The best way possible to learn about sock knitting is to have another person walk you through it, but failing that using Teach Yourself Visually Sock Knitting by Laura Chau is a great guide to the art. Taking readers though all the basic parts of a sock and different ways to knit them, all with lots of pictures, makes this book almost as good as having a patient teacher next to you.
In some respects it's even better than a live teacher because you can refer to it over and over again and at any time, long after the yarn shops have closed and your friends have gone to sleep.
Sock Methods and Options
Teach Yourself Visually Knitting begins with a look at materials, knitting techniques and skills you'll need to have in order to complete a pair of socks. Readers learn tips for using different weights of yarn to make socks, as well as instructions on blocking socks, reading charts, working with the various needle options (double pointed, two circulars or one circular/Magic Loop) and how to measure the foot and determine the size sock you need to make.
The rest of the book includes step-by-step master patterns for top-down socks, a sock knit flat and toe-up socks, providing several options for heel and toe shaping.
The projects also include tips on eliminating holes in the sock, grafting the toe closed and altering patterns to fit bigger or smaller feet.
There's also advice on fixing mistakes in your knitting, caring for your socks once they've been knit, even instructions on how to prevent holes or fix holes that have already occurred.
In all the book contains 12 patterns, ranging from a basic Stockinette top down sock to a pair of toe up, knee high cabled stockings. The patterns are evenly distributed between top down and toe up projects and a range of stitch patterns and methods of shaping the heel and the toe, so all but the most advanced sock knitters are likely to find something in this book they've never done before.
The master patterns provide a range of sizes and help you see how the math works so you can use them as a jumping off point for your own designs. Or if you're not interested in designing your own patterns, you'll have a lot of fun with these.
Among my favorites are the simple angora baby socks; the Cabled Cuff Socks, which involve a cabled cuff knit flat and turned into a tube from which the rest of the sock is picked up, as well as a Garter Stitch heel and toe; and the Toe-Up Cables Galore socks, featuring cable patterns on the front and ribbing along the back of the leg.
If you are already comfortable with most of the basics of sock knitting, you might not get a lot out of this book, but for new sock knitters or people who have been afraid to start knitting socks, the easy patterns and tons of pictures in this book make it an invaluable tool that will bring confidence and a lot of sock knitting fun to knitters everywhere.
Publication date: September 2008.