to pause, go back and play sections over and over while you're knitting will be a great asset to those who aren't so comfortable knitting socks.
- Shows step by step how to make a sock from beginning to end.
- Instructions are slow and give you some time to knit along.
- The DVD is broken up into chapters so you can watch one part over and over.
- Teacher is enthusiastic about socks, and that will rub off on you.
- Seeing how a sock comes together is easier than learning from a book.
- The teacher's pets (birds and cat) can be distracting to viewers.
- The section on the heel flap and heel turning should have been two chapters.
- At times the teacher doesn't seem comfortable in front of the camera.
- Working on size 1 or 2 needles might not be best for new sock knitters.
- DVD provides one hour, 40 minutes of sock knitting instruction, advice and inspiration.
- Downloadable pattern with pictures helps you follow along and make socks away from your television or computer.
- Showing socks of different sizes and made with yarn of different weights gives knitters a starting point for future projects.
Guide Review - Zen of Socks DVD
The Zen of Socks DVD features knitting instructor Mary Jo Hamilton in a one hour and 40 minute program divided into eight chapters including:
- Introduction to sock making
- Yarn and needles
- Casting on and the knit and purl stitches
- Getting started with the socks
- Heel shaping
- Gusset making
- Toe shaping and Kitchener stitch
- Enjoying your socks
Hamilton begins by talking about how sock knitting has a Zen-like aspect to it, and how knitting socks is a kind of meditation. She explains that knitting socks is not difficult and uses the same two stitches that every other type of knitting does.
She describes how to cast on, knit and purl and then it's on to the sock, which is knit out of fingering weight yarn on size 1 or 2 US double-pointed needles.
This seems like an amazingly small gauge for someone who is new to sock knitting and who might never have worked with double-pointed needles before. Yes, this is a common size for socks but I know I was much more comfortable learning on heavier yarn and larger needles before graduating to the smaller stuff.
Hamilton recommends bamboo needles, which is a good choice for sock knitters new and more experienced.
In general the instruction is good, but it bothered me that she didn't join her stitches in the round and didn't talk about how the stitches came to be in the round or how to avoid laddering, two common problems for knitters who are new to working in the round.
Watching the DVD and knitting the same sock (the pattern is also available online with the use of a password included on the DVD) while watching it is a good way to get the basics down.
Hamilton explains the formula for knitting socks and shows examples of socks of different sizes you can make using different kinds of yarn and the same basic mathematical pattern. This will help you see that the formula for socks is very easy to play with.