No matter your skill level, if you're a fan of sock knitting, you're sure to find projects you love in Kathleen Taylor's The Big Book of Socks: The Ultimate Beyond-the-Basics Guide to Knitting Socks. The book includes 75 patterns for various kinds of socks, from tube socks to knee socks, flat socks to lace socks, cables, colorwork, toe-up socks and more.
The book contains a dizzying array of options for sock knitters, and while it might not be the only sock knitting book you'll ever need, it certainly provides enough patterns to keep most sock knitters busy for a long time.
The book is almost exclusively devoted to the 75 patterns it includes, providing very little in the way of introduction. It does include basic information about the different kinds of socks, yarn and basic tools, caring for socks and insider tips.
The book is then divided into six sections: basic socks, striped socks, textured and cable socks, lace socks, colorwork socks and "just for fun" socks.
Within each category there are a wide variety of socks; for example in the basic socks section, there are patterns for tube socks in worsted and fingering weights, socks knit flat with afterthought heels, variations on the heel flap and gusset sock, short row heel socks and a couple of toe-up socks.
The patterns are suitable for a range of skill levels with flat and basic tube socks being perfect for beginners, and plenty of the lace and cable patterns to interest more experienced knitters. Several patterns for advanced knitters are also included in the book, most of which include advanced colorwork techniques.
The just for fun patterns include projects with something extra, such as a cuff worked with paillettes, a sock with buttons and bubbles, and beaded socks. There are also instructions for dyeing your own self-patterning yarn for use in projects.
Sock Choices Abound
Some of my favorite patterns include the Knees and Toes sock, a pair of knee-highs with individual toes; the Mosaic Tile sock, an allover colorwork pattern; the Diamond Rib lace sock, a lacy project sized for children; the Classic Worsted Cable, a classic-looking cabled sock knit in natural wool; the Alpaca Striped Knee sock, which is pretty self-explanatory; and the Ribbon Eyelet Worsted Weight Tube sock, a quick and easy knit for babies.
Most of the patterns provide a wide variety of sizes for both women and men, and sometimes children as well. The patterns often use interchangeable heels and toes, which are all described in a technique section at the back of the book. This makes each pattern a little shorter, but requires the knitter to flip back and forth between the main pattern and the heel and toe instructions.
Some of the photographs of the socks are not on the same pages as their patterns, which can create some confusion in trying to determine what the sock looks like. There are also places where different socks are stacked on top of each other in the pictures, making it difficult to make out details in the socks. It seems like some of the basic patterns are lacking photos altogether, but many of the patterns are so similar that it's not a big deal.
The bottom line is, The Big Book of Socks is a great resource for knitters of all skill levels, particularly those who are new to sock knitting or who would like one book that provides a wide variety of basic patterns that can be embellished as well as more details projects they can be knit as written.
For knitters with more experience, this book is a treasure trove of patterns to knit and gather inspiration from. It would be a handy resource for anyone interested in knitting socks.
Publication date: September 2008.
Author's website (includes corrections in column on right-hand side)