If you're an avid sock knitter who'd like to branch out from published patterns, Socks a la Carte by Jonelle Raffino, Katherine Cade and the SWTC staff will help you stretch your creativity and your sock design skills.
The book features a bunch of different mix and match design elements that you can combine to make your own sock design, including 17 cuff designs, 20 body (by which they mean cuff, but they can also be carried down the foot) options and 18 combinations of heels and toes, presented on cut sheets of paper so you can flip between the options and see what you're getting before you cast on.
Each of the sock portions in Socks a la Carte is first presented as a patten with a swatch of the pattern shown on regular pages like you'd expect to find in a book. The pieces are all worked in a reddish shade of SWTC's Tofutsies yarn, which makes some of the patterns a little difficult to see.
All of the yarn used in the book is Tofutsies, and the patterns are written to a gauge that should be easy to get when working with that yarn (or a comparable sock yarn). Instructions are also given for adjusting the size of socks.
The sock patterns are also written with the technique of knitting one sock on two circular needles in mind, though they can easily be converted to whatever knitting style you prefer.
After some sock knitting basics and all the patterns, you'll find split pages featuring the cuffs, bodies, heels and toes (on one sheet) that you can flip through individually to make your ideal pattern. Each individual page notes where the pattern for that component can be found, so you can go back to the instructions when you've found the elements that you want to use in your socks.
The book says the different options combine into potentially thousands of possible sock combinations, but you certainly wouldn't want to knit all of them, since the cuffs can often clash with the patterns used on the legs.
the book also provides a gallery of 20 different socks knit using different options (still all worked in Tofutsies, but this time in different colors). This gives readers a good idea of some successful combinations they might want to try.
If you or someone you know is a big fan of sock knitting and wants to find ways to develop new knitting patterns to try without a lot of effort, Socks a la Carte is for you. The book does provide a dizzying array of options to explore, and the gallery makes it easy to spot some successful choices if you get overwhelmed by all the options.
Publication date: January 2009.