Crafty Reads: The Knitter’s Book of Socks

Clara Parkes has a very specific point of view with regards to knitting: her focus is yarn. Yarn being put in a position to shine and complement our FOs. So The Knitter’s Book of Socks is not about math or fit, it’s about how to perfectly match a sock pattern and a yarn.

The book starts by defining what we want out of a sock yarn. Socks work hard getting stretched over our feet just to be worn and then getting walked on all day, often in sweaty shoes. This means that a good sock yarn needs to be flexible, durable, and breathable. This will allow it to fit over our heels without dropping at our ankles, and last more than a single wear, and let us forget that our feet can be humid little monsters.

Next we get into the specifics of different fibers and how well they perform as sock yarn. She compares them to each criterion to make sure we end up with a lone fiber or a blend that supports our sock knitting goals. Often blends yield the best results – you can get the benefits and mitigate the negatives of each component if you get the percentages and the structure right.

A book about choosing yarn for socks wouldn’t be complete without covering yarn structure. Ply by ply we learn about durability, as well as whether the yarn tends to enhance or obscure texture based on how the strands naturally fall against each other and the shadows they make on the knitted surface. The last topic before the patterns is different stitches you can use for strength and elasticity.

The patterns are a fantastic range – from indestructible to house slippers, from vanilla to rainbow sprinkles. They’re wonderful if you already have a sock yarn you love and need a pattern to match it. And if you fall in love with a pattern and don’t have an appropriate skein in your stash, each pattern has a great description of the kind of yarn best suited to it.

This is a great continuation in Clara’s series of books about yarn and how best to use it. Her love of fiber arts is evident throughout. And it is a fabulous source for patterns for unusual sock yarns.

Sorry this month’s crafty read went up late. I really wanted to do Ysolda’s The Rhinebeck Sweater this month so I think we’ll do two crafty reads this month. Let me know below if there are more books you want to hear about.

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