Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book Review: Why You Need Another Sock Book

Consider this an addendum to my preview last month - now that I've had more time to absorb Clara Parkes' latest effort, I have much more to say on the subject!

I still maintain that no matter how many sock books you have on your shelf (I clock in at about 13), you need to buy The Knitter's Book of Socks, too.   First off - awesome patterns.  There are several socks I'll be making out of this book - and at this point of my sock-making life, I feel as though that's saying something.  As I mentioned before, I've picked up many of the new sock books, flipped through them, and determined I could live without them on my shelf (no, I'm not naming names!).  The patterns were fine, but nothing earth-shattering - I felt as though I could approximate them via the many other titles in my collection.  The layouts were, on the whole, well-done, but graphic design is not enough.  The Knitter's Book of Socks surpasses its contemporaries in one important area: the "informational section" at the front of the book.

You know what I'm talking about - it's that section that publishers always feel the need to include, and most 'experienced' knitters flip through.  Typically, it's a version of Knitting 101, which is probably better left to a Knitting 101 book, but that's just my own personal opinion.

Kensington Socks by Nancy Bush
Photo © Alexandra Grablewski
Definitely make a point to read the front of this book, because it will completely revolutionize the way you think about sock yarn and sock knitting!  As I read each section, I found myself nodding along or having a recollection of a pair of socks I'd previously knit, blissfully unaware of how such things as fiber content and stitch pattern would directly affect the end product - be it in terms of abrasion, moisture management, or just plain fit.  It's true, I simply relied on trial and error...and wondered why I had so much 'error'! 

This informed approach to choosing your yarn to suit the pattern and vice versa is akin to how you would decide to choose an appliance or car:  you wouldn't just choose the color you liked and leave the rest to chance, would you?  If you're going to invest your valuable time and money, wouldn't you prefer to get the best end-product possible?  With Parkes' thoughtful instruction, that's more than possible.  It's guaranteed!

P.S. I was also won over by Clara's appearance on the Yarn Thing Podcast!  Click here to listen to the archived episode.

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