In preparation for this year's Sock Summit, I've been knitting some socks in my spare time. Knitting socks is a great way to knit something quickly with satisfying results: use that yarn you bought because it was on sale (as is the case with my creamsicle-colored variegated yarn), knit on the go, and practice your knitting-in-the-round skills before embarking on that fitted sweater you have been dreaming of.
If you're lucky enough to be able to attend the Sock Summit, you're in for an amazing event. The Luminary Panel boasts such groundbreaking knitters as Barbara Walker, Anna Zilborg, Cat Bordhi, Nancy Bush, and more.There are over 75 sock classes you can attend, a plethora of yarns to purchase, a sock hop, and a sock museum.
However, if you are unable to make it to the summit, don't fret, as there is a bounty of great sock books that can have you knitting your own socks in no time. If you are new to sock knitting, Ann Budd's Getting Started Knitting Socks is a great place to begin. For each step of the sock, there are pages of superb instructions and photos to help you complete your first sock. Knitting your first pair of socks can be daunting, but Budd's book will keep you calm, cool, and collected as you stitch your way to the sock of your dreams. Once you are comfortable turning your heel, it's time for bigger and better things.
One of my favorite knitwear designers is Nancy Bush, and her book Knitting Vintage Socks encompasses much of her knitting genius. All of the patterns in the book have been taken from the late-19th-century series Weldon's Practical Needlework, but have been updated for the modern knitter. You can find something for the whole family, including ladies silk stockings, men's cycling socks, and baby booties.
One of the greatest hurdles I have with knitting socks is finding a cuff, leg, heel, and toe in one sock that I like. Thanks to Jonelle Raffino's Socks a la Carte, you can mix and match over 1,000 possible designs to find a sock to knit for every occasion. If you desire a delicate picot edge with a honeycomb pattern leg and a dutch heel with toesies, you're in luck, as the flip-book style pages will allow you to create such a sock.
When I get to the end of the sock and have to graft the toes, I usually want to put the thing down and never look at it again. Now, thanks to Wendy Johnson's new book Socks from the Toe Up I can be graft free! Her book, inspired by her blog, wendyknits.net, is full of great ideas for casting on and binding off, and has patterns that are eclectic and inspiring. If you have never knit socks from the toe up, now is the time to start. Knitting from the toe up not only saves yarn but allows you to have a little more variation with the placement of the heel and length of the leg, two things that I often want to change once I have a sock three-fourths completed.
Now that I'm almost finished with my creamsicle socks, the color isn't so bad, but not something I would wear out of the house. My next pair of socks will have to be a little more understated.
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Rachel is a sorting maven at Powell's City of Books. Much of her free time is spent shopping for yarn, befriending all the stray kitties in the neighborhood, and fantasizing about moving to New Zealand. Or Iceland -- that would be fine, too.
Books mentioned in this post