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Knitting Socks from Around the World

Inspired Knitting

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Knitting Socks from Around the World

Knitting Socks from Around the World, edited by Kari Cornell.

Voyageur Press.

Knitters are often inspired by craft traditions from all over the world, and that inspiration can be translated into all sorts of garments.

One way to use the traditions and techniques of knitters, weavers, and embroidery aficionados from around the world on a small scale is by knitting socks. There have been a lot of sock knitting books that draw influence from different cultures, and Knitting Socks from Around the World: 25 Patterns in a Variety of Styles and Techniques looks at socks inspired by the knitting, craft and fashion trends of Scandinavia, the British Isles, Europe, "the East" and "the West."

About the Book

  • Pages: 160
  • Format: hardcover
  • Number of patterns: 25
  • Skill level: none given, but all are for intermediate to advanced sock knitters
  • Sizes: varies by pattern, with some offering sizes from toddler to medium woman or three adult sizes, while others just give one "average" adult woman size
  • Illustrations: full-color photos and full-color charts for color knitting patterns
  • Knitting lessons: none, but some special techniques such as various cast ons and methods of increasing and decreasing are explained in the patterns where they are used
  • Publication date: August 2011

The Patterns

The 25 patterns in Knitting Socks Around the World come from 22 designers and display a range of techniques by are heavy on the colorwork and textured stitches. Several of the patterns are more slippers than socks.

Eighteen of the patterns are worked from the cuff down, while five are worked from the toe up. The Japanese Tabi Socks -- actually a felted slipper with a separate toe section for the big toe -- are worked sole first, then from the toes up. The Mosaic Blue Jean Socks start with a cuff worked back and forth in mosaic knitting, which is then closed into a tube with the three-needle bind off and worked down circularly from there.The influences in different patterns are pretty apparent. There are Bohus-inspired socks, patterns with classic Scandinavian motifs, kilt hose and gansey socks influenced by the knitting of the British Isles and more.

Many of the patterns are rather complex, offering a nice challenge even for knitters with some skill working socks. The patterns come from a range of designers, including Teva Durham, Nancy Bush, Star Athena, Donna Druchuas and Anna Zilboorg, as well as some sock knitters you might not have heard of.

Some of my favorite patterns here include:

  • Dawn Borcco's Bohus-Style Peerie Socks, which combine Fair Isle and Bohus purling techniques
  • the knee-high Norwegian Socks by Kristin Spurkland, worked in blue and white stars on the front with diagonal lines of knitting down the calf and on the bottom of the foot
  • Teva Durham's clever Short-Row Fair Isle Socks, which are perfectly classic until the addition of short rows on the the leg skews a stripe of motifs
  • the Lithuanian Colorwork Socks by Donna Druchunas, probably one of the easier patterns but still interesting thanks to stripes, colorwork arrows and flowers and a stair step heel flap
  • Elanor Lynn's pretty Dura-Europos Socks, which use a pattern derived from one Barbara Walker developed based on an ancient fragment of fabric believed to have been knit (it was actually made with an older technique, called naalbinding)

Bottom Line

Knitting Socks from Around the World may not be an essential book for your sock knitting book collection, but if you're a big fan of ethnic knitting and knitting history this book offers a nice collection of patterns to chose and learn from.

Even if you're not that interested in different knitting traditions from around the world, this book will at least illustrate to you that there are a lot of interesting techniques out there, and you'll end up with some great socks in the end.

Publisher's website (click on "more" to see pattern corrections)

Projects on Ravelry

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