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Fancy Socks with Style

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Socktopus by Alice Yu.

Taunton Press.

Now that the sock craze had been going on for a few years, more and more sock books are being produced for knitters who want to move beyond simple ribs, cables and Stockinette Stitch and into interesting construction methods, fun designs and a fair number of tricky bits.

Cookie A is, of course, one of the queens of this genre of sock knitting, but so is Brit knitter and owner of Socktopus Yarns, Alice Yu.

Her book Socktopus: 17 Pairs of Socks to Knit and Show Off lives up to the name, providing more than a dozen options for when you want a sock that might challenge you but also offers a huge payoff.

About the Book

  • Pages: 160
  • Format: paperback with flaps
  • Number of patterns: 17
  • Skill level: none given, but all are for intermediate to advanced sock knitters
  • Sizing: most of the

    The geomgetsocks are for women and most offer two or three sizes

  • Illustrations: full-color photographs
  • Knitting lessons: special techniques needed for specific socks are presented with photos when they are needed
  • Publication date: October 2011

The Patterns

Socktopus is for the knitter who has a few basic pairs under her belt (or on her feet?) and is ready to step it up and try something new. There is one "plain vanilla" sock in here that you can use if you've never knit a sock before, but the odds are good you'll want to knit more than just that one plain pair before you feel like taking on all the lace, cables, funky slipped stitches and other techniques found in this book.

There are probably some techniques here you've never seen before, such as a stitch pattern that requires a knit 4 together,a variety of wraps and strands, and fun cast ons like the Turkish and Channel Island. There's even a sock that's worked as a closed tube with an "afterthought" leg, meaning you have to cut the sock open to knit it (sort of like a steek).

All of these patterns are pretty and many draw on pop culture for inspiration. The slip stitches on the V Junkie socks, for instance, are laid out to resemble red blood cells and were inspired by "True Blood," while the Kwalla socks pictured on the cover and meant to resemble water churned by a whale are named for a legendary whale in the Twilight books.

The geometric pattern on Farmer McGregor is simple enough to make this a pair a man would wear, but not so boring that women wouldn't want to wear it, too. Another nice geometric pattern is Crowley (named for a character on "Supernatural"), which features almost star-like cable crossings meant to signify crossroads.

Mine Pie Mayhem features a fun lattice pattern, an De Stijl has an interesting stranding pattern on the cuff to show off a great variegated yarn.

All of the patterns call for Yu's Sokkusu yarns, but any sock yarn you like could be substituted (and some swatches at the beginning of the book offer some nice ideas).

Bottom Line

Socktopus is a great book for knitters who are ready to move beyond basic and intermediate socks into designs that are interesting, beautiful and just a little challenging. These are the sorts of socks you wear around other knitters who will be suitably impressed that you made them (not around regular people who will make a joke about buying socks at Wal-Mart).

It may not be an absolutely essential addition to every sock knitter's library, but if you love the challenge of knitting fancy socks that are little works of art for your feet (or someone else's feet if they have been very very nice to you) then you're sure to enjoy this book and knitting the projects from it.

Publisher's website

Projects on Ravelry

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