Sockupied Fall 2015 Review

If you've been reading my stuff long enough you'll know that I'm a very boring sock knitter. Every now and then I decide that I must knit some fancy socks. My last attempt at that failed (sigh), but that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate a finely crafted sock knitting pattern.

Some people like to knit socks in the way that I enjoy knitting cardigans: they'll knit the more complicated stuff just for the fun of it. For me, socks are too utilitarian and it just kills me when my beautifully knitted socks wear out, as they inevitably do. It just puts me off knitting entirely when I get to a point where many of my handknit socks have to be sent off to the great sock bin in the sky. So you wouldn't think that I would be into Sockupied, Interweave Press's seasonal sock magazine, but I love it. Note, I was given a free review copy, but you could give me a million of them and I would not have few bad words to say.

I do enjoy the guilty pleasure of looking at beautiful knitting patterns. Knitting pattern books relax me. The pictures transport me to a worry free land where all that matters is that my cardigan looks perfectly stylish against the backdrop of slowly falling autumn leaves. You know, kind of like the knitting version of The Sound of Music Lady Meme. And everything smells like pumpkin spice. In this knitting fantasy world, there's no such thing as bills, or child pickup traffic, or our local housing crisis, or yet another city council meeting that I have to speak at, so of course I love the latest Sockupied. It's a knitting fantasy made up entirely of socks. 

Oh how I wish my feet lived permenantly in sockland. You can see why: 

Drool Drool Drool. Somewhere in another dimension there's an Angela who has the patience to knit these kinds of socks, but here in my current dimension I just don't have the bandwidth. Oh how I wish I did. I'm afraid I'm at the angry portion of my thirties and I hear that they don't make a pill for that yet. You just have to live through it. It's a good thing that pouring over knitting magazines affords me some modicum of escape.

The Fall 2015 issue of Sockupied contains six sock patterns and a few delightful sock knitting features. The first one from sock knitting designer Debbie O'Neill is one of my favorites, with the Tree Trunk Socks, a pattern with a simple lace repeat that goes over the calf. O'Neill shares some of her knitting secrets as well, which are worth the buy. The other feature is Donna Druhunas's story on socks from the Russian Empire, which is a good companion to some of the information that has come out about medieval European socks. It's interesting to see the differences. 

One of my favorite things about Sockupied is that it has sock patterns for a variety of experience levels. There's Hominy, a great beginner patterned sock that I might actually try out. Not that I'm a beginner knitter, but that a beginning stitch pattern is about all my brain can handle right now. The aforementioned Tree Stump Socks are fetching, but I'm afraid I do not have two skeins of matching sock yarn in my stash. I'm going to have to save that pattern for another time. 

All in all, it's a fantastic issue, but what else would you expect from the folks at Interweave Press? I'm still raving over their 2014 Fall Interweave Knits issue, which I believe to be the only knitting magazine issue you would ever need. If you had to jump ship to mars and could only take one knitting magazine, that would be the one.

New Addition to our Favorite Learn to Knit Books

kateatherlybeyondknitandpurlHey all, long time no see. I've been busy working on renters rights so I haven't had so much time to knit, but I did find time to take a look at Kate Atherley's book Beyond Knit and Purl, which has been out for quite a while, but finally got a chance to look at it (thanks to Kate herself) and was blown away from the level of knitting information in the book and its ingenious ways that it's presented. I wish that this book was available when I was a beginning knitter. This book is going to save many newer knitters from making big mistakes.

I liked it so much that I added it to my Best Books for Beginner Knitters page. I know I'm going to get use out of this book because I'm also full of questions when making a knitting pattern. Which cast on is best? Why should I knit this the way that it says in the pattern and other crazy things that run through my mind when I'm knitting something. Now I have a new question: what would Kate Atherley do? I have all of the answers in this book.

Honestly, this being Mother's Day time of year and all, this might be just the book for your knitting mom, even if they already know everything about knitting, they might just learn something new.

Stay tuned for more Knit Luck stuff. I'm hoping to get back into the writing swing of things.

Sock Knitting Books

My Favorite Sock Knitting Books

SensationalknittedsocksI was knitting a new pair of socks and it occurred to me that I have not shared my favorite sock knitting books. You see, I went back to my old habit of knitting cuff down socks and completely forgot how t turn the heel. I had to dig into my sock knitting book stash and dig out my old favorite, the book that taught me how to knit socks: Sensational Knitted Socks from Charlene Schurch. Sensational Knitted Socks shows you all the different parts of the sock and how to knit them, as well as offering charts to easily knit bigger or smaller sizes. She also shows you different kinds of stitch patterns and how they work when knitting a sock. It's my go to sock knitting book. I don't think I ever bought the sequel, but that doesn't mean I won't ;) The books are out of print, but you can still buy them quite cheaply from Amazon.



