Simple Socks (Plain & Fancy)
by Pricilla A Gibson-Roberts
Review by Dee Westwood
As a dedicated sock knitter myself, I was pleased to be asked to review this lovely book.
The author has put many years of sock knitting expertise into creating a simply presented book for any new or more experienced sock makers with some tips for hand-spinners too. Once mastered, I feel certain that all knitters will be keen to adopt the style and methodology explained…. And that having done so, will effortlessly find their sock making takes on a new lease of life. Having seen for myself the benefits of doing things in the ways revealed within the book I believe I may now be a convert.
What is immediatly striking is Pricilla’s enthusiasm for knitting and sock making history giving us as readers a little background, making us feel almost as if we’re old friends sitting knitting together, discussing the cultural origins of the stitches and styles as we create.
The book adopts the use of 5 DPN’s although as a knitter who prefers using circular needles I have found no reason at all why circular needles cannot be used successfully by using stitch markers. I absolutely love the idea of using the short row method for sock toes, as well as the heel (which is also my own preferred heel turning method) and really appreciate the alternative yarn over method instead of wrapping stitches. It does indeed leave a much smoother and tighter seam.
In fact the book has many great ideas for the committed sock enthusiast and knitter to try, and no doubt adopt in making future projects. For instance, the invisible cast on when beginning at the toe, which as a hand spinner has recently become my preferred starting point too and for exactly the reasons Pricilla states… no more worries about not having enough yarn to finish a project that you might encounter when knitting from the top to the toe. Brilliant!
No matter what your preference, whether you begin at the cuff and knit towards the toe, or begin at the toe and work to the top, both are fully explained and are equally easy to do. Leg shaping for longer socks to suit the male or female shape, deciding where and how you want stitches to behave, or which way to lean, it’s all there. I can’t think of anything that has been forgotten or left to chance.
Then there are the elastic cast on or cast off techniques, given in English and Continental styles, as well as the straightforward explanation and diagrams for sock construction which will enable us all to make socks to any size, to fit any foot, that will not only look and feel pleasing, but that also stay put keeping our tootsies snug!
The author has gone to great lengths to provide us with easy to understand explanations of any movements needed to attempt and successfully complete the manoeuvres required to master these new methods and has provided simple illustrated drawings to back these descriptions up.
Having tried the basic sock, I’m keen to get started on my next project and to put into practice some of the ideas for creating fancy designs, although I have much doubt in my ability to master intarsia or motif knitting I will with this book open beside me be giving it a go!