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Getting Started Knitting Socks

Taking Away the Fear of Sock Knitting

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Getting Started Knitting Socks

Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd.

Interweave Press.

Knit socks are kind of mythic: knitters who make socks tend to be obsessed, constantly singing the praises of the handmade footwarmer. Other people -- knitters and nonknitters alike -- don't usually understand the appeal. Why spend so much time and money on something so utilitarian, that mostly only you are ever going to see and that, if you use it, is likely to eventually wear out?

Just knit a pair and you'll see, we're told, but many knitters who haven't made socks before are afraid of the techniques involved, in particular the dreaded-but-magical heel turn.

Thanks to Ann Budd, new sock knitters don't have to fear any of the steps involved in knitting a sock. Her Getting Started Knitting Socks walks knitters through the basics and adds variations in pattern, color, size and gauge for knitters to try.

About the Book

  • Pages: 136
  • Format: hardcover
  • Number of patterns: 22
  • Skill level: none given, but most are suitable for beginning to intermediate sock knitters
  • Sizes: all but the learning sock include sizes for medium child to large adult
  • Knitting lessons: no lessons on how to knit are given, but the "sock basics" chapter walks knitters step by step through knitting a basic sock
  • Publication date: Sept. 2007

Sock Knitting Lessons

Getting Started Knitting Socks begins with an overview of the basic materials needed for knitting socks including a look at the different kinds of yarn and needles that might be used.

It then guides readers step by step through a basic woman's-sized Stockinette Stitch sock, offering photographic illustrations of all the steps involved. It's almost as good as having your own live teacher (and a book has much more patience!).

After that, Budd offers basic sock patterns in a range of gauges -- 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 stitches per inch -- and a variety of sizes, from child medium to adult large. The pictured socks have ribbed legs and Stockinette Stitch feet, but you could work any stitch pattern you like that fits into your required number of stitches.

Fancier Footwork

So far Getting Started Knitting Socks has been all about solid-color socks, but now it delves into more interesting territory with the addition of color, texture and pattern.The "color and texture" chapter uses special yarns to add interest to socks that otherwise are plain ribbing and Stockinette. There are wide stripes, narrow stripes, spiral stripes, a pair using self-patterning yarn and a pair worked in a fluffy boucle yarn.

Budd shows knitters how to add their own color and texture by playing with stripe sequences, making "magic balls" of yarn remnants and adding different rib, cable and lace patterns. Sample swatches of a variety of stitch patterns are given, and two full sock patterns using each technique are also provided so you can see how the pattern repeat works in a real sock.

The book finishes up with patterns for variations on the basic crew sock, including picot and ruffled cuffs and knee socks.

Bottom Line

The only complaint I have about the book is that it seems like there are almost too many really basic patterns. With the sample patterns for different gauges, 13 of the patterns are nothing more than a basic rib on all or part of the leg followed by a Stockinette Stitch foot. Even a new sock knitter would get bored before knitting all of those variations (though admittedly they provide a lot of basic options for someone looking to build a wardrobe of socks quickly).

It is nice that the book covers how to add your own patterns to socks and provides some options knitters might want to try. Being freed early on from the idea that you have to follow a specific pattern can only be a benefit to knitters.

Getting Started Knitting Socks is a great guide for knitters who've never tried knitting socks before or for those with a few pairs under their belts who want to learn how to add a little more flair to their projects. It's not in any way advanced, but it should give knitters who read and work from it a good foundation for many years of happy and successful sock knitting.

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Pattern corrections

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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