TheSockKnittersHandbookOne of the reasons they are out of print is that Charlene Schurch published a new book of sock knitting patterns called The Sock Knitter's Handbook. It contains much of the same information as the Sensational Socks book, but with expanded sections on yarn behavior and different sock knitting techniques. The original books focus on the top down method, but they're still a great place to start when you're learning to knit socks. 

Socks from the Toe Up from Wendy D. Johnson was my next favorite sock knitting book. Once I mastered the cuff down sock, I became a little bored with sock knitting and moved on to this little book of adorably simple Toe Up sock patterns. Wendy has an easy way of teaching knitting technique and her various sock knitting designs seriously motivate you to knit socks from the top up and do so quickly. 



favoritesocksAnother Oldie but Goodie Sock Knitting Book is Favorite Socks from Ann Bud. It's a collection of sock knitting projects from Interweave Knits, but they all have a vintage feel to them. Some even come from folk knitting traditions. These can be much more complicated sock knitting patterns, but they're worth a look. If you love Ann Bud's work you might also like her latest book Sock Knitting Master Class. This book is another addition to a bunch of books that hope to embrace the entire sock knitting category.




sockupied015bookIf you really love knitting socks and have knit them six ways to Sunday and still want more, then check out Sockupied, Ann Merrow's collection of innovative sock knitting patterns. You will never look at sock knitting the same way again. Some people love knitting cardigans and some people prefer knitting socks. This book is for people who love the complication of knitting a cardigan, but prefer to wear their yarn on their feet.

If you can't knit your socks fast enough, consider trying the two-at-a-time sock knitting technique. Melissa Morgan-Oakes has 2-at-a-Time Socks , a book full of two-at-a-time sock knitting patterns and detailed instructions how to learn to knit this crazy sock knitting method. I have not yet gotten brave enough to try it.  

bookofsocksFinally we have Clara Parke's Book of Socks which is one of my all time favorite sock knitting books because it gives both new and experienced sock knitters something to learn. It takes sock knitting into greater depths, helping you understand how to make the best fitting and longest wearing socks based on pattern design and yarn selection. 

What are your favorite sock knitting books? Tell me more and share your sock knitting story with me in the comments!


New Knitting Books for 2014

Fall is almost upon us and thus time to get your knitting on. For some knitters collecting great knitting books is as important as having a good yarn stash and there is no shortage of excellent new knitting books out for 2014. Whether you're always looking for better explanations of knitting technique or catching on to the new knitting craze (I think it's another year for kooky animal hats) we share with you some of the new knitting books for 2014.


updownallaroundbooksmallWendy Bernard's Up Down All Around Stitch Dictionary

If you're a longtime knitter, I know you're thinking to yourself "self, why do I need yet another knitting stitch dictionary?" here's the thing: this stitch dictionary does more than just offer photographs of long cherished stitch patterns (and a few new ones) -it explains details about swatching, garments with which you can actually use the stitch patterns AND instructions both written out AND charted. This is a great stitch dictionary for the knitter who just wants to have one in their library -and for the beginning knitter who is just learning about stitch patterns and swatching. 


The Spinner's Book of Fleece by Beth Smith and Deborah Robson

If you really want to know about yarn, the construction and materials used and how they work in a knitted garment it's good to understand yarn from a spinner's perspective even if you have no desire ever to spin your own yarn. Understanding fibers and their construction will give you a better idea how a yarn will behave in a certain pattern, whether it will hold up well or give out. Learn more about wool fleeces and you'll become more acquainted with different sheep fleece types and which ones will work best for your next knitting project.


botanicalknits2Botanical Knits 2 by Alana Dakos

If you know Never Not Knitting, then you know that these designers are able to make absolutely exquisite knitting patterns inspired by nature and biology and Botanical Knits 2 is no exception. While you're at it, get the other Never Not Knitting books. You'll want to knit all the things. So many beautiful shawls and hats that will be appreciated for years to come.



The Knowledgeable Knitter by Margaret Radcliffe

It's easy to forget being a beginning knitter and not knowing the intricate secrets of knitting the produce longer lasting wearable garments. The Knowledgeable Knitter is a great foundation for the new knitter and reminder for the experienced knitter of what to do when your knitting goes wrong. The knitter behind the Knittin Answer Book takes your knitting expertise to the next level so that you can be your knit-night's know-it-all.


dutchtraditionalganseysDutch Traditional Ganseys by Stella Ruhe

If you're a knitter AND a history buff then you have to check out the book of Dutch Traditional Ganseys. Writer Stella Ruhe has done extensive research to bring you more than sixty knitting patterns and the stories that go along with them. Whether your honey is a fisherman or not any knitter will appreciate the history and craftsmanship behind these functional works of art made by townswomen in the Netherlands.




knockoutknitsbookKnockout Knits by Laura Nelkin

Knitters know Laura Nelkin for her exquisite knitted jewelry kits and they will be wowed by her new book of knitted accessories. This is the book to get if you're looking to make a ton of knitted holiday gifts this year. You will find quite a few little treasures to delight the ones your love. Fun techniques and simple lines will keep your knitting fun and will show your friends and family how much you really care.


knittingwizardryKnitting Wizardry by Amy Clarke Moore

If you are still hung up on Harry Potter then you need to check out Knitting Wizardry. Even if you're not a huge Potter fan there are many magical knitting patterns to choose from, especially if you're looking for men's pullovers with lots of stitch work, majestic knitted mits or other accessories to complete your Renaissance Faire costume. Truly gorgeous work here.



Woodland Knits by Stephanie Dosen

OK, so this isn't new for 2014, but it's still a lot of fun and now is the perfect time to knit projects from this glorious book of unique knitting patterns.

New Vintage Lace by Andrea Jurgrau

It's been a while since we've seen an epic book of lace knitting and this one is a perfect addition to your knitting book library -especially if you're a lace knitting nerd with design aspirations. Take your knitting lace nerdery to the next level with these beautiful tidbits based on vintage lace knitting patterns.

Which new knitting book has caught your eye? 

Cable Knitting Books

Cable knitting is a nifty trick of the eyes, is the simple twisting of knitted stitches in front or behind one another, creating curved channels of knitting. The look seems complicated, but actually is quite simple. That said, add in enough cables to a pattern and you will have a difficult task of knitting each cable perfectly. No doubt, once you start cable knitting you will want to try using it for scarves, blankets and even sweaters. Learn everything you ever wanted to about cable knitting with these aran knitting books -from the history to the patterns. You'll be knitting cables in no time.

Books to Learn How to Knit Cables

51Ij4IiEHDL. SY300 Cables Untangled by Melissa Leapman is the best cable knitting book for beginners. While some of the other books are more traditional, Cables Untangled takes the time to teach you the basics while also giving you an appreciation for the history of cable knitting. There's patterns for men, women and children as well as for the home.



51eZxfQhOL. SY300 The Harmony Guides to Cables and Arans, edited by Erika Knight is a great way to teach yourself how to cable. Simply pick a couple of swatches to try. You'll find cables ranging from simple to advanced that you can add to your favorite sweater pattern. Get your cable knitting inspiration here. Erika Knight is an amazing knitting pattern designer with many books under her belt. She is an authority on simple wearable designs and will show you how to do cables right.

Advanced Cable Knitting Books

aranknittingalicestarmoreAran Knitting by Alice Starmore is the aran sweater knitting bible. It is the goal of many a knitter to successfully knit an Alice Starmore pattern. She is able to take a cable motif and use it in such a way that enhances the shape of a sweater. When you're becoming an advanced knitter and you want a piece of knitting that shews that you're up for any knitting challenge, pick up Aran Knitting. You will be a better knitter for it, able to understand the history and the technique. If you like Alice Starmore, you'll love her other books The Celtic Collection (check out the Cromarty Sweater), Fishermen's Sweaters and a reprint of Tudor Roses coming in December. Good luck though because many of these books are out of print and expensive to obtain!

Books to Teach You How to Design with Cables

Once you've mastered cable knitting you may want to try you hand at designing your own cable sweater or scarf, but how do you plot the cables on the chart? Are there special ways to represent different kinds of cables? What kinds of considerations do you need to make for the finished cabled fabric? The books below will help you figure out what you need to do to design your own aran sweater.

patternsforguernseysPatterns for Guernseys, Jerseys and Arans by Gladys Thompson will give you the very basics of Aran construction. Study this book and you'll understand how all of the pieces of the sweater come together neatly and professionally. It's an old school publication, but you'll learn how they did it back in the day.



traditionalaranknittingTraditional Aran Knitting from Shelagh Hollingworth

features many photographs of the traditional Fisherman's Aran sweater, published back in the early '80's.

features many photographs of the traditional Fisherman's Aran sweater, published back in the early '80's.


aransweaterdesignFor the ultimate in aran knitting pattern design, seek out Aran Sweater Design by Janet Szabo. There's nothing much more epic you can do as a knitter than grow your own sheep, shear your own sheep, wash the fleece, spin the fleece into yarn, dye the yarn and knit it into your own personally designed aran sweater. This is the epic challenge and you're going to need all the help you can get. Lucky for you this book outlines everything you need to design your own aran.

Whether you're just starting out as a new knitter or a seasoned yarn crafter there's a cable knitting book for you.

What's your favorite cable knitting book? Are we missing something important? Let us know in the comments!

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